EnviroApps Blogspot

Monday, June 30, 2008

Industries flocking into Tamilnadu - Must do Pollution Control also

Tire manufacturing Industry is coming to Gangaikondan, Tirunelveli in near future.
Commercial Vehicles Manufacturing Industry and Nokia spare parts manufacturing coming to Orakadam, Chennai very soon,
Cuddalore - Petroleum Refinery & Ship building Industry,
ThiruChopuram - Building Harbor for private sector
along with several other industries.

These industries are good for the Economic development of the state.
However the above areas: ISLANDS, CORAL REEFS, MANGROVE FORESTS, WETLANDS, and FORESTS are as important as the Economic development and are very sensitive Environments. Also these industries should consider effects on HUMAN HEALTH.

Cuddalore is already a polluted and environmentally sensitive area. It has been affected by Tsunami.Mangrove forests have been helping the coastal areas from fierce force of cyclones. So, Mangrove forests are needed to protect the coastal areas.
Even though these industries are vital for economic upliftment, these industries must consider Environmental issues (Mandatory) also.
Watch Cuddalore Environmental Problems:

Tire manufacturing plants emit Volatile Organic Compounds. These emissions should be controlled or else there will be irreparable damage to these sensitive Environmental areas in the future. Hopefully these industries take into account the pollution that will be created and treat them properly.

Will these industrialists take care of pollution abatement or should we worry about these damaged Environment in the future?

Only time will answer.

Disney/Pixar Wall-E - Environment

Disney/Pixar Wall-E movie has a very strong environmental message - according to the movie director.

Hopefully the plastic toys that will be sold after this movie's Wall-E, EVE and others do not end up in the environment and are properly recycled.

Also Disney should be testing these toys for hazardous materials before they end up recalling these toys.

Because: Disney Store has recalled about 8,000 Tinker Bell toy wands because the paint on the pearl beads in the flowers of the wands contains excessive levels of lead, in the past.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

iPhone 3G and Environment

Cool iphone 3G is here:


The original iPhone, sold for $399 (1.4 million pieces were sold by October 2007), had flaws and already tech wizs are discussing in blogs to buy them by saying $199 seems very reasonable for 3G. Hopefully Apple will sell 2million 3G iphones because they are cheaper - $199.

So where will all these 1.4 million (at least half of it) original iphones will end up?

In the environment - loaded with:
Brominated flame retardants (BFRs),
Poly Vinyl Chlorides (PVCs),
along with traces of Lead, Cadmium and Mercury.

Environmental Information Management System (USEPA):
An abstract from USEPA
Effects of Brominated flame retardants (BFRs)
represent a large and diverse class of high volume industrial chemicals which have been developed to provide fire safety. There are many other BFRs which have been used and are under development.
Historically, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) were used but they were banned because of their persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxicity. Some of these are being detected in environmental samples. The three major BFRs in use today
are tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which involves three commercial mixtures, Penta, Octa, and the only one still in production, Deca. TBBPA is the largest
volume chemical and is used both as an additive and reactive flame retardant, primarily in electronics. It has moderate persistence, little bioaccumulation, and relatively low concern for toxicity, although it may have some endocrine
disrupting properties
. HBCD is also used in electronics, but is more persistent and bioaccumulative. Its isomeric composition changes as it undergoes fate, transport, and metabolism. It is found in increasing concentrations in wildlife and human samples, and there is growing concern for its potential toxicity. The PBDEs are also additive BFRs, but their properties and uses differ. Penta was used largely in polyurethane foam; Octa in office equipment; and Deca in polymers
for electronic equipment and textile backings. Increasing concentrations of PBDE congeners have been found in environmental samples, wildlife, and people. The congeneric profile in biota differs from that in the commercial mixtures.
The major pathways to human exposure are uncertain, although both dust and food are likely. Penta and Octa have been banned in Europe, and production withdrawn in the US, in part because of growing concern for their toxicity, including
enzyme induction, endocrine disruption, and developmental reproductive and neurotoxicity. Deca is the major use PBDE product worldwide. Recent studies have demonstrated that it can be broken down in the environment by light and microbes,
and metabolically in mammals. Some concerns for its toxicity, or that of its breakdown products, come from reports of its carcinogenicity in two year rodent studies and developmental neurotoxicity. Recently, it has been detected in wildlife and people.
Alternatives are being suggested and use. Questions remain about their safety, as well as that of the existing BFRs.

Poly Vinyl Chlorides (PVCs):

PVC is the number one use of chlorine world-wide.
Dioxins are chlorine based by-products of the production and disposal of chlorine compounds such as PVC plastics.
More than half of most PVC products are composed of chlorine.
Dioxins, furans, PCBs and HCB are all among the toxic accidental by-products of PVC production.
These POPs are also found in the emissions and ash of incinerators that burn PVC and other chlorinated wastes.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
dioxins travel thousands of miles by air and are deposited on the land concentrating in our food supply accounting for 90 percent of human exposure.
Dioxin contamination of humans occurs in two ways, near and far.
There is an abundance of credible data and independent studies on the harmful and unsustainable impacts of vinyl or PVC plastics.
PVC clearly threatens human health and the environment:
- contaminate the air, water and land,
- leaving residents with elevated levels of dioxin in their blood and workers and residents with serious illnesses.
Vinyl or PVC plastic requires more toxic additives than any other plastic including heavy metals (lead, cadmium, chromium and organotins) and
plasticizers such as phthalates, all of which are bio-available and put the health of vulnerable populations, such as children, at risk.
The disposal by incineration or accidental burning (including landfills fires) of vinyl products releases dioxin into the environment adding to the already dangerous levels that exist in human tissue.
Fortunately, there are many safer available substitutes for virtually all uses of vinyl.

Most of us know the effects of Lead, Cadmium and Mercury.

As excited as we are for Apple 3G iPhones, soon we may need more technological capabilities and upgrades. So these 2 million 3G iPhones will also be obsolete and dumped in the environment.

One Good news: Apple is also concerned for environment:

Apple Environment

Hopefully they will also spend some on proper recycling of the iPhones.

I am talking about only Apple iPhone . Think about other phones:

Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, LG, etc......!!!
Their accessories such as chargers, car chargers, bluetooth, etc.....!!!

Cell Phone Article

Also ipod Nanos, Touches, Classics and Shuffles and its competitor products. These are also selling in millions.

Recently cell phone and cancer issues popped up again after Pittsburgh cancer institute research:
Environmental Oncology

Specific absorption rate (SAR) is a measure of the rate at which radio frequency (RF) energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic field.

It is defined as the power absorbed per mass of tissue and has units of Watts per kilogram.

SAR is calculated either over the whole body, or over a sample volume which is typically a 1g or 10g of tissue.

For a phone to pass Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification, that phone's maximum SAR level must be less than 1.6W/kg (watts per kilogram).
Europe - 2W/kg
Canada - 1.6W/kg.

Ex: Apple iphones radiation levels

Apple iPhone (4GB) 0.974
Apple iPhone (8GB) 0.974
Apple iPhone 3G (8GB) 1.38
Apple iPhone 3G (16GB) 1.38

Check other phones SAR data at CNET
Read more on Environment, Health and Safety Online ,
and Electro Pollution

Sweden - has long history of cell phone users and some research have shown some effects are happening.

Indian Scientists have published this article:
Cell Phone Radiation and Developing Tissues in Chick Embryo - A Light microsopic Study of Kidneys.

Ingole IV & Ghosh SK
MGIMS, Sevagram, M.H.

Abstract : Phenomenal increase in the number of cell phone users during late 1990s has become a matter of
concern regarding the safety of the users exposed to radiation emitted from cell phone. There have been plenty of
researches reportedly establishing the damaging effect of radiofrequency radiation emitted from cell phone on the
biological tissues. The hazardous effects on the biological tissues as reported varied from it’s effect at the molecular
level causing an increase in single and double strand DNA breakages to causing an increase in the mortality in chick
embroys exposed to radiation emitted from cell phone. Conversely many have reported it to be safe to the biological
tissues within the stipulated standards set. by the regulatory authorities.
Considering these discrepancies, the present work was taken up to investigate any effect caused by such exposure
on the developing tissues of chick embryo at the histological level. Embryos were exposed to radiation emitted from cell
phone for different durations resulting in different dose schedules. It was observed that exposure to radiation caused
damage to the developing kidneys which was more extensive with longer duration of exposure inspite of discontinuing
the exposure and giving an exposure free period before sacrificing.

Key words: Cell phone, radio frequency radiation, biological tissues, chick embryo, kidney.

Many developing nations are moving progressively because of cell phones. Cell phone has become part of our life. It cannot be eliminated completely. Research needs to be done at a fast pace to reduce the SAR levels. People have to reduce their usage especially when getting less signal and speaking while moving(such as in car) during which the radiation levels will be higher. Children under age of 5 should not use it all.

As a scientist, anybody(including me) can prove anything right or wrong by manipulative statistics. For example you can prove 1 = 2 and if I am a tobacco industry scientist, I can prove tabacco may be good and if I am against it I can prove it is the most hazardous thing in the whole earth.

People with good health die at a younger age and people who smoke regularly live longer.

All that matters is if there is a way to reduce the cell phone radiation, then the industries should do that, if not they should research more vigorously to reduce the levels. Ultimate aim - We have to make the world a better place to live - not only for us, but also for future generations to come. Sustainable technologies are the way to go.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nonvegeterian to Vegeterian

I was brought up in a family where we love to eat non-veg food. If guests were invited and not provided with some kind of non-vegeterian food, it was referred as ill treatment. I loved to eat meat. Whatever meat - from chicken, fish, to beef (I used to play and feel very hungry and we used to go to a Muslim restaurant in Coimbatore and check out chili beef instead of chicken because it was cheaper and no difference in taste. Though I am a Hindu I had beef because of the above reason) and any kind of meat available. When I came to US for higher studies, I had only non-veg food. Me and friends used to eat lots of chicken (Spicy chicken by Andhra roommates), beef (Punjabi room mates, Philli Cheese Steak & McD Big Mac), Pork (Chinese friends & Pepporoni Pizza). We used to go to a Chinese restaurant so often and order the same food routinely. The owner used to prepare the ribs as soon as we entered the restaurant. In childhood days, my aunt prepared the best fried fish in the world and we never stopped eating those fish. I even boycotted eating lunch without any meat and argued with my wife that some kind of meat should be there for lunch.

Once my close friend’s father (visited for my friend’s graduation from India) told me to give up non-veg food. After his words I still had meat and totally forgot his advice. In 1997, my beloved aunt passed away. At that time my friend’s father’s advice came to mind and once and for all, I gave up eating non-veg food. I gave up egg also (I used to eat all forms of egg – Scramble, Omelet, Half boiled and raw egg along with Poriyal and Karandy). I feel so good after that. Even amidst the criticism of avid non-veg loving family, I eat only vegetarian food and no craving for non veg food!!!!

Reason for writing this:

Today my friend sent me a link:

Poor Chickens & Poor Animals

Poor Fishes
And now I feel good that I am a vegetarian.

He also emailed me the following:

A review of available research indicates that the more processed meat people eat, the more likely people are to develop stomach cancer.

Processed meats include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, salami, ham, and smoked or cured meat. The review looked at 40 years' worth of studies on the relationship between these meats and stomach cancer. Some of the studies examined hundreds and thousands
of people.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Calcium Carbide - Mangoes, PCBs - Vadai !

Fruit Ripening using Calcium Carbide:

Even though fruit ripening is banned using Carbide, still Mangoes are ripened using Calcium Carbide without any conscience:

Calcium Carbide is a grayish-black, lump-shaped solid or crystal (sugar or sand-like), which has a slight garlic-like odor. It is used to make Acetylene and other chemicals, and in metallurgy.

Calcium Carbide can affect you when breathed in.
Contact can severely irritate and burn the eyes and skin causing permanent eye damage and ulcers on the skin.
Exposure can severely irritate the mouth, nose and throat causing sores, cough and wheezing.
Breathing Calcium Carbide can irritate the lungs causing coughing and/or shortness of breath.
Higher exposures may cause a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema), a medical emergency, with severe shortness of breath.
Calcium Carbide is on the Hazardous Substance List because it is cited by DOT, NFPA and EPA.
This chemical is on the Special Health Hazard Substance List because it is FLAMMABLE and REACTIVE.
It also has impurities which include Arsenic.

Cooking Vadai using Transformer oil(PCBs):
PCBs are a class of industrial chemical that contain 209 individual compounds or congeners.

Chronic inhalation exposure of workers to PCBs has been reported to result in respiratory tract symptoms, such as cough and tightness of the chest, gastrointestinal effects including anorexia, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, mild liver effects, and effects on the skin and eyes, such as chloracne, skin rashes, and eye irritation.

An epidemiological study of women occupationally exposed to high levels of PCBs suggested a relationship between PCB exposure and reduced birth weight and shortened gestational age of their babies; however, limitations of the study limit the strength of the conclusion.

They are also classified under potential Carcinogen:

Some days back I read an article that some hotels were using Transformer oil (PCBs) to fry "Vadai" for crispiness!!!.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

One More Forest Resource Depletion in India

News: - (News India):
SALEM: In a novel campaign, farmers and environmentalists who have joined hands to fight an iron ore mining project at Kanchamalai in Salem, filed 530 applications under the Right to Information Act with the Department of Forests en masse on Tuesday.

Over 700 farmers with their families converged on the District Forest Office on Tuesday. Catching the officials unaware, they filed individual applications, seeking details of the proposed project to mine iron ore from the pristine surroundings of the Kanchamalai hills by a joint venture company floated by Tamil Nadu Industrial Minerals Corporation Ltd (TIMCO) and the private steel major Jindals.

The magnetite ore to be mined is to be used for manufacturing iron ingots at the Mecheri plant of the South India Iron and Steel Co Ltd (SISCOL), a Lakshmi Mills-TN government JV taken over by the Jindals.

Officials initially said only one application would be received. But the people insisted that every family affected by the project wanted to know to what extent the project would impact their lives.

The applications contained five questions pertinent to the project and the Forest Department’s response to the forest clearance petitions filed by the company, besides the department’s EPA (Environmental Impact Assessment) documents.

According to official sources, TIMCO and SISCOL joint venture wants 1,000 acres of mineral-rich hills in two places in Tamil Nadu. While 638 acres is sought at Kanchamalai, revered for the indigenous medical practitioners and rich herbs, 330 acres has been asked for at Tiruvannamalai.

Around 90,000 trees at Kanchamalai and 2 lakh trees in Tiruvannamalai (recently collector of Tiruvannamalai wanted to plant more trees) will be felled once the project is cleared by the Forest department.

Indicating that the Forest department has given its green signal for the project (which it rejected earlier), Forest department officials said, “Things are no more in our hands but with the Supreme Court, which sent its Empowered Committee on May 29, 30 to Kanchamalai to give its report.”

Some one has to take initiave to stop deterioating the already depleted small forest resources in India.

Effects of Iron Ore Mining:
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Volume 46, Issue 2, June 2000, Pages 218-224

Iron Ore Mines Leachate Potential for Oxyradical Production
D. Hamoutene, A. Rahimtula and J. Payne
Biochemistry Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, A1B 3X9
Science Branch, DFO, 5667, St John's, Newfoundland, Canada, A1C 5X1
Received 8 September 1999.
Available online 25 March 2002. Abstract
The ecotoxicological effects of mining effluents is coming under much greater scrutiny. It appears necessary to explore possible health effects in association with iron ore mining effluents. The present results clearly demonstrate that iron-ore leachate is not an inert media but has the potential to induce lipid peroxidation. Peroxidation was assessed by measuring oxygen consumption in the presence of a reducing agent such as ascorbate or NADPH and a chelator such as EDTA. Labrador iron ore is an insoluble complex crystalline material containing a mixture of metals (Fe, Al, Ti, Mn, Mg,…, ) in contrast to the iron sources used for normal lipid peroxidation studies. The metal of highest percentage is iron (59.58%), a metal known to induce oxyradical production. Iron ore powder initiated ascorbic acid-dependent lipid peroxidation (nonenzymatic) in liposomes, lipids extracted from rat and salmon liver microsomes, and intact salmon liver microsomes. It also revealed an inhibitory effect of NADPH-dependent microsomes lipid peroxidation as well as on NADPH cytochrome c reductase activity. However, nonenzymatic peroxidation in rat liver microsomes was not significantly inhibited. Cytochrome P450 IA1- and IIB1-dependent enzymatic activities as well as P450 levels were not affected. The inhibition could be due to one of the other components of iron ore leachate (Mn, Al,…, ). These effects of iron-ore leachate indicate that a potential toxicity could be associated with its release into lakes. Further studies are necessary to explore in vivo effects on aquatic animals.
Author Keywords: iron ore; peroxidation; cytochrome P450; liposomes; microsomes.

Above article was published as early as 2000 and still we did not learn the lesson. There will be several other issues with Air, Land, Water and Human Health while mining for iron.

1) remove forests as fast as we could.
2) deplete, pollute water resources as much as we could.
3) import e-wastes as much as we could
4) put toxicity into air, water and Land as much as we could
5) have few people with environmental awareness, concerns and have very few environmental laws and implement them properly

When will we be environmentally conscious?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Boosting Rice Cultivation in Tamil Nadu, India

Email from worldbank on 06/17/2008:

India ’s agricultural growth has been stagnant at less than 2 percent since the 1990s, well below the growth rates of other sectors. Any significant growth in agriculture in India depends on increasing the efficiency and productive use of water. India is a water stressed country, 45 percent of all available water is utilized for agriculture. Among this 80% is used for Rice cultivation alone.

The World Bank is assisting the southern state of Tamil Nadu to improve irrigation service delivery and productivity of irrigated agriculture. Some farmers in the State are using a technique that requires less water and fewer seeds but grows more rice. It is a new way of cultivating rice, and it is raising hopes that the rice yield will increase without draining the country of scarce water resources.
India - A new way of Cultivating Rice

Water Management must be done properly before water scarcity comes into play. I have seen huge amount of rainfall destroying the Rice fields, esp, in Tanjore Delta. The fields should have proper drainage system and government should fund such systems along with world bank and should be properly maintained. The link 'A Small Drop' to Siruthuli and its Gallery shows how excess water can be saved and stored.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Eco-Justice for Elephants

I received an email from someone to give Eco-Justice for Elephants:

Eco-Justice for Elephants

Care for the wild

Since forests are shrinking, these majestic animals are running out space and enter into the near by villages near Anamalai and Mudumalai Sancturies. Some elephants came into Bharathiar university recently and also entered the farms and destroyed sugarcane fields. Solar powered electric fences were installed, even which did not stop these elephants.
Elephant crossing road:


Elephants in estate:

There are other natural ways to scare the elephants instead of the electric fence:
Tiger Urine Crystals (From Zoo animals) spread along the border and
Camel odors also scare elephants.

Hopefully one day human and elephants will live in harmony like the following picture taken in Top Slip, Tamilnadu, India:

Monday, June 9, 2008

EcoWarrior - Mr. Yoganathan from Marudhamalai, Coimbatore

Mr.Yoganathan, bus conductor from Coimbatore has planted more than 50,000 trees and created Environmental awareness in Tamilnadu especially among students and children.
He had been recognized for this achievement by Indian Government and was awarded "Eco-Warrior Award".
Mr. Yoganathan with his award - (

I had personally heard of his work from team members in Pollachi.

Good work Mr. Yoganathan.

Bharathiar University - Environmental Science Department - Near Marudhamalai - This is where I did my M.Phil degree and planted these trees as small saplings during that time (1991):

Makesh Karuppiah, Ph.D
Environmental Scientist

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Going Green and Environmental Awareness Catching Up

Going Green and Green Awareness Catching up:


Dockers Pants made up of Cocono fabrics:

Coconut Fibers

The site indicates that Cocona fabrics provide comfort while utilizing natural technology.

Natural Dockers was as comfortable as other Dockers. Also saw some nature awareness from a.n.a clothing with words like "Hug a Tree" in shirts.

We are moving towards sustainable Green awareness world, which is a good sign.

Green Clothes:
Green JCPenney

In India:

Read a headline on 07/07/2008:
Collector for steps to enhance green cover of Annamalai hills - The Hindu:
TIRUVANNAMALAI: The district administration will take steps to provide green cover to the 2,170-metre high Annamalai hills in the Tiruvannamalai town, according to Collector M. Rajendran.

Mr. Rajendran, who climbed up the hills on Saturday to assess the vegetation, told reporters that a project on “greening the hills” was launched in 2001. Based on the project, steps would be taken shortly to increase the green cover by planting more saplings.

Of the 933.77-hectares on the hills, 699.03 hectares were under the control of the Forest Department and 234.74 hectares under the Revenue Department.

Some areas on the hills had less vegetation and some had no trees.

The growth of the trees had been affected by excessive heat conditions prevailing in the town.

The Collector suggested that tea gardens could be raised on 40 to 50 hectares of land in Thenimalai area.

The hills abounded in herbal plants, including single-leaf lotus, garlic, Keezhanelli, sambrani, vettiver and nannari.

Wild animals such as black-faced monkey and wild fowls are also found on the hills.

Steps would be taken to provide thick vegetation cover by planting saplings, sowing seeds and growing grafts, he said.

Forest Department and Revenue officials accompanied the Collector.

Also take a quiz on E-Wastes:


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rich & Poor

Rich: Diamond studed IPL Trophy:

Poor: A Village boy's hurt leg by playing cricket without shoes:

My View: With all the profits IPL made, they should atlease provide shoes, gloves and equipments to the underpriviliged children who play cricket in villages of the corresponding teams (Chennai Super Kings - to Tamilnadu Village schools, Rajasthan Royals - to Rajasthan Village Schools, something like that).

One more photo: Poverty leading to this - Child dangerously playing with a venomous Cobra to make money:(