Wildlife

India's own 'Diane Fossey'

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 05, 2006

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She spent most of her short life working on turtles and there is a small memorial to her right next to the turtle pond at the Madras Crocodile Bank.

Viji (as Vijaya was called) was India’s first woman herpetologist when such a career was unknown in this country. In 2006, 19 years later, her name was formally given to the cane turtle that she spent so much of her time studying. Herpetologists analysed the DNA of Reiner’s now-dead turtles and recently re-named the turtle Vijayachelys silvatica in her honour.

Read more about this remarkable woman who made a difference to wildlife at the following link

http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/sanctmagazine/archivedetail.php?id=775

 

Interlinking of Rivers

Brahmaputra-Ganga Link

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 05, 2006

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Subansiri, a tributary of Brahmaputra

Lower Subansiri (LS) Hydel Project is planned on the river Subansiri, one of the main tributaries of the mighty Brahmaputra. The LS dam is the first project by NHPC (National Hydropower Corporation) in a three-stage cascade plan, Upper Subansiri and Middle Subansiri being the other two. 

The project is on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. The project proposes to use around 4,000 hectares (ha.) of forestland, out of which 3,436 ha. will be submerged, largely in Arunachal Pradesh, by the 116 m dam.

  • Subansiri and Dulung RFs have been listed by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) as Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
  • There is also an elephant-corridor immediately downstream of the dam site.
  • The Subansiri is one of the most crucial rivers in India for the long-term conservation of the golden mahseer.

Tipaimukh, Brahmaputra

NEEPCO,( North Eastern Electric Power Corp)  is building a 6000 cr project Tipaimukh dam again on the Brahmaputra. Tipaimukh Dam Project at the Manipur-Mizoram border  envisages construction of a 162-meter high dam.

India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers' waters.   Tipaimukh is a power generating venture.

It  is interesting to note here a similarity in the protest against the proposed Tipaimukh High Dam both in Bangladesh and in Manipur.

  • The Bangladesh people are saying that diversion of water from the Brahmaputra river to the Ganges will definitely dry up the water in the downstream areas, thus seriously affecting agricultural lands in northern parts of the country during the lean season.
  • In Manipur, the protest is about losing several hundred hectares of irreplacable agricultural lands located along the river basin of the Barak, Irang, Makru and Tuivai rivers as a result of submergence of the lands once the Dam is commissioned.

For a f report on other projects on Brahmaputra go to

http://wrmin.nic.in/cooperation/brahmaputra.htm

Engineers and Environment

Grey water recycling in Mathematical Institute

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 03, 2006

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The Chennai Mathematical Institute, spread across five acres in Siruseri, proposes to implement a grey water recycling system in its premises.

The project, in its first phase, would be designed to treat about 2,000 litres of used water. Grey water refers to waste water produced after cleaning, washing and bathing. The treated water could be used for gardening or ground water recharge.

Grey water is easier to treat than black water or water from toilets. This is because black water is loaded with pathogens that are difficult to get rid of through a simple treatment system. Sultan Ahmed Ismail, Managing Director of Ecoscience Research Foundation, who designed the project for the Chennai Mathematical Institute, said that root zone treatment would be used to treat the grey water.

The principle behind the system is quite simple. Grey water is allowed to flow through a horizontal filter that is three metres long, two metres wide and 30 centrimetres deep. The water is passed through a filter of pebbles and gravel. The water also passes through a reed bed, which is slightly sloped so that the water flows easily.

Root zone treatment The reed bed is crucial to the water treatment. The best plants to use for the reed bed include Canna (kal vaazhai), Banana and Colocasia (a yam). The plants keep the soil partially aerobic by pumping atmospheric oxygen to the roots, where some micro organisms live. These bacteria help in the break down on any suspended solids in the grey water.

Once the first phase of the project is fully operational, Mr. Ismail also proposes to treat black water through a more elaborate technology. A composting shed for solid waste management is also being planned.

Chennai Mathematical Institute is an autonomous institution for teaching and research in Mathematical Sciences. It is supported by the Department of Atomic Energy.

SOURCE : The Hindu, Monday, May 22, 2006

Climate change and Global Warmimg

Major challenge facing the World

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 02, 2006

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"I think climate change is the major challenge facing the world. I have waited until the proof was conclusive that it was humanity changing the climate.

The thing that really convinced me was the graphs connecting the increase of carbon dioxide in the environment and the rise in temperature, with the growth of human population and industrialisation. The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years."

David Attenborough

Excerpts from an interview published on Wednesday, May 24, 2006 by the Independent/UK http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article570935.ece

 

Engineers and Environment

" Fledge" The GREEN CAR

Posted by Susan Sharma on June 01, 2006

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Seven mechanical engineering students of the Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) put together the prototype of the country's first gasoline-electric hybrid car. Named "The Fledge".  The DCE hybrid car participated in the annual green car festival organised by the North-East Sustainable Energy Association of the United States in May 2006.

The model was worked on by a team of sixth semester students -- Abhinav Bhatia, Abhinav Duggal, Abhishek Agarwal, Anubhav Jain, Ashish Dudani, Nitesh Gupta and Siddharth Arora.

"Necessity is the mother of all inventions and the mounting burden of petroleum prices on the common man had kindled a spark in the DCE students to unearth this new technology with a revolutionary drive train," said Abhishek Agarwal, the leader of the seven-member team.

 A 200-Ah lead acid battery with a 1.3 litre fuel tank will provide the energy storage system. Power transmission in the car occurs on the engine as well as the motor mode providing the user with the option of switching to either mode at any point of their journey. A powerful 18 BHP, 346 cc engine along with a 3.5HP, 3000 rpm permanent magnet DC motor serves the very purpose.

Made with the support of the Central Department of Science and Technology and Mahindra and Mahindra, `The Fledge' a one person hybrid vehicle competed with 55 other participants at the "TourDeSol" competition. With a goal of reducing oil use and climate change emissions, the 2006 Tour de Sol, America’s #1 green car show and competition driving toward zero carbon emissions, showcased a variety of cutting-edge technologies that address the energy and climate change crises, offering both short-term and long-term solutions including some that are available on the market today.

"The current hybrids available in this world are very expensive as compared to normal cars, so we have tried to reduce the cost and we have tried to think of simple systems by not using the complicated systems," says Anubhav Jain, adding, " We are making a vehicle for the common person in India who commutes to his office, which is in the range of about 30 kilometers. So ... he has the option [with a vehicle like ours] for electric mode, which has more range." He says it would cost about $10,000 to go into production with Fledge.

The top honors in the competition went to West Philadelphia High School and St. Mark’s School, Southborough, MA. However, the entry from India was commented upon as

"This vehicle was designed to address the transportation needs of millions of people in India that presently use highly polluting motorcycles by presenting them with a practical, very efficient hybrid option." says the TordeSol communication.

 

Climate change and Global Warmimg

Message to all polluters!

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 29, 2006

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Watch the short video at the following link. It plays well at our internet speeds too!

A message to the world's greatest polluter.

http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_feature.asp?id=0

Engineers and Environment

Assam first Indian State to use Bamboo-generated power

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 28, 2006

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Bamboo flowering and eventual death of the species in the seasons  make available large scale bamboo residues. This has to be utilized continuously and on large scale so that the residues are consumed quickly after generation and there will be no storing leading to other menaces like rat infestation.

 National Mission on Bamboo Applications (NMBA) along with IISc(Indian Institute of Science), Bangalore addressed  the issue of value addition of these residues. Their findings,

  • Gasification of bamboo/ bamboo waste for electricity/ thermal applications produced clean, cheap and renewable source of energy.
  • The energy Stabilised to 1 Mwe level for off-grid, remote area, captive – & flowering areas.
  • 15% charcoal was generated as by-product to meet rural fuel needs.
  •  Also, Quality, species, maturity of bamboo was not an issue. 

The two pilot projects, set up at an estimated cost of Rs.100 million, were designed and developed by scientists at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Both the plants are nearing completion at two paper mills in Jagiroad and Silchar towns in Assam.

Climate change and Global Warmimg

Climate change-impact at local level

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 28, 2006

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Discovery channel is showing a one hour program "Climate Change -an untold story". The feature has four documentaries made in India.

  1. "Climate's First Orphans"-by Nila M Panda tells the story of thousands of homeless villagers living around the coastal districts of Orissa, whose existence has been wiped out by the rising sea level
  2. "The Weeping Apple Tree" by Vijay Jodha illustrates the complex issue of climate change by focussing on the shifting apple growing belt in Himachal Pradesh.
  3. "A Green Agony" by Geeta Singh explores the unique eco-system of the Sunderbans and analyses the impact of global climate change on this coastal zone.
  4. "A Degree of Concern" by Syed Fayaz looks at the implications of the climate change on glaciers and how artificial glaciers could improve water supply in Ladakh.

Engineers and Environment

Soil Biotechnology

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 26, 2006

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A new method called Soil Biotechnolgy(SBT), developed by IIT, Mumbai, is being used for sewage treatment at Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi.

All the plastic and solid waste is removed from the sewage as it passes throgh a mesh on the top of a tank. "The tank has a bio-reactor containing microbes and natural additives that purify the water by removing odour, colour and bacteria. Above this tank, there is an evergreen garden with some native species of plants that serve as biological indicators. The water flows into a collection tank where it is pumped for irrigation." Said Rajesh Jain managing director of Enhanced WAPP Systems (India) Private Limited, the company that set up and is at present maintaining the plant for DTTDC.

The entire purification process takes place underfround and it removes 99% of the bacteria in the sewage, he added.

The technology is also being used in Taj Hotel, Gwalior, ITC Mughal Sheraton, Agra and Vazir Sultan Tobacco Industries in Hyderabad.

"Another advantage is that the plant uses very little electricity, except when water has to be pumped for drip irrigation or sprinkling," said Ashok Khurana, the superintending engineer of the plant.

 

Any other

Decline in the population of sparrows

Posted by AVINASH on May 25, 2006

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Hi guys,

 I am not an expert in ornithology nor am I an avid bird watcher. But the simple concern over the fact that the most common bird of India is rapidly dissapearing, brought me here.

I have been observing these birds since childhood and now when I sit and analyse, it is shocking to hear the truth. From different sources, the bird is a rare sight in bangalore, hyderabad, chennai city, Kolkatta and other major cities of India.

We know habitat destruction and scarcity of food can bring down the population of any life. Same is happening in the case of sparrows. The source of food is rapidly declining. Man is directly responsible. The air pollution is so high that few of the toxins are reducing the insect population. The adult may rely on seeds but a bay relys on insects. It becomes hard for the parents to forage insects. This way the infant mortality rate becomes very high. The other reason is quite simple. Open lands are converted into buildings in no time. And these buildings lack the holes where the sparrows generally make their nest.

We have to realize that things are changing pretty soon. There is a possibility that we may lose everything. I believe that it is not too late to protect our natural resources. Lets join hands before it is too late.

 




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