How the chemicals industry’s pollution slipped under the radar

It’s one of the biggest industries in the world, consumes more than 10% of fossil fuels produced globally and emits an estimated 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, more than India’s annual emissions – yet the chemicals sector has largely slipped under the radar when it comes to climate.

This sprawling industry produces a huge range of products, many of which support other industries – pesticides for agriculture, acids for mining, lubricants for machinery, ingredients in cleaning agents, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and plastics.

While the industry has an important role to play in moving to low-carbon economies – providing coatings for solar panels, lightweight plastics to reduce vehicles’ energy consumption and insulating materials for buildings – it’s also hugely carbon intensive and predicted to become more so. Oil companies have been betting on chemicals as a way to remain profitable as the world pledges to turn away from fossil fuel energy. The International Energy Agency predicted that petrochemicals could account for 60% of oil demand in

— source | XiaoZhi Lim | 5 Jan 2022

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How Dhinkia & Nuagaon have fared different between 2 steel projects

In 2005, when the Odisha government signed an agreement with South Korean steelmaker Posco Intl Corp to set up its mega project, Dhinkia and Nuagaon — two of the eight affected villages near the port of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district — found themselves on the opposite sides. While Dhinkia opposed Posco, the leaders of Nuagaon supported it.

In 2017, Posco withdrew from the project and recently the Odisha government has renewed its land acquisition drive, but for another project by Jindal Steel Works (JSW) Ltd in the same area. The people of Dhinkia have continued their resistance to the JSW project while there is no support for it in Nuagaon either.

What has changed over the last decade?

“The people of Nuagaon suffered more economically by supporting Posco. They lost their betel vineyards to land acquisition, lost compensation money to chit fund companies and

— source | Priya Ranjan Sahu | 18 Jan 2022

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Ghosts of Polluters Past

The hot, dry Santa Ana winds that whip through Orange County’s Logan barrio are fierce and temperamental. In the mid-20th century, they’d deliver gusts forceful enough to wreak havoc throughout the Southern California region, destroying orange crops, uprooting trees, downing power lines, and upending lives. But in the Logan neighborhood, one of the city of Santa Ana’s poorest barrios at the time, children like Cecelia Andrade Rodriguez eagerly awaited the wind’s arrival in the fall.

On days when the winds rushed through Logan, Andrade Rodriguez and her friends would race to gather carton barrels discarded by a business in the neighborhood, which at the time was squeezed between a pair of railroad tracks and adjacent to the Interstate 5 freeway. She remembers how she’d drag a barrel to the fence in the Logan Elementary School yard, then crawl into the tube and wait for a gust of wind to blast her across the playground. The children sailed as far as the winds would take them, letting their imaginations carry them to places that they couldn’t go, outside the boundaries of this tiny barrio, home to generations of Mexican Americans who helped build the city.

Logan has been described as the Plymouth Rock of Santa Ana, a predominantly Latino city now home to about 335,000 people, because it’s where the city’s earliest Mexican and

— source | Yvette Cabrera

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How the legacy of former industrial sites pollutes American cities today

On a crisp, fall day in Santa Ana, California, Mary Acosta Rodriguez Martinez Garcia steps forward gingerly, leaning on her cane as she walks to the spot along the railroad tracks that intersect with Santa Ana Boulevard. This is where her grandfather’s house once stood, before it was swallowed whole by the expansion of the boulevard that today leads into the heart of Santa Ana’s downtown and the Orange County Civic Center. Like her grandfather’s home, where she lived most of her childhood, most of the landmarks from her formative years during the 1940s and 1950s — the places and buildings that she cherished the most from her youth — have long disappeared.

Surrounding orange groves, walnut and apricot orchards gave the Logan barrio, one of Santa Ana’s oldest neighborhoods, a pastoral atmosphere throughout Garcia’s childhood. But the barrio was also squeezed between two railroads on its eastern and western boundaries. The neighborhood was originally settled by European Americans, and as they moved out, Mexican and Mexican American residents moved in. Many of them, like Garcia’s uncles, worked the orchards harvesting oranges, or in packing houses, sorting the fruits of Orange County’s citrus and walnut trees.

During the early part of the 20th century, trains hauled goods ranging from citrus to lumber out to destinations across the country. But by the middle part of the century, as the city welcomed industry, the goods reflected the new businesses that the city allowed into the neighborhood and throughout the eastside of Santa Ana: among them oil, petroleum,

— source | Yvette Cabrera & Clayton Aldern

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Montreal Protocol saved human

The stratospheric ozone layer absorbs a portion of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, preventing it from reaching the surface of Earth.

There are two types of ultraviolet rays that reach the earth’s surface — UVB and UVA. UVB rays are responsible for producing sunburn and can cause skin cancers, crop damage, etc.

Experiments on fish suggest that 90-95 per cent of malignant melanomas (a form of skin cancer) may be due to UVA & UVB radiations. Plants are sensitive to UV radiation below 300 nanometers.

Several commonly used chemicals have been found to be damaging to the stratospheric ozone layer.

Halocarbons are chemicals in which one or more carbon atoms are linked to one or more halogen atoms (fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine). Halocarbons containing bromine

— source | Manas Ranjan Senapati | 22 Sep 2021

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Building cities with wood would store half of cement industry’s current carbon emissions

Buildings around us create a whopping one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions — that is about ten times more than air traffic worldwide. In Europe alone about 190 million square metres of housing space are built each year, mainly in the cities, and the amount is growing quickly at the rate of nearly one percent a year.

A recent study by researchers at Aalto University and the Finnish Environment Institute shows that shifting to wood as a building construction material would significantly reduce the environmental impact of building construction. The results show that if 80 percent of new residential buildings in Europe were made of wood, and wood were used in the structures, cladding, surfaces, and furnishings of houses, all together the buildings would store 55 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. That is equivalent to about 47 percent of the annual emissions of Europe’s cement industry.

In terms of wood products, a wooden building provides longer-term storage for carbon than pulp or paper. According to the study findings, a wooden building of 100 m2 has the potential to store 10 to 30 tons of carbon dioxide. The upper range corresponds to an average motorist’s carbon dioxide emissions over ten years.

— source Aalto University | Nov 2, 2020

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Crushing Labour Laws Amidst Successive Industrial Accidents Is Serious Insult to Injury

Industrial accidents are far too common in India. Two disastrous incidences of gas leakage at Visakhapatnam’s LG Polymers plant and a boiler blast at NCL India Limited’s thermal power station in Tamil Nadu evoked memories of several unfortunate industrial accidents that have taken hundreds of workers lives. In last year, few reported industrial incidents such an explosion in a chemical factory in Maharashtra, a massive fire at the ONGC plant at Bombay High, a blast in NTPC’s Rae Bareli plant and Bawana industrial area in Delhi, attest to the fact that India’s industrial preventive measures and the safety inspection systems are inadequate and ineffective in ensuring the workers’ safety.

— source | Rahul Suresh Sapkal | 12/May/2020

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NGT shuts down Chinese steel plant in Gujarat

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 21 ordered Chinese giant Chromeni Steels to stop all activities in its steel plant in Gujarat’s Mundra block in Kutchh district. The Rs 6,000-cr project was being constructed without an environmental clearance (EC), observed the tribunal while hearing a petition filed by environment activist Gajendra Singh Jadeja. Not only was the project commissioned, it received incentives under Gujarat’s Ultra Mega and Mega Scheme in March, according to media reports. The company has started its production even without consent to operate from the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board and in this regard many complaints have been filed but the Pollution Control Board took no action to stop the unit going from construction and production

— source | 26 Nov 2019