October 07, 2007
For 15 years, Chewang Norphel, a retired civil engineer of Ladakh, has been building "artificial glaciers" to make life a little easier for the hard working but poverty-stricken farmers of Ladakh. He uses a network of pipes to capture and channel precious
snowmelt that would otherwise be wasted. First, water from an existing stream is diverted through iron pipes to a shady area of the valley. From there, the water flows out to a sloping hill at regular intervals along the mountain slope. Small stone embsnkments
impede the flow of water, creating shallow pools. During the winter, as temperatures drop, the water in these pools freezes. Once this cycle has been repeated over many weeks, a thick sheet of ice forms, resembling a glacier.
Norphel says an artificial glacier scores over a natural one in many ways. " It is closer to the village and at a comparatively lower altitude. "
Norphel can be contacted at Tel: 01982-252151
October 06, 2007
Activists making use of various visual mediums
to create awareness on the project’s impact -Mysore
With Minister for Energy H.D. Revanna asserting that the
Government has no option but to go ahead with its decision to set up
the 1,000-mw coal-fired thermal power plant at Chamalapura to meet the
increasing demand for power in the State, the movement opposing the
decision is being intensified in the urban and rural parts of Mysore.
Chamalapura Ushna Vidyut Sthavara Virodhi Horata Samanvaya Samithi is
making use of various visual mediums to educate farmers and people on
the impact of the project. While environmental organisations such as
the Mysore Amateur Naturalists is engaged in giving power point
presentations on how the project would affect flora and fauna in the
area, besides the life of poor farmers, students of Chamarajendra
Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) are engaged in preparing publicity
material for the agitation.
A CAVA student has made use of an old building in Kukkarahalli village
to project the impact of the project. "Nirantara", a cultural
organisation, has produced "Baduki-Badukalu Bidi", a mini-documentary,
and is screening it in schools and colleges.
Farmers themselves have arranged the screening of "Matad Matadu
Mallige" which dwells on the plight of flower-growing farmers and how
they succeed in their fight. "Power V/S People: Struggle of
Chamalapura farmers", a documentary produced by Chandrashekar
Ramenahalli, is making waves in Chamalapura and surrounding villages.
As part of the campaign to create awareness among farmers,
Chandrashekar Ramenahalli, who has worked with Medha Patkar in the
Narmada Bachao Andolan, has produced the film with support from the
Chamalapura Anti-Thermal Plant Struggle Committee.
Chandrashekar Ramenahalli, a student of sociology, produced the
documentary in 15 days. The 35-minute documentary, which records the
opinions of farmers and energy experts, also throws light on the lush
green fields in the 12 villages where farmers harvest up to three
crops a year.
October 05, 2007
One tonne of scrap from discarded computers contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tonne of gold ore. Mumbai alone throws away 19,00 tonne of electronic waste a year, excluding the large e-waste imports from developed nations through its port.
The projected growth for the e-waste generation for India is about 34% year on year.
India already has a few small scale regional recycling programs-’Eparisara’ and’Trishyiraya’ are two such outfits.
Source:Times of India, 8June, 2007
October 04, 2007
"Badabon-er Katha": A tale of the Sundarbans
The Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, lies on the
Southwestern coastal areas of Bangladesh, forming a seaward fringe of
the delta. The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of
waterways, mudflats and small islands covered with mangrove forests,
and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes. The
area is known for its wide range of fauna. There are about 334 species
of trees and plants and 450 species of animals in this forest - a
repository of diversity. Of these, there are 47 species of mammals,
270 species of birds, 45 species of reptiles and 200 species of fish.
A documentary film on the Sundarbans, titled Badabon-er Katha, was
premiered on August 18 at National Museum Auditorium. Under the
supervision of Manzarehassin Murad, Moynul Huda has directed the
documentary. It is a joint venture by Steps Towards Development and
The documentary presents the scenic beauty of the Sundarbans in
different seasons, as well as the dependency of humans to the forest
for making their living.
Badabon-er Katha begins with images of spectacular beauty of the
majestic forest. The documentary features the diverse lifestyles of
people living in the Sundarbans, including fishermen, honey collectors
and others. Badabon-er Katha also highlights some natural and man-made
changes that are fast becoming threats to the existence of the
Prior to the screening of the film a discussion was held. Professor
Abdullah Abu Sayeed, Dr. Ainun Nishat (country representative of The
World Conservation Union Bangladesh), Ranjan Karmokar (executive
director of Steps Towards Development), Swapan Guha (CEO of Rupantar),
filmmaker Manzarehassin Murad and director of Badabon-er Katha, Moynul
Huda spoke at the event.
Referring to the Sundarbans as the "only sweet-water mangrove forest
in the world", Dr. Ainun Nishat said, "Three points of the forest are
listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, this rare heritage
site is under threat."
Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed said, "This documentary will be a record
of the Sundarbans, if ever the largest mangrove forest in the world is
October 04, 2007
Water Hyacinth- economic potential
Water hyacinth is considered a scourge on water bodies. Yet, we only have to look at our neighbours to see the economic potential of this weed.
In Bangladesh, water hyacinth fibre is dried and mixed with jute to create paper and pressed into fibre boards used for partitions.
Yarn made from the fibre is used to make furniture in Bangladesh and baskets in Philippines.
Water hyacinth is used for water purification as it is capable of absorbing heavy metals, organic compounds and pathogens from water.
In Srilanka, water hyacinth is mixed with organic municipal waste, ash and soil, composted and sold to local farmers.
October 03, 2007
Three years after the Central government virtually abandoned the mega project of inter-linking of rivers, the government of Bihar is coming out with a proposal to link various river basins within the state.
Gujarat, too, is toying with a similar idea. What’s more, Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi recently said that the linking of the southern rivers — Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery — could be taken up immediately...............
Satish C Jha, chairman, special task force on Bihar and a member of PM’s Economic Advisory Council, told SundayET that a better understanding with Nepal was key to control flood in the state and also evolve a better system of irrigation................
Former head of the task force on inter-linking of rivers Suresh Prabhu argued that it should be a two-way approach. “What Bihar is doing now is a bottom-up approach. We need that too. Inter-linking of rivers should be done in an intergrated manner involving
both augmentation and conservation,” said Mr Prabhu.
October 02, 2007
World Pheasant Association WPA (India) proposed removal of the legal loophole in respect of dealing in peacock tail feathers, to the National Board for Wildlife, the apex national body for wildlife conservation chaired by India’s Prime Minister.
The Board approved a rapid survey to assess the current status of the species and periodic monitoring and approprite protection measures in their meeting held on 19 June 2006.
Source: Annual Report of WPA (India), 2006-07
October 01, 2007
The natural tree holes are diminishing in the open countryside due to an increase in tree felling. Urban habitats provide alternate nesting sites.
A study published in the Journal of Raptor Research documented the case of Pune where nests were diminishing in rural areas and increasing in human habitats.
Another species is now dependant on the tolerance of human beings for survival!
October 01, 2007
Komodo National Park Indonesia - some lessons for India
Komodo, is famous for its Komodo Dragons, but its underwater environments are virtually unrivaled in biodiversity. Blast fishing was common throughout the region and responsible for decimating the underwater ecosystems. The tourist infrastructure in disrepair,
the locals with few economic opportunities, very little constructive engagement with the government, all these are problems we in India identify with.
Nature Conservancy partnered with the Indonesian government to revamp all aspects of the park. The strategy the Conservancy is
1. No-take zones for fishing -- These are enforced by floating ranger stations, in order to allow the reefs to regenerate and allow for sustainable fish populations.
2. A system of concession fees for tourist operators -- These were established in order to help fund park maintenance and provide local communities with an additional revenue stream
3. Increase ecotourism and opportunities for alternative livelihoods - using aquaculture and fishing outside of the protected areas.
"Just as important, if we want to limit direct access to biological resources for local populations, we need to provide the people with alternative forms of economic development. This is not only fair, but the only strategy that has the potential to permanently
align their interests in the direction of long-term conservation"
says an article in nature.org at the following link
September 28, 2007
"India still offers the best hope for the tigers’ future because it has the most
tigers and a conservation infrastructure. In 1973, the Indian government
initiated Project Tiger, designating protected areas and wildlife corridors.
This led to a dramatic recovery -- their numbers nearly tripled by the 1990s.
But that commitment faltered, and the population collapsed again. "....
"Most important, the communities abutting tiger habitat, some of which are among
the poorest in India, must have a stake in protecting tigers. The residents need
to gain from conservation efforts and eco-tourism: There are very few places in
the world where tourists can see wild tigers. Poachers could be given rewards
for tracking and photographing the animals for monitoring. They might be given
new avenues for livelihood: In the forest reserves of Periyar in India’s
southern state of Kerala, for example, former poachers now work as tourist
From the Los Angeles Times
Stop tigers from going extinct
Unless drastic action is taken now, the lord of the jungle will go extinct this
By Vinod Thomas
September 27, 2007
read the full article at the link