Soil pollutants

>> Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mixing of different types of substances in soil which affects its natural qualities and causes reduction in its fertility, is called as soil pollution. Some environmentalists define soil pollution as – build up of toxic chemical compounds, salts, pathogens or radioactive materials in soil that can affect plant and animal life adversely, is called as soil pollution.
A polluted soil often contains varieties of germs of diseases. Some of those diseases are – anthrax, typhoid, leptospirosis, bacillary dysentery, cholera etc. A big amount of soil is lost due to soil erosion, storms, overgrazing and deforestation activities. This loss of soil is often called as negative soil pollution.
Sources or Causes of Soil Pollution
There are many different sources of soil pollution. These are being introduced below.
A. Domestic Sources of Soil Pollution: Wastes produced due to domestic activities are called as domestic wastes. Food leftovers, peeling of fruits and vegetables, ash, paper bits, packets, polythene bags, glass bottles, tin cans, used tyres, expired medicines etc. are some examples of domestic wasted that are often dumped on the ground. These wastes alter the soil composition and make it bad for the growth and development of plants.
B. Municipal Sources: Different types of municipal wastes dumped on the ground cause bad effects on soil. These wastes act as shelter homes of various types of insects and germs of diseases.
C. Industrial Sources: Industries dump lots of wastes on land. These wastes create ugly scenes on ground and contaminate soil making it unfit for productive utilization. A number of toxic wastes seep into the ground and cause underground water pollution.
D. Agricultural Sources: Agro- chemicals used in agriculture produce adverse effects on soil. Synthetic fertilizers, if used continuously for a long time alters the composition of soil, making it unfit for the growth and development of plants.
     Faulty irrigation practices cause water logging. The water is evaporated in the sun leaving behind salts in the soil. Thus soil gradually becomes saline and unfit for plant growth.
E. Mining Sources: Mining activities cause long lasting damages to the soil. Tailings, slags, stones etc. that come out of mines are dumped near them. Besides these, different types of toxic chemicals are exposed due to mining which further cause serious soil and water pollution during rains.
 F. E. Wastes: The electronic wastes generated through the disposal of electronic goods, like computers, televisions, wires, and plastic cabinets etc. which are often dumped on the ground, create serious pollution on land.
Major Soil Pollutants
          (i) Toxic Chemicals from industries,
          (ii) Pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers,
          (iii) Fly ash from thermal power stations,
                (iv) Chemicals from sugar mills, pulp and paper mills, refineries, distilleries etc.
          (v) Wastes from leather and rubber industries,
          (vi)The domestic garbage dumped on land,
          (vii) E- Wastes.
Key Words: soil, sources, soil pollutants



Cashew Farming in Jharkhand

The National Horticulture Mission is supporting farming of cashew in ten districts of Jharkhand in the waste lands- report local media. These districts are- east and west Singhbhoom, Saraikela, Pakur, Godda, Dumka, Deoghar, Jamtara, Khunti and Simdega.

The National Horticulture Mission claims that the range of cashew farming which was started in 2005-06 on a 100ha land in Saraikela and West Singhbhoom has now increased up to 17000ha.

The Government of Jharkhand had allocated more than four crores rupees in its previous financial year for farming of cashew whereas the current budget is of three crores. The mission has claimed a production of 470mt in the previous season.

Key Words: National Horticulture Mission, cashew farming, Jharkhand




Now, we all know about the Svachha Bharat Abhiyan. It is a cleanliness drive by the Prime Minister to clean India.It appears to mean that - India is not a clean country. Not correct absolutely. Many of the important spots in our country are dirty and many other spots that lie in our surroundings remain dirty due to our carelessness or negligence.

Why are we so careless or negligent? Probably because we remain so busy or involved in our day to day affairs that we don’t look around towards happenings that go on. We live such a type of life that we often don’t know that a child in our neighboring house is seriously sick. We move so fast on the road that we remain unable to see that an old woman is facing difficulty in crossing the road… that an old man has been struck by a rushing buffalo and he is laying helpless on the road.

 There is another reason too, behind our so called carelessness or negligence. And that reason is our selfishness. Selfishness …? Yes, we go on our ways and never bother about others’ conveniences. When I was in high school, I had read an article by Dr. C.E.M.Joad (Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad, 12 August 1891 – 9 April 1953, an English Philosopher) on “The Story of Our Civilization”. As per the theme of an example mentioned in the story we should never feel that we are free in a democratic country to do anything and everything at our will. We must have to take care of others while we do something. For example we are not free to play with our walking stick and moving it round and round without having a thought of other persons sharing the same road. And if we don’t care for others we are rightly- uncivilized.

Many among us care more for their rights than their duties. And thus they become negligent towards others, and so they go on doing anything on public places and harming, disturbing or damaging others. In my opinion it is not correct. According to the same famous English Philosopher – your right ends where my nose begins. But there is not any law, as I think to keep eye on a person who damages nose of someone while playing at his will and to check this violation. There is no any law, perhaps to check such violations because it is the civilization that frames such laws and such laws germinate inside our civilized soul or conscience. If we don’t care for others’ conveniences and go on doing what we like and remain so careless that we harm others while enjoying our freedom, we are rightly – uncivilized.

Let us check some examples of freedom of those who may be called uncivilized. In big cities any one can find examples of people who collect waste materials of their houses keep them in polythene bags and sling towards the other side of the road. Many families living in upper stories of high buildings drop their wastes down during nights and deny in the morning when a quarrel is about to begin on the issue. In a famous magazine on India’s Environment I once saw a photograph showing a tree with numerous waste containing polythene bags hanging from its branches as if a tree was laden with thousands of fruits of different colours.In reality there is not a single species of tree that bears fruits of different colours. Of course, some maize corns have multi-coloured seeds to show genetic diversity. But I have never come across any such example.

Wherever a man goes, waste materials like polythene bags, and paper and other things accompany him. These things go with him up to Kedar Nath, Mansarovar and other high places, and to sea beeches and picnic spots and many other low lying places as well. Waste materials accompany a man everywhere but man comes back leaving those materials there only. Our hill stations and picnic spots including sea beeches and river banks have been made ugly by human beings. While in a ferry to Elephants in the sea I happened to sea many shoes, slippers, plastic bottles, toys etc floating on the sea- water- rising up and going down with sea waves. These floating things tell stories of human carelessness or of enjoying rights while neglecting duties. Is there anyone to punish people who throw these things to the sea?

In a TV Show I saw Baba Ramdeo picking out different wastes from the water of our so called holy river Ganga and those wastes included clothes, teeth, broken glasses, slippers and what not – as seen by viewers. He was shown on a cleanliness drive of cleaning a particular stretch of Ganga somewhere near Hardwar. Those who throw wastes in our rivers are uncivilized, rather criminals as our government is expected to enforce law against such activities. But, until such laws are accepted by heart, nothing on this land is possible absolutely. Since law to protect Ganga from dirty practices of people came in force, people throw dead bodies at dead banks of this river with heavy weight tied firmly with the same. In the Science Book published by NCERT New Delhi for class X you can read that there are coli form bacteria in the water of this river, and this indicates mixing of human and animal excreta into the water. Now, it appears that our government is serious to clean this holy river and sufficient awareness has been built in societies to keep our sources clean in order to safeguard the community health.

We see that prominent personalities of the country including you and your friends have joined  hands to boost up cleanliness drive, to attract uncivilized towards a glittering civilization, and to awake those who are still sleeping- I do hope that our country will have a healthier environment in only few days to come.
Key Words:environment,ganga,Swachh Bharat


UGC bans dissection of animals

>> Tuesday, October 21, 2014

There is an alarming decline in the population of small animals in India. This decline is greatly enhanced through their use as laboratory animals, especially for the purpose of dissection. The indiscriminate removal of small animals from their original habitat, say frogs, snails, scoliodon, lizards etc disrupts ecological balance by causing serious decline in the biodiversity.

Following oppositions from environmentalists and animal lovers, UGC has recently banned dissection of animals in colleges with a note that most of the animals used in laboratories are caught from their natural habitats and that their removal from their native places would cause disruptions in the natural functioning of eco-systems.

A partial ban on dissection on the dissection of animals was already imposed by UGC in 2011. The Science Policy Advisor for peta- India, an animal lover Organization Dr. C. Kaduri supporting the ban said that after 2011 teachers dissected and students watched in undergraduate classes where  as in Post Graduate classes students dissected unprotected species.

Key Words: alarming decline, animal population, peta-India, UGC



>> Saturday, October 18, 2014

An activist of Mumbai, Mr. Dharmesh Solanki asked the Universities Grant Commission to stop all experiments on animals noting that it’s all funds and grants were utilized for the outdated, repetitive and cruelty filled experiments.

The activist requested the UGC to stop all the grants for unimportant tests as millions of animals were killed every year despite availability of technical alternatives.

Computer models and modern alternatives would help students of undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students to learn in better and faster ways. It would save innumerable animals against being killed away.

The activist, while requesting to stop funding said that animal houses in colleges and universities were in pathetic conditions and that too on the mercy of students. These houses lacked full time paid attendants. No visits were paid during holidays for making arrangements for food and water for animals. He requested the National Assessment Accreditation Council to look at those institutions that lacked scientifically built animal houses with modern facilities.

Key Words: activist, UGC, computer models



>> Friday, October 17, 2014

Sound without value is called as noise. It is the sound which is undesired by the recipient. Noise interferes with communication, relaxation, leisure, heartbeat, eardrum and mental conditions. It is very harmful to sick persons and students on their studies. Hence, noise is considered as serious pollutant which spreads through air.

Pressure horns of cars and other vehicles, noise produced through loud speakers during social and religious functions, noise produced by heavy machines, irresponsible practice of hearing high pitched sound of music systems, televisions etc. are some remarkable sources of noise pollution.

The popular unit of sound measurement is decibel (db). This unit has been named after Sir Alfred Bell. The human ear is sensitive to sound from 0 to 180 db. However, the sound beyond 140 db is harmful

Key Words: noise pollution, horns, db,


Major Gaseous Pollutant

>> Thursday, October 16, 2014

Substances that cause pollution of air are called as air- pollutants. These pollutants can be       put into two broad categories A. Gaseous Pollutants, and B. Particulates.
The gaseous pollutants causing air pollution are numerous. Some remarkable gaseous pollutants in the present context are being mentioned below.
1.           Sulphur dioxide: Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and sulphur tri- oxide (SO3) are produced largely by the combustion of coal and petroleum. These are also produced through smelting of ores of sulphide, copper, zinc, and lead; and decomposition of bio-mass. Some industries that emit sulphur dioxide are industries manufacturing sulphuric acid (H2SO4), oil refineries, fertilizer industries and paper industries.
2.           Hydrogen sulphide: It is a colourless toxic gas which is produced from decaying vegetation and animal materials particularly in shallow fresh water and marine environment. It also comes out from sulphur springs, volcanoes, coal pits and sewers.
3.           Carbon monoxide: It is a poisonous gas which originates from incomplete combustion of carbonaceous materials. It can also be oxidized to carbon dioxide which too is a poisonous gas.
4.           Hydrogen fluoride: It naturally comes out from volcanoes. However, it is produced from blast furnaces and industries concerned with the production of brick, tiles and super phosphates. It also comes out during combustion of coal.
5.           Hydrogen chloride: It comes out during the combustion of coal, paper, plastics and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
6.           Hydrocarbons: Chemical compounds made of hydrogen and carbon, are called as hydrocarbons. Methane, ethylene and aniline are three examples of hydrocarbons. Methane is the principal constituent of the natural gas. Major sources of release of hydrocarbons are organic matter, seepage from natural gas and oil fields and emissions of Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs). Hydrocarbons are also produced due to incomplete combustion of fuels, automobile exhausts, petroleum refineries, burning of crop residues, cracking of natural gas in petrochemical plants etc.
7.           Ammonia: This gas is principally generated through refrigerator pre- cooler system of cold storage, manufacture of anhydrous ammonium fertilizers, nitric acid and domestic incineration etc. The emission of ammonia causes bleaching of plant-leaves reduction of root and shoots growth, browning and softening of fruits, reduction in the rate of germination etc.
8.           Nitrogen Oxides: Nitrogen oxide and Nitric Oxide are principal gaseous pollutants emitted through human activities. Nitrogen oxides have been reported to cause fading of colours of clothes, deterioration of nylon and cotton and corrosion of metals.
9.           Tobacco Smoke: Smoking of cigarettes and allied things generate tobacco smoke. It is a potent pollutant in closed atmosphere like buses; trains etc. It causes lung cancer, pulmonary and coronary heart diseases. Even passive smokers may be caught by a pulmonary or a coronary disease.

Key Words: major, gaseous, pollutants



The Marine Pollution, as defined by the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) for United Nations Educational and Scientific Commission, the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances into the marine environment, resulting in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources, hazards to human health, or hindrance to marine activities and reduction of amenities.
Causes of Marine Pollution
Sources of Marine Pollution are –
                        1. Marine Commerce,
                        2. Industrial Effluents joining seas and oceans,
                        3. Dumping of radioactive substances into sea water,
                        4. Sewage brought to the sea by rivers,
                        5. Offshore oil rigs,
                        6. Recreational activities,
                        7. Agricultural pollutants brought to the sea by rivers.
Major Pollutants causing Marine Pollution
The pollutants associated with marine environment are pathogens, sediments, solid wastes, heat, brine, toxic organic substances, petroleum, nutrients, radioactive materials, acids and bases etc.
The Oil Spills
The layer of oil spread on the surface of the sea water, is called as oil spills. The oil on the surface of the sea water gets spread due to following reasons –
                             1. Damage caused to oil tankers by accidents,
                             2. Natural seepage of water,
                            3. Offshore production losses associated with oil refineries,
                            4. Disposal of used automobile lubricants etc. into sea water.
The oil spread on the sea water acts as an insulating layer between air and water. Due to this, the oxygen of the atmosphere cannot mix with water. The deficiency of dissolved oxygen in water kills varieties of sea animals. The sea birds that catch fish by dipping into sea water become unable to fly due to oiling of their wings.      
It is due to frequent oil spills that sea otters, many sea birds, whales and many other species of the marine environment have become endangered. The oil spill damages fisheries and Mari culture, and causes serious economic losses to the local public and the governments.
The pollution in coastal bays, estuaries and wetlands threaten many species of fish inhabiting these places. 260,000 barrels of oil was spilled from oil tanker Exxon Valdez into Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989. About 4.4 billion Litres (0.2 billion gallons) of oil was spilled in about 8,539 oil spills in 1999, in and around the waters of the United States.

Key Words: marine, oil spills, offshore, sea animals


Over-exploitation of Ground Water in and around Delhi

>> Thursday, October 9, 2014

The underground water level in Delhi and surrounding areas has fallen down up to a very critical stage- reports study entitled ”Dynamic ground water resources of India” conducted by the Central Ground Water Board and the State Ground Water Department. The study surveyed 27 districts of Delhi. The continuous unregulated extraction of ground water for domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes over the years, have caused this problem.

The study reveals that net ground water availability for future also runs into negative in Gurgaon and Haryana. The dependency on ground water has lessened due to increased surface water supply in Delhi. The Delhi Jal Board is regulating surface water supply and drilling of new bore wells.

In Delhi, the record of water extraction includes 0.14bcm for irrigation and 0.25 bcm for industrial and domestic supply. Only 0.01 bcm water is available for the future use. The stage of the Ground Water Development stands at 137% for Delhi. This figure puts the state in the over-exploited category. The story of over-exploitation of ground water in Haryana is rather grimmer. 

The total annual replenishable ground water resource available in Gurgaon is 26720 hectares where as the extracted water is 54418 ham. Thus net ground water available for future use in the area is minus 30370ham. Since, not much of the water goes back to recharge the water table, the stage of ground water development is over-exploited (226%). The study marks Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddha Nagar as over-exploited. The condition of groundwater supply in U.P. falls under semi-critical stage.

Key Words: underground water, recharge, over-exploited, semi-critical


Minor growth expected in the global use of steel

>> Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The use of steel on global scale is expected to rise up to 1,562mt this year, reports the World Steel Association.

The above rise is expected to go up to 2% as compared to the use of the previous year. The growth in steel was 3.8% in 2013. This growth as recorded for this year is 4% for developing countries. It may remain up to 1.7% in developing countries including China.

In India the demand of steel may rise up to 76.2mt with a growth rate of 3.4% in 2014 while this growth was 1.8 % in 2013. In 2015, the growth is expected 1% with demand of 748.3mt. It may go up to 754.3mt with 0.8% growth in 2015.

In America the demand for steel may rise up to 102.2mt with growth rate of 6.7%. It is expected to remain 1.9% in 2015. In European countries, the demand for steel is expected to go up to 145.9mt with a growth rate of 4% in 2014.

Key Words: steel, demand, growth


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