In Mumbai, municipal authorities have criminalized the use of plastic bags with fines of up to $US 366 and jail sentences for repeat offenders. India has a low consumption of plastic compared with Western countries, but the ban has potential to reduce the 26,000 tons of plastic waste that is produced daily in the country. Authorities have already collected $US 5000 in fines from 87 shops since the ban was enforced. The city's residents and businesses were given a three-month period beginning in March to phase out their use of plastic bags and find sustainable alternatives instead.
On April 11, an Indian court ruled that Monsanto cannot claim patents on genetically modified cotton seeds in India. Since Indian law excludes seeds from patenting, Monsanto was not permitted to claim patents and charge royalties. More than 90% of India’s cotton crops are genetically modified, making this ruling financially devastating for Monsanto.
To bring pollution levels down in and around New Dehli, India approved a two-year plan targeting agricultural mechanization to reduce crop residue burning. Burned crop stubble is a significant source of pollution in New Delhi, accounting for one-quarter of the capital’s air pollution last November. This plan may respond to some of the criticisms the New Delhi government received regarding the city’s air quality; Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described New Delhi as a “gas chamber.” Last November, United Airlines suspended flights to New Delhi because of the pollution.
Due to export regulations in South Africa and its own domestic regulations, India is faced with a critical shortage of tranquilizers for managing its rhinoceros population. Conservationists rely on Etorphine HCI to tranquilize rhinos for veterinary care and translocation. The lack of the drug is holding up translocation plans in several areas and preventing veterinarians from caring for injured animals. For the full story see https://news.mongabay.com/2017/11/a-tranquilizer-shortage-is-holding-ba…
Three straight days of smog enveloped New Delhi, forcing schools to shut down and forcing residents to buy air purifiers. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the capital a "gas chamber" as his government sought meetings with adjoining states to address the issue. Fine particulate matter levels were particularly dangerous, rising to 726 with a level above 300 considered hazardous. A recent report from the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health said air pollution kills roughly 6.5 million people each year and that all forms of pollution cost the global economy $4.6 trillion annually.
No stranger to flooding, South Asia is struggling with one of the worst monsoons in recent history. Across India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, the death toll has risen above 1200. International aid agencies say things are worse this year, with thousands of villages cut off and people deprived of food and clean water for days. Farming has also collapsed due to flooding and a rise in unemployment is expected, according to a disaster management official in India. In Nepal, crops on 10,583 hectares have been washed away while another 600,587 hectares of farmland have been partially damaged.
Floods in India's northeast region have killed at least 83 people. Torrential rains across the hilly states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur over the past two weeks have also triggered landslides. In all, more than 2 million people have been displaced. The overflowing Brahmaputra River has also completely marooned the Kaziranga wildlife sanctuary in Assam, forcing animals to flee to safer areas. The Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is home to an estimated 2,500 rhinos out of a world population of some 3,000.
Ridhima Pandey, a nine-year-old Indian girl, filed a lawsuit against the Indian government last week to bring government attention to the need for action on climate change. India is home to 4 of the world’s top 10 cities with air pollution problems. Although the government has committed to addressing air quality, including changing its energy portfolio to draw at least 40% of its electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources, it has not proven enough.
On Friday, European Union ministers agreed to ratify the Paris Agreement, a commitment that could help push the international agreement into effect. And India ratified the agreement over the weekend. The European Parliament will vote on the decision this week, which then needs to be endorsed by the Ministers. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries accounting for at least 55% of global carbon emissions have ratified the accord.
The Supreme Court of India ruled on August 12 that diesel vehicles are allowed on the national capital's streets as long as they pay a 1% "green" tax. The auto industry welcomed the ruling following a series of rulings by lower courts that banned diesel vehicles, old and new. The previous rulings had raised concerns that exhaust fumes from diesel vehicles contribute to the air pollution crisis in Delhi.