Letters

 
Published: Friday 10 July 2015

Dying wetlands

I agree with the view expressed by Brij Gopal on wetlands ( Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 1; May 31). The authorities who are supposed to manage wetlands in India do not have any interest or commitment. Added to this is the intervention of misguided politicians, most of whom do not have basic knowledge about our natural resources. Gopal has rightly pointed out the fate of Kolleru lake in Andhra Pradesh.

Kolleru is the largest freshwater lake in India, spread over an area of 30,040 hectares. During the 1960s, the area was the largest breeding ground in the subcontinent for the spotbill pelican ( Pelicanus philippensis) . The local communities as well as successive state governments mismanaged this lake, which has today resulted in the disappearance of the pelicans. The lake has been encroached upon by a number of people, including politicians for the purpose of setting up aquaculture tanks. They have become millionaires, but most of the migratory bird populations and the aquatic fauna have dwindled due to habitat destruction and human activity.

There was a ray of hope when the present state government declared the Kolleru lake as a wildlife sanctuary and issued a notification on October 5, 1999. However, there was a hue and cry and the encroachers put pressure on the government to withdraw the notification. If this is the state of affairs, all wetlands in our country will disappear very soon. Unless the Union government and the authorities concerned are determined to protect these valuable wetlands, most of their rich fauna and flora will be lost forever....

For clean air

This is with reference to your campaign against the use of diesel. I would suggest that in metropolitan cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, all public transport vehicles like buses and autorickshaws should be converted to compressed natural gas ( cng ) or liquefied petroleum gas ( lpg ). Electric trolley bus systems, that were operative in Mumbai many years ago, should also be reintroduced.


Also, filters that trap particulate matter should be introduced in diesel buses operating in metropolitan cities. The use of diesel can be reduced only if the subsidy on the fuel is progressively reduced and its price brought at par with the price of petrol....

Missing the point

We have been subscribing to your magazine for the past two years and read it with a great deal of interest. However, the article 'Fate of the tuskers'( Down To Earth , Vol 8, No 24, May 15) about cites has disappointed us. It is hard to imagine that your magazine could be so blind -- you just put the blame for the problem of coexistence of human beings and the other animals on bad management. It is not a problem of rich and poor countries, but a problem of respect for life, of all kinds of life....

Catch 'em young

Your leader 'The good news and the bad' ( Down To Earth , Vol 8, No 21; March 31) made interesting reading . Environment education should be made a compulsory part of school curriculum so as to inculcate an awareness about the environment among future generations. The curriculum must adopt the correct teaching methods and appropriate topics should be discussed.

A method of innovative thinking should be introduced in the education system so that the students come up with certain practical solutions for current problems. One way of doing this is to encourage them to take up real-life problems as their project work, a compulsory part of the course in almost every school. This way they will be made to think about their surroundings and may come up with certain practical solutions which would make them more responsible and aware in the future....

Down with big dams

The article 'Paying a high price' ( Down To Earth, Vol 9, No 3; June 30) was revealing. There has been a hue and cry worldover against big dams. These dams not only displace people but also harm the habitat, the heritage sites and the flora and fauna. Rehabilitation is tardy and the people are displaced from their homes and forced to move to unfamiliar locations. Those who advocate big dams are turning a Nelson's eye to the woes of the displaced persons and the natural wealth which is being destroyed.

'Small is beautiful', but our planners do not think so. Smaller dams, harvesting of rainwater and conserving water -- through alternate irrigation systems like sprinkler and drips -- can go a long way in meeting the water needs of humans, plants and animal. Moreover, small dams are not only cost-effective but with low gestation period for deriving maximum benefits. It's time we gave up on blinkered vision vis--vis big dams and look for alternate solutions. Those dams which have outlived their lifespan may be dismantled like what is being done in the us ....

Sound decision

This is with reference to the opposition being raised against the lowering of the subsidy on urea. Probably, after a very long time, a government has actually taken a very sound decision to reduce subsidies. The implications are far-reaching. Reduction of urea use will reduce the discharge of nutrients in waterbodies. Reducing the subsidy on urea will encourage the move towards more sustainable forms of agriculture where chemical fertilisers are replaced by manure and other natural forms of nutrients.

It really seems extremely myopic and irrational of the opposition and some of the National Democratic Alliance's ( nda ) own allies to oppose this decision. I hope you discuss this issue in Down To Earth ....

Picture perfect

It is so disheartening that some people considered your cover photograph pornographic ('Fatal lure', Down To Earth , Vol 8, No 24; May 15). The photograph was absolutely fine and was in no way pornographic. I read the letters criticising the use of the photograph and feel that some of them have over-reacted. I think Down To Earth is doing a great job in disseminating information about the environment....

Dealing with waste

This is with reference to the letter 'For a cleaner environment' ( Down To Earth , Vol 8, No 21; March 31). The segregation of garbage at the source -- mainly at home -- is of primary importance. Every house must have at least two dust bins, one for recyclable material and the other to collect plastics that could then be treated separately.

We must make an effort to reduce the use of plastic bags. Carrying a cloth bag in the car, scooter or cycle can help to reduce the inflow of plastics in the house.

The way our country is slowly turning into a huge garbage dump, small steps like these must be taken, and this could be done at an individual level....

What a waste

This is with reference to the editor's page 'Blind to rain' ( Down To Earth , Vol 9, No 3; June 30). I strongly feel that ministers and bureaucrats should be asked to undergo a compulsory course in reading before they speak or act.

They seem to spend money to buy Time and The Economist , but why don't they read Down To Earth ? It is a pity that the best brains in our administrative services are a drain on our valuable resources....

Devote more space!

I am 13 years old and a new reader of Down To Earth . I would like to read more articles on space and the Universe in your magazine....

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