mystery continues to shroud the recent sporadic spells of green-coloured rain in Sangrampur village, located in the Basirhat sub-division of West Bengal, with consensus on their actual cause proving elusive. While state environment minister Manab Mukherjee and West Bengal Pollution Control Board (wbpcb) officials have explained away the phenomenon as bee droppings, experts and residents of the area have refused to buy this theory.
The strange rain was witnessed by many people in the early hours of the morning on several occasions. pcb officials, also observed the rain and immediately reached the spot to collect samples. "We are sure that the occurrence has nothing to do with industrial or human activities. It has to be biological in origin. In fact, there have been similar spells of green rain due to bee droppings even in Cambodia," opines Dipak Chakrabarty, chief scientist, wbpcb.
However, bee experts like Dipak Dawn, an experienced beekeeper and advisor to the West Bengal Bee Keepers' Association, refute such claims. "Bee droppings cannot be the source of the rain as bee stool -- known as playslight -- is only released between 2.00 pm and 2.30 pm. Moreover, it is normally not released in the flying condition," points out Dawn. Sushanta Roy of Sangrampur village, one of the first to have witnessed the droplets, wonders why the bees have not been spotted so far even after the cause has been "identified". He also says that there is no apiary in the vicinity.
But, some questions still remain unanswered: though almost 70 per cent parthenium pollen presence has been recorded in the supposed bee stool, it is neither its preferred food nor is it abundantly available. It seems that till a satisfactory explanation is found, the bee will stay in the bonnet.