Why all these are not applicable to Tuticorin port or the one planned in AP or WB ?
What an eye opener! As an environmental engineer,disposal of sanitary napkins has always been a concern during waste...
Gap's contentions are quite ridiculous, to say the least. Good to know that GTG is going to fight the case! More power to such...
Among the major unresolved problems of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) is water availability (‘Kudankulam meltdown’, April 1-15, 2012). KKNPP requires freshwater as moderator and coolant, and its entire requirement is met through desalination plants. Strangely, the expert group set up by the Centre to check the safety aspects of KKNPP is silent on two critical issues. One, the drinking water requirement of the campus. The reserve water available in two tanks meant to store potable water is 1,425 m3, against the daily requirement of 1,272 m3. If water consumption is reduced in case the supply chain breaks down, the reserve may not last more than two days. The other issue is the possibility of failure of the desalination plants due to causes other than grid failure. The group considered grid failure as the only probable event. If the grid fails, the reactors will shut down and hence, the coolant requirement will reach 800 m3 for two reactors. A desalination plant is a complicated machine for cleaning and sterilising a chemically and biologically complex medium. It can fail due to wear and tear, or due to attack of marine organisms like jellyfish.
With a capacity of 2,000 Mwe, KKNPP does not have pipes drawn from off-site locations or elevated water towers unlike other campuses. For instance, the Madras Atomic Power Station has 28,400 m3 of freshwater for its reactors with an installed capacity of 440 MWe and the campus is augmenting its water reserve with an additional 750 m3 as recommended by the Fukushima Task Force. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board has not pulled up Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd for its inaction on freshwater issue at KKNPP despite its stringent conditions. Since the backup for coolant water is insufficient, the commissioning of the reactor will be a dangerous gamble.
V T Padmanabhan
This refers to the editorial, “How India is getting gas and coal policy wrong” (April 1-15, 2012). While the perspective brought forward by the write-up is appreciable, it is worthwhile to note that even if Reliance Industries Ltd would have operated at the designed capacity, gas availability would have been insufficient to feed gas-fuelled power plants in and around Delhi and other critically polluted cities. Whether one likes it or not, coal as a fuel is an absolute necessity. Instead of focusing on replacing coal, stress should be on introducing cleaning technology. The other option is to push the government to build more import facilities of LNG, and develop its distribution network faster.
While we talk of imported and re-liquified gas price touching US $17-18 mmscd, why not focus on importing gas from locations like the US where the prices are much lower.
Lost & Found
This refers to the write-up, “Aravallis razed” (February 16-29, 2012). Between 2002 and 2005, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) undertook a study of a watershed project in Shikopur village in Haryana’s Gurgaon district. The village was affected by illegal quarrying and mining of the Aravallis. Soil erosion, high water runoff, rainfall aberrations and depletion of water table had made it difficult for the residents of Shikopur to survive.
IARI conducted studies with village community participation to understand the past and present management of natural resources in the region.
Before 1950, flora and fauna of the village was flourishing and rainfall was ample—the water table was 8 m below the ground surface. Later on, with decline in vegetation and frequent droughts, the water table fell to 20 m. Thereafter, the water table started dropping by 1m every year. Farmers were forced to use submersible pumps, instead of monoblock pumps, which could reach 90 m below the ground. Since crops suffered due to water scarcity, sprinkler irrigation was used for growing mustard and wheat.
With community participation, abandoned ponds were revived by diverting runoff water into them. Tree saplings were planted along the eroded slopes of the hills. Keeping in view the present maladies of Aravallis, water resources should be utilised through community tubewells, and micro watersheds should be developed.
K K Nathan
Principal scientist (retired)
Indian Agricultural Research Institute
Water's Great March
This refers to the water special, “The flush, the city and the river” (March 16-31, 2012). Water-related disputes are ubiquitous—from streets to the Supreme Court. Many countries are at loggerheads over sharing of river waters. Let’s analyse the situation in India. The sub-continent has perennial rivers and receives good annual rainfall, yet many parts of the country do not have adequate drinking water.
The root of the problem is absence of long-term planning. We have urban planning departments all over the country, but no rural planning institutions. After Independence, all developmental programmes—except for agriculture—were initiated in the cities. No centres of higher and professional education were created in rural areas. No industrial units were installed in the villages, which otherwise would have utilised agro-products and created job opportunities for the rural population.
Absence of such planning for the rural areas triggered an exodus from the villages to cities. People were reaching out to cities in hope of better education, jobs and medical care. Consequently, cities swelled beyond limits, increasing waste and water requirement. What’s worse, planning in urban areas is also not in place. A thorough research on rural development based on present conditions is the need of the hour.
L R Sharma
Sundernagar, Himachal Pradesh
Plastic disposal solution lies in plastic
It is very difficult to ban use of plastic bags considering the way we use them in our daily lives. Imagine buying milk in a jug. The only way of getting out of the labyrinth of plastics is using oxo-biodegradable plastic.
As the name suggests, this kind of plastic becomes biodegradable in the open environment in the same way as a leaf. It biodegrades in the presence of oxygen in a timescale which can be approximately determined by the chemical formulations added to normal plastic.
The chemical formulation has been developed by a British public company called Symphony. The UAE has banned plastic products, except oxo-biodegradable plastics. It is time other countries follow the lead.
(For more information, log on to www.downtoearth.org.in)
Wary of lawsuits
Companies abroad do not dare to deviate from the actual nutritional values of their products because of the fear of getting sued (‘Eat at your own risk’, April 1-15, 2012). However, in India, leave alone nutritional value, nobody even cares to look at the manufacturing and expiry dates of a product. Time and again it has been revealed that many so-called snacks are not healthy, still the consumer fails to take a note.
The article rightly highlights the link between the reckless consumption of junk food and non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
But to suggest a ban on the sale of branded ready-to-eat snacks in the vicinity of educational institutions is neither feasible nor desirable. Nothing, not even such shocking reports, can stop children and the youth from buying these harmful products.
History is replete with instances that conclusively prove that imposing bans, of any types, have never worked.
Making people aware about the serious health hazards associated with excessive consumption of deep-fried, starchy and sweet foods is the right thing to do, but the approach should be more targeted.
Besides, a well directed attempt has to be made to develop alternative foods which are affordable, have a reasonable shelf-life and above all, cater to a variety of tastes.
Time for a price hike
This refers to the write-up “Time for an overhaul” (March 16-31, 2012). The railway ministry has failed to consider the country’s multiple demands including safety, increasing tracks and improving amenities. Besides being overburdened, the sector does not have enough funds to meet the demands.
Not raising the fares when the cost of living index is rising rapidly is a sad reflection of how the railways works.
K R Srinivasan