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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Environmental Topics

Effects of chemicals as medicines:

THIMEROSAL - More on Thimerosal Toxicity.

EcoJustice - A True Statement:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi

Effect of Water Pollution:

A stunt in the new "Batman" movie is canceled because of extreme water pollution in Hongkong.


Great Wall old hat as Beijing eyes Great Wheel - Pollution - SMOG spoiling the party in CHINA:


"The wheel itself is a nice add-on to the city. It's a new icon for the city," Great Wheel Corp Chief Executive Officer Stephan Matter told Reuters ahead of the ground-breaking ceremony.
Matter brushed off worries Beijing's notorious smog may spoil the party.

"It is an issue, but it's increasingly better," he said. "I believe the Chinese government will improve it further and yes you will have pollution, but the wheel itself is an attraction.

EFFECTS OF POLLUTION:

http://www.bhopal.org/achildisborn.html

SONG:



Makesh Karuppiah

Monday, December 24, 2007

Moving Forward 2

By Gods Grace we are moving to the third stage:

Share holders:
1) AKA
2) KSR
3) MKK
4) CSK
5) SMN
6) GMK
7) PK
8) KCS
9) AAK
10) SCS

We need 15 more and then we can start the Phase I of this Great Environmental Project.

Friday, November 2, 2007

School with only one Teacher

Valparai- A school has only one teacher. So some of the classes are taught by students even.

Source - www.dinakaran.com

Same time I read that some high level business man could spend millions for a Gift.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NEPAL: Street children sniff glue to beat hunger pangs

Thani oru manthithanuku unnavu illai endral intha Jagathinai allithiduvom - Great Mahakavi Bharathair words.
However in some parts of world the following story still happens-
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/62b38d27423dd9147d1ebe223e53e2af.htm
Source: IRIN

Bhim Pariyar, who grew up on the streets of the capital, Kathmandu, huddled in a corner with other boys like him, all trying to warm themselves around the fire they had made by burning plastic, paper and tyres.
"It's time for fun now," Pariyar told his friends as he took out the packet of dendrite.
"You know, this helps us to get rid of our hunger," explained his friend, 14-year-old Rajen Subba, who fled his home in Jhapa district in southeast Nepal due to grinding poverty and started to work as a rag picker.
But he cannot afford regular food or clothing to keep warm, and has been living on the streets for the past six years.
"I wish I was home even if it means living without food because I would not have to suffer like this," said Subba, who complains of chest pain and often gets sick.
Subba tries to forget his hardships by inhaling the fumes from the carpet glue, squeezing the dendrite from the tube into a plastic bag and holding it to his mouth.
The adhesive glue contains toluene, a sweet-smelling and intoxicating hydrocarbon, which is neurotoxic. The solvent dissolves the membrane of the brain cells and causes hallucinations as well as dampening hunger pangs, and wards off cold.
"I forget everything. I won't feel cold and hungry and can sleep easily," said Shyam Tamang, 12, another street boy.
Glue sniffing on the increase
Glue sniffing in Kathmandu has been increasing to dangerous levels among children, according to rights activists, who said their health is at risk and it is even affecting their mental health.
It can cause neurological damage, kidney or liver failure, paralysis and even death, according to local child health workers.
According to a prominent child rights NGO, Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), there are approximately 800-900 street children in Kathmandu out of 5,000 in the country.
The decade-long armed conflict between the Nepali government and Maoist rebels that ended last year also contributed to the rise in numbers, say activists. But despite the signing of the peace treaty in November 2006, many children continue to live on the streets, homeless, food-insecure and suffering from serious health problems, according to CWIN.
CWIN found that almost all street children were addicted to glue sniffing because of hunger and the influence of friends. About 95 percent of street children were using glue, and it would not take much to introduce the habit to the remaining 5 percent, it said.
It found that some children used as many as 15 tubes a day (one tube of dendrite can be used four to five times) and many used it as a substitute for regular meals.
The cheapest of all dendrites is Nepal-made, besides the imports from India and China. It is available in all hardware shops and costs less than 40 US cents per 25mg tube.
"I was really surprised why these children came so often to my shop to buy the carpet dendrite and now I know why," said Ramesh Shrestha, a local shopkeeper, who was unaware children were using the glue as a drug.
Thanks to the street awareness programme organised by several NGOs, including CWIN, Sath Sath, and Kathmandu Valley Police, some shop owners have stopped selling glue to street children or increased prices to discourage them.
But on the whole, many shops still make it readily available, said activists.
Laws needed, say activists
"The government should make it illegal to sell dendrites to minors. That's one of the best ways to control glue sniffing and prevent health hazards among the street children," said Sumnima Tuladhar from CWIN.
"This is an emerging problem. If we don't take this seriously, then a lot of lives will be at stake," said Biso Bajracharya from Sath Sath.
At the official level, only the Kathmandu Valley Police has paid serious attention to the problem but since glue sniffing is not considered illegal, they have difficulty preventing shops from selling the dendrite products to children.
"The best we can do is to raise awareness among shop owners and the street children. We ask them to be more careful about their health," said a local police officer, who did not want to be named.
The trend of glue sniffing is new in Nepal compared with other countries in Latin America, Southeast Asia and Africa. Nepalese activists want their country to apply the same strict measures as taken in Kenya, which has laws against supplying harmful substances to minors.
"It is time for us take this issue seriously because the trend is also fast entering schools," says Bajracharya. "Nepal really needs a new law to combat the growing abuse of glue sniffing."

View:
Just praying to God that one day everyone on earth will have food to eat and live a sustainable peaceful living.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Cancer Capital & Cancer Village - Kolkata and Periyavelai - Nagerkoil

Cancer Capital - Air Pollution:
Kolkata, not Delhi is the pollution capital of India: Study

Kolkata, May 28: Kolkata has upstaged Delhi as the air pollution capital of India, accounting for more deaths due to lung cancer and heart attack than the capital city.

More than 18 persons per one lakh people in Kolkata fall victim to lung cancer every year compared to the next highest 13 per one lakh in Delhi, according to environmental scientist and advisor of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI), Twisha Lahiri.

Not only lung cancer, cases of heart attack were also rising fast in the eastern metropolis, Lahiri said quoting a six-year survey conducted by the cancer institute.

She said incidents of heart attack were occurring more frequently in the city.

CNCI scientists maintain that more than seven in 10 people here suffer from various kinds of respiratory disorder, including children as well as elderly people.

Lahiri said roadside hawkers, shop owners, traffic policemen, auto-rickshaw drivers, rickshaw-pullers and others who spend long hours on the road were the most vulnerable.

Children mainly suffer from breathing difficulties like asthma while elderly people are victims of lung cancer, the scientists said.


Cancer Village - Mining Problems:

Radiation from sand mining causes this unthinkable effect on a village on the Southern India.
Reproductive failure, Brain Diseases, Cancer in various organs are the major effects of the sand mining.


Links:
Cancer Village
Tamil: Kungumam -
http://www.dinakaran.com/dncgibin/kungumam.asp?imge=2007/oct/25/33
English: Hindu -
Radiation affecting health of villagers
http://www.hindu.com/2007/10/14/stories/2007101453750300.htm


Nagercoil: Conservation of Nature Trust here has urged the Government to extend annual medical check-up for cancer, insurance cover and provision of radiation dosimeters for the benefit of fishermen in Kanyakumari district living in the localities of ‘high-radiation’ area.
Its chairman R.S. Lal Mohan said that a recent study revealed that radiation in the coastal sand was as high as 65,000 becquerel per kg in places such as Chinnavilai and Periavilai, where sand mining was rampant. In these villages, there were 17 cancer patients and 31 mentally ill people.
Radiation in Kooduthalai, another sand mining village, was as high as 95,000 becquerel per kg.
Here beta radiation was very high; it was more powerful than alpha radiation as it could travel more distance and penetrate the skin. “It is strange that sand extraction firms that remove the radioactive sand claim that they were removing the radiation even while bringing the underground radioactive sand to the surface.”
Radioactive sand — geological sediments accumulated over thousands of years — could be found at a depth of some feet.
“Minerals are needed for the industries. But it must be ensured that affected people get proper medical treatment. The problem with cancer is it is hereditary. Once chromosomal changes are caused by radiation, the effects are irreversible.”
An independent study by Dr. Lucy Forster and her team from Cambridge University found background radiation along the Kanyakumari coast to be high. Poor fisherfolk take part in the hazardous job of carrying radioactive sand because of their poverty. All along coast
The coastal belt of south Kerala from Chavara to Kanyakumari has a radiation level of up to 325 ream owing to presence of monazite. This and other rare metals have accumulated after getting swept by wind.
These rare metals originate from the Western Ghats and drained by rivers such as the Kodayar, the Kuzhithurai and the Valliyar.
The radiation was first noted by a German industrialist, Schomberg, in coir exported from Colachel. In those days, the coir industry was vibrant along Kanyakumari coast.
Mr. Lal Mohan has urged the Government to either ban sand mining in the coastal areas of the district or to provide security to the livelihood of fishermen.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gap Vows Action After Child Labor Report

Gap Promises Action After British Newspaper Finds Subcontractor in India Using Child Labor
LONDON (AP) -- Clothing retailer Gap Inc. said Sunday that it will convene all of its Indian suppliers to "forcefully reiterate" its prohibition on child labor after a British newspaper found children as young as 10 making Gap clothes at a sweatshop in New Delhi.ADVERTISEMENT The Observer newspaper quoted the children as saying they had been sold to the sweatshop by their families in Indian states such as Bihar and West Bengal and would not be allowed to leave until they had repaid that fee.
Some, working as long as 16 hours a day to hand-sew clothing, said they were not being paid because their employer said they were still trainees.
Gap said it first learned of the child labor allegations last week and discovered the sweatshop was being run by a subcontractor that a vendor had hired in violation of Gap's policies. The product made there will be destroyed so it cannot be sold in Gap stores, company spokesman Bill Chandler said.
"We appreciate that the media identified this subcontractor, and we acted swiftly in this situation," Chandler told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments."
The Observer quoted one boy identified only as Jivaj as saying that child employees who cried or did not work hard enough were hit with a rubber pipe or had oily cloths stuffed into their mouths.
The paper said the sweatshop, or "derelict industrial unit," that it found during its investigation in New Delhi was "smeared in filth, the corridors flowing with excrement from a flooded toilet."
The Observer printed a photograph of one of the child workers, and British Broadcasting Corp. television broadcast what it said was footage of the youngsters taken at the sweatshop by an unidentified German TV crew.
Gap did not immediately cut ties with the supplier it accused of improper subcontracting, but Chandler said the company was taking the breach of its child labor policies "extremely seriously."
"We're willing to end relationships with vendors when they don't meet our standards," he said.
The company requires its suppliers to guarantee that they will not use child labor to produce garments, Chandler said, and Gap stopped working with 23 factories last year over violations uncovered by its inspectors. The San Francisco-based company has 90 full-time inspectors who make unannounced visits around the world to ensure vendors are abiding by Gap's guidelines, he said.
Gap has about 2,000 suppliers worldwide, including about 200 in India, Chandler said.
The company plans to convene all of its suppliers in the India region at a summit in the coming weeks to "forcefully reiterate the prohibition on any child labor," he said.
Marka Hansen, president of Gap North America, said its prohibition of child labor is non-negotiable.
"While violations of our strict prohibition on child labor in factories that produce product for the company are extremely rare, we have called an urgent meeting with our suppliers in the region to reinforce our policies," Hansen said in a statement. "Gap Inc. has one of the industry's most comprehensive programs in place to fight for workers' rights overseas."
Besides its chain of Gap stores, the company also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic and operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Ireland and Japan.

My View: Gap vows action - what type of action - I am not sure. Action can be jailing the sub-contractor and stoping the contract. Sub-contractor may have contacts and bribe someone and will be out in days. What Gap needs to do is regularly inspect such contractors. With their profit they can even hire trust worthy non-profit groups to inspect such contractors. Instead of spending money on the action in a useless way, they can support a school in one place where the harm was done. They can train students vocationally and select for them for their future operations. That way Gap will have some respect for what they have done indirectly to a society.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cell Phone Manufacturing

http://press.nokia.com/PR/200504/987787_5.html:

Nokia selects Chennai for manufacturing mobile devices in IndiaEspoo, Finland - Nokia today announced that it will set up a manufacturing facility for mobile devices at Chennai in India. The manufacturing unit in Chennai will be Nokia's tenth mobile device production facility globally. Nokia anticipates investing an estimated USD 100-150 million in the India production plant.

"Establishing a new factory in India is an important step in the continuous development of our global manufacturing network. We selected Chennai to be the location for the factory thanks to the availability of skilled labor, friendly business environment, support from the state government, good logistics connections and overall cost-efficiency," said Pekka Ala-Pietilä, President, Nokia.

Nokia's new facility in Chennai is in the state of Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India. The construction work at the site of the manufacturing unit will start in April and production is expected to begin in the first half of 2006. Nokia foresees ramping up the factory gradually and the work force reaching approximately 2,000 employees when production is full scale.

Mobile penetration in Asia Pacific is expected to be a major contributor to the global mobile subscriber base surpassing the two billion mark by the end of 2005. Therefore, India which is set at the heart of the region where mobile communications is growing rapidly was a natural location of choice for the new production facility.

In India, Nokia is the market leader in mobile devices. Nokia maintains sales, marketing, customer care, and research and development sites in the country. Nokia was recently recognized as the Brand of the year by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) as well as the most respected consumer durables company by the BusinessWorld magazine.

About Nokia
Nokia is a world leader in mobile communications, driving the growth and sustainability of the broader mobility industry. Nokia connects people to each other and the information that matters to them with easy-to-use and innovative products like mobile phones, devices and solutions for imaging, games, media and businesses. Nokia provides equipment, solutions and services for network operators and corporations. www.nokia.com.
Nokia India's plant is being built by Leighton Contractors (India), a subsidiary of Leighton Holdings Ltd of Australia, a large project development and contracting group.
According to information available on Leighton Holdings' Web site, it was awarded the $35-million (about Rs 150 crore) contract to construct Nokia's plant. The work is scheduled for completion by February 2006.

ENVIRONMENTAL SIDE:
http://www.american.edu/TED/nokia.htm#r5

Mainly morals. There has been some discussion about the actual pollution effects of cellphones, yet a consensus about this is still lacking. One of the most in-depth studies about this was conducted by the Worldwatch Institute. in its State of the World 2000. See especially the section called "Harnessing Information Technologies for the Environment" by Molly O'Meara. Nonetheless, whether the promise of new information technology, including cell phones, is good or bad for the environment is still not known. The manufacturing processes of cellphones requires great deals of water and electricity, the devices themselves have for the most part not been designed to last long, yet information techonology also helps to detect and notice environmental problems as well as helps non-governmental organizations campaign against them more easily (26).
However, this is not directly relevant to the case study at hand. For more information, look at the State of the World 2000 report.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/04/technology/04nokia.html?n=Top%2FNews%2FBusiness%2FCompanies%2FNokia%20Corporation
Last May, an authoritative study of global competitiveness bounced Finland down from the top three to No. 8, countering other polls that gave Finland top marks for literacy, lack of corruption and care of the environment.
http://www.designophy.com/article.php?id=617
QUESTION Answered by Eero Miettinen on 05/21/2007:
Eero Miettinen is Group Design Director of Nokia Design.
Global environmental problems and the ecological effects of materials and technology are being discussed. How much of the resposibility should be the undertaken by designers in those issues?A designer is always responsible for his creations. Environmental and ecological approach should be taken care of in everything we do.
http://www.vientiluotto.net/Emattxt.html:

The History of the Environmental assessments in crediting and guaranteeingIn 1998, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland commissioned a study on "Environmental Assessment in Public Promotion of Exports and Investments to Developing Countries" (Tallskog et al. 1999) which revealed that Finnish export and investment support agencies did not have proper environmental and social impact assessment procedures nor acceptable information disclosure policies in place. Therefore, very little was known about the potential environmental and social impacts or risks of projects financed by the responsible agencies. The study only focused on the policies, procedures and guidelines of the export and investment support agencies but was not yet able to investigate their project portfolios nor the individual projects and their potential impacts. However, since the projects financed by export credits, guarantees and investment promotion funds often involve large investments in industrial production, machinery and infrastructure development, significant environmental and social impacts are likely. Some cases of severe environmental and social problems caused by e.g. forest industry sector projects for which Finnish export credits and guarantees have been granted have been brought to publicity by local and international NGOs.Banks and Fide did not have any environmental guidelines nor expertise to assess such things. None of the information on projects is disclosed exept for the decisions of the concessional credits as they fall under the Act of Publicity in the government funds. Finnfund has to assess its projects carefully and has relatively extensive guidelines but it too does not employ real environmental experts either. They disclose some information on made decisions.Finnvera and Finnish Export Credit have formulated their environmental guidelines according to OECD process. The environmental guidelines divide project applications in three categories A, B, and C like World Bank does. They demand an independent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report according to international standards from A, (covering forestry, mining, energy production, and such), an environmental assessment from B (minor projects such as equiptments) but not from C (i.e. telecommunications). However they do not intend to disclose this information though they claim to demand the consultion of all the local stakeholders. The actual EIA is subscribed by the applicant.Legal framework consists of the export guarantee act and degree and an act on special financial institutions.The export guarantee law was renewed in 2001. After the law came to effect 1.7.2001 the Ministry for Trade and Industry set a committee to solve the paradox of the new law calling for submiting under the Act of Publicity and at the same time respecting the bank secrecy in the publicity of the Environmental Impact Assessments. The committee made an compromise and supported the so called alternative 2 that the EIAs should be published after the guarantee decision and on the consent of the exporter. The committee report was then sent to a round for comments. Comments were asked mainly form the traditional stakeholders, but two NGOs got also the official request from the ministry to give comments. Some other NGOs made their statements also.Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, Friends of the Earth Finland, Finnish League for Human Rights, Nature League and Advisory Board for Relations with Development Countries all supported the alternative 1 on immediate disclosure of EIAs after they have arrived to Finnvera. The industry and other stakeholders supported alternative 3 of keeping the situation as it is now. No one supported the alternative 2 of the compromise. Now the ministry is waiting for a decision of the Supreme Adminsitrative Court where Finnvera has filed a complaint on the request of the information by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.

CELL PHONE WASTE ISSUES:

http://www.recyclingforcharities.com/Environmental-Effects-of-E-Waste.php

E-Waste Poses a Very Real Environmental Threat –Recycling Your Wireless Cell Phones, PDA's, Pagers and Digital Cameras Can Help Protect the Earth
Studies have consistently shown that electronic waste from devices like mobile phones, PDA's and digital cameras contains toxins that are damaging to our environment.

Lead
Used primarily in soldering ofcircuit boards and other device components

Extremely harmful to the human body; damages both the central and peripheral nervous systems; can cause seizures, retardation, high blood pressure, damage to the kidneys and liver; adversely affects child development

Beryllium
Forms significant portions of electrical connectors and battery contacts
Long term exposure can be carcinogenic, especially for the lungs. Extreme exposure can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as Acute Beryllium Disease

Arsenic
Used in some integrated circuits and semiconductors
Arsenic is a notoriously potent poison; causes severe damage to the digestive tract

Mercury
Can be found to a degree in batteries and circuit boards
Attacks the central nervous and endocrine systems; harmful to mouth, teeth and gums; poses risk in the neurological development of unborn fetuses

Antimony
Used in production of diodesand batteries. Pure form usedin semiconductor production
Toxic to humans in ways similar to arsenic; fatal in large doses

CadmiumUsed in soldering, semiconductors and chip resistors
Potentially carcinogenic; Repeated exposure can damage the lungs, kidneys and liver

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Words that can influence anyone

While elites in the US and Eupore consider spending billions of dollars in an impossible battle to "stop global warming", millions die from diseases of poverty that could be effectively controlled. - Environment & Climate News

My view: Poverty Eradication should be done along with Sustainable Nature Friendly Development.

Kandasamy - Excellent simple step by a film group

Today while watching TV I saw that a Southern India film producing unit while producing the film "Kandasamy" improved the living conditions two remote villages. This is an excellent deed. While doing that they need to teach the simple environmental awareness (This need not be Global warming, Ozone depletion or Green House Effects) such as avoiding Public Spitting and Public toileting. The unit can also provide these amenities and explain the good things of the clean Environment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Working with nature By Aparna Pallavi

Twenty years after the glory days of the Green Revolution, the yield from Subhash Sharma’s farm plummeted, even as input costs increased. He switched to organic farming as a last-ditch effort. Thirteen years on, his farm in Yavatmal is flourishing, and has become a model for hundreds of other farmers .

“You can’t hold on to business and still do farming. The two things are enemies of each other. Agriculture is nature; it demands that you give it your all. Then alone will it be bounteous to you. If you have an eye on business, land will never give you anything because you will be robbing the land.”
When Subhash Sharma talks like this you know he is not merely spouting poetry. Because the month is June, when sowing in Maharashtra’s ‘suicide-prone’ Yavatmal district has just begun, and he is standing against a backdrop of lush, healthy crops of pumpkin, chauli beans and tall, delicious-looking corn at his farm in Dorli village. The crops, as Sharma points out with justifiable pride, were sown in April which is certainly not when farmers in water-scarce and scorching hot Vidarbha wish to sow anything at all.
Sharma has seen a lot of ups and downs to arrive where he is. In his early days as a farmer, in the mid-’70s -- the glory days of the Green Revolution -- his 32 acres of land yielded a record crop of 400 tonnes under artificial stimulation from chemical fertilisers and pesticides. But 20 years later, he was struggling under huge debts as yields shrank to 50 tonnes, cultivation costs shot up, and the land became more and more impoverished under those very same chemicals.
“I was very close to breaking point, in 1994, when I got to hear about organic farming and decided to switch to it as a last-ditch effort,” says Sharma. Today, 13 years on, production has peaked to 450 tonnes on the same 32 acres of land. Sharma even leased an additional 35 acres of land three years ago, to better carry out his organic experiments.
Sharma says he owes this dramatic turnaround to a deeper understanding of the dual nature of science. “The science of agriculture I was following earlier was a destructive science, which destroyed life and ecology for profit. The science I am following now is the science of creation, which is in harmony with nature and enriches nature even while it takes what it needs from it.”
According to him, prolonged use of pesticides had killed the soil fauna on his land, and erosion had drained the top soil. “The entire ecology of the farm -- which involves trees, birds, soil fauna like earthworms, ants and termites, along with crops -- had been destroyed.”
To reconstruct this intricate system, Sharma began with two things -- water management and natural manure.
Water management was very important because Yavatmal district is a hilly area and both irrigation and soil quality are affected by rain water run-off. Sharma designed a simple technique to conserve water – planting along contours. As a result of this, the rows of plants in his fields are often undulating, instead of straight. But the advantage is that the plants in every row are at exactly the same height; each row becomes a miniature check-dam. And when it rains, the water collects in shallow trenches between the rows. The excess water that these trenches cannot hold is channelised through small drains into irrigation ditches located at strategic points on the land. Sharma has dug one small irrigation ditch for every acre of land. “First the contour planting reduces run-off, and, in the second stage, the run-off -- both water and soil -- is collected in the irrigation ditch. So, not a single drop of rain or a single grain of soil from the land is allowed to drain away.”
Constant practice of this method of water conservation has raised water levels on Sharma’s land, and the effects are visible. He now gets three crops from his land every year, while in most parts of Yavatmal farmers have just one.
The manure and pest control problems were solved in stages. Initially, Sharma began making organic fertiliser and organic pesticides out of biomass, cowdung and cow urine. But he soon realised that there was a better way of doing it. “Organic farmers usually make vermicompost separately and then add it to the soil, saving the earthworms, whereas nature has provided for earthworms and other fauna to work in the soil itself and enrich it naturally.”
After a while he stopped making fertiliser and instead started turning farm waste and cowdung into the earth directly. Soon, natural soil fauna like earthworms, ants and termites revived in the soil that began to get softer, richer and more porous.
For pest control, Sharma realised the importance of birds on the land. “Farmers believe that birds are harmful for their crops, as they eat the crop,” says Sharma. “But the fact is that birds are valuable agents of pest control as they eat the pests and their larvae. And their droppings also enrich the soil.”
To attract birds, Sharma started planting different kinds of fruit trees on his land. “Farmers today fell standing trees on their land because crops don’t grow under trees. But they miss the point that trees attract birds, hold water in their roots, bring down temperatures, add biomass to the land through shed leaves, and finally also give you a profit in terms of fruits, leaves, wood and whatever else you can harvest off them.”
Unlike chemical inputs, natural processes do not perform just one task, says Sharma. “A bird controls pests and provides manure. An earthworm enriches the soil by breaking down biomass, makes the land porous and helps conserve water, and the slime off its body -- known as ‘vermiwash’ -- controls fungus in the soil. Termites and ants also help break down different biomass, make the land porous, and attract birds that feed on them. And there may be so many other functions that these creatures perform without our knowing. By opting for chemical inputs we destroy these systems, deny all these creatures a right to life, and finally destroy ourselves and our land.”
The rise in production and drop in input costs has also enabled Sharma to find a solution to the labour problem that plagues farmers all over the country. “When a farmer is impoverished, when his input costs are high and returns are low, he resents labour costs and tries to exploit labour,” he says. “I have done that too. But after turning to organic farming I found a unique win-win solution to the labour problem.”
Initially, Sharma used to pay labourers daily wages. But after production soared, his need for labour increased. Unable to find more labour, Sharma started contracting the day’s work out to the labourers at the same wage. The result was amazing. “Work that used to take eight hours was completed in 2.5 hours. The remaining hours were utilised for other work, and, at the end of the day, the labourers took home three times the daily wages and I got all my work done faster, and without having to employ additional labourers.”
Today, Sharma employs 14 families on his land, on a permanent basis. They receive wages worth Rs 50,000 per couple per year, and enjoy free housing, electricity and water. They also get vegetables from the farm all year round, again for free. Apart from these he also has a loyal non-residential labour force of 35 women and 14 men, all of whom take home anything between Rs 90-Rs 100, sometimes more, daily, and are employed throughout the year.
“My cultivation cost for the 32 acres of land is Rs 9 lakh per year, out of which Rs 7 lakh goes towards wages.” It is well worth it, as Sharma’s turnover is Rs 17 lakh.
Significantly, Sharma follows no fixed pattern for cultivation. He rotates crops a lot, and the choice of crops keeps changing. This year, for instance, he planted a combination of corn and tur on 1 acre, in alternation, something he has never done before. “This rotation is important as it keeps the land rich in various elements,” he explains. He doesn’t even plant the same vegetables every year.Farmers who plant cotton should not do so every year, he urges. “The cotton crop has a nine-month cycle and does not allow for rotation if planted every year. Also, it is a demanding crop. Planted every year it leaches the soil”. His suggestion to cotton farmers: Resist greed and take a cotton crop every alternate year, if not once in three years.While Sharma has not made a conscious effort to spread his knowledge, around 3 lakh farmers have already visited his farm, and all day long farmers call him for guidance. Replying to the propaganda that organic farming is not viable for small farmers, he says: “The problem is not with the size of land but with attitude. The government and input companies have created such a paranoia that farmers are now too scared to trust their indigenous wisdom.”
Sharma admits that organic farming takes time to yield results, and for a small farmer it might be difficult to switch to it all at once. “But surely ways can be found to return to nature in stages? But the attitude of the farmer has to change first, and government agencies have to play a big role in this.”
“Land,” says Sharma, “is the source of life for all creatures, and when you co-exist with them, all prosper. But when man arrogates everything to himself, he can’t survive either. Life, you see, sustains life.”
(Aparna Pallavi is an independent journalist based in Nagpur ) - From http://www.infochangeindia.org/changemakers65.jsp

Sethu Project - Environmental Impacts

As a Marine Estuarine Environmental Scientist who did Ph.D thesis research on Chesapeake Bay sediments, I would like my comment on the Sethu Project.

Humans will never learn the effects of the projects they do against nature, before they actually do it. (Best example - Humans thought CFC was a safe chemical until Scientists found it was affecting the helpful ozone layer). Sethu project is another prime example of the previous statement.

The following are few studies done on Dredging in which people are worried about small organisms such as vegetation, seagrasses and eelgrass:

Dredging Effects on Vegetation Adjacent to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway
Hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria in Cumberland Sound
Dredging effects on seagrasses: case studies from New England and Florida
Dredging effects on eelgrass (Zostera marina) in a New England small boat harbor.

Sethu Project requires more dredging which will affect a whole lot of marine environment.

Mechanical, Noise, Plume Water Quality, Plume Suspended Sediiments Contaminant Pathways for Open-Water Disposal and Plume impacts will be some of the effects.

Indian coasts have a large variety of sensitive eco-systems. Sand dunes, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds 7 wet lands are some that deserve special mention. Some of these are the spawning grounds and nurseries of a number of commercially important fishes, gastropods and crustaceans. A critical feature of these ecosystems are the variety of bioactive molecules that they host.
Recent mining of organisms from the tidal and inter-tidal zone have revealed large numbers of molecules with obvious application for human health and industrial applications. This could be the most commercially important aspect of the Coastal Zone. Molecules that show bioactivity from one ecosystem may not show the same activity, or level of activity, when mined from a different locale or different season. This feature alone should be reason enough for the protection of all such ecosystems, and not only representative isolated units in protected areas / parks.
Considering that Indian waters are of a good quality and that pollutant sources remain relatively confined, the protection of sensitive environments, with adjacent buffer zones should be promptly notified and enforced. Losses of such areas are losses to the common good and future generations.
Sand dunes seem to be ecosystems that are most often destroyed, probably because their place in the scheme of dynamic coastal morphology, is not obvious. Suffice to say that dunes are the reserves that nature stores, dissipates energy on, and moves when needed.

( http://www.teriin.org/teri-wr/coastin/papers/paper2.htm).

Petroleum Exploitation, Fuel Storage, Energy Generation, Industrial and Commercial Development, Ship Breaking operations, waste dumps,. These activities have caused marine pollution - Hugli Estuary is most polluted estuary in the world. Factories from Nabadwip discharge more than half billion liters of untreated wastes a day. However fate and effects of pollutants have not been studied due to poor administrative system. Hoogly river carry effluents that have contaminated fish and shell fish with heavy metals such as Ni, Cu, Cd and Zn. The sediments near Haldia have upto 10 ug/g of pesticides. These river waters are contaminated by e-coli, shigella, salmonella and other human pathogens - indication of severe sewage contamination. The Bay of Bengal has virtually turned into a waste dump. (Protecting the Marine Environment from Land-Based Sources of Pollution ).

All the wastes are transported by water and settle in sediments. Once the sediments are dredged the contaminants will affect the fauna and flora of the Great heritaged Marine Environment of the World.

Dr. Charles Hocutt's (One of My Ph.D thesis supervisor) Scientific Research Paper- Evolution of the Indian Ocean and the drift of India - A vicariant event - clearly indicates that Indian Ocean is poorly known, particularly from a biogeographic perspective.

A first compilation of the type and quantum of pollutants into the coastal ecosystem of India are given below:
Input / pollutant
Quantum - Annual
1.
Sediments
1600 million tonnes
2.
Industrial effluents
50 x 106 m3
3.
Sewage - largely untreated
0.41 x 109 m3
4.
Garbage and other solids
34 x 106 tonnes
5.
Fertilizer - residue
5 x 106
6.
Synthetic detergents - residue
1,30,000 tonnes
7.
Pesticides - residue
65, 000 tonnes
8.
Petroleum hydrocarbons (Tar balls residue)
3,500 tonnes
9.
Mining rejects, dredged spoils & sand extractions
0.2 x 106 tonnes

We have to be very careful in not disturbing the Natural Marine Ecosystem.

Also Read about Dr. Badrinarayanan's interview in the following link:
http://kalyan97.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/492/
My vote on this: No to the Sethu Project. Instead spend on improving the Bay of Bengal and save India.
Makesh Karuppiah, Ph.D
Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Toxic dump in India

Every minute of the day, in recycling yards across the country, thousands of poor people handle the end products of India 's great IT revolution. When they break open a computer, they are exposed to a lethal cocktail of highly-toxic substances. mercury, lead, cadmium, beryllium, PVC, brominated flame retardants, you name it. Many of these are young children, with no training, no protective gear, and no medical care.
As one of India 's leading IT companies, HCL is contributing a lion's share to this problem, yet refuses to remove toxics from its computers. Instead, it has lied repeatedly about what's in its products, and what it plans to do with them
Greenpeace believes that all this can change. By clicking here to sign a letter , you can send out a message that HCL hears loud and clear, forcing it to stop lying, and start making toxic-free products.
I thank you for joining Greenpeace in the clean-up of India 's IT industry.

G. Ananthapadmanabhan Executive Director Greenpeace India

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Project going forward - Effects of Titanium Mining

TITANIUM MINING EFFECTS:

Lessons Learned:

Sea pollution - a real hazard due to the mining of titanium.

Destroy the local landscape.

Expose the residents to radioactive radiation (titanium-related minerals like rutile, ilmenite and zircon contain inert quantities of uranium and thorium which are potential radio-active emitters which could be activated during mineral processing).

Alter the area's soil chemical conditions.

The project would affect the local albedo (reflectivity of solar radiation) through the removal of vegetation implying that more of the solar radiation would be reflected back to the sky and could therefore cause more heating of the cold inward-bound winds and impact negatively on local rainfall. Also physical effects and chemical reactions are likely to free the uranium and thorium (Radio Active elements) into the environment.

Vegetation and topsoil (country’s richness depends on top soil) will be affected. This effect will also be an irreparable damage not only to topsoil but humans and ecological systems.
http://g21.net/africa2.html

Toxic chemicals used in heavy mineral separation processes and disturbance or redistribution of sediment could spell a disaster for the coastal waters including important resources such as Coral reefs and Marine organisms.

Another contentious issue is that of radioactivity associated with the minerals zircon and monazite.The coastal zone is a crucial part of the economy, as it supplies a living for a large number of people along the coast. It is envisaged that involuntary resettlement without adequate compensation and viable alternative sites may result in serious socioeconomic consequences.

Source:
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713833715~db=all
WIKIPEDIA
Dupont titanium mining operation
A 50-year titanium mining operation by DuPont was set to begin in 1997, but protests and public/government opposition over the possibly disastrous environmental effects throughout 1996-2000 caused the company to abandon the project in 2000 and retire their mineral rights forever. In 2003, DuPont donated the 16,000 acres (65 km²) it had purchased for mining to The Conservation Fund, and in 2005, nearly 7,000 acres (28 km²) of the donated land was transferred to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.
Note: The Okefenokee Swamp is home to many wading birds, such as herons, egrets, ibises, cranes and bitterns, though populations fluctuate with water levels. Okefenokee is famous for its abundant American alligators and it is a critical habitat for Florida black bear. If DuPont had not stopped it mining activities all these great fauna would have disappeared from the area.

Toxicity of Titanium is not completely understood. However some effects may happen in liver and reproduction especially in child morbidity (studies used rats - http://www.inchem.org/documents/ehc/ehc/ehc24.htm#SubSectionNumber:1.1.3).
We humans take everything for granted and after few years we find whatever we did to the environment was a grave mistake.
If I was an Environmental Minister of Tamil Nadu, I will not approve this project. However, I am not an Environmental Minister of TN and since we need some economic development, this titanium mining industry can be approved but at a very very minimal level without affecting the environment (land & sea), flora, fauna & humans. We should not be money and Titanium greedy and spoil Tamil Nadu's greatest COASTAL AREAS.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Project Picture

The Rectangle piece of land was selected for the Environmental Project.

Positives of the land:

A Rectangle piece.

A Farm Shed.

A River near the Land.

A Temple near the Land.

A Coconut Farm in the corner.

Negatives:

Historic Insecticide and Pesticide usage.

Water source need to be pondered. (Artisan wells or Bore wells).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Moving Forward1

Things are happening as a river flows. Hopefully with God's grace we will be able to complete this great Environmental Project.

AKA - IT - ECE ENGINEER - SHARE 1 - $2500
KRG - IT - MECHANICAL ENGINEER - SHARE 1 - $2000 + $500(MK) = $2500
KMK - IT - ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST - SHARE 1 - $2500
SPN - PHARMACEUTICAL - ENVIRONMENTAL - SHARE 1 - $2500
ErV - STRUCTURAL ENGINEER - SHARE1 - $2500

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Moving Forward

Team members now know their role in the project. It is a start towards our goal. We all pray to God and our ancestors for this environmental project to be a successful one.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Begining EA Project Blog

After all research, started this blog to see how things are moving towards the project.