Influencing mind space and promoting sustainable development in urban areas is a key area of focus for the DA Group. Under its CLEAN-India (Community Led Environment Action Network) initiative, DA has spearheaded nearly 48,000 environment conservation initiatives through a nationwide network of more than 70 NGO partners, 500 schools and 1.25 million schoolchildren and their communities. The network members engage in activities such as tree plantation, solid waste management, e-waste management and paper recycling and handmade paper manufacturing. Overall, these initiatives reduce millions of tonnes of carbon emission per year, besides conserving an enormous amount of natural resources and developing a cadre of young eco-citizens.
Water and sanitation packages to provide better facilities to city dwellers, has also been a focus area for the organization. DA has designed a water filter package that comes with a 1,000-litre tank. This innovative device can easily purify 2,000 to 3,000 litres of drinking water per day and can process enough water to cater to the needs of up to 200 households. DA has also designed a complete village sanitation package, comprising toilets, soak pits and drainage system. To enable communities to determine the quality of water they have, DA has developed various water testing kits for fourteen contaminants, including arsenic, fluoride, iron and various bacteria.
A technology and idea that the organization has pioneered in is the Green Building Center. Conventional building practices are a major source of environment pollution. DA develops clean, energy and resource efficient building technologies that make optimal use of renewable local resources and recycled materials. These include energy efficient EcoKilns or Vertical Shaft Brick Kilns, non-wood charcoal Briquetters, Micro-concrete Roofing and Tiling Technologies, Mud Blocks and Fly Ash Bricks.
The EcoKiln is the first brick kiln in the world to be awarded carbon-offset money, which came from the Community Development Carbon Fund of the World Bank. Entrepreneurs using this environment friendly clay brick firing technology, reduce fuel consumption up to 50% and reduces pollution by a factor of four, are remunerated for carbon savings, part of which must be passed onto the labour employed at the unit. DA’s innovative method of clustering the plants, which enabled the carbon offsets to be negotiated, enabled it to offer savings that helped to promote the technology.