Published: Wednesday 15 October 1997

Green terrorism

The suggestion by several wildlife conservationists that police force should be used in protected areas ( pa s) ('Khaki stripes', Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 6; August 15, 1997), is a preposterous idea.

I doubt if these wildlife enthusiasts are aware of the ground realities, for otherwise they would not have suggested such a measure. If the bureaucratic set-up, which perpetrates injustice, exploitation and corruption, continues in the pa s, the day will not be far when every sanctuary or national park will be converted into a battlefield.


Protection of parks

Apropos the article 'Khaki stripes' ( Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 6; August 15, 1997), it is grossly unfair to pillory those who suggest radical measures to manage wildlife parks and sanctuaries.

No one disputes the rights of tribals. But protection of wildlife parks is a multi-faceted problem where, at times, the question of tribal rights does not arise at all. A large portion of Mumbai's Sanjay Gandhi National Park, for example, has been encroached upon by slumlords who, along with their followers, have not only destroyed huge areas of the forest but have also affected the water supply to the city by polluting the Tulsi and Vihar lakes within the park area.

Mumbai ...

At cross purposes

The move by a group of members of Parliament expressing concern about the fate of the tiger is a welcome step in the right direction and raises hopes on the growth of the population of tigers in India. In a similar vein, members of the Bombay Natural History Society are appealing to Prime Minister I K Gujral to initiate reform in the administration, funding and enforcement of tiger protection measures.

In contrast to this, it is a matter of great concern that at the request of Union minister M Arunachalam, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu is reported to have agreed to transfer forest land for the construction of a road. This move will divide the core area of Project Tiger in south India, with disastrous results. It will severely curtail the contiguity of the already shrunken territory of the tiger and the move needs to be firmly opposed.


A strong dose

There is an urgent need for a regulatory body to inspect Ayurvedic, Siddha and Unani medicines. The Supreme Court directive to the government ('Legal remedies', Down To Earth , Vol 6, No 3; June 30, 1997) to set up a regulatory authority under the Drug and Cosmetics Act 1949, is a step in the right direction. The export potential of herbal medicines is tremendous and the government should constitute the body immediately, since it will ensure that indigenous production of these medicines meets international standards.

Thiruvananthapuram ...

Drinking facts

Apropos your article 'Alcoholics genonymous' ( Down To Earth, Vol 6, No 6; August 15, 1997), I would like to share some information on alcoholism with your readers.

Alcoholism has been declared a disease by the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association. As your article states correctly, certain genes are linked to susceptibility and tolerance to alcohol. An alcoholic metabolises alcohol in a different way from a non-alcoholic and such a person needs more to get drunk. Alcoholism is seen to run in many families for generations. It is a primary disease. All other problems associated with it are the result.

An alcoholic can arrest the disease only through total abstinence. Therefore, to ask an alcoholic to "cut down" on alcohol intake will not work and will only increase his or her guilt, frustration and hopelessness.


No action

Much has been said in the media against environmentally unfriendly practices, yet I have not found a single article which talks about how to tackle these problems. I would like to see more articles in Down To Earth which talk about practical solutions to environmental problems rather than merely condemning such practices.


Selling the idea

Down To Earth is performing a vital task by publishing a thought-provoking journal of international standard. I appreciate your policy of not publishing advertisements that promote consumer goods. But I think you should start a classified advertisements section in which only eco-friendly products are included.

Muktsar, Punjab...

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