Press on Environment and Wildlife
Sariska closed down for the monsoons (August Week 3 (2005)) For the first time since it was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955, the Sariska Tiger Reserve has been closed till September end. Officially, the reason cited is the onset of monsoons, but forest department officials admit the real reason is their inability to prevent poachers who step up activity come the rains. According to a communiqué received from the state government, the reserve has been closed for effective enforcement against poachers. Another reason given is to ensure tiger breeding and identification of tiger habitats in the reserve. The state government says it wants to ensure effective patrolling as poachers are said to be very active during rains, as during monsoon spotting and catching a tiger is very easy as they can be seen near waterholes. Besides closing the sanctuary, a strong force of 100 home guards and 30 personnel of Rajasthan Armed Constabulary have been deployed in addition to local staff. The state government’s action is part of the monsoon patrolling scheme of the ministry. In all, 11 tiger reserves have been allocated Rs. 75.74 lakh for patrolling purpose. But Sariska is the only sanctuary that has been closed down.
Natural dyes and colors developed (August Week 3 (2005)) To reduce the use of chemical-based cosmetic materials, the Centre for Documentation, Research and Training on Natural Dyes, a unit of Gandhigram Trust, Dindigul, has developed cosmetic items including hair dye, which will hit the market shortly. Disclosing this at a consultative seminar-cum-workshop on natural dyes, sources, applications and future vision, held at the centre in Gandhigram last week, the Trust secretary, M. R. Rajagopalan said (The Hindu, August 09, 2005) experiments and trials were successful for manufacturing natural hair dye. Having standardised natural dyes for textile yarn, the centre has explored possibilities of making natural colors meant for art paints used by children and artists. It has also made considerable improvement in developing natural colors for wax and food items. Besides, research was intensified to make natural dyes in powder form. In his special address, Bharathan, natural dyes expert and in charge of the centre, said that natural dyes, non-toxic and non-hazardous, can be used for various applications such as coloring food, cosmetic things, art and crafts, painting and coating medium, writing and painting inks and even for household decorations. He added that even children can play with these colors and another good feature is that natural dyes, taken from fruits and used as food colors, are a great source of nutritive supplements. Even effluents and wastes generated after natural dyeing are best organic manure rich in nitrogen, potash and micronutrients and can be directly poured into land without treatment.
Photography competition! (August Week 3 (2005)) A state-level photography competition is being organized by the Malappuram-based cultural collective, ‘Rivertern’, in connection with the World Photography Day on August 19. The competition, in memory of the late environmental and social activist Monsoon Chandran, is being held under the aegis of the Malappuram District Information Bureau. The award comprises prize money and a citation. The first prize carries Rs 2,500, while the second and third prizes carry Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,000 respectively. The topic of the contest is ‘Vedana-Prakritiyude, Manushyante, Jeeva-jalangaludeyum’ (Pain - of nature, man and other living beings). A person is allowed a maximum of three entries. The entries in 12 x 18 CM size may be sent to the Secretary, Rivertern, Cultural Collective, Kalappadam Building, Down Hill, Malappuram. ( 9447314112). (The New Indian Express, Tuesday, August 09, 2005)
Tiger Task Force report submitted (August Week 3 (2005)) The report of the Tiger Task Force, submitted to the Prime Minister last Friday, has opened up a debate on whether tigers and humans can co-exist, with conservationists debunking the panel's recommendation that strategies for coexistence should be developed wherever people living close to tiger habitats cannot be relocated. Task Force Chairperson Sunita Narain stoutly defends the recommendation, arguing that one must 'make peace' with the impoverished people who feel that tigers are being protected at the cost of their rights and interests. In Sariska, one of the reasons for the tiger reserve facing an unprecedented crisis is the fact that relations with the local community 'broke down' and they became 'hostile' towards the tiger, she says. The report contains a dissenting note by Valmik Thapar, who reflects the view that such coexistence is impossible and that the Task Force should not be recommending measures that go against the spirit of conservation. 'We have recommended that large areas should remain inviolate for the tigers, and we don't oppose relocation programmes, but there is no way that all the villages in tiger reserves can be relocated,' Ms. Narain is reported to have said.
Discovery spots pollution over Africa (August Week 3 (2005)) Astronauts normally wax poetic when talking about the wondrous view from outer space of their blue-green-and-white home planet. But Discovery Commander Eileen Collins, who landed with her six crewmates last week in California after a 14-day historic mission, said she was sobered by signs of pollution over Africa. "One of the things I saw was in Africa, the massive burning taking place in the central part of Africa," Collins told a news conference in California. "I'm not sure why they do that." In Africa, Madagascar, and elsewhere, she said, "You can see deforestation taking place you can see it in the rivers and streams". Collins said that the rivers were brown instead of blue and you can see the erosion flowing out into the ocean. Many residents of rural Africa cut down sparse tree stands for fuel. In northern Kenya, for example, even the few trees remaining in barren stretches of the Rift Valley around lake Turkana region are harvested and turned into charcoal for shipment into urban areas.
Hospital comes up with novel waste management strategy (August Week 3 (2005)) When hospital waste disposal has become a universal menace, the Government Maternity Hospital, Tirupati, has succeeded in making wealth out of waste. In what is claimed to be the first-of-its-kind technique adopted in the country, the hospital has devised a mechanism to dispose of biomedical waste and even produce methane from it. The hospital generates 50-60 kg of placenta, blood and other organic waste a day, retrieved from the womb during delivery. The same was hitherto buried in a remote corner of the hospital, which invariably invited stray dogs and pigs to the vicinity, spreading infection. Upon a request to suggest an alternative disposal system, the Non-Conventional Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NEDCAP) found a way out by building a biogas digester behind the hospital. "All that the sanitary workers have to do is dump the waste in it. When fermented in the absence of oxygen at a temperature of 25-35 degrees Centigrade, biogas is generated," the NEDCAP's district manager, C.B. Jagadeeswara Reddy, explained (The Hindu, Wednesday, August 10, 2005). The gas is drawn out through a valve and connected to a gas stove in the labor ward. "Apart from nurses, who use the gas to boil water for sterilization, the patients' attendants too use it for making tea," said T.V. Seshasai, a gynecologist at the hospital. The gas generated thus is sufficient to boil water for over two hours a day non-stop. "All it required for us to make this happen was digging of a cylindrical pit of 2 cubic meters, a few bricks and cement. It did not cost us more than Rs. 8,000," said T.V. Satyanarayana, an Executive Engineer with the TTD, who was involved in the project. Not only are the chances for breeding infection-causing germs eliminated, but the hospital also saves over 12 LPG cylinders a year. No foul smell, no stray dogs, non-stop gas supply, all in one stroke. What more can a hospital want?
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