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Green Business Idea – River Transport within Mumbai & Smart City ideas !


The UN Secretary General, call for a meeting on the 23rd September, to understand what each Country would be doing, in his attempt to lift sagging morale of the environmentalists and continued disinterest of the World leaders for providing time bound doable agenda which would actually translate to abatement of Climate Change, needs all the support one can give.
To blame World Leaders would be wrong, simply because there are very few in the World arena today who have leadership quality. Had it not been so, Syria would not have had a blood bath from which spawned the ISIS. But, selling weapons of Mass Destruction is also good for the Economy. At least in the short-term. For some.

Almost all the industrial sectors are in some way related to and prosper from War! From Gold to Games all profit. Yes, games..almost everyone can take part on the near real episode of glory and gore, without actually dying!

Perhaps it would make a lot of sense if Countries could have a CGI war ! The losing side could have all its real money, converted to bit-con transferred to the winners. As the say, a failed economy is as good as a dead economy! At least the planet & people would remain untouched in the bargain.

But this sadly is not the case across the Middle East or South Europe! Add to that the deadly mix of Ebola and flood and drought!

As many climate change report have more or less predicted what anthropogenic Global Warming would bring about. Armageddon  is perhaps imminent in the near distant future !

So what if the UN Secretary General, provides the World Leaders with another option to boost economy other than oiling the war machine?

What about asking each world leader to adopt a developing or underdeveloped Nation’s city and help transform it into a Climate Resilient City. For the Building Industry too uses almost all the industrial goods and services as does the war machines. So here is another opportunity to boost the Economy and lift the sagging morale of the Environment brigade.

At least in India, they can immediately start on 100 of them !

Then look at the impacts of joining rivers! And cleaning the Ganga ! For in some parts the Ganga still lives. Are we sure we will not uproot an ecosystem, which may be a possibility if it needs to be navigable all the way?

Rivers of Mumbai

And while we are at it perhaps practice cleaning up the smaller rivers first which go from within the megalopolis, to gain first hand experience of which company will do the best?

Mumbai, therefore offers one of the best opportunity to showcase a Eco-friendly transport solution thus making it a  smart city from a sublime mess it is today!

At one stroke of a genius a politician can not only win the hearts and minds of the people for a longer time, but also ensure that the commercial city thanks it with continually filling it’s party coffers! (No politician worth his/her salt would touch anything which does not give for self-aggrandizement. Thus for the greater good so be it).

Let us look at the advantages and possibilities of cleaning up the rivers of Mumbai.

For starters lets count some of the rivers in Mumbai 1. Dahisar River a river in the northern suburbs of Mumbai near the suburb of Dahisar. It originates in the Tulsi Lake in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the northern reaches of the city.

2. River Mithi (also Mahim River) is a river in Salsette Island, on which the city of Mumbai is located. It is a confluence of tail water discharges of Powai and Vihar lakes.

3. Oshiwara River begins in the Aarey Milk Colony, cuts through the Goregaon hills, across the Aarey Milk Colony before emptying into the Malad Creek. On the way it is joined by another creek near S.V. Road.

4.Poisar River begins in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and empties into the Marve Creek and finally into the Arabian Sea.

The Polluted & Choked Rivers of Mumbai

The Dahisar River was once so picturesque that Hindi films were shot here. During 1956-57, crocodiles were witnessed to be residing the river, thus proving that it could harbor life and had a perfectly balanced ecosystem.

The rivers are nothing more than a mere stream when it begins and is contaminated with industrial effluents and sewage.

What we see in Mumbai is more or less happening all over the country and even the world. Rivers are dying. And we all know that great cities around the world are mostly near river banks.

But when I look at the Mega Urbanized Mumbai, which perhaps has all the failures of modern human habitation; I can also find rivers & lakes and a  forest reserve, which overlooks the sea! An extremely rare and perhaps unique combination of diverse ecosystem within a small geographical area.

This is indeed a city worth saving and transforming into a model from were others can learn and follow. How to coexist !

And to transform this city we need a Green Business Idea. After all it is the business hub of India with a sizable Gurjati population, who too can lay claim that business is in their blood just as our P.M Mr. Narendra Modi !

The blue print for it is already there. What we must is implementation in the shortest possible time. And add to it the concept of river navigation. From a quarter away from the point of origin, to keep it safe and more pristine, let water transport begin. With boats which are designed with roof-top Solar to power it.

There would be an immediate appreciation of real estate around the banks of the river, and as stringent laws would apply for better discharge of residential waste water (with complete ban on industrial discharge; or with super efficient affluent treatment); redevelopment, of projects would take place.

The economy would naturally take a boost. By utilizing its rivers for transport. Just as the suburban railways or the Metro which is its new addition. One look at the origin and exit of Mumbai Rivers in the map given, completely proves the feasibility of such a venture.

While the river cleaning action and the operating of ferry would also boost many business, at the same time stringent actions can be taken for CRZ ( Costal Regulation Zone ) violations. One of the moot reasons for CRZ violations is rooted in the concept of having a home facing the water-front! Be it anywhere in the World, a sea or river facing property always fetches a premium. So would all the future properties along the banks of the rivers of Mumbai.

I say future, because the current batch of buildings which are being designed need a serious overhaul and we must build Energy Efficient Buildings which would be Climate Responsive and at the same-time vernacular in design, thus blend form and functionality.

Malabar Hill, Mumbai in 1900’s

Imagine a stretch of real estate, about half a mile deep on both the banks of all the Mumbai rivers, which gives the citizens a feel of living in Goa. Yes! the climate and the feel of Mumbai of the Koli’s must have been pretty much like the holiday paradise.

The average productivity of each Mumbaikar would increase many-fold. Life-style related disease would reduce and pollution would be brought down. With efficient river transport coupled with the already existing suburban rail and metro network, the need for passenger cars would reduce thus leading to de-congested roads.

The areas around the length of the river would have several parks and open spaces which would once again become the natural catchment areas and soak up the rain to create higher underground water table, thus keeping the sea away. And also reduce the potable water crunch Mumbai faces every summer. And if the dredging improves the flow of water current; electricity too can be generated through micro-hydle mechanism. Thus a river alive today would have multiple use to business. While remaining sustainable.

And this idea would resonates so well with the World Bank thinking. As in World Water Week (August 31-September 5), the World Bank has warned that the world’s present ways of producing energy and providing clean water are currently on a collision course.

World Water Week 2014

The Bank says that 15% of water withdrawn from the environment presently goes to energy production, and that  amount will rise to 20% unless there is a rapid shift to sustainable forms of energy. This comes at a time when clean water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity.

It also warns that climate change will put further pressure on water and energy manage­ment by causing more outages to the water supply and intensifying severe weather events, such as floods and droughts. (read more)

It would also make a lot of business sense to have the City of Mumbai transformed into a Smart City, as it could act as a model for the new cities which we are thinking of building. What would work and what could fail can be easily mapped in this city is a microcosm of the country at large. The fight between nature and man,between conservation and commercialization is so well seen in everyday life of this once beautiful city.

The new capital near the city of Vijaywada which the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu is considering to develop. And considering that he is part of the NDA which is headed by our forwarded thinking Prime Minister, who would want to balance Economy and Ecology (although he is suspect of leaning more towards the Economy, presently) the idea that the researchers at Imperial College London have calculated must be brought to fore. The findings suggest many companies investing in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as tree-planting programmes or funding green energy in developing countries, may be having a bigger impact than they realise. Each tonne of CO2 offset by businesses brings $664 in additional benefits to host communities….But the paper outlines that purchasing carbon credits from well-managed offset projects not only reduces emissions, but also “creates economic development opportunities, aids environmental conservation and helps improve people’s lives by delivering household savings, health benefits and improving water resources, among other social benefits”.(read more)

So if business is in our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s blood, I hope he would be able to transfuse some into the cabinet, albeit changing its colour to Green ! And it would not be a moment too soon, as Andhra is a stricken Naxalite state. And farmers too are a distressed lot.

A recent study of the World Bank says that there has been a dramatic decline in honeybee populations. It has received wide media coverage, and not just because it imperils honey production. Agricultural production is also at risk, due to the important role bees play as pollinators. In fact, the value of the services they and other insects provide for the main global food crops has been estimated to amount to $209 billion a year, or 9.5 percent of the value of total global agricultural food production.

In light of the challenges posed by the decline of honeybees – and while the jury is still out on what exactly is causing the decline – the resources farmers have at their disposal to maintain or boost their productivity levels bear thinking about. In fact, even absent this decline, an economic analysis of farming techniques seems appropriate given the profit-maximizing nature of most farm operations. However, very little work has actually been done to look at natural ecosystems and the boosts they can provide to agriculture. (read more)

And there is this last thing which our Prime Minister whom we believe has a sense of National pride would want to showcase at least one of the 100 cities in the C-40 cities campaign. Yes, both New Delhi and Mumbai were signatories which was was mentioned in –Urban Development Rules: How C40 -City rules can make a difference for India.

However, in the City Climate Leadership Awards to be held on 22nd September in New York, India sadly does not figure.While each of the efforts are business opportunities. Or rather Green Business Ideas –

C-40 Cities Award Finalist

C40 Cities Finalists.

 

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Green Business Ideas: Solar Panels can save water in the fields for farmers.


In India, Dehydrated Fruits & Vegetables is nothing new, as I found in the link attached and one can even do this at home in the Western nations too.  But the first thing you will hear a fruit and vegetable vendor shout at the top of his voice in the dusty Indian Bazaars is how fresh his produce are. And in the cities too, wives go early to the mall called “Big Bazzar” every Wednesday because fresh fruit and vegetables are stocked up that day. In fact, it is sold a little cheaper. A smart move, because more would be sold  thus reducing the storage space and rotting, both of which otherwise is a loss to the company.

So, we buy fresh fruits & vegetables and what is the first thing we do? We chop the vegetables with great love and affection and prepare that special dish the “famous chef” prepared on TV for us. Following the instructions to the letter, we stir-fry or boil the vegetable and let it – “simmer in low-heat, so as to cook in its own juice, and once all the water is dried up, stir it some more and then add salt to taste, and the add some water, let it come to boil and voila, the super dish is ready!

In one sentence, most Indian cooking involves dehydrating the vegetables in the process of cooking and then adding water to make the curry.

Dehydrating means, as you all know; removing water from the produce. So why do we need to buy fresh produce ? Which contain a lot of water, when almost always we will in the process of cooking evaporate it away?

Imagine, we are more than a Billion in population, who empirically speaking cook our vegetables to make a variety of dishes but with more or less the similar process of evaporating the water away!

WATER – the United Nation has a whole department of intelligent people, striving along with World Leaders in high – powered conferences in air-conditioned halls, as to how its scarcity can be tackled !

WATER – Droughts and its aftermath, recorded by those award winning media anchors, in its full gory detail – we watch in horror and pain, clutching our Mineral water bottle a little tighter and rationing our sip !

WATER – On which books have been written, which we rush to buy during a Champagne & Cheese cocktail, reading event by the authors, who warns in their books that water scarcity may cause World War -III  !

WATER – The lack of which kills a farmer with regular monotony in the Country I live while I follow all the other three above  mentioned water related actions!

It is time WE leave the water in the fields when we buy our Vegetables & Fruits.

What I fail to understand is when the Country and the World is already having a very mature understanding of Dehydrated food, why then this is not percolating down to the grass-roots! While I do understand that Sociology is not an easy science and removing barriers are time-consuming,I have yet to see CNN, BBC, NDTV, Times Now TV and host of other regional News channel cover this topic on their very popular talk shows – every month. Documentaries of course once in a while do come. But the responsibility lies more with the regional News channels.

I can only propose a Green Business Idea which may perhaps benefit all.

What is essential is to connect the dots between seemingly diverse fields and giving them a common approach.

1. The UN must during the Rio+20 propose to the member nations to devise a format wherein tax rebates would be given to all who could show that they have used at least 30% of their vegetable prepared with dehydrated  form of the same. This will be both an incentive to lower mental barriers and a process of mild cajoling and not draconian law, before such laws become necessary for some Countries in the future.

2. Popular Hollywood & Indian main-stream cinema must show use and consumption, to make it fashionable. It’s the rich, who throw food away. Stand in the alley of any big Hotel and you will be amazed at the amount wasted. While, I’m not here to advocate good eating habits to adults, who should know better; at-least lets not throw out the Water ! And by the way the freshest and juiciest of fruits & vegetables can be found in these Hotel kitchens.

The people at grass-root level are the biggest market for any idea. And just like the grass  they always like to move upwards. Seeing their “heroes” endorsing dehydrated food could lead a multitude to follow. ( the income tax rebate is the real reason, but I have a middle class mentality – I need an excuse which is stylish ! )

3. Traditional SUN dried fruits and vegetables are super, but let that be for the – oh ! so rich. Us common people would be happy if it is offered to us packed and SOLAR dried.

Yep, all those solar panel manufactures and business persons, its time your creative team bombards the TV boxes with advertisement on how Solar dried fruits and vegetables can save the World form a climate crisis. You could always share your expenses with the dehydrated food industry, which would surely benefit from such advertisement too. Add this and promote this to the many other ideas on solar I have written in this blog. But this idea makes me the most happy.

In fact the SUN would be providing -Water! No farmer, no child in India or Africa or anywhere else would need to die, due to thirst. No, forest would turn dry and the birds and bees would sing as the always did, before man-made actions parched their paradise.

Its time the Rain Forest nation gives out the call; a green business idea on the road to Rio+20 !

 

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