Deal of the day on online shopping: The Truth of online consumers

The online consumers are increasing, and by the end of 2018 we are expected to spend Rs 87.6 Lakh Million on online shopping. Significant role is played by our network providers competition for low cost internet and one of the other culprit is flashing sales.

We all will accept the fact of being attracted by flashing online mega sales, deals of the day, Grand sale dates, holiday sale, etc and of course the coupons for extra discount (we all do that 😉). If we like something, it’s on discount, we don’t bother to think twice if we really need it or how long will it be used. Time and money are precious, when we shop online we save both.


WhatsApp Image 2018-01-29 at 5.20.34 PM

the sale session, I too ordered few books and cosmetic items online. I was happy by on-time delivery and secured packing. The products were locked between the layer of bubble wrappers and air-filled bags, even the books. Does book really required to be packed like this? For Rs. 200-300 product how much plastic waste is generated? Now, what to do with these packaging materials? Should I again throw it, and see its journey to landfill or keep piling in my store or sell to local kabaddi-wala?

I agree, online shopping is convenient and effortless, but can we overlook its implications on our environment, when climate change is such a big issue? We must work on it before it’s too late.

Let’s try to find the solution to reduce pilling of packaging material at our home, plastic waste generation, landfill burden, etc.

Click on the online survey, let us know, what YOU do with packing material?

World Environment Day – Connect with Nature

“Nature is God, God is Nature”

Last year, I got introduced to this superb trekking route, which is a pilgrimage to The Holy Kailash Parvat and the Holy Manasarovar Lake, located in Tibet, China. It was straightaway put at the top of my ‘bucket list’, and after learning about the procedure to apply through the Ministry of External Affairs, I applied and was selected to be a participant for this year’s Kailash Manasarovar Yatra.

I had a lot of apprehensions about my packing for the 21 day trip, hygiene en route, room facilities, water quality, a group of unknown 55 people, etc. But then, as I always say and do – Go with the Flow.

Our batch being the first one leaving for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2017, was flagged off by Smt. Sushma Swaraj, the Hon’ble Union Minister for External Affairs, with a note to promote the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and not to sully the route leading to the holy place.

IMG_5904Hon’ble Smt. Sushma Swaraj ji addressing the Kailash Manasarovar Yatries

June 12th, 2017 – Finally, I was leaving for The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, the Pilgrimage of a Lifetime…!

The first night halt was at Almora, at the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam owned Tourist Rest Home, with a breathtaking view of the valley and hills.

Next day, we had the chance to meet the humble King of Askot, Rajwar Bhanuraj Singh Pal. From the medieval times till the Sino-Indian war of 1962, all the arrangements for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra were taken care of by the Royal Pal Dynasty of Askot State. We spoke about his family’s long centuries-old association with the Yatra, and also about the recent news of the development of five new hydro-projects in Askot. While dwelling more about hydropower project, we found state-owned NHPC is working out details for five run-of-the-river hydroelectric projects on the Gori and the Dhauli (the area was brought out of Askot wildlife sanctuary in 2013). Good as localities will get electricity but sad on environmental aspect, as this might affect the wildlife, topology of the land and river basin.

IMG_5926Rajwar Bhanuraj Singh Pal

Uttrakhand has always mesmerized me with its beauty (well deserved to be known as God’s land) being it 2017 or 2007.

IMG_6775Surrounded with tall trees, beautiful flowers and mountain is Narayan Ashram

The on-foot 16 days trekking started from Narayan Ashram. Daily we encountered new challenges on new kinds of trekking paths, different aspects of life, new learnings from fellow yatris and interesting stories. Never thought connecting with nature and people outside my known social circle will be a blessing in its own way. Hiking through the jungle one day, the next day crossing a waterfall, another day trekking through a lush green valley, waking up early at 2.30 am and relying on my ears while walking through nature, all toughened me both mentally and physically. The mineral rich natural water springs were so pure and untouched, the water tasted a thousand times better than the RO water back home.

BeFunky Collage1Challenging tracks in Uttrakhand

Small villages that I crossed always made me realise how blessed the villagers were to spend each & every moment in this beautiful place ‘connected to nature’. It is worth appreciating how nature has provided for their livelihood in the form of fertile soil in the Himalayan terrain, from beautiful flowers to wild plants. The kids all along the route were playing in the real environment, in nature, with friends and pets, instead of being in the virtual world and busy chatting with online friends.

IMG_6799Kids playing with/in nature

But the dark side to be in this place is that these villagers are among the first to suffer when ecosystems are threatened, whether by pollution, climate change or over-exploitation, mostly by people like us who live in the plastic world or the so called Urbans.

Every year, a total of 18 batches comprising of 60 people each goes for this Yatra which starts in June and goes on till August. But this year, on August 13th, the Yatra came to a sudden halt after a cloudburst in the Mangta Nala and Malpa region of Uttarakhand. Seven people, including four soldiers, went missing, many houses, and a number of vehicles were buried in the debris due to floods and landslides. Malpa was the place where we had lunch, chit chat and have lots of fond memories. The frequency of such incidents is increasing because of climate change, sadly not many realise this (not even Donald Trump!).

With the freezing wind somehow managing to find its way to enter even six layers of my clothing, and with a shivering body, I stepped into Tibet, the land of snows, the land of Gods, and the land of revelations.

After our initial welcome in the town of Taklakot, I took a walk around the area. What is worth mentioning is that they have scaled up their renewable energy to unimaginable levels. Every nook and corner is installed with solar powered lights, homes are enabled with solar water heaters, and when we move out of the town, wind farms are distinct eye-catchers.

IMG_6060Wind and Solar installation in Tibet

On July 3rd 2017, we safely returned to Delhi. I consider myself lucky to be a part of the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, and, I can relate even better with this year’s theme for the World Environment Day, which coincidently is about “Connecting People to Nature” (pushing people to think about how we are part of nature and how intimately we depend on it).

BeFunky Collage(Clockwise) Mount Kailash, Monk, Manasarovar Lake, local pilgrims

The 21 days of clean air, fresh water, walking on different terrains, enduring extreme climatic conditions, moving up from just 3000 ft to over 18000 ft altitude, all this not just trains you physically, but challenges your mind and emotions too. Almost after a month of the ultimate travel experience, I believe the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra has bought “Inner Peace” in me.


Time to Replace your Old Ceiling Fans


On an average, one person in Delhi use around 43 units per month against the national average of 25. With the temperature creeping upward in the month of April, the energy consumption is going to rise further. By reducing the amount of energy consumed per day you can help to cut back on costs and save the environment. That’s a win-win in our books! It just takes a few simple steps to be more energy efficient.

Let’s start with most overlooked appliance and considered to consume less power – The Ceiling Fans.

Look around at your ceiling fans and see if any of them might need replacement. Or maybe, like me if you are buying a new fan look for efficient options. The market is busting with efficient fans, thanks to push by Bureau of Old fanEnergy Efficiency (BEE) and efforts of Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). Although the price of the energy efficient (EE) star labelled fans might seem high compared to their non-star fans, but if we look at ever rising electricity costs, and do little mathematics the payback will be within one summer (considering Rs. 5/unit). So opting for EE fans makes a lot of sense especially if you have high usage of fans (24×7).

The efficiency of the ceiling fan is ratio of air delivered by fan in cubic mtrs per minute & electrical power inputs in watts, when fan is operated at rated voltage. Here are the top 5 EE fans ranked based on their energy consumption with current price and technical specifications under 1200 mm sweep area with air delivery of 200 to 210 cmm. The most efficient fan will consume about 1 unit if run continuously for 36 hours. 

Comparison Table

Some of these EE fans are available in different colors and decorative design so no compromise on looks as well.

On a bit of compromise you can also take benefit of recent scheme launched in Uttar Pradesh by Ministry of power to distribute 50W, 5 star rated EE fans at upfront cost of Rs. 1300 . If you’re looking for the really high efficacy ceiling fans, you probably can look for SUPERFANS, which are higher in saving and investment again available at subsidized rates.

Apart from this, hope you are adopting these methods already (if not DO IT RIGHT NOW)

  • During the summer keep curtains/blinds closed on the side of the house that receives the most sun. This will help to keep your home cooler and ultimately reducing AC power consumption.
  • Unplug! Turn off all lights and unplug all appliances not in use.
  • Turn off the fans, when you are not in the room
  • Use appliances with the energy star approval by BEE.

Let’s be more conscious and efficient this summer.

Use Your Power to BreakFree from Fossil Fuels

Today’s youth are playing an active role in  the global dialogue on climate change to protect environment and to find solutions to climate change. On the occasion of International Youth Day, we’re happy to share a beautifully written deep thoughts by a 14 year young man Justin Federigan. Well, when I was a teenager I was playing stupid video games, and he is playing Climate Change volunteer (wow.!! My Goodness). I hope this blog awake the adult and inspire more youth to act on climate change issues, as together we can and we will make a difference.

Here goes Justin N C Federigan:

Our one and only earth is currently dying due to the effects of climate change. The causes of this drastic event, climate change, are due to increase of Green House Gases (GHG) such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and water vapor. In the Philippines, currently we are using less renewable energy than non-renewable energy such as coal, gas, and oil or known as fossil fuel as sources of energy. Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy, which means that coal, gas, and oil are minerals that are consumed faster than it can be naturally produced by the environment.


The Dr. Jean Lindo, once said, “There is no such thing as clean coal.” Yes, I myself agree with Dr. Lindo. Coal is not clean and will never be clean. Coal is just one of the three fossil fuels used to be turned into energy. The other two are Gas and Oil. Coal, gas, and oil, also known as Fossil Fuels, contain a huge amount of carbon (C), and once it is in the atmosphere where oxygen (O) is present, it will turn into carbon dioxide (CO2). The more we burn these fossil fuels and turn them into energy; we pollute the atmosphere with more and more carbon dioxide. In addition, we cut down trees and we do not replace them. The more we do these, we have more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and the temperature at the surface increase. Why? It is because carbon dioxide traps the heat from the sun causing the atmosphere to be warm. This is what you call the “Green House Effect” which is a good thing. However the bad news comes next, the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes the extreme increase of temperature at the surface. This is “Global Warming.”

The Biggest Sources of Greenhouse Gases

Recently in Davao City, the southernmost city of the Philippines, two coal-power plants were launched and each power plant can generate 175 megawatts (175MW). These two power plants is part of the Phase II of AboitizPower’s Therma South Incorporated’s (TSI) Project. However, rotational brown-outs in Davao City are still happening. Aboitiz mentioned that the reason for the rotational brown-out is that the water level in major National Power Corporation-Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (NPC-PSALM) hydro power plants is below the critical level due to the extreme heat caused by El Niño. Surprisingly, El Niño is one of the effects of climate change. So what/who really is the cause of climate change? Sad to say, it is us, humans, who cause all of these to happen. The increase of institutions emitting extreme carbon to the atmosphere, increase in cutting down trees and not replacing them, these mistakes we do increases the effects of climate change which includes, global warming or known in our country as “El Niño”.

Climate change is here to stay from now until tomorrow. Have you heard about the quote “The Youth is the Hope of the Future”? This single quote shows that the youth can still do something about it. Even if you are young, do not be afraid to do your best in saving our one and only earth. Young or old, we can still make a difference. It is never too late to start helping one another. There is still time. There is still hope. We can still make a difference. So, I urge each and every one of you to reflect on our daily lives and see how we can change the way we live. The change in the way we live will not definitely stop climate change but it will slow down the effects of it. Let us use our power to try to stop, try to help, and do our best to make our one and only earth a better place to live in.



Justin N C Federigan, is currently involved with the Philippine Youth Climate Movement and the Let’s Do It Philippines-Youth as a volunteer. He was recently elected as one of the fourteen (14) Global Children Board Members and the only one from the Philippines, of the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation (based in Germany) for 2017-2018 and will soon organize Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in the Philippines, particularly in Southern Mindanao.

 Thank you Justin for sharing this with Greening Asia, so proud of you 🙂

Why buying cheap smartphone is NOT sustainable?


Mobile Phones have evolved from a basic handset to a Smartphone and with the advent of 4th/5th Generation mobile technology, Smartphones became an inevitable part of our daily life now. By next year, it is estimated that one third of world population (or maybe more) will own a Smartphone. In India, around 3 lac handsets are being sold every day, and the number is increasing the 29% each year. One of the influencing factors for this bullish trend is the small-upfront cost with high tech specifications. The recent low cost launches from the new entrants in mobile handset industry like Docoss X1 for Rs. 888/- (approx. $ $ 13), Ringing Bells for just Rs. 251 (approx. $4) and Namotel for Rs. 99 (approx. $1.5) are few under this umbrella. Rather than being happy launch of Make in India cheap phones, this news is disturbing and strike me think about “How sustainable/eco-friendly are these cheap phones”.

We talk so much about global warming, climate change, sustainable development, but when it comes to buying an electronic equipment like a “Smartphone” we just follow the price trend, and hardly pay attention to the harmful effects it produces at the end of its life. The story behind making of these cheap smartphones & its overall impact on us is worth to discuss here. Through this article, I want to point out “Why buying cheap smartphone is not eco-friendly”. But before we move to Smartphone sustainability approach, let us understand what is meant by “Sustainable Production & Consumption”.

As per UNEP, Sustainable consumption and production is to promote social, environmental and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems by addressing and, where appropriate, delinking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes; and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste.

In short sustainable production is about taking care of environment, social and economic development simultaneously. It’s up to us and manufacturer to install sustainability in our life and production of smartphone now or later.

The manufacturing of a smartphone mostly involves materials like glass, metal, and plastic, which gets futher processed in factories, and assembly line in Africa and Asia (mostly the developing countries). Have you ever thought, why & how these cheap smartphones costings are done?


“The selling price is dependent on the raw material purchase price”


“For better quality raw material , higher price needs to be paid”

This signifies the correlation that the Lower Priced Phones are not the Best Quality Products.

It is a general buyers tendency that, while purchasing a Smart phone, design, operational ability and cost are the deciding factors. However cost has the highest weightage. For a good looking budget friendly smartphone (no-name brands) especially manufactured in China are quite eye appealing, but we unconsciously end up buying unreliable (& not-so-eco-friendly) handset. The first Chinese manufactured imported phone, my friend bought was of around Rs. 9000/- (~ $135), which comes with swanky features, 5 inch screen, 8 MP camera, wifi, latest android OS and 1.2 GHz processor, but when he started using he realised with all these good features comes with poor touch screen technology, low speed and low quality camera etc Once, it got slipped out of his hand (Oops!), his smartphone started making all sorts of funny noises and the screen got damaged beyond repair with no replacement available in the company owned service centre. So, the smart phone within a month of its use turned to an e-waste, which has got no place then the garbage bin (no recycling option too).

2.    Manufacturing Cost : – Low wages to Labour

The current competitive market where companies are trying to gain maximum market share sale, cost of smartphone plays an important role. The most challenging fact today is maintaining good quality and high features at low cost, which is definitely not possible without skilled workforce in production and supply chain.


According to a report by Hong-Kong based “Asia Monitor Resource Centre” the working conditions in Indian electronics industry are “among the worst” in world. So, as it is rightly said, skilled labour doesn’t come at low cost and low cost labour isn’t skilled.

3.    End Use Recycling?

As I mentioned about my friend’s first smartphone story, after a month usage turned into a SCRAP and he has to dump $135 phone in garbage bin (Lesson well learned for buying cheap phone). But what he did is adding to E-waste. As the prices are slashing down with frequent updation in technology and software, people are changing phones as frequently as within 6 months or less in certain cases. Who is responsible for growing amount of E-waste because it has become so easy and economical to use and throw a smartphone.

fairphone2_0As per UNEP report 40 million metric tons (MT) of e-waste is produced annually in the world, most of which is illegally dumped or traded, and about 1.7 million MT is generated by India.

Another major problem we face is lack of technology and infrastructure to effectively handle e-waste, or either processed informally leading several health issues among the labours. Most disheartening fact is around 4-5 lakhs child labours between the age group of 10-15 are observed to be engaged in this activity. And I see no aggressive policies by cheap phone manufacturers to collect old phones, to recycle and reuse them.


Of course I know, there are reasons for buying cheap smartphones than not buying. And definitely I am not encouraging you to buy expensive smartphone. But being “Responsible Consumer” (than just smartphone user), if you a cost effective smartphone you will at least think before throwing it up. Let’s work together for better future. Hope you install sustainability now, not later