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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The work of a Child Scientist

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The impact of Climate Change on agricultural productivity is a topic much talked about. Recently, two girl students presenting their project report on the” Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture of Jharkhand” in Children’s Science Congress organized by Kendriya Vidyalayas in Ranchi, categorically told that changes in climate are causing agriculture production to go down. They showed interviews with farmers in a small video.

The Children’s Science Congress is organized every year by the National Council of Science and Technology Communication Network, New Delhi in which students prepare their projects around a central theme and the theme for this year’s congress is the Climate Change. This was a small project about which I cannot guess whether it may reach to any higher level or not.

About a week later, I read in a news paper about a published research work on the Impact of Air Pollution on Productivity of agriculture focusing on Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand. The study presents a statistical model which shows that averaged over India, yields in 2010 were up to 36 per cent lower for wheat than they otherwise would have been, absent climate and pollutant emission trends, with some densely populated states experiencing 50 per cent relative yield loss.

The researchers have been reported to have been of the opinion that much of the drop in yield was due to air pollution, a principal factor behind the climate change. The air pollution – which is caused especially due to fine particles like soot and ozone generated by sunlight acting on emission of precursor molecules.

The researchers reportedly found that the yield of wheat in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand had fallen up to 50 per cent of what the yield otherwise could have been. Similar cases have also been reported from some other Indian states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand though it has also been reported that in Punjab and Haryana the impact was negligible. The researchers suggested that air cleaning, and the use of improved chullhas in rural sectors, control over emissions from transport and electric generation sector were some of the important measures to control the condition. The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has also recommended the study as per reports.

Now let me tell you that this research has been done by two researchers of the University of  California at San Diego in U.S. and Scrips Institution of Oceanography who presented their paper in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Now compare the project work presented by two girl children in the zonal congress of Kendriya Vidyalayas through small video, write up, and posters that remained a Child’s Project and that may not be published as a paper and the paper presented by these workers in the PNAS. Let our Child Scientists be recognised and  rewarded properly and adequately.

Key Words: Children’s Science Congress, Climate Change, Agriculture

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