An Indian engineer’s revolutionary air-cleaning/energy-producing technology attracts the praise of the United Nations, plus a deadly mudslide survivor vows to protect his city’s environment. Want Healthier Kids? Let ‘Em Play Outdors, and the first US city to ban new gas stations.
Indian Engineer’s Revolutionary Air-Cleaning/Energy-Producing Technology, Deadly Mudslide Survivor Vows to Protect Environment, Want Healthier Kids? Let ‘Em Play Outdors, and First US City to Ban New Gas Stations
INDIAN ENGINEER RECOGNIZED BY UN FOR ENERGY-PRODUCING/AIR CLEANING TECHNOLOGY
Vidyut Mohan has been named as a UNEP Young Champion of the Earth for 2020. Vidyut Mohan has pioneered a portable machine which burns agricultural waste without releasing harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere turning it into charcoal and fertilizer which can be used by farmers in India.
Farmers have traditionally burned waste in their fields, which not only pollutes the atmosphere worsening health conditions like asthma and heart disease but also contributes to climate change by releasing tiny particles of black carbon INTO THE AIR.
Vidyut Mohan is one of seven innovators recently recognized as United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Young Champions of the Earth for 2020.
DEEPER DIVE: UN NEWS, Young Champions of the Earth
SURGE IN DOMESTIC RENEWABLE ENERGY BATTERY STORAGE
Big news on renewable energy: Yale Environment 360 reports a boost for renewable, grid-scale battery storage, much of which is attributed to technological advances. Right now, a 300-megawatt lithium-ion battery is being prepared for usage, while another 100 megawatt battery is being built to come in 2021. Together the megawatt batteries will be able to power roughly 300,000 California homes sustainably for four hours during evenings, heatwaves, and other times when energy demand outruns supply, according to Vistra Energy.
In an interview with Yale Environment 360, the executive director of the California Solar and Storage Association said energy storage is the bridge to a clean-energy future. As of 2020, California is the global leader in developing high-capacity batteries.
A Deeper Dive: Yale Environment 360
HOW A DEADLY MUDSLIDE INSPIRED ONE TEEN TO PROTECT HIS CITY’S ENVIRONMENT
Whenever we can, The Climate Daily spotlights climate change and eco warriors. Today we put the spotlight on Al HAJI Siraj Bah, a 20-year old from Sierra Leone. Back in August 14, 2017, after a month of torrential rain around Freetown, Sierra Leone, a river of mud, trees and boulders cascaded into the city, killing more than 1,100 people, including seven members of Alhaji Siraj Bah’s adopted family.
The mudslide precipitated an environmental awakening for the teenager. He learned from the television that the catastrophe was worsened by deforestation and poor waste management around the rapidly expanding capital city. Freetown lost 31 percent of its dense southern forest between 2001 and 2015, according to Global Forest Watch. Without trees, soil on the high ground around the city is saturated by downpours, and the land is eroded. A lack of waste collection services in Freetown means garbage is often dumped in streets, gutters and river courses. This blocks drains and can leads to flooding, soil erosion and the spread of disease.
The teenager decided to invest his last $20 into tackling the plastic waste problem. He started working 16-hour days making recyclable bags from 70 percent banana leaves and selling them to local businesses. Bah’s company has produced roughly 250,000 bags, and he has branched out to producing an eco-friendly alternative to charcoal. Most households in Sierra Leone rely on charcoal for cooking and heating, but felling trees for charcoal is one of the main contributors to deforestation and land degradation in the country.
Burning it also pollutes the air and can cause respiratory disease. Globally, around 3.8 million people die every year as a result of household exposure to smoke from fuels including charcoal, according to the World Health Organization.
Bah learned from YouTube how to produce smoke-free briquettes, which he says burn for four hours longer than coal or wood. He collects coconut shells, sugar cane, rice husk, and palm kernel waste from farmers and households, grinds the raw material and binds it with starch before it is extruded through a machine.
He now employs 38 workers and has made more than 120 tons of briquettes – which he says has saved more than 15,000 trees. He says some of the children he has employed to collect coconut shells have been able to go back to school with the money they earned. “We are about the families we employ, about the environment, about the people around us,” he says.
DEEPER DIVE: CNN, Face2FaceAfrica, LadyGracious
FIRST U.S. CITY TO BAN CONSTRUCTION OF NEW GASOLINE STATIONS
A northern California city becomes the first in the United States to ban new gasoline stations in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Petaluma city council voted unanimously to ban the construction of new gasoline stations. In the decision, existing gas stations will not be allowed to add more gas pumps, but will be encouraged to transition to battery or hydrogen cell stations and build infrastructure for electric vehicles.
Located approximately 40 miles north of San Francisco, Petaluma city has made it a top priority to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030. With a population of roughly 58,000, people the community hopes to transition towards renewable energy in an effort to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
In an interview with Market Watch, councilwoman D’Lynda Fischer said, ““I hope other cities will follow suit, and if they have existing fossil fuel stations that satisfy the needs of their community, they too will decide that they don’t need any more.”
DEEPER DIVE: San Francisco Chronicle, Market Watch