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Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
P Pushpangadan , director, National Botanical and Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow,speaks to Archana Srivastava on India's biodiversity
On India's biodiversity:
India has one of the richest reserves of biodiversity in the world. It is a repository of genetic resources of several life-supporting plants of food and medicinal value that form a substantial base for future crop improvement. But this strength has always been underplayed by the North. The end of the 20th century has seen the developed countries depending on the developing countries for raw material.
The 21st century will be a boon for natural food and drugs. India gave Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani to the world. But now, the developed nations are trying to patent them. Modern medical management will have to be preventive, health promoting, corrective and curative. This is actually the basic tenet of Ayurveda . Countries which have a poor diversity but are rich in biotechnology want to control the food and health of the developing countries. The multinationals have used India as a guinea pig for many years. India should now take control and empower the people to take care of their food and health. This can be done with the help of the panchayati raj programme.
On what could be done to save India's biodiversity:
To prevent gene piracy we must know our biodiversity at the morphological, cytological, chemical and molecular levels. About 30-35 per cent of the world's biodiversity is exclusive to India. We must document the endemic species of plants, animals and microorganisms up to the molecular level. This passport scripting of the endemic species should be published. Australia is in the process of completing a dna library of its endemic biodiversity. There has been a beginning in this direction in India, but much more needs to be done.
Developing countries are using biodiversity to strengthen their economy. Comment.
By effective application of science and technology, we can convert it into economic wealth. Unfortunately, this is one sphere where the developing countries have failed. We need to convert our raw materials into wealth. The tragedy is that planning in our country is done by economists alone, with no involvement of scientists. There has to be a close interaction between the two.
How much research is being done on biodiversity?
The department of biotechnology has made a beginning. The classification has been done. We are aware of the species, but not of the genetic level, which is important. All the varieties need to be characterised.
Biodiversity is under the threat oflarge-scale destruction and extinction. Comment.
Earlier, nobody cared about the destruction of biodiversity. Forests were wiped out and dams were constructed. All this was done in an unscientific manner. Extinctions started with the Britishers and continued even after independence. The ministry of environment came into existence as late as in 1982. It has to be emphasised that India's biodiversity and its conservation is important for the whole world.
We are sitting on a gold mine. Our knowledge must be converted into wealth. Unfortunately, we have been taught by the Britishers to always undervalue ourselves.
What are the constraints in the management of biodiversity on scientific lines?
Management and conservation of biodiversity is very important and all scientific methods must be employed to do so. The greatest drawback is that our country is very poor in infrastructure of biotechnology and in instrumentation of fine chemicals. We are importing most of these. Efforts should be made to produce at least 30 per cent of this in our country.
On the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):
The implementation of the cbd can pave the way for an equitable North-South relation and guard against the adverse ecological, social and other impacts of technology. The extent and nature of biodiversity has not remained static and at least five major cases of mass extinction of species due to natural perturbations have occurred in the geological past. However, the extinction of biodiversity today can be traced to the actions of human beings. Genetic resources had been traded across the world for centuries, though rarely to the advantage of the source countries.