Sustainable Brand Story : Ekam Eco Solutions – Sustainable Solutions for Hygiene & Sanitation

Access to clean water and sanitation is integral in keeping public health intact. While India has made significant progress in this aspect with the implementation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, there is still a long way to go. 

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO), around 29 percent of rural households in India do not have access to basic sanitation facilities. The availability of water is also a grave concern, especially during spells of drought. About 21 major cities across India, including Delhi, Bengaluru, and Chennai, are on the verge of running out of groundwater this year as per the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by the NITI Aayog. 

Intending to improve this situation, Uttam Banerjee, Sachin Joshi, and Dr VM Chariar started Ekam Eco Solutions in 2013. The startup not only focuses on building humane and hygienic sanitation systems but designs sustainable processes to employ them. Its line of products includes waterless urinals, natural cleaners, sewage care items, and food composting structures. 

“Unscientific waste disposal and inadequate sanitation facilities affect both the health of humans and the environment they live in. The intention behind starting Ekam was to safeguard the wellbeing of people at large, and at the same time, conserve all natural resources, including water,” says Uttam Banerjee, Co-founder and CEO, Ekam Eco Solutions. 

NEW DELHI, INDIA – SEPTEMBER 24: Uttam Banerjee, director and CEO, Ekam Eco Solutions on September 24, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Ekam Eco Solutions Ltd. is a social start-up which makes Zerodor, a technology related to waterless urinals. (Photo by Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images)

Sowing the seeds 

The idea of establishing Ekam goes back to when Uttam was pursuing his master’s degree in industrial design at IIT-Delhi. Coming from the city of Bokaro, Jharkhand, the 35-year-old was used to living around a lot of water bodies and greenery. However, when he moved to Delhi-NCR, he felt anguished to observe the degraded state of the environment around him, especially the state of the river Yamuna

“When I noticed the toxic froth floating on the river, I could not help but do some research to find out the reason behind it. And, that was when I found out that several drainage lines were leading into the water, with only five percent of the sewage being treated. I wanted to do something to improve the state of sanitation so that such eventualities never arise,” Uttam recalls.

Zerodor is an attempt to recover urine and feces in pure form so that it does not pollute the soil and water and can be converted into useful fertilizer. The only way you can do this is to avoid flushing the pans. The initial iterations revolved around both urine and feces which evolved into a waterless urinal for men and women.

Solutions offered at Zerodor

1. Zerodor Waterless Urinals: A cost-effective waterless urinal without having any consumables (no recurring costs) can greatly impact the water consumption in urban areas. The designed product can save over 1.5 Lakh liters of fresh water in one urinal pan in a year. The amount that is currently wasted in a single urinal for flushing can support the drinking water need of 14 families for over a year. (http://ekameco.com/zerodor-waterless-urinals/ )

2. Care Organic House Keeping Solutions and Odor removal systems: Care is a range of organic solutions with wide range of applications ranging from cleaning of floors, bathrooms to washing clothes and utensils. Care also has room fresheners which are nonallergic are very effective on bad odors. (http://ekameco.com/care-organic-solutions/ )

3. Care Sludge Management Solutions: Care also offers solutions to manage the fecal/organic sludge in the septic tanks as well as large STP. These solutions are free from chemicals and are completely natural. The sludge is digested in a span of 8–72 hours and converted into nutrient-rich water which can be used for gardening, farming or even flushing. (http://ekameco.com/care-organic-solutions/ )

The day at Zerodor

Happy, Energized and Motivated. Being in a small organization, you always have limited resources and that is when all your creative juices start flowing in to get your work done with the limited resource that you have. All of us in the team handle multiple portfolios and are always excited every day. Every day is a great learning process.

Creating greener spaces

In the last seven years, Ekam Eco Solutions has contributed a great deal to the environment through its eco-friendly offerings. Having sold about 12,000 units of waterless urinal systems, kiosks, and many more of its other sewer treatment products, it has helped save one billion litres of water. Further, it has been diverting at least four tonnes of waste away from landfills every day. 

Ekam Eco Solutions

The team of Ekam Eco Solutions.

The Naval Base at Chilka in Odisha, the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam, INS Sardar Patel at Porbandar in Gujarat, and the Indian Railways also form part of Ekam’s customer base. The startup has been setting up urinals and composting systems in these institutions for quite some time now. 

Rashmi Singh, a 46-year-old retired naval officer, who has been using Ekam’s products, says,

“I have been buying a range of cleaning solutions from the startup after a friend of mine recommended it to me. Just the fact that they all are chemical-free and tend to keep natural resources intact motivated me to use them. Besides, they cost almost the same as other conventional cleaners.”

The Delhi-based startup is planning to expand its endeavor of providing affordable and environment-friendly sanitation systems by reaching out to more geographies in the future. It is also exploring solutions to knock out the usage of plastic in its packaging by collaborating with rePurpose, a global campaign focused on offsetting plastic footprints.

Monday Flashback Story : Golconda Fort – A Sustainable Heritage Fort from Qutb Shahi Architecture

Golconda Fort, also known as Golla Konda, is a fortified citadel built by the Kakatiyas and an early capital city of the Qutb Shahi dynasty (c. 1512–1687), located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. Because of the vicinity of diamond mines, especially the Kollur Mine, Golconda flourished as a trade center of large diamonds, known as the Golconda Diamonds. The region has produced some of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the colorless Koh-i-Noor (now owned by the United Kingdom), the blue Hope (United States), the pink Daria-i-Noor (Iran), the white Regent (France), the Dresden Green (Germany), and the colorless Orlov (Russia), Nizam and Jacob (India), as well as the now-lost diamonds Florentine Yellow, Akbar Shah, and Great Mogul.

The Qutb Shahi tombs are the necropolis of the Qutb Shahi rulers, set in a vast garden on the outskirts of the Golconda Fort. The tombs share a common features : an onion dome atop a cube surrounded by an arcade with rich ornamental details, with small minarets featuring floral motifs.

It was initially called Shepherd’s Hill, meaning Golla Konda in Telugu while according to legend, on this rocky hill a shepherd boy had come across an idol and the information was conveyed to the ruling Kakatiya king at that time. The king constructed a mud fort around this holy spot and after 200 years, Bahamani rulers took possession of the place. Under the Bahmani Sultanate, Golconda slowly rose to prominence. Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk (r. 1487–1543), sent by the Bahmanids as a governor at Golconda, established the city as the seat of his government around 1501. Bahmani rule gradually weakened during this period, and Sultan Quli formally became independent in 1538, establishing the Qutb Shahi dynasty based in Golconda. Over a period of 62 years, the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans into the present structure, a massive fortification of granite extending around 5 km (3.1 mi) in circumference. It remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1590 when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis expanded the fort, whose 7 km (4.3 mi) outer wall enclosed the city.

During the early seventeenth century a strong cotton-weaving industry existed in Golconda. Large quantities of cotton were produced for domestic and exports consumption. High-quality plain or patterned cloth made of muslin and calico was produced. The plain cloth was available as white or brown color, in bleached or dyed variety. Exports of this cloth were to Persia and European countries. The patterned cloth was made of prints which were made indigenously with indigo for blue, chay-root for red-colored prints and vegetable yellow. Patterned cloth exports were mainly to Java, Sumatra, and other eastern countries.

Golconda Fort is listed as an archaeological treasure on the official “List of Monuments” prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Golconda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km (6.2 mi) long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions (some still mounted with cannons), eight gateways, and four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, temples, mosques, magazines, stables, etc. inside. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure entered by the “Fateh Darwaza” (Victory gate, so-called after Aurangzeb’s triumphant army marched in through this gate) studded with giant iron spikes (to prevent elephants from battering them down) near the south-eastern corner. An acoustic effect can be experienced at Fateh Darwazaan, a hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard clearly at the ‘Bala Hisar’ pavilion, the highest point almost a kilometer away. This worked as a warning in case of an attack.

Bala Hissar Gate is the main entrance to the fort located on the eastern side. It has a pointed arch bordered by rows of scrollwork. The spandrels have yalis and decorated roundels. The area above the door has peacocks with ornate tails flanking an ornamental arched niche. The granite block lintel below has sculpted yalis flanking a disc. The design of peacocks and lions is typical of Hindu architecture and underlies this fort’s Hindu origins.

Toli Masjid, situated at Karwan, about 2 km (1.2 mi) from the Golconda Fort, was built in 1671 by Mir Musa Khan Mahaldar, royal architect of Abdullah Qutb Shah. The facade consists of five arches, each with lotus medallions in the spandrels. The central arch is slightly wider and more ornate. The mosque inside is divided into two halls, a transverse outer hall and an inner hall entered through triple arches.

It is believed that there is a secret tunnel that leads from the “Durbar Hall” and ends in one of the palaces at the foot of the hill.[citation needed] The fort also contains the tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings. These tombs have Islamic architecture and are located about 1 km (0.62 mi) north of the outer wall of Golconda. They are encircled by beautiful gardens and numerous carved stones. It is also believed that there was a secret tunnel to Charminar.

The two individual pavilions on the outer side of Golconda are built on a point which is quite rocky. The “Kala Mandir” is also located in the fort. It can be seen from the king’s durbar (king’s court) which was on top of the Golconda Fort.

The other buildings found inside the fort are:

Habshi Kamans (Abyssian arches), Ashlah Khana, Taramati mosque, Ramadas Bandikhana, Camel stable, private chambers (kilwat), Mortuary bath, Nagina bagh, Ramasasa’s kotha, Durbar hall, Ambar khana etc.

Naya Qila (New Fort)

Naya Qila is an extension of Golconda Fort which was turned into the Hyderabad Golf Club despite resistance from farmers who owned the land and various NGOs within the city. The ramparts of the new fort start after the residential area with many towers and the Hatiyan ka Jhad (“Elephant-sized tree”)—an ancient baobab tree with an enormous girth. It also includes a war mosque. These sites are under restrictive access to the public because of the Golf Course.

Golconda Fort is a very large fort consisting of temples, mosques, palaces, halls, apartments and other structures. The fort is spread in around 11km area and has beautiful architecture. The fort is divided into four forts each having apartments, worship places, halls, etc.

Gates
Golconda Fort has eight gates out of which the main gate is Fateh Darwaza or the Victory Gate. This gate was built to commemorate the victorious march of Mughal Emperor Aurungzeb. The gate has steel spikes to protect it from elephants. The length of the gate is 25ft and the width is 13ft.

Monday Flashback Story – Red Fort, Agra – The Sustainable fort from Mughal Era !

Agra Fort is a historical fort in the city of Agra in India. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi. Before capture by the British, the last Indian rulers to have occupied it were the Marathas. In 1983, the Agra fort was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is about 2.5 km northwest of its more famous sister monument, the Taj Mahal. The fort can be more accurately described as a walled city.

Like the rest of Agra, the history of Agra Fort prior to Mahmud Ghaznavi’s invasion is unclear. However, in the 15th century, the Chauhan Rajputs occupied it. Soon after, Agra assumed the status of capital when Sikandar Lodi (A.D. 1487–1517) shifted his capital from Delhi and constructed a few buildings in the pre-existing Fort at Agra. After the first battle of Panipat (A.D. 1526) Mughals captured the fort and ruled from it. In A.D. 1530, Humayun was crowned in it. The Fort got its present appearance during the reign of Akbar (A.D. 1556–1605).

After the First Battle of Panipat in 1526, Babur stayed in the fort, in the palace of Ibrahim Lodi. He later built a baoli (step well) in it. His successor, Humayun, was crowned in the fort in 1530. He was defeated at Bilgram in 1540 by Sher Shah Suri. The fort remained with the Suris till 1555, when Humayun recaptured it. Adil Shah Suri’s general, Hemu, recaptured Agra in 1556 and pursued its fleeing governor to Delhi where he met the Mughals in the Battle of Tughlaqabad.

The 380,000 m2 (94-acre) fort has a semicircular plan, its chord lies parallel to the river Yamuna and its walls are seventy feet high. Double ramparts have massive circular bastions at intervals, with battlements, embrasures, machicolations and string courses. Four gates were provided on its four sides, one Khizri gate opening on to the river.[citation needed]

Two of the fort’s gates are notable: the “Delhi Gate” and the “Lahore Gate.” The Lahore Gate is also popularly also known as the “Amar Singh Gate,” for Amar Singh Rathore.

The monumental Delhi Gate, which faces the city on the western side of the fort, is considered the grandest of the four gates and a masterpiece of Akbar’s time. It was built circa 1568 both to enhance security and as the king’s formal gate, and includes features related to both. It is embellished with intricate inlay work in white marble. A wooden drawbridge was used to cross the moat and reach the gate from the mainland; inside, an inner gateway called Hathi Pol (“Elephant Gate”) – guarded by two life-sized stone elephants with their riders – added another layer of security. The drawbridge, slight ascent, and 90-degree turn between the outer and inner gates make the entrance impregnable. During a siege, attackers would employ elephants to crush a fort’s gates. Without a level, the straight run-up to gather speed, however, that thing is prevented by this layout.

Situated on the site of earlier fortifications, it lies on the right bank of the Yamuna River and is connected to another of Agra’s renowned monuments, the Taj Mahal (downstream, around a bend in the Yamuna), by a swath of parkland and gardens. The fort was commissioned by Akbar in 1565 and reportedly took eight years to construct. The walls of the roughly crescent-shaped structure have a circumference of about 1.5 miles (2.5 km), rise 70 feet (21 metres) high, and are surrounded by a moat. There are two access points in the walls: the Amar Singh Gate facing south (now the only means in or out of the fort complex) and the Delhi Gate facing west, the original entrance, which is richly decorated with intricate marble inlays. Many structures within the walls were added later by subsequent Mughal emperors, notably Shah Jahān and Jahāngīr. The complex of buildings—reminiscent of Persian- and Timurid-style architectural features—forms a city within a city.

Among the major attractions in the fort is Jahāngīr’s Palace (Jahāngīri Mahal), built by Akbar as a private palace for his son Jahāngir. It is the largest residence in the complex. The Pearl Mosque (Moti Masjid), constructed by Shah Jahān, is a tranquil and perfectly proportioned structure made entirely of white marble. The Hall of Private Audience (Diwan-i-Khas) was used for receiving distinguished visitors. The famous Peacock Throne was once kept there before Aurangzeb took it to Delhi. Near the Hall of Private Audience stands the tall Octagonal Tower (Musamman Burj), the residence of Shah Jahān’s favorite empress, Mumtaz Mahal.

In the Hall of Public Audience (Diwan-i-ʿAm), the emperor would listen to public petitions and meet state officials. The elegant marble walls of the Khas Mahal (the emperor’s private palace) were once adorned with flowers depicted by precious gems. Located to its northeast is the splendid Palace of Mirrors (Sheesh Mahal), its walls and ceilings inlaid with thousands of small mirrors. The structure’s two dazzling chambers were probably used as baths and possibly as a boudoir by the queens.

Featured Sustainable Story of the Week : D2O Learning – A Platform to help students & professionals to grow and excel in field of Sustainable Buildings

Recently, Bill Gates warns climate change could be worse than the coronavirus. By 2060, climate change could be just as deadly as COVID-19. He emphasized on innovation and awareness for reducing our carbon footprints. We at D2O Learning are working to spread the knowledge and upskill the Youth to be ready for the better tomorrow.

“We believe that education is not just limited to the classroom. Anyone can learn new skills from anywhere.  By connecting students & professionals across the globe to the best instructors, D2O learning is supporting learners to meet their career goals right from entering to the job market and changing fields to seeking promotion and exploring for Green Jobs in Sustainability Industry and work towards reducing their carbon footprint”, says D2O Learning Co-founder Mr. Anuj Gupta.

How was it started?

One of the co-founders of D2O Learning is working in Building Engineering Services since 2015. He has worked on various projects and assignments of Green Building Certifications, Climate Action, Various types of building simulations, audits, and many others. Through the market research, it has been found that many people would like to work in this domain but they are unaware about the work and what to select in their career. So, during the pandemic, he started D2O Learning with the objective of dissemination of knowledge and upskill the students & professionals in this sustainability field.

How is it going?

Team D2O Learning has developed various courses like LEED Green Associate Exam Preparation Course, Energy Simulation Mastery Workshop, LEED AP BD+C Mastery Workshop and many others. Also, various courses are under development.

Also, D2O Learning is collaborating with institutes to bridge the gap between industry and academia. Regular Faculty Development Program and technical sessions are organized for students. Apart from this, D2O Learning is associating with corporates to train their teams for climate-related issues, building engineering services etc.

Recognition

D2O Learning is an Ed-Tech startup which is recognized by DPIIT and Startup India. Check out the profile here – https://bit.ly/3EdRS7h

Also, D2O Learning is an approved startup from iSTART Rajasthan. Apart from this D2O Learning is registered as a MSME in India.

D2O Learning is an Alliance Member of Youth for Sustainability India Alliance. The objective of the alliance is to bring together like-minded youth-oriented organizations focused on SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG 13 – Climate Action on a common national platform in the form of an Alliance to help India achieve its targets under SDG 12 and 13 with the youth as the accelerator.

Next what?

D2O Learning is planning to expand their team so that they can deliver best to their learners. Also, they’re collaborating with industry leaders so that they can reach out to maximum people. Please stay tuned to their social media pages for regular updates and shower your support & love. Check out more details here – https://linktr.ee/d2olearning

Monday Flashback Story – Shahnajaf Imambara Lucknow : Marvellous piece of Awadh Sustainable Architecture

Near Sikandrabad, on the bank of Gomti River, there is located a mausoleum – Shahnajaf Imambara that was built in the 19th century. It was the first king of Awadh clan – Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, who constructed this historical site in Lucknow. He built the Imambara as a token of his devotion to Hazrat Ali, who was the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. Shahnajaf Imambara is a replica of Ghazi-ud-Din’s own tomb in Iraq. At present, Shahnajaf Imambara is one of the main tourist attractions in Lucknow mainly because of its historical significance and impressive architecture. Near the Imambara, a house and a mosque for Mumtaz Mahal (his wife) were also constructed by Ghazi-ud-Din Haider. However, in the year 1913, the house was torn down to construct a road on the riverside. Inside the Imambara, there lie the remains of him as he wanted to be buried here. Along with that, the graves of his wives Mubarak Mahal, who died in 1849, Sarfaraz Mahal who died in 1878, and Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1896. On 13th of Rajab (birthday of Hazrat Ali) and between 7th and 9th Muharram, the Imambara is beautifully decorated.

Most Lucknowites only know about two of the prominent Imambaras i.e., Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara. Matter of fact there is many more Imambaras in Lucknow. And one remarkable among them is Shahnajaf Imambara!

Imambaras are the holy places built for the avatars of Allah. Shanajaf Imambara was built by the first king of Awadh, Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, in the memory of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad.

The Architecture

The path from the main door to the Imambara gate is made of white marble. Lakhori bricks and almond lime have been used mainly in their design.

As we entered the building, the shapes and textures of the verandah kept drawing our eyes. We were surprised to see that our city of Lucknow reflects such great wonders of history and architecture.

Entering inside we found some walkways and doors and a long way to the verandah. There was a large hall under the center dome of Imambara, where the remains of Ghazi-ud-din Haider have been kept at his will. The hall was very beautiful and decorated with the artistry of the mirrors.
Apart from Ghazi-ud-din Haider, his three queens, Sarfaraz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Mumtaz Mahal has tombs here.

The Shahnajaf Imambara is a replica of Hazrat Ali’s burial at Najaf in Iraq. The building is settled near river Gomti, on Rana Pratap Marg in Lucknow, and is made up of Lakhauri bricks. The most remarkable landmark today would be Saharaganj Mall which is in front of the Shahnajaf Imambara.

Some important points

  • It is very nice in the evening around here, you can go for a walk.
  • There is a beautiful garden around the building.
  • There is adequate parking.
  • Take special care of your things.
  • This is a legacy, so you are requested to help keep it clean.
  • The surrounding gardens have a walk option. The fresh breeze of the evening will erase all your fatigue.
Pathways inside Imambara

Entering inside you can see some mesmerizing pathways and a long stretch of doors and verandas. Reaching the center of Imambara, there is a hall under the dome where the remains of Ghazi-ud-Din Haider were put as per his wish.

The hall is beautiful and decorated with lots of glass artistry so as to reflect maximum light. Apart from this, there were graves of the king’s three queens namely Sarfaraz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Mumtaz Mahal.

Shah Najaf Imambara is also referred to as Karbala in Lucknow. Inside the main hall of the Imambara is the grave of Nawab Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, as it was his wish to be buried there. The graves of his three wives, Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Sarfaraz Mahal are also present in the Imambara complex.

The entrance of the Imambara leads the visitors to the main Hall through a picturesque garden, which is wonderfully decorated with a variety of flowers and plants. In the middle of the Imambara lies the wonderful silver mausoleum of Ghazi-ud-din Haider. The silver mausoleum is located very close to the gold tombs of Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Sarfaraz Mahal.

Shah Najaf Imambara – Today

The majestic Shah Najaf Imambara is beautifully illuminated and adorned with colorful lights on the birthday of Hazrat Ali. According to Muslim calendar, the birthday of Hazrat Ali falls on the 13th day of the Islamic month of Rajab.

The Imambara is open for visitors from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM on all days of the week. The conservation of the monument is undertaken by the Hussainabad Trust Board and Archeological Survey of India (ASI).

In stark contrast, you would be able to see the city’s medieval heritage at the Shah Najaf Imambara on one side and a modelesque view of the Sahara Ganj Mall across the street.

Monday Flashback story of Dholavira – Ancient Sustainable City since Harappa Civilisation

This week we present the Flashback story of Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, which received the UNESCO world heritage site tag on Tuesday. While Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.

Dholavira site

The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name. It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi. The site’s excavation between 1990 and 2005 under the supervision of archaeologist Ravindra Singh Bisht uncovered the ancient city, which was a commercial and manufacturing hub for about 1,500 years before its decline and eventual ruin in 1500 BC.

Distinct features

After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala, and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.  The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town, and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.

Archaeologist Bisht cites a cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— as some of the unique features of the Dholavira site.

While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. Bisht says memorials that contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans.

Rise and fall of Dholavira

Remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.

Bisht says that such beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians. Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.

He further says that from 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra.

In those times, Bisht says, the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.

Other Harappan sites in Gujarat

Before Dholavira was excavated, Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the most prominent site of IVC in Gujarat.

It was excavated between 1955 and 1960 and was discovered to be an important port city of the ancient civilization, with structures made of mud bricks. From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found. Foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site.

Besides Lothal, Rangpur on the bank of Bhadra river in Surendranagar district was the first Harappan site in the state to be excavated. Rojdi in Rajkot district, Prabhas near Veraval in Gir Somnath district, Lakhabaval in Jamnagar, and Deshalpar in Bhuj taluka of Kutch are among other Harappan sites in the state.

In its release, UNESCO termed Dholavira as one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE (Before Common Era). Since the excavation at the site, the ASI has developed a museum here. Dholavira, a village with a population of around 2,000, is the nearest human settlement at present. Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved.

Fibre Cement Boards are reliable & Sustainable Building Material

The material builders use is what brought a structure together, from simple sculptures to apartment complexes. Some of these items aren’t sustainable, though, and can end up hurting the environment. Everest Boards are greener alternative.

Everest Boards rises to the top among its competitors due to its eco-friendly benefits and cost-effectiveness. And Wood, regular cement, vinyl, and stucco are only a few examples of materials fiber cement outperforms.

When creating a home or building of any kind, construction workers will opt for the most effective path. Choosing a more sustainable route with fiber cement will yield the best results from that path. Here are the main benefits:

1. Lifespan

When comparing Fiber Cement or any Everest Boards to other siding materials like wood or vinyl, one of the first things you’ll notice is the lifespan. Everest Boards goes above and beyond what other resources can provide by outlasting the competition. It can last for up to 50 years.

The longer lifespan means residents won’t need to replace and repair their siding as often. Instead, they can save money and produce less waste over the years. Routine checkups and repairs won’t need to be done as often, resulting in cost savings.

Fiber cement is low maintenance, too. There’s no need to continually toss out old parts like you’d need to with rotting wood. Investing more now will yield a better return on investment (ROI) with fewer costs over the years.

2. Sustainability

Sustainability is a key factor when it comes to eco-friendliness. It’s the main reason why fiber cement is becoming so popular. Regular cement requires a lot of water during production, while fiber cement relies on recycled materials and consumes fewer resources. With water crises in certain areas throughout the world, using materials that reduce water usage is necessary.

Cement, sand, cellulose and recycled wood are the main components of fiber cement and Everest Boards, making it a standout for sustainable building materials. Of course, natural siding materials like wood are eco-friendly, too, but only to an extent. Once they start breaking down, they’re harder to recycle. In fact, the pieces are better off becoming part of the fiber-cement mix.

3. Versatility

If someone is hesitant about using fiber cement because they want to work with other materials, there’s other details about fiber cement then. Fiber cement is the chameleon of siding materials. It can mimic other resources like stucco or wood, including grain patterns that look like the real thing.

You can get them in a variety of designs, including panels, shingles or boards. Further, fiber cement works well with paint — both in the factory and on a building.

The versatility then benefits the environment. Builders use fewer resources and instead focus solely on using fiber cement. This impact adds up with more people using fiber cement and Everest Boards, there’s less of a need for mass manufacturing natural resources.

4. Resistance

Eco-friendly typically refers to how materials benefit the environment. In another sense of the term, though, Everest Products can help prevent weather-related damage. It can better withstand hail, storms, natural disasters, and fires.

Fiber cement is strong, sturdy, and resistant to anything life throws at it. It can protect against even the harshest conditions, which leads to less out-of-pocket expenses for the homeowners. Bugs and animals that gnaw through materials like wood won’t be an issue here – Fiber Cement and Everest Boards resist it all.

Different environments and locations throughout the world have various weather conditions and threats to endure. These residential living units in France give residents peace of mind that their homes can withstand the elements.

5. Health

One subtle benefit of fiber cement and Everest Product is the neutral components that make it up. Other materials like vinyl may have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) due to their synthetic nature. These toxic compounds come from paints, sprays, preservatives, cleansers and plenty more products and materials that are common in households. These VOCs can affect human health negatively.

For instance, VOCs can cause issues like headaches, nausea, asthma and ear irritation. Reducing materials that use VOCs is then necessary to create a safer environment. Avoiding these compounds altogether is key to good health, making fiber cement a good option.

Eco-Friendly Progress

In more ways than one, Everest Products are sustainable. Environmentally, financially and health-wise, this material helps consumers save money while reducing their impact on the environment and protecting their own health. As fiber cement solidifies itself as a viable option for buildings and siding, other materials must become more sustainable. If not, fiber cement will pull ahead as a beacon of progress for eco-friendly materials.

These five benefits prove it’s a leader in the field and shows the direction construction must go to benefit consumers and the environment.

Featured Sustainable Story : Sustainable Advancements – Restoring & Saving our resources

This Week we Present the Sustainability Story of an Organization working on Restoring & saving our Natural Resources by following Sustainable Practices.

Sustainable Advancements broadly aims to promote the 5Ps of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the Global Goals, viz. people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnerships.

This is done through a two-pronged approach – Advocacy and Implementation that aids in bridging the gap between ideas and actions, communities and businesses, India and rest of the world, thus bringing about holistic development.

“Earth Restore’’ an initiative of Sustainable Advancements (OPC) Private Limited has taken up the challenge to create an urban forest near Kolkata, West Bengal, India in approximately 1.4 acres of land surrounded by 22 housing co-operatives/ houses/ utility centers with about 10 of them having 32 families living in each of the co-operatives. Under the Green Verge project with the local government New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), Earth Restore is planting mainly bamboos in this stretch as bamboos have a high growth potential and sequester large amounts of carbon.  However, assorted plantations will also be undertaken in the lines of Miyawaki forest to attract bio-diversity.

In Pic: Dr. Nayan Mitra, Founder Director, Sustainable Advancements with Mr. & Mrs. Debashis Sen, Chairman of NKDA and the Chief Sustainability Architect of New Town, Kolkata

A multi-stakeholder approach has been adopted with the local government, corporates, civil societies, academic institutions, individuals, and communities coming together to drive positive change. Challenges are huge, but baby steps have yielded resulted in behavioral buy-ins over a period of time.

In Pic: Growing the Urban Forest by Sustainable Advancements with young bamboo clumps, flanked by houses on both sides

This comes at a time when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, 2021 has led the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres to flag the issue of climate change as ‘a code red for humanity,’ where he further points out that “the alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.”

Climate change is globally affecting people, ecosystems, and livelihoods; recent trends in emissions and the level of international ambition indicated by nationally determined contributions, within the Paris Agreement, deviate from a track consistent with limiting warming to well below 2°C; increased and urgent mitigation ambition in the coming years, leading to a sharp decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is a necessity; global warming is expected to surpass 1.5°C in the following decades, leading to irreversible loss of the most fragile ecosystems, and crisis after crisis for the most vulnerable people and societies.

To add to this, rapid growth in urbanization have yielded in mass housing projects that have very steadily replaced and engulfed green open spaces and urban green verges. Moreover, traffic congestion, population growth, exponential human and industrial activity are resulting in an urban heat island effect that is preventing the heat to escape to the atmosphere, resulting in increasing the temperature in urban spaces up to 3-4°C higher than in the surrounding countryside. The World Health Organization (WHO) points out that between 10 and 15 square metres of green space per inhabitant are required to ensure a healthy urban ecosystem.

Thus, urban forests will play an important role in not only impacting climate action but also improving the air quality and restoring biodiversity loss; ensuring proper land usage, planting native species, and beautification. Once planted, an urban forest has the potential to become maintenance-free after the first three years. Earth Restore, plans to plant more trees, under its Green Verges portfolio, in the future and bring about collective change in mindset and action towards the climate.

Article by : Dr. Nayan Mitra

https://www.sustainableadvancements.com/


Monday Flashback Story : Sustainable Heritage Building of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus

“Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus” This famous landmark which has become a symbol of the city was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway.

The railway station was built to replace the Bori Bunder railway station, in the Bori Bunder area of Bombay, a prominent port and warehouse area known for its imports and exports. Since Bombay became a major port city at the time, a bigger station was built to meet its demands and was named Victoria Terminus, after the then reigning Empress of India, Queen Victoria. The station was designed by Frederick William Stevens, a British-born engineer architect, attached to the Bombay office of the Indian colonial Public Works Department. Work began in 1878. He received ₹1,614,000 (US$23,000) as the payment for his services. Stevens earned the commission to construct the station after a masterpiece watercolor sketch by draughtsman Axel Haig. The design has been compared to George Gilbert Scott’s 1873 St Pancras railway station in London, also in an exuberant Italian Gothic style, but it is far closer to Scott’s second prize-winning entry for Berlin’s parliament building, exhibited in London in 1875, which featured numerous towers and turrets, and a large central ribbed dome. The style of the station is also similar to other public buildings of the 1870s in Bombay, such as the Elphinstone College but especially the buildings of Bombay University, also designed by G G Scott.

The station took ten years to complete, the longest for any building of that era in Bombay.

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. The terminal was built over 10 years, starting in 1878, according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. It is an outstanding example of the meeting of two cultures, as British architects worked with Indian craftsmen to include Indian architectural tradition and idioms thus forging a new style unique to Bombay.

Integrity

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) building is the expression of the British, Italian, and Indian architectural planning and its use for Indian Railways. The entire building retains entire structural integrity. Its façade, outer view, and usage are original. The premise of the building is a strictly protected area maintained by Indian Railways. The property is protected by a 90.21-hectare buffer zone. The Terminus is one of the major railway stations in the Metropolis of Mumbai and more than 3 million rail commuters use it every day. In addition to the initial 4 railway tracks, the terminus now facilitates 7 suburban and 11 separate out-station tracks. This has led to the restructuring of several areas in the surroundings, and the addition of new buildings. Indian Railways are working to decongest this terminus and to deviate some of the traffic to other stations.

The property is located in the southern part of the city, and it is subject to huge development pressures and potential redevelopment. However, considering the business interests in such a central place, there is a continuous challenge regarding development control. Another risk comes from intensive traffic flow and the highly polluted air in the region around the railway station. Industrial pollution in the area has been reduced due to a reduction in industrial and harbor activities. Another problem is the saline air from the sea.
The fire protection system needs to be checked and upgraded.

Authenticity

The heritage building retains a large percentage of its original structural integrity. The authenticity of the structure expresses the rich Italian gothic style through the eye-catching 3D-stone carvings of local species of animals, flora and fauna, symbols, arched tympana, portrait roundels of human faces, and the stone mesh works on the decorated rose windows. The elaborate detailing of the heritage building is original. It has carvings made in local yellow Malad stones blended with Italian marble and polished granite in a few places. The architectural detailing is achieved through white limestone. The doors and windows are made of Burma teak wood with some steel windows mounted in the drum of the octagonal ribbed masonry dome with the coats of arms and corresponding paintings in stained glass panels. There are large numbers of other embellishments in statuary, which the architect has introduced in decorating the grand frontage. These further include gargoyles, allegorical grotesques carrying standards and battle-axes, and figures of relief busts representing the different castes and communities of India. In prominent places on the façade, the bas-reliefs of the ten directors of the old Great Indian Peninsula Railway Company (GIPR) are shown. The entrance gates to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) carry two columns, which are crowned, one with a lion (representing the United Kingdom) and the other with a tiger (representing India) and there are tympana portraying peacocks.

However, internal modifications and external additions affected a moderate change in the authenticity. These changes were generally reversible and have since listing been reverted to bring the building and surroundings to its original glory.

Protection and management requirements

The property has been declared as a “Heritage Grade – I” structure under the resolution of the Maharashtra State Government Act on 21st April 1997. Continual efforts are being made to improve the overall state of the property and to ensure that the same does not decay due to its use by commuters and visitors. The buffer zone is established to prevent and reduce negative development in the surroundings. All legal rights of the property are vested in the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. Mumbai was the first city in India to have heritage legislation, enacted by Government Regulation in 1995 (N° 67). The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) and the Fort area, of which it is part, are protected on the basis of this legislation. A multidisciplinary committee, called Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) was established to ensure the protection of heritage buildings. There are 624 listed buildings in the whole city, out of which 63 buildings are Grade-I structures: this includes the Terminus building. The administrative control and the management of this property lie with the Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division of Central Railway. The day-to-day maintenance and protection of the building is also the responsibility of the Divisional Railway Manager. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) has also been considered to be developed as a World Class Station by Indian Railways; this would lead to decongesting and reducing the pressures on this Terminus Station, which is now over-crowded by traffic.

The long-term management plan for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) was initiated in 1997 by Indian Railways by appointing the Architectural Conservation Cell (ACC) as a Consultant. At the moment, the second phase works are under progress involving the restoration of the Terminus station; this includes conservation works on the property, management of traffic around the site, tourism management, and training of personnel.

Source – UNESCO

Featured Sustainable Story – KSAMAH : A Eco-Enterprise working on providing Sustainable Solutions for our daily life !

During the Econaur Green Marathon, we are presenting the Sustainable Brand Story of Ksamah

It’s not about saving the planet, it’s about saving ourselves – a very beautiful and apt saying by Sir David Attenborough.

Eco-friendly products startup – KSAMAH finds it so apt and true, that it is us humans who need to be saved – because we are selfish and with that selfishness, we bring harm to Earth’s life cycles and other living beings on Earth.

“Your work fills a large part of your life, and I Pragati Dhanuka (Co-Founder) is truly satisfied to be a part of KSAMAH at this juncture of my life” says Pragati.

Let’s give Earth the last chance it deserves.

Let single-use Plastics go!

Pragati states “My eco-conscious journey began with following the Recycle – Reduce waste ways of my family for many years and also with following my brother who was associated with the Save Aarey Movement of Mumbai City. Being an introvert and a private person – I loved being at sea, and beaches, watching waves was my medicine. It used to give me peace. But through the past years, Mumbai’s beaches are like walking through plastic bags & plastic bottles. I then thought of empowering my life in its second innings – also giving Earth a last chance it deserves with this sustainable start-up KSAMAH (pronounced as sha-ma-h), which is derived from a Sanskrit word – means ‘Pure as God’. Its idea is to aid each and every citizen of the world to do their small bit to prevent #EarthCrisis”.

ABOUT KSAMAH


People face issues when they want to change their lifestyle to a more eco-friendly one with respect to the following: –

a) They don’t get alternatives easily.

b) Alternatives are dull & not well made. They are not designed properly, not well researched.

KSAMAH gives you a choice to be environmentally conscious in well-designed – environment theme-based products which are the best green, easy and viable options for people. To adopt and return back to a lifestyle that was practiced by our elders, to take care of one’s health as well as the Planet is what we want us, humans, to do.

With generating interest, inspiring people as also to make a natural product not look boring, to encourage buyers to consume sensibly, we at KSAMAH make people aware about the endangered species of animals – on our product we have added short notes on the website and we add the same notes along with the products in our shipping. This we feel is one extra step (even from a utility perspective).

Ksamah’s Initiatives & Offering
KSAMAH products are premium in nature to ensure their acceptance. At KSAMAH, we have launched sustainable BOXES (Office Ecological Boxes, Home Boxes, and Travel Boxes) wherein one shot you get a chance to reduce Carbon Footprint to approx. 50%. We also sell curated gift boxes wherein we not only can reduce our carbon footprint further – but we gift health to our loved ones and the Planet as well.

Ksamah’s Green Grow Box was launched after many trials carried by their own selves in past full year, looking at the need for urban leafs and vegetable gardening adoption – the ever-increasing need for more and more people to connect to the environment in a hassle-free growing kit, especially to lighten the boredom in the safety of their homes during these unprecedented covid times. Our green grow box offers incredible health and culinary benefits as you are growing your own organic food. Also tending to plants and watching them grow provides a unique experience of happiness with nature around you. The pot variable is Reusable and with a practical size option which helps the veggies to grow well and helps also in long run as an eco yet practical solution.

They have also eliminated plastic in our packaging in every way possible.

Lockdown times helped them to enhance and research by attending webinars on being increasingly conscious of the materials used in packaging, also changes to packaging too can limit the overall environmental impact.

KSAMAH is offering 20 % discount by applying coupon code – greenmarathon21 on all its product while ordering at www.ksamah.com

Ksamah team says, “We learnt to use Water-activated tape made with paper, we love our sealing tape options. Adopting Paper Tapes was our necessary change to go eco-friendly.
Our Shipping Boxes in all styles, sizes https://ksamah.com/that go out our doors are customised to maximum eco-norms and make for an incredible unboxing experience”.

We Congratulate the Ksamah team for taking this initiative and working for Sustainability.

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