‘Get to root of environment degradation’

Ujwala P | | Updated on: Jun 10, 2019

Uncertain future Debris near New Rohtak Road, where wage labourers assemble every day to find work

From multinational corporations to fledgling start-ups, in companies have been taking up various initiatives to preserve the environment. The measures, they adopt, however, may not be enough to conserve the environment say environmentalists and conservationists.

Café’s and cloud kitchen start-ups are switching to non-plastics to serve food, but their ability to save on plastic is still debatable. TataCha’s initiative to use reusable cups, bagasse food delivery boxes and paper straws at all its six cafes in Bengaluru from Day one is aimed at beating the hazards of plastic waste. However, they were unable to quantify the impact they have created with this initiative. Cloud kitchen start-up FreshMenu has embarked on its plastic-free journey with the introduction of biodegradable bowls, spoons and straws in place of plastics.

Multinational company Schneider Electric aims to become carbon neutral by 2030 with investments in innovation and R&D for sustainability. Reducing their emission of CO2, using 80 per cent renewable electricity by 2020 and 100 per cent by 2030, finding alternatives to the use of SF6 (Sulfur hexafluoride) gas by 2020 and eliminating it from the products by 2025 are a few of its goals.

Schaeffler India’s Pune plant has solar panels on the roof with capacity of 750 KW, which suffices for around 10 per cent of the total electricity consumption of the plant.

Personal care product makers such as Mamaearth are switching to eco-friendly raw materials to cater to the increasing demand for eco-friendly products . The start-up has partnered with GEM Recycling to recycle two times the plastic they consume in packaging. BRITA India, one of the pioneers in water purification systems, aims to make drinking water sustainable and has created an RO water purifier that ensures up to 100 per cent water recovery compared to conventional RO water purifiers with a recovery of just 25 per cent.

Corporate firms and other institutions must first examine the substantive reasons for pollution and decline of environment and then take actionable steps to address it, observed S Vishwanath, a Water Conservationist. “They must team up and work with the Government to create a governance framework to manage our river basins, many of which are unhealthy. Instead of planting trees next to river basins, they must address issues that have made them unhealthy-- such as how to stop industrial waste from being dumped in the river basins, sand mining, tree-felling etc,” he said. CropIn provides agricultural solutions to farmers via live reporting, analysis, interpretation and insights that spans geographies, helps to minimise wastage, increase yields and sustainability. “It is important to make sure the soil biodiversity is maintained wherein the focus must go beyond the yield to soil health,” said Vishwanath, when asked about digitalising farmlands.

Air borne diseases

More than 40 per cent of the population is suffering from air borne diseases and over 20 per cent from water borne diseases. Instead of spending lots of money on medication, they should focus on preventing degradation of environment which is simple and more cost-effective, said AN Yellappa Reddy, an environmentalist.

The writer is an intern with BusinessLine Bengaluru Bureau

Published on June 10, 2019
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