Check pollution of irrigational sources: Pudukottai Collector

Farmers oriented towards tank modernisation projects

PUDUKOTTAI: Irrigational sources should be free from pollution for ensuring safe agricultural operation and enhancing productivity.

To achieve this goal, farmers should take steps to protect the ground water and the surface sources, observed A. Suganthi, Collector.

Presiding over a meeting of the representatives of the Water User Associations (WUA) of the Agniyar, Ambuliyar, South Vellar and Pambar sub-basins in the district on Tuesday, the Collector said that farmers had a dual responsibility of stepping up productivity and also protection of the natural resources, particularly soil and ground and irrigational water.

Massive projects were being executed on the Agniyar, Ambuliyar, South Vellar and Pambar with a view to restoring the original ayacut of these sub-basins under the “Irrigated Agriculture Modernisation and Water bodies Restoration and Management” (I AMWARM) scheme. As many as 850 tanks were located in these sub-basins and an equal number of WUAs, at the rate of one WUA for every tank, would ensure efficient management of irrigational water. These WUAs were being formed through election in local villages. Barring a few areas, election to the WUAs had been conducted for a major number of tanks. The Collector appealed to the WUA representatives to take maximum advantage of the IAMWARM scheme. R. Selvaraj, Executive Engineer, South Vellar Sub-basin, Pudukottai, said that the objective of the meeting was to sensitise the farmers about the various works being executed jointly by various departments and agencies including the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University; Animal Husbandry Department; Agricultural Engineering Department and Horticulture Department. Works on the South Vellar and Pambar sub-basins would be completed shortly.

S. Natarajan, Executive Engineer, said that the work on modernisation of tanks on the Agniyar and the Ambuliyar sub-basins were in full swing.

From THE HINDU

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Treatment for pollution from fire-fighting foam

Melbourne: An Australian team led by a scientist of Indian origin claims to have developed a groundbreaking solution for treating water and soil pollution from the toxic remnants of fire-fighting foam.

Breakthrough

This breakthrough comes at a time of growing global concerns over cancer and environmental risks of long-lasting chemicals found in the foams that have been used for half a century.

The team from the CRC CARE (Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment) has developed a new substance called MatCARETM to treat waste-water remnants at a fire site or practice area that has been hosed down.

According to lead scientist of CRC CARE Ravi Naidu, the advance is based on the use of modified natural materials that break down the foam’s chemicals into harmless substances.

“There are over 49, 000 airports around the world, including 450 civilian and military airports in Australia alone. Many of these have used foam in fire-fighting exercises for many years, as well as in actual aircraft fires, and the chemicals have been subsequently detected in nearby groundwater and streams.

Practical, cost-effective

“It is the first practical, cost-effective clean-up solution to the large-scale water and soil pollution caused by decades of foam use all over the world,” said Professor Naidu.

“Both PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) increase effectiveness of the foam as a fire quencher. However, both are highly toxic chemicals and if they enter local water sources, they can accumulate in the food chain and in humans.

— PTI. From THE HINDU

Reasons for marine pollution explained

At ‘pollution response seminar-cum-workshop’

Tuticorin: The Indian Coast Guard Station, Tuticorin, has organised a ‘pollution response seminar-cum-workshop’ to take stock of the preparedness in combating the likelihood or possible threat of marine pollution along the coastal districts of Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari. The programme was organised on the premises of ICGS here on Tuesday.

Stating various reasons for marine pollution, Commandant Udhal Singh, Station Commander, Coast Guard Station, Tuticorin, who inaugurated the session, said that the entire stretch of 190 km coastal line from Kilakarai (Ramanathapuram district) to Kanyakumari could face an environmental threat, owing to oil spill which might happen because of transportation by shipping of huge quantity of crude oil to the Tuticorin Port Trust.

TIPS:Commandant Udhal Singh, Station Commander, Coast Guard Station, Tuticorin, addressing a seminar on Tuesday.

Harmful to aquaculture

Marine pollution might happen due to collision, grounding of tanker carrying oil, discharge of residues and oil mixture by the ship at sea causing harm to aquaculture.

Agencies

The sensitive marine animals were also facing annihilation because of the polluted waters at sea. “Some of the resource agencies which are required to support Coast Guard in regard to duties of Central Coordinating Agencies for response to marine pollution are Indian Navy, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), oil refineries, Oil India Limited, major ports, Ministry of Surface Transport, Ministry of Environmental and Forest, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Ocean Development, coastal state authorities, DG Shipping, Mercantile Marine Department, Shipping Corporation of India and Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, he said.

“These are required to be in possession of requisite equipment in combating any oil pollution at sea”, Mr. Udhal Singh added. The Coast Guard personnel made a presentation of various risk factors against a backdrop of oil spillage at sea. They also explained the methodology of detecting the oil spill, which could be executed under the influence of air surveillance.

Meanwhile, several search operations for surveying the possible oil slick movement were shown, with power point presentation.

Special measures were being taken to protect the coastal environment from pollution by mass cleaning of shoreline along the coast. The consequences of marine activities following the accidental risk of oil spill were also highlighted during the schedule.

The personnel from the coordinating agencies enunciated the oil spill disaster contingency plan.

Representatives from the district administration, IOC, Tuticorin Port Trust, SPIC Limited, Fisheries Department and Coastal State Board participated.

From The Hindu

Chennai: Noise pollution exceeds limits

Comprehensive study carried out at traffic junctions

CHENNAI: Noise levels at major traffic junctions in the city, including Ashok Pillar, Koyambedu, Vadapalani, Saidapet, Anna Salai near LIC building, Anna Nagar roundabout and Madras Medical College are well above the permissible extent.

NOISY AFFAIR: Noise from vehicles contributes to the high pollution levels in several spots in the city, such as this on Anna Salai on Tuesday. — Photo: S. Thanthoni

According to Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, the Ambient Air Quality Standards in respect of noise in areas categorised as commercial area is 65 decibels (db) for day time and 55 db for night time. Data recorded by the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board shows that the Pachaiyappa’s College junction recorded 80.6 db, the highest among other spots in the city.

It was measured during the day time, which is between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The data was recorded in the end of 2008, said to be one of the few comprehensive studies carried out by the Board at traffic junctions. The noise recorded by the Board at over 20 locations in the city using noise level metres was mainly vehicular noise that included sounds of horns, in some cases air horns, engine noise and noises of vehicles moving. Sounds of civil works being carried out on the road side, noises from loud speakers and even sounds of people talking on mobile phones add to the noise levels, said officials of the Board.

According to the study, the noise level during the day time was 78.8 db near the Gemini flyover, 78.5 db near the LIC building, 78.6 db around the autorickshaw stand inside the Central railway station, 78.6 db at the Vadapalani junction, 75.7 db near the Saidapet bus terminus, 77.7 db near the Madras Medical College, 77.1 db near the Ashok Pillar, 76.9 db near the Anna Nagar roundabout and 71.3 db near the bus stop near the Egmore railway station.

Advocate K.V.P. Deepakraj, a resident of Mylapore, said that police should take steps to issue memos to vehicles using loud horns. “It is a nuisance. They issue memos and book cases for not wearing helmets and seat belts sometimes. In other countries people do not sound horns unless absolutely necessary. Stringent measures by the concerned authorities would help bring down the noise levels caused by vehicular horns,” he said.

Deepa H Ramakrishnan From THE HINDU

So how much does your vehicle pollute?

BANGALORE: If you don’t have the Pollution Under Check (PUC) certificate for your vehicle, it’s time to get one soon. The transport department is planning to digitize its 450 emission testing centres in the state, of which 287 are in Bangalore.

Once this process is complete, vehicle owners without the PUC certificate will get a reminder via email or an SMS.
The project will be implemented in another two months in all 55 RTO centres across the state. The transport department decided to digitize the process after it was revealed that only 18% of vehicles have emission certificate, which is valid for six months.

“The main aim is to ensure that all vehicles are following emission norms. This technology will help us gather data from across the state. The government is not spending on this project; it is being handled by Keonics,” transport commissioner Bhaskar Rao said.

“It’s a mammoth task for the department to collect data from 450 emission testing centres every month. In the new process, the department will have a central server, which will be connected to all emission testing centres. The data recorded in each centre will be stored in this central server,” officials said.

The PUC stamp is also necessary for getting a fitness certificate for your vehicle. “The emission testing equipment should be de-carbonized regularly. The digitization process will help the department keep track on all emission testing centres,” said a transport department official.

From TOI

Bangalore: Plastic polluters sent packing

L B Shastrinagar RWA discourages plastic and to make it work, distributes cloth bags among residents

If you are a resident of Lal Bahadur Shastri Nagar, be prepared for a knock on the door to remind you that plastic’s not so fantastic.

Uthkarsh, as L B Nagar Association likes to call itself, started off on its rounds three years ago and now plans to start all over again just to remind people. And they don’t stop there – they also distribute cloth bags among residents for a price.

PERSONAL TO PUBLIC

The idea came from two residents who were inspired by a speech. “On January 26, 2007, P Venkatramanan from Indiranagar Residents’ Welfare Association (RISE) gave a speech on the dangers of plastic. That speech really got us thinking and from then, my friend Sarita and I have incorporated the anti-plastic principle at an individual level,” said 36-year-old Trupti Godbole, a member of the Uthkarsh core team that looks at anti-plastic activities.

“When we would go to the grocery shops, we would take our own bags. If we forgot them, we would come back home for the bags, but would never accept plastic bags,” she said.

But after a while, the duo and their team of two, Suresh Kumar and Sujatha Sharma, realised that they had to make other residents aware of the ills of plastic too and thus began the door-to-door campaign.

The campaign also culminated in making cloth that were distributed among residents and put up in neighbourhood grocery shops. “There are 11 apartments in the area like, Kalpatru, Anand Enclave, Itina Abby, Srinidhi Signature and others. We managed to cover eight. We explained how dangerous it was to use plastic and distributed bookmarks that we had made,” said Sarita Kotagiri, an Association member.

Though most residents were aware of the dangers and ready to discard plastic, they were all faced with a standard problem: They needed plastic bags to dispose of their garbage.

“We tried explaining to them that they could line their bins with newspapers and then throw the garbage outside. Many people agreed,” said Sarita.

BAGS GET BETTER

The other problem was the bags. The association would initially get leftover cloth from tailor shops and turn them into bags which they distributed for a paltry sum. The Association for Promotion of Social Action (APSA), where 25-year-old Sarita is a volunteer, agreed to make the cloth bags.

“When there were complaints that residents would forget their bags and end up using plastic, we kept some bags with the security guards in the apartments so that if residents forgot, they could get it from them.”

Soon, people started complaining that the bags were not very comfortable and they did not like carrying them.

“After getting negative feedback, we decided to shift to non-woven fabric bags, that are both eco-friendly and that can be kept in pockets or laptop bags. It can even be washed. We asked residents to give away their old curtains and bedsheets, which we converted to cloth bags and gave to shopkeepers for home delivery,” said Trupti.

By Gayatri Nair from Bangalore Mirror

China and India to Report their Global Warming Pollution Every 2 Years

Both China and India have now reaffirmed that they will report their global warming emissions every 2 years.  The framework of this was agreed in the Copenhagen Accord which outlined that every two years developing countries will report their national emissions inventories and emission reduction actions based upon internationally agreed guidelines.

And now two key players in those portions of the agreement have just reiterated to domestic audiences that they will implement this provision.  That is a very positive move which takes further international steps to address global warming as agreed in the Copenhagen Accord

China’s chief climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, highlighted before the National People’s Congress (the legislative body in China) that under the requirements of the Copenhagen Accord, China has agreed to submit an inventory report every two years to the UN Secretariat (as my colleague reported).  And Indian Minister Jairam Ramesh just announced that they will be releasing an emissions inventory for 2007 in May, to be updated every two years (as reported by The Hindu).

So why is this so important from an environmental standpoint?  One of the fundamentals of any environmental policy is a three step process of knowing:

1.Where you currently are (e.g., how good, bad, or ugly is your current environmental situation);
2.Where you want to head (e.g., what are you trying to achieve in order to solve the challenge); and
3.Where you are at various points towards your end goal – point 2 (e.g., in 2 years time are you making good progress towards your goal or not).
Creating a process to improve the assessment of progress.  Before the Copenhagen Accord, the world had an incomplete system of accountability and transparency.  All countries developed national emissions inventories and submitted “National Communications” containing summary information on national emissions, actions that the country was undertaking to reduce emissions, and reports on the country’s progress.  But these National Communications have been extremely limited for developing countries as they have been too infrequent to generate information on current trends.  For the most part, official information on developing country emissions dates back to 1994.  That is an incomplete snapshot as we know that those emissions have changed dramatically since then.  For example in 1994 China and India accounted for 14 and 4% of the world’s emissions from fossil fuels and now they account for 22 and 5%, respectively  — both country’s emissions essentially doubling over that timeframe.*

So the announcements by Chinese and Indian officials are important steps to improve the environmental assessment provisions of the international framework.  And it will add confidence to efforts to regularly assess the progress that countries are making towards their commitments recorded as a part of the Copenhagen Accord

Going into Copenhagen we effectively had official global warming emissions from developing countries reported every 15 years and now we have emissions reported every 2 years.  A point highlighted by Minister Ramesh: “The last data on emissions dates back to 1994”.

So the fact that the world didn’t have good, regularly updated, and consistent information on where key countries emissions stood and a system to regularly assess progress was a significant limitation.  But this limitation is slowly being eliminated as countries take concrete steps to implement the key provisions of the Copenhagen Accord.  China and India have now reaffirmed to important domestic audiences that they will move forward domestically with the transparency provisions – a critical cornerstone of the agreement reached in Copenhagen.

By Jake Schmidt From NRDC.org