Published: Friday 10 July 2015

Some clarifications

I have been misquoted in the'In focus' section of the fortnight pages (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 14; December 15). I arn the vice-chairperson, expert committee for "Conservation of Marine turtles", ministry of environment and forests (MEF). The state level committee has recommended some timely measures to save the marine turtles. As compared to the first year, the forest department and the coast guards are doing a commendable job in protecting the core areas. Also, contrary to your report, a good number of turtles are mating at Gairimatha.

Richard Mahapatra replies:
We regret that the designation of Priyambada M Hejmadi was incorrectly reported. I also want to clarify that we carried information available while the magazine was going to the press. Turtles were sighted mating only in the first fortnight of December, as confirmed by the Wildlife Institute of India, and we did carry a report about the forest department and the coast guard's efforts in the conservation of marine turtles. ...

All about plastic

Three state governments - Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Goa - have banned the me of plastics. But banning plastic will not serve the purpose if suitable alternatives we not suggested ('Pla@stic peril', Dowii To Earth, Vol 7, No 15; December 3 1). Some suggest the use of paper bags. But environmentalists fael that the use of paper bags will add to deforestation.

In India, about 40 per cent of plastic waste is recycled, but in the West thi'Agure is just 15 per cent. While the us and European countries use proper technology for recycling, India's small units recycle without adequate equipments. in my opinion, laws in India are some of the most stringent, but thIeir implementation is weak. It is time officials in India start cracking down on polluting recycling units. It is also time to formulate a national policy on plastic....

fruits of development?

This is with refeience to the article 'Fabled firui4 (Do" To Earth, Vol 7, No 7; August 31). It is sad how symbols of our biodiversity are losing their roots. To explain how "development" affects biodiversity, I would like to narrate an experience.

There are three different roads that connect Ahmedabad and Dholka. The first road is from Ahmedabad via Paldi. This area is least developed and therefore, is rarely used by travellers. Here, fruit trees like lmh (Tamarindu5 indica), Kotha/wood apple (Feronia limonia), Rayan/Khimi (Mimusops hexandra) and Pilu (Salvadora 5upp) dot the entire landscape. The second road is via Bhat and Badarkha villages and is also the state highway. This road is often used by travellers. Although this road has no fruit trees, it has other types of trees such as SalvadoTa and Ficuses.

The third road is the national highway and leads towards Rajkot and Kandla. This road is widely used by travellers and is therefore devoid of any interesting tree, except for Prosopis juliflora (Gando Baval). About five years ago, when this road was widened, hundreds of Salvadora trees were chopped off by the road and building department. When I complained, the forest department with the help of the then chief minister, requested me to withdraw the complain and "close the file". God bless our development! ...

Rare facts

In the interview published in your magazine (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 16; January 15) 1 would like to point out certain factual errors. I am a chemical engineer and not "a mechanical engineer" as you reported. It is mentioned that a supervisor died in the Union Carbide plant. It was a worker who died during my tenure, because he did not follow safety procedures.

We set up a plant for using methyl isocynate (mic) in France, and not in Germany. Lastly, it was not the water pipe that leaked on the day of the Bhopal gas tragedy, but pipes carrying emissions from the equipment used for waste disposal. ...

Polluting vehicles

I was shocked to read about the Delhi Transport Corporation's (DTC) plan to introduce new buses in Delhi (Teft Hanging, Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 13; November 30). Politicians often make promises during elections, but do not deliver. The have made a mockery of the word "democracy" by allowing themselves to be influencee by unscrupulous lobbies. AN they want is money for elections, and will do anything to please their vote banks.

The buses plying in Delhi are not only ugly and ineffective in terms of fuel consumption, they also cause health problems like back pain due to bad seats in these buses. I feel that the decisions taken by the prime minister's office (Pmo) defy logic and reason. The people must form pressure groups to make the government accountable for their decisions. If we do not voice our concern, we will be equally guilty of mismanagement of our society. ...

Rivers of woe

River pollution in Orissa has increased at an alarming rate over the years. This is primarily due to the negligence of the local civic authorities and residents. The rivers Mahanadi and Kathjori surround the city of Cuttack, the business capital of Orissa. The industries and the residents on its banks are Polluting these rivers. Drains carrying contaminated and hazardous waste from dispensaries, hospitals and the small scale industries are thrown into the Kathimi river. People downstream consume this water and have been suffering from skin diseases and other serious ailments.

Pollution of the Kathjori river is not a new phenomenon. But the increase of drainage run off is a came for concern. Anyone passing through tile ring road of Cuttack cannot breathe because of the pungent smell arising out of the drain outlets, It has been noticed that there is a thick layer of drain-mud formed on the river-bed which, even a few years back, was clean.

The Cuttack municipal corporation (cmc) is silent about the high rise in pollution. It has not even corn e up with proposals to divert,.thc drain to some distant place outside the resident area. Neithekilas any action being taken to recycle drainage water. I would appeal to non governmental organisations, nature lovers and activists to pressurise the cmu and the state government to take immediate action to save the Mahanadi and Kathjori rivers. ...

Milk adulteration

The adulteration of milk as reported in the article 'Milk of kindness' (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 15; December 3 1) has become a major public health hazard and a thriat t6 the dairy industry, Lack of foolprogf testing methods to detect the adulteration of milk supply with synthetic milk has led to this situation.

We, at the S K Biolabs, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, have developed a unique test which is accurate and specific for detecting the adulteration of milk....

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