Press on Environment and Wildlife
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.
Coca-Cola alleged for causing cadmium pollution (July Week 1 (2005)) The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) has issued notice to the Coca-Cola's bottling plant at Plachimada in Palakkad district to explain why the `consent to operate' issued to it earlier shall not be renewed. The PCB's main objection to the company's request for the renewal of the license is the unexplained presence of the heavy metal, cadmium, in the sludge generated by the company and in the well water in a colony. The plant has been closed since March 9, 2004, when the High Court delivered its order in a case filed by the panchayat complaining that the plant's operations were causing depletion of the groundwater resources. The High Court lifted the closure order on April 7, this year, after imposing certain conditions on the company on the basis of an expert committee's report on the quantum of groundwater that can be drawn by the company without causing groundwater depletion in the area. The company, however, has not been able to resume its operations till now since the `consent to operate' order issued by the PCB earlier had expired. The PCB, in an order issued last Friday, refused to renew its `consent to operate' on the basis of the details furnished by the company in its application. The PCB's member secretary S. D. Jayaprasad noted in the order that the company had not explained how a hazardous substance like cadmium was found to be present above the permissible limits in the sludge samples collected from the factory premises and in the water samples collected from nearby wells.
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