CSIR develops Less Polluting Firecrackers named – SWAS, SAFAL and STAR

These crackers are 15-20 % cheaper than conventional ones and NEERI team involved in the project has 80 % women scientists E-crackers also being developed with products like E-Ladi, E-Anar, E-cracker show For the first time an Emission Testing Facility established in India for sound and emission testing of crackers

“CSIR scientists have developed Less Polluting Firecrackers which are not only environment-friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones”, said Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forest & Climate Change at a press conference here, today.

These crackers have been named as safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminum (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR).

These crackers have the unique property of releasing water vapor and /or air as a dust suppressant and diluent for gaseous emissions and matching performance in sound with conventional crackers.

SWAS crackers eliminate usage of (KNO3) Potassium nitrate and Sulphur with a consequent reduction in particulate matter (30-35%) SO2 and NOx. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 dBA. SWAS has been tested for shelf life up to 3 weeks with consistent performance.

STAR eliminates usage of KNO3 and S with a consequent reduction in particulate matter (35-40%), SO2 and NOx. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 dBA.

SAFAL has minimal usage of aluminum (only in flash powder for initiation) with a consequent significant reduction in particulate matter (35-40 %) compared to commercial crackers. It has matching sound intensity with commercial crackers in the range of 110-115 dBA.

Indian Fireworks industry is over 6000-crore worth of annual turnover and provides employment opportunities to over 5 lakh families directly or indirectly. This endeavor of CSIR aims at addressing the pollution concerns at the same time protecting the livelihoods of those involved in this trade. These Firecrackers are not only environment-friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones.

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PM inaugurates first assembly of the International Solar Alliance

The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, inaugurated the first Assembly of the International Solar Alliance at Vigyan Bhawan. The same event also marked the inauguration of the second IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial Meeting, and the 2nd Global RE-Invest (Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet and Expo). The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, was present on the occasion.

Mr. Modi announced plans to launch a National Energy Storage Mission that will look at manufacturing, deployment, technology development, and policy framework.

A short film on the ‘Journey of Renewable Energy in India” was screened.   Another film on Student Initiative on Solar Lamp was also shown on the occasion.  100 students from various schools lit the Solar Study Lamp at the inaugural function.

The Business and Technical Sessions of ISA Assembly, IORA Meet and RE-INVEST 2018 Expo will be held at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh from October 3-5, 2018.


International Solar Alliance (ISA), an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.  ISA was jointly launched by the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, and the then President of France, Mr. François Hollande, on  November 30, 2015, in Paris, France on the sidelines of the 21st Conference of Parties (CoP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The ISA Framework Agreement was opened for signature on 15 November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco, on the sidelines of CoP-22.

The vision and mission of the International Solar Alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries that lie completely or partial between the Tropics of Capricorn & Cancer, the global stakeholders, including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, and industry to make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.

In conformity with the ISA Framework Agreement, 30 days after ratification by the 15th country, on December 6, 2017, ISA became the first full-fledged treaty-based international intergovernmental organization headquartered in India. Through this initiative, the countries, inter alia, share the collective ambition: (i) to address obstacles that stand in the way of rapid and massive scale-up of solar energy; (ii) to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment of competitive solar generation; and (iii) to mobilise more than 1000 Billion US Dollars of investments by 2030. The Government of India has committed Rs.175 crore for setting up of ISA and till date released a sum of Rs 145 crore for creating a corpus fund, building infrastructure and meeting day to day recurring expenditure.

On March 11, 2018, the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France, Mr. Emmanuel Macron co-hosted the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). 48 countries, including 25 Heads of States participated in this conference. In addition, there were representations from the United Nations, multilateral development banks, energy-related think tanks, corporate sector, and civil society.

The Delhi Solar Agenda, adopted in the Founding Conference of the ISA, states that the ISA member States inter-alia have agreed to pursue an increased share of solar energy in the final energy consumption in respective national energy mix, as a means of tackling global challenges of climate change and as a cost-effective solution by supporting and implementing policy initiatives and participation of all relevant stakeholders, as applicable, in respective States.

Till date, out of 121 prospective member countries that lie either fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, 70 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA. 44 of these countries have ratified the ISA treaty.

The first Assembly, in a way, will lay the foundation for global Solar Agenda. The Assembly, as supreme decision-making body of the ISA, will steer the process to significantly harness solar energy for achieving universal energy access at affordable rates. The Assembly will adjudicate upon various administrative, financial and programme related issues. Hon’ble Ministers from ISA countries have been invited for the Assembly. The countries that have ratified the ISA Treaty Framework will attend the Assembly as Members. Countries that have signed but are yet to ratify the ISA Treaty Framework will attend the Assembly as Observers. Till date, 75 country delegations have confirmed participation. This includes 36 member countries, 24 observer countries, 12 prospective member countries and 3 partner country. Ministerial-level participation has been confirmed by 22 member countries, 10 observer countries and 3 prospective member countries.


The Indian Ocean Rim Association was set up with the objective of strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean Region with 21 Member States and 7 Dialogue Partners. India will be hosting 2nd IORA Renewable Energy Ministerial meeting. In this meeting, Ministers from 9 member countries and delegates from all 21 member countries are expected to participate. India, Australia, Iran, Indonesia Thailand, Malaysia, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius, Madagascar, UAE, Yemen, Seychelles, Somalia, Comoros, and Oman are members of IORA.


The 2nd RE-INVEST aims at accelerating the worldwide effort to scale up renewable energy and connect the global investment community with Indian energy stakeholders. 2nd RE-INVEST will include a three-day Conference on renewables, cleantech and future energy choices, and an Expo of renewables-related manufacturers, developers, investors, and innovators.

The 2nd RE-INVEST will provide a great opportunity to various countries, states, business houses & organizations to showcase their business strategies, achievements, and expectations. It would facilitate collaboration and cooperation with key stakeholders in India, which has today emerged as one of the world’s largest renewable energy markets.

The 2nd RE-INVEST is expected to be attended by Ministerial Delegations from across the world including ISA and IORA Member Countries, over 600 global industry leaders, and 10,000 delegates. 15 Indian states will participate, there will be 7 focused country presentations, and over 150 speakers including 55 international speakers from 15 countries will speak at the event. RE-INVEST includes 50 plenary and technical sessions, a special Chief Ministerial plenary session, exhibition with over 100 exhibiting companies, and focused sessions on Start-ups and Human Resource Development.

Globally, India stands 5th in renewable power, 4th in wind power and 5th in solar power installed capacity. India is one of the world’s largest green energy markets, with the exponential increase in demand and supply. Renewable energy development and deployment have received proactive policy support, including 100% foreign investment. The Government of India is aiming to exceed the set target of 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022.

RE-Invest is a global platform to explore strategies for the development and deployment of renewables. It showcases India’s green energy market and the Government’s efforts to scale up capacity to meet the national energy demand in socially, economically and ecologically sustainable ways. The 2nd Global RE-Invest will build upon the success of RE-Invest 2015 and provide an international forum to established players as well as new segments of investors and entrepreneurs to engage, ideate and innovate.

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Bhopal and Kolkata come up tops in CSE rankings of some Indian cities on clean transportation

Indian cities are experiencing an explosive motorization phase. It had taken 60 years – from 1952 to 2008 – for the number of registered vehicles in the country to reach 105 million. But thereafter, the same number was added in a mere six years – between 2009 and 2015. At the same time, the share of public transport in overall transportation modes is expected to decrease from 75.5 percent in 2000-01, to 44.7 percent in 2030-31.

In the study, with an aggregate of toxic emissions from urban commuting practices, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, the cities were ranked based on calculations of heat-trapping (CO2). The study took two approaches to rank the cities one based on overall emission and energy consumption and the other on per person trip emissions and energy consumption.

Kolkata is the top-performing megacity. Bhopal leads the list on the lowest overall emissions.

Delhi and Hyderabad are the two cities that fare at the bottom of the table in terms of pollution and energy use.

In terms of overall emissions and energy consumption, Bhopal was followed by Vijayawada, Chandigarh, and Lucknow.

Kolkata, which comes in at the sixth place on overall emissions, won among the six megacities.

In fact, smaller cities such as Ahmedabad and Pune ranked below Kolkata for overall emissions.

Delhi ranked at the bottom of the table for overall emission. Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Chennai fared a little better than Delhi.

Concerns and causes:

Motorization in India is explosive. Initially, it took 60 years (1951-2008) for India to cross the mark of 105 million registered vehicles. Thereafter, the same number of vehicles was added in a mere six years (2009-15).

According to the report, though metropolitan cities scored better than megacities due to lower population, lower travel volume, and lower vehicle numbers, they were at risk due to a much higher share of personal vehicle trips.

Importance of public transport: Kolkata provides a resounding message that despite population growth and rising travel demand, it is possible to contain motorization. This is possible only with a well established public transport culture, compact city design, high street density and restricted availability of land for roads and parking. Both Kolkata and Mumbai have grown with a unique advantage of a public transport spine well integrated with existing land use patterns.

Independent of income levels: Mumbai had the highest GDP but a lower rate of motorization compared with other megacities, proving that income levels were not the only reason for deciding a population’s dependence on automobiles.

Meanwhile, Chennai was the first city to adopt a non-motorized transport (NMT) policy in 2004 that aims to arrest the decline of walking or cycling by creating a network of footpaths, bicycle tracks, and greenways.

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Government allows limited petcoke import; cement shares rise

The government allowed import of petcoke for use as feedstock in some industries, sending shares of cement manufacturers higher. Cement companies, which account for about three-fourths of the country’s petcoke use, were impacted by petcoke-related policy flip-flops, which began with a Supreme Court judgment banning the use of the fuel in and around New Delhi last year.

Shares of cement companies such as Ultratech Cement Ltd, Shree Cement Ltd, Ambuja Cements and ACC Ltd rose following the announcement. Shree Cement, one of the country’s significant users of petcoke, saw its shares rise as much as 3.6% to Rs 17,898, its highest level this month.

Usage of petcoke, a dirtier alternative to coal, in the energy-hungry country has come under scrutiny due to rising pollution levels in major cities.

India’s imports of petcoke have declined this year as cement companies substituted some of their petcoke with coal to avoid production delays due to pollution-related policy changes. As the world’s largest consumer of petcoke, India imports over half its annual petcoke consumption of about 27 million tonnes, mainly from the United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries, and Bharat Petroleum Corp.

India is the world’s biggest consumer of petroleum coke, which is a dark solid carbon material that emits 11% more greenhouse gases than coal, according to the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

Petroleum coke, the bottom-of-the-barrel leftover from refining Canadian tar sands crude and other heavy oils, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal. But it also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulphur.

The petcoke burned in factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India, which already has many of the world’s most polluted cities. It contains 17 times more sulfur than the limit set for coal, and a staggering 1,380 times more than for diesel.

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Green Good Deeds Movement

Green Good Deeds, the societal movement launched by the Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, to protect the environment and promote good living in the country, has found acceptance by the global community. The ongoing BRICS Ministerial on Environment at Durban, South Africa, has agreed to include “Green Good Deeds” in its official agenda in the next Ministerial in Brazil and another meeting in Russia”,

Dr. Harsh Vardhan had formally launched the nation-wide campaign in January 2018. He enlisted the cooperation of thousands of people – students, teachers, voluntary organizations, Residents Welfare Associations and professionals to adopt these deeds. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had drawn up a list of over 500 Green Good Deeds and asked people to alter their behavior to Green Good Behaviour to fulfill their Green Social Responsibility. These small, positive actions, to be performed by individuals or organizations to strengthen the cause of environmental protection have been put up on a mobile App named “Dr. Harsh Vardhan”.

“Green Good Deeds” campaign:

The campaign has been launched by the Environment Ministry to sensitize the people and students, in particular, about climate change and global warming. The objective of the campaign is to restore and return the clean and green environment to the next generation.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change had drawn up a list of over 500 Green Good Deeds and asked people to alter their behavior to Green Good Behaviour to fulfill their Green Social Responsibility.

These small positive actions to be performed by individuals or organizations to strengthen the cause of environmental protection were put on a mobile application named “Dr. Harsh Vardhan App”.

International conferences on Environment have been deliberating and adopting declarations. However, these declarations are hardly put to practice at the ground level, involving every section of the society. “Green Good Deeds” is an idea to take it to the people and get them involved.

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