Saubhagya Scheme To Power All Indian Households

When it comes to running water and clean energy, resources aren’t always available to all. Independent groups have been doing what they can to provide for rural areas, implementing Eco-Boxes and bleach lamps. Though the power grid issue seems to be improving, development is slow and India has had enough. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the Saubhagya Scheme, which promises to provide electricity for over 40 million Indian families by December 2018.

Millions of rural Indians still rely on lamps fuelled by kerosene, the use of which the scheme hopes to cut. Kerosene is a huge health and environmental hazard and restricting its use would further India’s ambitious climate goal to cut emissions.

Roughly 300 million Indian citizens have no access to electricity. Along with the scheme, the government plans to keep from charging poorer families. However, as opposed to targeting villages, the scheme will single out individual households.

Remote, and often inaccessible, villages have proved to be a major challenge in the electrification drive. The government has said it will distribute solar packs (comprising LED lights, a fan and a plug) and a battery bank to households in these villages.

The project will also help state-owned power distribution companies with debts. It’s a helping hand I’d have no problem shaking!

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58-Year-Old Woman is a Hero in Factory Fire

We have seen a dog protect his human family from a house fire. We have seen a 77-year-old man refuse to evacuate so he could save animals from a wildfire. Today’s hero is a 58-year-old Indian woman who saved 20 people from a factory fire, which was happening beside her apartment in Delhi.

In a swift course of action, Jyoti Verma threw one end of her sari to the employees in a higher floor of the neighboring building so they could climb down to her terrace. However, one worker jumped the distance and Verma had to find another way.

Not wanting anyone else to injure themselves by jumping, Verma rushed inside to find something more useful. In the midst of her apartment, she found a small bamboo ladder. With the help of a neighbor, Verma propped up the ladder onto the roof of her terrace so that it stretched across to the factory window. Over the course of the next half hour, twenty workers were able to crawl to safety.

In the reports, before the ensuing hullabaloo, Verma was making breakfast in her apartment at 6:30 a.m. Her neighbor suddenly called her attention to the burning factory and so she rushed to her window, saw the people crying for help in the third floor of the neighboring building as their lower floors were engulfed by the factory fire, and decided to act.

According to one of the workers, the owner of the illegal factory locks the gates to the building every night in order to prevent theft. If it had not been for Verma’s heroic ingenuity, the employees may not have been able to escape.

Whoever said age is just a number has never been more correct in light of kindness and heroism.

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Indian Startup to Produce Water from Thin Air

These days, the challenge of sustainability elicits many different creative responses: leather out of wine, air purifiers made of algae, even energy from cow and turkey poop. Truly the stranger, the better. A new project from an Indian startup company makes the sun and the wind come together to create water. How does that sentence make sense? Uravu answers our question.

The company’s affordable, electricity-free Aqua Panels use solar thermal energy to convert vapor into usable water – and they should be available to the public within two years. “There’s no need of any electricity or moving parts,” Uravu co-founder Swapnil Shrivastav told Quartz India. “It is just a passive device that you can leave on your rooftop and it will generate water. The process starts at night, and by evening next day you’ll have water.”

The process of producing water from vapor has already been developed and utilized before, mostly for industrial and agricultural purposes, but the outdated versions of this technology had to consume large amounts of energy and humidity—innovative, yes, but not yet as sustainable as the above-mentioned Aqua Panels. Uravu wants their device to suit domestic use.

“Initially we’ll be working with governments and strategic partners, and we want to reach places where there is water scarcity, such as parts of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, and rural areas,” explained Shrivastav. “We will be trying to start with a household device and aim at community-level projects.”

Ultimately, the Indian company aims to make the process more simple to make it more accessible for people who lack resources. Sustainability takes many different forms, but surely it is best when it answers to society’s greatest needs.

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New Delhi To Sell Biodegradable Sanitary Pads

If people won’t stop tossing ’em, make ’em biodegradable. Since car tires, cooking grills, and six-pack beer holders went green, engineers are treading even deeper waters. In honor of International Women’s Day (and Mother Nature, of course) New Delhi is introducing biodegradable sanitary napkins for only Rs. 2.50 a pad. That’s hardly half a dollar!

The sanitary napkins will be available in a pack of four pads for Rs 10 across over 3,200 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) Kendras by May 28, 2018, Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar said.

Currently, a pack of four napkins sells at Rs 32 ($0.49) — a ridiculous price for an easily perishable necessity.  Even worse, they are hardly accessible in rural communities.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, about 58 per cent of women aged between 15 to 24 years use locally prepared napkins, sanitary napkins and tampons.

What’s better than to make an essential affordable and eco-friendly? Power to you, India!

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Diu Is First Fully Solar-Powered Territory

With climate change ascending into an all-time high, communities are making the most out of the searing heat. In fact, 800,000 homes in the U.K. are running entirely on the sun’s rays. However, Diu in India recently beat them to the punch, becoming the first Union territory to run completely solar-powered.

“The population of Diu is only 56,000. For water and electricity, the Union territory was solely dependent on the Gujarat government. To overcome this limitation, the administration of the Union territory decided to set up solar power plants in Diu.” [said executive engineer Milind Ingle.]

The city generates 13 megawatts a day, covering 42 square kilometers. Even so, manufacturers have installed plants over some 50 acres. Bill charges have since dropped by 12%, a great relief to locals.

“Diu’s peak-time demand for electricity goes up to 7 MW and we generate about 10.5 MW of electricity from solar energy daily. This is way more than the consumption demand requirement.”

Now that I think about it, an Indian summer may be worth your while.

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Mountain Man Paves Road For School Children

As the saying goes, a parent will do whatever they can for their children. If you’re anything like military mom LeAnn Boudwine, who sends care packages to soldiers, family goes beyond blood. Whatever the case, parenthood often demands sacrifice — or, for Jalandhar Nayak, moving mountains. To help his children cut down their 3-hour trip to school, the vegetable seller paved a 5-mile route by hand.

“My children found it hard to walk on the narrow and stony path while going to their school. I often saw them stumbling against the rocks and decided to carve a road through the mountain so that they can walk more easily,” he [said.]

Armed with only a chisel, hoe, and axe, the dedicated father spent two years picking away. Naturally, his actions became a subject of public interest, to which the local government responded by paying for his services. It will also construct the remaining 4 miles, which Nayak predicted would’ve taken another three years to carve through.

“Nayak’s effort and determination to cut mountains to build a road left me spellbound,” the local administrator, Brundha D, told reporters.

Truly, nothing compares to the love we receive from our parents.

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India Bans Use Of Wild Animals In Circus Shows

When Indian locals set their minds to something, chances are, they will pull through. To demonstrate the importance of lush forestry (and push boundaries), 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million trees in 12 hours. When the government refused to act, 700 Kuttemperoor villagers restored a beloved river in only 70 days. To top off the year, the country is now putting an end to circus acts that feature wild animals.

India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change… has canceled the recognition of all circuses which were found guilty of torturing wild animals including elephants by locking them in cramped cages and thrashing and intimidating them to perform tricks that are unnatural to their inherent characteristics.

In 1998, India banned the exhibition of wild animals in performances, save for elephants. Simply put, bears and tigers “had it worse” compared to the gentle giants. Furthermore, the industry argued a complete loss of animal entertainment would put livelihoods at risk. Activists, along with Nikunj Sharma of PETA, think the excuse is pitiful.

“Livelihood can never be a justification for cruelty on any living being. More and more people today know that circus means cruelty to animals and want no part in it.”

Let’s stick to juggling and acrobatics, shall we?

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700 Indian Villagers Restore A Dead River In 70 Days

In the sustainability race, India is coming in first. In the past year, it engineered the world’s first solar train and set a record for planting trees. The country relies not on advanced technology but the sheer determination of it’s citizens. In fact, 700 villagers made it their mission to restore a dead river by hand in just 70 days.

For two decades, the Kuttemperoor river in south Kerala’s Alappuzha district slowly choked under the weight of rampant illegal sand mining and construction sites that dumped tons of sewage on its once-pristine banks.

A… local group of villagers… have spent weeks wading through toxic waste, algae and risking deadly water-borne diseases to physically de-silt and clean the river.

The river is a primary water source, making it potentially hazardous if in a polluted state. A non-responsive government and harsh droughts forced villagers to take matters into their own hands.

“Once we removed all waste [the] river started recharging on its own and on [the] 45th day flow started. For women folk, it was not just a work for money but it was [a] gargantuan task to revive a lifeline,”

The village may have seen success, but the challenge is far from over. Kuttemperoor river will demand a lifetime of maintenance, something it’s beloved community will surely make a priority.

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Biomass Stove Bringing Cleaner Air To India

In the age of our crumbling planet, we are doing everything we can to maintain good environmental etiquette. We are turning trash into product packaging, saving reefs with oyster shells, and planting trees at the speed of light. Now, entrepreneur Ankit Mathur has created a stove that is much less harmful to the environment.

The aluminum and steel contraption uses much less wood than a traditional mud stove, and produces far less harmful smoke in the process.

“We designed a cook stove that cuts down fuel consumption to a third of what a mud stove uses and reduces emissions to one quarter of what they are,”

Despite its obvious benefits, Mathur admitted to having trouble selling his product. People simply wanted to stay traditional. But after proving to potential customers that they’d spend less time collecting wood, the Greenway stove finally saw some sales.

Around 550,000 people have now bought a stove, bringing the firm $9 million in sales.

“It sounds like a lot, but if you look at the Indian numbers there are more than 100 million households we can reach out to,”

Mathur’s company is also selling solar-powered lamps. While most of us may not be innovators ourselves, it should be in our best intentions to support those who are.

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India Sets World Record For Planting Trees

While we may ascribe India to its dense population, we might not say the same for its trees. At least not until now! On July 3, 2017, 1.5 million volunteers planted a record-breaking 66 million trees in only 12 hours.

The campaign was organized by the Madhya Pradesh government, with 24 distracts of the Narmada river basin chosen as planting sites to increase the saplings’ chances of survival. Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.

India committed to increasing its forests by 5 million hectares before 2030 and it appears to be keeping its word. Volunteers included children and the elderly, who planted 66.3 million saplings from 7 am – 7 pm. If my math is as good as I think it is, that’s around 44 trees planted per person!

“By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”

India is the world’s third largest generator of carbon emissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi… reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Paris climate accord after the US withdrew from the deal.

Not only did India break record; it broke its own record of having planted 50 million trees in a single day in 2016. That’s what I call commitment to the cause! If tree-planting isn’t at the top of your list, there are many other ways to combat climate change.

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