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Plastic Manufactures and their Accountability

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By Bhushan Parimoo

‘Industrial packing material is permissible, but definitely attracts provision of EPR.’ was the response to the query from the State Pollution Control Board? Whether the Polythene packing is permissible restored to for the transporting their products for the consumers by the Soft drinks, drinking water manufactures units in the state. Associates of the Environment Awareness Forum across the state were eager to know does such practice stand under the provisions of pollution control laws. Who have been performing its social obligation, as a watch dogs, without any fanfare, since 1980, engagingthe society aware of the ill effects of the environment degradation being thrust upon against law.

At the same time bring in to notice of the authorities concerned for corrective measure as per law. An atmosphere of fearfulness has crept with distress syndrome among the masses that authorities are mute spectator to invasion ofMicro plastic whose disastrous effects on environ are no more a secret.  Scientists recorded a daily rate of 365 micro plastic particles per square meter falling from the sky in the Pyrenees Mountains in southern France. In spite of the fact no obvious sources for the micro plastic within 100 kilometres, as per Natural Geosciences. 93% of the bottled water from 11 different brands showed micro plastic contamination per litre, researchers found an average of 325 micro plastic particles. Compared to water from taps, water from plastic bottles contained twice as much micro plastic.

 

 Under these circumstances the Polythene packing is allowed to  be used by the  soft drinks,& drinking water   units  .Which has become another  source  of the polythene littering  all, over can be safely  be avoided. One can find it as high as in the Himalayan range, lesser Himalaya, Pir Panjal range, Shivalik hills and terrainplains on surface in the air in water bodies and sure in water too. Readers may be aware plastics  goes far beyond the human activities, wind, Water, Birds carry them miles away to pollute the environ. Environment associates in sincerity intend the Board established for the purposes to contain reckless use and throw approach unhindered by the units. Associates desire these units should restore to a biodegradable paper board packing. Who cares and listens, it is as often quote if hopes were horses asbeggars would ride. Word EPR made this writer a bit dizzy for a moment had heard at times while my late better half during her medical profession would ask what the ESR measures is which  relates to how quickly red blood cells settle to the bottle of a test tube. As such it appeared nothing to do to contain polythene menace. This made me to approach doctorate in chemistry, has 37 years of teaching experience, and prompt was the response that EPR is a study of the Iron complexes in Human Blood. Again back to zero  exhaustive of the option thought better to seek help of a scientist in the Board,  which cleared the  riddle that it is stands for  Extended Producer Responsibility a legislative strategy used by most industrialised nations to promote reuse, recycling, and eco-friendly disposal of polymer waste. Polymer waste is generated during manufacturing, distribution and sale of a variety of products including consumer goods. The concerned in the Board  who promptly responded to the query must have taken for granted  that as an environmentalist should be familiar with the ESR  Rules of which he made mention. This gives a rise to situation that such a term when scientists in general are not in know of it how a commoner can be supposed to know. ESR  has been introduced in the country  in  2916.It is a standard deliverance practice  to evolve for better results to be achieved in the interest of public whenever any new legislation or law is introduced . Has to be given wide publicity till the time results start pouring in for which this legislation has been introduced for public good.  This required two pronged strategy, the one formulate the strategy  to bring in the results  with a greater efficiency with a single minded resolve  to check the menace ensure ever section of the rules is adhered to in letter and spirits to the last line. And second to embark upon massive awareness campaign , involving Opinion leaders, Gram Panchayats, NGOs, Students of all categories right from School up to Universities, Women Brigades, every one matters in this venture. But neither deliverance system seems to be in performance nor has any awareness campaign been under taken. Needless to add even after launching of much lauded Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Swachh Bharat Mission is a nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2013 to 2019 that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas. On which trillions has said to be used diverted funds from other vital sectors to this darling project of the Primie Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi much of which went to media hype than in the cleaning venture. And result reveals that both the capital cities of the state Srinagar the Paradise and Jammu the city of Temples, cleanliness is the godliness, has jumped up  on the ladder of most polluted cities in the country. Besides it on the five years monitoring about Air quality, these both of these Capital cities rank  at 28 & 29 most polluted cities among 120.Recent reports poured in Air pollution in the country has reduced Age span by 2.7 % due to it. This writer has observed due to pollution generated around us due to negligence of the authorities to avoid, contain and reserves has resulted in diseased born new born ration ever increasing. Why authorities fail to deliver, and what makes to higher echelon in the administrative set up to overlook, the spirit of transparency and accountability is not hard to comprehendeven to the lower strata impervious strata of our society. It reminds to silence public outcry for unbridledrising corruption in the country then Government constituted a Committee. headed by N.N.Vohra then the Secretary Home Affairs to Government of India, Known as the Vohra committee .It was asked study the problem of the criminalization of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India. He submitted the report in October 1993, It observed that The nexus between the criminal gangs, police, bureaucracy and politicians The money power is used to develop a network of muscle-power which is also used by the politicians during elections.” . The Supreme Court, recommended in 1997 to appointment of a high level committee to ensure in-depth investigation into the findings of the N.N.Vohra Committee and to secure prosecution of those involved. And nothing heard thereafter .And when he assumed charge of the Governor, it was expected he shall take of care what he had found the nexus during his investigation. Unfortunately it proved a catalytic agent for corruption by adopting a mute spectator going around in the state brought to his notice through media, representation and secret dossiers. And new dispensation the Governors rule of Sat Paul,Malik  there after the  under the umbrella of Presidents rule which listens obliviously to the dictates of the Centre. State feel betrayed the public trust in the deliverance system to ensure a clean environ as enshrined in the constitution one of the fundamental rights. Gone are the days when any one drink from any source available, breath harmless air, munch on the unadulterated diets despite limited resource but Nature had enough to provide.Justice Markandey Katju   has most aptly  for corruption that “the corrupt should be hanged from the lamp post as that was the only way of getting rid of corruption in the country.”   Extended producer’s responsibility” means the responsibility of a producer for the environmentally sound management of the product until the end of its life. The concept was first formally introduced in Sweden by Thomas Lindquist in a 1990 report to the Swedish Ministry of the Environment. In subsequent reports prepared for the Ministry, the following definition emerged: “[EPR] is an environmental protection strategy to reach an environmental objective of a decreased total environmental impact of a product, by making the manufacturer of the product responsible for the entire life-cycle of the product and especially for the take-back, recycling and final disposal. It had pronounced effect in the developed countries. Whereas in this country the Centre published the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules in 2016, a key element of it was “extended producer responsibility” or EPR. The idea of EPR was to make the polluter pay. So, all sellers of plastic packaging were required to, within six months, install a system to collect their waste. It is over the last one year, the CPCB has begun imposing EPR waste-recovery targets. Plus, it has started listing Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs), to whom manufacturers can outsource their obligations. These efforts have given a fillip to recycling efforts. Primary responsibility for collection of used multi-layered plastic sachet or pouches or packaging is of Producers, Importers and Brand Owners who introduce the products in the market. They need to establish a system for collecting back the plastic waste generated due to their products. Prescribed authority in this regard is the State Pollution Control Board and Pollution,which owes an explanation to the society in general. Because   it is the State Pollution Control Board  who has to prepare and submit an annual report in Form VI to the CPCB on the implementation of these rules by the 31st July, of every year;

(The writer is a Jammu based environmentalist)


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Opinion

Chekhovian Tragedy

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Amir Sultan

In his book In the Land of Israel novelist and writer Amos Oz classifies a tragedy into two types; one being the Shakespearean and the other Chekhovian. He writes,


“…there is a Shakespearean resolution and there is the Chekhovian one. At the end of a Shakespearean tragedy, the stage is strewn with dead bodies and maybe there is some justice hovering high above. A Chekhov tragedy, on the other hand, ends with everybody disillusioned, embittered, heartbroken, disappointed, absolutely shattered but still alive.”

 

William Shakespeare and Anton Chekhov (read as Chie-Kof) were both playwrights and dramatists. Both of them in their works have tried to shed light on various aspects of human nature. However, Anton Chekhov as seen by the renowned novelist Amos Oz gives us a better understanding of the tragedies happening with us. His portrayal of tragedy is what most of us go through. As the quote states that the Shakespearean tragedy ends with death as a solution to all problems and issues that a man faces. Demise of a person(s) like in Romeo and Juliet is what defines a tragedy. In comparison to it, Chekhovian tragedy is epitomized with life, life worth not living.

One of the aspects of modern life that typifies a Chekhovian tragedy in our time is substance abuse. Substance abuse is one of the huge problems that our generation is facing. Globally, according to World Drug Report (2017) there are 29.5 million people who are substance abusers. The number that is almost equal to the population of states like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates and many other countries.

It’s self-evident that all people are sober. Living life in light, joy and to its full, but suddenly some of them get introduced to a kind of psychoactive substance say marijuana, heroin or LSD that starts to bring a perpetual change in their life. First the body resists it by producing aversive reactions and this is the time when a person can refrain. But if s/he persists to take the substance the body of a person starts to crave for it. Moreover, the withdrawals and the incentive of pleasure produced by it hinder the process of contemplating and positive thinking resulting in sustaining of act willingly or unwillingly.

All this time the physiological, psychological and social aspects of human life are in a continuous shattering flux. Physiologically, the body weight gets reduced, sleep cycle is disturbed, changes in appetite patterns appear, functioning of vital organs like heart, liver and kidneys gets disturbed, and at times patient gets infected with viruses like HCV and HIV. Anxiety, restlessness, irritability, mood disorders, hallucinations and delusions and last but not the least a chronic psychosis is the harm caused to our psychological aspect by drug abuse.

There are innumerable changes seen in the social life of a substance abuser. From disturbed family relations, abuse with children, mistreatment with parents or a spouse, to disturbed financial status marked with a reckless spending and gambling. Besides, continuous drug seeking behaviour which leads to inefficacy in terms of occupation, school, vocation or sometimes complete sacking from a job, making the person’s life and the life of people around him wrenchingly miserable.

During this saga of self-deterioration, the person tries to look at his lived life through the glasses of past, present and future and founds himself disillusioned as he learns that substance abuse is not fun, embittered as he feels the bitterness of the act, heartbroken at the thoughts of mistreatment to himself and to the near ones and dear ones, disappointed because of not fulfilling the dreams he had seen and absolutely shattered but still alive, in other words, going through a Chekhovian tragedy.

(The writer is a Psychology Postgraduate from University of Kashmir and presently working as a Mental Health Counsellor at Drug De-addiction and Rehabilitation Center PCR Batamaloo. He ca be reached at: [email protected])

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ICJ ruling and Into-Pak relations

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Marvi Sirmed

Just as Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, president of International Court of Justice (ICJ), started reading out the much-awaited verdict in the Kalbhushan Jadhav case, both Indian and Pakistani media, quite predictably, started pronouncing high-pitched victory of their respective countries.

Pakistan had claimed that its security forces had arrested Kulbhushan Jadhav, the 49-year-old retired Navy officer, from Pakistan’s Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he entered Pakistan via its border with Iran. Jadhav was subsequently sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017, just over a year after his arrest. India, however, claimed that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after his retirement from the Indian Navy.

 

India followed this by moving the ICJ on May 8, 2017 for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan. Islamabad repeatedly rejected New Delhi’s plea for consular access to Jadhav, claiming that India was merely interested in getting at the information gathered by its “spy”. India also sought to suspend the death sentence of Jadhav and ordered his release from Pakistan’s custody. Pakistan had challenged the admissibility of India’s petition on three grounds: alleged abuse of process; alleged abuse of rights; and India’s alleged unlawful conduct. All three grounds were rejected by the court.

India’s plea to suspend the death sentence and order the release was also rejected. But Pakistan was asked to give immediate consular access to Jadhav as well as ensure his right to free trial under the domestic judicial mechanism of Pakistan. This gives both the countries enough ground to celebrate their respective victories.

The question now is how the verdict will impact the already strained relations of the two countries? While the verdict gives the opportunity to both the governments to maintain aggressive posturing, it has no practical bearing which way Pakistan may eventually choose to decide.

While the verdict of ICJ is not binding upon either party in the strictest of legal sense, it certainly sets a favourable stage for India to continue to portray Pakistan in a negative light internationally, in case the latter does not comply with the verdict. Pakistan, on the other hand, might comply in the end, but not before getting something in return.

The retired army officers in Pakistan, who are usually referred to as ’defence analysts’ when they come to TV studios and spell out what is considered to be the “thinking” of Pakistan’s powerful military establishment, continue their usual antics while aggressively emphasising that Pakistan is not bound to comply with the ICJ verdict. But if recent history is to be at all taken into account, to take their word is akin to falling right into their trap.

In the backdrop of recent economic troubles and political instability Pakistan has been facing for the last one year, it is beyond any basic sense of logical play to expect the nation to allow the aggression to linger, by not granting India’s most basic ask in this case – the proverbial lowest hanging fruit, ie, consular access to Jadhav.

It might not come, however, without a price. At the exact moment when Yousaf was reading out the verdict, American President Donald Trump celebrated the “finding” and the arrest of Hafiz Saeed on Twitter, who he describes as “mastermind” of Mumbai terror attacks. Saeed, however, has been living in plain sight all this while. He was never absconding in the first place. In fact, shortly before his (re)arrest, he was released on bail from his previous arrest. By playing this up, it betrays the mutual advantage it serves to USA and Pakistan.

When Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Trump next week, he would arrive having already earned some brownie points. The so-called arrest of Hafiz Saeed might ease some tensions at FATF. USA will be in a position to claim winning yet another milestone in its war on terror. If Pakistan offers to graciously comply with the ICJ verdict, it might raise its ask too. The stick raising mood in White House has already changed to a carrot granting one. Bringing India to the table of comprehensive dialogue, after managing to elbow it out from Afghan peace process, doesn’t look like abad bargain.

But if Jadhav gets consular access, India would have the golden opportunity to demolish Pakistan’s claims of the “terror confession” by Jadhav. He would now most definitely claim confession under duress.

At the moment, the key decision makers in Pakistan do not want to disobey the court verdict. Their compliance of earlier Indian plea to delay the sentence bears witness to it. In any case, a dead Jadhav doesn’t benefit anyone. Except may be, Jadhav’s handlers, if he is indeed a spy.

(The author is a journalist with Daily Times and member of the executive council of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan)

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America & Pakistan: Back to a cosy future

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Indranil Banerjie

Geopolitical gears appear to be shifting once again in South Asia with Washington being the primary driver. The question is whether this portends a return to the cosy relationship between the United States and Pakistan as in the past?

For, if Washington is once again planning to use Islamabad as a pivot for its South and West Asia policy, then New Delhi has reason to be concerned even though the imperative for such a development is neither hostile nor anti-India.

 

The hard fact of the matter is that a re-engagement or revival of the strategic inter-dependencies between those two countries has a direct bearing on India. While Washington’s view is global and multi-dimensional, Islamabad’s is not — it has always been India-centric and continues to be so.

New Delhi’s greatest concern traditionally has been the transfer of military systems and technology to Islamabad. It is difficult to forget that the Pakistan Air Force dared to attack Indian targets after Balakot simply because it had American-made F-16 fighter aircraft fitted with AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM).

This missile was supplied to the Pakistanis by the US as recently as 2011. India protested against the sales and for good reason too. It was well known that the missiles supplied would be a game changer in the South Asian context given that this particular variant, the 120C, with its range of over 100km, would out-distance any missile currently in the IAF’s arsenal.

Right enough, when it came to the crunch in the post-Balakot skirmish, there was nothing the IAF could do but throw an aircraft at the intruding enemy and get close enough for a shot. The downing of the MiG-21 piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman proved how much of a disadvantage India was at because of US military transfers to Pakistan.

In recent years, arms transfers by Washington to Pakistan have virtually ceased due to the deteriorating strategic ties since 2016. US President Donald Trump had suspended security and other assistance to Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of repaying US generosity with only “lies and deceit”. The main problem between the two arose from differences over Afghanistan. But now with Islamabad and Washington drawing close to a deal on Afghanistan which would allow an orderly US military withdrawal, the equations once again have changed.

The Taliban, which is controlled by Pakistan’s Army headquarters, seem to have agreed to hold intra-Afghan talks and could be amenable to some sort of power sharing. Perhaps, they might even allow a small US military presence to remain in Afghanistan. However, it is clear that Washington, in its quest to quit the unending Afghan war, is prepared to cede effective control in that country to Islamabad. China could also play a role as guarantor.

President Trump has, however, made it a point to reassure New Delhi that he intends to look after its interests. This is perhaps why he took personal credit for the arrest of arch-terrorist Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, in Pakistan on Wednesday. This might suggest that New Delhi may not be left out completely in the cold in these shifting times.

But the story of change doesn’t end here. The Trump administration could be preparing to cosy up to Pakistan not because it hates or dislikes India but because it feels it might need the help of Pakistan’s jihadist generals to further its many and often complex aims in West Asia, where things are in a ferment today.

A hint of what might be in the offing was offered by the US Gen. Mark A. Milley, who was nominated by President Trump as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In his response to questions for his confirmation hearing at the Senate Armed Services Committee, the general stated: “From East Asia to the Middle East to Eastern Europe, authoritarian actors are testing the limits of the international system and seeking regional dominance while challenging international norms and undermining US interests… Our goal should be to sustain great power peace that has existed since World War II, and deal firmly with all those who might challenge us.”

He pointedly mentioned Pakistan as “a key partner in achieving US interests in South Asia, including developing a political settlement in Afghanistan; defeating Al Qaeda and ISIS-Khorasan; providing logistical access for US forces; and enhancing regional stability”.

Significantly, he called for a strengthening of military-to-military ties with Pakistan, adding: “While we have suspended security assistance and paused major defence dialogues, we need to maintain strong military-to- military ties based on our shared interests.” So now it’s back to the good old days of shared interests!

The first-ever summit-level meeting between Pakistan PM Imran Khan and President Trump is due next week (July 22) at the White House. Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who will be there, declared that this invitation constituted an “acknowledgement of the inherent importance” of bilateral ties. He was also quick to add that Pakistan was “mindful” of US priorities in war-torn Afghanistan. The times are indeed changing once again!

Perhaps Islamabad’s strategic importance, as an ultimate guarantor of “peace” in West Asia, has assumed more relevance given the rapid breakdown of Washington’s relations with Turkey, a Nato ally, over the purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems and other major disagreements. President Trump had warned Turkey not to go ahead with the S-400 deal, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded by declaring the S-400 deal to be “the most important agreement in [Turkish] modern history.” Deliveries of the missile system commenced from July 12.

This constitutes a huge snub to the United States. But things could get worse as some reports suggest that Turkey may be planning to assault parts of northern Syria controlled by Kurdish forces supported by the United States.

Things are also not going well for the Saudis in their war against the tenacious Houthis of Yemen, who are Shias supported by the ayatollahs in Tehran. Other Arab nations are quietly leaving the Saudi war. The regime change effort in Syria too has failed.

All this is reason for Washington to be worried. Hence the move to mend fences with estranged allies. New Delhi, on the other hand, which has big plans for boosting its relations with Washington, must heed the changes that could threaten to prick its ballooning ambitions.

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