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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

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‘Off the grid living’ green concept gets thumbs up


Hyderabad: The nine finalists of The Times of India-Garnier green initiative, ‘Take Care Take Charge’ from Hyderabad presented an array of ideas on preserving the environment from pollution and global warming here on Monday. In their presentations on how best to protect the environment, the finalists offered solutions in the form of rooftop gardens, a ‘greener’ transport system to using plants as air fresheners.
All presentations were well received by the distinguished panel of judges comprising eminent filmmaker Mani Shankar,
director of Andhra Pradesh Forest Academy P Raghuveer, founder of Society to Save the Rocks Frauke Quader, president of Forum for a Better Hyderabad M Veda Kumar and TOI resident editor Kingshuk Nag. The panelists, while lauding the efforts of all participants, said that the initiative had thrown up a great opportunity for incorporating bright and fresh ideas into the existing system.
R Swaminathan was declared winner of the event in Hyderabad for his ‘Off the grid living’ concept. The simplistic approach suggested by Swaminathan to tackle the growing problem of pollution received great response from the panelists. His presentation revolved around bringing about small changes in the lifestyle of people to conserve energy and thereby protect the environment from further damage. Offering cost-effective solutions to combat land, air and water pollution the 35-year-old electrical engineer listed out options like switching to LED lights (from the regular electric bulbs), culti
vating rooftop gardens, recycling domestic waste for manure and even replacing the electric chimney with the old-style chimney, in new constructions in the city, to improve air circulation.
“There is no air conditioning in the Golconda Fort, yet the air at the highest point is so cool. It is only because of the tunnel or the ‘natural draft’ concept adapted in building it. I suggest the same for residential complexes,” he said. On a larger scale, Swaminathan proposed the use of wind turbines and solar energy-run gadgets to make better use of natural resources.
His interesting tid bits about using the
freezer more than the refrigerator to conserve power and physically rinsing clothes (instead of the washing machine) to preserve water, impressed the panelists. Mani Shankar said, “His concept is very powerful and can do wonders if implemented effectively.” P Raghuveer termed his ideas as “highly adoptable”.
Swaminathan would be among the top six participants, selected from six cities from across the country who would get an opportunity to interact with Jairam Ramesh, Union minister for environment and forest and present before him their green ideas on June 6, the World Environment Day. The day will also see six editions of the TOI printed in 100 per cent recycled paper.
The other eight contestants from Hyderabad were: Divya, T V Karthikeyan, Anand Kakani, T K Parimala Vaishnavi, Rupesh, Rama Rao, Mukesh Bhangria and Bogireddy Srinivas. The knowledge partner for the event was Centre for Environmental Education.


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