Wounded earth air pollution

Wounded Earth - Effects of Air Pollution

By Seetha Anand | Feb 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Air pollution is not merely a threat to our health but a reminder that our most celebrated technological achievements are in fact environmental failures. Be it automobiles or jet planes or power plants, they are all guzzling down precious fossil fuels. Some ways to reduce pollution include energy conservation, switching to renewables, and following the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Labour Care = The Human Factor

By Dr. Shashi K | APR 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Our urban scene anywhere in India appears like a permanent construction site. All along the construction sites, the lesser privileged live in temporary accommodations. Most of these people are the victims of the vagaries of the weather or early victims of climate change related droughts who come to cities for some opportunities. Labor care therefore is one of the most important considerations that we as a construction firm are completely committed to.

Which Electric Vehicles Are Available In India

Diesel, Petrol, or Electric Vehicle: How Can I Decide Which Is Best For Me?

By Dr Shashi K | Apr 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Electric vehicle has been a human fancy for a long time. However, never before the urgency to have electric vehicles as mainstream vehicle had been more than in recent times. This is particularly significant as electric vehicles are clean energy vehicles and something that can help wean us away from our fossil fuel addiction. Electric vehicles are also non-polluting and will propel urban ecosystems to become cleaner and better.

Why Should We Use Star Rated Appliances?

By Dr. Shashi K | Mar 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

A higher star rated appliance will assure you save money for the life of the appliance. A monthly saving of just 200 units would put Rs.1,700 in your pocket at current electricity rates. Over ten years this means Rs.2,04,000 and over 25 years this means Rs. 5,10,000, factor in this cost when you buy a new appliance. While earlier it was difficult to understand the energy efficiency quotient of appliances, now the star ratings helps us understand the potential of savings directly.

Star rated
Why is it important for everyone to know about Biodiversity-1

Biodiversity Loss and What We Can Do About It?

By Dr Shashi K | Mar 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

We are losing some of our unique ecological niches because of the direct and indirect disturbances that we humans create in our ecosystem. As a result of the changes in land use, pollution, global warming, and physical destruction of ecosystems, species are getting extinct. Although extinction of species is a natural Darwinian process, the rate at which the species are getting extinct now is unprecedented. It is entirely possible to stop the accelerated loss of biodiversity by making changes in our life-style. And it’s all……… worth it.    

Why Is Renewable Energy Important? Types of Renewables

By Dr. Shashi K | Mar 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nothing, perhaps nothing else that matters so much is more appropriately named than how energy is classified. Embedded in the name of renewables is the core of what renewable energy delivers. It is the form of energy that can be renewed endlessly as it makes use of the resources that are a part and parcel of the Earth’s natural system, be it oceans and tides, water, wind, sunlight and even accessible heat energy stored in the Earth.

Why is renewable energy important-1

Indoor Air Quality

By Dr Shashi K | Mar 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Indoor air quality is mostly an undervalued asset as there is very little awareness about its correlation with overall health and well-being. Outdoor quality contributes to it to some extent, but many indoor air pollutants are not really suspected as cause of pollution that can be harmful to humans. Biological, chemical and particle pollution can create significant distress to all humans especially most vulnerable sections of the society just as newly born babies and old people. 

Organic Gardening - Vertical, Terrace, and Regular Gardens

By Dr. Shashi K | Feb 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Gardening offers some less visible, but equally sustaining benefits - whether it is a vertical garden, a kitchen garden, a backyard garden or a roof-top garden. Home gardening helps close the loop from organic waste to compost to growing vegetables. It not only helps in reducing the heat gain on the roof/terrace and other areas at home but also contributes to enriched soil and reduced landfill waste. Besides, eating fresh fruits and vegetables immediately after harvesting assures high level of nutrition and satisfaction.

What is the relevance of vertical gardens in today’s society
Conventional Water Treatment-1

What is Wrong with the Conventional Water Treatment Options: What are the Alternatives?

By Dr Shashi K | Feb 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Waste water treatment has traditionally been the responsibility of municipal corporations, but due to water scarcity it is now mandatory for industrial and residential developments to treat sewage before releasing it. Conventional treatment of grey water requires oxygenation, which is energy consuming and generates large amounts of sludge that needs responsible disposing. On the other hand, a plant-based system (Phytorid) is a tried and tested technology that achieves the same results at minimal cost without expending energy or using harmful chemicals.

Is Solar PV A Feasible Solution For Our Power Needs?

By Dr. Shashi K | Feb 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Reduce or eliminate energy bills. Earn tax credits and rebates. Start savings from Day 1. Help the environment and help us all. Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels at home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. For a country with abundant sunshine and poor connectivity, using solar power to generate electricity clearly appears to be the way to go!

solar power panel
Wounded earth air pollution

Wounded Earth - Effects of Air Pollution

By Dr Shashi K | Feb 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Air pollution is not merely a threat to our health but a reminder that our most celebrated technological achievements are in fact environmental failures. Be it automobiles or jet planes or power plants, they are all guzzling down precious fossil fuels. Some ways to reduce pollution include energy conservation, switching to renewables, and following the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Organic Outlets in the City of Hyderabad

By Seetha Anand | Nov 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

In the last decade or so, there has been a rise in the number of organic stores and farmers bazaars in the city of Hyderabad. This has been the trend world over and the twin cities have caught up on it too. Today there are many players in the market.

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Vegan Options in the City of Hyderabad

By Seetha Anand | Nov 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Veganism is slowly but surely catching up in the city of Hyderabad. A vegan diet means no dairy, eggs, honey, meat, poultry or fish -- abstinence from all animal products. People turn vegans for reasons of health, prevention of animal cruelty and for environmental protection.

Organic Gardening - Vertical, Terrace, and Regular Gardens

Feb 28, 2019 12:10:20 PM / by Dr Shashi K

The sceptics’ amongst us would probably question how much one can grow on a vertical garden or a terrace garden?

What could be the co benefits of a home garden?

What would the inputs be in this sort of gardening and how is it better than getting vegetables from the market?

All these questions are relevant. Therefore, we would encourage you to read on to understand this better.

What is the relevance of vertical gardens in today’s society-1

If we suggest that the food that you grow tastes better, you would probably think we are trying to be persuasive. If you have not had a vegetable garden before, we encourage you to start with the simple heirloom varieties of our own desi tomato. Try ‘madanpalli’ or ‘Kumkum kesari.’ They are easy to grow and delicious to eat in salads or curries. Please share your experience with us as you have your first harvest.

Homegrown foods make for great gifts for neighbours. Or, take delight in creating your own sun-dried batch of tomatoes if the harvest is overflowing and you have it all for yourself.

This food is as organic as it can get. You use your own home-made compost or purchase very little from the local community. Other inputs include seeds, which you purchase once and continue to get more from your harvest. The water that you use is recycled, and the only other input is sweet tendering with your hands and watching your plants grow. Talking to a plant or playing music always helps too!

The feel-good factor from growing your own vegetables and fruits is very high!


How will an Organic Garden Help Me?

How will an organic garden help me-1

There are many benefits from having an organic garden in your balcony or backyard, not just for you and your family, but for the environment in general.


Eat Absolutely Fresh

Eat absolutely fresh-1

The advent of refrigerator has made so much difference to our lives as we can preserve foods for longer.

However, with that advantage came the convenience of accumulating foods, which almost most certainly assures that the food we cook from scratch is not fresh. Even if you buy from the local market, the food is at least one day old.

So, your own garden gives you the opportunity to taste something that is actually fresh.

People who learn to garden are not only far more likely to eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but also enjoy eating them more (University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences).

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Improve your Mental Health

Improve your Mental Health-1

According to a study by the University of Exeter Medical School, having regular contact with nature and green spaces in urban areas can help to keep you mentally healthy and aid in your overall happiness.

Moreover, because of the improved air quality due to the reduction and filtering of polluted air particles and gases through the plants, demands for health care and stress could be reduced. It is important to note, however, that one green roof in a city may not have a significant effect on its own. But larger numbers of roofs in a city could have a noticeably positive impact.


Beat The Heat

Beat the Heat-1

Research by the Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge has found that “a layer of vegetation can reduce heat loss from buildings, cutting the wind chill factor by 75%, and heating demand by 25%”.

In India, this means that the direct heat gain by the buildings reduces significantly. Now imagine if it were mandatory for the entire city to have a vegetation cover! It could mitigate so much of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHI).

For one, it would cover the bare roof, which contributes to the heat island effect in the first place and then, through evaporative cycle, it can cool down the air above it, thus reducing the heat island effect.


Contribute to Top Soil

Contribute to Top soil-1

Organic gardeners are always building up their soil with organic matter. Hence, there is less erosion of top soil. Kitchen waste that is used is also diverted from an otherwise over-spilling mountain of landfill that we all detest even looking at.


Increase Food Security

Increase Food Security-1

Anyone who raises the issue of food security for our ever-increasing population should strongly support home gardening as every little helps; especially when farming land is being lost to increased urbanization.


Recycle your Wastewater

Recycle your Wastewater-1

The watering needs of your plants are taken care of by your own recycled water as opposed to ground water from the farmlands. If that alone doesn’t make you feel good, read ahead.


Reduce Run Off

Reduce Run off-1

With some of the rainwater being absorbed by your garden, you are avoiding run off that creates havoc on the roads when the downpour happens incessantly. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have clear roads even when it rains?


Consume Carbon-Free Food

Consume Carbon-free Food-1

There is no embedded carbon in this food as far as the food miles are concerned. Earth Policy Institute states that two thirds of the energy used to grow the food from scratch is required to transport the food. So, while buying local helps, growing at home helps the planet even more.

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What is the Relevance of Vertical Gardens in Today’s Society?

Just as multi-storeyed buildings make the best use of limited space to create a dwelling, vertical gardens offer the opportunity to use the same limited space to improve the quality of life.

The beauty it adds to your otherwise dull or boring bare wall is an under-statement. Lettuces, coriander, mint, strawberry, tomatoes arranged in intricate patterns can create an all new trend of celebrating food that is always associated with dirtying your hands. You would be surprised to see how even plants do well in a community. An occasional finch perching on the flowers adds life like no other treasured collection can.

This is mostly a garden for a minimalist who wants to maximize the limited space. The space looks very organized with a great vertical garden. If you have limited space, go for a small vertical garden and expose that to the south eastern side so that plants get maximum sunlight during the day.


What is a Roof-top/Terrace Garden?

What is a Roof-topTerrace Garden-1

As the name suggests Roof-top or terrace garden is a garden on the roof of a building. So, rather than questioning why grow a rooftop garden, it can be reversed to say why not? At the very least, it will add value and character to the otherwise empty space.

It is the source of the most decorative, low carbon fresh food that provides temperature control, architectural enhancement, corridors for wildlife, and recreational opportunities.

Gardening offers some less visible, but equally sustaining benefits—whether it is a vertical garden, a backyard vegetable garden, a plot in a community garden, or a roof-top garden.


How Much Time will I need to Spend Tending to my Garden?

This may best be treated as a relaxation activity. Initially you may need to buy seeds as a starter. Once you start the activity, you would be surprised to see how within six months you will get gifts of heirloom seeds from your neighbours and acquaintances.

Taking your eyes off the bright screen of your laptop and indulging in a 5-minute de-weeding will give you the essential freshness that most urbanites are missing in their daily lives. Watering is the only other essential need a plant has, and that too can be automated based on precision and requirement.

Time to water my basil and mint!

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Dr Shashi K

Written by Dr Shashi K

Dr Shashi K is a sustainability professional with degrees in Environmental Management from Oxford University. She has experience working in Sustainability and on Green Buildings, Water, Energy and Reporting and is currently CEO of SAGE Sustainability, a consulting firm working in the field of social and environmental issues. Dr Shashi believes that the construction sector can be the foremost enabler in moving towards low carbon living.