Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Artists Donate Work To PondyCAN

“You and Me”

Artists Asma Menon and Olaf van Cleef created an art work titled “You and Me,” currently on view at the Taj Coromandal in Chennai.  This Hindu Businessline article, When Chocolate Met Crystal, gives more details on the artwork and the collaboration between Menon and van Cleef.  Proceeds from the sale of the work will go to Pondy Citizen’s Action Network (PondyCAN).   Thank you to both for their generous donation!

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New Plastic Waste Handling and Management Rules (2011)

The following Press Note was released by the Ministry of Environment and Forest on 7 February 2011:

PLASTIC WASTE (MANAGEMENT AND HANDLING) RULES, 2011

Press Note

February 7th, 2011: The Ministry of Environment and Forests has today notified the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 to replace the earlier Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999 (amended in 2003). These Rules have been brought out following detailed discussions and consultations with a wide spectrum of stakeholders including civil society, industry bodies, relevant Central Government Ministries and State Governments.

Releasing the Rules the Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh said “It is impractical and undesirable to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic all over the country. The real challenge is to improve municipal solid waste management systems. In addition to the privatization and mechanisation of the municipal solid waste management systems we must be sensitive to the needs and concerns of the lakhs of people involved in the informal sector”

[I] Salient Features
Some of the salient features of the new Rules are:-
. Use of plastic materials in sachets for storing, packing or selling gutkha, tobacco and pan masala has been banned.
. Under the new Rules, foodstuffs will not be allowed to be packed in recycled plastics or compostable plastics.
. Recycled carry bags shall conform to specific BIS standards.
. Plastic carry bags shall either be white or only with those pigments and colourants which are in conformity with the bar prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This shall apply expressly for pigments and colourants to be used in plastic products which come in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water.
. Plastic carry bags shall not be less than 40 microns in thickness. Under the earlier Rules, the minimum thickness was 20 microns. Several State Governments in the meanwhile, had stipulated varying minimum thickness. It is now expected that 40 microns norms will become the uniform standard to be followed across the country.
. The minimum size (of 8×12 inches) for the plastic carry bags prescribed under the earlier Rules has been dispensed with.
. Carry bags can be made from compostable plastics provided they conform to BIS standards.

One of the major provisions under the new Rules is the explicit recognition of the role of waste pickers. The new Rules require the municipal authority to constructively engage agencies or groups working in waste management including these waste pickers. This is the very first time that such a special dispensation has been made.

[II] Role of Implementing Authority
The Municipal authority shall be responsible for setting up, operationalization and coordination of the waste management system and for performing the associated functions, namely;
. To ensure safe collection, storage, segregation, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste;
. To ensure that no damage is caused to the environment during this process;
. To ensure setting up of collection centres for plastic waste involving manufacturers;
. To ensure its channelization to recyclers;
. To create awareness among all stakeholders about their responsibilities;
. To ensure that open burning of plastic waste is not permitted.

[III] Additional Safeguards
. No carry bags shall be made available free of cost to consumers. The municipal authority may determine the minimum price for plastic carry bags.
. The municipal authority may also direct the manufacturers to establish plastic waste collection centres, either collectively or individually, in line with the principle of
‘Extended Producers Responsibility’.
. The new Rules have stipulated provisions for marking or labeling to indicate name, registration number of the manufacturer, thickness and also to indicate whether they
are recycled or compostable.

A link to the MOEF notification, dated 4 February 2011, can be found here.

Celebrate Earth Day at Creart

Celebrate Earth Day at Creart

Celebrate Earth Day at Creart

Creart invites you to the launch of four international ec0 clothing brands to celebrate Earth Day on 18 April 2009 from 5:30pm at 53 Rue Suffren (1st floor), opposite the Alliance Francaise, in Pondicherry, South India.  You will see clothing made from organic cotton, and clothing, furniture and jewelry made from recycled materials.  You can also support Pondy Citizens’ Action Network‘s Save Our Beach campaign with the purchase of an organic T-shirt!

Benefit Dinner for PondyCAN! – 14 March 2009 at 7pm

PondyCAN Benefit Dinner

Pierre Elouard and Satsanga are hosting a benefit dinner for Pondy Citizens’ Action Network (PondyCAN!) on Saturday, March 14 at 7pm at the Satsanga Annex at 54 Labourdonnais Street.  The benefit will go to fund PondyCAN!’s efforts to bring back the beach in Pondicherry and the neighboring areas of Tamil Nadu, including Auroville.

In addition to dinner, there will be an introduction to PondyCAN!’s activities by Probir Banerjee, President of PondyCAN!, a screening of a short film:  “Save Our Beach”, musical performances (fusion, classical Brazilian, reggae) and giant puppets!

Tickets are Rs. 600.  Please join us if you are in Pondicherry.  If you cannot be at the dinner, do consider a donation for PondyCAN!’s Save Our Beach project.

Vysial Street Restoration Project receives Award of Merit 2008

Poster for Award Ceremony

Poster for Award Ceremony

14 February 2009

The UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage “Award of Merit 2008” for cultural heritage conservation was awarded to the Government of Puducherry for the Vysial Street Restoration. Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar received the award certificate from Moe Chiba, Program Officer for Culture, UNESCO, New Delhi.

Lt. Governor, Govind Singh Gurjar, speaking at the award ceremony

Lt. Governor, Govind Singh Gurjar, speaking at the award ceremony

Congratulations to INTACH, Pondicherry, for preserving a stretch of Vysial Street (Rue Calve Subbraya Chetty) between Rue de la Cathedrale (Mission Street) and Mahatma Gandhi Street in the “Tamil Town”, an area where the traditional continuous verandas (thalavaram) and semi-public benches (thinnai) have survived. Twenty traditional facades were restored and an additional four houses redesigned to fit in with the streetscape.

Vysial Streetface

Vysial Streetface

Shuddham and PondyCAN! President Probir Banerjee Honored for Excellence in Social Service

Probir Banerjee Receives an Award from Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gurjar

This morning, in a Republic Day ceremony at Pondicherry’s Indira gandhi Stadium, Lieutenant Governor Govind Singh Gujar honored our dear friend and colleague Probir Banerjee for his extraordinary devotion to voluntary service to the people of Pondicherry.

Probir serves as the president of both Shuddham, the innovative NGO pioneering simple, effective solid waste management strategies in Pondicherry, and of PondyCAN! (Pondicherry Citizens Action Network), which fights for critical environmental protection and advocates a farseeing program of integrated regional planning. He works tirelessly and selflessly to staunch the erosion of quality of life in our town and to assure that its future will be healthier, happier, and sustainable.

There were two interesting aspects to the Republic Day ceremonies award from which speak volumes about Probir’s impact on the well-being of his community. First, of the two-dozen-or-so awardees felicitated the Lieutenant Governor, Probir alone was honored for social service. Other honorees were policemen, intellectuals, athletes, students, and educational institutions. Second, the event program, which contains a lengthy exposition of the LG’s development agenda for the coming year contains the following item:

To keep pace with the developments, the Government could hardly afford to ignore environmental protection. Sustainable development is the watchword and toi ensure that development is not made at the cost of environmental degradation, the Government of Puducherry has constituted a committee to campaign and implement a “Clean and Green Puducherry” policy. The Ousteri Lake has been declared a protected place for avian fauna. The Governmentis willing to re-examine its policies toward the prevention of coastal erosion.

Most of these ideas reached the Governor’s Palace for the first time in a series of meetings, led by Probir, introducing the new head of the Union Territory government to the work of Shuddham and PondyCAN!. The stated willingness of the Government to take a serious look at Pondicherry’s massive, development-induced coastal management disaster represents a major policy shift. The politicians and administrative bureaucrats in Pondicherry have long supported port development and hard-structure “defenses” to coastal erosion in the form of seawalls and groynes, notwithstanding the patent stupidity of this approach. It’s not clear that the Lieutenant Governor’s good intentions can alter the destructive course they have set. But the mere fact that the question is on the public agenda illustrates the effectiveness of the work of Probir and PondyCAN! in less that two-short years.

So, as you celebrate Republic Day, spare a thought for Probir Banerjee – a kind of present day freedom fighter whose struggle is just beginning to etch its way into the national consciousness.

PondyCAN! Did!

Gingee Bazaar Architectural Rendering

Pondicherry Citizens Action Network (PondyCAN!) has a rather ambitious agenda: to effectuate long-range, integrated regional master planning which will preserve, restore, and enhance this once-beautiful, rapidly despoiled, utterly unique heritage town and its surrounding natural resources, and place them within a small-radius network of symbiotic economic hubs. Some of our endeavors are far more modest, however. One recent effort involved dissuading the Pondicherry Municipality from constructing a massive concrete market block at the top of the central canal which divides the French and Tamil districts of the historic Boulevard Town.

The Public Works Department had designed and sent-for-bid an architecturally abominable, two-story, air conditioned, concrete structure to house the few dozen ragamuffin vendors who sell fruit, vegetables, flowers, and fish on what is now a patch of tree-shaded dirt ground at the same site. The PWD plan would have accommodated 120 vendors in a bloated footprint extending street-to-street-to-street-to-street, with neither footpaths nor parking areas. It would have visually and physically have choked on of the area’s few remaining open spaces.

Working with architects from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Pondy CAN! made a detailed study of the project and developed a new design for the proposed structure. With the help of our Legislative Assembly Member, we lobbied hard for the new plan, which incorporated open-walled, tiled-roofed, vernacular architecture and systems for recycling, collection of organic waste for composting, public toilets, and other public hygiene improvements. Our plan accommodates 60 vendors, physically separating the fish mongers from the fruit and vegetable sellers and providing segregated veg and non-veg wash facilities.

And we won!

The Government of Pondicherry has just announced that the new Gingee Bazaar, built according to our design, will commence construction next month.

Continue reading ‘PondyCAN! Did!’