Gurgaon: The Haryana government has proposed it will declare areas around the Najafgarh lake as a wetland. It has submitted to the Centre an environmental management plan on how to protect the lake. The report will eventually be submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
According to the plan, Haryana will notify the area under Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 and begin the process of demarcating it with geo-tagged pillars. It will also constitute a wetlands committee to oversee the entire process.
No construction, the plan proposes, will be allowed in the ‘hazard zone’. Haryana will also find alternative connectivity plans for settlements at the two ends of the lake, which will considerably reduce vehicular traffic, especially when migratory birds flock to the area.
Officials said once the area around the lake is notified as a wetland, it would give both Haryana and Delhi (some part of the waterbody is in NCT) equal powers to keep watch on prohibited activities, such as encroachment of any kind, disposal of waste and discharge of untreated effluents into the waterbody.
RK Chauhan, joint director in the environment and climate change department, said, “Yes, we have submitted a plan for the protection of the Najafgarh lake. It is a detailed report on how Haryana plans to manage the area.”
The plan, officials said, is divided into three parts — immediate action within a year in the first part, medium measures over the next two to three years in the next part and long-term steps in the last portion.
The Haryana government’s management plan was necessitated by an order of the NGT, which is hearing a petition filed by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) in 2018 for the protection of the lake.
The Delhi government, which is also a party to the case, submitted its plan in March this year. In June, the NGT had asked the Haryana chief secretary to be present with a management plan at the next hearing on October 4, but the government sought more time. The next hearing is on January 25.
Spread across 7 square kilometres, the Najafgarh lake is crucial for the region as it acts as a large aquifer for groundwater recharge. Many creeks from the Aravalis flow into the lake, and further into the Yamuna. According to the plan submitted by the government, the waterbody acts as a flood buffer, helps treat water and regulate temperature, and is a biodiversity hotspot.
Ritu Rao, a research scholar at the Teri School of Advanced Studies who is working on urban waterbodies’ sustainability, said, “The Najafgarh lake area should definitely be declared as a wetland. Only tertiary treated sewage water should be discharged into the lake. The government should also declare a no-construction zone up to the high flood level (contour 212.5 manak) as the area is prone to liquefaction (in the event of an earthquake, the ground starts behaving like any liquid, causing buildings in the area to tilt or even collapse). It is a wetland by nature and comes under seismic zone IV.”Read More
New Delhi: Vedanta Aluminium Business, India’s largest producer of aluminium and its value-added products, unveiled its Sustainable Development Report(SDR) for FY 2020-21 today i.e., National Energy Conservation Day, in a campus connect program with the TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS). Students, alumni and faculty from TERI SAS participated in the programme.
Titled ‘Nature, Nurture, Future’, Vedanta Aluminium’s Sustainable Development Report encapsulates the Business’ performance across key sustainability parameters such as Energy and Climate Change Management, Water Management, Biodiversity Management, Air Quality and Emissions control, Health & Safety, Social Impact and Governance, etc. for the FY 2020-21 performance period.
The report can be accessed on the company website:www.vedantaaluminium.com
Launching the report, Mr Rahul Sharma, CEO – Aluminium Business, Vedanta Ltd. said, “The principles of sustainability are imbibed in every aspect of the way we conduct our business. It is imperative for us thatour business growth materializes in a sustainable manner through judicious and responsible utilization of resources, highest efficiency of assets and processes, and a focused approach towards carbon mitigation. We are committed to decarbonisation of our operations in the long term. As India’s largest aluminium producer, we are unrelenting in our pursuit of excellence in all aspects of business, including Environment, Social and Governance (ESG).”
Prof. Shaleen Singhal, Dean (Research and Partnerships) at TERI SAS, added, “TERI School of Advance Studies students and faculty members are delighted to be part of this launch event that demonstrates Vedanta Aluminium’s commitment to sustainability. This unique university-corporate partnership shall advance the frontiers of knowledge creation and practice for sustainable development.”
Prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, the report outlines Vedanta Aluminium’s approach to sustainable and responsible development aligned to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Principles and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs).
Key highlights from the report for FY21 include:
Vedanta Aluminium Business, a division of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium, producing over half of India’s aluminium i.e., 1.97 million tonnes in FY21. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.Read More
TERI School Holds its 14th Convocation Ceremony. TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS), New Delhi, a deemed to be University, held its 14th Convocation on 8th December 2021 at Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre (IHC), Lodhi Road, New Delhi.Principal Scientific Adviser, Prof. K VijayRaghavan along with TERI SAS Chancellor, Dr Shailesh Nayak and VC, Prof. Prateek Sharma at the 14th Convocation Ceremony Professor Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India was the Chief Guest for this august occasion.
Prof. VijayRaghavan is also the Chairperson of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). Prior to this, Prof. VijayRaghavan was the Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India from January 28th, 2013 to February 2nd, 2018. During the Convocation ceremony, 23 scholars received their doctoral degrees and a total of 253 graduands received their master’s in niche and diverse programmes offered by the institute. As an institution of higher learning and cutting-edge research, TERI School of Advanced Studies has always been ahead of its time in terms of finding sustainable solutions to world challenges.
Over the years, the institute tailor-made an informed cadre of sustainability professionals who are well-equipped to tackle, beyond cultural boundaries and sectoral divisions, the interwoven challenges of environmental impacts and ecosystem vulnerability and have been solution providers to both mitigation and adaptation to climate change that led to a more sustainable development pathway especially in a post-COVID-19 era.Prof. K VijayRaghavan Padma Shri Prof. K VijayaRaghavan in his address drew attention to some of the challenges of the post-COVID world and hoped the students passing out would be a part of the mainstream agenda to mitigate climate change effects, especially as India aims to make environmental sustainability central to its developmental policy.
While briefly outlining the way the planet is progressing post the pandemic, coupled with unbridled big city growth and increased devastating climate events, Prof VijayRaghavan stressed that the frugal high quality innovation is beneficial now but takes a toll on the future generations, and students need to use technology and knowledge that empowers future generations to keep sustainability alive. Over the past few years, the subject of climate change has gone beyond the regular and conventional challenges of air pollution, water, waste & energy management, biodiversity conservation, mobility and environmental health and in the post-COVID-19 era the subject is being seen from a diverse prism that requires an interdisciplinary approach to find sustainable solutions to the environmental challenges that India and the world have to collectively handle.
As the change agents, TERI SAS students are not only trained to take on these challenges, but are also socially awakened to make sure that the changes they work have a last mile impact. The chancellor, TERI SAS, Dr. Shailesh Nayak in his address reminded the outgoing students of their training, “I am optimistic that the knowledge gained in TERI SAS will help our passing out students to address issues beyond poverty and hunger, education and inequality, climate change and energy, bringing about inclusive sustainable development.” Mahatma Gandhi had said, “Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man you have seen and ask yourself if this step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. I believe our students will always keep these words by Mahatma in mind when they reach a position where they can make decisions about people.” Prof. Prateek Sharma.
Vice-Chancellor, TERI SAS spoke about the legacy TERI SAS carries as an institute and how it’s the collective responsibility of all including the outgoing students to add new feathers to the institute’s cap. “More than two decades ago when the concept of sustainable development figured passingly in very limited discussion fora, a few people at TERI had the foresight to anticipate the outcomes of development path under a ‘business as usual’ scenario. Hence TERI School of Advanced studies was born in 1998 that has today matured into a leading institution synonymous with its motto “Knowledge for Sustainable Development”. Research-led education at TERI School of Advanced studies has always been a win-win model to create knowledge and capacity in various areas of sustainable development, especially at a time when the world is facing serious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme climate events.
The outgoing students will have a special responsibility in pushing the sustainability agenda, broad enough for every sector of the economy having a multiplier effect for the coming generations,” said Prof. Sharma. TERI SAS (earlier TERI University) is one of the eminent institutes in the country in the field of Sustainability Education. It was conceived to disseminate the knowledge base created by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). It offers 12 masters programmes and an interdisciplinary PhD programme in the six thematic areas of Bioresources and Biotechnology, Business Sustainability, Energy and Environment, Natural Resources Management, Policy Studies and Water Science and Governance at its campus in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi and is also coming up with a campus at Hyderabad, Telangana.Read More
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Delhi-NCR citizens join a walk at Najafgarh lake, a refuge to avian species, to raise awareness about the degrading waterbody.
Donning caps, sporting comfortable shoes, and holding water bottles filled to the brim, a group of nature enthusiasts assembled near the Capital’s Dwarka Sector 12 Metro Station early on a Sunday, October 24, 2021, geared up to attend a walk.
Organised by Knowing Loving Delhi Better (KLoDB), a citizen-led group, around 25 people were primed to explore the second largest water body in Delhi, the Najafgarh Jheel (lake), often written off by the locals as the Najafgarh naala (drain).
Led by Ritu Rao, a PhD scholar at TERI School of Advanced Studies, this nature walk was an attempt to raise awareness about the rampant deterioration of the lake. The three-hour long walk was enough to make one realise how human activities impact the ecosystem.
A forgotten wetland
The Najafgarh lake has a rich history and immense ecological significance. However, over the years, extreme negligence—along with other issues such as encroachment and sewage—has relegated it to a stinking, waterlogged drain. Shared by both the Delhi and the Haryana governments, the Najafgarh lake continuously receives sewage input from Gurugram and other surrounding areas of the Capital.
This has resulted in the water turning dirty and acidic, compromising the survival of the lake.Falling within the Central Asian flyway, which is known to be a stopover site for migratory birds, the Najafgarh lake provides refuge to a number of avian species. As noted by the Environment Management Plan (EMP) prepared by the Delhi government, it hosts about 281 bird species, both resident and migratory.
This list also includes various endangered species such as the Siberian crane, pink-headed ducks, among others. Fed by the Sahibi river, the Najafgarh lake was once known to be spread across 220sq km. Now, it has shrunk to a mere 7sq km. However, the biggest threat to the existence of this lake is from real-estate developers who seek to reclaim the lake’s land for construction activities. “This walk is an attempt to educate people about the condition of the Jheel. I’d love to do another walk because citizen awareness is important in such issues. Given the groundwater crisis, we have a very bleak future, especially in the cities of Delhi and Gurugram. There is, thus, no other option but to save this place,” said Rao.
A walk for awareness
KLoDB has been organising similar walks across Delhi-NCR as an attempt to explore and discover the city of Delhi better. Founded in 1996, the group has conducted free walks that are community-driven. “We keep organising various walks across the city. Heritage walks, food walks, shelter walks—we keep devising interesting ways to indulge the citizens,” says Zubair Idrisi, a walk leader with KLoDB.
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