Published: Tuesday 31 March 1998

Inhaling death

The article 'California smoking ban' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 17; January 31) reminded me of a harrowing experience my guests and I had at a restaurant in Delhi where smoking was not prohibited. Within 15 minutes, our eyes started watering as people in the restaurant were smoking. But we could do nothing about it. I do not know why restaurants in Delhi do not qualify to be one of the public places where the Delhi government has banned smoking.

Considering that passive smoking is as much injurious as active smoking, can people who have the right to kill themselves have the license to kill others by smoking? I am told that in some colleges in Delhi, smoking is a ritual by which new students are inducted into the group. If this is the enlightened practice in our educational institutions, it would seem better to remain uneducated. I wonder whether all the statistics that we have of people falling sick and dying through atmospheric pollution takes into account the effect of smoking.

I hope Down To Earth will launch a campaign against smoking in the interest of the health of the people....

An appeal

According to reports, Sulak Sivaraksa, a well-known social critic from Siam and the winner of 1995 Right Livelihood Award was arrested for protesting against the Yadana gas pipeline project in Thailand on March 6 on charges of obstructing officials from performing their duty and violating the Petroleum Authority Act. Latest reports said he was still under detention at the police station of Thong Phaphum district in the western province of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Sivaraksa has been saying that the pipeline will destroy pristine forest and perpetuate the dictatorial regime in Myanmar. A hearing committee set up by the Thai prime minister had found the environmental impact assessment of the project to be seriously flawed. But the project was neither delayed nor cancelled.Those wishing to register their protest can write to:...

Man-made menace

The article 'Eaten hollow' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 18; February 15) has rightly put the blame on inefficient forest officials who have contributed to the destruction of the sal forests in Madhya Pradesh. Instead of finding solutions to kill the sal heartwood borer, the officials indulged in the large-scale felling of the infected trees. Forests in India are also decreasing because of the tacit understanding forest officials have with the mafia. The need of the hour is to formulate a forest policy involving the local people....

Due credit

The article 'When the old gods died' (Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 18; January 31), has put in perspective the importance of nature conservation. People like us who are working in the field of conservation and wildlife protection in various states of the country have got support from parents, teachers, students and local volunteers. However, we must give credit to Digvijay Singh, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh (mp) and Vir Bhadra Singh, the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh for their whole-hearted cooperation towards this cause. In Himachal Pradesh we have 13 international environment protection clubs and in mp, around eight clubs. Anil Agarwal deserves praise for carrying such an excellent article....

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