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by Shipra Roy

turning green to save some green ARNAB RAY turning green to save some green ARNAB RAY interviews with POONAM BIR KASTURI and CHITRA VISHWANATH


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the incredible thol

Hey Yudhishter, you have done it again.


Like all its previous issues, the September issue of Expressions has again impressed the readers of the magazine. It is well thought out, well planned, immaculately executed and shows the hard work put in by a battery of young people spearheaded by Yudhishter.

CO NT A CT US Write to us at Expressions 51-A Subhash Road Adj. Damama Super Mart Dehradun – 248001 Uttarkhand

Though all articles related to Tiger are informative, I really like “The forest Guards” by Aditi Bisht as this article covers the plight of being a forest guard and reveals all the hardships they have to face. The other article which has impressed me is “Conservation of Wildlife in India and related Laws” by Adhideb and Ankit as they give an in-depth knowledge about the laws to common man. These lesser known facts are nicely put in the article. “The Girl with a Green handbag” by Pooja Bhatt smartly demonstrates a global concern in a dramatic manner and compels us to become eco-friendly. With “Ways to photograph Doon Valley”, Sandip Puran Singh has, once again, shown his finesse in Photographic skills. Best wishes to all the team members of Expressions.

by Sanjai Saxena

For Free Subscription SMS I CARE to +919411114921 Just went through the September issue and liked it very much. All the Call +919760614317 Fax: 011-66173614 articles are very well written especially the ‘Girl with the green bag’ by Pooja, the cover story and the one by Subinay khosla. The photographs Email at by Saran Vaid and Sandip Puran Singh are too good and Yudhishter you are taking really great efforts, liked your views on conservation and tourism. Great going. All the best.

by Sonal Patil The Thol Lake is just 25 kms from my home and is like a second home to me. I rush to that place whenever I get spare time. I’ve been working as a freelance sculptor and a painter in Ahmedabad, Gujarat since 1992 and being an artist I always try to shoot what I feel about the place. Like Picasso once said” Painting is a blind man’s profession he paints what not he sees but what he feels”. Thol lake has thousands of colours and I always try to capture those wonderful hues. This image of a “Little Cormorant “ is very close to me. I had to do some hard work to get this image (that particular spot which i had to arrange myself was on a sloppy area with a number of thorns!) but eventually I was happy with the outcome. TEJAS SONI

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I really loved the Expressions magazine! I have been desperately searching for such stuff in Delhi bookstores but all I ever got was bits from Geo, National Geographic or Indian Pet Magazines. This Magazine is just awesome! I believe this magazine should rather go on to some proper print publication, It certainly demands a wider audience and popularisation. The work being done here is amazing.... by Harshit Singh

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Cover Story

founder & editor

Yudhishter Puran Singh

22 Understanding Design Led Activism Shipra Roy

assistant editor

Pooja Bhatt


creative editor

10 Green World Illustrated Girinath Gopinath

Akshay Madan

11 Face to Face with Chitra Vishwanath

copy & desk editor

Shubhodeep Pal

17 Turning Green to save some Green Arnab Ray

news editor

20 Forest Conservation Laws in India

Subhinay Khosla

Abhideb & Ankit

26 Green Games - Dream or Reality Subhinay Khosla

photo editor

30 Coffee with Poonam Bir Kasturi

Sandip Puran Singh

34 Green Wheels Vansh Naithani

subscription team

36 Bringing the tiger back from the brink

Harshal Mirchandani, Lavish Bhatia marketing


Lotus Leaf Business Exhibitions

6 Shaping Generations - The Ethos of a Green School Yudhishter Puran Singh

8 The Girl with the Green Handbag Pooja Bhatt 14 Photo Story Himanshu Tomar

18 Ways to photograph Doon Sandip Puran Singh 26 The Green Beat Simren Singh 33 Green Tips S S Khaira

Tushar Goel (NCR Region)

Gaurav Gupta (Rest of India)

special thanks

Simren Singh cover design

Akshay Madan

41 In The News SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES For subscription queries, write to or call +919760614317


PERMISSIONS For permissions to copy or reuse material from EXPRESSIONS, write to

Greetings Friends! ‘Environmental awareness’ reached a new level since man noticed the ozone hole in the 70’s and too much waste scattered on the streets and floating in the rivers that led to pandemics and pandemonium. The so called ‘green issues’ have since then, been taken up ever so seriously by every other public forum and scrutinized in detail. Everything is interconnected! Any form of human action, individual or at large is directly or indirectly related to the subsequent impact it causes on the environment What are the buzzwords that we get to hear constantly today?

Eco-friendly, Sustainable and Green Living? So, in this issue, we have drawn attention to ‘Eco-friendly Living’. The Cover Story by Mrs. Shipra Roy, ‘Understanding Design-Led Activism’ is a brilliant compilation of verity that shares valuable insights with the readers about sustainable design and development, illustrated with a series of live examples like the Barefoot College of Tilonia, Auroville, Ethical products et al. Next, we have an interview featuring Mrs. Poonam Bir Kasturi, Founder of Daily Dump - the incredible ways of terracotta composting at home, also discussing the general attitude towards waste disposal in India. Another featured interview is of ‘Earth Architect’ Mrs. Chitra Vishwanath who has to her credits a number of green buildings across Bangalore. Author, Dr. Arnab Ray shares with us, his witty take on the rampage struck in corporate organizations who pitch “Eco-friendly” and how the common man is split in deciphering the possible way out of all the fanfare and green facades, in ‘Turning Green to Save Some Green’. We also have ‘Green Games - Dream or reality’ by Subhinay Khosla about the Common Wealth Games and the changing face of East Delhi, the extensive development in the area and the ensuing environmental costs. ‘Green wheels’ by Vansh Naithani is another interesting read that informs us about Hybrid vehicles, battery operated ones and those that consume energy-efficient fuels, along with green initiatives by automobile giants. Continuing the trend of last month, we have Forest Conservation and Preservation in India - Judicial Approach by Ankit and Adhideb which enlightens us about the forest legislations that have existed in our nation since the time of the British Raj. Lastly, “If you really want to define civilization it should be a culture that doesn’t destroy its environment. If you burn down the kitchen one day and expect to eat the next, it is not even intelligent, let alone civilized.” - Sting Undeniably, Sustainability is the fad but I hope it stays for times to come! Hope you enjoy this issue!


ALL EDITORIAL QUERIES MUST BE DIRECTED TO The Editor, Expressions, 51-A Subhash Road, Dehradun 248140, Uttarakhand, India M: +919411114921, Fax: 011-66173614

Pooja Bhatt

Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Expressions., its publisher and/or editors. We at Expressions do our best to verify the information published but do not take any responsibility for the absolute accuracy of the information.

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Asst. Editor Expressions


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akshay madan

School children in countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Canada are now increasingly aware of the importance of connecting with Na ture and protecting it. The same cannot be said of our country, where there doesn’t seem to be much initiative from the top. Teachers have a major role to play if we are to change the current scheme of things because children gradually adopt their teachers’ ideas, whether they are desirable or not. I present before you some simple ways to lay the foundation for a green and secure future. It’s time for schools to shoulder responsibility as responsible stakeholders. It is time for us, as a society, to look beyond schools as a vehicle for marks alone. Children learn many valuable lessons in school that have nothing to do with their academics. Incorporating environmental awareness in the very heart of schools can make a sea change in how this generation looks at environmental protection. But how can a school, in essence, truly go “green”?


erms like “green” and “sustainable” refer to the steps we take to reduce the carbon footprint (amount of carbon dioxide emissions) of a particular activity or institution. A “green school” would be one that tries to be as kind to the environment as possible.

gallons—of water each year. Similarly there is Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins, CO. Their 296,000-square-foot building runs on wind and solar power and boasts an irrigation pond resulting in savings up to 60 percent or more equivalent to about $11,500 annually on water alone.

Eco-friendly designs are one of the hottest trends abroad. The main reason for this change, which has been growing in prominence over the last few years, is that it is not only novel (“the cool factor”), it actually has tangible benefits for all. The long-run environmental, academic, financial, and health benefits are impossible to ignore. Hence, the change from ‘we don’t want to be different’ to ‘we don’t want to be left out.’

It is believed that green schools save as much as 33 percent less energy and 32 percent less water, according to a survey conducted in the US by USGBC. If all new school construction and renovations starting today were designed green, energy savings alone would total $20 billion over the next 10 years. Most of us will agree that children need a good environment to study in. Studies conducted have revealed that a school’s physical condition—especially the lighting and indoor air quality—directly affect student performance. A survey was conducted by Heschong Mahone Group with over 20,000 students from various schools in California, Washington, and Colorado and found that the students in classrooms with abundant daylight had up to 25 percent chances of higher learning rates and test scores in reading and math than their peers in rooms with less natural light. How many of us are aware of that? And how many of us take this aspect into consideration at the time of admission. Next time you visit the school your

I tried to do a little research but couldn’t find many schools in our country that can proudly stand up and be counted as an Eco-Friendly school. However, I managed to find quite a few schools in America. One such school, The Great Seneca Creek Elementary school, follows a strict green code. It is the only one in the state to receive certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Seneca Creek, for instance, skims about $60,000 off its annual energy bill and conserves about 43 percent—or 360,000

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child studies in, try to look around and see the extent of eco-friendly measures taken. As part of the school community, believe that you can bring about change. Demand active measures to be taken by the school authorities. Sooner or later, things will change! There is more to an eco-friendly school than just having a green building. Beyond making school an aesthetically vibrant and environmentally friendly place, the ultimate goal of the school should be to instill in students a sense of wonder as well as one of responsibility for their natural environment. The curriculum needs to be looked into as well. We must understand that the essence of education does not lie in getting good grades alone. The first step to education is awareness, not rote learning. Children must see for themselves the kind of devastation being caused. Subsequently, they must themselves come up with ideas to help the environment survive. Yes, designing a green curriculum is not as easy as it sounds but over time efforts can be made by the management to ensure proper emphasis is given towards green activities.

of either public transport or school buses. This has been successfully followed by quite a few schools in Mumbai. Alternately, families could follow a car-pooling system. • Paper wastage needs to be regulated. Have you ever wondered what happens to all the report cards, answer sheets and whole loads of other forms or registers that are maintained? I agree some of them are used to a certain extent but how about having a paper-less office. Have an automated system wherein from your attendance to your report cards and all other documents are made to be created online. The data will be far secure and easier to access not just for the management but for the parents as well.

Well, I feel “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” We should take that step, the sooner the better! Having a clean ecosystem at the moment may seem to be an insurmountable task but with a movement started by a few thinking, sensitive and foresighted individuals, percolating through the school system throughout the world would result into the creation of a caring generation. This generation would ensure that Mother Earth is respected and A few simple steps that can be incorporated in given her due as a life giving force as the following schools could be: • Plastic bags should be banned in the school cam- signifies - “Give a Man a Fish, Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, Feed Him for a Lifepus. The ban should be followed with sincerity time”- Lao Tzu. and students must be made to understand why Starting young such steps are being taken. • Substituting incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LED It’s time to shoulder some responlights would go a long way in saving electricity. Over a period of time schools which can afford to sibility! invest money could go for solar power harvesting. • Rainwater harvesting should be practiced. • The schools can aim to be zero-garbage schools. Yudhishter Puran Singh Dry garbage should be recycled for further use 21 year old graduate from Mumbai University, a whereas wet garbage could go to a compost pit young entrepreneur who loves to devote whatever that can be used as natural manure for organic time he can towards creating awareness about the plantation. need for preserving environment. Presently he leads • Schools must discourage students from travelthe icare team and is also the editor of expressions ling in private vehicles and encourage the use


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ello and welcome back to yet another episode of my adventurous life, after all I’m Esha Ved aka ‘The Girl with the Green Handbag’. *Applause* (modesty personified) ha Well, I’m just kidding. Don’t grind your teeth in displeasure please. Okay so, I’ll share with you all, something… arbitrary musings of a 19 year old. …You know what I like best about him, he’s classy, his parties are way beyond awesome (wink), but you know what I hate about him, well I maybe turning judgmental here, he is generally sweet to everyone, but the thing that puts me off the most is that “he wastes” – priceless resources! Let me introduce you to another friend of mine, Rohan. He joined us this semester itself. He’s the kind of guy who’d charm women or anyone for that matter with his suave talk and pleasing manners but only the ‘wasting bit’ is something that annoys the hell out of me and so I keep reminding him that it’s great that he was born with a silver spoon and he gets to splurge in luxury and everything but that doesn’t make him entitled to take every thing for granted and just let it fritter away! Though I’m personally not against the idea of extravagance, I mean who wouldn’t want the comfort of good times at their beck and call. I would any day! But wasting is then again something I vehemently oppose!

Anyhow, we all were invited to his birthday party last Saturday evening at his place which is nothing less than a mansion. Rain-dance, pool party!! Woah  Wow, it was indeed a dream with the finest of food and music. The crowd went berserk. Had to! We danced our hearts out and the party was full of the cream of the crop. Amazing fun really! It was late in the night, and everyone was either sloshed or asleep by then, but I wasn’t. The party was over basically and I was sitting by the pool in that random ruminating mood where you just sit and stare and maybe think on an unusual plane. Things outlandish, things which perhaps lie ingrained in the sub-conscious and surface only at times when you let them. Anyway, I was gaping at the pool with my legs dangling inside, and I realized that the water was grimy and I could feel the trash swimming around my feet like an amoeba trying to engulf it’s prey, *SICK* -ALL courtesy the grand birthday bash aftermath; food, wrappers, streamers floating -- a clogged drainpipe that prevented the water from draining out! It turned into a venomous sight and I can’t believe it was only us spewing the venom this time, all on account of our selfish “Good Times”. Is this right, I questioned myself? Is all the ‘deliberate mess’ necessary? Well the mess can be cleared, but what about the water though? We don’t recycle that. We just waste it.

“We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking.” - Jacques Yves Cousteau

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Can’t we do with the requisite ‘less’ in our lives? Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s ‘Less is more’ philosophy? Or is it just not viable? Mitali came and handed me a jacket, it was pretty cold early morning and asked me what was wrong. I had a queer expression on my face and I said nothing. She understands well, my phases and the oft-occurring mood swings and therefore knew exactly what to do. She gave me the look which said ‘STOP right there and we should be heading back!’ I complied in silence. But you know what, I just couldn’t get over that phase, it just got into me. It was a Sunday and so we crashed as soon as we returned. Later in the day, I got up with that sickening feeling when you just don’t feel right or up for anything. I blankly stared at my closet for 15 long minutes; indecisive about what to pick and wear, then went for a quick shower, well if quick means a good 45 minutes! I told myself- What’s my problem seriously? Just because the warm water feels so good, I’ll keep the shower running and the geyser on? Just to make myself feel better. My guilt-o-meter kept escalating but nevertheless, it did refresh me and now and then we choose to abandon responsibility and sensibility to rid ourselves of some other guilt over again that made us feel wrong in the first place and to get out of that, we indulge ourselves all the more to the point of no return. Insane isn’t it - The vicious circle?! Rest of the day was spent in reading and watching sitcoms. It was a dreaded Monday that followed and believe me, it was the worst start ever! Just imagine NO water in the house. Absolutely NO WATER, not a single drop of water! No water to drink, let alone brush and bathe… urrrgh! We cursed our luck and called the landlord but then he made some odd stupid excuse that we couldn’t buy but sadly, we had no choice but to carry our toothbrushes in our bags to college. It was actually pretty uncanny, made me feel nothing but filthy and cranky! During lunch break, I was in the cafeteria standing in the queue for food, when I was noticing the guy washing the dishes; his cell phone started buzzing, so he conveniently started conversing for over 5 minutes as the water gushed by swiftly! And it boiled my blood after all that I had to face that very morning! I went up to him and blasted him and he gave


me the most appalled look ever and it was a bit of a scene, but then suddenly I felt a spasm of guilt. What hypocrisy! Just day before, I was happily indulging in that awesome rain dance and pool party and today I scream at this person for his unintentional mistake. We all certainly make these mistakes without knowing it. And the worst part is that we always feel it’s not a big deal, how would it help the world if we save that little amount of water? But picture it this way, the ‘very same’ resource is indisputably the most prized commodity in the barren, infertile land of the desert region where those middle-aged women walk bare feet on that desolate, cracked land for long hours in the scorching heat, breaking their necks and backs, with those earthen pots on their heads -- JUST to collect water, whereas in contrast, we never think twice before letting it just flow ‘down the drain’. It must pinch us, the next time we manhandle this valuable resource, it must in fact make us feel the pain of those women and maybe the plight of the people living in areas which face acute water deficits. It’s really something that requires looking into. I urge you guys please. Water is indeed more important than anything else and we need to preserve it for the future generations. Like Jacques-Yves Cousteau said, “We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic of short-term thinking.” The current times call for a widened perspective and ideal judgment where everyone can see the big picture clearly and maybe then that enlightened logic would supersede all our problems. Clichéd but true, every drop counts! Stay green until next time, Much love, Esha.

Pooja Bhatt 19 years old, pursuing accessory designing from NIFT, Bangalore. Presently she leads the PR team (icare) and is also the asst. editor of expressions.

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Chitra Vishwanath


ften referred to as the ‘Earth Architect’, designing sustainable, eco-friendly buildings, using environmentally sound and cost effective materials - ‘Chitra Vishwanath’ is a veteran architect who was born in Banares and now based in Bangalore. After completing a Civil Engineering Diploma in Nigeria (77-80) she joined the School of Architecture CEPT, Ahmedabad in 1982. Her husband is an Urban Planner who is spending considerable time on Water, Sanitation and Agriculture issues. Their office, Biome Environmental Solutions Private Limited, has dedicated team of architects, engineers and lots of enthusiastic trainees from all over. The team is totally involved in furthering and exploring newer ways of living ecologically while practicing the same in Architecture.

Expressions got in touch with her and received valuable insights about ‘Earth architecture’ which we have shared with our readers in this exclusive interview.. EXPRESSIONS (E): What inspired you to start with the concept of ‘earth architecture’? CHITRA VISHWANATH (CV): Well, really nothing which inspired per se, but only the fact that ‘soil of good’ was available easily in Bangalore - whenever we dug, the fact that the fired bricks were of very bad quality led us to choose earth as a building material. More than an inspiration, it was a common sense pick along with the informed guidance by the faculty from the Civil Engineering Department of Indian Institute of Sciences, who had done pioneering research work on Stabilized Mud Blocks. E: Can you brief our readers with this new emerging concept of ecofriendly home and what are the things that one has to keep in mind while planning an eco-friendly building structure? CV: A new home anywhere in the world should be self sufficient in most ways and not be a parasite. It should be able to solve its-

Mud excavated at site

1. Resource needs to build: for this it sources its building materials from the closest source. One of the material is Mud. It can be sourced from a basement, a water storage or sometimes from its own excavated foundation.

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2. Water needs: The home stores water which falls on its terrace/roof and collects it for its drinking and cooking needs, reuses after basic treatment its waste water for flushing needs and also uses low water consuming appliances and progresses to set in place ecological sanitation. Ecological sanitation is a method by which urine and faecal matter are source separated and thus do not need water for their disposal. In such manner not only the household saves on water but also in return gets valuable fertilizer. 3.Energy needs: Solar is the mantra nowadays, but most important is also look at the design itself of windows and ventilation so as to minimize use of electricity itself.

Ecological sanitation toilet

4:Food needs: The homes require food for the occupants which tend to be travelling from distances. The homes are constructed on land which could otherwise be a place to grow food. If the terraces and land around the buildings are judicially planted with edible landscape we would go a long way in addressing food security .

5.Biodiversity need: There is need to look at our neighbours and other species and work at building a surrounding which encourages growth of biodiversity. E: Considering the lack of awareness and average economic conditions of India do u think that the concept in itself will be well acknowledged and adapted by all? CV: I would answer this question with a question. Are all these concrete, Aluminum and Glass buildings which we see proliferating all over a depiction of our economic/awareness conditions? Or are they merely playing to a gallery of speculators and those who want to build quick and get fast profits? It is the latter and those who are building otherwise, which too is a large number are building with whatever cheap material they can lay their hands on and just going about managing to adjust within. We have unfortunately lost the skill as well as knowledge of building right for the context and climate. As resources start getting priced on their ecological costs the scene would definitely change. Till then we have to keep up the pace of innovation and keep bring it into the mindscape of many through efforts like yours. E: What are the 3 things singularly overlooked by most of the architects when designing a house not necessarily a green house? CV: The 3 things singularly overlooked by most of the architects are as follows: • First thing which is generally overlooked by all is that building a house is a team effort. No headway would be made otherwise. • An architect is good only, as far as he/she understands the requirement and translates it to the lifestyle


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as well as needs of the client. A homeowner would feel comfortable only if he/she looks at the home as their own and not a showpiece for others to acknowledge their climbing up a ladder of prosperity. • If everyone is honest in their efforts the architect or the owner would not miss anything per se. Some things, if overlooked are not a flaw on anyone but just a human error and for sure it would not be of gargantuan proportions. E: Eco-friendly designs are relatively prominent in metros like Bangalore but how do you think can the concept of earth architecture be promoted in second string cities like Dehradun, Pune etc. ? CV: Dehra Dun or any other city is not a second string city............... Of course ecological issues are similar and such buildings can be built anywhere. There will just be a need for the owner/designer to look up the materials available and choose the same wisely. E: How do you think the govt. could possibly help in promoting green architecture? CV: Government can set in helpful bye-laws and also provide for some subsidies. Still, if planned in a proper sense ecological buildings go a long way in saving your lifecycle costs and also are lot more healthy. E: Most of the people may have already built their dream houses without keeping in mind the green measures that they could have taken. In such cases what are a few things that one can incorporate in an existing construction? Your suggestion to the readers. CV: Well in that case, they can always put in rain water harvesting, grey water treatment, solar heating, solar lighting and also Ecological Sanitation toilets. The next time they paint they should demand and use paints with low VOC and no lead however expensive they may be .They can always work at their lifestyle which would use more of muscle energy and not be depended on machines, they can use less plastic and so on.

HIM A NSHU T O M A R was born in Dehradun in 1987 and holds a bachelors degree in Economics. He is extremely passionate about photography and aims to become as proficient at it as his role model, Hari Mennon. Even though he is an expert Photoshop user, he believes that such software should be used to only enhance photographs, not alter them

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4 using

WAYS TO PHOTOGRAPH DOON VALLEY Dolomite Rocks with Lichen & Oak Tree Trunk with Moss


sandip puran singh


he photographic process has an almost uncanny ability to reproduce texture. When successfully captured in an image, texture can be one of the most effective qualities in a subject.

sandip puran singh


“The way a subject is lit is crucial to the outcome of images.”

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The mountains surrounding Doon have created a quite astonishing landscape in places and, by all normal standards, helped create a lovely countryside. But I found the sheer scale and rich color of the mineral deposits irresistible as a subject. The day on which this shot was taken was sunny but with enough light cloud in the sky for it to be significantly diffused. Most distant landscapes subjects would have probably been rather too soft to create a strong textural effect. But the deeply indented quality of the almost barren hillside in Chakrata, provided enough inherent texture in the scene to produce the effect I wanted. I used a normal wide angle lens to fill in the expanse of the terrain and framed the image so that the brown tinted earth occupied most of the image.


From the weathered skin quality of a character portrait or a fur of an animal, to the subtlety of rippled water or the differences in surfaces in a basket of mixed fruits, a photograph can seem extremely convincing and tactile. Texture can also be a powerful ingredient in landscape photography, both in close up images and when a distant viewpoint creates a textural effect from details such as furrowed fields, trees and crops. The way a subject is lit is crucial to the outcome of images like these. Acutely angled sunlight is often the most effective lighting for more distant scenes, which is why many landscape photographers favor the light early or late in the day when the sun is low in the sky. The key to exploiting the textural quality of a subject is in judging the quality of the light and the effect is has an on the surface. It’s illuminating. A coarse, deeply indented texture needs to be lit with a more diffused and less acutely angled light than a finer, more subtle texture.


Sandip Puran Singh Writer is the founder of SUSWA, an NGO working along the northern boundary of Rajaji National Park. He’s also an avid bird watcher and an amateur naturalist working on the Doon valley. His love for photographing the valley can be seen by logging onto and can be reached at © EXPRESSIONS 2010

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he moment I see the phrase “eco-friendly” or “Go Green” written on the back of a bill sent to me by my cable or phone company, I gnash my teeth. “Please sign up for paperless billing” they say, “Your efforts will save a tree”. No it won’t. It will save you postage and printing costs. If bills were just a service you provided us, you would have gotten rid of it a long long time ago. But since the whole basis of your business depends on you sending us bills, there is no way you can eliminate that expense. The best you can do is to guilt-trip us under the flag of environmental consciousness.

This happened when I was roaming in the backyard of my grandma’s house These small bite marks from a caterpillar turned into continents and it all appeared as a completely different world

a green world, my world, carved out !!

One of the many things that piss me off is how corporations, who normally care two hoots about the environment (for instance they would quite happily mow down trees to erect a cell-phone tower) get all tree-hugger on us when “environmental responsibility” is to be used as an excuse to cut costs and maximize their profits. “We will shut off AC in the office cubicles at 6 to reduce our carbon footprint”. My foot. It’s the footprint of the utility bill on your monthy expenses that is behind your sudden awareness. If you be so concerned about carbon emissions, why not make the President, Vice-President and the board all travel in public transport? Of course you won’t because “ecofriendly” to corporations is just a PR buzzword, a cost-cutting measure, and little else.

Girinath Gopinath

was born in Cochin, Kerala.He worked as a designer for a leading fashion accessory brand, besides pursuing his school days passion for doodling. People and things morphed in his imagination into characters and ideas and he has ever since continued his expression. At present, he is a faculty in NIFT Bangalore and can be reached at

Arnab Ray is the author of “May I Hebb Your Attention Pliss” published by Harper Collins, one of India’s best-sellers for the year 2010. He blogs at

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orests, which once covered the entire earth, are becoming increasingly scant. The growth of civilisations seems to have changed the face of the planet for the worse. Tropical forests face the highest threat of destruction. More than half of the world’s tropical forests have been destroyed in the previous 50 years. The rate of forest loss in Asia is estimated to have been around 1.2% per annum during 1981-90 and seems to be increasing steadily. This destruction has led to a huge increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, even as the soil is degraded and eroded.

Preserving forests is an important part of the environmental protection movement. While the destruction of forests from various activities such as mining, timber-extraction, natural calamities, occurs rapidly, re-forestation is, contrarily a much longer process. This has led to an imbalance in ecological systems across the world. In India, safeguarding the forests and wildlife of the country is a Duty entrusted to the State as per Article 48A of the Directive Principles of the State Policy in the Constitution of India. It is also the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life as envisaged by Article 51 A of the Constitution.

British India Industrialisation in India began with the arrival of the British, which in turn led to the beginning of deforestation on a massive scale. Since meeting the industrial needs of Britain was the primary aim of the colonizers, the natural resources of India came to be denuded. However, the Indian Forest Act of 1878 attempted to control the damage to forests by classifying some forests as “reserved”. In 1894, the British Government in India reviewed its forest policy. It decreed, along with other laws, that forests, which are the reservoirs of valuable timbers, should be

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managed on commercial lines as sources of revenue to the State. It is apparent that the policy during that time emphasized the commercial use of forests.

Independent India After independence, the Government of India introduced the National Forest Policy of 1952 which mostly continued the British policy of the commercial use of forests. However, the National Forest Policy of 1988 revised this. The 1988 policy, presented in the Parliament, recognized that over the years the forests had been severely depleted. This was attributed to the relentless demands for fuel wood, fodder and timber, further worsened by inadequate protective measures. It was recognised that there was tendency to look upon forests as revenue-earning sources. The Government felt the need to review the situation and to evolve, for the future, a new strategy of forest conservation. The Central Government also enacted the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. Some unique features of the Indian Forest Act are:

For this purpose notification may be issued by the Government, declaring its intention to constitute the reserve forest and specifying the situation and limits of such land, and appointing forest settlement officer to enquire into and to determine rights of any person in or over the land comprised within such notified area. 2. In consequence, none will acquire any rights in or over reserve forest. No one can make fresh clearings in that forest. Setting fire to the reserve forest is prohibited. None can trespass even for pasture of cattle. Felling or cutting trees in the forest area is prohibited. Quarrying stone etc is barred. Removing any forest-produce is not permitted. Hunting and catching elephants are barred. All prohibited acts are made punishable, for the purpose of effective control. It may be noted that the formation of reserve

forests and its safety are well taken care by the law, provided the authorities effectively enforce it. Clearly, the Indian Forest Act contains many provisions to protect and grow forests in the country. However, the effectiveness of its implementation is what matters. Ever since the 1980s, after the Supreme Court began considering cases related to the environment, the judiciary in India has responded pro-actively towards environmental problems. Most such cases has required the Judiciary to deal with cases involving conflicts between the need to preserve forests and the need for developmental activities. In most such cases. the Supreme Court and High Courts of India have emphasised the need to preserve forests, as against the needs of various industries.

Conclusion There are a number of laws in India that deal with protecting forests. Also, it is also worth mentioning that the Judiciary has mostly ruled in favour of forest conservation. However, deforestation activities are still rampant in India. The government needs to be stricter in enforcing the laws which protect our forests against those who ravage it. Until serious steps for the proper enforcement of the laws are taken, our dream for a greener tomorrow will remain unfulfilled.

Adhideb Bhattacharya and Ankit Srivastava

1. The Government can designate reserve forests, village forests, and protected forests. Section 3 of the Act empowered the Government to declare any forest-land or waste land belonging to the State as a reserved forest.

are final year students at the University of Petroleum Studies (UPES), Dehradun. They harbour a keen interest in Indian Wildlife and Environmental Laws as well as Oil and Gas Laws. © EXPRESSIONS 2010



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n today’s time and age design has become a very important tool in changing the face of the product, nature of its use, people who are going to use it. Design is driven by consumerism, but at the same time it has the power to ask questions, to be the connector, to be the change agent, to be the pioneer in movement and reaching to people. It can build up awareness and consciousness among people. It has the ability to effect one and many at the same time. The results in tangible and intangible reality stay closer to people. It is driven by society so it has the power to drive the society. It has the potential to change the present and predict

the future. It is important that design should find out its own future agendas and set it for its own self so that it can chart out a growth path in many dimensions and make sure that all the paths are leading to a positive change. Design Activist: A person/ thought, who/which believes that design has the power to change the world and make it better, sustainable and a joy to live in and a better future to look forward to. In “Design for the real world”, Victor Papanek opens it up with “All men are designers, all that we do, almost all the time, is design, For design is basic to all human activity.” There is dual section of society who engage themselves in the activity of design: one who are trained to design through design education and one who have been practicing it to run their living and it has been a source of their income because of the skill they possessed which were passed on from generation to generation.

“All men are designers, all that we do, almost all the time, is design, For design is basic to all human activity”

- Victor Papanek

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Craft traditions of India have completely been based on these non professional designers. Thus this dualism gives an apt environment for design activism to exist. Activism in Today’s Context: Activist are seen as individuals/ groups, who have the capacity to look at non plural form of ‘seeing’ and thus approach it form the point of view of other, which may not be most popular/ pluralistic agenda of the society. The word also has a lot of energy in today’s consumer, materialistic and post industrial society with internet, which has a lot of impact in the time of the internet when the society is going through a relationship revolution due to information and communication technology advent. For an activist it is important to be intrinsically driven to take account of the trigger points and then act upon it. It is important to have the energy and the motivation to follow the cues and be able to also motivate other to see your point of view. Design essentially being product and process oriented can have a very effective model for activism as each and every activity is an oppor-

tunity to act upon, to make it more sustainable, to make it more effective, to leave less carbon footprint, to plan the afterlife of the products, to share the views with people involved in each and every step of design process and so on. According to Gro Harlem Brutland’s 1987 report, “Our Common Future” Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” INTEGRATION OF DESIGN ACTIVIST IDEALISM IN EDUCATION With a strong background of living within the means, India has a sense of activism built in the fabric of its society. A lot of effort has been made to integrate activism with people, not only to understand the right and the wrong in certain context but also voice out their opinion and make a mark on the map of life through it. In my personal journey, I came across innumerable people and organizations that are making a difference in other people’s life to make life worthwhile not only for themselves but also for the others. Some of those are Bodhi, Vadodara, India

Sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” 23

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COVER STORY A shop by Mala and Pradeep Sinha. They specialize in hand-block printing and screen printing with minimal environmental impact. In the trade which is often criticized for water pollution, they use recycled water and effluent treatment is created for colored water. For this couple, developing new design techniques is more exciting than discussing the annual turnover. “The joy of creating new things is more satisfying than the money it reaps,” Pradeep says. With a team of 35 people working in the printing, tailoring and embroidery departments, Mala strives to give her staff a holistic experience. They train the local women in hand embroidery and appliqué work. In three years over a hundred women have been trained.

Laurie Baker Architect Using simple local materials, Baker has been inspired to blend the best elements of Indian vernacular architecture with Western technology to create buildings that live lightly on the land while respecting and reflecting their immediate environment. Gandhi once exhorted builders to only use materials gathered within five miles of a construction site. The use of such materials bolsters a local and regional economy and reduces waste from fossil fuels used to transport materials from far-flung origins.

Barefoot College, Tilonia Pioneers: Bunker Roy and Aruna Roy Philosophy: Established in 1972, the Barefoot College is a nongovernment organisation that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making them selfsufficient and sustainable. These ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadly categorised into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. The College believes that for any rural development activity to be successful and sustainable, it must be based in the village as well as managed and owned by those whom it serves. Therefore, all Barefoot initiatives whether social, political or economic, are planned and implemented by a network of rural men

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and women who are known as ‘Barefoot Professionals’. Auroville is a village in Pondicherry, where people are driven by the philosophy of Aurobindo and want to actively contribute to his philosophy of Unity in the world. This village has almost given the free reign to nature and people and the environment live harmoniously together. Auroville is about sustainable way of life through education, media, radio, community based activities, housing, arts and crafts. They actively participated in the rehabilitation work during the tsunami. The place used solar energy for its energy usage, popular form of transport is bicycle, with community usage play ground with everyone contributing towards the sustainability of the environment.

Building with workers: Meaningful Production: An idea of co-creation, co-design, and co-make Daram: Designers and artisans work together to come up with the product range, which will suit the urban lifestyle taking support from the skill set available with the artisans and material available in nature.

Ethical Products Design led activism has been very active in the area of ethical products category in India. There are many instances where the raw material considered waste by the community has been taken up and bespoke finished products have been developed. The organization is led by Neelam Chibber who along with two other partners started working with the artisans in South India to come up with the products like boxes, mats, cushions etc. She is also pioneers in opening up of the store named Mother Earth, which supports crafts person as producers and makes them a partner in the profit sharing of the store. The store also keeps organically produced food products which are certified and supports and spreads the idea of being closer to nature.

Jaago Re campaign supported by TATA enterprise in India about making people aware about the right to vote and thus increasing the people’s participation in politics. It came as commercial break on television; it


was also advertised in tea packets. PROPOSITION FOR THE DESIGN LED ACTIVISM AS A PART OF DESIGN EDUCATION For the sustenance of the idea of design activism it is important that the design education supports the idea. A few ideas can be explored for integrating activism in design education: • Integration of more field visits • Opportunity mapping on the basis of human needs • Understanding and integration of strong sociological content • Integration of projects based on co-design, cocreation, co-produce • Making Institutes environment eco-sensitive with waste management, rain-water harvesting, recycling of water and other environmental based activities • Living with the artisans in their natural surrounding and doing the co-design activities with the artisans • Encouraging more co-design, co-creation, redesign, re-use, re-look, re-think based classroom activities • Integration with other institutes and coming up with co projects to be executed over a period of time towards an identified cause • Holistic thinking towards the objects and products not only till they reach the user but also when they are discarded and the activities surrounding both the birth, death and the afterlife of the product.

EcoMark is a voluntary non binding scheme which labels consumer products as environment friendly based upon certain environmental as well as quality parameters.

References: Faud-Luke, Alastair Design Activism: beautiful trageness for a sustainable world Papanek, V Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change Thorpe, A Changing the Change: Design Visions, Protocols and Tools Shipra Roy Margolin, V. Design Issues, Vol 18 Studied Accessory Design at the National Institute of Fashion ogy, New Delhi. She has been associated with academics for more than 8 years and has worked on many projects pertaining to artisans and crafts. Her academic journey started with Indian Institute of Crafts & design in the year 2001 and at present she is working with NIFT Bangalore as a faculty member in Accessory Design Department.



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In October this year, India (in particular, Delhi) will host the Commonwealth Games (CWG), the third-largest multi-sport event in the world. For Delhi, this is an opportunity to host a mega-event almost 30 years after the Asian Games of 1982. The Games have the potential to transform the city’s landscape for the better and propel India onto the world-stage in a spectacular fashion.


he Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games is firm in its determination to stage the first “green” Commonwealth Games and has declared that its collective vision for this year’s Games is: “To strive towards reducing carbon footprints and to become the benchmark for the multi-disciplinary games in the future.” In October 2007, the OC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for assimilating major environmental considerations into planning and staging the Games. The MoU proposed to cover areas such as the conservation of biodiversity, extensive afforestation, energy efficiency, effective waste management, reduced air and noise pollution, sustainable transportation, conservation of water, waste water management and the use of renewable energy. On the way to a greener Games, there have been several hiccups. Even though the Delhi cabinet passed a rule that made it mandatory to plant 10 plants for each tree felled, environmentalists have been unhappy with the way the city is going “green”. The attempts to make Delhi a “green” metropolis will, ironically, require uprooting and transplanting thousands of trees. ‘There

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is no compensation for the loss of a fully grown, mature tree. While we cannot dispute the rise in green cover, the city seems to be turning into a concrete jungle while the forests are being created on the boundary. There is also no verification of how much compensatory plantation has been undertaken so far. A lot of trees can be saved if only project planners consider these aspects. Can the government really account for trees that were lost in projects like streetscaping where the contractors could not be bothered with preserving the greenery?’ said an agitated environmentalist. Some also question the quality of the transplanting work. Ravi Aggarwal, a concerned environmentalist, says ‘Planting trees doesn’t mean digging up and burying a sapling. It is a specialised job for which you need trained gardeners. You can’t expect those who are constructing walkways and buildings to plant trees as well. You can’t be planting trees in the middle of the monsoon. New plants can’t take the pressure of the rain and it hampers their growth. The civic agencies have turned this exercise into a Game-related project, giving no thought to the future.’ The renovation of various buildings, construction of new Metro lines and roads have all led to deforestation on a large scale. Many “heritage” trees of Delhi have been either axed down or shifted to other locations. The city has already lost


about 40,000 trees to various Games-related projects in the past few years. Thankfully, despite this, the green cover has been growing at an average annual rate of 1% which is attributed to the high rate of compensatory plantation that occurs mostly in the city forests on the outskirts of the city. In 2007, a student-led protest against the indiscriminate felling of trees around the Siri Fort area was noticed but not heeded by the government which claimed that it was part of a necessary of “planning process” for the 2010 Games. The protesters claimed that a couple of weeks of games did not mean that the environment should be put at risk. The trees, they said, are an essential part of Delhi’s heritage. However, despite substantial hurdles, the Organising Committee has done its best to efficiently implement their promised plans. The new “green”, lowfloor buses running on CNG are helping alleviate the pollution problem. A well connected Metro system across the NCR also adds to a more environmentfriendly commercial passenger system. At some Metro stations, bicycles are rented out to willing riders. A coal-based power plant also discontinued operations so that Delhi could gain cleaner air. Moreover, the first “city forest” was developed by planting 3000 saplings in Arya Nagar by volunteers of various schools, colleges and eco-clubs, Department of Environment, officials of the Delhi government and members of OC CWG. Subsequently, more such “city forests” were developed to enhance the green cover of the city. Even the Games venues have attempted to go green. For example, the Thyagaraj stadium which


was inaugurated in April this year (and is the venue for the Netball competition) has been built using “green building technologies.” The bricks are made of environment-friendly fly-ash. An affluent treatment plant recycles water within the stadium and rain-water harvesting guarantees water conservation. Solar energy is being used to power the building will also be stored and harnessed for other purposes. That’s not all. Recycled paper stationary will be used during the games. Solar energy is used for external lighting and water heaters. Energy efficient lighting systems such as CFLs, LEDs and TL5 are being used. Buildings are designed in order to have natural daytime lighting and integrated building management systems are strategized for stadiums and double glazed windows are being used to save power. It will soon be evident whether the games will truly be as “green” as is claimed. Nevertheless, whatever the final outcome, the support for making the Games “green” is laudable. The current efforts may fall short of expectations, but they are important first steps. Indeed, they are the beginning of a dream. Join us as this dream begins: See you in Delhi!

Subhinay Khosla The writer is 19 years, pursuing English hons from Delhi University. Is an avid nature enthusiast who loves to write in his free time. © EXPRESSIONS 2010

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theGREENBEAT • A bonus and penalty system for cars based on pollution levels.


he answer is yes. With the growing emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), businesses are being judged, more than ever, on how well they manage their resources and are profitable without hurting the environment around them. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is an assessment of the possible impact—positive or negative—that a proposed project may have on the environment which includes the natural, social and economic dimensions. Urban development projects cause a multitude of indirect effects through consumption of goods and services, production of building materials and machinery, additional land use for various activities,mining of resources etc. These effects are usually more intense in magnitude than the direct effects as assessed by EIA. Large projects such as building airports or ship yards cause wide-ranging national as well as international environmental effects, which should be taken into consideration during the decision-making process. Amid concerns that growing resourcescarcity and rising raw-material costs are dampening prospects for economic growth in Europe, the European Union (EU) is looking for ways to decrease the environmental impact of industrial activity, manufacturing and consumption patterns along with improved social performance and sustained economic profitability.

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CAN WE SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT WITHOUT DISREGARDING “DEVELOPMENT”? The existing life-cycle related EU policies include the 2005 Thematic Strategies on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste and on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, as well as the 2008 Sustainable Consumption and Production Action Plan. Specific instruments to implement these policies include EU regulations on an Eco-label and an Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), EU waste directives, a directive on Eco-design for Energy-using Products (EuP) and an initiative on Green Public Procurement. I would like to highlight here the importance of Green Public Procurement(GPP). As a means to kick-start the market for ecoinnovative goods and services and achieving environmental goals in a cost-efficient manner, the EUis promoting public procurement in its member states. Public procurement refers to the purchase by public authorities of goods, services or works.GPP requires contracting authorities to also use environmental criteria to decide whom to buy goods or services from. Examples include energyefficient computers or hydrogen buses for public transport. In India,the GPP policy can be beneficial in a number of sectors includingconstruction, food and catering services, transport services, energy, office machinery and computers, clothing, paper and printing services, furniture andhealth sector equipment since these have a significant environmental impact, involve huge expenditure which only the public sector can bear. The pull of public procurement, especially in India, can be helpful in encouraging the private sector to take up the production of ‘green goods’ even though these are expensive to produce and consume. However, as the industry for green goods expands, it will lower the production costs,allowing technologies that are currently not commercially viable, such as biofuel-, hydrogen-, or electricitypowered hybrid vehicles to move into mainstream markets. Adoption of resource-saving products across the economy will help to reduce energy consumption and energy imports. Looking at French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s vision for an “ecological New Deal” and a “green revolution” in France, India can too adopt the following proposals.

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• A plan to increase energy-efficiency in both existing and new buildings, including a ban on incandescent light bulbs. • A plan to cut waste by focusing on prevention including proposals to “ban or tax unnecessary waste” (such as overpackaging) and proposals to turn to incineration only “as a last resort”. • Halving pesticide use over the next ten years. • Possible introduction of a carbon tax. • Levy on goods imported from countries which have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

“The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” - Ross Perot

I also wonder why we call India the ‘dumping ground’ of the West and ignore the threat posed by the Chinese goods. Statistics show that currently China tops the list of most polluted countries of the world. This implies that the production undertaken in China does not comply with ‘eco-friendly’ norms. Secondly, with liberal trade policies, India has now become a rampant market for Chinese goods. Most Chinese goods are popular because they are cheap and can be replaced easily. However, these benefits come with the caveat that such products are poor in quality and need frequent replacement adding to India’s burgeoning waste-management problems. Ross Perot said, “The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river.” We must join hands if we are to save the environment. Regular environmental audits, active public support for practices such as the GPP and organic farmingwill help mitigate the lethal impact of ‘development’ on our Mother Earth. So, let’s pledge to heal our Earth and in turn heal ourselves. Happy Conserving!

Simren Singh A 2nd year graduation student at Lady Shriram College For Women, New Delhi. Passionate about environment and an ardent nature lover, currently the secretary of LSR’s environment society- Prakriti © EXPRESSIONS 2010


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Poonam Bir Kasturi

Poonam Bir Kasturi is an Industrial designer, facilitator, entrepreneur and mentor. She graduated from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India in 1986, specialising in Product Design and is passionate about design education. She’s is one of the founding faculty members at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore. Since 2000, she has spent a lot of time writing papers on Design and how it impacts ‘Development’. Her latest project ‘Daily Dump’ involves the design, manufacture, distribution and servicing products related to home composting. Daily Dump has been selected as one of the “Top Nominees” for the INDEX Design award 2007.

Expressions got in touch with her to know more about Daily Dump and terracotta composting. In this section, we exclusively share with you all, the benefits of home composting, also touching on subjects like waste disposal in India and the individual and government attitude towards the whole predicament EXPRESSIONS (E): What inspired you to design daily dump? POONAM BIR KASTURI (PBK): How can you and me contribute to making our world a better place? The Daily Dump Terracotta Composters are a simple direct innovation, to help all of us do just this. Composting is a natural process – it’s been perfected by the universe and natural systems in a profoundly evolutionary way. I asked myself what I need to do about it, to make it part of everyone’s behaviour? I started the Daily Dump project based on a number of ideas influenced by the systems theory, sustainable development, design methods, sacred geometries, craft development, Indira Darshini’s (standup Indian fast food places), the open source movement, micro-enterprise, facilitative processes and design. E: WHAT ARE THE CHANGES THAT YOU HAVE OBSERVED IN THE CITY AND WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THOSE CHANGES? PBK: Increase in traffic, air pollution, multi-storeyed buildings, water logging etc. These changes will gradually affect the climate of Dehradun. E: How can we popularize the concept of composting from home? PBK: You can do so by first practicing it yourself and then getting a few friends and neighbours interested in it. You could write about your experience and share this with others. If you or anyone you know is interested, you could even set up a Daily Dump clone in your city.

E: With the rise of urban development not many people own houses with large garden areas. What do you suggest they can do? PBK:This is precisely what has been kept in mind while designing the ‘kambha’. It is a 3 tiered unit and caters to families/individuals living in apartments with limited space. It is an outdoor product so it requires at least a balcony. E: What is the role of the normal average citizen of our country with regards to proper waste management taking into account the so called “chalta hai” attitude which is the root cause of all the major problems in our country? PBK: At Daily Dump, we firmly behave that the problem of waste is mainly due to an inefficient public waste management system on one hand, and, on the other, apathetic behaviour of the general public that treats waste management as an issue to be addressed only by the State. Daily Dump products are designed to encourage individuals and homes to rediscover the art and science of waste management at source. The products attempts to dispel myths and remove negative associations and reservations that people usually have for the issue; instead making composting something ‘cool’ and fun! Simultaneously, Daily Dump products are also designed for community composting where a group of households can come together to efficiently manage their collective organic waste. Throughout the process, we support the individuals to gradually understand and appreciate the effort involved in waste management. The result is a better informed citizenry that can then effectively ensure utilization of the State machinery and resources for more specific aspects of waste management. E: What do you think is the role of the school and college authorities in promoting the concept of waste management at the grass root level? How do they initiate the same with the students? PBK: It is not at all difficult for schools and colleges to initiate this. First, they need to start composting on their own premises to offer a live example for the children. We also facilitate orientation sessions for children and teachers at our office or at their premises.

E: What are the most common problems faced by families with regards to managing their Daily Dump and how does your team assist them in this process? PBK: We have realized that composting at home takes some getting used to. So while some of our customers may initially have fears related to the presence of maggots, ants, flies or smell, over a period of usage and gaining from the benefits of composting, these are issues that they overcome gradually. Daily Dump also ensures consistent and timely support to all our customers as we believe that home composting needs to be supported. We respond by mail, phone, through service/crisis visits, offering the customer as much information and support we can to solve the problem at hand. Sometimes, customers also tell us that they visit our website ( that has a separate page on common mistakes and troubleshooting and are able to deal with the problem themselves.

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E: Waste Management is all in the news these days with the European countries complaining about the filth scattered all around the CWG Village, where do you think lies the problem? PBK: We are not taught to get our hands dirty, and we think that the street is the public dustbin. We do not pay attention to detail so we think that just installing a dustbin will take care of the problem. We don’t think through the whole cycle of who will fill the dustbin and who will empty it and where will it go. How will this whole cycle happen, what are the gaps, what are the possible failure points, how does the process take care of failure? E: If you were to work in tandem with the govt. on ensuring a proper waste management policy is strictly enforced. Would you want to get involved? PBK: The government is made up of people. These people have no motivation to do things better because they are not accountable. No one can work with the government structure from outside and get things moving in waste area because there is a lack of budget allotted to this sector and it is not a priority. There is also the “waste lobby” that has got so used to using very cheap labour to haul waste – not manage it. Disposal is not equal to managing and recycling. Unless the government acknowledges this difference and makes a change in the design of the tender documents, nothing will change. I would like to get involved in changing the design of the tender. E: What is your message to the youth? PBK: Define your life in larger terms at all times – your job and your passion and your life, there must be some synergy.

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E: Women are more socially inclined towards conservation all across the globe. There are innumerable examples from the Rachel Carson’s to Maria Cherkasova’s to our very own Gaura Devi’s to Vandana Shiva’s all around. What do you think is the sole motivating factor? PBK: Women know ‘process’ better I think. It takes time to bring up a family and manage its different aspects. Maybe this is why we feel a lot more and can see the connections between emotion, action and consequences.

Our environment is facing serious problems today. In order to preserve it and make the world a greener place, we must act together. We must ensure that future generations do not have to deal with a devastated planet! Let’s work together towards this end by following some simple eco-friendly methods: • Each year 300 million plastic printer cartridges end up in landfills. Why not refill cartridges two to three times before disposing. You will cut waste and save up to 90% on the cost of a new cartridge. • Leaving the lights on generates unnecessary heat, requiring air-conditioners to work over-time, using more electricity. That adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Let us take an initiative to switch off lights and electronic devices that are not in immediate use. • Remember that leaving electronic devices plugged in without turning off the switch draws electricity. Ensure that laptops, computers, MP3 players and digital cameras are unplugged when not in use.

• The paper manufacturing industry uses a lot of chlorine and other chemicals for bleaching, using a lot of energy. Cut waste and save paper by using both sides, printing in small fonts. Also, print only if it is very essential. Use removable media such as CDs, DVDs and flash drives instead of resorting to printing out material. Thoroughly proof-read material before printing. Promote the use of recycled paper which uses up to 90% less water and half the energy required to make paper from virgin timber while producing 36% less green-house gas emissions. • Before opting for dry cleaning consider the merits of a quick, cold-water hand-wash or spot-cleaning. Look for cleaning services with clean and green processes, including reuse of garments and hangers. • Say NO to plastic bags forever. Have the courage to say no to shopkeepers. Use cloth bags or other forms of recyclable bags for shopping.


Surjit Singh Khaira HOD-Geography Welham Boys School © EXPRESSIONS 2010

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utomobile giants have never really cared about anything besides their profits. However, due to changes in government policies across the world and stronger public sentiment to mitigate vehicular pollution, there has been a shift in priorities in the automobile industry.

Car sales in India are booming. Maruti Suzuki’s Alto alone sells about 27,000 units a month compared to overall car sales of around 2 lakh units a month. If we include two wheelers and commercial vehicles as well, this figure could be close to a million vehicles a month. Rapidly increasing sales of cars, as illustrated above, justify the growing concerns about pollution and emissions. The emphasis on performance and design has shifted to better fuel efficiency, reduced drag coefficient and lower emissions. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was common to have average fuel efficiency figures between 3 and 7 kmpl. Nobody cared about fuel efficiency because it was presumed that the Middle East had unlimited oil reserves. Thing have changed a lot since then. The recent Maruti Suzuki commercials that show the growing obsession with fuel efficiency in India best showcase this point.

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Most automobile companies have taken some green initiatives. Land Rover has revealed a greener version of the Freelander which will offer lower emissions. Even Porsche, a sports car manufacturer that had previously focused on performance, is launching a hybrid car, the Panamera, a four-door super-car priced at around Rs1.5 crores. Honda has also been taking initiatives to make its car range greener. All its cars can be run on a mixture of 10% ethanol and 90% fuel. It also has hybrid versions of the Civic and Jazz. Maruti Suzuki launched CNG versions of five car models recently In India, the government’s recent shift to BSIV (Bharat Stage 4) fuel in 13 cities saw all car-makers make necessary changes in their catalytic converters. It is common to have vehicles running on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) these days. The Nation Capital Region (NCR) has many CNG re-fuelling sta-


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tions. All buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis run on CNG. New Delhi has the largest fleet of state-run CNG buses in the world. Many car companies in India offer CNG kits which aid in cutting emissions. Hybrid vehicles are also seen as attractive alternatives to reduce emissions. The most popular hybrid car in the world is the Toyota Prius. It was recently launched in India with an absurdly high sticker price of Rs.30 lakhs because the government chose not to waive the import tax. Such unsupportive government policies hamper the sales of green vehicles to a great extent. Hybrid-electric vehicles are the most common type of hybrid vehicles. Other types include vehicles running on ethanol or plant-based oils. Some even use hydrogen fuel. Hybrid-electric vehicles use electric cells to power electric engines, along with an internal combustion engine. Hybrid cars limit pollution and consume minimal fuel. These cars can recharge their batteries by capturing energy released while braking (regenerative braking) saving a lot of fuel as a result. Hybrid-car technology has improved over time as hybrid cars have become popular with customers and attractive to produce for car companies. In hybrid cars, the battery provides additional power for energy-consuming activities like going uphill or accelerating. Hybrid cars are also lighter have a better aerodynamic design to reduce air-resistance. Moreover, their tires are usually stiffer and have a higher inflation so that the drag of the car is reduced. Though the prices of these cars are high, they are worth buying because of the low overall costs in the long run. Let us do our bit to reduce environmental pollution by investing in less polluting vehicles and using more environment-friendly fuels. Hybrid cars are, undoubtedly, the new “cool” cars of the 21st century.

...the government chose not to waive the import tax. Such unsupportive government policies hamper the sales of green vehicles to a great extent.

Vansh Nathani did his schooling from The Doon School and is currently a student in Ramjas college and can be reached at © EXPRESSIONS 2010


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he Tiger Summit, to be hosted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Russia in November 2010—the Chinese Year of the Tiger and the International Year of Biodiversity—promises to be the most significant meeting ever held to discuss the fate of a single non-human species. The Summit will culminate efforts by the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), launched in 2008 by Robert Zoellick, World Bank President. Leaders of 13 tiger range states, supported by international donors and conservationists attending the summit, are being asked to commit to substantive measures to prevent the unthinkable: extinction of the world’s last wild tiger populations. Wild tiger numbers are at an historic low. There is no evidence of breeding populations of tigers in Cambodia, China, Vietnam, and DPR Korea. Current approaches to tiger conservation are not slowing the decline in tiger numbers, which has continued unabated over the last two decades. While the scale of the challenge is enormous, we submit that the complexity of effective implementation is not: commitments should shift to focus on protecting tigers at spatially well-defined priority sites, supported by proven best practices of law enforcement, wildlife management, and scientific monitoring. Conflict with local people needs to be mitigated. We argue that such a shift in emphasis would reverse the decline of wild tigers and do so in a rapid and cost-efficient manner.

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THE DECLINE OF THE TIGER Despite a long history of concern for wild tigers, both their range and total number have collapsed: fewer than 3,500 animals now live in the wild, occupying less than 7% of their historical range. Of these, approximately 1,000 are likely to be breeding females. In most countries, overhunting has been the driver of the decline in tigers and their prey. Additionally, loss and fragmentation of habitat was locally important. Nevertheless, beginning in the early 1970s, conservation initiatives helped establish a large number of tiger reserves, particularly in India, Nepal, and, to a lesser extent, in Thailand, Indonesia, and Russia. Probably the most successful of these, at least initially, was Project Tiger in India, which was launched in 1972 with the political support of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi. The apparent success of these reserves prompted, in the 1990s, many conservationists (including some of the co-authors of this report) to shift their focus to a landscape approach, which sought to conserve tigers well beyond protected areas, so as to maintain the genetic and demographic viability of populations of this low-density, wide-ranging species. Conservation investments subsequently increased, but the array of activities was complex, less directly related to tigers, and spread thinly across large landscapes. With hindsight, it also became clear that protection and management of many reserves remained inadequate (the extirpation of tigers in the Indian tiger reserves of Sariska, reported in 2004, and Panna, reported in 2010, is illustrative) and this, coupled with an increased demand for tiger parts, meant that poaching of tigers and prey decimated populations across Asia, both inside and outside reserves.

PROTECTING SOURCE SITES While approximately 1.5 million square kilometers of suitable habitat still remain in Asia, tigers today are distributed het-


42 sites contain almost 70% of all remaining wild tigers so have a disproportionate importance to the survival and recovery of the species. erogeneously and, except in the Russian Far East, are now restricted to small pockets, mostly in protected areas. The recent analysis identified 42 “source sites,” so termed because these areas contain concentrations of tigers that have the potential to repopulate larger landscapes. Source sites were defined as having the potential to maintain >25 breeding females, being embedded in a larger landscape with the potential to contain >50 breeding females, having an existing conservation infrastructure, and having a legal mandate for protection. These sites contain the majority of the world’s remaining tigers. Strategies to save the tiger must focus first and foremost on protecting these remaining concentrations of tigers. These 42 sites contain almost 70% of all remaining wild tigers so have a disproportionate importance to the survival and recovery of the species. Nevertheless, collectively they cover <100,000 km2, which is less than 0.5% of their historical range and just 6% of even their current distribution. If Russia is excluded from the analysis, 74% of the world’s remaining tigers live in less than 4.5% of current tiger range. Therefore, protecting source sites offers the most pragmatic and efficient opportunity to conserve most of the world’s remaining wild tigers.

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Source sites are not evenly distributed across the tigers’ range. Most are in India (18), Sumatra (eight) and the Russian Far East (six). Based on available data, no source site was identified in Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, or Vietnam. Surveys in Bhutan and Myanmar have thus been too limited for their status to be assessed. Nevertheless, potential source sites in some of these countries warrant further investigation. Even source sites, however, have depressed tiger populations. Only five, all of which are in India, maintain tiger populations close (>80%) to their estimated carrying capacity. Thus, the recovery of populations in source sites alone would result in a 70% increase in the world’s tiger population.


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BRINGING THE TIGER BACK FROM THE BRINK While recognizing that the long-term goal is to conserve an Asia-wide network of large, tiger-permeable landscapes, the immediate priority must be to ensure that the last remaining breeding populations are protected and continuously monitored. Without such protection, all other efforts are bound to fail. The similarly dramatic decline in African rhinoceros in the 1980s provides useful lessons on how best to respond to a decline in a species of high commercial value. Where conservation efforts were geographically diffuse, the cost–risk ratio greatly favored the illegal hunter. Only where protection efforts either were focused on small- to medium-sized areas (e.g., Kenya’s rhino sanctuaries), or were well financed (e.g., Kruger National Park), did rhinos persist. While tigers have larger spatial requirements than rhinos, the challenge is the same.

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Actively protecting tigers at source sites is feasible and pragmatic, and has been demonstrably successful in many reserves across India between 1974 and 1986.

Actively protecting tigers at source sites is feasible and pragmatic, and has been demonstrably successful in many reserves across India between 1974 and 1986. The Malenad-Mysore tiger landscape currently maintains >220 adult tigers, one of the greatest concentrations in the world, mainly due to intensive protection of its source sites such as Nagarahole National Park, where tiger numbers have increased by 400% after protection began in the early 1970s and has now maintained a high density for 30 years. Across India, tiger abundance is strongly correlated with prey density and both depend on strict controls on hunting. The Tigers Forever program has supported governmental protection effort, aided by MIST (Management Information SysTem) law enforcement monitoring in Thailand, Lao PDR, and Malaysia, and hunting has been reduced and tiger populations stabilized. However, these results require greater levels of law enforcement, surveillance, and monitoring than typically is found in national protected areas. In the Russian Far East, traditionally a stronghold for tigers, annual monitoring detected a dramatic decline in tiger numbers over the last five years, which was associated with a decline in enforcement. Recent declines in tiger numbers in the once thriving source sites in Nepal were also associated with reduced emphasis on protection.



We assessed the costs of protecting source sites, including increased law enforcement, biological and law enforcement monitoring, and where appropriate, community engagement, informant networks, and trade monitoring. Costs were sourced, where possible, from those responsible for managing source sites such as protected area authorities, supplemented by published national government figures. Included costs were limited to those supporting the core activities of protection and monitoring of source sites. These include law enforcement, law enforcement monitoring, general management, and the monitoring of tigers and their prey. One-time conservation infrastructure development, and costs related to the relocation of communities within source sites, were not included in the analysis. Protecting source sites is financially attainable. Our analysis estimates the average cost of protecting and monitoring tigers effectively at all 42 source sites at $82 million per year or $930/km2per year, within the range of effective protected area costs in general (from $130 to >$5,000/square kilometer/year for densely settled regions in Asia). More than half of these funds ($47 million, almost US$500/km2) is already being committed by range-state governments and, to a far lesser extent, international donors and NGOs. However, much of the total governmental financial commitment comes from and is spent in India. When India is excluded from the analysis, the average current commitment drops to US$365/km2 per year. This leaves an overall shortfall of US$35 million a year for all source sites.

While protecting source sites is essential to reverse tiger declines, this is but one element of a long-term recovery strategy. For wide-ranging, low-density species like the tiger, conservation planning at the landscape level is necessary, landscapes need to remain permeable to tiger movements, and source sites have to remain embedded in those larger landscapes. This will require strict limits on habitat conversion and infrastructure development. In addition, conservation efforts need to target the illegal trade, as sitebased protection will be increasingly costly if the global demand for tiger products is not curtailed. All of this will require concerted, orchestrated and politically bold commitments by range-state governments, supported by the general public and the international community, and sustained over decades. However, with so few wild tigers remaining, almost entirely clustered in a few small areas, the most immediate need is to protect populations in the remaining source sites. For financially valuable species like the tiger, intensive protection is paramount, and the success of such protection has been demonstrated. Commitments made at the Russian Summit must refocus on the protection of source sites—a strategy that is financially realistic, politically feasible, and will deliver the greatest return on conservation investments. Only when we are able to stop the slide in tiger numbers at source sites will we be successful at managing tigers across the wider landscape.

Source: Walston J, Robinson JG, Bennett EL, Breitenmoser U, da Fonseca GAB, et al. 2010 Bringing the Tiger Back from the Brink—The Six Percent Solution. PLoSBiol 8(9): e1000485. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000485

SIX PERCENT SOLUTION expressions october 2010



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As part of his effort, Ramesh spoke of wooing the state government with “green bonus” and rewards, based on their performance in this regard. A sum of 5,000 crores has been set aside for the next five years.

Indian consumers are most eco-friendly: survey Americans rated last for sustainable lifestyles, followed by Canadian and French consumers New Delhi, INDIA Though there are many environmental concerns that haunt India, Indian consumers are the most ecofriendly, says a 17-country survey. Released on the eve of the World Environment Day, ‘Greendex 2010: Consumer Choice and the Environment-A Worldwide Tracking Survey’, done by the National Geographic Society and the polling firm GlobeScan, says India has the most sustainable consumption pattern. Americans rated last for sustainable lifestyles, followed by Canadian and French consumers. The survey is a comprehensive measure of consumer behavior in 65 areas relating to housing, transportation, food and consumer goods. Greendex 2010 ranks average consumers in 17 countries according to the environmental impact of their consumption patterns and is the only survey of its kind. It said over the past two years, Indians have shown increasing environmentally friendly behaviour. Talking about the motive behind the study, National Geographic said, “We want to inspire action both among the millions that the National Geographic brand touches worldwide, and among others who will hear about this study. A chief component of this effort is giving people a better idea of how consumers in different countries are doing in taking action to preserve our planet by tracking, reporting, and promoting environmentally sustainable consumption and citizen behavior.” This quantitative consumer study asked 17,000 consumers about such behavior as energy use and conservation, transportation choices, food sources, the relative use of green products versus traditional products, attitudes towards the environment and sustainability, and knowledge of environmental issues. In the present survey India scored 62.6 points in the overall green index to retain top rank. Brazil (58) came second, followed by China (57.3). The US finished last with a score of 45.


Eco-Ganesha drive ends on a high note Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has hinted that the upcoming tiger census expected in November “will make us all happy”. Though the increase may not be that phenomenal, but it would be encouraging. He was speaking at a seminar on “The Future of the Bengal Tiger”, organised by Sanctuary Asia in association with other partners.

expressions october 2010


Further, rewards worth 900 crore would be introduced from the next fiscal. He admitted that reforms as these were necessary to tone up and galvanise the Indian Forest Service. The Minister also claimed to bring in more participatory measures to involve the local communities in the reserve areas. First, the revenue generated out of tourism would flow back for the benefit of the local communities, instead of the respective State exchequers. Nearly 3 crore in Kanha and 1.5 crore in Tadoba reserve. “We have also begun aggressive recruitment of local communities in the reserve,” he said, adding 400 youths from chenchu tribes have been employed as forest staffs in the Nagarjuna reserve, 40 Van Gujjars in Corbett besides Kurumba tribes have been employed in the Nilgiris. Present on the occasion were tiger expert Valmik Thapar, Bittu Sehgal and Belinda Wright amongst others.


Plastic paving for eco-friendly Indian roads Reuters Life!) - An Indian company has found a novel use for the heaps of ecologically unsound plastic that litter Bangalore: it’s turning it into roads. K.K. Plastic Waste Management, run by brothers Ahmed and Rasool Khan, collects thousand of tonnes of waste plastic from garbage bins across India’s IT hub through a network of municipal workers, rag pickers and their own employees. The plastic is then shredded and mixed with asphalt to form a compound called polymerized bitumen. When used in paving, the brothers say it withstands monsoons and daily wear and tear better than traditional methods, and also reduces pot holes. Scientists agree. Professor C.E.G. Justo, a Bangalore-based highways and roads experts, said the process of mixing plastic waste in road construction enhanced the performance of the road. “It (waste plastic) gets into some of the voids of the bituminous mix and makes it more resistant to deterioration under wet weather conditions,” Justo told Reuters Television. Ahmed Khan, the managing director of the firm, says the idea struck about a decade ago when various organizations started anti-plastic campaigns.


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“Every day there is 10,000 tonnes of waste plastic and it would all go to landfills, how much of that can you do? There, it does not degenerate or bio-degrade and ultimately it will be a problem so this is the best solution,” he said. The remaining garbage, separated from the non bio-degradable plastic, can be turned into compost, Khan added. Several state governments in India have banned plastic bags in recent years, although Bangalore has not. The Khans say they have helped lay about 1,400 km (870 miles) of roads with their product and, with encouragement from state government agencies, they say the could rid the entire country of its plastic waste. Unless its bio-degradable, plastic does not decompose and stays in the environment for years, causing grave damage to fish, marine birds and cattle that often choke to death after swallowing plastic bags. There have been instances in India where hundreds of plastic bags have been found in the stomachs of dead cows who eat food from garbage dumps. A few years ago, when monsoon rains flooded Mumbai, plastic bags were blamed for clogging the underground drainage system and intensifying the effects of the floods. India has the world’s second largest road network, but the World Bank says infrastructure limitations are its most serious constraint to growth, and the most serious limitation to rapid poverty reduction.

KM Unni, SBU Head (MRO-Airframe), Air India, was quoted as saying: “Air India will offer its customers the unique advantage of EcoPower engine wash services in India. This will help airlines reduce their operating costs and emissions.” Under the agreement, Air India can perform EcoPower engine washes on various engines in its fleet of aircraft. It will offer the services to other carriers in the region. The service center will have the ability to perform washes on nearly all commercial engines currently in service.

Source: Air-India-to-use-eco-friendly-aircraft-washing-system/articleshow/6188681.cms


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Air India to use eco-friendly aircraft washing system FARNBOROUGH: India’s national carrier Air India has signed an agreement with American aircraft engines and products manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to set up an environment-friendly system for washing aircraft engines at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. The agreement was signed by Air India and Pratt & Whitney on the sidelines of the Farnborough Air Show that began here Monday.

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Eco-friendly living would give the Ecosphere the breathing space it deserves? Comment.

Answer in about 100-150 words and you stand a chance to win a special prize. The EcoPower engine wash system, patented by the company, reduces fuel burn, eliminating three pounds of carbon dioxide emissions for every pound of fuel saved. It also helps decrease engine gas temperature thus increasing the amount of time an engine can stay on wing. Joanne Hastings, director, Pratt & Whitney Line Maintenance Services, told a Britain-based specialised news agency which broke news abut the agreement: “This partnership will expand the availability of EcoPower engine wash services to India, one of the world’s fastest growing aviation markets. The service is especially valued since fuel prices in India are among the highest in the world.”

expressions october 2010


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