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Latest NewsThere’s no crop burning presently, so why is Delhi’s air so polluted?
The Print (Online), 4 December 2017
Traditional sources of pollution combined with weather factors have resulted in Delhi’s air quality worsening again.
The Sri Lankan cricket team held up the second day of the India-Sri Lanka Test match for over 20 minutes, blaming breathing difficulties due to the terrible quality of Delhi’s air. Unlike the last time when Delhi faced a spell of bad air quality, this time it’s not crop burning, but a mix of factors to blame.
Dr Suresh Jain, Professor and Head of the Department Of Energy and Environment, TERI University said that the pollutants are not being dispersed because of meteorological reasons. However, the factors causing pollution, he said, have more or less remained constant.
“A few weeks back the major contributor was agriculture burning, but now it’s not that,” said Jain. “If the temperatures are dropping, there might be other sources, like the burning of refuse to escape the cold. That could contribute to air pollution.”
For the first time since 14 November, the air quality has dropped to ‘hazardous’ as of Monday morning, according to AQI data released by US Embassy.
A report filed by IIT-Kanpur in 2015 for the Delhi government had listed the biggest sources of pollution in winter as: secondary particles (25-30 per cent), vehicles (20-25 per cent), biomass burning (17-26 per cent), burning of municipal solid waste (8-9 per cent), and minimal contribution by road dust. The Environment Pollution Control Authority had imposed a penalty for burning waste in October.
“The three most important meteorological factors are the drop in temperature, the increase in moisture, and a drop in the wind speed. These three factors are governing the low dispersion— or high accumulation— of air pollutants close to the ground,” Jain said.
Jain said that rainfall expected later this week would help bring down air pollution levels drastically. However, an increase in wind speed is what would help disperse the pollutants.
Polash Mukherjee, a senior research associate at the Centre for Science and Environment, said that ambient levels of air quality in winter are bad because of continuing practices, but the current air quality is not out of the ordinary.
“This is the regular level we see during winters every year,” Mukherjee said, adding that it is usual for air quality to fluctuate between ‘poor’, ‘very poor’, and ‘severe’ in winter.
“It gets so bad in winter because of the various sources of pollution which affect Delhi around the year.”
Both say there’s no easy way to resolve the issue.
“It’s really unfortunate that this is happening, but part of the problem is that the solutions are really unpopular and require a lot of political will to carry it out,” Mukherjee said, referring to methods like the odd-even rule for cars. “These are essentially really unpopular steps in a democracy like ours.”
UGC warning to institutes: Drop ‘university’ from name or lose ‘deemed’ status
Hindutan Times (online), 2 December 2017
Leading educational institutes such as Symbiosis, Manipal and Teri could lose their “deemed to be” status if they fail to convey by Thursday their acceptance of a University Grants Commission (UGC) directive to drop “university” from their names.
The higher education regulator on Wednesday issued two separate orders to 29 deemed universities, where hundreds of thousands of students are enrolled.
The compliance report should be emailed by 4pm on Thursday or “necessary action would be initiated against the institutions, which may include recommending withdrawal of the declaration” notifying them as deemed-to-be universities, the UGC said in the two letters, copies of which are with Hindustan Times.
Wednesday’s directives stem from a Supreme Court order of November 3, asking the UGC to stop deemed-to-be universities from using the word “university” in their names.
The first of the two UGC letters was addressed to seven institutes -- including Pune’s Symbiosis International University, and the Bengaluru-based Christ University and Jain University -- directing them to change their names.
While granting them the deemed status on the UGC’s recommendation, the government had used the word “university” with their names.
The second directive was issued to Manipal University, Delhi’s Teri University, KLE University in Belagavi, and 19 other institutes. They have been asked to drop the word university and “revert” to the names notified by the government at the time of granting of deemed-to-be status.
Manipal University, for instance, was registered as Manipal Academy of Higher Education and KLE University as KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research.
The UGC wrote to 123 institutes twice -- on November 10 and 13 -- to comply with the SC order within 15 days. Of these, 29 institutions didn’t respond.
The Energy and Resources Institute, better known as Teri, is ready for name change.
“It has taken us time because we are going through an approval process to change the name back to Teri School of Advanced Studies. That is the name we had in 1999 when we started,” Teri University pro vice chancellor Rajiv Seth said.
They changed the name to Teri University in 2006 because the UGC allowed it, he said, adding, “Now that the SC has ruled that we cannot use the word university, we will change it back by tomorrow.”
After the November 10 UGC circular, Manipal University decided to change the name to Manipal Academy of Higher Education, registrar Dr Narayana Sabhahit said.
“The process of changing the name will be completed before the prescribed deadline… We will be communicating the decision to UGC shortly,” he said. “I would also like to highlight this is just a change of name and our status as deemed to be university remains unchanged.”
Symbiosis did not respond to emails sent by HT.
The deemed status is granted to higher education institutes doing quality work in a particular stream. For instance, Symbosis specialises in management studies and Manipal in engineering.
These institutes can’t be called universities because their expertise is not multidisciplinary but the deemed tag brings academic status and privileges of a university.
TERI School of Advanced Studies hosts India’s first ever “7 Days Challenge”- a call to action for Youth to Eat, Live and Move sustainably for a week
India Education Dairy.com, 1 December 2017
New Delhi: TERI School of Advanced Studies, in its endeavor to promote education and action on sustainable development, launched India’s first ever ‘7 Days Challenge’. The initiative is a youth oriented drive to encourage awareness about lifestyle choices and their effect on the sustainability path. Interested individuals will be encouraged to take more sustainable and smart actions around choices they make as they EAT, MOVE and LIVE their daily life. The programme is in association with Embassy of Sweden, within the Sweden India Nobel Memorial Program 2017 and Eco-Club initiative of Department of Environment, Government of NCT of Delhi.
The ‘7 Days Challenge’ aims to encourage both innovation and awareness about lifestyle choices that contribute to sustainability, not only for 7 days but beyond for a lifetime.
The Pre-Challenge Work Lab was held at TERI School of Advanced Studies as a starting point for the 7 Days Challenge. The event officially announced the 7 Days Challenge for school/college students across Delhi NCR and was graced by H.E. Ambassador Lars Ronnås, Swedish Ambassador for Climate Change, who along with Dr Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI School of Advanced Studies and representatives from the Eco-Club initiative of Department of Environment, Government of NCT of Delhi interacted with over 230 students and teachers and PhD students of TERI School of Advanced Studies. The Work Lab involved informative and interactive sessions, group activities and briefing on how to report their daily routine and updates as they take up the challenge. The teachers along with the participants of the work lab will act as facilitators for other participants at their school/college level during the 7 Days Challenge, becoming mentors and ambassadors of change towards sustainable living.
In her address Dr Leena Srivastava, Vice Chancellor TERI School of Advanced Studies said, “Moving to more sustainable lifestyles needs a change in mind sets. Younger minds learn and adapt more quickly and youth can have a great influence both on the older as well as the younger generations! Therefore, while the sustainability problems we face today have been created by your elders, you have it in your powers to correct for their mistakes. Let not your children hold you responsible in the same way as you can hold your elders responsible today.”
The objectives of the 7 Days Challenge are:
· To emphasize the role of individual action for sustainable development
· To spread awareness about the need for adopting practical sustainable solutions and lifestyles at individual level
· To build individual capacity and motivate individuals to improvise and innovate their choices and lifestyle towards more sustainable ones and improve their own quality of life
During the Challenge, participants will constantly update their daily activities on the ‘My Report’ page on the Challenge website, www.sevendayschallenge.com, which can be submitted every day and after the completion of 7 days. Participants are encouraged to bring about some innovative actions during these 7 days. The Challenge will culminate with the felicitation of winners of the Most Innovative Actions Awards at a grand reception at the Embassy of Sweden in Feb 2018. The winners and selected participants will also present their experiences of participating in the 7 Days Challenge.
As UGC cracks the whip, many drop ‘university’ from name
The Times of India (Online), 1 December 2017
NEW DELHI: Chandigarh-based PEC University of Technology and Bengaluru's Christ University were among a clutch of institutions of higher learning which rechristened themselves after the University Grants Commission (UGC) pulled them up for including "university" in their names despite their "deemed to be varsity" status.
The UGC had on Wednesday pulled up 29 "deemed to be universities" and had said that they cannot use the word "university" as per Section 23 of the UGC Act. It had also warned that these institutions would lose their "deemed to be university" tag if they failed to make the switch.
They were given time till 4pm on Thursday to comply and asked to submit an alternative proposal as requested. According to a senior UGC official, a majority of the institutions have complied and reported the same to the body. Institutions given the ultimatum include government-run ones like Punjab Engineering College which was granted "deemed to be university" status in 2003 and National University of Educational Planning and Administration set up by the HRD ministry.
Other institutions that were issued the notice include Christ University, Symbiosis International University in Pune, TERI School of Advanced Studies in New Delhi, Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Karnataka, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubaneshwar and Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology in Patiala.
The UGC had on November 10 and 13 asked the institutions to comply with the SC direction of November 3, 2017, restraining institutions deemed to be universities from using the word "university".
On November 29, 2017, UGC wrote to the erring institutions: "It has been observed that inspite of directions from Supreme Court and UGC, the deemed to be university is still using the word 'university' with its name... This noncompliance of the orders of the Apex Court and the directions of the UGC has been viewed 'very seriously' by the UGC."