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Indian Express

3-November-2023

1) Clearing the Dust, lifting the Haze

Context:

  • Mumbai’s air quality has been declining for a number of reasons, including unfavorable weather and emissions from a variety of sources, with dust emissions from construction activities emerging as a major contributor.
  • This article will discuss the various steps that the construction sector can take to mitigate the crisis.

Role of Construction Activities:

  • PM10, a pollutant that can enter human lungs and has a diameter of 10 microns or smaller, is greatly increased by construction activity.
  • PM10 has been the main cause of Maharashtra’s capital’s bad air quality index readings for the past few weeks.

Surge in Construction Activities

  • Mumbai is presently experiencing a significant transition that calls for the building of vital infrastructure.
  • According to recent statistics, there has been a significant upsurge in construction activities in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) area.
  • The growth has been 68% since 2022 and 142% since 2021.
  • There has been a 98% increase since 2021 and a 36% increase since 2022 in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
  • The construction industry has become a significant source of dust emissions in the city, with over 11,000 private building construction sites and a plethora of public projects like the Metro, Mumbai Trans Harbor Link (MTHL), Navi Mumbai Airport, highways, and utility infrastructure.

Impact of Construction Processes

  • Fugitive emissions are produced throughout the demolition and building processes by a variety of operations including hammering, crushing, cutting, drilling, and mixing.
  • If left unchecked, these emissions spread into the atmosphere and become dust particles that land on surfaces.
  • Pollution can result from human activity, wind movement, and outside influences re-suspending these dust particles.
  • These pollutants constitute a serious health risk in residential environments, particularly for vulnerable groups.

Measures for a Transition

Even though construction activities is a contributing factor to air pollution, it can also be mitigated. The construction industry must change from its current methods to clean-air strategies that put an emphasis on reducing emissions.

Some of the measures which can be taken are:

  • Mapping Pollutant Sources: Finding hotspots for action can be aided by identifying the sources of pollutants in airsheds, the regions with restricted dispersion of pollutants, and the creation of thorough emission inventories.
  • Institutional Setup for Coordination: For efficient pollution control, an institutional framework that facilitates regional coordination amongst cities must be established.
  • Engaging Stakeholders: Including every ecosystem stakeholder can help the pollution reduction agenda progress.
  • Standard Procedures and Mitigation Measures: Emissions can be decreased by requiring standard operating procedures for builders and mitigating measures for construction activities through regulations.
  • Enforcement and Real-Time Data: High polluters can be targeted by putting enforcement measures in place and using real-time air quality monitoring sensors at building sites that are connected to a central server.
  • Sensitization and Education: To guarantee that new methods are used, it is crucial to make builders, contractors, engineers, architects, and project management consultants aware of the changes.
  • Promoting Innovation: For the purpose of reducing emissions, it might be extremely important to promote innovation and commercially viable construction technologies and equipment.
  • Recognition and Knowledge Sharing: It can encourage others to adopt similar methods when builders and construction sites are identified as applying mitigation measures and their techniques are shared.

Balancing Economic Growth and Air Quality

  • As the second-largest contributor to India’s GDP, the construction industry’s economic impact must be taken into account while tackling air pollution caused by building.
  • It could be necessary to gradually implement these measures, concentrating first on developing methods and finding answers.
  • More stringent enforcement protocols ought to be implemented over time.
  • Mumbai’s thriving real estate sector may help the city prosper economically and position itself as a leader in air pollution mitigation.
  • Indian cities may be able to achieve sustainable development if they adopt cleaner building techniques.

2) HOLDING EACH OTHER UP

Context:

  • There are similarities between community-led initiatives and their importance in India and well-known movies like “Swades” and “Lagaan,” which highlight the role that community involvement plays in success.
  • What if there weren’t enough people to believe in Mohan from “Swades” or Bhuvan from “Lagaan”? Could they have sold their dreams?
  • The fact of the matter is that community involvement is essential to any endeavor’s success, particularly in a nation of 142.86 crore (1.4286 billion) people.
  • This article will discuss the role of community participation in the success of government initiatives.

The Amul Success Story

  • Amul is a community-based dairy cooperative group that has achieved great success.
  • By building a strong community-based value chain, it elevated India to the top of the global milk production rankings.
  • Amul’s success is largely due to the collaboration of rural communities in the production and marketing of their goods.

Applying the Community Model to Innovation

  • It is questioned if creating an innovation ecosystem can be accomplished with this kind of community-based strategy.
  • India’s remarkable rise in the Global Innovation Index (GII) from 81 to 40 since 2015 is indicative of a concerted effort by the public and private sectors to promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and the elimination of cumbersome procedures that impede this process.

Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs): A Model for Community-Led Innovation

  • The Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), innovation centers sometimes known as “makerspaces” that have been set up in middle and high schools, are highlighted.
  • ATLs aim to develop a million kids into “neoteric innovators” who can keep up with the quickly evolving technological landscape and provide solutions to pertinent issues.
  • More than 10,000 ATLs have been established in the last six years, serving over 75 lakh (7.5 million) students.

Introducing ATL Sarthi: The Community Solution

  • ATL Sarthi is a novel solution that is presented.
  • Clustering already-existing ATLs under the direction of a guidance committee made up of mentors, teachers, principals, and students is what it involves.
  • These committees oversee ATLs within their districts and make it easier for schools to access tweaking.
  • There are 20–30 ATL schools in these clusters, with about two thirds doing well and one third having difficulty.
  • The ATL Sarthi model demonstrates that more than 90% of schools exhibit high teacher and student attendance, and more than 85% perform well, as a result of banding together as a cluster and receiving leadership and mentorship.

Challenges and the Importance of Community Participation

  • ATL Sarthi implementation has several difficulties, one of which is the requirement for a mentality change in which schools own responsibility for the facilities provided to them.
  • Providing tools, encouraging communication, and sharing power are all crucial to embracing community involvement.
  • This highlights the fact that without community ownership, government programs, no matter how many, would be as successful.
  • It doesn’t matter how modern the topic is, communities must take the lead to realize the full potential.
  • Using this strategy can help bring in innovations from companies to schools, creating success stories akin to the White and Green Revolutions.

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