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January 13, 2013 | The new obesity

Hi, am a student researching about the growing obesity trend and was redirected here from wikipedia for a list of 20 substances or functional groups classified as obesogen, yet there are only 16. What is up with that?


The Saraswati is not a mythical river at all. Research abounds to show that it existed, was the seat of a great civilization, which has led to the demand by many for calling it the Indus-Saraswati civilization and not simply Indus valley civilization. Matter abounds in the net, so not giving references. The research done is available at Asiatic Society and National Library.

By Dibyajyoti
January 11, 2013 | Secret of sensitivity

Our sources of water are contaminated and microorganisms that cause severe health problems are aplenty. If such water is not chlorinated, people would die in millions due to such diseases. If chlorinated water is passed through activated carbon, chlorine and its derivatives are effectively removed and the water quality improves. You should therefore propagate such simple techniques instead of blaming chlorine.

By H.S.Gopal
January 11, 2013 | ICAR’s shoddy science

This article general tenor implies doubt on the usefulness of Bt cotton. The methods and research may be sloppy, but can the author or DTE answer why thousands of independent minded farmers prefer Bt cotton over traditional cotton?

I hope this question does not get deleted by DTE moderators.

By Anonymous
January 11, 2013 | Desperate for dam

The author has not evaluated the alternatives to a large dam. As quoted why can't the government build small anicuts?

Has this option, which appears feasible and not so disruptive, been investigated?

By Anonymous
January 10, 2013 | A year of leadership failure

Apparently your summary as well as the perceptions of comments posted above are reflection of the people at large, particularly those who do not voice their concern because of others' pressure.

Now the Big Question is how to bring about the change, and the most pertinent issue is to educate the Electorate who cast their ballots 'en masse,' duly lured by momentary goodies offered by the powers that be.

By satsangi
January 10, 2013 | On wrong trek

Well I think all kind of tourism has its own pros and cons. As long as we bring back the bottles, plastic and other non biodegradable waste with us things should be fine. Also no natural vegetation etc should be destroyed for camping.


Dear Neeraj,
Thank you so much for your interest in the article. So far, I have not come across any study that points out to the effect of radio collaring on animal behaviour.

January 10, 2013 | On wrong trek

It is obvious that many tour companies are not following environmentally friendly procedures. I certainly believe that the tourism ministry should imply certain rules to ensure the safety of natural places. Practices of safely disposing waste, limiting the number of participants, are few small examples which can have a huge positive impact. As for the problem regarding the decomposition of human excreta, I am sure once there is a limit to participants, the ground will have the capacity to biodegrade.


January 10, 2013 | On wrong trek

In reply to anonymous:
I'll first quote the important points you missed:
"Wrappers of biscuits, chocolates, gutkha and paan masala littered several places on the climb."
Waste disposal is and always should be a personal as well as a community responsibility. Blaming the government or government department later on is what can be termed as Escapism by Citizens AND tourists themselves.
"The tranquility of the meadow was disturbed."
He obviously is being very genteel in the way he quotes 'loud-mouthed' Urban dwellers. Urban dwellers, who have to deal with the chaotic noises of busy city-life, seldom realize how loud they speak. Many tourists play loud music in such places, because they listen to music every day. Seldom do they realize that if you shut the noise away, and silently wait for a few moments you'll hear Nature speak...bird-calls, crickets, etc etc...Isn't that the reason why we visit such a place? To appreciate nature. Then we need to learn how to appreciate it.
"Several newspapers and travelogues have reported on environmental pollution along trekking routes such as the Kullu valley in Himachal Pradesh and the Yuksom trek in Sikkim. ... A dhabawala at Bhedni told us that in "one session" Indiahikes pushed "200 trekkers", charging Rs 9,000 per trekker. In the three days of our stay we could see three batches of Indiahikes tourists, each batch consisting of at least 20 people.”
It’s as good as saying we just saw a 1000tonne road-roller, flatten a meadow. That is how bad, the above single instance has affected the ecosystem there, within those three days.
“Cooking generates large amount of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. There is also leftover food thrown on the ground. This dumped food attracts many mountain crows and eagles making the whole place noisy and chaotic." Food we eat is not always the food viable for animals @ the places we visit. The food waste attracts Crows and Eagles, however, you will only get to see Opportunistic species. For an ecosystem to remain in balance, biodiversity of that particular region should, ideally, remain as untouched as possible.
On Human Feces: "The pit is dug almost every day and then filled with earth. The normal decomposition process, which is already slower in high altitudes, can process human excreta of four to five people in a day. But the tents in Bedni get many more people. It would not require rocket science to comprehend that these pits will become breeding grounds for bacteria and contaminate water."
Humans are a gamut of viruses and bacteria. We are disease carriers in inexplicable terms. It is toxic waste to a lot of other species. The fecal matter that does not properly decompose will trickle down in to the groundwater Drainage, which would then trickle into the nearest Streams, thus, contaminating the water.
Also, exposure to excessive donkey waste and Urine pots is quite harmful to the mammals of that region.
Please read the last three paragraphs carefully. He indicates solutions to the problem but does not imply any false implications to Indiahikes in particular…and has also called out for ownership and responsibility for necessary actions. Most tourism groups are city-based and local involvement is near to nil. So, all that talk about locals benefitting from tourists is not true. Encouraging homestay, participation of locals as guides with knowledge of their regions is definitely worth encouraging.

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