Book review: Profound primer

Providing a good text is the primary step, now that environmental studies have become a scheduled subject at the graduate level in all universities in West Bengal. This book by two professors at Kalyani and Calcutta Universities is probably the first comprehensive primer on the subject in Bengali

 
Published: Thursday 15 May 2003

-- Pariveshvidya Parichay By Manindranarayan Majumdar and Rabindranath Majumdar Indian Progressive Publishing Co Pvt Ltd August 2002 Rs 110

Providing a good text is the primary step, now that environmental studies have become a scheduled subject at the graduate level in all universities in West Bengal. This book by two professors at Kalyani and Calcutta Universities is probably the first comprehensive primer on the subject in Bengali. The authors' integrated and assimilatory approach towards the issues is evident from the very beginning. They cull out the essentials of geography and geology, agriculture and forestry, earth sciences, anthropology and population studies and weave them together to show the multi-faceted nature of environmental studies.

The book deals in detail with the basics of environmental policy. It delves into the politics of the issue too, by summarising major green movements such as Chipko and Arvari. Environment-related public health topics including malaria, diarrhoea, heavy metals and pesticides are also dissected at length. Future editions of the textbook would be enriched if case studies are cited to back up the theories and scientific discussions. India at least does not lack in examples of mismanagement of its ecology and public health. Topics such as arsenic and fluorosis contamination of groundwater, air pollution and the debate on global warming should provide valuable insight into the subject of environment.

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