Published: Monday 31 March 1997

Curb diesel use

Since diesel is highly subsidised by the government, wouldn't it be logical for the government to ban all personal vehicles, including the new breed of autorickshaws that run on diesel? It would be better if only trucks and buses are permitted to use diesel. This would reduce the economic and environmental burden on the nation.

Regarding the news on Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) opting to buy a supercomputer (Down To Earth, Vol 5, No 11), 1 wish to point out that in a conventional computer (including the Cray or Cyber series), problems are solved sequentially. In a parallel computer, like BARC's ANUPAM, different steps in the process are solved simultaneously, hence it can be used to solve only certain types of problems that do not depend on each other. Besides, conventional supercomputers have an inherently faster processor that makes even sequential algorithms run faster.


Joining hands

I am in the eighth standard in the Rishi Valley school, Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh. This is a Krishnamurti Foundation-India, school.

Recently, Stephen Harding, a very well-known scientist and professor, came to our school from Schumaker College, London. He told us about the Gaia theory, according to which the earth is a self-regulating system, and ,ecological footprint'. He inspired quite a few of us to be environmentally conscious. So, we are writing letters to all our friends telling them about the ecological crisis on earth.

In our school, we are extremely environment conscious and we are taught to care for the earth. We recycle our waste, separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, and also use solar panels for heating water. Our school also has compost pits and a gobar gas plant.

We will sincerely try to join organisations like yours and participate in activities to save our earth.

Rishi Valley school, Andhra Pradesh...

A timely protest

Apropos Samir Acharya's protest 'Alien invaders' in the Letters page (Down To Earth, Vol 5, No 9), concern about the ever increasing anti-nature activities in the Andamans, especially after the new economic policy, is quite justified. Intense fishing in the region by private parties is a threat to the marine eco-system and will affect the lives of the local people who are dependent on fishing.

We have already witnessed enough damage to the biodiversity in the island. The Andamanese pig and dugong (an aquatic herbivorous mammal), which are important sources of food for the local population, are fast disappearing. Added to this, the exotic mammal, bird and reptile species introduced in the island during the last 10 years are threatening the indigenous species. Similarly, the introduction of monoculture in forestry through the emphasis on rubber, teak and arecanut plantations, have seriously affected forest productivity arid has resulted in the destruction of hundreds of microorganisms.

In the wake of liberalisation, many foreign companies are eager to invest in the islands, especially in tourism, and proposals for leasing out some of the smaller islands to these companies are under consideration. There is no doubt that such commercialisation will further endanger the environment.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai...

Green thumbs

Mount Arunachala, Tamil Nadu, is worshipped as an embodiment of spiritual strength and many pilgrims visit the place every year. What used to be a thickly forested area is today grappling with deforestation, pollution, water scarcity and depleting genetic diversity.

The Annamalai Reforestation Society, an NGO, is working to restore the area to its former glory through the active participation of the people. The society, which is involved in waste land development, runs a plant nursery and a sustainable agriculture demonstration farm that includes a well-equipped laboratory for biological control of pests, soil testing and meteorological observations. It is also engaged in the revival of traditional herbal medicines. It encourages children to participate in eco-conservation by forming eco-clubs in their schools and by making them environmentally aware through lectures, demonstrations, videos and puppet shows.

The society seeks more involvement, both financial and physical, from the community. People who are keen to participate may contact the organisation at Annamalai Reforestation Society, MIG-95, Tamarai Nagar, TNHB Colony, Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu-606601.

Annamalai Reforestation Society, Tiruvannamalai...

A job done well

I think your magazine is an excellent read, the article on Global Environmental Facility, 'Window without a green view' (Down To Earth, Vol 5, No 14) being a case in point. As a journalist, I really appreciate environmental journalism that is not too polemic and does not substitute rhetoric for good writing and research. Keep up the good work.


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