toxic pool: The Local Area Environment Committee (LAEC) recently termed the Eloor and Edayar industrial belt in Kochi, Kerala, a "toxic hot spot" filled with heavy metals and pesticides. LAECrecently submitted an environmental audit report to the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee. It found the presence of heavy metals from samples collected from Eloor, Edayar and Kuzhikandam creek in the area. LAEC's study revealed that the presence of metals like iron, cadmium, manganese, nickel, copper and chlorides were in excess of the prescribed limits. It claimed that the industrial units in the area had a major role in contaminating groundwater in Eloor and Edayar. It made many recommendations including the introduction of a Periyar protection force to monitor the river and take action against those indulging in activities detrimental to natural water sources. It asked for a survey of the reaches of the Periyar river. It asked the pollution control board to conduct a survey on the sediment deposits and evolve ways of removing non-biodegradable pollutants.
PATENT TROUBLE: NGOs in India representing HIV/AIDS affected people have submitted their opposition to a patent application filed in Kolkata's patent office by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The patent application is for Combivir, used for treating HIV/AIDS patients. The NGOs objected to the patent, as Combivir is not a new invention but simply the combination of two existing drugs. Granting of such a patent is likely to increase the cost of HIV/AIDS treatment. GSK now has to reply to the opposition. This is the first time that a pre-grant opposition has been made formally against drugs used for HIV/AIDS. Petitioners hope that the Combivir patent application would also be rejected as that for Gleevec, an anti-cancer drug.
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