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What COVID – 19 can teach us About Sustainability

There’s nothing good about COVID – 19, and it is certainly not going away without leaving its scars. In the middle of global lockdown restrictions, we realised, in retrospect, what happened to our earth when we stayed ‘out of sight’ for a few months.

 

Cleanest / Lowest Emissions in Recorded History

 

According to NASA, there was a decline in nitrogen dioxide emissions, which are a result of burning fossil fuels.

 

As per the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), India’s March 22nd curfew resulted in the lowest average pollution level ever recorded in spring.

 

Carbon dioxide emissions from China came down by 25%, thanks to those Corona Virus lockdown restrictions.

 

The same was observed in the satellite images of post-quarantine northern Italy and the cleaner waterways of Venice.

 

Industries and Green House Emissions

 

 

As of 2014, India’s total Green House Gases (GHG) emissions were 3.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, totaling 6.55% of global GHG emissions.

 

According to an online study, 69% of India’s greenhouse emissions come from the energy industry. These industries include fuel extraction, manufacturing, refining, and distribution.  Modern society consumes huge amounts of fuel, and the energy industry is a crucial part of the infrastructure and maintenance of society all around the globe. The agricultural sector comes second with 19%, followed by industrial processing (6%), and forestry (3.8%). Waste emissions contributed to about 2% of overall emissions.

 

India’s INDC in the wake of Green House Emissions

 

 

In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), India pledged to achieve a 33-35% reduction in “emissions intensity” by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. INDC is the primary means for governments to communicate internationally about steps they will take to address climate change in their countries. INDCs reflect each country’s goals for reducing emissions, considering their domestic circumstances and capabilities.

 

 

India’s Emissions

 

India is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs), after China and the US. Coal power plants, rice paddies and cattle are the primary sources of emissions, which continue to rise steeply, although per-capita emissions remain well below the global average.

 

 

What is the Solution?

 

“Fossil fuels have never been the solution, and the post-COVID-19 period has shown the necessity to change with times”, says Abhijit Barthur, Director of International Business at Scogen, India.

 

 

“While Sustainability is the need of the hour, you should adopt sustainable work practices that are in line with your business. For E.g. if you are into waste management and sewage treatment, you don’t go around erecting a wind power plant behind your facility. While it may be sustainable, it is not in line with your business practice”.

 

 

This blog aims to enlighten and encourage MSMEs to start taking baby steps – if not giant strides – in this direction. Our blogs will cover a whole gamut of industries, where domain experts give their invaluable advice on how various sectors can achieve Sustainability.

 

As of now, our planet earth seems to be savouring the taste of fresh air it has taken during the world-wide lockdowns. Yes, we have diligently cheered our health care workers from rooftops, shared safety postings on WhatsApp, and of course, practiced social distancing.

 

 

Post-COVID – 19, we also need to think about what we can do as individuals to make our planet more liveable. Let’s not wait for another pandemic force us into becoming environmentally conscious. Let’s start now!

 

 

 

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