Published: Friday 29 February 2008

Pollution is pollution

I do not understand why your editor believes it is bad for developing countries to take on firm commitments to reduce emissions. The current climate crisis is a result of the unfettered emissions by the developed world. But developing countries are also becoming the worst polluters in the world. For example, in India emissions shot up by 57 per cent during 1990-1998 whereas the world-emissions increased only by 8 per cent during the same period.

The argument that India's per-capita emissions are much lower than those of developed countries is flawed. Pollution is pollution; the environment does not care about per-capita emissions. Does having a large population give us the license to pollute more? In fact, a large population puts immense pressure on natural resources and therefore we should be penalized. Is it necessary to pollute more in order to make progress? Shouldn't we learn from the mistakes committed by the developed world and explore less-polluting alternatives to making progress?


Cost of development

This is in response to your editorial 'The lifestyle price' (January 31, 2008). While choosing the location for a steel plant, companies consider various factors such as proximity to raw materials, water and other resources. But they hardly decide what should be the adequate rehabilitation package for the project-affected families. What is adequate is always disputed, though.

If such issues need to be resolved, there has to be commitments from all the stakeholders. Government officials, company representatives and local bodies can arrive at an amicable solution on this. Development has definitely a cost.

As long as the benefit outweighs the cost, no one complains. In the name of showing concern for socially-disadvantaged people, we should not romanticize and obstruct development and cause more harm to them.

j v dattatreyulu

Down to Earth Your article reflects just one side of the issue. Industrialization is the only solution to the poverty in Orissa.


Down to Earth Big companies know how to bend the rules and get their way in. The poor can't. The government has always neglected the rights of the poor, which is why there is a strong presence of Naxals in Kalinganagar.

Residents of the region very well know who works for their benefit: the Naxals or the government. Why should they listen to a government that is working for the companies?

Jaswinder Sandhu

Down to Earth Kalinganagar is not the creation of the state government but it was the result of a Leftist agenda to check Orissa getting industrialized. It is strange that the people who are acquiring agricultural land by force in West Bengal to set up industries are opposing industrialization in Kalinganagar.

C S Bal

Down to Earth Instead of acquiring agricultural land, industries can go for a 50-year lease deal with farmers. They can also give the peasants shares in the company.

Y N Kaushal

Down to Earth Why are industries grabbing the land of poor villagers? They can go for the wasteland and improve it. It should be made mandatory to use such land, instead of displacing the poor.

Vinod Upadhyay
upadhyay1946@hotmail.com ...

Small is useful

This is in response to your cover story on small cars 'Wheels of misfortune' (October 15, 2007). People who are against small cars are those who already own cars and do not use the pubic transport system.

I request them to try Delhi's public transport at least for a week. People who are harassed regularly by the system see some hope in small cars. The whole policy is for the promotion of individual transport in places like Delhi.

mahesh harisinghani

A good ol land

Apropos the report 'In lieu of Nandigram' (October 15, 2007), Nayachar is not a new strip of land in the Ganges delta. There is evidence for its existence since 1750.

Infact, the land bar has been in a state of equilibrium for the last 250 years, despite frequent soil erosion and depositions in the delta front.

Sujit Dasgupta

Not that nave

Your editorial 'Bali: the mother of all no-deals' (January 15, 2008) says: "...climate change is at dangerous levels. Only if we drastically cut emissions, will we succeed in avoiding a full-blown catastrophe".

Next you call any attempt to subject the G -77 countries and China to commitments to reduce emission sneaky and underhand, craftily twisted, and nasty, despicable. Do you see any contradiction here?

Albert Bates
Institute for Appropriate Technology, Tennessee, USA ...

Who cares about tribals?

This is in response to the report 'Oil companies eye tribal territory' (January 15, 2008). What the oil companies are doing in Peru, mining companies are doing in India.

Most of the tribal communities across the world reside in forests rich in natural resources. Big industries easily succeed to drive them off their land, because they have little influence on those in the power.

A Jacob Sahayam

Fuelling concerns

Creating fuel from plants is a win-win proposition. It reduces dependence on foreign oil, and it doesn't produce greenhouse gases that cause global warming--at least that's what the advocates of biofuel claim.

But production of biofuel could have long-term environmental as well as economic impacts. Experts are concerned that increased biofuel production is leading to deforestation. Another concern is that subsidized large-scale production of biofuels could shoot food prices up in developing countries. Such concerns should force researchers and businesses to look for more eco-friendly options.

Anantdeep Singh Dhillon
anantdhillon@gmail.com ...

Goes down the tube

I read with interest the report 'Flush and forget' (January 31, 2008). I wish to share some interesting initiatives taken up by some of the us state governments. During my stay in California, I have witnessed some of these initiatives, taken up both by the authorities and business communities.

Water shortage is a matter of worry for authorities in us states such as California, Nevada and Texas, because parts of these states are deserts. They have come up with two solutions: One, to recycle toilet water. Two, to give incentives to manufacturers who come up with smaller flush tanks.

The government of India might think seriously on these lines and formluate a standard for the size and capacity of flush tanks, irrespective of water availability.

Rajeshwari Raghu
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kodagu Vidyalaya,
Madikeri, Karnataka

Switch to bio-compost

The article 'Escaping the Urea trap' (October 31, 2007) emphasizes the reality that soil fertility has been dilapidated because of excessive use of chemical fertilizers.

Recent researches into the fall in foodgrain production in Punjab, Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh indicate that the soil in these states are facing acute shortage of organic carbon due to over-use of fertilizers. The threat can be addressed only by using bio-compost, produced by distilleries.

Bio-compost is not only a good source of carbon for soil, it is also rich in organic nutrients. Using the compost balances organic carbon present in the soil and thereby help preserve its productivity and fertility.

Bio-compost can be easily made in abundance with press mud, a sugar factory by-product, and spent wash, a by-product after distillation.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as well as the Central Pollution Control Board can play a vital role in encouraging bio-compost as one of the preferred scheme for the treatment of distillery effluents to achieve zero discharge under various corporate responsibility programmes. Will our authorities look into the possibility?

AV Singh

Ecological sensitivity

I am an ecologist. I appreciate the eco-sensitive issues, such as the Sethusamudram project, that your magazine covers from time to time.

Such projects will no doubt destroy the marine ecology. Apart from the natural damages, humans are also posing serious threats to the marine ecosystem by dumping wastes. The government seems concerned only about the economic growth and is blindly promoting tourism. But it is not taking any steps to check the long-term impact of human activity on the environment.

We should not forget that we are also a part of the food chain and any change in our environment will obviously have a repercussion on us.

Foundation for Ecological Security
Fatehpura, Rajasthan

No ban please

Your report 'Appeal for hemp farming' (January 15, 2008) talks about the ban on hemp farming in the us. I agree with the farmers demand to lift the ban.

Hemp has many varieties. One of its varieties is called bhanga in India. It is cultivated in Uttarakhand hills primarily for local consumption.

The plant has medicinal properties and its seeds are used as a supplementary diet. The seeds are nearly spherical with a diameter of 3 mm. Its crust is thin, hard and medium grayish in colour, and the kernel inside is creamy white, soft, oily and has a good taste. It is rich in protein.

My experience says bhanga seeds are absolutely safe. However, local people are well aware of the narcotic substance present in the bhanga husk. Still, bhanga cultivation in Uttarakhand is not banned and its seeds can be procured easily from local markets. Given the protein value of bhanga seeds, our Indian variety of hemp does not deserve any ban. Its cultivation can be promoted elsewhere as well.


Good wood

We have just launched Delhi's first exclusive bamboo store for promoting various uses of this versatile material.

Our initiative has been supported by the National Mission on Bamboo Applications under the Department of Science and Technology.

We have a range of handcrafted traditional and contemporary bamboo products such as lamps, and artifacts.

Minhazz Majumdar
The Bamboo Store, GK I, New Delhi...

Oh negative

I appreciate the humanitarian aspect in your articles.

But your negative approach has become so predictable that it creates an impression that you are opposed to development. You must give positive suggestions like, for example, solution to the problem being discussed. Such an effort will certainly give more importance to your suggestions. I believe this will help create more credibility for your magazine.

Kusum Gokhale.

Generating pollution

We, the residents at 670 A, Shalimar Garden in Sahibabad, Ghaziabad. are facing severe noise and air pollution for the past four years from a diesel generator installed in our nearby apartment.

We have discussed the issue with the apartment owners, but to no avail. We also lodged a complaint against this at the local police station. But there has been no response. Senior citizens in our apartment are particularly facing the problem. Due to frequent power cuts in Ghaziabad, this generator is always in operation. We want to know if such generators can be run without proper canopy or proper sound-proofing system.

Bhaskar kumar


Down to Earth The contents page of the magazine (January 31, 2008) wrongly mentions that Hiware Bazar is located in Aurangabad district in Maharashtra. Hiware Bazar is in Ahmednagar district.

Down to Earth The credit to the second photo on page 52 of the February 15, 2008 issue is Paixao dos Santos, not Karina Krisch as mentioned in the story.

We regret the errors.

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