Published: Monday 15 December 2008

Effluents recycled

You have rightly concluded in your editorial ('No let-off till zero discharge', October 16-31, 2008) that zero discharge of industrial effluents was the solution to chemical pollution of surface water. It was good to learn how the farmers of Pali, victims of chemical pollution, united against the textile units discharging toxic effluents.

Some industries in Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu, recycled 98 per cent effluents through conventional treatment, reverse osmosis and ultra and nano filtration. The remaining 2 per cent rejects containing solids were evaporated to achieve zero discharge. Lakshman Ganeshan Processing Pvt Ltd, Tiruppur, recovered Glauber's salt worth Rs 10,000 per day through chilling technology. I was told the cost of recycling was only seven paise per litre whereas the company paid five paise per litre to buy raw water from municipal sources. It paid the State Pollution Control Board a water cess of 2.5 paise per litre on non-biodegradable effluents.

Effluent treatment turned out to be on par and not expensive for the industries in Tiruppur. However, it was not the same where industry got virtually free water.

Can we afford water as a free commodity any longer?

n s tiwana
Former Chairman,
Central Pollution Control Board

Down to Earth Pali farmers have shown the way to effective treatment of industrial effluents. It should be the norm for every town and city. Industries should make it a part of their corporate social responsibility.

sanjay lodha

Down to Earth The Andhra Pradesh High Court passed an order in 2006 saying treated effluents from industries emptied into water bodies should have their outlets 50 metres upstream of their intake. This will ensure adequate treatment of industrial waste.

mahesh v r

Down to Earth Your editorial should be an eye opener to the Himachal Pradesh government. Paonta Sahib, located on the banks of the Yamuna, has become an industrial hub dotted by pharmaceutical units, cement and steel factories. Despite all anti-pollution measures in place, these industries discharged toxic pollutants into the river without restraint. As if this was not enough, the local municipal committee dumped truckloads of garbage on the banks of the river under the very nose of the State Pollution Control Board.

r m ramaul

Needed, better public transport

This has reference to the cover story 'City bus: In demand, out of supply' (October 16-31, 2008). Do you think people will opt for public transport at this stage? The government will have to provide smooth or hi-tech public transport like the Delhi Metro. Only then people will think of using public transport and leave their cars at home.

neeraj malhotra

Down to Earth If Volvo buses can run successfully in Bangalore and Chennai, why can't they be incorporated in the public transport system of Delhi?


Down to Earth I liked the article for the numerical information and timelines given in it. It gives a clear idea of what is happening now and what lies ahead. I am working on an alternative transport system which could reduce the use of private vehicles, especially cars, to help Delhi and other mega cities cope with their growing number of commuters.

ankur agarwal

Garbage disposal

This is with reference to the article 'Playing with waste' (September 16-30, 2008). Processinggarbage to generateelectricity is a good idea. The Walchandnagar industries had built India'sonly power-from-garbage plant in Hyderabad. We have also heardof such initiatives in West Bengal from time to time. At the same time, I can understand the environmentalists' concernabout thetoxic pollutants that will be released into the air due to incineration of the waste.

Why do we not have an underground chamber for garbage disposal instead of landfills and compost plants? The waste could be incinerated at high temperatures under the ground and the gases that are released could be processed. Even nuclear tests are done underground.

shiv shankar amal

Violence on television

We are living in an increasingly violent society. One reason for this is glorification of violence by television ('Private eye', November 1-15, 2008). Viewers are continually exposed to large doses of violent shows that subtly influence their mind. This is true for most private television channels. Either private channels should develop a mechanism of their own to ensure shows that promote violence are not broadcast or the government must step in and do something to put a stop to it.

mahesh kumar

Restrict fireworks

Bans on plastic and public smoking, and restrictions on loud music after 10:30 pm, Goa has seen it all. What about fireworks? Since I can think of no pros except employment for those working in the firecrackers industry, can we not have a time limit for this too, if not a ban?

If we could find alternative modes of employment for people working in the industry, restriction on fireworks would ensure that neither people nor the environment suffered.


800 hectares gone

Eight hundred hectares of thick reserved forest was cleared in Adilabad district, Andhra Pradesh in September 2007. I wrote to the President of India but there was no reply. We proposed bio-conservation zones around Hyderabad but again no action was taken. Please help us initiate a debate on the issue and promote accountability.

k l vyas
Osmania University, Hyderabad

Farmlands on sale

The Karnataka government is working towards lifting restrictions on purchase of agricultural land by non-agriculturalists. I beg the authorities concerned not to implement this. All the precious agricultural land will be gobbled up by the rich to build palatial bungalows, hotels, entertainment centres, golf clubs and industries.

The poor will become poorer and the per capita agro lands in the state will further deplete. If this law gets implemented, 80 per cent of Karnataka's food needs will have to be imported from other states. The people selling farmlands will be doomed as they will squander their money and lead a useless life in slums or as squatters.

g srinivas

Organic farming resists pests

The article, 'Mighty caterpillars' (September 16-30, 2008), highlighted the devastation caused by large-scale attack of pests on Maharashtra's soya crops. Most of the pesticides were developed keeping in mind the normal population level of the pests. When the pests become endemic and are present in large numbers with intermittent rains, the normal pesticide packages fail. I have witnessed this kind of pest attack on cotton in Karnataka in 1977.

It was heartening to read that amid such large-scale havoc caused by caterpillars, organic farming helped one farmer save his crop. This is a really good message for scientists. It needs to be incorporated in research programmes.

s a patil
Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

Need a brave new world

I have a few points to make on your editorial, 'The just framework for climate' (October 1-15, 208). James Hansen, head of nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, best known for his research on climatology that helped raise awareness on global warming, said we have at least 10 years, not to decide upon action but to alter fundamentally the trajectory of greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions to prevent disastrous outcomes.

The whole problem of ecological catastrophe stems from one factor: the rich and the middle classes world over are hurtling towards consumerism. We have to fight for an alternative paradigm of development, something that Tagore and Gandhi envisioned. In countries like India, it is possible because 80 per cent people live a very simple life and demand very little from nature.

samar bagchi

Help the farmer

Mahendra Singh Tikait is right when he says farming does not pay anymore ('Orphan of a boom', October 1-15, 2008). What will a government, which is only for the rich and the power-ful, understand about the plight of a poor farmer who toils and sweats over a patch of land from morning till night, only to feed this nation? Why would a developed India with nuclear pursuits in mind care about the losses of a farmer?

I sincerely request the media to include the farmers' quest for dignity on their agenda. It needs to highlight the agrarian crisis that has besieged India. Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide in the first half of this financial year. This will only become worse if we do not do something about it.

a o ouseph
Trichur, Kerala...

Name, please

This refers to the article 'Against the grain' (October16-31, 2008). It is very interesting to know about the medicinal values of the traditional plants that are used by the tribals of central India. We could learn a thing or two about life from them.

However, I could not follow the names of all the plants except tendu and mahua since the plants that have been quoted--khapurkhuti, tarota, ikdodi, umber, katwal, vaasan, sawarya, meeri--are all in their local names. They are not as well known as tendu and mahua. The photographs are good but it would have been easier to recognize them had the scientific names of the plants been provided.

b m t rajeev
IFS (Retired)


Threatened with fluorosis

Groundwater in some parts of Gujarat, particularly in Amreli district, is contaminated with fluorine. Presence of fluoride in water is a widespread public health problem in India. More than 90 per cent of the rural population uses groundwater for domestic purposes. Consumption of fluoride through water causes fluorosis, leading to pain and damage to bones and joints. Our people are helpless. I wish to know if there is a solution to this problem.

anil kamdar

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