MUMBAI FIRECRACKER: Tests carried out by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) and Awaaz Foundation, in Mumbai, found the 'lava bomb' or ' sutli bomb' is to be officially the noisiest firecracker. In July, the Supreme Court, reiterating an earlier directive, banned manufacture and sale of crackers exceeding permissible noise level of 125-145 decibels. The board would recommend to the association of firecracker dealers to avoid selling this particular explosive.
SOUTH AFRICA UNLEADED: Leaded petrol will no longer be sold in South Africa from January 1, 2006. Oil refineries have been directed to provide a lead-replacement product. Also, sulphur levels and methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT) need to be reduced. From next year, 91 octane unleaded, 93 octane unleaded and 95 octane unleaded petrol will be sold at service stations. For older vehicles, 95 lead free petrol, called lead replacement petrol, will be made available. Diesel fuel is required to contain less than 500 parts per million of sulphur.
US FOREST PROTECTION: A report taken out by the National Forest Protection Alliance, Montana, USA, criticised the US Forest Service management and the Bush administration, for supporting commercial logging in endangered forests under the pretext of fire risk reduction. It points out that since 2002, the volume of wood cut under the federal logging program has grown by over 300 million board feet, due to escalation of logging in Oregon, California and the South. The reason cited by Forest Service was the removal of fuel mass from the forests, which is also the rationale behind the healthy forests law passed in 2003. The Forest Service estimated around 397 million acres of land across all ownerships, public and private, were "high priority treatment areas" for fuel removal.
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