Press on Environment and Wildlife
Pollution detecting sensors (July Week 1 (2005))


The West Bengal pollution control board (PCB) is contemplating using sensors to automatically detect the emission levels of various pollutants in industries and penalize the polluting ones. These sensors in industrial units would be connected online to a monitoring system at the PCB office which would be alerted on emission levels if it crossed the stipulated levels. PCB rued that no big industry except ITC had adopted an environment policy for energy conservation in West Bengal while the number of such units in Maharashtra was 118, those in Andhra Pradesh 110 and Karnataka 58. ON a positive note however, West Bengal has become more environmentally aware in the recent past as around 200 units are currently under closure here due to violation of pollution control norms while 280 coal-fired industries have converted to cleaner technologies in the last three years.

NITT to the rescue of Taj Mahal (July Week 1 (2005))

The National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, (NITT) has developed an energy efficient furnace that could prevent environmental pollution during the baking process of glass bangle manufacturing. The model run on furnace oil / liquefied petroleum gas is ideal for en masse adoption by the hundreds of small scale glass industries in Firozabad, around 40 km from Agra, in order to conform to the Supreme Court guidelines on the prevention of the emission of toxins that was evolved to safeguard the Taj Mahal. The use of 5 kg of fuel oil by the `NITT furnace' in the place of 5.2 kg of coal and 20.8 kg of wood by the existing muffle furnace results in the saving of Rs.80 an hour in each of the nearly 1,000 such units in Firozabad. The atmosphere is saved from the hourly addition of 65.5 kg of carbon dioxide and 7 kg of carbon monoxide through each unit. The production rate, with each unit having an output capacity of 1.4 lakh bangles a day, would remain the same. The model, which costs Rs.25,000, has raised hopes that the imminent closure of the manufacturing units owing to non-adherence to pollution norms could be staved off and the annual turnover of Rs.6,000 crores from the industry retained.

Indians snatch the spotlight at the Ashden Awards (July Week 1 (2005))

Three Indians have won the 2005 Ashden Awards, considered the 'Green Oscar', for their outstanding and innovative projects at a ceremony held in London. Hyderabad-based Dharmappa Barki, Chairman and Managing Director of Noble Energy Solar Technologies Ltd (NEST) won the 'Ashden Light Award' and cash prize of Rs 24 lakhs for the solar lanterns he developed for India's poor. Bangalore-based Harish Hande received the 'Enterprise Award' and an equal cash amount for his village level solar home systems. Chandigarh-based Ramesh Kumar Nibhoria of Nishant Bio-energy Consultancy, inventor of school cook-stoves running on crop waste, was declared joint winner of the 'Climate Care Award' along with Stuart Conway of Honduras, developer of a fuel-efficient cook-stove. Both of them shared a cash prize of Rs 24 lakhs. After receiving the award, an elated Barki told the press that he would use the award money for creating a widespread awareness of the solar energy system in India.

Notorious poacher arrested (July Week 1 (2005)) Sansar Chand, the most notorious wildlife smuggler, who was on the run ever since his role in the poaching of Sariska tigers was exposed, has been arrested. True to his wont, Sansar Chand was hiding in a house in Patel Nagar area for the past 10 months. A Crime Branch team of Delhi, which was trailing him, arrested him. Also known as the Veerapan of North India, Sansar Chand is involved in 13 cases registered under various sections of the Wildlife Act in five states. The Special Task Force (STF) set up by the Prime Minister to investigate the disappearance of tigers from the Sariska Tiger Reserve, was also on his trail. He has been arrested under section 41 of the CrPc and is being interrogated about his involvement in the poaching cases
Cheap clean water (July Week 1 (2005)) Scientists at a Pune lab have found a way of producing cheap and clean drinking water from contaminated water by using a membrane as filter. The device does not depend on electricity as most other water filters do and can thus be used in remote rural areas as well as disaster zones. The breakthrough was made at the Pune-based National Chemical Laboratory's polymer division and the new technology was granted a US patent earlier this year. NCL then transferred the know-how on a royalty basis to Pune-based entrepreneur Subhash Devi, who has since marketed the water filter. It is now available in the market under the brand name Purion. The man behind the breakthrough is polymer scientist R.A. Mashelkar, director-general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Delhi. He describes the breakthrough as "making high technology work for the poorest of the poor in India". Tiny viruses which can cause diseases like jaundice are the hardest to remove from drinking water but the NCL says its acrylic membrane filter can produce crystal clear water from a drain.
Sethusamundaram inauguration goes ahead (July Week 1 (2005)) The Sethusamudram Ship Channel project has been inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week amidst controversies as it was yet to obtain the mandatory no-objection certificate from the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board. Union Shipping Minister T. R. Baalu said (The Tribune, July 02) the project would enhance India's security as Indian Navy ships would be easily able to reach the eastern coast without going around the Sri Lankan coast. He said, "The issue of no-objection certificate is old and I can say that I do not require any such certificate from the state government." He said, "Real fishermen welcome the project and I have met with them in six districts of Tamil Nadu. All they want is more fishing harbors which the project will provide." However, it remains to be clarified as to who the 'real' fisherman are and if they really want what Mr. Baalu says they want.
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