Category Archives: Pollution

Grapes warn you of global warming

English: Wine grapes. Español: Uvas de vino ro...

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It takes one million grapes to make just about 1,600 bottles of wine. Grapes are sensitive little temperature gauges. They grow within a narrow band of temperatures and have very specific tastes in soil, sunlight and water. Rising temperatures are already changing wines, pushing harvest seasons earlier, raising alcohol levels, and fueling a decade of world-class vintages. By 2100, nearly all of California’s wine regions will become unusable.


Where will freshwater come from?

English: The Thermal power station at Richemon...

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Projected increase in production in six sectors will put a severe stress on India’s freshwater resource.

In 2008 the six sectors together withdrew about 41.5 million cubic meters of freshwater [a cubic meter is 1000 litres]. This is equivalent to freshwater demand of one billion people on a daily basis at a low per capita use of 40 liters per day.

All industries will consume 5600 million cubic meters freshwater. This is more than water required for drinking and cooking of over one billion people on a daily basis. Continue reading

India will draw coal four times more than now

Castle Gate Power Plant near Helper by David J...

Image via Wikipedia

Demand from the key six big sectors will grow fourfold to two billion tons by 2030. Home production of coal by that time will be about 1.5 billion tons. Demand at two billion.

Business as usual will have India import about 500 million tons of coal to meet requirements of just the six sectors. Even in low carbon coal need will be about 1.5 billion tons in 2030, thrice the current level of production.

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Alexander Parkes & that plastic thing…

It was Alexander Parkes who invented plastic in 1855; little did he know that it would turn into a curse polluting every thing it touched. 150 years later we are still trying to get rid of it. Tons enter the world’s oceans annually and endanger marine life. Continue reading

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Drumsticks don’t just make for great taste in cooking…

Drumstick grows widely in India. The potential somehow remains unrealized of using the seed to clarify water.

Just two of a drumstick’s seeds can clean a liter of turbid water. Its beans and twigs are almost magical. You can extract oil, provide nutrition when you eat and when you can serve as a useful medicine.

The seeds have an inherent ability to purify water. The dried beans when ground to a powder, work as natural flocculation agents.

Flocculation is the first step in water purification and the plant’s seeds provide an alternative to alum, iron salts, and even synthetic polymers. These chemicals harm both environment and health. Alum salts have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

A drumstick seeds is an efficient coagulating agent when extracted. In parts of Botswana, water purification has been done with the seeds for many centuries.

It’s not as if the government is not aware of its potential. The department of drinking water supply in India compiled a two-volume compendium of rural water supply and sanitation research projects. One of the sanitation studies tested the efficacy of drumstick seeds as a purification agent in a Tamil Nadu village some years ago. Three villages along the River Bhavani were selected as they were drinking the river’s low-quality water.

Drumstick seed power significantly reduces water turbidity and bacterial count.

It’s not a complete solution, however. It cannot guarantee potable water and some additional treatment will be needed. But the important thing is that it reduces turbidity of water with bacterial reduction of above 90 per cent.

Before doing it at a village tank, a simple jar test can be conducted with seed powder with 100, 200, and 400 mg per liter of water. The jar should be stirred vigorously for a minute, followed by a gentle steering. The sample is allowed to settle for 60 minutes. The lowest and best clarification dose is chosen by the village health workers.

The government is not willing to accept it yet. It remains a viable local low-cost alternative, but outside of the government’s schemes.

(Pic source:

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Listen to the land breathing…

Try this sometime. Find a starry night, go outdoors, lie down with your ear to the ground on a quite piece of land, and listen to the soil respiring, beyond the sound of your own breathing.

The soil-to-air cycle of carbon dioxide or soil respiration is a major source of CO2 emission. Continue reading

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Travails of the Kitchen

Dependence on firewood continues even in a flood-hit village in Koppal district. (Pic: Savita Hiremath).

Cooking fuels and stoves still make up for most of kitchen fuel needs across India. Use of forest wood, cow dung and other such biomass keep the house warm beyond being used merely for cooking.

What people don’t seem to see that the constant churn of smoke in a house can harm the lungs more than Continue reading

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A new kind of riot in the making

We have been familiar with riots of farmers who dispute Cauvery water being offered to Tamil Nadu or TN farmers staging protests of how Karnataka is not giving them water.

There is a different kind of riot now in the making over the next ten years. Continue reading

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