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There’s A Dire Need To Protect The Ozone Layer From Substances That Can Deplete It

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Usually, my day starts very early, most of the times I am nearly up before the sun! That’s right. I use the first few minutes of the day for myself with a hot cup of chai; then I rush to prepare breakfast for my kid. And then begins the tussle of waking up my little one ensuring that she is happy, hearty and well fed, by the time we are at the bus stand. Now I dash out for my work assignments. In between all these extremely hurried, yet meticulous jobs, on a hot summer day, I take a moment or two and switch on the air conditioner to cool down.

While I have the luxury to do it, many across the country battle the sweltering heat in both urban and rural areas. It makes me wonder – could there be a possible solution to ensure cooling for all? Our dear and only ‘one’ earth is growing hotter rapidly, and each one of us is contributing in our small ways to heat it up. Hence temperatures are rising; creating health hazards for all, especially those without access to cooling methods and equipment. It is our collective responsibility not just to take steps to thwart the ‘heating phenomena’, but also to provide sustainable solutions and access to cooling solutions to all.

While ACs and refrigerators widely use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a potent greenhouse gas, there should be alternative technologies and innovations to limit the use of HFCs in equipment which we use in our everyday lives.

In our day-to-day affairs, not just the electronic equipment but life-saving vaccines and medicines, fresh food, safe work and educational environments are all crucial. And, all this requires an amalgamation of clean energy and cooling techniques. For ASHA and ANM workers, the cool boxes carrying medicines, vaccines for life-threatening diseases in the remotest parts of the country is a priority. The cool boxes are a lifeline which saves multiple lives, restricts deadly diseases and spreads cheer to millions of people; but we are still unable to provide these basic facilities to the remote areas of the country due to the lack of technologies and innovations.

The fresh food we consume, the dairy and poultry requirements too produce a huge carbon footprint, and hence, there is an immediate need to look into ways to efficiently manage the storage methods –  without compromising on either quality or environment. Improvising cold chains for better delivery of produce, vaccines and medicines are required to reduce global warming.

The Government of India has introduced various schemes to pave the way towards clean energy in the recent past. While, there is an immediate need to push schemes such as housing for all, power for all, there is a need to ensure that all this is achieved in a cleaner and smarter way. Clean energy solutions should be introduced in building smarter cities, energy efficient houses and housing complexes, educational and healthcare institutions and workplaces.

To assess the requirement and plan ahead to meet the cooling requirement, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change have released a draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP). The draft by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ozone Cell, provides a 20-year perspective, with projections for cooling needs up to the year 2037-38. It aims to provide sustainable cooling while keeping in mind, at the same time, the need to protect the ozone layer from substances that can deplete it.

As a way forward the draft suggests a ‘holistic and balanced approach’ by combining active and passive cooling strategies. As per the draft, MoEF is considering designing buildings with natural and mechanical ventilation, promoting the use of energy-efficient refrigerant, adopting thermal comfort standards to specify pre-setting of temperatures of ACs, especially in commercial buildings. It is heartening to note that renewable-energy based cold chains for perishable foods will be developed. Building resilient and sustainable buildings, spaces and cold chains will hold the key to a better future. Looking at the transport sector, and the growing demand for refrigerant cooling in cars – will also be a game changer.

Without ‘cooling for all’, food and medicine loss in the supply chain will be high; food poisoning from lack of domestic temperature management will be significant; farmers will lack market connectivity, hundreds of millions of people will not have safe, let alone comfortable, living or working environments; medical centres will not have temperature-controlled services for post-natal care and the like.

There is a need for proper budget allocation, integrating system-level strategies to mitigate and meet the cooling requirements without putting further pressure on the fragile eco-system. Asking the right questions, devising the best solutions in the least damaging way is possibly the only way to meet the cooling requirements locally, regionally and globally.


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  1. varsha pathak

    for having some amount of money from the government per month just fill the berojgari bhatta forms 2020 so that you can get money per month

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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