Thursday, December 31, 2009
Days have gone when Ranchi, now the capital city of Jharkhand -the new state of India had a number of ponds and other water bodies to quench the thirst of birds and cattle and to balance the local ecosystems. The city is now emerging as just a jungle of concrete. With the greed of erecting more and more apartments on the plateau land without the thought of availability of water in future, least percolation of rain water is allowed and wells and hand water pumps start drying since February or March months every year.
The soapy and detergent containing water that comes out of houses either flows through choaked drains or on roads. So far, no proper drainage system could have been developed and anyone can smell the stinking gas coming up due to degradation of waste in from a choaked drain. Waste water from many hotels has no channels to move due to which it flows on the road in many parts of the city.
Some good colonies in the urban area do have drains without destinations, but the platue land has lost the capacity of allowing any drop of water underground due to siltation. Thus the poisonous water stays for longer periods till it is evaporated and so it helps in the degradation of waste materials dumped into them due to usual habit of inhabitants.
Most of the cattle owners don't have properly built cattle sheds and allow their cows and buffaloes to roam in the streets and on roads in search of food leftovers as grass can not be available anywhere except in the parks where they can not be allowed to graze. It appears that the municipal corporation does not have any legal arrangement to activate such cattle owners to take care of their cattle.Cows roaming in the city streets are bound to drink intoxicated water dripping out of domestic drains as no water is available for them.
Milk sellers keep their buffaloes and cows on the government land near important places of the city like Morabadi ground, and Ratu road side and sell milk intoxicated with oxytosin, the hormone that they cruelly inject in the mammary glands of cows and buffaloes who have lost their offspring due to some disease or malnutrition. In spite of a number of Khatals and dairies spread in the core zones of the city, it is very hard to find pure milk. Don't try to take tea unless you know about a reliable tea-stall or you may be caught by gastroenteritis or similar disease. Even pure sweets are hard to find.
Cows are bound to drink detergent- mixed or sewage mixed water intoxicated by domestic use. The Kanke water reservoir which is meant for the municipal water supply in major parts of the city is destination of a number of sewers and in spite of a number of complaints through media reports, no proper care and attention could ever be paid by concerned authorities.
People of the city tend to enjoy all the festivals and probably no festival except Surya Shashti and some others goes on without mass killing of poultry, goats and some other animals. As per the modern trends nearly every family tends to go on picnic on the occasions of New Year or the end of the year and any picnic without meat- eating is meaning less. Human amusement on such occasions means deaths of millions of birds and animals. What are purchased from the markets on this time are birds( hens, cocks, ducks, goats and even pigeons), and liquor. Most of the picnic spots located in natural settings are dumped with broken wings, bones and left overs to make these places stinking for weeks.Thus new year starts with mass killing of innocent animals and squandering on liquor. Humans(so called) celebrate new year at the cost of deaths of millions of animals, and immense pollutions of natural places. But who cares. No celebration usually ends without mass killing and drinking. All these are symbols of modern and advanced life styles where we have nothing to offer to starving poor but everything to spend on our pleasure and amusement.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Dr. M. P. Mishra 9:19 PM BIODIVERSITYHere is a current report that a tiger has been straying away from Panna sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh (India) for more than 26 days. A team of about 70 personnel is tracking it day and night and even after tracking up to 250 km no trace of the animal could be seen. From the report it appears that the tiger was given all the democratic rights to move anywhere or to do anything as per the right to move and right to do. Isn’t it a good report? After Human Rights there must be Animal Rights, and it seems that authorities of the sanctuary knew it better and believed in it to the final capacity of their intelligence. Anyway, let us continue the report.
Wildlife authorities explain that that the animal may be moving towards Pench, its earlier home. It is again good. The team of 70 personnel should go and stand at the gate of Pench ready to catch the stripped cat whenever it reached there. But how can the team assume that the tiger will not kill anyone while it is on its way to Pench, and so the team is tracking it. Since the tiger knows that the team is already out in its search, it cannot dare to attack any one coming in its way. Thus it may be presumed that the tiger has not killed even a rat through the long distance of 250km.
It has already been reported that Panna sanctuary was once a proud owner of many tigers. But gradually, all of them vanished away, that too by poaching. Here you may enquire – poaching? What were authorities doing? The answer is very simple. You know the tiger is a very brave animal. If it can not defend itself from poachers, how can wildlife authorities protect it? They are mere human beings without arms, probably even of the Stone Age. The report further reads that in view of repopulating the sanctuary with the species wildlife authorities shifted two tigresses to the sanctuary after lifting them from Bhandhawgarh and Kanha tiger reserves. In October, 2009 a male tiger was picked up from the fringes of Pench tiger reserve and moved to Panna. Thus a single male tiger was forced to manage two tigresses. Keeping mercy on it, the wildlife authorities decided to shift another male tiger from somewhere up to March 2010. Now, a sanctuary where poachers have been so strong that they could already remove the tiger population from Pench, how can a new tiger be relocated to it without ensuring that the sanctuary was free from poachers. Let us assume that all the poachers have been arrested and put into jail under lifelong imprisonment, though no such law is known to me, and the boundary of the sanctuary have been made tiger proof, how could the naughty tiger manage to escape out of the sanctuary?
Now, as the report reveals Chief Wildlife Warden is of the opinion that relocation of any tiger to Pench is not possible until the stray tiger is not re-picked. In public opinion he should instead try to transfer the current inhabitants i.e. two tigress to some other Park or sanctuary until the dangers from poachers are not neutralized completely.
The strayed tiger deserves a number of blames from wildlife staff who report that the tiger was a naughty creature with straying behavior as the same could not establish a territory even when it was in Pench and always walked towards fringes. It had killed 2 to 8 cattle for which wildlife authorities had to pay compensations to villagers. The officials fear that the stray tiger may not endanger its own life by coming in contact with humans. In public opinion, this is the maximum possibility and the authorities have a good experience of it.
Officials from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, has asked the central and state governments to trap the tiger and keep in an enclosure for soft release only when it is fully acclimatized with the habitat.
It is important to note here that Madhya Pradesh was once proud owner of a long number of tigers. But it started gradually loosing its tigers and after a short period, it became empty. The sanctuary is alleged to carry out its plans in haste ignoring basic norms.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Dr. M. P. Mishra 9:09 PM ISSUES
Recent studies reveal that soot particles released into atmosphere through burning of biomass like crop residues, cattle dung and firewood, and fossil fuels like coal and diesel are greater contributors to global warming, melting glaciers and climate change than green house gases.
Researchers say that soot particles absorb up to 80% of solar radiation that encounters them and plays significant role in heating the atmosphere directly. 60% of current global warming produced by carbon dioxide is due to soot particles as per Nature Geoscience (2008).
Soot particles deposited on glaciers accelerate the process of their retreat
courtesy : The Hindu/ science and technology/December 24, 2009
Impact on cloud and rainfall
According to a study of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California- soot particles absorb solar radiation and heat the surrounding atmosphere. It causes burning of clouds. According to another research by Prof. Ramanathan and others (2005), the monsoon rainfall over India is being reduced gradually due to increasing levels of soot and similar pollutants emitted from burning of coal, firewood, cattle dung, coal etc. especially in northern India in houses and roadside motels release major amounts of soot particles in atmosphere that causes melting of ice in Himalyan region. Thus droughts and floods may double in frequency if emissions go on increasing at the current rate. NASA reports that soot from northern India, dust from the desert of western China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Middle East are producing heat over Tibet to accelerate melting of glaciers.
Impact on glaciers
In a meeting of the American Geophysical Union held in California in early December 2009, Dr. Lau reported that rate of warming was more than five times faster over areas of Himalyas than warming globally. Besides these, soot is being deposited on glaciers directly from the atmosphere also is helping in melting of glaciers up to major extent.
According to a joint research of scientists from America and China the black soot aerosols deposited on Tibet glaciers have been a significant contributing factor to observe rapid glacier retreat. The report has been confirmed by James Hansen in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, USA. Reduction of emission of soot particles at source and checking burning of crop residues, cattle dung, firewood etc. can lower the concentration of soot particles in atmosphere very quickly as soot particles can remain in atmosphere for a few days only. If emission of soot is checked at the point of its production, it may help in reducing global warming up to considerable extent.The practice of burning of crop residues in fields, burning of cattle dung, and burning of coal should be stopped as an important step to solve the problem. Introduction of technology to check black carbon emission from diesel consuming means of transport can also help a lot in this direction.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Dr. M. P. Mishra 11:25 PM ECOSENSORIUM NEWS
Reports of incidents relating to tigers straying into human inhabited areas have shaken wildlife authorities who have already been worried about shrinking prey base in Sunderbans forests, India.
Tigers of Sunderbans have been reported to prey on aquatic animals like fish and crabs for about a decade. During past few years the matter of depletion of prey base of Sunderbans tigers have already been surfaced and any one out of numerous environment lovers in the country may be surorised to know that athorities are talking about it now only, when incidents of tigers straying into the inhabited areas of Sunderbans islands and attacking the locals have started happening more frequently.
Sunderbans' tiger in search of acquatic prey
So far four people and a number of domestic cattle have been reported to have been killed in 2009 during twelve recorded incidents recorded. It has been reported that authorities are now thinking to supplement the prey base of Sunderbans tigers by releasing deer into the core area. It is important to note that the State Wildlife Advisory Board has already recommended the same citing the reason that a prey base depletion may be responsible for the increasing incidents of tigers straying away from forests that have already shrunk due to human interference in the area.
It is known that the officials of the Sunderbans Forest Reserve have been maintaining a population of spotted deer that are indigenous to Debaki and Jharkhali - the two parks of the area. These deer are to be checked for any infection after which 70 of them have been planned to be introduced in the core zone of the reserve. Here it is important to note that deer were treated for a tuberculosis outbreak a few years back at Dobaki facility.
Wildlife experts and animal lovers of the area are of the opinion that deer reared by forest officials may not be skilled enough to live in the wild and to protect themselves hence unable to survive in the wild. As such they can be easy preys for poachers. Secondly, it does not seem possible for officials to maintain the supply of deer to the core zone of the reserve. The whole story seems nothing more than beating about the bush.
Map showing Sunderbans Forest Reserve area (Natural) Credit - IUCN
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Various human communities have been deserving blames of encroachment into forest lands, tree felling and allowing their cattle to graze in forest land since long. As awareness started spreading from village to village and nature started teaching the lesson in the form of drying wells, water bodies and fodder crops, people has started forming groups and starting movements in different states of India such as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand etc. to protect resources keeping control on people and government schemes of development. The protection of forests by Chipko workers, Sukhomajari people, Bisnois etc have been rather bigger efforts, small groups of people from many Indian villages have started protecting and managing local resources on their own sometimes by standing government executives. Though cases of over exploitation of resources by local people are comparatively greater in number, self help groups and communities are sending much positive signals that may demoralize most of the negative forces in days to come, it is hoped.
A recent activity of conservation of forests by Baiga tribals of Madhya Pradesh through community-based planning deserves much praise in this regard. The Hindu in its December 26, 2009 issue reports – the Baiga tribes, a primitive tribal group from Dhaba forest village of Samnapur block of Madhya Pradesh, have managed to protect and expand over 600 areas of forest cover around their village.
Sal Forest of Madhya Pradesh, India
A village based movement to save forest areas started in the area about 8 years ago and the same has now taken the form of “an efficient forest management plan for being sustained for community monitoring.
The community of Baiga tribals has framed its own rules to protect forest. Under the locally framed rules by the tribal community no one is allowed to enter into the forest with an axe or match box and bidis. Outsiders are not at all allowed to enter into the forest. If someone of the society breaks the rule, he is boycotted out of the community and nobody of the society takes part in his social functions like marriage and funerals. There is a provision of the monetary penalty also.
As per reports, once the forest department decided to cut down infected sal trees of the forest, and infected trees were marked for cutting, villagers found that some healthy trees too were marked infected. As a result a protest started and the department had to mark afresh.
Many examples of community-based forest management can be cited from the states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand also. Here in these states people have formed Forest Protection Committees to protect forests and forest produce under the Joint Forest Management Programme. The work is going on successfully. All these actions by the people are positive signals of protection of natural resources in the country.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Dr. M. P. Mishra 12:38 AM ISSUES
The world so far has come to see the consequences of burning fossil fuels, biomass and wood. Alternate sources to these are being searched out, and many of such alternate and eco-friendly non-conventional sources of energy are already in use in view of protecting the environment. Agricultural waste and cow dung have been suggested to be used for producing bio-gas, a viable solution to the energy crisis and a praiseworthy effort to save the environment. Since, Indian farmers are in a habit of getting quick results, may it be at the cost of the fertility of their land or eutrophication or accumulation of black carbon at the Himalayan top, they are still not in a mood to go far organic farming and adopt biogas technology to generate energy on their owns without risking their health and environment. This may be the reason why large scale use of dung produced at dairy farms in rural and urban India for burning on commercial scales is still continued in full swing.
The basic input for life, development and prosperity is energy in its different forms. It is equally essential for the improvement of the quality of life. Since, conventional sources of energy, the fossil fuels, firewood provided by nature are running short; it is now the cry of the day to work harder for the development, improvement and up gradation of renewable sources of energy together with protection, conservation and judicious use and management of these sources. The energy crisis of the earlier days has taught the world a lesson to learn from experiences and to make alternate arrangements well in advance, for the harder days that may come in future. What is the energy crisis? A great shortfall or price rise in the supply of energy resources to an economy is called as energy crisis.
Increasing the efficiency of the use of energy in order to achieve higher useful output for the same energy consumption, saving energy and reducing wastage is called as energy conservation. In today’s conditions energy conservation is important because of following facts that -
• It will help increase the national and personal security,
• It will increase the financial capital,
• It will enhance, the environmental value, It will increase the profit of commercial and industrial users of energy.
Far away from these thoughts, Many Indian farmers are still burning their crop stumps in the open fields, burning dung and earning money by selling dung cakes. No one is there to teach these farmers some lessons on the benefits of biogas generation, protection of environment in general and reduction of Himalayan ice-melts in particular. The government is running a number of energy conservation and development of alternate sources of energy programmes and boasts of remarkable progress but tones of cattle dung produced at dairy farms, and households are converted into dung cakes for earning money and producing lots of black carbon along with other dangerous gases escaping in to the environment and causing the climate change. Until and unless people themselves stand to change the old harmful practices of polluting the environment and wasting the sources of energy, summits like the one that held in Copenhagen will continue for indefinite period or till the end. Some pictures taken by the author himself demonstrate the large scale production of dung cakes for burning on commercial basis in a corner of the Ranchi city of Jharkhand in India.
Picture 1., 2., and 3 ... thus production of dung cake for commercial purpose goes on
The Finished Product - dried dung cakes, now ready for the market
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Dr. M. P. Mishra 10:19 PM BIODIVERSITY
Biodiversity has great values of being useful to man and also to the environment. Our ancestors realized the importance of the existence and well being of all the life forms alonwith the physical components of nature constituting their habitats. They realized the importance of forces in nature and experienced their impacts on life. That’s why they prayed for the maintenance, regulation and well being of the diversity of life on this earth to which they regarded as ‘mother’.
In the same spirit we celebrate the “Earth Day” on 22nd April every year across the world. The year 2006 was celebrated as the Year of Biodiversity in India. The earth has an amazing biodiversity interwoven in each other. We celebrate the earth day to take care of the mother earth and all of its life forms. Thus the value of biodiversity is interwoven in all the religions and culture across the world.
Symbol of the Earth Day
The Intrinsic Values relates to the fact that humans too are parts of Nature. The concept of intrinsic value of biodiversity accepts that biodiversity is the foundation of civilization. The author of the Silent Spring- Rachel Carson asks -
“Can any civilization wage relentless war on life without destroying itself and without loosing the right to be called civilized?”
The integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community are values that can be saved and protected as it is evident from following lines-
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and the beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”- Aldo Leopold; sand Country Almanac.
The evolutionary values and the Noah’s principle accept that- since humans are and were parts of nature, they benefited from the evolutionary processes. This thought can raise a question, whether humans should endanger their own milieu and the process from which they stem. The Noah’s principle is named from the biblical Noah and the principle argues that the usefulness of a species is not considered when discussing its conservation, but rather its very presence in the long history of evolution is sufficient to warrant its preservation. Since most of the loss of biodiversity has been caused by human beings through the loss of habitat, overexploitation and other activities, the Environmental ethics says that- humans must have to protect the biodiversity of nature.
The Environmental Ethics demands extension of rights to species and landforms. According to the ethical point of view, the biodiversity and land forms have their rights to exist with us because of the simple reason that its long standing existence in Nature is deemed to carry with it the ‘ unimpeachable right’ to continued existence.
The Harward Biologist E. O. Wilson is of the opinion that love of nature has been deep rooted into us by the process of Natural Selection. The religious feelings about biodiversity can be seen as a natural extension of a tendency to focus on life and life like processes. Wilson coined the word “Biophilia” for this tendency. This tendency is seen in the form of human desire to remain surrounded by biodiversity and to manage natural things and also the artificial Greenland.
E.O.Wilson (Harward University Gazette)
The Anthropocentric values centre around economic benefits, services of ecosystems; regulations of climate by biodiversity, generation of moisture and oxygen by plants and animals; formation of soil and improvement of fertility; de-toxification of wastes by organisms; and Aesthetic and recreational benefits.
There are two angles of thought regarding the value of biodiversity. The first angle of thought confines itself to the objective assessment of ecological processes and the second relates to moral, philosophical and political aspects. The first angle of thought may rightly be called as anthropocentric value where as the second angle of thought may be called as intrinsic Value. Hence intrinsic value relates to the values of biodiversity that are based on Aesthetic or Moral & Ethical or Spiritual thought. Thus intrinsic values may be classified into two groups – Aesthetic or Moral Values, and Ethical or Spiritual Values.
Biodiversity is the beauty of Nature. It is wonderful. It makes great contributions to our knowledge. Most of the human imagination and creativity depend on Biodiversity. Human beings have evolutionary attachment with forests and its diversity and inherit love and attachment with nature and its components. Some rare species of trees often provide food and shelter to varieties of organisms during periods of crisis. Such species are called as Key Stone Species. Major part of art, poetry, songs, music, dance, and literature in different parts of the world is filled with the expression of values of nature and its diversity. The Earth Dance of the tribes of Jharkhand and other parts of India, and worship of trees by tribal and Hindu societies are important examples of the expressions of aesthetic and moral values of Nature and its biodiversity. However, now the tendencies of human beings have changed upto such an extent that much of the biodiversity have been depleted by human hands alone.
According to R. Noss (1996), - “99 percent of all species that ever lived are now extinct. But, I think we have an obligation, now, in our generation and in foreseeable generations, to try to protect every species, try to maintain every species, because virtually every species that is going extinct now is going extinct due to human activity not because of natural process.”
People love life and have emotions for it. Many sections of society worship particular trees and animals and protect them, sometimes even at the cost of their lives. Protection of Khejri Trees and Black buck by Bisnois is an important example. Hindus worship Neem, Amla, Peepal, Banyan, Tulsi, Ashoka, Kadamba, Bel etc. plants and regard these plants as sacred. In the same way they protect cows and their offspring, oxen, peacock, lion, etc. as they consider these animals as vahanas (means of transport) of different gods and goddesses. Many Hindus worship elephant because they consider the elephant as a form of Lord Ganesh. Thus spiritual values of biodiversity protect our plants and animals in many parts of the world. These values of biodiversity are expressed in most of the religions and cultures followed by different sections of people across the world.
Leaves and trunk of the Sacred Peepal Tree
Tulsi: the sacred Basil plant
Florets of Basil Plant
Key words :intrinsic,International Year of Biodiversity, key- stone species, E.O. Wilson