India has banned all forms of disposable plastic in its capital

Thirty-two percent of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging we produce annually flows into our oceans. That’s the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every minute.

According to the India Times, India is responsible for an astonishing 60% of the plastic that is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. The country has become so concerned with its waste problem that the National Green Tribunal has introduced a ban on disposable plastic in the capital city. It is now no longer permitted to use plastic bags, chai cups and cutlery in Delhi.

But that isn’t the only issue that led to the ban. It was introduced as a result of complaints about the illegal mass-burning of plastic and other waste at three local rubbish dumps, which has been blamed for causing air pollution.

Hotspot for pollution

India is one of the danger spots for pollution, according to WHO figures. The yellow, orange, red and purple patches on this map shows where air quality breaches international limits.

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Another study estimates that the fine particles generated from commercial and residential energy use, including waste burning, contribute the most to pollution-associated premature deaths globally, especially in India.

According to Greenpeace, India is leading the charge against plastic. While many places around the world already ban plastic bags, India’s bans are all-encompassing.

In Karnataka, a state in the south-west of the country, no wholesale dealer, retailer or trader can now use or sell plastic carrier bags, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic spoons or plastic wrap, says Greenpeace.

Last month, the UN Environment Programme launched #Cleanseas, a major global campaign to stop plastic ending up in our oceans. Ten countries have already joined. They are: Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Grenada, Indonesia, Norway, Panama, Saint Lucia, Sierra Leone and Uruguay.

 

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3. GIFTED

3. GIFTED

Inspiring story of people with disability by Sudha Menon and V.R. ferose

Why is it that we often forget to celebrate a very important manifestation of diversity : the diversity of ability?

While the rest of the world has taken great strides in mainstreaming the differently – abled into the larger contours of their society. life continues to be an uphill struggle for the differently – abled in India. They continue to be burdened with their ‘handicapped’ status and live a life on the fringes, largely forgotten by a society which is galloping ahead at a fast pace.

Born ‘different’ from the rest of us, they have been put in a position of disadvantage in a world where being ‘normal’ is at such a premium. Written by the bestselling author of legacy and leading ladies, Sudha Menon, and V.R. Ferose, Senior vice president at SAP and founder of the high – profile Indial Inclusion Summit, Gifted celebrtes the journeys of thesse very Indians who are neither CEOs nor part of any influential power clubs, but are special in their own, unique way.

These are stories that can inspire even the most ‘abled’ among us.

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2. Sexuality Education

Sexuality Education for Pre – Primary and Primary Classes

By :- Gagandeep Kaur and Atul Kumar

Sexuality is a term that evokes mixed emotions. Since our children are getting increasingly exposed to sexually explicit material, therefore, it is essential to educate and empower them. Often explaining and empowering these children with healthy and more appropriate attitudes in this regard is a big challenge. Hence, in order to assist children, concerned counselors, teachers and parents, this book has been written.

 

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NGO Profile – Himalayan tribal welfare society – Arunachal Pradesh

Himalayan tribal welfare society located in Lower Subansiri District in Arunachal Pradesh, headed by D. Te ji; is engaged in Awareness generation, Community Service, Consumers, Education & Training, Law & Legal Literacy, Rural Development, Sanitation, Skill Development, Tribal & Indigenous and Women development.

Over the years, the society has organised several programs, specially the computer and embroidery classes for girls. In addition to general Awareness Programmes, the society has conducted several training programs in consumer education and the Co-operative.

The society has been supported by various Government Agencies under different projects. The society can be contacted on- Email Id: himalayan.tws@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Book review – #Republic -Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media. By Cass Sunstein. Princeton University Press; 310 pages; $29.95 and £24.95.

LAST June Facebook announced a change to its newsfeed. Henceforth it would rejig the way stories were ranked to ensure that people saw “the stories they find most meaningful”. But what does “most meaningful” actually mean? Posts from family and friends, apparently, as well as those users you frequently “like”. Your newsfeed should be “subjective, personal and unique”, Facebook went on, promising to work on building tools to give users “the most personalised experience”.

Cass Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University and Barack Obama’s former regulation tsar, is one of Facebook’s dissatisfied customers. “Facebook can do better,” he writes in “#Republic”, his new book about democracy in the age of social media. Mr Sunstein is disturbed by some aspects of ultra-customised information, yet he shows himself a master of restraint in his criticism. He clearly wants to influence Mark Zuckerberg and other tech titans without alienating them. Although Mr Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, perhaps he can still pick up the occasional book by a Harvard professor—along with his new honorary degree.

In some ways, “#Republic” is a kind of Democracy 101, a review of the basic requirements for those who may have skipped the course. These requirements include, among other things, that citizens be exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives—even, and especially, those they would not choose to see or hear. Unplanned, chance encounters—with a protest as one wanders down the street, or a competing argument aired on the evening news—help guard against “fragmentation, polarisation and extremism”. They ensure that people are not hearing only an echo of their own voice. They reduce the likelihood that people will be stirred to extremes, such as terrorism. And they promote shared information and experiences, making it easier to solve problems and govern in a heterogeneous society.

In some ways, “#Republic” is a kind of Democracy 101, a review of the basic requirements for those who may have skipped the course. These requirements include, among other things, that citizens be exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives—even, and especially, those they would not choose to see or hear. Unplanned, chance encounters—with a protest as one wanders down the street, or a competing argument aired on the evening news—help guard against “fragmentation, polarisation and extremism”. They ensure that people are not hearing only an echo of their own voice. They reduce the likelihood that people will be stirred to extremes, such as terrorism. And they promote shared information and experiences, making it easier to solve problems and govern in a heterogeneous society.

This is the positive side of the free- speech principle, Mr Sunstein writes. It means not only forbidding censorship, but also creating a culture where people engage with the views of fellow citizens.

In the digital age social media function as the public forums where ideas are exchanged. But when people filter what they see—and providers race towards ever greater “personalisation” in the name of consumer choice—democracy is endangered. People live in separate worlds. Even hashtags, meant to help users find information on a certain topic, lead them to different bubbles. Democrats use #ACA and #blacklivesmatter; Republicans use #Obamacare and #alllivesmatter. Partyism might be said to exceed racism in America, Mr Sunstein argues. Whereas in 1960 only 5% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats said they would be “displeased” if their child married outside their political party, by 2010, those numbers had reached 49% and 33%, a far higher percentage than those who would be “displeased” if their child married outside their race.

Mr Sunstein wants an “architecture of serendipity” to combat these forces: that is, media that promote chance encounters and democratic deliberation like the public forums of old. Facebook might design “serendipity buttons”, he suggests, allowing users to click for opposing viewpoints or unfiltered perspectives. Conservative news sites could feature links to liberal sites and vice versa, alerting people to material beyond their usual sources. A site like deliberativedemocracy.com—the domain is not yet taken—could offer a space for people of divergent views to discuss issues. Democracies should take their cue from Learned Hand, an American judge who said the spirit of liberty is that “spirit which is not too sure that it is right”.

It is not just up to Mr Zuckerberg, then, to foster a culture of curiosity and openness. Citizens must demand it, Mr Sunstein argues, and they must seek out those serendipitous encounters. “#Republic” is full of constructive suggestions. It should be required reading for anyone who is concerned with the future of democracy—in Silicon Valley and beyond.

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