Press on Environment and Wildlife
Uttarakhand disaster got magnified due to heavy pilgrim rush (Issue of the week, July Week #1 (2013))
The number of tourists going to Uttarakhand, state records show, has grown by nearly 300% over a decade between 2000-2010 from 1.11 crore to 3.11 crore. The number of tourists visiting the state is projected to double again by 2017 at current growth rates.
The infrastructure to cater to the tourists has grown but disproportionately slowly and mostly 'illegally'. June is the month that sees the highest tourist footfall in the state year after year.

"Almost every time, natural calamities have hit the hill state in the months of July-September when tourists and pilgrims are not there in such high numbers. This year, the timing has led to tourists been trapped but the people of Uttarakhand have been
increasingly facing these problems over the last decade," Charu Tiwari, an activist and journalist from the state, said.


36 lakes have vanished in Bangalore-west alone (July Week #1 (2013))
In shocking findings for the water-deficient IT city, 36 lakes, tanks and ponds have vanished without a trace in three hoblis of western Bangalore since 1973. The water area has been halved in the remaining 81 bodies and 48 of them have major encroachments.

The findings are part of a year-long study conducted by state-funded Environmental Management and Policy Research Institute (EMPRI). It has only looked at a 78 sqkm area in the hoblis of Yeshwantpur, Kengeri and Tavarekere. The rest of the city has not
been covered.


Death in the Hills (July Week #1 (2013))
Bomdo village in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh is peopled by the Adi tribe, the second most numerous tribe in the state. Further towards the north lies Tuting, the last town before the border with Tibet. The mighty Siang River flows below
the village, while the snowcapped mountains to the north provide a glimpse of the spectacular beauty of the Siang valley. It's a picturesque agrarian society, except all is not well.

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) had made its way into the mountains from the plains of Pasighat. The worst affected were the semi-domesticated mithun (Bos frontalis) that were dying out even as their owners watched helplessly. Each day, as one more animal
was found dead in the forest or beside the road, another few were seen salivating profusely from the mouth as the infection spread rapidly.

To a person unfamiliar with this region and the lifestyle of the people, it would seem to be just a minor problem. Surely, livestock die all the time across the country. So what was so different about these deaths?


No school today, elephants on campus (July Week #1 (2013))
On seeing the 13 or so wild elephants, the alarmed staff called the management, which alerted the teachers assigned to each school van about the situation on the campus. The teachers asked the vans to turn around and drop the children back home.

“We declared a holiday for school,” said Nooraine Fazal, chief executive officer and co-founder of Inventure Academy.

“The herd broke down one of the grilled fences and came in,” Mohan Kumar, school security supervisor, told The Hindu.

“The forest officials told us not to chase them away and keep them on the school property because it’s spacious enough,” Ms. Fazal said.

The forest authorities had planned to lead the elephants into the forests from there. “But people around the area started bursting crackers and chasing the elephants. If you let elephants be, they will remain peaceful. This was a great learning experience
for us,” Ms. Fazal said.


Scientists set to go on insect hunt to save the Sunderbans (July Week #1 (2013))
In a first-of-its-kind exercise, scientists would soon go scouting the tiger-infested Sunderbans forest for insects that help the mangrove plants produce seeds and help sustain the world’s largest delta.

The project, to be funded by the Union ministry of environment and forests, would principally aim at conserving the lesser-known creatures of the forests that are key to sustenance of the lush mangroves. The ministry has already sanctioned Rs. 80 lakh
for the project and the scientists are to embark on the venture this July.

“A team of about eight scientists from the Zoological Survey of India would scour numerous pockets of the 4263 sq km of mangrove forest over the next three years. The objective is to collect such insects as bees, butterflies, moths and flies among others,
which serve as pollinators for the mangrove plants. The scientists would look to identify their species and ascertain the role they play in pollination,” K Venkataraman, director of ZSI and principal investigator of the project, told HT.


Time to return to natural farming (July Week #1 (2013))
Carbon emission, popularly known as ‘greenhouse gas emission’, is on the rise in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. As recent studies have found, modern agricultural practices remain the reason for close to 35 per cent of this dangerous phenomenon.
Hence, there is a need to return to natural farming, argues Ko Nammazhvar, a crusader for organic farming.

In his recently published work Bhoomithaaye (Mother Earth), he deals with a range of issues arising out of climate change and suggests that organic farming would help balance the situation. City Express caught up with him at a two-day workshop on the city


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