Letters

 
Last Updated: Friday 10 July 2015

A campaign against plastics

Recently, I went shopping for vegetables and fruit. The shopkeeper put the vegetables in a plastic bag. Since I avoid plastic bags I requested him to give me the items in a cloth bag. Another customer said the use of plastics had reached such levels that now there is virtually no way to do without them.

I decided to start a campaign to create awareness among people against the use of plastic. I bought cloth and stitched nearly 50 cloth bags and etched the slogan in Marathi "Avoid plastics, save the environment". I arranged a small meeting where nearly 40 residents of our colony were explained the perils of using plastics. I handed a cloth bag to each one of them and requested them to avoid using plastic bags. The crusade against the use of plastics has since then gained momentum. ...

Some clarifications

The article on Sikkim, 'Beauty and bio-logy: the Shangri-La' (Down To Earth, Vol 7, No 3) made interesting reading. Unfortunately, a lot of errors have inadvertently crept into the article. Hooker & Thomson's (not Hooker's) Flora Indica published in 1885 is not a renaming of his earlier "The Himalayan Journals' (1854) but an entirely different work. Gladioli are not native to India and the statement that Sikkim has 150 species is simply erroneous. Gladiolus has about 195 species distributed in Europe, Mediterranean, tropical Africa and South Africa. Under Paphiopedilum fairrieanum a photograph of P villosum is given, but this does not grow in Sikkim. Most of the experts stress on the need for more works to be done in Sikkim. Two classical works on the botany by Hooker (The Rhododendron of Sikkim Himalaya 1849-1851) and King & Pantling (Orchids of Sikkim Himalaya 1895) - although over a century old - are still valued and constantly consulted. But they have not been mentioned in the article. The factors affecting the depletion of biodiversity in Sikkim are the same as elsewhere - habitat alteration/destruction and over exploitation.

Unless the state government and the people decide to save its precious resources from plundering, I am sure, many more species will vanish very soon.

Richard Mahapatra replies:
Thank you for pointing out that "Hooker and Thomson's Flora Indica published in 1855 is not a renaming of his earlier book, The Himalayan Journals (1854) but an entirely different work". This was an oversight. It would be appreciated, however, that Flora Sndica incorporates considerable information from the Himalayan )ournals.

The article does not state that Gladioli are a native of India, only that they 'thrive in Sikkim1. The mention in the article of 150 species of Gladioli in Sikkim is based on the writer's interview with many Sikkim-based botanists, including those of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), as well as respected botanists who have now retired from BSI. The photograph, referred to by C Sathish Kumar, is only meant to portray an orchid, not any particular species. The discussion on orchids in the box containing the photograph is in general terms. Moreover, no photo caption has been supplied either, precisely because of the general nature of the discussion.

Yes, Hooker and King & Pantling are valuable works and were consulted in preparing the article. ...

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