Published: Sunday 15 February 2004

In the name of development and progress, The Everglades, the home of the Miccosukee India tribe of North America, has turned into a wasteland. A pump owned by The South Florida Water Management District is dumping as much as 16 litres a minute of pollutants from farms and industries into this area. This includes 7,64,85 hectares of land the state leased to the tribe and promised to keep in its natural state. The issue was brought before the Supreme Court. The water managers do not deny that the water pump is illegal but say they have no other place to dump the waste, and that they have been doing so since as long back as 1957.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the government would file new lawsuits against coal-burning electric units that violate air pollution rules. The EPA would allow companies to replace old equipment with their 'functional equivalent' without excess expenditure on pollution control kits. The US Supreme Court, meanwhile, announced that the EPA can stop construction of pollutant-emitting firms if it finds the states' decision on pollution control technology unreasonable.

The Philippines government could resort to water rationing this year with the country facing a crisis due to low rainfall. Environment secretary Elisea Gozun said recent rains over Luzon were only 65 per cent of the average for the past eight years. The country's largest island, it is home to nearly half the population. The reservoir level at Angat Dam in the capitalcity of Manila is down by 80,000 cubic metres, forcing the government to reduce the supply to Manila utilities by 5 per cent. The reservoir is the main tap water source of the area.

Researchers are foxed at the capacity of sleeper sharks to take as prey the colossal squid (14 metres in length), which is double their size. This shark lives in waters off Antarctica and is second only to the sperm whale. Researchers cannot explain how the sharks catch such big prey. They live in pitch darkness at an ocean depth of up to 600 metres, which is about 350 metres deeper than the average depth of a submarine.

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