By Merlin Francis.

In January this year, the massive ozone hole over Antarctica closed completely. The milestone meteorological event occurred for the first time in 40 years since scientists began monitoring the ozone hole, and 34 years since the signing of the Montreal Protocol.

This may give us reason to celebrate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer or World Ozone Day on a high. However, the cheer might be short-lived, given that not long ago, in August 2020, the ozone hole — formed due to meteorological events as well as due to the growing presence of…

By Shri Ravi Agrawal, Additional Secretary, MoEF&CC.

16th September each year is celebrated as World Ozone Day to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987, an international environmental treaty for phasing out of production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. The theme of World Ozone Day 2021 is “Montreal Protocol — Keeping us, our food and vaccines cool”.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the only international environmental treaty universally ratified by all the 198 United Nations member states.

India, as a party to the Montreal Protocol since June 1992, has been successfully implementing…

By Khileshwar Kumar Priya.

The power sector is in the throes of a transition. This change is being driven mainly by renewable energy integration, energy storage technologies to support the renewables, and smart meters. By tracking electricity usage round the clock, smart metering facilitates dynamic pricing (raising or lowering the cost of electricity based on need), helping distribution companies (DISCOMs) cut down on commercial losses. Smart meters, which are connected through a web-based system, also promote energy efficiency by helping consumers track energy usage instantaneously.

The Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP), launched by the Government of India in 2017, aims to replace 250 million conventional meters with smart meters by 2022. According to the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM), as of 17 May 2021, 24,22,120 smart meters have been installed; 75,22,949 are being installed; 8,02,000 meters are in the pipeline; and deployment of 69,26,379 smart meters has been shelved for various reasons.

With such growth in smart meter installation, it is instructive to look at the outcomes…

By Krithika Ravishankar.

“Healthy Air, Healthy Planet” — the theme for this year’s International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies 2021 — is upfront in acknowledging the ubiquity of air-pollution effects, calling for collective efforts to improve our air for a better tomorrow.

Estimating the success/failure of air-pollution control initiatives is an important part of the efforts towards better air quality. Globally, multiple approaches are used for estimating air pollution costs, as also for measuring the benefits of air-pollution reduction. One of the approaches is the income-based approach, which considers the loss of expected output over the lifetime of…

By Jaymin Gajjar.

Public health concerns have grown tremendously during the past two years because of the pandemic. The outbreak has led to a significant loss of lives and has serious implications for public health.

Some global studies have revealed a strong connection between air pollution — especially PM2.5 and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — COVID-19 infections, and mortality. According to these studies, air pollution exposure might increase COVD-19 transmission and its harmful effects on patients. Therefore, we need to adopt effective measures to control air pollution and clean the air.

The lockdown from 24 March to 17 May 2020 in…

By Mr S Ramadorai.

Today, air pollution is a matter of grave concern for both public health and the environment. It poses numerous risks to human health and is an avoidable cause of death and diseases worldwide. It also has severe detrimental effects on biodiversity and ecosystems, and the quality of life in general.

On this International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, let us raise awareness about the actions we can take to curb air pollution, and mobilise global efforts towards mitigating air pollution. …

By Ritika Saxena.

With 22 Indian cities in the top 30 most polluted cities in the world (IQAir, 2020), our new dependence on pollution management at receptors — such as smog towers, water sprinkling on roads, etc. — will fail miserably unless we prioritise source correction. We lack the capacity to remove all particulate or gaseous pollutants as no existing filtering technology can handle India’s current emission rates. Moreover, these rather optimistic solutions might give some big emitters the green signal to emit more. …

By Indu K Murthy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth assessment report (AR6) of working group 1 — ‘The Physical Science Basis’ has reinforced our worst fears about the state of climate. The signs of climate change have been visible for sometime now. Extreme events in different parts of the world — heat waves in North America, floods in Europe and Asia, and droughts in Africa — have left a trail of destruction and death, challenging the disaster management systems in place.

Recently, India witnessed two intense cyclones, devastating floods in the states of Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, and…

By Pareexit Chauhan.

In 2017, we were working on a solar-rooftop-analysis project for the city of Bengaluru, for which we needed extensive aerial imagery. Of the one year we spent on designing and executing the entire project, nine months were consumed by the data acquisition process!

The data policy for the geospatial sector then mandated that we take permissions from various government authorities like the Union Defence and Home Ministries. We couldn’t capture the data directly. …

Hanumanth Raju GV.

India has set some ambitious renewable energy (RE) targets for itself — 175 GW by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030. This assigns an important role to grid-scale energy storage systems (ESS) for enabling smooth integration of RE into the grid to assure stability and round-the-clock electricity supply to the downstream consumers.

The prominent ESS include pumped-hydro energy storage (PHES), compressed air energy storage (CAES), flywheels, secondary batteries (lead acid/sodium sulphur/lithium-ion/nickel-cadmium), flow batteries, hydrogen storage, fuel cells, supercapacitors, superconducting magnet energy storage (SMES), and thermal energy storage.

Of these, pumped-hydro energy storage is recognised as one of…

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