Hazards of Dry grass burning

I often visit the local hills in Pune, which are known as Vetal hill, or Tekdi. They are the most visited by nature enthusiasts, joggers, trekkers, and those who like to spend some time breathing fresh air for few hours, which is so rare in the city nowadays.

But I was shocked today to see that the dry grass has been allowed to burn inside the reserved forest or green spaces. Usually, in India, the farmers, have a practice to burn the stubble to reduce time to replace the land with a new crop. And that creates air pollution and smog in the capital of India, for which it has been notoriously infamous.

But burning the dry grass in the grassland or forest is something very dangerous for the ecology as well for the air quality of the city. Many times dry grass catch fire due to summer heat, or even due to mistaken use of cigarettes by un-responsible people. But the forest authorities have also turned a blind eye towards this, and have let the fire burn the grass to such an extent that the entire grassland is burnt as seen today in the below pics.

Due to the grass being burnt, the surrounding trees are also affected, even to the extent of being burnt completely. I saw a volunteer trying hard to stop the inside of the trunk of a neem tree from catching fire. As the hill does not have water sources, I immediately gave my water bottle to atleast wet the trunk to stop the fire. But the water was less, and hence, we had to use dry sand/mud to extinguish the fire.

Not long before, the grassland used to look green or even dry, but beautiful. It hosts many birds nests, insects, squirrels and rabbits. But now, after burning the grass, they have deprived them of their homes.

Below are the pics showing the beautiful grass before.

Hence, its high time that we should take care of nature, and not let them burn like this. Forest fires are a matter of concern not only for the environment, but also for our well being. We have to be cautious for not using cigarette or any thing that can catch fire. Also, laws should be made to avoid purposefully burning of the dry grass, whether in the fields or grassland.

City amidst the hills!

The treasures of Pune!

Pune is one of the top 10 cities in India. Popularly known as the “Oxford of the East”, this city is the educational capital of Maharashtra, and even ranks one of the top cities in the country for living, education and job opportunities. Pune is known for its IT industry just like Bangalore, and is also the automotive hub with several auto manufacturing plants in and around the city. And its my hometown, with my schooling, my college all being completed in this wonderful city.

But the lesser known thing about Pune is that it is one of the few metro cities surrounded by mountains and hills on all its sides. There are many hills and mountains surrounding the city such as Vetal Tekdi ( Tekdi is a local marathi name for hill) in the west which is also known as ARAI hill. The hill is surrounded by regions of Kothrud, Bavdhan, Pune University, Law college and SNDT college. This hill is one of the most beautiful oxygen generating spot in the city. Many people come here for walk during early mornings or evenings. The hill is covered with medium to dense vegetation, and can be accessed by all locations from the city.

Google Maps showing the area covered by the hill

Below are few pictures taken from the Vetal Tekdi which shows different locations of the city.

Picture shows the Kothrud region from the hill
Picture shows the MIT Pune ( this is also my college)
Picture shows the Panchavati area
Picture shows the Chandni Chowk-Bavdhan region from the hill

Besides Vetal hill, there is another small hill called Hanuman tekdi, which is located just near the Fergusson college. It is located in the middle of city, surrounded by Fergusson college and S B Road. Then, there is a famous hill called Parvati hill, which is named after the temple located atop the hill. This hill is quite frequently visited by tourists who visit Pune.


Though the Parvati hill is not covered by dense vegetation, but it is joined by another forest within a few miles, which is known as Taljai Hill, and it is filled with lush green forest.

These hills are all located in the west, central and south of Pune. There are small patches of hillocks in the north and east part of Pune as well. But they are not much accessible for trek or sight seeing. But the eastern part of Pune is fairly plain and barren as compared to the mountains and lush green western part of Pune. If we go further away from Pune, we see the tallest mountains such as Sinhagad fort in the south-west, Katraj Ghat in the south and Dive Ghat in the south east. Trekking through these tall mountains is quite a feat.

Thus, I feel Pune is blessed with being surrounded by hills and mountains. We, Punekars ( local people addressed as Pune-kars) always mock Mumbai-kars as they only have beaches for exercise or jogging. But we have the luxury of several hills and mountains for trekking, exercise, jogging and sight-seeing as well. But considering the growing urban jungle expanding the city, it is becoming more important for the Punekars to protect the lungs of the city from urbanization, deforestation and traffic ( air & noise) pollution. The number of people allowed on the hills should be limited to protect the hill from being over-crowded. Also, well-defined paths for walk or trek should be laid out to avoid the possible destruction of flora and fauna.

I plan to visit more hills in near future, and take more pictures just like the above pics taken from Vetal takdi. I missed Pune’s tekdi for 5 years, and it always nice to visit them back! I hope we all protect the environment, forests, and the lungs of the city!

Recycling: The need of the hour!

As rightly said by Jeff Sanderson, “If you care about the environment and how it will affect the mankind, then recycling shouldn’t take a second thought“.

I have been working for over more 2 years in the field of energy management. Having realized the importance of energy management and how it affects the environment, I decided to start a section to cover “Energy and Environment” in this blog. Hence, this is the first post regarding environment, and after I got to know about the wonderful initiative NC State (my almamater) has taken in the field of recycling from my friend, I decided to throw some light in this respect.

We all have been reading and listening about the buzz word “Recycle”. It often goes along with two other words “Reduce” and “Reuse”. As per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definition “Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products“.

Benefits of Recycling

-> Recycling prevents pollution

Recycling conserves natural resources such as forests, water and minerals. As these are finite resources, we really need to preserve them for the next several generations to make use of them. When we recycle paper, we save lots of trees. When we recycle plastic, we reduce the demand for new plastic which is made using fossil fuels hydrocarbons. Due to less plastic production, we help the environment by reducing the carbon footprint and global warming. Recycling metals helps the environment by less extraction of new mineral ores and thereby less land pollution. Even recycling glass helps in less use of sand, which is often extracted from the river beds, and which affects the river flows, by not only causing water pollution, or drying up of rivers sources, but also tremendously affects aquatic life.

Recycling also plays a very important role in preserving the marine life in oceans and seas. If the items especially e-waste, are dumped in the oceans, then it affects the marine life. As per Planet Green Recycle, each year across the world, anywhere from 20 to 50 million tons of electronics becomes e-waste, and only 11-14% of e-waste is sent to recyclers in the United States. Much of our e-waste ends up traveling to countries with less regulation, so they can dispose of the e-waste either by burning or dumping in oceans. One reason for this is that the United States is the only developed country in the world to never ratify the Basel Convention, which at first controlled, and then outright banned, exporting hazardous waste to poorer countries. Today, the Pacific Ocean has become one of the largest dumping ocean on the planet. There’s a floating, moving trash pile, alternately known as the Pacific Trash Vortex or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, that’s literally Texas-sized. That’s the negative impact we’re having on our environment right now. Hence recycling will help in reducing this adverse impact on the oceans.


-> Recycling saves energy

Making products from recycled materials requires less energy than making them from new raw materials. As per Friends of the Earth,

  1. Producing new aluminium from old products (including recycled cans and foil) uses 95% less energy than making it from scratch. For steel it’s about a 70% energy saving.
  2. Making paper from pulped recycled paper uses 40% less energy than making it from virgin wood fibres.
  3. The amount of energy saved from recycling one glass bottle could power an old 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours and a new low-energy LED equivalent for a lot longer.

Along with reducing use of energy, it produces lower carbon emissions. It also keeps potentially methane-releasing waste out of landfill sites. As per ecocycle, making copy paper from 100% recycled content fiber instead of 100% virgin forest fibers reduces total energy consumption by 44%, net greenhouse gas emissions by 38%, particulate emissions by 41%, wastewater by 50%, solid waste by 49% and wood use by 100%.

Recycling helps in increasing the efficiency of manufacturing as it is cheaper to produce from recycled items, as compared to new raw materials. The cost related to processing, procurement and polishing the final product significantly reduces if recycled goods are used. Some of the common products you can find that can be made with recycled content include the following: Aluminum cans, Car bumpers, Cereal boxes, Egg cartons, Glass containers, Paper towels and Trash bags. Hence, with recycling, glass bottles become new glass bottles, steel cans are used in car parts and construction materials, and so on.

-> Recycling Creates Jobs

Recycling helps in creating large number of jobs. For every one job at a landfill, there are ten jobs in recycling processing and 25 jobs in recycling-based manufacturing. The recycling industry employs more workers than the auto industry. EPA released significant findings on the economic benefits of the recycling industry with an update to the national Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study in 2016. The study found that in a single year, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for: 757,000 jobs, $36.6 billion in wages; and $6.7 billion in tax revenues.

NC State Recycling is involved in recycling the waste since 2001. The list of accepted materials includes plastics, metal, glass and paper.

While the below items are not accepted for recycling.


Thus, for preserving the environment by reducing water, land and air pollution, saving energy, increasing efficiency of the manufacturing processes, creating jobs and saving money, we need to encourage everyone to recycle as much as possible, instead of throwing them away after first use. With this, we conclude with Wendell Berry’s quote “The earth is what we all have in common