Loading
Click Here to Subscribe For FREE SMS Alerts on Disaster Awareness
OR SEND SMS " ON DISASTERAWARENESS " TO 9870807070


Videos:Recent Disasters

Loading...

Refresher Training of CERT by FOCUS

Friday, May 31, 2013

NEW EASTERN EXPRESS HIGHWAY





38-year-old actor dies after cardiac arrest on treadmill Gym, Friends Unaware Of Abir Goswami’s Heart Condition

 TV and film actor Abir Goswami (38) passed away on Friday afternoon after suffering a massive heart attack while on a treadmill in his gym. He was rushed to a nearby hospital around 1.50pm, where he was declared dead on arrival. 

    Abir, who starred in the serial 'Pyaar Ka Dard Hai', currently on air, had acted in several films, including Anurag Kashyap's to-be-released 'Ugly'. The actor reportedly had rheumatic heart disease, but the gym where he was a member for three years said he didn't mention it. Actor Sandeep Rajora, a member at the same gym who took him to the hospital minutes away, too didn't know. "His wife told us of his heart problem after he passed away," he said. Sonia Singh, a friend of the actor and his family, said, "Sandeep called from the gym to say Abir had fainted and was having trouble breathing, so he wanted to get in touch with a family member. I called Abir's wife Koel, who said he had breathing issues for a while and added she was rushing to the gym. Abir had a rheumatic heart and was a smoker." The actor was married a year ago. 
    A staff member at the gym said, "He did not mention anything about his health condition in his membership form. He had a trainer in the first year, thereafter 
he worked out on his own. He said he only wanted to tone up his body." Dr Aashish Contractor, preventive cardiologist from Asian Heart Institute, Bandra Kurla Complex, said, "Many people hide their health problems from their gyms because they don't want to be told 'no'. But cases such as this underline the fact that if you know you have a heart disease, make sure you get your cardiologist to clear your exercises." 
    Doctors advised against rigorous exercise without medical tests and advice. "A normal person who exerts himself can also collapse suddenly," said cardiologist Dr Brian Pinto, who consults at Nanavati and Holy Family Hospitals. However, doctors said a person with a known heart condition should be extra cautious. Medically speaking, patients with rheumatic heart disease have to be assessed to establish the 
extent of the problem. If it is negligible, the person can lead a normal life. "But if the person has a big lesion then one should be careful," said a doctor with a government hospital. Dr Pinto added, "A person with rheumatic heart disease may be at a higher risk, medical advice is important." 
    Friends of the actor found the incident difficult to believe. Filmmaker JD Majithia said, "This has scared and shocked all of us. He was such a fit person.'' 
Actor Rakshanda Khan too said Abir was "a fit person". Friends like Kashyap and Ronit Roy rushed to the hospital on hearing the news. 
    Sandeep said, "Abir was not even sweating when he collapsed. But some people at the gym said that he had complained of backache a day earlier.'' 
    However, Sandeep claimed the 
hospital staff were non-cooperative. "As soon as I placed Abir on the hospital bed the doctor checked his pulse and said he was no more. I told him to at least try CPR,'' he said. "They gave us trouble even when releasing the body," said Sonia, adding, "The doctor told me to take him away. When I asked for a death certificate or a postmortem, he replied, 'He was brought dead, what more you 
    want to know?'." The 
    body was later taken 
    for post-mortem to 
    Bhagwati Hospital. 

RHEUMATIC 
HEART 
DISEASE 
Rheumatic heart disease is caused by rheumatic fever, which in turn is caused by a bacterial infection. Rheumatic fever occurs in childhood, but not all kids with fever get rheumatic heart disease 
    Rheumatic fever can cause swelling in the heart, joints, brain, and spinal cord and can 
damage or weaken heart valves 
Problems with the heart may be evident early, or it may occur long after the infection 
Rheumatic heart disease is characterized by heart murmurs, 
abnormal pulse rate and rhythm, and congestive heart failure, and requires aggressive treatment 
    Patients may need low-sodium diet and diuretics. Exercise should not be very strenuous 
ABIR GOSWAMI 
Recent Shows | Starred in the shows 
Pyaar Ka Dard Hai, Badaltey Rishton Ki Daastan 

Previous Serials | Kkusum, Hotel Kingston, Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli, Chhoti Maa 
Films | Starred in Anurag Kashyap's to-be-released Ugly; Earlier notable films include Farhan Akhtar's Lakshya, Raj Kumar Santoshi's The Legend of Bhagat Singh 
ADVISORY BEFORE RIGOROUS EXERCISE 
Don't start your exercise regimen with rapid activity like treadmills 
It is better to take up walking for a month or two before hitting the gym 
Always warm up 
It is better to exercise in the evening because the body is warmed up by then 
Before taking up strenuous gymming, it advisable to do a heart check including ECG, a 2-D echo and stress test. It will help rule out conditions like hypertropic cardiomyopathy (a condition in which a portion of the heart muscle is too thick to beat normally) 
People should exercise at 60-80% of their target heart rate. Target rate can be calculated as 220 minus the person's age. So, a 40-year-old person should not let his heart rate cross 80% of 180 (220-40=180) 
(Source: Cardiologist Brian Pinto from Nanavati & Holy Family Hospitals)




Friday, May 24, 2013

Same old story: Rain just 2 weeks away, but civic body yet to complete desilting, repairs

Mumbai: Even as the rains are expected to hitthecity aroundJune6,only 30%of thedesilting work at Mithi river's crucial 17.8km stretch and50%desilting of all major nullahs has been completed in the name of the city's monsoon-preparedness. Corporators monitoring thedesilting work areskepticalwhether thecivicbody will meetitsJune6deadline.
   According to the storm water drain (SWD) department data, a total of 328km and 7.4 lakh cubic metre silt should be removed. Till date, though, desilting of only 160km of nullahs is complete and 3.9 lakh cubic metre silt has been removed. The BMC should complete70%desilting before monsoon,20%during theseason and10% after the rains.
   "How does one estimate how much silt hasbeen removed?If you visit major nullahs, you will see that no desilting work has been done.Thereis nologicin calculating percentage. It needs urgent attention and I request the mayor to hold an urgent meeting tomorrow. There will be floods, at least in my ward in Mankhurd," said Rais Shaikh, corporator
and SamajwadiParty leader.
   BJP corporator Manoj Kotak added the question of completing 50%desilting workof major nullahsdoes not arise astheBMCstarteditsworklate."I'veobservedthe quantum of silttobe removedin my area in Mulund.Only floating material and a partof the nullah'ssilt has been removed. We are keeping an eye on the work and we will tell the officials to complete it by around June 5. They can meet the deadlineonly if they pickup pace."
   L S Vhatkar, chief engineer, storm water drains,said,"Westarteddesilting attheMithi on May 10 and 30% of the work is complete. We aim tocompleteitby June10."
   The BMC also plans to install dustbins along nullahs around400spotsin thecity."We noticedone metrewidthof silt and garbagein nullahswhereslumsco-existed."
   Thecleaning of nullahsisdelayeddespite the use of a robotic multi-purpose excavator and the recently procured recycling jetting machines. "The robot removed 2km silt from Mithi and 1.5km silt from Dharavi nullah. The recycling jetting machine removes 80 cubic metre(eighttrucks)of siltevery day.Itcan go to 30-foot depth and in an eight-hour shift, clean up to 10 manholes and drains up to 200 metres in length. This is useful as labourers can't enter five-foot drain chambers. So far, 100km drains andchambershavebeen desiltedin theislandcity."
   The BMC has started pothole filling, levelling of roads and resurfacing of bridges. Workis notexpectedtobecompletedin time.
   The BMC monsoon-preparedness data also shows that the number of dilapidated buildingslast year stood at931,butthis year it increasedto959.

Times View: BMC should pay contractors after work


   The BMC should ensure that contractors carry out nullah-cleaning work in right earnest and do not turn it into a money-minting exercise. The BMC should monitor the work closely and pay the contractors only after verifying the assigned work has been completed in accordance with prescribed norms. There is always scope for improvement, though the BMC always claims the city is ready to face the monsoon. Mumbaikars, on their part, should not dump garbage into drains, which only adds to the clogging.

IS THE CITY PREPARED TO TACKLE FLOODS?



CHRONIC PROBLEM AREAS


There are 223 flooding spots in the city. The major ones include Hindamata junction; Milan, Andheri and Malad subways; Sewree station area; Kalachowkie; Grant Road; Kurla; Bhandup and Ghatkopar
The number of landslide spots have increased to 226 from 178 last year. Major ones include the slum localities in Kurla, Saki Naka, Bhandup and Gilbert Hill at Andheri

BMC INITIATIVE

The BMC plans to install 220 dewatering pumps for the entire city at 179 locations. There will be one stand-by pump for each ward in case of an emergency, and two dewatering pumps for the Kurla ward, a chronic flooding spot





RIVER OF HOPE: (Left) Desilting of Mithi in progress with robotic multi-purpose excavator; (top right, file photo) chronic flooding spot at Milan subway; (below) a recycling jetting machine sucks out silt at Worli seaface



         

State govt sits on path-breaking initiative to boost eye donation for five months



Centre Suggested Mandatory Request Column in Death Certs

 

Mumbai: Turning a blind eye to the waiting list for healthy corneas, the state has not taken any step to implement a path-breaking initiative to encourage eye donation five months after it was suggested by the Centre.
   Last December, the Union health ministry's National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) decided that a column should be included in the death certificate so that soon after a demise, the treating doctor or hospital could ask the family concerned whether they were willing to donate the deceased's eyes. The idea behind the "mandatory request for eyes" was to evolve a system wherein cornea donation would become a matter of practice in the long run.
   The state has neither implemented the change nor instructed its major hospitals about it. When TOI contacted an official from the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), he said they were waiting for a nod from the Centre's Registrar of Births and Deaths. The NPCB had said the registrar general had no objection to the proposal.
   "So far, neither has the column been introduced nor has the word been spread about the important move," said Jaswant Mehta, trustee of Parel's Eye Bank Coordination and Research Centre. The city's biggest eye bank and processing centre has a waitlist of over 600 people. "It is unfortunate that a sense of urgency is lacking… As files move from one department to another, we have an increasing queue of people, a majority of whom are children, waiting for cornea transplant."
   Though figures are scarce, it is estimated that the annual demand for corneas in the city alone is 2,000, and around 7,000 for the state. The supply majorly lags the demand. "For 1 lakh deaths registered in the city every year, there are less than 3,000 eye donations," said Dr Prakash Katakia, chairman of Arpan Eye Bank in Ghatkopar.
   Katakia believes a mandatory request for eyes can be a huge step in donation. "If a family physician convinces the kin about the potential lives that one donation can improve, there should not be too much resistance," he said.
   "We are yet to get a final nod from the Centre for its implementation. The introduction of this column is also being debated in other states. Once there is clarity, we will surely introduce it," said Dr R U Kathane, assistant director, DHS

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Highrise fire kills two aged citizens

 
Mumbai: Two elderly women were killed when they tried to flee their flats after smoke from a fire triggered by an explosion in the electric meter room engulfed an 11-storey building in Ghatkopar (E). Seven others were injured in the incident around 12.30am on Tuesday.
   In a similar incident on May 3, three elderly persons fell and died while running down the stairs after a meter box
explosion in a six-storey Mulund building.
   The guard of Savani Apartments near Rajawadi Naka rushed to the meter room after the explosion and saw plumes of smoke. Some plastic chairs in the room had caught fire. Soon, panic-stricken families from the 66 flats poured out into the smoke-filled stairs. Nirmala Ajmera, 75, and her son also came out of their sixth-floor flat, but she collapsed. Two floors up, 83-year-old Shantaben Damani couldn't even reach the stairs and fell outside her flat. Both died of suffocation. Another resident, Chandra Doshi, 75, was also rushed to hospital and is on ventilator.

The elderly women choked to death after the meter room caught fire in Savani Apartments, Ghatkopar

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Employees who spend half of an eight-hour working day standing use 13% more energy than colleagues who are seated, says a new study. Researcher David Dunstan measured the energy expenditure of 20 desk-based workers over two weeks while standing and sitting at work. During an average fiveday working week, the extra energy used standing for four hours a day equated to a 45-minute brisk walk.
   Much of the extra energy use came from the contraction of muscles used to keep the body upright. Recent research found people who spend most of their days sitting — at work, on the bus or train and while watching TV — may not ward off heart disease, even if they exercise for 30 minutes a day as recommended. Workers who don't have heightadjustable workstations should take a break, stand up and move every 20 to 30 minutes.
   ANI

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BMC’s concrete plan: No cement in gardens


 In an endeavour to add to the city's minuscule green spaces, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has promised to develop city gardens without the use of cement, paver blocks and tiles.
   Over the next six months, the civic body will develop and beautify 171 existing gardens across the city using the 'No-Cement' or 'Cement-Free' concept.
   Before the end of May, the BMC will issue tenders for three-year ward-wise contracts to develop and maintain the gardens. One of the main tender conditions is that cement won't be used for anything other than repair work of boundary walls and a small slab to install slides and swings in the children's play area.
   As part of this initiative, the BMC will try and discontinue the practice of using tiles or paver blocks for jogging tracks and walkways; these will now be created with soil, pebbles and clay bricks. "We will take care that the track doesn't sink in and keep adding earth and levelling it periodically," said a civic official.
   Civic officials claimed that by adopting these measures, the BMC will be able to add 150 acres of green spaces in the city.
   "Contractors are expected to complete the development in six months starting with the monsoon and then maintain them," said S S Shinde, joint municipal commissioner.
   Apart from reducing the use of cement, the BMC hoped the increased use of soil will help rainwater seep into the ground so that there is little requirement to water the green cover and also ensure that trees get enough space to spread their roots. The use of concrete interrupts the growth of roots and weakens trees.
   The BMC's idea of developing theme gardens in the past met with opposition from the greens as it required a lot of construction. But the civic body now intends to develop theme gardens by modelling grass. It will also choose trees that have a botanical value to aid students.
   Civic officials said this initiative will help curb the malpractice of contractors billing the BMC for changing paver blocks and tiles in the gardens every three months.
   "In reality, they just keep replacing the same tiles and paver blocks and send us fresh bills. Now with a complete ban on use of these items, there will be no scope for them to continue with this practice," said the official.

Times View: Don't cow down to contractors' lobby    

The BMC initiative to discontinue the use of cement in the development and beautification of 171 gardens across the city must be appreciated by one and all. A word of caution, though: It should not turn out to be yet another people-friendly project that the BMC announces with much fanfare but falters in implementation. The decision not to allow paver blocks and tiles will hit the contractors' lobby which will try and subvert the attempt. The BMC should stick to its ground and ensure the greening of gardens is done without a hiccup.


GREEN ALL THROUGH



THE PROJECT

The BMC has lined up a green initiative to develop 171 gardens across the city over the next three years. For the purpose, the civic body will:

Award contracts for development & maintenance of gardens using a 'No-Cement' or 'Cement-Free' concept Add a clause in the tender that cement will only be used for repair work and for a small slab on which playing equipment has to be installed in the children's area Ensure walkways and jogging tracks are created using soil, pebbles and clay bricks

THE BENEFITS


Conserve depleting green spaces Facilitate seepage of rainwater into the ground Space for tree roots to spread sans concrete More costeffective initiative

NATURE WALK: Concrete paths in city gardens will soon be in the past


We are trying to increase green spaces by reducing the use of cement in the development of gardens. By taking up this policy in the development of 171 gardens, we will add approximately 150 acres of green land in the city S S Shinde |
JOINT MUNICIPAL COMMISSIONER

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just 2% of India’s youth have vocational training


   Here is a pointer to why industry groans about the lack of skilled manpower. Just 2% of India's youth and only about 7% of the whole working age population have received vocational training, a recently released survey report reveals.
   As in the past, hereditary learning or learning on the job continue to generate more skills than the whole formal vocational training set up of the country which includes 8,800 ITI's and 450 polytechnics. Hereditary learning — carrying on the family's trade like farming or pottery making — is the source of needed skills for 1.8% while learning on the job teaches 1.7% of the people between 15 and 59 years of age. In this age group, only 1.6% persons had got formal vocational training.
   These shocking details emerge from a report of the survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2009-10. The survey covered 4.6 lakh persons. What is the quality of vocational education? How far does it go in getting jobs? Surveying persons who had received or were receiving formal vocational training the report found an astonishing disconnect.
   Over 65% of rural laborers working at construction sites or agricultural fields had training in mechanical or electrical engineering, or computer skills. Nearly 58% of clerks had got computer related diplomas. Over 57% of urban women who had trained as beauticians or hairdressers ended up as marketing agents or personal service workers.
   In some cases the natural connect between training and job was evident: 65% of drivers had been trained in driving schools; 64% of building, metal and precision work related workers had training in mechanical, electrical or civil engineering.
   But the most telling statistic in the survey was related to unemployment and being "not in labor force" (mostly women). Nearly 60% of those who had done textile related vocational courses and 57% of those who had trained to become beauticians were no longer in the workforce. Childcare and nutrition (31%) and creative arts (38%) were other traditional women-centric courses that reported a very high disconnect with the job market.
   Surprisingly, unemployment was highest among all trades – nearly 14% — in the courses related to computer skills and repair. Those having diplomas in computers and yet not being in the workforce were also reported at a very high proportion – 44%.
   Overall about 8% of the trained persons were unemployed and another 33% were not in the work force. This was, of course, sharply different for men and women. Over 56% of trained women were reported as not being in the work force as opposed to 20% of men. About 12% of women and 7% of men were unemployed.

Six children went missing every day from Mumbai in last 3 years

 
 Nearly six children on average went missing from Mumbai every day of the last three years and many of them are yet to be traced, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed.
   The Mumbai police recorded 6,345 cases of missing children (aged up to 14) from 2010 to 2012. While the majority of the disappeared were eventually discovered, about 10% of the cases remained unsolved. "The police failed in tracking down 11% missing boys and 10.5% missing girls. Worse, one per cent of the missing boys were found dead," said activist Chetan Kothari, whose RTI query to the Mumbai crime branch's missing persons bureau elicited the statistics.
   A review of the figures shows that more boys than girls went missing in the three years. Also, more children disappeared in 2012 than the previous year. In 2011, a total of 1,106 boys and 782 girls disappeared; the next year, those totals went up, respectively, by around 30% and 34%.
   A senior officer said most missing children turn out to be runaways: "they are usually easy to trace". From 2010 to 2012, the Mumbai police tracked 88% of the missing boys and 89% of the missing girls. Nonetheless, the number of cases that remained unsolved was worryingly high, another officer conceded.
   As in Mumbai, the figures were disconcerting in Maharashtra. As per the data collated by the National Crime Records Bureau, 26,211 children went missing in Maharashtra from January 2008 to January 2011—the most of any state in the country. During the same period, 25,413 children went missing in West Bengal, 13,750 in Delhi, and 12,777 in Madhya Pradesh.
   A public interest litigation filed by an NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, in the Supreme Court stated that over 1.7 lakh children went missing in the country in the two years from January 2008. Of these, 55,450 are reportedly yet to be traced. The petition expressed the fear that many missing children were kidnapped for sex trafficking and child labour.
   For the families of the disappeared, every passing year worsens the pain. Thirty-fiveyear-old George Vincent's elder brother went missing in Mumbai in 1991, but he and his family are yet to find closure. "It has been over 22 years. My brother ran away after he was scolded for not going to church on a Sunday," said Vincent, who is now a resident of Kerala. "He never came back home. And the police are unable to trace him."


Thursday, May 9, 2013

At 46.7°C, Nagpur hottest city in India

 
Nagpur: Severe heat wave conditions continued to prevail across Vidarbha and Nagpur in Maharashtra with the season's highest temperature so far at 46.7 degrees Celsius being recorded in Nagpur, which was 0.3 degrees more than what was recorded on Thursday.
   This temperature is 5 degrees above normal, making Nagpur the hottest place in not just the state but also in the country.
   Weathermen at regional meteorological centre in the city say that the mercury may remain high for just a day more or so. Most cities in the region continued to have temperatures at least 4 degrees above normal.
   After Nagpur, the highest temperature in the region was recorded at Brahmapuri at 45.9 degrees followed by Wardha at 45.8 degrees. Chandrapur was next at 45.6 degrees while Amravati recorded 45.2 degrees.
   Gondia and Yavatmal were relatively less hot at 44.2 and 44.1 degrees while temperature in Akola was recorded at 43.9 degrees.

Some parts of Mumbai get away with home delivery

Mumbai: Most Mumbaikars have been slipping under halfclosed shutters to make purchases or scour options en route to the workplace. The indefinite bandh over local body tax (LBT) has left most people tense, save a lucky few who continue to receive home delivery from their friendly neighbourhood grocer.
   A specialized store in Tardeo that stocks cheese and olives downed its shutters but dispatched groceries to regular customers. "We generally order provisions, and things are no different through the strike," said a resident who received cornflakes and milk at home on Wednesday. The store owner confirmed he was doing a semblance of business but declined to say if he was forced to close owing to pressure from the local association.
   Residents of Bandra Reclamation are also being served by their grocer whose shutters are rolled down in case mobs of protesters sweep the locality. "We called his number to find out if the store was open and discovered he was still offering home delivery," said a relieved resident.
   Areas where traders' associations have a strong presence are not so fortunate. Elsewhere in Bandra, a big retail store that is part of a chain closed shop even though large retailers affiliated to the Retailers Association of India (RAI) have not joined the agitation. In Dadar, dairy farms which are officially exempt from the bandh herded customers wanting milk to the back door.
   With the weekend coming up, some Mumbaikars were anxious if wine shops would be open. Zeus Zend of Peekay Wines said, "Liquor outlets are not part of the LBT agitation. As everything else is closed, many will sit at home and nurse a drink during this dull weekend."

WE PROTEST, BUT... Some shops have downed shutters but are operating slyly in fear of attacks from protestors

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Suburbs’ power-saver plan soon in island city


   An electricity-saving incentive which helped suburban consumers reduce bills and enabled power suppliers to cut consumption, will soon be available to consumers in the island city. By the end of May, BEST will offer discounts on energy-efficient gadgets to over 10 lakh consumers, encouraging them to replace their old gadgets and cut power demand.
   The initiative was adopted in 2007 by Reliance Infrastructure and in 2009 by Tata Power, on a directive from the Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). It instructed all power suppliers to enter into tie-ups with manufacturers and offer energy-saving gadgets at discounted prices to consumers. This, the MERC said, would help consumers keep their power bills at affordable levels despite rising tariffs and help suppliers check power demand.
   BEST general manager Omprakash Gupta said BEST will soon introduce schemes enabling consumers to replace old tubelights, ACs and fans with energy-efficient ones. "We have an initial target of around 20,000 homes and 5,000 offices but the final savings will depend upon the type of gadgets currently in use," he said. Asked about the delay in implementing the MERC directive, he said it took nearly three years to conduct a survey to understand which areas and gadgets needed replacement in the island city. "We finished the survey in 2011, then held an awareness campaign," he said.
   Parel resident Alankar Bhat said he was looking forward to the scheme, adding, "I hope maintenance of gadgets will be free for a few initial years." Borivli resident Anagha Tambe, who availed the scheme offered by her power supplier, said replacement of old gadgets with fivestar models in January this year made a difference to her monthly power consumption and bill. "The amount I invested in these gadgets is on the higher side despite the subsidy, but I hope I will recover it in two years due to reduced power bills," said Tambe. However, another consumer, Vijaya Kavishwar said, "Rising tariffs may delay my break-even period more than I anticipated."
   Both Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power provide star-rated refrigerators and ACs at attractive prices to consumers. "The initiative helped us save approximately 48.89 million units of electricity till date, and reduce 39,500 tonnes of carbon footprint," said R-Infra sources. "By replacing old ceiling fans, ACs and refrigerators, Tata Power saved 7 million units. It saved another 30 million units by adopting advanced load-shifting and thermal storage incentive," said a TPC source. A power expert said Mumbai consumed around 42 to 45 million units daily and only such measures could control consumption.

Mumbaikars see red on climate change


Mumbai: Climate change is no longer an environmentalist's concern. Erratic weather, change in temperature, depletion of air quality and wind patterns seem to be weighing on Mumbaikars' minds too.
   A recent survey has revealed that almost eight out of 10 Mumbaikars have perceived indicators of climate change in their immediate environment. Change in temperature seemed to be most palpable for people, followed by changes in rainfall and wind patterns.
   The survey was conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) to gauge people's attitude towards environmental issues.
   Climate change and indicators of a depleting environment are a cause of concern for most people. The survey findings indicate that 99% people feel air quality has depleted in Mumbai over the years, causing respiratory and skin ailments. Most people blamed poor air quality on factories and transport. Though there are policies to regulate it, an average 51% people feel there is no proper implementation in areas like air pollution, forest conservation and climate change.
   Government apathy towards environment vis-à-vis development seemed to be a prime concern for people and environmentalists.
   Debi Goenka of the Conservation Action Trust (CAT) wondered why government policies are not climatefriendly. Goenka said it was only because of a high court order that people and activists have kept some open spaces alive in Mumbai. "If it hadn't been for the order to remove encroachments, we would have lost the (Borivli) national park to the city. Despite a high court order to preserve mangroves, there are petitions from the state government seeking relief for development projects," said Goenka.
   Ironically, though the survey indicated huge awareness among Mumbaikars on environment and climate change issues, there was little that people wanted to do to start a change. For instance, when it came to water wastage, 51% people identified tap/faucet leakage as a key reason. A significant percentage of people did not want to segregate solid waste at their home and 66% people placed the onus of improving the environment on the government, followed by NGOs (40%) and businesses (14%).
   Maharashtra chief secretary J K Banthia said, "The government has to strike a balance between development and environment. But awareness campaigns among citizens will also help a lot."

Water mains threaten 8 city structures of MUMBAI

   At least eight structures in the city are in constant peril owing to their construction on functional water pipelines, a civic survey has discovered.
   Spread over different municipal wards, the imperilled buildings include residential constructions and even a medical facility. Following their identification and given the standing threat to them, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is considering redirecting the water pipelines lying under the structures.
   The corporation launched a survey last month to identify buildings sitting on functional water pipelines after an active 24-inch pipe burst under an SRA building in Govandi, killing one and injuring at least eight others. The survey is nearly complete now.
   Officials said the stability of eight structures has been found endangered by active pipelines. Two of these are in the island city—a public toilet outside Churchgate station and an old building in B ward. Five are in the western suburbs, including residential buildings in Goregaon and Malad, and an underconstruction BMC trauma centre in Jogeshwari. Another is in N ward.
   At risk also are the slums squatting on water mains and the structures under which the Govandi pipeline is running.
   Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said the civic body will soon form a committee to plan the diversion of the portions of water pipelines under the eight plots. "We will need to plan thoroughly since it is a complicated process. It will take us some time before all these lines are disconnected and diverted," he observed.
   Difficulties may arise in redirection of the 24-inch pipeline under the public toilet outside Churchgate station. On one side of it is the station and on another a subway.
   Planners fault the corporation and its "inefficiency" for letting things come to such a pass. They maintain the BMC should have been aware all along of the water lines under the eight structures. "The civic body clearly does not when have accurate data of its utilities," said a private consultant who has worked with the BMC on many projects.
   The consultant pointed out that the hydraulic department's "remarks" are a requisite for the clearance of a project. "But there are times when the hydraulic department gives a go-ahead and later, during construction, a pipeline is found running under the plot," he explained.
   Delayed realisation is what occurred during the construction of a BMC trauma centre in Jogeshwari. A consultant warned of a pipeline under the site, but the municipal body ignored the counsel. The pipe's discovery later caused the project's cost to escalate by Rs 14 crore.

Times View: Map underground utilities fast    

The BMC still depends on dodgy data to locate underground utilities. A plan to map these utilities has been on the drawing board since the past two decades. Mishaps will continue to occur in the absence of such a map. The BMC must involve and consult its water department while sanctioning building construction proposals. Diverting a water line at an early stage is easier. The engineer who gives a No-Objection Certificate for a building to come up on a water main should be held responsible.


WHAT NEXT

The civic body will form a committee of hydraulic department officials and prepare a detailed plan to divert the pipelines from under the eight structures. Expected to last a year, the plan's execution will be undertaken after taking into account the stability of the structures

   
ISSUE ERUPTS ON    TO CENTRE STAGE

THE TRAGEDY


April 9, 2013 |

A person died and eight others were injured after an active 24-inch water pipeline running under an eight-storey residential building in Govandi burst

   The SRA building—Sanjeevani Cooperative Housing Society—should not have been erected on a functional pipeline in the first place. A school too was built on the same pipe
   The BMC appointed a four-member committee to ascertain the cause of the burst and to determine why the pipeline was active despite the laying of an alternative supply route in 2008

IN THE AFTERMATH    

Sources said the pipeline was closed down on August 6, 2010, but reactivated six days later because of problems in starting an alternative route. The reopening was sought by an assistant engineer (water works) in M-East ward from additional municipal commissioner (projects). Supposed to be active again just for a month from Aug 12 to Sept 11, the pipeline was forgotten

   The alternative route lacked adequate pressure to supply water from Govandi (West) to the residential colonies in Govandi (East) and thus needed repairs. Also, local officials did not make the switch from the old pipeline to the new because they did not want residents to suffer from truncated water supply during Ramzan
   The BMC committee's report on the tragedy of April this year is still near completion

IN A TIGHT SPOT: An under-construction trauma centre (left) in Jogeshwari and a public toilet outside Churchgate station are sitting on active pipelines




Monday, May 6, 2013

CUFFE PARADE TINDERBOX No relief for hsg society panel in fire safety case

Mumbai: Office-bearers of Jolly Maker-I cooperative housing society in Cuffe Parade suffered a setback on Monday when the Bombay high court turned down their plea to quash a criminal case filed against them by the civic body for lapses in fire safety norms. 

    The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) fire department had filed a case against society secretary Pishu Mahtani (70) and others after a fire broke out on the 19th floor of the 25-storey tower on December 2, 2012. Jolly Maker-I is one of the richest housing societies in the city. 
    The case was filed under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, a fairly recent law with tough provisions to punish violators. This is the first major case under the fire safety law, said sources, adding that its progress is expected to be followed keenly by activists and the administration alike. 
    Stating that the fire safety equipment on the building premises was "defunct", the BMC has accused the managing committee of negligence. The HC, which stayed the criminal proceedings so far, has now dismissed the petition filed by Mahtani and six others. They sought quashing of the criminal complaint on the ground that they alone cannot be held responsible and that all members should be taken to task for mainte
nance of the fire safety equipment. 
    Anita Sekhri, in whose 19th floor flat the fire broke out, had also intervened in the matter before the high court. She supported the BMC's action against the society's managing committee for fire safety lapses. Sekhri had even claimed that the water tank reserved for firefighting was converted into a flush tank without proper permissions, thereby endangering lives. 
    Civic counsel Prakash Naik had argued that all the committee members were liable to be prosecuted under Section 73 of Cooperative Societies Act, which stipulates that managing committees are responsible for the society. He said the managing committee is not meant to do any act that is detrimental to the society's interest.


Indefinite stir over LBT to hit supplies

Mumbai: The availability of groceries and routine supplies will be badly hit over the next few days with around one lakh small retailers joining an indefinite bandh on Monday to protest the levy of local body tax (LBT). However, essential services like drugstores, milk supply and newspapers will not be impacted. Malls are expected to function normally as well. 

    Retailers say the shutdown will continue until the government addresses their concerns over LBT. At a press meet on Monday, the chief minister said "segment of traders was misleading the public" about the new tax. He alleged that the gold and silver traders were at the forefront of the stir. 
    The new tax that replaces octroi is being introduced in Mumbai from October 1 and will apply to small and big businessmen who earn over Rs 3 lakh per annum. It has already been implemented in 19 corporations statewide since 2010, with Navi Mumbai and Thane having come under its ambit on April 1 this year. Traders say they are not unwilling to pay the tax, but fear harassment by civic officials who can inspect their account books at any time. On Monday, closure of shops was reported across south Mumbai from Fort to Kemps Corner, Dadar-Matunga and from Bandra to Dahisar. Retailers in Ghatkopar and Chembur 
will join the stir from Wednesday. 
    At Marine Drive, the police had to resort to a mild baton charge against protesters on Monday. Viren Shah of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association said, "Such overwhelming support for the anti-LBT bandh is unprecedented. It shows that the fear of harassment is widespread." 

    Citing an instance, he narrated how civic officials in Vasai had asked shopkeepers to produce bills for vada pav, tea and puja items. "When they were unable to show receipts, they were slapped with 20% LBT or asked to pay Rs 3,000-5,000 and settle the matter," Shah said. 
    In Saamna, the Shiv Sena slammed the CM for going ahead with LBT. 

BMC official alleges threat from octroi agents 
akarand Narwekar, chairman of the BMC's law, revenue and general purpose committee, has alleged that octroi agents had threatened him with dire consequences if he did not "turn a blind eye to irregularities at the Vashi check-post". He has written to civic chief Sitaram Kunte and police commissioner Satyapal Singh. On Saturday, two octroi agents allegedly threatened Narwekar at his office following his surprise visit to the check-post at 4am on May 1. On spotting some cargo-laden vehicles not paying octroi, he alerted additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota. "I've heard that a letter has been sent to the civic chief. I'll give my explanation in writing after I receive it," Jalota told TOI. TNN


LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP ‘BMC putting up safety notices on beaches’

Mumbai: The BMC on Monday told the Bombay high court that it has displayed safety notices at beaches across Mumbai. The notices are part of a larger plan for safety of beaches. 

    The civic body was responding to a query from a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha on whether notices were being put up on beaches to alert visitors. The response was sought after non-government organization Janhit Manch's advocate Jamshed Mistry referred to a news report on the drowning of three youths at Aksa beach on Sunday. 
    Mistry told the court that the number of lifeguards on beaches is insufficient. "Manpower and equipment must be strengthened in the light of the larger number of visitors to beaches during the summer vacation,'' said Mistry. He also said that pre-monsoon tides 
tend to get high and the sea becomes rough, leading to the possibility of such drowning incidents. 
    When the judges questioned the BMC advocate, Sharmila Modle, she replied that the civic body is putting up notice 

boards as a part of its larger safety plan for beaches. 
    The NGO had earlier filed a PIL asking for better equipment, trained lifeguards and medical facilities, among others, to prevent drowning deaths not just at the city's beaches but also across Maharashtra. The case has been posted for hearing in June.

It takes many disasters for govt to show a plan

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government in recent years has had to take flak for its messy response to disasters like the 26/11 terror attacks and the Mantralaya fire. During both disasters, the lack of a unified command was acutely felt, with agencies like the fire brigade, police and municipality working without any standard operating procedure (SOP) for coordinated action. The pitfalls of uncoordinated functioning became evident during the 26/11 attacks, when many policepersons died and it was felt that at least some of the deaths were avoidable. 

    Disaster response has never been the government's priority, said a senior government officer on Monday. "Every bureaucrat has a tendency to put disaster-related files on the backburner. But things will change dramatically with the setting up of a unified coordination centre (UCC) and a state emergency operation centre (SEOC) at the Mantralaya." 
    He said the chief minister will be the chairman and the 
chief secretary the CEO of the UCC and the SEOC. Last week, the chief secretary, J K Banthia, approved a request for proposal (RFP) to revive the Maharashtra State Disaster Management Authority (MSDMA). 
    The UCC and the SEOC will have financial powers to enter into contracts with PSUs, NGOs and consultancy firms for preparing plans and 
feasibility studies. It will be equipped with a satellitebased communication network controlled by a dedicated disaster management force comprising experts from the relevant fields. A nodal officer will be appointed to coordinate with agencies and relay information to the UCC. For example, in the event of an oil spill, the officer will get in touch with the pollution control board and the coast guard, collect information from them, and pass it on to the UCC. 
    The trigger for the UCCSEOC plan was the Mantralaya fire, during which response was appallingly poor. For example, navy helicopters sent for rescue started hovering over the building, fanning the flames with greater intensity. 
    "In times of disaster, one arm of the government machinery does not know what the other is doing," said an officer. "Mostly, officers coordinate among themselves by relaying information on phone and not through an official channel. This is an ineffective and informal system, if at all it can be called a system." 

Times View: Better late than never 
he Maharashtra government's decision to reinvent its disaster response machinery is a welcome move. However, like similar experiments in the past, the government must ensure the plan does not fizzle out during the implementation phase and in the face of opposition from a lethargic administrative machinery. A similar arrangement with the BMC after the 2005 Mumbai floods did not bear fruit for many years and fell short of effectively tackling disasters in the city. The state-wide plan must be better laid out.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Three Malad youths drown off Aksa beach, lifeguard pulls one to safety


 Three youths drowned off AksabeachonSundaymorning as they ventured deep into the choppy waters during high tide. Officials attributed the tragedy to the youngsters' disregard of the warning signs on the beach, while eyewitnesses ascribed it partly to the presence of just one lifeguard on that section of the shore.
   The three drowning victims—Darshan Dalvi, 23, Rakesh Nalawade, 22, and Mayuresh Naik, 21—were part of a group of nine Malad residents who had travelled to Aksa for a game of cricket. Apart from the three college-goers, 25-year-old Sandesh Mungekar too had swum deep into the sea and got caught in the high tide, but a lifeguard saved him. Mungekar is currently recuperating at Bhagwati Hospital where doctors described his condition as stable.
   The group of nine from Sable chawl in Rajan Pada, Malad (West), reached the beach around 8am. After their cricket game concluded at 9.30am, the youths washed sand off their hands and feet in thesea,undressedandtheneightof them re-entered the water for a swim. One youth guarded the clothes.
   "Sandesh, Darshan, Rakesh and Mayuresh swam in deeper. They were good swimmers. But the water level started rising rapidly. Before we could realize, the four were gasping for breath. We saw them waving as they got sucked in deeper," said Nilesh Mungekar, Sandesh's older brother who too was part of the group. "We raised an alarm and a lifeguard at the beach dove in. Sandesh managed to hang on till the lifeguard reached him. The others were not so lucky."
   A few locals, including a food stall owner, joined the lifeguard in the rescue. "We swam towards the boys and managed to catch hold of two of them. But a huge wave hit us and our grip loosened," said Praful Mhatre, the food stall owner.
   Witnesses called in the fire brigade, which launched a search operation soon after. Darshan's body was pulled out first, followed by Mayuresh's and finally Rakesh's. The operation lasted from 10am to 2pm. The Malwani police have registeredthreeaccidentaldeathrecords.
   Rajnikanth Mhashelkar, a senior lifeguard at Aksa beach, said, "It is a Herculean task to man the beach on weekends since the number of visitors is very high. Children arrive early to play; they step into the water despite our warnings. We cannot do much." He added that their equipment was insufficient. "We have a pair of binoculars, five life jackets and six buoys. Just five to six lifeguards man the three-kilometre stretch of the beach."

WATERY GRAVE

PAST CASES


July 2012


An 18-year-old
collegian, Nidhish Shetty, had gone for a swim at Aksa beach with 12 friends. While most of them stayed close to the shore, Nidhish and two others ventured deeper in. Lifeguards managed to pull out Nidhish's two friends, but he drowned

July 2012


Juhu Galli residents Zuber Shaikh (15) and Sayyad Arbaz Ali (17) went to Juhu beach with friends and were playing in the water when they drowned. An hour later, a 17-year-old, Aniket Gawane, lost his life not far away while also playing with friends in the sea April 2010
A picnic at Aksa
beach took a tragic turn when three children from Jogeshwari, including two brothers, drowned while swimming. On leave on account of a public holiday, no civic lifeguard was present at the spot on the day

March 2010


Borivli resident Rajesh
Pannalal Yadav (20) travelled to Aksa beach for a swim with his friend Rupesh Yadav and four others. While in the water, Rajesh and Rupesh were engulfed by giant waves. Though locals brought the duo out of water, Rajesh died

WEAK PROTECTION


• Six lifeguards—two permanent and four on contract—normally watch over Aksa beach


• At the time of the Sunday incident, the four contracted lifeguards were on leave


• In 2008, the BMC mooted a beach safety model that involved increasing lifeguard numbers around the city and providing them with modern equipment


• The plan is yet to be implemented


AT OWN PERIL


• Fire brigade officials have repeatedly cautioned that no beach in Mumbai, except at Girgaum and Juhu, is safe for swimming


• Swimmers invariably ignore the warning signs erected by the BMC at Aksa beach


• At all city beaches, citizens disregard lifeguards' warnings not to venture into deep water









RESCUE OPERATION: Fire brigade officials took four hours to pull the three drowning victims out of the sea

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Johnson & Johnson’s licence for cosmetics cancelled

15 batches of baby powder produced in 2007 were found to be sterilised by ethylene oxide, a known carcinogenic


    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently cancelled Johnson & Johnson India's licence to produce cosmetic products at their Mulund plant. FDA's order will come into effect from June 24. According to FDA officials, the order was issued in a case dating back to 2007 when they found that 15 batches of Johnson & Johnson baby powder were sterilised by ethylene oxide, a known carcinogenic and irritant. 
"Whileethyleneoxidecanbeusedforsterilisation, the company did not bother to carry out atest after the process to check the amount of residue in the product," said FDA joint commissioner KB Shende, adding that the company can appeal to the state government before the order comes into effect. 
"The products are used for new born babies. It is must for the company to follow all measures," said Shende adding that the traces of ethylene oxide, if any, should have been measured. The 15 batches in question consisted of 160,000 containers. 
When Mumbai Mirror contacted Johnson & Johnson, the company spokesperson confirmedtheFDAaction."Nothingismoreimportant to us than the safety of our products and

health of the consumers. We continue to manufacturenon-cosmeticproductsatthesamesite," the spokesperson said, adding that the matter in question related to a limited number of batches producedin2007,shelflifeofwhichendedinJuly 2010. 
    "The FDA raised concern about following ethylene oxide treatment, which was not includedaspartofthemanufacturingprocesssubmitted to the FDA. This method is widely used for medical devices around the world. This was followed as an exception and all internal safety protocols were followed to ensure that safety of the consumer was not compromised. In addition, we have ascertained that there were no complaints or unexpected/undesirable effect reported concerning any of the batches in question,"hesaidaddingthatthecompanyisnowin the process of filing an appeal with the state government. 
WHAT IS ETHYLENE OXIDE? 
Ethyleneoxideisaknowncarcinogen.Theorganic compound is known to be flammable, irritating, anaesthetic and carcinogenic at room temperature. 
    The USFDA has recommended that companies should measure the residue of ethylene oxide after sterilisation of products and before releasing the products in the market.

While ethylene oxide can be used for sterilisation, the company did not bother to carry out a test after the process to check the amount of residue

When apps attack, no secret’s safe

Chennai: You may fiercely guard your e-privacy by installing anti-virus software and desisting from downloading anything on your smart phone, but someone somewhere may still have access to some of your data. 

    If a friend or acquaintance has compromised his own privacy while downloading an app, he could have inadvertently put you at risk just because you were in his contacts list. Welcome to the new world of app permissions and malicious software, where increasingly the user is not in command of his own data. 
    There are two ways in whi
ch we expose ourselves: One, by accidentally touching a strategically placed ad on an app; two, by inadvertently authorizing an app to access your data without understanding the permissions it seeks. 
    As per a 2012 report by a digital security firm, Bit9, more than two-thirds of all Android apps seek at least one 
high-risk 'permission' and one-fourth access your private information like email and contacts. 
    "Applications ask for a number of permissions which they may not really need. Most of us don't bother to understand what giving access to an app means to our privacy and we just go ahead and click 
install," says cyber forensics expert K Rama Subramaniam. 
    Virtually every app asks for permission to access your mobile phone data of varying degrees, from location to address book to even text messages. 
    The Facebook app asks for permission to access almost everything, including your microphone. The Google Plus app takes permission to read your call log, take pictures and videos, and record audio. This does not mean these app developers mine your data, though they can. Fortunately, the big players have behaved responsibly. In 2011, Google took about 50 apps off its Android market after complaints of data theft. It again removed more than 20 apps this year for similar activities. 

MADWARE EATS INTO YOUR PRIVACY 
DO'S AND DON'TS TO SECURE YOUR DATA 
Don't install apps from unknown sources Don't store critical passwords and PIN numbers on your mobile phone Read all permissions sought carefully before installing apps Go through the privacy policy, however lengthy it may be, before you click 'I agree' If you see unusual calls or unwanted data usage, check for the erring apps 
Ads on free apps can be harmful 
Chennai: Not owning a smart phone doesn't guarantee immunity against data theft either. Cyber criminals can still easily reach your data since in a world where your privacy is intricately woven into your social groups like friends and colleagues, any breach in their accounts can lead to loss of your private information. 
    Smart phones are prime targets because of the sheer amount of information stored in them. According to cyber security firm Symantec, 69% of Indians access the internet, including work e-mails, through mobile phones. Users also store passwords and card details on their phones so once access is granted to an invasive app, nothing is hidden from the attacker's eyes. 
    Advertisements running inside a huge number of free apps today aren't safe either. 
Though in most cases they are just promotions, they can also be used to disguise viruses, trojans and links to damaging websites. And they are often carefully placed on the screen so that you are likely to click them while playing a game or chatting. "Known as 'madware', short for mobile adware, their numbers have grown by 55% every month since July 2011," says Symantec managing director Shantanu Ghosh. 
    Not only do these ads have the potential to steal your information, they also drain the mobile battery faster and eat up your 2G/3G data plan because the ads need to keep changing every few seconds. "Madwares collect browsing information like history and bookmarks, and send the information to a remote server on the internet controlled by a stranger," says Mahendra Negi, COO of Trend Micro, a software security company. 
    And it is not just the cleverness of the attacker that is making it possible; it's your careless that aids the theft. "This year is expected to be a watershed year for madware, as advanced mobile technology will create new opportunities for cyber criminals," says Ghosh. 

As AP polls near, netas turn to hackers 
Hyderabad: In the run up to elections in Andhra Pradesh next year, a few politicians are using technology to checkmate their political foes by keeping tabs on their daily messages, e-mails and even telephonic conversations by hacking into smartphones. This has led to around150 professional hackers in Hyderabad being in great demand. 
    Some politicians said they are extremely worried at the situation. "I have stopped replying to mails from my phone and have started using my official mail to only contact my officers," D Sridhar Babu, minister for civil supplies told TOI. 
    Offered amounts starting from Rs 1 lakh, hackers have been approached to hack into MLAs, MPs and even ministers' smartphones, a few hackers told TOI. "These kinds of enquiries are becoming common now, especially since elections are round the corner," a hacker said. "I was asked whether I can hack into a top politician's mail id and get access to his mails. The person also said that I will get whatever amount I demand. But I flatly refused these offers and politely told him that this is unethical and I cannot do it," he added.
    It takes a hacker close to a week or two at the most to prepare a special code and send it in the form of mail or an application link to the target. Once the link is clicked, or the application is downloaded, the hacker has complete control over the computer or smartphone. TNN


Clean Energy Should Power Asian Century Emphasise on regional energy markets, utilise shale gas reserves

Asia's rise is increasingly considered a foregone conclusion, yet the extent to which the region will prosper hinges on its ability to feed its voracious appetite for energy. Asia faces a seemingly irreconcilable paradox: if it can somehow secure sufficient energy resources to maintain robust growth, it will decisively boost rising global CO2 levels in the process, with enormous economic and social costs. If developing Asia maintains 6% annual growth, its share of world GDP will increase from 28% to 44% by 2035, with the energy consumption rising to 56% over the same timeframe. Consumption needs could be even greater, as Asia's leaders face the imperative of ensuring affordable energy for the poor. Yet, getting people connected will require a fivefold increase in yearly energy investments. 

Carbon Blot 
The region's desperate need for more energy is problematic for other reasons. The region may possess a quarter of world coal reserves, but it has only 16% of conventional gas reserves and 15% of technically recoverable oil and natural gas liquids. To bridge this gap, it will have to triple oil imports by 2035, rendering it even more vulnerable to external energy price shocks. If Asia maintains its current energy mix, coal use will increase by 81%, oil consumption will double, and natural gas use will more than triple. This would raise energy-related CO2 emissions to more than 20 billion tonnes — nearly the level seen by climate change experts as barely globally sustainable — by 2035. In effect, Asia's emissions alone would swamp global targets. The truth is that Asia must act now if it wants power inclusive, sustainable growth this century. Replacing inefficient general fuel 
subsidies with targeted subsidies, as pioneered by Indonesia, should be the first step. Consumer fuel subsidies impose a tremendous burden on public budgets, exceeding 4% of GDP in Bangladesh and Pakistan, and 2% in India and Indonesia. Those who benefit from subsidies — and invariably resist scrapping them — are rarely the poor. We should not underestimate the importance of behavioural change in managing demand. After Fukushima, Japan succeeded in curbing electricity demand through the Setsuden ("saving electricity") movement, lowering peak usage by 15% during the summer of 2012. 
Hail Shale 
Delivering cleaner energy is also key. In less than a decade, generating capacity rose from negligible to 82 gigawatts (GW) for wind and to 20 GW for solar, with great potential to further expand both. But many experts predict that it will take decades for them to be commercially cost competitive. Asia can't and shouldn't wait, however. The only way forward is to make conventional energy cleaner and more efficient now. One feasible possibility is for Asia to utilise its reserves of shale gas to offset coal use. Indications are that China has the world's largest shale gas resources – nearly 20% of the total. With India and Pakistan possessing sizeable shale gas reserves, unconventional gas could provide a cleaner bridge to a future that is less dependent on fossil fuels. Asia faces a dilemma over nuclear power after Fukushima. But if nuclear energy is replaced by current energy mix, CO2 emissions from Asia's power sector would rise 8-13% higher by 2035. More than anything, regional integration of energy markets can have great benefits. Connecting electricity and gas grids across borders can create economies of scale that improve efficiency. The region must strive to establish a Pan-Asian Energy Market by 2030, aspiring to the degree of regional cooperation that currently prevails in Europe. The reality is that Asia is on an unsustainable path where growth trumps environmental costs. But eventually this imbalance will erode Asia's gains. Action is needed if the Clean Asian Century is to be more than just a slogan. 
The writer is chief economist, ADB





Popular Posts

Slide Presentation


TO GET FREE ALERTS ON MOBILE SEND SMS " ON DISASTERAWARENESS" TO 9870807070


Enter a Youtube URL to download:

Powered by KeepHD.com
Custom Search

Daily Green News

 

blogger templates | Make Money Online