Environment Scan

The world is a greener place today than it was 20 years ago. NASA used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) to get a detailed picture of Earth’s global vegetation through time. The technique provided up to 500 meter resolution for the past two decades.

According to NASA, in contrast to the perception that China and India are over exploiting land, water and resources for economic gain, the countries are responsible for the largest greening of the planet in the past two decades. China and India implemented besides infusion of technology around agriculture. India broke world records in tree planting, with 800000 Indians planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours.

The NASA’s high resolution imagery published in the journal Nature Sustainability, allowed comparison of satellite data :mid-1990s-2019.Initially,the researchers wondered about the significant greening around the planet. Was it due to a warming planet, increased CO2 or a wetter climate that could have caused more plants to grow. Further investigation of the satellite imagery, helped find the disproportionate greening in China and India. If the greening was primarily a response from climate change and a warming planet, the increase vegetation wouldn’t be limited to country borders. Besides, higher latitude regions should also become greener faster than lower latitudes as permafrost melts and areas like Northern Russia become more habitable.

The United States stands 7th in the total change in vegetation percent by decade. It is encouraging to see swift and rapid change in governance and land use.

Electronic waste comprises waste electronics/electrical goods that are not fit for their originally intended use or have reached their end of life. This may include items such as mobile phones, computers, monitors, calculators, CDs, printers, scanners, copiers, battery cells, Radio, TVs, medical apara and electronic components besides white goods such as refrigerators and air conditioners which contain hazardous constituents, although e-waste itself is not harmful. E – waste also contains recoverable value materials like copper, silver, gold and platinum. The harmful materials contained in electronic products are heavy metals such as lead, barium and cadmium which are harmful to health if they enter the water bodies. These materials can cause damage to the human nervous and respiratory systems.

India is among the world’s largest consumers of mobile phones and produces more than 1.5 million tonnes of e-waste each year. Most consumers are still unaware of how to dispose of their e-waste. E-waste Rules, 2016,was enacted on 1 oct 2017,further strengthening the existing rules.