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May 19, 2013 | Chaos in the iron age

In India lakhs of crores worth minerals are mined every year all over the country. Some part is meeting the local needs and other part is meeting legal & illegal export in terms of raw and finished products. If one wants to present the real picture without any bias, start from the area in different states, quality of ore, leased area plus illegal mining area, local use, export (legal & illegal), etc. Then tell to the people who are the real culprits. Instead of that targeting one or two like politicians may not be a good practice. The article goes in this direction only. Against Gali the case was filed by politicians to serve their political game. Iron ore mining was not considered an important issue when the price was low. In Andhra Pradesh the mining of iron ore started even before Gali was born.

Here the major issue is illegal export. Without the tacit support from port management it will not take place. Gali would have not exported illegally if any without the knowledge of Krishnapatnam port authorities. They are the main culprits. But, so much violation took place even Karnataka and Goa why Gali was put behind bars and others are freely moving? See the data presented in the article:

2005-10 -- Karnataka -- production 213.81 mt -- export -- 61.25 mt -- illegal export -- 23.18 mt

2005-10 -- Goa -- production 155.38 mt -- export 194.94 mt -- illegal export 39.56 mt

This clearly indicate our legal system, investigating system and environmental movement system are serving the vested interests with biased mind set.

You wrote Gali destroyed interstate boundary but at the same time you wrote Supreme Court asked survey to identify the boundary. This is not a good.

I wrote an article in Vaartha [12-8-2010] -- "Mineral industry: discussion". In 2006, globally iron ore mining data shows: global 1690 mt; China 520 mt, Australia 270 mt, Brazil 300 mt, India 150 mt. In 2003 around 105.5 mt produced of which 31 mt exported. In our country High grade iron ore is available 1280 mt; MP 630 mt, Orissa 320 mt, Karnataka 220 mt, Bihar 85; medium grade 4200 mt; Bihar 1790, Orissa 1300, MP 485, Karnataka 440, Goa 150 mt -- low to medium grade in AP, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan. This clearly shows it is not alone Karnataka and Goa there are other states where iron ore mining is carried out. While writing such articles bring out all the culprits.

Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

By Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy
4 Comments
May 18, 2013 | A cool idea

I live in a flat on the 8th floor which is also the top floor/ I have three windows facing west. I want to reduce the heat from the roof top. Although nobody walks on the roof but I am not very clear whether thermocol will withstand the pressure if somebody walks on it even if it is covered with white tiles. Please suggest the best option.

By G C Saxena
34 Comments

I found this editorial very interesting and important. I hope it is brought up and discussed at the World Environmental Education Congress 2013 (WEEC 2013)which is scheduled to take place in June 2013 in Morocco. With nearly 3000 participants from some 105 countries a discussion should result in some interesting contributions of views. Best. Rohan Wickramasinghe (Sri Lanka)

By Rohan H. Wickramasinghe
7 Comments

Pranesh, I agree with you. Most Indians do not have a sense of cleanliness because of what has been taught over generations: keep your home clean, to hell with the surrounding. It is sad, and will take excessive, almost obsessive, awareness campaigns to stop it.

By Anonymous
2 Comments

Sunita Narain ji, your write-up for biodiversity is a reminder of the most serious mistake our governments are making at the behest of World Trade Organization (WTO) by supporting/catering to their needs. WTO supports giants like Monsanto who own the genetically modified food plant varieties thus suppressing the indigenous culture of diverse agriculture. These giants can hire our unsuspecting scientists with higher pays/perks and "own" the patents churned out by them. The scientists and our governments forget that the knowledge they have hasn't come out of their loneliness. It is the product of the society and the scientists' interaction. Moreover, they are using the nature(which belongs to all of us) to get their so-called outstanding research. This patenting itself should be discarded and disregarded. The science has to be free for all.
Moreover, the diversity can only be maintained in situ (in the original situation). It can be supported by genome storages but cannot be replaced by these. The biodiversity keeps increasing in the nature further by evolving to new stresses. In the cryopreservation, the genes can at the best be maintained as such; they can't evolve further. Why don't these 'stupid' great scientists understand this simple truth? We need a revolution in the thinking of the common people to stop this delude of fraudulent campaigns of the giants. I support your efforts in this direction fully.

By Jawinder Sandhu
7 Comments

Excellent article.

It is an irony that in India in most places we first heat the buildings and begin to cool it by Air cionditioners and Fans. In the traditional house construction the entrances used to be face to face so that there is cross ventilation which helps for natural cooling.

Indigenous architecture has evolved suitable building styles for severe climates. It may now be added that traditional urban design provided the appropriate environment without which even the best building design could not have been wholly successful.
JAISALMER (Rajastan ):
The best example of architecture of the hot and arid zone in India is Jaisalmer, a town built in the
heart of the Thar desert. The geographical location of Jaisalmer is 26 deg. 55 min. North (lat.) and
70 deg. 55 min (long.), with a height above mean sea level of 241.66 meters. The day time
temperatures in June reach up to 50 deg. C while the night temperatures in January are below the
freezing point. Annual rainfall during the year is 120 to 150 mm, but in some years there is no
rainfall at all. During the summer months of May, June and July, the town is subjected to severe
sand storms. The climate demands protection from the scorching summer sun and sand storms on
the one hand and very cold winter nights on the other. Humidity being low throughout the year,
comfort could be easily provided by evaporative cooling, but this is not possible because water is
very scarce in Jaisalmer. The only sources of water are the very deep
wells and the Gharhisar tank on the outskirts of the town.
The layout of the town is the first defense against the harsh climate. The streets are
narrow and shaded from the sun. The general street orientation is south east to north
west, which is at right angles to the prevailing summer winds. Hot dusty winds are thus kept out of
the streets. At many places, buildings overhang the streets on both sides, providing a cool shaded
area almost like a tunnel. In some places the buildings actually bridge across the streets. The
contiguous construction ensures mutual shading by walls and other elements of the adjoining
building. The main building material used for walls is light yellow coloured sand stone. Roofs are built of
mud, supported on wooden beams covered with grass mat. In more recent construction, stone
beams have been used as roof supports. The thickness of the roof varies from 45cms. to 90 cms.,
enough to dampen the effect of the diurnal temperature variations. There is no scientific study to
compare the performance of the two kinds of roofing (i.e. stone slabs and wooden beams), but
according to popular belief the wooden ceilings with grass mats stay cooler than stone ceilings.
The wall surfaces are highly articulated with projecting balconies, sun shades and
brackets, and each of these building elements is in turn intricately carved. Flat portions of stone
walls are also decorated with deep carvings. The resulting overall building surface is designed to
stay cool even when it is exposed to the sun. According to the economic and social status of the house owners, there are three types of buildings. The poorest live in very small single storey houses built in mud. There is generally a small room and a verandah opening into a small courtyard enclosed by high walls. Usually a small basement is also built, but it is not ventilated and therefore used only as a store for valuables. The main living area of the house is the courtyard and verandah. The heavy roof and walls along with the courtyard ensure thermal comfort in the house.
The middle income house is a two or three storied structure with a completely enclosed
courtyard. The deep and narrow building plot of land is surrounded on three sides by similar construction and on the fourth side by the narrow street. Therefore, solar heat gain through the
walls is very little. The rooms built next to the street are cross ventilated through the courtyard.
This may not be possible in the rooms built in the rear of the plot. Since window openings are
small and the courtyard very deep, most rooms in these houses are poorly illuminated.
Architecturally the most interesting and the most comfortable thermally, are the "Havelis" (large
courtyard houses) belonging to the rich. These are three or four storied structures with additional
wind pavilions on the top floor. Each building is built around one or two courtyards with
additional ventilation shafts provided at appropriate locations. Almost all the special thermal
design features of these "Havelis" are incorporated in Nath Malji's Haveli .

In the olden days most of the houses have white colour both outside and inside. Outside to reflect sunlight and inside to use less lighting(Electricity). But today it has become fashionable to have even darker colours inside the house.

Another classic example of natural airconditioning is Eastgate Centre,Harare,Zimbabwe.
The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, typifies the best of green architecture and ecologically sensitive adaptation. The country’s largest office and shopping complex is an architectural marvel in its use of biomimicry principles. The mid-rise building, designed by architect Mick Pearce in conjunction with engineers at Arup Associates, has no conventional air-conditioning or heating, yet stays regulated year round with dramatically less energy consumption using design methods inspired by indigenous Zimbabwean masonry and the self-cooling mounds of African termites!

Termites in Zimbabwe build gigantic mounds inside of which they farm a fungus that is their primary food source. The fungus must be kept at exactly 87 degrees F, while the temperatures outside range from 35 degrees F at night to 104 degrees F during the day. The termites achieve this remarkable feat by constantly opening and closing a series of heating and cooling vents throughout the mound over the course of the day. With a system of carefully adjusted convection currents, air is sucked in at the lower part of the mound, down into enclosures with muddy walls, and up through a channel to the peak of the termite mound. The industrious termites constantly dig new vents and plug up old ones in order to regulate the temperature.

The Eastgate Centre, largely made of concrete, has a ventilation system which operates in a similar way. Outside air that is drawn in is either warmed or cooled by the building mass depending on which is hotter, the building concrete or the air. It is then vented into the building’s floors and offices before exiting via chimneys at the top. The complex also consists of two buildings side by side that are separated by an open space that is covered by glass and open to the local breezes.
Air is continuously drawn from this open space by fans on the first floor. It is then pushed up vertical supply sections of ducts that are located in the central spine of each of the two buildings. The fresh air replaces stale air that rises and exits through exhaust ports in the ceilings of each floor. Ultimately it enters the exhaust section of the vertical ducts before it is flushed out of the building through chimneys.
The Eastgate Centre uses less than 10% of the energy of a conventional building its size. These efficiencies translate directly to the bottom line: Eastgate’s owners have saved $3.5 million alone because of an air-conditioning system that did not have to be implemented. Outside of being eco-efficient and better for the environment, these savings also trickle down to the tenants whose rents are 20 percent lower than those of occupants in the surrounding buildings.
In Hindu mythology there is a saying: Well Water,Brick House and Banyan Tree Shade are warmer in Winter and cooler in Summer.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

By Dr.A.Jagadeesh
2 Comments

Looks like the industry does not even understand what conflict of interest is. Conflict of Interest is not about getting undue advantage. It is about a person/entity being involved in multiple interests one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for the act of another. It is about impartiality possibly getting affected, because of clash of interests. For instance, how can crores of rupees be spent by one ministry in R&D on transgenics, to then regulate such research products strictly to assess their safety with all possibility of having to throw them out on grounds of lack of safety? Would it make sense to the one who promoted the products with crores of rupees in the first instance?

By Kavitha Kuruganti
2 Comments
May 18, 2013 | A cool idea

In 70s itself I designed a cooling system. Usually in South India people use mud pots for water storage. These mud pots have a cover(concave shaped). It has about 1foot diameter and i cm thickness. When inverted it will have convex shape. On a flat roof these CLAY COVERS will be arranged side by side with gaps filled with mud. These are white washed(calcium coated). One gets on an average 5 degrees Celsius drop from ambient temperature. The principle is white colour reflects then the sunrays have to pass through mud and air trapped between clay cover and roof. Still air acts as INSULATOR. These clay covers can be made locally.

Yet another method is to spread a polythene sheet on the roof and covering with thin layer of soil. One can grow fast growing plants like Coriander seeds and mustard seed. these plants germinate quickly and the roots spread horizontally. One can spray water. This way the temperature inside the building will come down drastically. After the Summer season, the polythene sheet can be rolled back.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

By Dr.A.Jagadeesh
34 Comments

The theme this year is "Water and biodiversity". The relation between water and biodiversity needs to be understood well.Unfortunately, those who manage water policies do not think of Biodiversity.

It is vital to protect and manage water resources to satisfy both human and developmental needs. When will we understand that management of biodiversity affects the supply and quality of water resources?

We need to realize that

"In every glass of water we drink,
some of the water has already passed through
fishes, trees, bacteria, worms in the soil, and many other organisms, including people...
Living systems cleanse water and make it fit, among other things, for human consumption."....

UP has so much population....only few areas covered with trees remain...unless we protect these greenery ...unless we realize the IMPORTANT ROLE OF BIODIVERSITY IN THE WATER CYCLE ..i really doubt if any progress will be made ever!!

Please visit "https://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Day-for-Biological-Diversity-May-22-2013-Lucknow/124191151107912?fref=ts

Encourage us in our humble effort!

warm wishes,
a happy Biodiversity day on 22 may 2013!!

Pratibha Singh
UP State Biodiversity Board
Lucknow

By Anonymous
7 Comments
May 18, 2013 | Kicking up a stink

Good story. This issue was on the fringes for years.

By Jaideep
6 Comments
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