Green GDP is a term used generally for expressing GDP after adjusting for environmental damage. The System of National Accounts (SNA) is an accounting framework for measuring the economic activities of production, consumption and accumulation of wealth in an economy during a period of time. When information on economy’s use of the natural environment is integrated into the system of national accounts, it becomes green national accounts or environmental accounting.
The process of environmental accounting involves three steps viz. Physical accounting; Monetary valuation; and integration with national Income/wealth Accounts. Physical accounting determines the state of the resources, types, and extent (qualitative and quantitative) in spatial and temporal terms. Monetary valuation is done to determine its tangible and intangible components. Thereafter, the net change in natural resources in monetary terms is integrated into the Gross Domestic Product in order to reach the value of Green GDP.
The process envisaged by Ministry of Environment and Forest does not require any change in the core System of National Accounts (SNA), and is achieved by establishing linkages between the two through a system of satellite accounts (called Satellite accounts as it adds new information to core accounts). For example, Environmental Satellite Accounts link measures of emissions, material use, costs of remediation and environmental taxes to measures of economic activity. Satellite accounts are a framework that enables attention to be focused on a certain field or aspect of economic and social life. They are produced in the context of national accounts but are more flexible as they allow concepts, definitions, accounting rules and classifications to be changed, where it improves analysis.
The report of the Committee Green National Accounts in India: A Framework, opines that the word green GDP is a misnomer as it is about the wealth of the nation that one is referring to (not income) while talking about accretion or depletion of natural resources. The work in coming out with green GDP estimates is progressing.
Biodigester Technology and Biotoilet
DRDO’s Bio-Digester Technology (BDT) with zero waste formulation is being largely implemented in various sectors to solve sanitation problems. While, BDT has been installed in railway coach toilets and general toilets on a trial basis, it is found to be an ideal option of solving excreta issues faced by the defence camps in Siachen and Ladakh. BDT effectively functions in all weather conditions, including those of the snow-clad sub-zero pockets where temperature ranges from minus 6oC to minus 50oC.
In 1994, when research scientists of the Defence Ministry went to Antarctica to study bacteria capability of degrading/breaking down excreta, it was found that psychrotrophic bacteria like Clostridium and Methanosarcina had the natural capability to survive on waste. These organisms breakdown excreta to produce re-usable water and gas through anaerobic process. To test the capability of the organisms at minus 50oC and at plus 50oC at different altitudes, a toilet was made with a tank fitted below the commode where faeces could be deposited. It was found that the tank sheets with bacteria embedded in it could not escape out of the sheet and could multiply.
Thus, when human waste comes in contact with the bacteria, it gets converted into methane gas and yields water through the process of anaerobic digestion: the process of hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis and methanogenesis.
Nicknamed ELDO (for eco-friendly loo), the BDT is an alternative to ‘Flush and Forget’ toilets. Easy to install in the mountainous slopes and terrains and involving no maintenance, ELDO eliminates pathogens and also generates odourless and inflammable clean energy: biogas. The gas can be utilized for energy/cooking and water for irrigation purposes.
Faecal matter is composed of carbohydrates, protein and fats. In the first step, they are converted into simple sugars, amino acids and fatty acids. In the next step, these break to form carbonic acid, alcohols, hydrogen and water. In the third step, acetic acid, hydrogen and carbon dioxide is formed. In the last step, methane, carbon dioxide and water are formed.