A look into the current solutions for a cleaner industrial emissions

This video shows GE Power’s Air Quality Control Systems (AQCS) that regulate emissions for particulate and gaseous pollutants from power plants and industrial operations. These two sectors contribute to more than 60% of the energy demand. GE Power has the expertise, technology and comprehensive product portfolio to meet the regulatory specifications to curb air pollution.

GE Power recognise the hazardous nature of the particular matter, and one of their technological invention is the fabric filter, where the efficiency to remove particulates exceeds more than 99.97% (GE Power, n.d.). This significant reduction of particulate emissions reduces the emissions of nano particles that are often more hazardous than their larger counterparts due to their heightened penetrability into places like the brain cells.

However, these forms of clean emission technology are often expensive and might not be readily available in the developing countries, where a significant amount of industrial operations operate there due to the lower cost of operation. But, these industries might not have the financial capability to afford the expertise and technology of clean emissions companies such as GE Power. As such, the transboundary nature of the emitted pollutants continue to plague these developing countries and their surrounding neighbours with air pollution.

A more pressing issue is that the pollutants can be altered during the transportation phases into a secondary pollutant. The secondary pollutant have the potential to cause more damage than the primary pollutant. The most significant thing about these secondary pollutants are that regulations are difficult to be in place as it is difficult to attribute the source of the secondary pollutant to the primary source and the primary pollutant.

In conclusion, technology advancement proves to be capable of reducing the emissions of air pollutants into the air, subjected to the willingness and ability of the industrial operators to install these clean technologies.

References

GE Power. (n.d.). Particulate Control. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from https://www.gepower.com/steam/products/aqcs/particulate-control.html

Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHcn6iu1VBs

A continuation on the outlook of Delhi

Following my post on the polluting industries in Delhi, just this morning, there is a news article about the crackdown on 146 polluting units in Delhi.

The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has “launched a crackdown on polluting industries functioning illegally in the redevelopment area of Mandoli” (Figure 1 showing the location) (Panditi, 2016). This illustrates the strengthening of political will within Delhi to curb the rapidly increasing pollution amidst period of economic growth and industrialisation.

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Figure 1: Location of Mandoli (red pin) with reference to New Delhi

The sudden strengthening of political will is attributed to the increase awareness of the “poisonous emissions from factories and the burning of tyres and tress in the Mandol Industrial Area during the night hours” in November 2015 (ibid.). This parallels my early points on the importance of education and awareness on the emissions and harmful health effects. These two coupled together has the ability to drive forward actions either through top-down or bottom-up approach. The policymakers may be inclined to improve the health and well-being of the residents or the residents can push for political actions towards cleaning up their residential area.

However, it is important to note that bottom-up approach in these industrial areas have limited power due to their lack of representative power in the decision making of the industries and the governmental agencies. Collective efforts between the residents are required to drive bottom-up changes.

Moreover, even with top-down and bottom-up approach to actively curb industrial emissions of harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and water bodies, the lack of enforcement and regular checks as well as the exploitation of legal loopholes by the industries will also limits the effectiveness of the legislation in place. As such, DPCC have to step up on the regularity of checks on the emissions of these industries as well as tighten the legislation to minimise the loopholes available.

All in all, it is still satisfying to see Delhi have up their game on curbing industrial pollution and further efforts can be undertaken to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in the area. The closure of the 146 polluting units should also not be a one time event, continuous actions should be undertaken to continue deter industrial emissions among the industries.

References

Panditi, A. (2016). DPCC orders closure of 146 polluting units. The Times of India. Retrieved from http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/DPCC-orders-closure-of-146-polluting-units/articleshow/55057504.cms

A look into Delhi’s future

I recently chanced upon a news article entitled “Delhi lacks long-term plan to check industrial pollution”. This has caught my interest as long-term planning and foresight is critical in managing industrial pollution. This is because the effects of industrial pollutants are not immediate and this time lag results in the need for present action to be undertaken to curb industrial that pollution in the future of the atmosphere of Delhi.

In the article, it is reported that “industries and power plants in and around Delhi are the biggest source of pollutants” (Shrivastav, 2016). This shows that the issue pressing on Delhi are not only point sources but there are non-point sources too. Figure 1 shows some of the contribution of industries’ pollutants into the Delhi’s atmosphere.

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-11-07-46-am Figure 1: Sources of major pollutants in the atmosphere  of Delhi (Retrieved from Shrivastav, 2016)

Point sources also exacerbate the industrial pollution in the vicinity of Delhi(Figure 2) where the “two power plants are major sources of fly-ash” (ibid.). These are point sources but maybe a non-point sources to other regions where the fly-ash can travel over distances to reach the atmosphere of the neighbouring cities of Delhi.

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Figure 2: Polluting industrial areas in Delhi (Retrieved from Shrivastav, 2016)

The most pressing issue to the atmosphere of Delhi is the lack of political will to curb industrial pollutants emissions. While efforts have been implemented to control fly-ash, officials from the environmental department still admits that it “becomes a problem in summers”, probably due to the lack of funding available  for technological assistance in minimising the emissions of fly-ash(ibid.).

Moreover, these industries can exploit the legal loopholes and engage in the use of “low-quality fuel, including furnace oil, illegally” (ibid.).

Also, the lack of enforcement is an issue in Delhi where the “government has not conducted any inspections to check if the industries are violating the fuel norms” (ibid.). This could be due to the perception from the government that these industries are essential for economic development of the country, and hence reduce their willingness to fine these industries for fear that the transition to a cleaner industry will incur much cost and time from the industries.

As such, one immediate solution to be undertaken is to increase the political will and awareness of the harmful effects of these industrial pollutants. When the higher authorise are aware of the harmful effects, they will be more inclined to have actions in place for the long-term planning of the reduction of industrial pollutants being emitted by the industries. Enforcement will also be stronger and close monitoring will also reduce the emissions illegally.

Reference

Shrivastav, K. S. (2016). Delhi lacks long-term plan to check industrial pollution. HindustanTimes. New Delhi. Retrieved from http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi/delhi-lacks-plan-to-check-industrial-pollution/story-XvnVL4h3w1ki2mdhFb9fuK.html

Trade Villages in Vietnam (Part 2)

After learning about the increasing pervasiveness of trade villages in Vietnam, we have seen some problems associated with this rise (previous post). This has been driven primarily by the role of state where the state is pushing for the restoration and development of trade villages for the next two years (until 2015) (Vietnamtourism, 2013). So, to restore the environmental health impacts brought about by this promotion of trade villages to preserve handicrafts as well as developing specialised villages for economic development, it is important to minimise this emphasis by the state. This is the first proposed solution.

If preservation of these handicrafts and the development of specialised villages are inevitable to accompany the economic development of Vietnam, the next best solution would be improve and increase the accessibility to waste treatment facilities, which is an issue in these trade villages. Public education of the importance of such facilities can be inculcated to the trade villagers through platforms like fairs and bazaars where they sell their handicrafts or other trades. Following the education, concrete efforts have to be undertaken by both the state and the trade villagers. State can provide subsidies in the provision of the waste treatment plants and the trade villagers will have to receive relevant operational training by the industrial experts. The trade villagers can also be the ones that help in the building of these waste treatment facilities (Figure 1). Long-term and continual efforts have to be in place for sustained environmental health in the vicinity.

Figure 1: Subsidies from state accompanied by technical machineries while the trade villages will help in provision of labour for the construcition

Beyond education of the importance of waste treatment facilities, education on the harmful health effects of the released toxic chemicals of the trade are also important. Generally humans are response creatures, actions will only be undertaken when they are aware of the health effects of the toxic chemicals before they will undertake actions to counter or minimise the harmful effects.

However, this recent development of trade villages does not have a proposed structured solutions by the academics and all solutions proposed in this blog post are merely suggestions by me. I hope that this blog pot have increase the awareness of this phenomenon in Vietnam and more research can be done on these trade villages and improve the environmental health of the region.

References 

Vietnamtourism, 2013. Hue invests 9 billion VND in restoring tradiitional trade villages. Available at: http://www.vietnamtourism.com/en/index.php/news/items/7197/1 [Accessed October 20, 2016].

Credits

Figure 1: https://atswealthmanagers.com/ats-blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Subsidies-Indian-Scenario-and-road-ahead.jpg

Trade village industries in Vietnam (Part 1)

It has been a while since my last post. Been quite tight up with work as school semester progresses.

Anyway, let us begin with a relatively long video (25 min). Do be patient and watch through this to gain a short insight to the situation in Vietnam.

Wow, hope you are still surviving well after the video. Now you are starting to gain an interest in this topic right? Fret not, i will be unrevealing more insights to these trade villages.

First, it is important to note that craft villages have been promoted by Hanoi as trade village tourism (Vietnam Travel News, 2013). As Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, this has a significant impact on the other provinces. A four-day festival was even held to “introduce visitors to Hanoian cuisine”, further reinforcing the importance of trade villages in Hanoi (Dan, 2016).

Second, its is noted in the video that the fundamental problem of trade villages is that they lack the waste treatment facilities. (World Bank, 2010). This is problematic despite that rapid economic growth (8% in this trade villages) but yet the economic development is running parallel to the poor environmental health (ibid.).

We will now look at a case study of the electronic waste village in Trang Minh (suburb of Hai Phong city) as an illustration of the problem of lacking necessary waste treatment facilities. It is noted that levels of polybrominated dipheyl ethers (PBDEs) are higher in the breast milk women in Trang Minh, with tracing of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and hexabromocyclodecanes (HBCDs) found (Minh et al., 2010). While it is noted that the health risk for infants are low and considered for safe consumption, “more in depth epidemiological studies are necessary to assess the effects of PBDE exposure on the development of children in the recycling sites” (ibid.).

Lastly, the fundamental and most important issue at present is the lack of education of the people engaging in these trade villages. While the craftsmen and the villagers are aware of the toxic chemicals that is being released during the process of their work, “no measures (have been undertaken) to protect themselves and the environment” (World Bank, 2010). The continual release of toxic chemicals into the air, land and water will continue the never-ending process of bioaccumulation and biomagnification of these toxic chemicals in these individuals, to the point where their health will be compromised, even in the younger generations. Respiratory problems are a common trends of youths in these trade villages for example (ibid.).

In conclusion, here we have seen the present issues pressing the trade villages in Vietnam and we will be discussing more on the appropriate measures to be undertaken by them in my next post. See you and have a good weekend.

References

Dan, N., 2016. Festival to promote essence of Hanoi’s traditional craft villages. Vietnam.net. Available at: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/art-entertainment/163235/festival-to-promote-essence-of-hanoi-s-traditional-craft-villages.html.

Minh, N. et al., 2010. Science of the Total Environment Accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls and brominated fl ame retardants in breast milk from women living in Vietnamese e-waste recycling sites. The Science of the Total Environment, 408(9), pp.2155–2162. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.01.012.

Vietnam Travel News, 2013. Hanoi promotes trade village tourism. Available at: https://www.vietnam-visa.com/hanoi-promotes-trade-village-tourism/ [Accessed August 16, 2016].

World Bank, 2010. Vietnam – Industrial Pollution and Environmental Health Among the Poor, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT4sDuRcrWM.

Youtube Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT4sDuRcrWM

Made in China: Cancer Villages (Part 2)

Hope everything is doing good for you. Let’s begin the week with a continuation on my previous post on cancer villages in China.

In this post, I will be sharing about the “future” of the cancer villages.

First up, the expected trend. According to Liu, the cancer-village phenomenon seems to show no sign of slowing down, but instead, picking up it speed and “worsen in the future”” (Liu, 2010). The reason for this suggestion is due to the long-lasting nature of the environmental pollutants. This points to the issue of the longevity of the pollutants, which maybe unknown to the people or unaware to even the environmentalists as pollutants can interact in the air and form secondary pollutants. Moreover, the increasing emergence of “electronic-waste villages, weird-disease villages and lead-poisoned villages in China” are facilitating the emergence of more cancer villages, as these are often viewed to be carcinogenic (ibid.).

Secondly, “economic, social and political disparities are likely to persist” (ibid.). This facilitates the development of cancer villages in China as the power disparity between the powered and the powerless are likely to remain and even strengthen, resulting in the weakened voices of the residents living near the polluting industries. In addition, “corruption is likely to be controlled”, hence the loopholes of the pollution laws in China will continuously be challenged and exploited, facilitating the spread of cancer villages (ibid.)

However, this is not all that gloomy. It is noted that the “central government is paying more attention to pollution” (Xinhua, 2015). Top-down approach on pollution tend to be more effective as they are the ones that have the power and the political will to implement legislation and enforces them. This can be complement with the efforts undertaken by the local governments. For instance, “Guangdong’s Human government invested RMB40 million yuan (about US$6 million) to manage the trash mound that was blamed for causing the cancer village Yuanfeng” (Wang et al., 2009).

However, it is important to recognise that aside from the top-down initiatives, efforts also have to be from the polluting industries. For instance, legislative loopholes can be exploited if these industries do not see a need to reduce their harmful emissions. Moreover, cost proved to be an issue for the industries as the installation of cleaner machineries may pushed up the cost of production, which may hinder with their low-cost output mentality.

In conclusion, cancer-villages are likely to persist in China for some time and efforts have to be put in placed now to minimise the future impacts. Sustainability should be emphasised in these industries, where they are producing without compromising the health of the future generations. Top-down governmental efforts should also be complemented with institutional collaboration with the industrial stakeholders for maximum long-term benefits.

References

Liu, L., 2010. Made in China: Cancer Villages. Environment, 52(2), pp.8–21. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=49125459&site=ehost-live.

Wang, W., Liu, J. , and Liu, M. , “Humen Invests 40 Million Yuan to Manage the Trash Mound in the Cancer Village,” Guangzhou Daily, 23 April 2009.

 

Xinhua, 2015. No Title. CCTV America. Available at: http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/05/28/china-steps-up-pollution-control.

Made in China: Cancer Villages (Part 1)

Welcome back to “Industrial Pollution 101”. As always, let us begin the blog post with a short video of the case study that i will be sharing about today. You can make a short guess on today’s topic after watching the video.

Yes, you are right! I will be sharing about cancer villages in China in today’s post.

Cancer villages in China are not an alien concept to many of us. But do you all know that there is an astonishing “459 cancer villages across 29 out of 31 China’s Provincial Units excluding Tibet and Qinghai” (Liu,2010) (Figure 1)

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Figure 1: cancer-village phenomenon scale in China (Retrieved from Liu, 2010)

For those of you whom are unfamiliar with the term “cancer villages”, it refers to the “post-reform phenomenon in mainland China, where the number of cancer patients in some villages is extraordinarily high, and water contamination from industries is often the likely cause” (ibid.). This nation-wide issue has only been recognised in 1998 (Kainan, 2013). Environmental transparency is necessary in China where it only became transparent since the report published in 1998. (ibid.)

This proves the beginning of stronger political will to target industrial pollution and the release of industrial waste through unethical means like disposing into open water and atmospheric emissions of harmful particles. “Denial, intimidation and silence” are three issues faced by the China authorities (ibid.).

In my opinion, the biggest barrier faced by China in solving the issue of cancer villages is the lack of environmental transparency and political will. “They have tested the water, but refuse to publicise their results” (ibid.). This is a direct quote from a Greenpeace East Asia’s toxic campaigner, and it presents the direct core of China’s prevalence and widespread cancer villages. This runs in tandem with the lack of freedom and democracy in China, where the views of the vulnerable groups (those residing in/near the cancer villages).

This has been exacerbated by prevalence of corruption and the lack of laws and laws enforcement in China (Liu, 2010). While legal means are in place to limit the release of industrial waste into the air, water and land, enforcement of the laws are weak. The lack of specifics also prove to be loopholes that will be exploited by the industries and hence not solve the core issue of untreated released of industrial waste (ibid.).

Globalisation, driven by the drive of China’s expanding economy, exacerbate the issue of industrial pollution in the country. Cities experiences atmospheric pollution while rural areas faces water pollution (ibid.). It is mentioned that “industrial pollution would have been less severe if China were not the world leading manufacturer of chemical products” (Liu, 2010). Thus, this highlights the importance of rapid economic expansion in China that correlates positively with the extent of industrial pollution.

As such, after understanding the causes and extent of cancer villages in china, it is crucial for measures to be in place to reduce the expansion of cancer villages. Stay tune for forward actions.

Reference

Kaiman, J., 2013. No Title. The Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/04/china-villages-cancer-deaths [Accessed October 4, 2016].

Liu, L., 2010. Made in China: Cancer Villages. Environment, 52(2), pp.8–21. Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=49125459&site=ehost-live.

Video Credits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU2bfYzPZTQ

Wearing the effects of textile production? (Part 3)

Now, we are at the end of the trilogy of “The Effects of Textile Production”. We are going to end this with the solution to reducing the effects of textile production.

One common method employed is through the use of sustainable clothing. Sustainability is often defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own need” (Brundtland, 1987), emphasising on ethnical consumption (Jobber,2006). This is “the taking of purchase decisions not only on the basis of personal interests but also on the basis of the interests of society and environment” (ibid.).

An example is the purchases of Bt cotton. This form of cotton are genetically modified that are resistant to pest infestations and does do not require insecticide application (Bacillus Thuringinensis , n.d.). This helps to save the cost on pesticide applications of between $25 and $65 per acre  (Bacillus Thuringiensis, n.d. ). This is important for reducing eutrophication and water pollution caused by the surface runoff of pesticides into water body which then increased the nutrient composition of the water.

However, one important thing to note is the rapid increase in the market share of sustainable clothing “implies that consumers are concerned about sustainability”(Gowerek et al., 2012) but this is accompanied by an opposite actions undertaken (Shaw et al., 2006). While studies have inconsistent result on the reason for this, this is likely due to the perception that sustainable housing might not be as “good looking” as the fast fashion., resulting in it to have its colloquial name of “slow fashion” (Figure 1).

 

slowfashionlogo

Figure 1: Slow Fashion aka Sustainable Clothing

Beyond improving the marketing and image of slow fashion, it is also important to change the lifestyles of people through “recycling, reusing and reducing” clothing. We, as consumers, play a critical part in improving the living conditions of people in textiles towns as well as those near it.

Start now! Recycle old clothes, reuse the clothes and also reduce the purchase of fast fashion. Switch to slow fashion now!!

References

Bacillus Thuringinensis . (n.d.). How does Bt works. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/how_bt_work.html

Bacillus Thuringiensis. (n.d. ). Bt Cotton Data. Retrieved October 1, 2016, from http://www.bt.ucsd.edu/bt_cotton.html

Brundtland, G. (1987). Our common future. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.

Gowerek, H., Fisher, T., Cooper, T., Woodward, S., & Hiller , A. (2012). The sustainable clothing market: an evaluation of potential strategies for UK retailers. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management , 40(12), 935-955.

Jobber, D. (2006). Principles and Practice of Marketing (Vol. 5th edition). Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

Shaw, D., Hogg, G., Wilson, E., Shui, E., & Hasasn, L. (2006). Fashion victim: the impact of Fair Trade concerns on clothing choice . Journal of Strategic Marketing , 14, 427-440.

Credits

Figure 1: http://www.slowfashioned.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/SlowFashionLogo.jpg