IS INDIA DROWNING IN GARBAGE?

The old saying out of sight, out of mind definitely does not apply when it comes to getting rid of personal waste.

Garbage, though unseen, can have real impacts on the environment when it is not properly disposed of. Burying rubbish as a means of disposal is one the oldest and most common forms of waste management, but unfortunately, the impact that landfill sites have on the environment are huge.

The environmental problems caused by landfills are numerous. There are no arguments over the assertion that there are many things that contribute to the environmental problem of landfills. The negative effects are most commonly placed into two distinct categories: atmospheric effects and hydrological effects. While these effects are both of equal importance, the specific factors that drive them are important to understand on an individual basis.

The mixture of chemicals like bleach and ammonia in landfills can produce toxic gases and odor that can significantly impact the quality of air in the vicinity of the landfill. Hydrogen sulphide produced in landfills smells similar to rotten eggs.

Travelling from central Delhi towards Ghazipur in the city’s east, the first warning that you get of the approaching landfill is the sight of circling birds of prey. The mound of waste itself becomes visible much before one is assaulted by its stench. Smoke rises steadily from the pile, as the decomposing waste generates highly combustible methane gas. Three of the four stinking waste mountains (landfills) are long overdue for closure and there are no fresh landfills available to take in the current daily discard of 9,000 tonnes. By 2020, the Capital needs an additional area of 28 sqkm, more than the entire spread of Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone, to dump 15,000 tonnes of garbage daily.

Aside from the various types of gases that can be created by these landfills, dust and other forms of non-chemical contaminants can make their way into the atmosphere. This contributes further to the air quality issue which plagues modern landfills.

When it comes to waste management in India, little is the way it’s meant to be. Mumbai literally raised a stink recently when a fire broke out at the Deonar landfill, severely compromising air quality in the city. The national capital too is fast becoming one huge garbage dump with civic body sanitation workers on a strike to protest against non-payment of salaries.

Delhi has miserably failed to manage its waste load. Only 15 per cent of R1,350 crore that the three corporations spend on waste management and sanitation is spent on actual disposal. The rest goes into collection and transportation.

The authorities must ensure segregation and promote composting and recycling. They must quantify waste generation for setting effective reduction targets. But don’t wait for the authorities to do everything. From segregation, recycling to composting — you can make a difference. And, yes, consume and waste less. Now is the time.

EVERY PROBLEM IS A LEADERSHIP PROBLEM

With as many problems as we all face in our work and life, it seems as if there is never enough time to solve each one without dealing with some adversity along the way. Problems keep mounting so fast that we find ourselves taking short-cuts to temporarily alleviate the tension points – so we can move onto the next problem. In the process, we fail to solve the core of each problem we are dealt; thus we continuously get caught in the trap of a never-ending cycle that makes it difficult to find any real resolutions.

Pick any leadership challenge; it comes down to problem solving issue. Nothing more and nothing less. Issues always revolve around talent, competition, operation, execution, strategy, etc. Of course these are small problems which a leader can easily solve right? Surprisingly, No.

Most often the problem arises when they try to work on the wrong problem ta wrong time with wrong reasons. This happens due to lack of perception and lack of understanding.

If you ever say “No one can do this as good as I can”, this is a leadership problem itself as well as a false belief.

No one is immune to leadership failure. A leader might fail to recognize the opportunity with various people on the team and in the company. Failures can caused frustration and turmoil, hurt some and confused others. Was the leader solely responsible? Of course not. Did the team members involved bear some responsibility? Of course they did.

When you break it down, problem solving is a competency. It’s a skill to be developed like any other. But the one aspect that makes problem solving more complex than other leadership skills is that the best solutions are rarely created in a vacuum, and rarely do they come from the leader themselves.

CLIMATE CHANGE IS INFLUENCING INDIA’S FARMER SUICIDES

Financial distress, lack of timely help and crop failure has often been blamed for the spiraling numbers in farm suicides in India. Now, a US study has added climate change as another significant factor that is driving the disaster northwards.

Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers over the past three decades, according to new research that examines the toll rising temperatures are already taking on vulnerable societies.

It’s a widespread and intensely personal issue, one that has been difficult to tease out the root source. Debt, mental health, lack of social services, weather vagaries and even media coverage have all been put forward as part of the problem. Now, recent research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that climate change could also be playing a role.

Just a degree rise in temperatures above 20 degrees during the crucial crop growing season (June-September) could push up the number of suicides by 70. In the last 30 years, a total of 59,000 farmer suicides in India have been attributed to the direct cause of rising temperatures by the study published by the University of California, Berkeley researchers.

The striking correlation between the rising temperatures — dropping yields — suicides established by the researchers in the 13 States studied (1956-2000) is both disturbing and could be critical in formulating preventive strategies in future. Maharashtra (especially Vidarbha region), Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu clearly demonstrate that when temperatures rise, crop yields drop and higher numbers of suicides are reported.

Because of climate change, India is only going to get hotter. Starting in 2014, each subsequent year has shattered the previous year’s record as the hottest ever. Scientific consensus predicts average global temperatures to rise as much as 3°C by 2050. Carleton says that interventions have been either wholly absent or woefully insufficient over the period of time her study covers, and without an increase in measures like subsidized crop insurance, worker retraining, or low-cost loans available to farmers to keep them afloat when harvests suffer, India is looking down the barrel of more frequent hardship and, sadly, more lives lost to self-harm.

The authors say the relationship between economic shocks and suicide is controversial and, in India, the effect of income-damaging climate variation on suicide rates is unknown. Though, the Centre has announced a $1.3 billion climate-based, crop insurance scheme motivated as suicide prevention policy, evidence to support such an intervention is still lacking. Previous studies of income variability affecting suicide are mostly anecdotal or qualitative and do not attempt to identify and synthesize quantitative relationships between climates, crops and suicides, they claimed.

Farm loan write-offs by Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh recently and even by the UPA government have been resorted to as means to alleviate the problems, help farmers distress and in a way gain political mileage. Even subsidies on inputs like fertilizers and easy loans have not halted the growing demands from farmers for more soft loans and better minimum support price for the crop.

With Indian agriculture continuing to be dependent on timely rains, landholdings being small and farmers struggling for finances, the challenge to face the consequences of the growing impact of climate change is indeed daunting. Forecasts predict a temperature rise of at least 3 more degrees by 2050.

This implies urgent and increased measures to improve rural farmer’s credit, crop insurance cover and preventive strategies both at policy and ground level to avoid disastrous consequences in the long-term.

ORGANIC VISIBILITY

An online presence for your online business goes far beyond setting up a website that contains the name of your company and contact details. It involves creating a virtual point of business where people can find useful information on your website and interact with you through social media networks.

In the digital age, it is absolutely essential for your business to have an online presence. Whether it’s a website, an e-commerce platform, a social media page or a combination of all three, getting your company online will reap major benefits. Even if your company does not conduct business online, customers and potential customers are expecting to see you online. If they don’t see you there, you could be losing out on the opportunity to increase your customer base and get the word out about your business.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why your business needs to establish its online presence:

  1. Make it Easier for Potential Customers Come to You

Today, if someone wants more information about a company, they’re most likely to do their research online. Whether they’re specifically looking for your company, or they just want to find any company that offers the products or services that your company offers, having an online presence will give you a competitive edge. Potential customers will not put a lot of effort into finding you, and they should not have to. A simple Google search should provide them with all the information they seek.

Real life example: Your business distributes seafood, meats, fine wines and other spirits. A potential customer is having an impromptu family get-together and needs a few bottles of Wine and some shrimp.  She uses her smartphone to search for “wine and seafood near me”. Your company’s website is listed in the search results. After browsing your website, she’s satisfied that you can provide her with what she needs. You’ve just earned another customer!

  1. Make it Easier to Build Relationships with Customers and Potential Customers

Social media is all about building relationships. This is true for both individuals and businesses. Social media gives your brand a voice – it makes your company more “human” and relatable. Customers and potential customers can interact with your brand on a more personal level. It also gives you the opportunity to truly get to know your customers. If everyone is on social media except you, you are missing out on an invaluable opportunity to connect and communicate with your target audience. Social media is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to get persons interested in your company and to form real relationships with real people.

3. Effective Marketing

Online presence makes it easier for you to market your business and sell your products. A properly designed and informative website with well written content enables customers to make informed purchasing choices. The web provides a marketing platform that gives you a cost effective way to reach a wider audience than conventional marketing techniques.

4. Accessibility

It is essential for both small and large businesses to maximize on the benefits of having a strong web presence. Aspects such as dynamic search algorithms and social networks are influential in the process of making it easier for customers to locate different businesses online. A business that does not have an online business is regarded as non-existent in the modern and competitive business environment.

Customers get information through search engines and the internet is an unrivaled source of data. You have the option of hiring professionals who can help you establish an online presence based on their knowledge of factors ranging from latest algorithms to search engine codes. Marketing your business online constitutes your website, SEO and strategic use of social media.

DOES OVER-POPULATION IMPACT GLOBAL WARMING?

According to the United Nations Population Fund, human population grew from 1.6 billion to 6.1 billion people during the course of the 20th century. (Think about it: It took all of time for population to reach 1.6 billion; then it shot to 6.1 billion over just 100 years.) During that time emissions of CO2, the leading greenhouse gas, grew 12-fold. And with worldwide population expected to surpass nine billion over the next 50 years, environmentalists and others are worried about the ability of the planet to withstand the added load of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere and wreaking havoc on ecosystems down below.

In 1970, when worldwide greenhouse gas emissions had just begun to transgress the sustainable capacity of the atmosphere, the world population was about 3.7 billion; today it’s about 6.1 billion — an increase of 86 percent.

In that same period, worldwide emissions from fossil fuels rose from about 14 billion tons to an estimated 29 billion tons — an increase of 107 percent.

Population growth is not the direct cause of global warming, burning fossil fuels is.

Where some of the confusion comes from is that CO2 emissions are reasonably well correlated to population.

It’s not a one-to-one relationship, but there is a solid relationship. For a couple of centuries, more people meant a great deal more CO2 which more closely tracked gross domestic product on a one-to-one ratio. As countries became richer, that was reflected in their GDP and also in their reduction in fertility. More GDP equals flattening population but still increasing CO2 emissions.

“Population, global warming and consumption patterns are inextricably linked in their collective global environmental impact,” reports the Global Population and Environment Program at the non-profit Sierra Club. “As developing countries’ contribution to global emissions grows, population size and growth rates will become significant factors in magnifying the impacts of global warming.”

According to the Worldwatch Institute, a nonprofit environmental think tank, the overriding challenges facing our global civilization are to curtail climate change and slow population growth. “Success on these two fronts would make other challenges, such as reversing the deforestation of Earth, stabilizing water tables, and protecting plant and animal diversity, much more manageable,” reports the group. “If we cannot stabilize climate and we cannot stabilize population, there is not an ecosystem on Earth that we can save.”

Many population experts believe the answer lies in improving the health of women and children in developing nations. By reducing poverty and infant mortality, increasing women’s and girls’ access to basic human rights (health care, education, economic opportunity), educating women about birth control options and ensuring access to voluntary family planning services, women will choose to limit family size.