Published: Tuesday 15 October 1996

Feeling the pulse

I consider the cover stories published on the raw material crises among craft communities ( Down To Earth , Vol 4, No 21; Vol 5, No 2), important. The Crafts Council of India ( cci ) has been attempting to address the problem in recent years, in the southern states in particular. At the cci' s meeting in Madras in early September, Down To Earth 's coverage of the subject was discussed. A note about the articles carried by your magazine was circulated among our members through the cci newsletter. All of them agreed to contribute to any further investigations in this field, that you may wish to pursue in future.

We, at the cci , would like to work with the Centre for Science and Environment ( cse ) to understand more clearly the kind of advocacy and action we can organise through our contacts with the craft communities we serve. cse 's experience may help us select priority issues....

A full circle

It would be appropriate to see Down To Earth being published on recycled paper or any other type of environmentally-friendly stationery....

Pull up your socks

I want to bring to your notice what I feel are some negative aspects of your magazine (the positive ones are reflected by its circulation). Firstly, you seem to have forgotten about the language of the universe, mathematics. Down To Earth hardly pays the subject any attention. I would insist on your publishing atleast an article and snippet on mathematics in each of the issues. Secondly, I feel that most of your covers are based on environment-related issues. I do agree that the environment is undergoing serious degradation, but do give front page coverage to science-based themes too.

Thirdly, you could start giving your readers some lessons on the environment. The lessons could be written in the form of two paragraphs: one that would elaborate on a problem of pollution and the other on how to overcome it. My final comments are to do with the issue of presentation of the magazine. I find too many graphics and drawings rather than pictures. The magazine also carries very few colour photographs. The design too is not very appealing, being rather old-fashioned...


This is with reference to your article on hospital wastes ( Down To Earth , Vol 5, No 1). Hospital wastes can be segregated into infected hospital wastes ( ihw ) and non-infected hospital wastes ( nihw) and the latter could be considered as any other solid waste problem. But as far as ihw is concerned, it needs to be disinfected, prevented from misuse and then made aesthetically acceptable. Incineration achieves all these objectives but alternatives to it are considered safer.

To avoid the incineration of ihw, we request you to provide us with the following information:

On alternative technologies for treating ihw

does current legislation allow disinfected ihw to be disposed in landfills?

If alternatives are not easily available, is not "proper" incineration the next best solution?


Thymos Foundation

Bangalore - 560 034

Some alternative technologies entering the market are:

Microwaving -- a technique not yet approved by the cpcb, but being made commercially available by the year's end by Byford leasing, in collaboration with abb Sanitech. You could contact R K Swamy at Byford leasing in New Delhi, on these tel nos: 3298025, 3298421 and 3298170

Sterilising autoclaves -- a Mumbai-based company possesses the required know-how and is setting up sterilising centres all over the country. Their fax no is 0251- 417450. Some hospitals in Delhi have been using bleach solutions to disinfect plastic and metallic wastes.

Current legislation allows disinfected hospital waste to be disposed off in landfills because it is assumed that it is non-infectious.

The above described technologies are alternatives to incineration that are far less complex. In fact, plastic wastes should never be incinerated. But incineration remains the best option for certain highly infectious wastes.

The above information is based on studies conducted by Srishti, an ngo .

For details you could contact:

Ravi Aggarwal/Bharati Chaturvedi

1001, Antariksh Bhavan

22, Kasturba Gandhi Marg

New Delhi - 110 001

Tel no: 3328006, Fax no: 4632727

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