Letters

 
Published: Friday 10 July 2015

Proactive role

This refers to your letter regarding the problem of huge numbers of two and three wheelers in Asian cities and consequent harmful impact on their environment.

As you are aware, my government is committed to ensuring a clean environment for the citizens of Delhi, and is working towards this goal. We have already successfully switched over a substantive proportion of the autorickshaw fleet in the city to compress natural gas (cng) mode with appropriate fiscal incentives.

I have read the enclosed articles with interest. I agree that the government can play a proactive role in bringing better technologies in the two-wheeler sector. Appropriate legal measures for bringing in mandatory inspection and maintenance programmes for in-use vehicles and emission warranty systems for new vehicles under the Motor Vehicles Act need to be put in place. The Auto Fuel Policy Committee of the Indian government is expected to make recommendations in this regard. We look forward to addressing these issues in harmony with the Government of India.

SHIELA DIKSHIT
Chief Minister, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi...

Plastic, plastic everywhere

This refers to A N Bhat's letter 'In defence of plastics' (Down To Earth, May 15, Vol 10, No 24). I agree that plastics do play a useful part in our lives. But what we see now is the unbridled use of plastics even where they are not essential. For example, instead of plastic carrybags, one could use jute, cloth or paper bags. As things stand, maybe the solution is to concentrate on developing some form of biodegradable plastics.

The problem is that plastic littering has reached unmanageable proportions. This is the reason why some towns and cities are attempting to ban the use of plastics. They are finding it difficult to manage the amount of plastic disposed by the public. If glass bottles are recycled, why not plastic bottles used for packaged water, soft drinks and so on? The dealer/shopkeeper should collect the bottles, and return the same directly to the manufacturers of plastic bottles, or through their suppliers. A small incentive of, say, 50 paisa per bottle, could be given to encourage recycling. At the moment, there are no takers for these empty bottles. This is a problem that needs our immediate attention, and should be addressed as such.

D B N MURTHY
Bangalore, Karnataka...

Slumbering officialdom

I congratulate you on your expos of the detergent washing powder industry, entitled 'Dirt bags or detergents?' (Down To Earth, February 28, Vol 10, No 19). I hope the Ministry for Consumer Affairs will wake from their long slumber to take action on this subject in public interest.

As a consumer protection organisation, we have been pursuing this matter with the ministry for the past 11 years. We have been emphasising the need to declare all ingredients present in detergent powders on the packet or container. Even repeated reminders have only elicited a few evasive replies: a further example of their complete disinterest.

After our letters were shunted from one department to another, they have ended up with the Bureau of Indian Standards, the committees of which are dominated by manufacturers. At any rate, the bureau has no statutory power to enforce any regulations. We even sent copies of our letter to the minister, but no action has been taken. This shows the power of the lobby. We fervently hope that your article will wake up the ministry and move it to act in public interest.

H A B PARPIA
President
Centre for Consumer Education and Environment Protection
...

Budget notes

I liked the entire issue of Down To Earth (DTE, March 31, Vol 10, No 21). You should send a summary of 'Wishful Thinking on the Budget' to the Confederation of Indian Industries, suggesting they take it up (especially items 109 and 110) as part of their Action Plan for the year 2002-03.

G S RANGANATHAN
gs.ranganathan@ho.ionxchng.co.in...

Whither windmills?

Your issue (Down To Earth, April 30, Vol 10, No 23) on different aspects of renewable energy exposes why the government and industry are indifferent to the development of this sector. These resources need push in terms of exemptions from taxes, starting with raw material to the finished product. The industry should also be provided with loans that entail not more than five to eight per cent interest for a minimum period of five years. The government should also provide subsidy to producers of renewable energy, encouraging the setting up of windmills that have a potential of 40,000 mw. It is important to note here that in the us, windmill energy is available at Rs 2 as against Rs 4 per unit in India. This calls for a thorough analysis of the cost structure in our country.

C R BHATTACHARJEE
crbhatt@cal2.vsnl.net.in...

New feudal lords

Sunita Narain's 'Change is for the obdurate' (Down To Earth, May 15, Vol 10, No 24) depicts the true but sorry face of present-day India. With the abolition of princely states, new feudal lords have come into existence in the form of politicians and bureaucrats. Although they call themselves public servants, they behave like masters. What is most despicable is the complete absence of national and personal character, rampant corruption and total lack of work culture, which are the essential ingredients for any nation's development.

The observation about bureaucrats -- "It is only when they retire that they recognise what all of us know as reality. But then it is too late, and they can only join the club of grumblers" -- hits the nail on the head. Instead of asserting themselves, the public is resigned to no hopes of any redemption.

VIDYA SAGAR
New Delhi...

Dammed development

We organised a national seminar on 'Dam and the people', and adopted a statement in the plenary session. Forced displacement creates a condition of homelessness, landlessness, joblessness and food insecurity, as well as severe environmental imbalances and disruption of ecosystems. This miserable state of affairs is due to the present pattern of development, which considers displacement an inevitable part of development. It is high time we think about least displacing (if not non-displacing) alternatives to development. There are a number of alternatives to major dams, namely: minor irrigation projects, check dams, tank irrigation, groundwater enrichment and use, rainwater harvesting, drip irrigation, contour building structures, sub-surface dykes and medium irrigation projects should be 'worked' out as strategies for better irrigation management.

Ecumenical Christian Centre
Bangalore...

editors bench

Its really great from your side to present matters concerning nature in india and inter- -national .After reading your magazine ,I make sure not to miss any of the issues. wish you all the best in your effort to save nature and mother earth ...

Greetings!

We met in Delhi about 4 years ago. I was a friend of Anil who visited me a couple of time in DC when I was Deputy Director of Renewable Energy programs at USAID. As a long-time activist, author, and renewable energy specialist, I am available as a contact point for DTE in this part of the world and can write book reviews and occasional articles. All best wishes. Jon Naar...

chopping away of 5000 trees in vadodara,gujarat to widen a road

Dear Editor, I am writing from Vadodara ,Gujarat.The National Highway State Road Management(NHSRM) division,roads and building dept .plans to chop away 5000 treessome of which are over 100 years old. for widening the Padra -Jambusar highway from 7 metrs to 10 metrs. The social forestry division as division has opposed this step. International consultants have also stressed on the environmental damage done bye the project and steps taken to save the trees when widening the road.But the authorities have not paid any attention Should 5000 trees many of which are 100 years old be chopped away in a land facing eternal drought?could your magazine please look into this issue as I feel it will certainly make a difference Taniya Vaidya ,Vadodara ...

When cure is worse than ailment

Dear Sir Oil Spill Dispersants is a valuable tool to combat marine oil pollution. Countries like Britain who use dispersants, certify the product only after it meets certain critical tests/parameters like 1).a minimum efficiency requirement and 2). The dispersant when added to the oil should not grossly increase the toxicity of the oil it is added too. The reason for these test are that otherwise a dispersant will only act as an additional polluter,where instead of protecting the marine environment from the harmfull toxic effects of the oil spill, will result in a classic case "where cure is worse than ailment". In India we have the NIO-Goa which is the concerned test agency appointed by the MOEF to test and approve disperants, but not certify them. It would be interesting to study whether these so called environmentally consicous Refineries and Oil companies in the Gujarat and Vizag region, use/ordered for dispersants which have been tested to meet the required criteria of toxicity and efficiency. What sense does it make to use failed products, which instead of reducing the ecological impact of the oil spill, should only worsen it. What is unforgivable is that some of the end users/procurers are fully aware and advised of the critical parameters required to be considered for such a product, yet they choose to select and use toxic dispersants. If oil polution is an offence, then polluting the seas with such poor quality dispersants is a crime, which is been unnoticed. We talk so much of air pollution, but what about pollution of the sea's which is a silent killer, going unnoticed, and depleting the marine wealth of our country. ...



Dear Editor Your scathing editorial and the argumentation,is very much to the point. Your article is so very pertinent and is of interest. In matters relating to our Bank and Africa, the clarion call for good governance and democracy as well as blind and complete conformity to international agreements, is fully liable to be torn to shreds by borrowing countries emerging from conflicts. With the failure to up-ODA to UN norms by some donors,who pontificate otherwise of aid-effectiveness,signals the need for greater South-South dialogue. I compliment your views. Yaduvendra Mathur Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire PS: I am working in the office of the Executive Director representing 6 countries(Nordics,Switzerland and India)in the African Development Bank Group,Abidjan,Cote d'Ivoire.West Africa...

opinion letter

I know that this subject will interest your readers. Thank you for your time and consideration Private Enterprise Can Help Feed the Hungry There has been tremendous criticism of the recent trip to Africa by Bono and Paul O'Neill; people all over the country are classifying it as little beyond political theater. Maybe they are right. We have been hearing the same rhetoric for years and with apparently little change. Here is a new idea: Let's make the poor people of the world self sufficient so that they no longer need international aid and we no longer need to hear stories of how of the billions of dollars donated never really helps anyone. O'Neill himself stated that the growth of private enterprise will do more in the long run to boost African economies than aid. Improving developing countries agricultural abilities is critical if an end to poverty and hunger are in sight. Three fourths of the world's poorest people are in rural communities and depend on farming for their subsistence. This is where an organization based in Denver, Colorado can help to create the most wide-scale change in helping to alleviate the problems of hunger, poverty and water scarcity. International Development Enterprises (IDE) has introduced low-cost irrigation technology into rural communities in seven developing countries over the last 20 years--the results are remarkable. The genius of IDE methodology is not the technology, but the fact that a family may change its life with its own efforts while gaining confidence and maintaing self respect. In this scenario, people no longer depend on aid--they depend on themselves. IDE provides an opportunity for higher agricultural productivity and better access to markets. If we continue to attack the problem of poverty and hunger from the current approach of direct aid then we are facing a never-ending battle. As concerned citizens we need to influence decision makers to recognize that there are alternative options for reducing hunger and poverty. IDE is the alternative! Lets voice our opinions and get involved. Erin Lieberman International Development Enterprises 10403 West Colfax, Suite 500 Lakewood, CO 80215 303-232-4336 ...

Trees are being choked to death

On 12 June, while on the way to the market in Harinagar Ghanta Ghar (New Delhi 64), I saw that work was in progress for relaying the tiles / kerbstones on the sidewalks. To my horror I saw that the bases of the trees on the sidewalks were being completely covered, and even the few centimetres left after laying the tiles was being sealed off with cement. I remember reading some time back that the civic authorities had issued a standing order specifying that a minimum free space of 6 ft. x 6 ft. was to be left around the base of each tree. However, the labourers carrying out the work are killing the trees by leaving no space at all. A large number of trees that have taken twenty or thirty years to grow to a reasonable size are in danger of being destroyed because of a few minutes of idiocy. Last week itself, I had sent messages seeking the intervention of : (1) Dy. Commissioner, West Delhi (email: dcwest@hub.nic.in); (2) "Delhi CM's Grievance Redress Cell" (fax: 3392111); (3) Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India (email: secy@menf.delhi.nic.in); and (4) Minister of Environment and Forests (email: mef@menf.delhi.nic.in). However, no steps to save the trees are visible yet. PLEASE HELP T.S. Raman, M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D. (Retired Principal Scientist, IARI, New Delhi) EA 414, Maya Enclave, New Delhi 110064 ...

editors bench

Its really great from your side to present matters concerning nature in india and inter- -national .After reading your magazine ,I make sure not to miss any of the issues. wish you all the best in your effort to save nature and mother earth ...

Greetings!

We met in Delhi about 4 years ago. I was a friend of Anil who visited me a couple of time in DC when I was Deputy Director of Renewable Energy programs at USAID. As a long-time activist, author, and renewable energy specialist, I am available as a contact point for DTE in this part of the world and can write book reviews and occasional articles. All best wishes. Jon Naar...

chopping away of 5000 trees in vadodara,gujarat to widen a road

Dear Editor, I am writing from Vadodara ,Gujarat.The National Highway State Road Management(NHSRM) division,roads and building dept .plans to chop away 5000 treessome of which are over 100 years old. for widening the Padra -Jambusar highway from 7 metrs to 10 metrs. The social forestry division as division has opposed this step. International consultants have also stressed on the environmental damage done bye the project and steps taken to save the trees when widening the road.But the authorities have not paid any attention Should 5000 trees many of which are 100 years old be chopped away in a land facing eternal drought?could your magazine please look into this issue as I feel it will certainly make a difference Taniya Vaidya ,Vadodara ...

When cure is worse than ailment

Dear Sir Oil Spill Dispersants is a valuable tool to combat marine oil pollution. Countries like Britain who use dispersants, certify the product only after it meets certain critical tests/parameters like 1).a minimum efficiency requirement and 2). The dispersant when added to the oil should not grossly increase the toxicity of the oil it is added too. The reason for these test are that otherwise a dispersant will only act as an additional polluter,where instead of protecting the marine environment from the harmfull toxic effects of the oil spill, will result in a classic case "where cure is worse than ailment". In India we have the NIO-Goa which is the concerned test agency appointed by the MOEF to test and approve disperants, but not certify them. It would be interesting to study whether these so called environmentally consicous Refineries and Oil companies in the Gujarat and Vizag region, use/ordered for dispersants which have been tested to meet the required criteria of toxicity and efficiency. What sense does it make to use failed products, which instead of reducing the ecological impact of the oil spill, should only worsen it. What is unforgivable is that some of the end users/procurers are fully aware and advised of the critical parameters required to be considered for such a product, yet they choose to select and use toxic dispersants. If oil polution is an offence, then polluting the seas with such poor quality dispersants is a crime, which is been unnoticed. We talk so much of air pollution, but what about pollution of the sea's which is a silent killer, going unnoticed, and depleting the marine wealth of our country. ...

"So how do we bring democracy to the US?"

Dear Editor Your scathing editorial and the argumentation,is very much to the point. Your article is so very pertinent and is of interest. In matters relating to our Bank and Africa, the clarion call for good governance and democracy as well as blind and complete conformity to international agreements, is fully liable to be torn to shreds by borrowing countries emerging from conflicts. With the failure to up-ODA to UN norms by some donors,who pontificate otherwise of aid-effectiveness,signals the need for greater South-South dialogue. I compliment your views. Yaduvendra Mathur Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire PS: I am working in the office of the Executive Director representing 6 countries(Nordics,Switzerland and India)in the African Development Bank Group,Abidjan,Cote d'Ivoire.West Africa...

opinion letter

I know that this subject will interest your readers. Thank you for your time and consideration Private Enterprise Can Help Feed the Hungry There has been tremendous criticism of the recent trip to Africa by Bono and Paul O'Neill; people all over the country are classifying it as little beyond political theater. Maybe they are right. We have been hearing the same rhetoric for years and with apparently little change. Here is a new idea: Let's make the poor people of the world self sufficient so that they no longer need international aid and we no longer need to hear stories of how of the billions of dollars donated never really helps anyone. O'Neill himself stated that the growth of private enterprise will do more in the long run to boost African economies than aid. Improving developing countries agricultural abilities is critical if an end to poverty and hunger are in sight. Three fourths of the world's poorest people are in rural communities and depend on farming for their subsistence. This is where an organization based in Denver, Colorado can help to create the most wide-scale change in helping to alleviate the problems of hunger, poverty and water scarcity. International Development Enterprises (IDE) has introduced low-cost irrigation technology into rural communities in seven developing countries over the last 20 years--the results are remarkable. The genius of IDE methodology is not the technology, but the fact that a family may change its life with its own efforts while gaining confidence and maintaing self respect. In this scenario, people no longer depend on aid--they depend on themselves. IDE provides an opportunity for higher agricultural productivity and better access to markets. If we continue to attack the problem of poverty and hunger from the current approach of direct aid then we are facing a never-ending battle. As concerned citizens we need to influence decision makers to recognize that there are alternative options for reducing hunger and poverty. IDE is the alternative! Lets voice our opinions and get involved. Erin Lieberman International Development Enterprises 10403 West Colfax, Suite 500 Lakewood, CO 80215 303-232-4336 ...

Trees are being choked to death

On 12 June, while on the way to the market in Harinagar Ghanta Ghar (New Delhi 64), I saw that work was in progress for relaying the tiles / kerbstones on the sidewalks. To my horror I saw that the bases of the trees on the sidewalks were being completely covered, and even the few centimetres left after laying the tiles was being sealed off with cement. I remember reading some time back that the civic authorities had issued a standing order specifying that a minimum free space of 6 ft. x 6 ft. was to be left around the base of each tree. However, the labourers carrying out the work are killing the trees by leaving no space at all. A large number of trees that have taken twenty or thirty years to grow to a reasonable size are in danger of being destroyed because of a few minutes of idiocy. Last week itself, I had sent messages seeking the intervention of : (1) Dy. Commissioner, West Delhi (email: dcwest@hub.nic.in); (2) "Delhi CM's Grievance Redress Cell" (fax: 3392111); (3) Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India (email: secy@menf.delhi.nic.in); and (4) Minister of Environment and Forests (email: mef@menf.delhi.nic.in). However, no steps to save the trees are visible yet. PLEASE HELP T.S. Raman, M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D. (Retired Principal Scientist, IARI, New Delhi) EA 414, Maya Enclave, New Delhi 110064 ...

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