Sunday, 22 January 2017

'Halla Bol' - Dr Amiben with her team, adds a new concept - 'Green the red' to spread awareness on Sustainable Menstruation.....

It does not only take a wise step, to find a solution, it also takes a bold and innovative thoughts, and will to implement he same. Dr Amiben, with her team, did exactly the same, when she discussed and spread the awareness on sustainable menstruation, at 'Halla Bol', a social event organised on Sunday, 22/01/2016.

Dr Amiben yagnik is not a new name to Surat social circle, and to the readers of this blog. Below is the text, that explains the concept.

Green the Red- A Campaign to Spread Awareness on Sustainable Menstruation

The Problem 

Disposable Sanitary Napkins- An Impending Environmental Hazard :
Until a couple of decades ago, women in India used scrap cloth from old saris or towels during their menstruation. In a country where the bodily function of menstruation was and still is a taboo subject, with the accompanying  shame, stigma and myths surrounding it, many women still reuse pieces of old cloth, without drying them in the open sun and often hiding them in dark corners of their houses, resulting in health risks.
Disposal sanitary napkins are being proposed as a solution to this. Many manufacturers, NGOs and even the government are selling and distributing napkins at very low costs and even 'free'. However, this approach in menstrual hygiene, is creating a whole of slew of new problems in a country like ours with a large population and poor waste disposal systems and  defeats the very purpose of the Swach Bharat Abhiyan.
The shame around menstruation, continues even with the disposable napkins and women do not dispose waste properly. They hide it and dispose it in a way that can be detrimental to the environment. In urban and semi-urban areas, disposable pads are often flushed down toilets, leading to sewer blockages and becoming a health hazard for sanitation workers.
Menstrual waste ends up littering roadsides or getting burned in huge trash heaps. This releases toxic dioxins into the atmosphere and also pollutes the soil and groundwater. A sanitary napkin takes 500-800 years to degrade. A woman uses around 10,000 pads, on an average, in her entire lifetime for around 30-40 years. Each sanitary pad is equivalent to 4 plastic bags. There are 300 million menstruating women in India. Imagine the burden of menstrual waste and its accompanying pollution if all women switch to disposable sanitary napkins. A humongous environmental health hazard is staring in our face, which needs urgent action.

Impact to women's health 

The ingredients of a modern sanitary napkin- the super absorbent polymers, the acrylic based gel, the leak proof layer which causes itching and skin rashes. Many women complain about rashes and burning, but continue to live with this discomfort. Many young girls and women in the rural areas who are given free sanitary napkins under various schemes, continue to use the same pad for over 10-12 hours. Furthermore, to give tampons and pads that pristine, "clean" white look, the fibers used must be bleached. Chlorine is commonly used for this, which can create toxic dioxin and other disinfection-by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethane. Considering that these pads are in direct contact with the highly sensitive area of the body, there are concerns of health risks.
While disposable pads may be appealing because of their convenience- the inconvenient truth is that they present a huge health and environmental problem. 

The Solution 

Promoting menstrual hygiene products which are ecologically safe, affordable and safe for a woman's body.
These are the menstrual cup and the washable cloth pads
Cloth pads: A 'new look' and design to the old cloth method, and can be easily washed and sun-dried.
The Menstrual Cup- A cup can be used for a life time and is environmentally the best option today. It is economical in the long run and women find it comfortable to use.
However, these options are not advertised and hence not known to most women in urban and rural areas.
There is a need to make women aware of sustainable menstruation options. Green the Red is a campaign to educate women on sustainable menstruation and the advantages of switching to options that have minimum impact on environment and are the least polluting. 

'Halla Bol' was one of those social events, organised by 'Surat Obstetric and Gynecology Society', wit theme of 'healthy Girls, Healthy India' on 22/01/2016. this social event became unique with these awareness campaign was added to it......

Himanshu (Arjun) Padhya

Friday, 18 November 2016

"Being educated and being literate are two different things" - Ranjit Patel, a young student and eSports Commentator exhales.....

Changes, resilience and reforms cannot materialise without young minds. It is my vivid observation as a teacher, that young people, a students or not, have a definite views. Every generation has its own ideas and own original views and a perspective on the problem…..and often, they are right.
Ranjit Patel, is a student of computer engineering in Surat. He is like any other young person….full of youth and enthusiasm. What makes him different and special is, his choice! Apart from being a student, he also is eSports Commentator (Shoutcaster) and a Host. In simple terms, he is a commentator and anchor, for gaming competitions for computer games – not an ordinary carrier. And different thought, lead to different solutions. Pasting his views, as they were sent, here....

"Surat is one of the finest cities in this country and one of the best cities to live in. But a lot of things could've been way better if people were a bit more considerate and the planners put in a bit more thought into some of the projects that have been developed in the city."

"First of all, BRTS is a really good concept, but the problem with it in a city like Surat is the fact that surat hasn't really been "Planned" and the BRTS project in that sense hasn't really been planned at all. Now, obviously all the feasibility tests have been conducted for the project, but planning in the sense that if it should be carried out in a certain region or not has surely been poorly done."
"If you go beyond Minibazar towards Katargam, there are hardly roads with two lanes, and the fact that more than one lane has been occupied for BRTS services just doesn't make sense to me. The only route which has been properly planned for BRTS in my opinion is the Udhna Magdalla road and the canal road which goes towards Sarthana because it's probably the only road which was developed keeping BRTS services in mind."
“And the Reason why I'm heavily critisizing the planners/designers is because if you go to Gaurav Path, it is still wide enough even after the introduction of BRTS, but the problem is, the overhead bridge. It just goes on to show how much "Planning" (I'm being sarcastic with this one) has been put into it and how much Municipal Corporation and SUDA Lacks coordination.
The foot over bridge was built before the work for BRTS was started, but that doesn't mean they weren't aware about the plan for BRTS (unless I’m completely wrong. Which I really hope I am). Because of the foot over bridge, the foot path on the left couldn't be widened at the point where the bridge has it's support and the base, which in simple words creates a bottle neck."

"So you have the whole Gaurav Path from Kargil Chowk to Lal Bhai stadium with two lanes, but at the point where the foot over bridge has it's base, there's only one lane due to the bottle neck, which literally throws all the "Planning" out of the window."

“Then comes my second point, civic sense. I currently live in Surat’s one of the finest areas, i.e Vesu. But even though it is one of the finest areas in terms of facilities and amenities, the mentality of people still remains the biggest hurdle. I live in a society with 13 Buildings and a huge campus, but the fact that people still throw garbage out of their window most of the times still infuriates me. Because it's not just the garbage at times, I've literally seen milk coming down from a window, because I've been the "Victim" of it (Yes, Milk was quite literally showered on me while I was on my way to attend my classes)."

"This is one thing that will not change immediately, it will take one or maybe two whole generations to change, but this change will only be possible if the educational institutes start from the grass root level. Putting education first rather than literacy."
“And this brings me to my third and the last point."

"Being educated and being literate are two different things that a lot of people don't realise."

"And let's just say that 95% of the population which has been to school is just literate and not educated. The reason why I'm saying this is because, I've seen this, and I've been through this. I picked up a non-conventional approach to my career which a lot of people might not understand at first and that is totally understandable. The problem starts when you try and explain it to them but they still do not want to change their views about it."

"I'm not going to use the big words that "the system needs to change and blah blah", but rather it is on the institutes to take necessary steps to cultivate the talent and the passion that the children possess."

"So I'll conclude by saying that reforms are necessary and that too major ones. It will take time, but the changes will have to start now. Because let's just face it, schools and colleges put in a lot of emphasis on marks/placement (more than necessary) and fail to realise that there is a lot more to the students than only these two things."

"My appeal to the institutes would be: Let's start off by making better humans first rather than making better students."

"If we succeed in doing this, the solutions to the problems will come automatically."

Thank you, Mr Ranjit. We look forward for more interaction....,

Himanshu (Arjun) Padhya

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Two news items, one bad, one good marks the day....!

Let’s have the bad news first.

Many schools in Delhi would remain closed today, on account of heavy smog due to air pollution. Apart from Municipal Corporation Schools, many other schools too, have joined. Though, this is only for day, what we need to ask ourselves is, is this the only day? Or is this just a trailer of many more such days to come….???
Answer is simple. All the readers of this blog would have no difficulty in understand the gravity of the situation. The National Capital, though currently the only city, it is very likely that soon many cities would make the list.

Delhi schools to remain closed due to heavy air pollution. Who is responsible? From GujartaMitra daily, 05/11/2016.
Click on the image fro HQ resolution please.

The good news is, that the Paris climate deal takes effect from today as announced by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Now we must move from words to deeds and put Paris into action,” he said. “We need all hands on deck – every part of society must be mobilized to reduce emissions and help communities adapt to inevitable climate impacts.” Reads the caption from the news, on the link shared below.

Paris deal for climte change effective from 04/11/2015.  From GujartaMitra daily, 05/11/2016.
Click on the image fro HQ resolution please.

With these news, the question that we all need to ask ourselves is, “The world is definitely taking its pace towards the resilience, are we…??”

After reading this post, one of the readers,  Mr Vivek Kapadia, a post graduate student pursuing his environment studies, sends us following images of Delhi, at non today.  05/11/2016 noon. The smog still hovers over the city.......

Himanshu (Arjun ) Padhya

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Celebration, Yes, Resilience.....?? It's a long way.....

Thick cloud of smoke hovers over the major roads of the city as this is being written....mainly in the area of Piplod and University road......decreasing the visibility if the road to a considerable extent, demanding that extra attention from the driver.....
And its not some early winter fog...its the smoke from Diwali crackers.....the effect of this pollution will remain for many days and Surtis will keep on breathing this polluted issues will will again demand those 'extra' efforts from the authorities to bring the city to its usual pace. Not to mention the noise pollution and solid waste issues also.....

A lot many people who have contributed to this blog have repeatedly appealed and insisted for 'celebration with responsibility'.......we must sustain....we must celebrate and conserve our environment at the same time, so that our future generations can celebrate like we do......

Picture taken on Diwali 2016 night. Click on the picture for HQ resolution.

Surat had spirit like no other city. We are the city that got up on its own after the floods of 2006. And Sutis, do understand. But it's just that the time demands we understand more. Not a little more....a whole lot more. 

And there was this interesting sidebar. I was able to speak to some rag-pickers who were busy collecting the boxes and other debrief from fireworks. They would sell these at 08, eight rupees a kilo to some contractors..... This was not the case before a few years.....this will definitely help in cleaning the streets and roads mode effectively and rapidly..... 

Rag-pickers earning their minimum wedges were seen active. An interesting sidebar.

Once again, it's time we showed that Surti spirit for our city, our environment.  A lot has been said and written. We already have enthusiasm for the celebration, and now we need that 'sense of belongingness' that seems so lost......

Wishing a very happy new year to all reader and Surtis....lets make that change, let's make it NOW...!

Himanshu (Arjun ) Padhya

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Wishing Happy 'Resilient' Diwali and a very Happy New Year to all.......

‘Diwali’ is not just a celebration of light….as we all know it is a celebration of victory of good over evil. It is the celebration of the day, when Shree Ramji defeated Ravan, and returned home to his parents’ blessings.

A lot of readers, almost all readers and concerned citizens have already expressed their views on celebrating our festivals with more concern, and more sense of belongingness towards our Surat, and our environment.

So let us, one more time, get together, for a celebration that is more environment friendly. Let us all seek blessing from Shree Ramji, to make our city more ‘resilient’, more environment friendly, and a better place to live.

Happy ‘Resilient’ Diwali and a very Happy new year to everyone…..

100 RC

Diwali 2016 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Surat Speaks - Ms Mimansa Shastri, a dynamic post graduate from PRL, ISRO in Space and Atmospheric Science, stresses on methodological changes in our way of life......

“The recent prediction as presented by a Times of India report says that 2016 will be the hottest year among 2014 2015 and 2016. I am little perplexed. Am I the only one who is feeling this ever existent – more than required warmth in the urban areas? Or am I the only one who has read so many things about man made global warming and can relate to it? Why are the well-educated and well aware people not speaking a word about conservation of environment. Is this one issue which everyone is missing out?? Why people of India are afraid of sensationalizing this extremely important issue which the whole world is talking about?” Writes Ms Mimansa Shastri, on her blog. Her concerns, though expressed a year ago sound still very much contemporary…..and that’s the reason why they are important.

Ms Mimansa Shastri, is one of those ‘different people’…..she has her M.Sc in Applied Physics from SVNIT and post graduate diploma in Space and Atmospheric Science from Physical Research Laboratory – PRL, (mother institute of ISRO), Ahmedabad. Her expertise in these fields, with background of internationally acclaimed institutions, adds the gravity to the concerns and issues she has raised…...

“During the PG Diploma course work I got interested in atmospheric science and started researching on the atmospheric aerosols. During the research work I came across research papers which showed how festivals impacted negatively on the environment which ultimately lead me to a conclusion that we need to start making common people aware about the present scenario and how by implementing simple changes in the way of our celebration. We can bring lot of positive change in the society. I strongly feel that some methodological change is required in the way we celebrate Ganesha festival and Diwali. For instance installing eco friendly Ganesha which can be immersed in water at home and reused as soil for home plants/ using alumn as material for building Ganesha idols…..” Shastri further adds.

“With some of my friends I’ve started an initiative under our group ‘Rayzz of Hope’  for spreading awareness regarding the eco friendly way of celebrating festivals. I try not to lose a single chance for speaking against the issues of air/ water/ land/ noise pollution which citizens generate in the unnecessary activities.  I feel that since we have started finding eco friendly alternatives for so many other day to day activities then why festivals should be excluded.  We need more voices to make our voice stronger. I plead Surtis to spread the cause as much as possible.

Participation of common people is most vital in bringing solution to any such issue. This blog, aims in becoming a platform for like minded people like Ms Mimansa and bringing their voices on one common platform.
One cannot agree more with Ms Mimansa. When the concerns are coming from experts like herself, it is important for every citizen to think, and rethink our way of life – ‘lifestyle’. If we wish to maintain our way of life, we must improve it for better….!

Sincere thanks, Ms Mimansa…….

Himanshu (Arjun) Padhya

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Surat Speaks - Mamta Vora, a dedicated housewife and equally active environmentalist has innovative ideas for solution.....

“We exist at a time when the climate change has become irreversible and we have to focus urgently on preventing it from further deterioration. We have to do what is possible and what is still in our control before it is too late….Our focus should be to minimize water and air pollution and sound pollution for our sanity…..” Says Mrs Mamta Vora, a housewife, with post graduate degree in science, and a keen dedication for the social causes and conservation of environment.

Mrs Vora has her master’s degree in home science. She is one of those citizens, who are not only concerned, but also believe in action. She has been actively managing her time, in giving her services as teacher for primary students and also has been actively involved in promoting eco-friendly products for city. She also has a deep concern for increasing noise pollution and its ill effects.

“We celebrate many festivals in India which are a joy to few and inconvenience and harassment to many and the environment. We pollute the air busting loud crackers which also contribute to sound pollution as well as littering the road with debri.  Any true religion is about nurturing the planet not destroying it. We can celebrate using paper crackers and safe natural colours and diyas using oil rather than candles. Being religious does not mean proclaiming your faith by bursting noisy crackers at midnight …..” her words are harsh, but speaks reality. Noise pollution, even without celebrations, is one those ‘neglected’ issue of our city. Our city is on verge, with noise of celebrations and vehicular horns.

“The Ganesh festival with the POP idols and the pollution they cause to rivers and aquatic life as well as the sound pollution caused for 10 days around the installation is quite a well-known and discussed subject. We have to replace POP with clay or any other environmentally friendly alternative. There are many alternatives and awareness of these can be advertised on hoardings displayed by showrooms etc. They can even participate and install such an idol which will set an example to follow.”

“Hoardings with such eco-friendly solutions displayed by shops and showrooms will send a powerful message and at no extra cost as they would be displayed on their own signboards. And when this is done along with the establishments own participation people will certainly join in large numbers.” This is a wonderful idea, as suggested by Mrs Vora. A general appeal, to all people and establishments, who are putting hoardings, to just add a simple, small tagline in their hoarding for some cause of environment conservation. This is a unique idea, and something that has potential not only to involve more people for a cause, but also to make a change for real!

“There should be a term used for psychological pollution which destroys mental peace. Lack of civic sense when standing in a queue, honking unnecessarily, wrong side driving, wrong side overtaking , continuous sound pollution by industrial air-conditioners and restaurant chimneys , lack of parking sense , cheating on taxes, fraud …..All of the above may not destroy the physical environment but are very detrimental to our spiritual and psychological health and environment.”

She is also actively involved in promoting eco-friendly bags, for preventing use of plastic. 
Eco friendly paper bags for your products available at...

Shree Mahadev Trust
0261 2322306

Please contact the above for your requirement of paper bag and share contact details to other groups.  You may talk to  Kusumben Desai.
Let us take the initiative to stop using plastic

Sincere thanks, Mrs Mamta Vora…….

Himanshu (Arjun ) Padhya