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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Monday, 16 November 2015

Trees have slowed their pace of absorbing carbon dioxide



Forests play an important  role in stemming global warming  by absorbing carbon dioxide -- the most abundant Greenhouse gas -- from the atmosphere . But a study says that trees have slowed their response  to a warming climate. The trees were slowing  down the process  of sprouting leaves. The slowdown suggests a current and possible future weakening of forests' carbon uptake due to the declining temperature sensitivity of trees.The researchers  found that the trees' response (to earlier spring) had declined over the past three decades, and strong winter warming may further reduce it.The authors believe the trees may be trying  to protect themselves against  cold weather.

 Source. Down to Earth (magazine) 16-31 October 2015



Tuesday, 10 November 2015

This Diwali make a pledge to reduce environmental pollution, not increase it.

 Harm caused by fireworks:


1.      Air Pollution
A heavy smog hangs low in the air on Diwali night and a few days after that. While we ignore the smell - and some even claim to like it - we can't ignore the fact that we are inhaling poison. The pollutant levels are injurious to our respiratory passages, especially Asthma patients.
Toxic Element
Fireworks Usage
Toxic Effect of Fallout Dust & Fumes
Aluminium
brilliant whites
Skin allergy, lung irritation, bioaccumulation
Antimony sulphide
glitter effects
Toxic smoke, possible carcinogen
Arsenic compounds
colourants
Lung cancer, skin irritation and wart formation.
Barium Nitrate
glittering greens
Respiratory tract irritation, possible radioactive fallout.
Copper compounds
blues
Can bio-accumulate. Cancer risk.
Hexa-chlorobenzene (HCB)
Use was supposed to be banned globally.
Persistent environmental toxin. Is a carcinogen, mutagen and a reproductive hazard
Lead Dioxide / Nitrate / Chloride
oxidizer
Bioaccumulation, developmental danger for kids & unborn babes, may remain airborne for days, poisonous to plants & animals
Lithium compounds
blazing reds
Toxic and irritating fumes when burned
Mercury (Mercurous chloride)
chlorine donor
Toxic heavy metal. Can bio-accumulate.
Nitric oxide
fireworks by-product
Toxic by inhalation. Is a free radical
Nitrogen dioxide
fireworks by-product
Highly toxic by inhalation. SIDS risk.
Ozone
fireworks by-product
Greenhouse gas that attacks & irritates lungs
Perchlorate -
Ammonium & Potassium
propellant / oxidizer
Can contaminate ground & surface waters, can cause thyroid problems in humans & animals
Potassium Nitrate
in black powder
Toxic dusts, carcinogenic sulphur-coal compound
Strontium compounds
blazing reds
Can replace calcium in body. Strontium chloride is slightly toxic.
Sulphur Dioxide
gaseous by-product of sulphur combustion
Acid rain from sulphuric acid affects water sources, vegetation & causes property damage. SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) risk.

2.      Noise Pollution
Fireworks can exceed 140 decibels and noise at 85 decibels or above can damage hearing. Prolonged exposure to such high levels of noise can lead to permanent damage of the eardrums. In the middle of the night fireworks often disturb people trying to sleep. There are also cases where people have suffered from heart attack due to the high noise.
Humans are not the only species affected. Birds and wildlife are known to suffer extensively. Numerous pets are reported to panic due to sudden and excessive noise. Their stress levels were reported to be higher during Diwali than any other time of the year.
3.      Garbage
The amount of garbage released on the day after Diwali is phenomenal. Approximately 4,000 additional metric tonnes of garbage are released in Delhi alone, and twice the amount in Mumbai. And this garbage, far from being eco-friendly, is extremely hazardous for the environment as it comprises of chemicals like phosphorous, sulphur and potassium chlorate, and tonnes of burnt paper. Fireworks use plastic plus paper & cardboard (which kills trees) and are all made at factories that pollute.
4.      Accidents
Numerous fire accidents occur every year. Rough estimates claim that nearly 10,000 people get injured by the crackers. Most of the injuries are minor, but cause an untold amount of pain. Most of the victims are children in the age group of 8-16. Other accidents cause extensive building fires, especially in places where crackers are stored in bulk.
5.      Child Exploitation
Our children are fortunate to be part of the privileged few that can afford firecrackers. But there are numerous children who are employed by the firecracker industry, who sit late into the night making crackers for our children to burn in an instant. Firecrackers are made using harmful chemicals and acids, and these children work from dawn to dusk, breathing such harmful fumes and coming into constant skin contact with the acids. They burn their hands, legs and eyes, and many get maimed for life. The conditions they work in are inhuman, and the compensation, pitiful.

Fireworks Alternatives

  • Switching to an environmentally friendly laser light show
  • A stunt kite show at night with some LED's
  • Watching the stars or organize an outdoor movie.
  • Some people are organizing community drum circles and drumming instead of lighting fireworks.
  • Indoor fireworks projectors are small devices that can be used indoors that produce convincing reproductions of firework displays as well as simulating the noise of real fireworks.
  • Electronic fireworks display lamps produce colourful explosions of light all night long without the pollution or noise of real fireworks.
  • Electronic pyrotechnics don't use explosives either. Electronic blasts can form a canopy up to 25 feet in the air that rain down glitter, confetti, rose petals or even candy.
Just imagine all the possible more meaningful and beneficial ways we could use all the money spent on fireworks that wouldn't pollute our environment.

Wish you all Healthy, Safe, Eco-friendly and Prosperous Diwali......






Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

 दुर्गम ग्रामीण जंगलाच्या आजूबाजूच्या भागातील आदिवासी बांधवासाठी तसेच विद्यार्थ्यामध्ये निसर्गातील घटकां  विषयी प्रेम आपुलकी निर्माण व्हावी म्हणून संस्था कार्य करीत आहे .त्या कार्याचाच  भाग म्हणून सातारा जिल्हातील जावळी तालुक्यातील डोंगर रागांच्या कुशीतील कोयना नदीच्या काठी  वसलेल्या खरोशी गावातील डॉ.कर्मवीर भाऊराव पाटील रयत शिक्षण संस्थेच्या  शाळेत साप आणि विंचू,त्याच्या दंशा विषयी आणि प्रथोमपचारा विषयी शास्त्रीय माहिती आणि  बॉम्बे नॅचरल हिस्टरी सोसायटीचे शिक्षकासाठी असलेले निसर्ग विषयक मार्गदर्शक पुस्तक निसर्ग विज्ञान संस्थेच्या वतीने शाळेला विनामुल्य भेट देण्यात आले.
























शाळे भोवतालचा परिसर .


          कोयना  नदी 









कारवी  फुलली 



Monday, 5 October 2015

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Monday, 3 August 2015

Artificial glaciers and Chewang Norphel




Glacier Man

CHEWANG  NORPHEL

 A retired civil engineer battles climate change in the Himalayas, building artificial glaciers that provide irrigation water to mountain villages

At more than 4000 meters above sea level in the trans-Himalayas, the air is so thin that it can be a struggle simply to breathe. Yet Chewang Norphel is almost jogging across the boulder-strewn landscape, with goatlike agility that belies his 80 years. Tonight, he will sleep in a tent 1000 meters higher up, at temperatures that dip 10°C below freezing, so as to continue his work in the morning. And what unusual work it is: Norphel makes glaciers. He takes a barren, high-altitude desert and turns it into a field of ice that supplies perfectly timed irrigation water to some of the worlds poorest farmers.
 So far, Norphel has built 10 artificial glaciers, which sustain crops that feed some
 10,000 people. Its become his obsession. “When it is ver y cold and ver y diff icult work, I have to remain  focused. All I can think about is making the most successful glacier.


He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015


He spends his time at home tending to his garden along with his wife. Most of his household consumption vegetables & fruits are sourced from here. He has also developed an underground storage place to store vegetables. This natural preservation can keep onions fresh for over 9 months!

 


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

RIP Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam



This is the oath taken and encouraged to be shared by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, which he stood by his entire life. It is the testament to his life and his dedication to science and environment! RIP Dr. Kalam                                                        
1)  I realize that every mature tree by photosynthesis absorbs 20 kgs of Carbon dioxide every year. By the same process each tree lets out about 14 Kg of Oxygen every year.
2)  I will plant and nurture ten trees and will ensure my parents, my sisters and brothers plant trees and my neighbours also plant ten trees each. I will be an ambassador for tree mission in my locality.
 3)  I will keep my house and its surroundings clean and use products which are bio-degradable to the extent possible
 4)  I will promote a culture of environment friendliness, through recycling and conservation of water and other recyclable materials both at home and school.
 5)  When I take a professional career, I will take decision with respect of organizational  processes which protects the environment and preserves the bio-diversity.
 6)  I will encourage the use of renewable energy to the maximum extent possible.
 7)  I will spread the awareness about the need to preserve the environment in my home, in my      locality and among my student friends.
 8)  I will engage the water conservation, especially by rain water harvesting and spread the message in my family and friends.




World Nature Conservation Day 2015



Celebrated on July 28 each year, World Nature Conservation Day recognizes that a healthy environment is the foundation for a stable and productive society and to ensure the well-being of present and future generations, we all must participate to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage our natural resources.
We all depend on natural resources like water, air, soil, minerals, trees, animals, food, and gas to live our daily lives. To keep the balance in the natural world, we must also help various species to continue to exist. A report from the global conservation organization World Wildlife Foundation suggests that since 1970, the pressure that we exert on the planet has doubled and the resources upon which we depend have declined by 33 percent. Despite the efforts put into conservation by organizations and conservation activists, their work has been undermined by those who have interests.
Conservation of nature is very important, with scientists warning of mass extinctions in the near future. Many nature documentaries show resources that are being wasted. We have made this planet a world of steel and concrete to sustain humanity but at the cost of other species, and it has become more imperative upon us to conserve these resources that are vital to human survival. Trees and plants consume carbon which has increased the planet's temperature, increased storms and sea level rises and freshwater glacier melting that threatens lives. Glaciers are connected to rivers and lakes which we depend on for drinking water through city/town/community services (where did you think your water came from?). Birds, bees and other insects pollinate the plants we need to eat to stay healthy nutritionally. Factory foods provide reduced quality in favor of the financial incentive. Children who spend time exercising their senses in nature have been shown to increase their skills at a faster rate than those who don't. Our planet provides us with all of the resources that modern exploitation have given us, through wood, medicine, water, plants and animals to eat, metals, vitamins, minerals - yet it's exploited for money with systems of varied complexity. Nature has given us SO much. If we don't conserve, we lose these precious privileges to exploitation and abuse of resources.
The natural world is facing an increasing threat from unsustainable practices and the challenge is how to preserve and conserve nature in the process of achieving sustainable development. The state of nature has an impact on human survival, local and global economics, community life, human health and wellbeing.
On this day, let us make a conscious effort to contribute to the local, national, and global efforts in conserving nature and the benefits they provide for the present and future generations.



Monday, 27 July 2015

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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

दुर्मिळ चिंताजनक प्रजाती पैकी व्हेल माश्याचा मृत्यू


जून महिन्यात अलिबाग तालुक्यातील रेवदंडा  येथे दुर्मिळ चिंताजनक प्रजाती पैकी  ४२ फुट व्हेल माश्याचा दुर्दॆवि मृत्यू झाला . त्याचा मृत्यूच्या दुर्दॆवा पेक्षा आमच्या कडील काही महाभाग त्या मृत्यू पावलेल्या माश्याचा शरीरा बरोबर आपले  सेल्फी फोटो काढून आपल्या अडाणीपणाचे,अज्ञानाचे प्रदर्शन करण्यात धन्यता मानत होते.  पण अश्या अडाणी अज्ञानि समाजाला नम्र विनंती आहे कि आपल्याला निसर्गाप्रती काही करता येत नसेल तर किमान पक्षी असले उद्योग तरी करू नकात जेणे करून इतरांना तुमची लाज वाटेल आपलं म्हणण्यास

Friday, 10 July 2015

Waste Dumping in Mumbai

  • In 2011-12, Mumbai alone accounted for 6.11% of total waste generated in India
Ø  630 grams daily estimated waste generation by each resident in land starved Mumbai
  • Current operational landfills:
Ø  Deonar (6000 MT daily) 20 m beyond Airport Authority of India’s prescribed limits
Ø  Mulund (4000 MT daily)
Ø  Kanjurmarg (500 MT daily, 3000 MT capacity)
Ø  Gorai dumping ground scientifically closed in June 2009
  • 12 MT Biomedical waste is incinerated at Deonar plant daily
  • High-level emission of greenhouse gases (methane), recurring fires, stench and diseases
  • Estimates suggest Rs 60,000 crore industry with 10-15% growth potential every year
  • Bioreactor being constructed at Kanjurmarg for methanisation of biodegradable waste, scientific closure of Deonar in phases proposed

Monday, 29 June 2015

Study identifies 6th mass extinction event, lists human activity as primary cause


After years of warnings from ecologists about the dangers of biodiversity loss, a new study has quantified an ongoing mass extinction event — the sixth in our planet’s history — and suggests humans are largely to blame.

The paper, published June 19 in the journal Science Advances, takes a “conservative” approach to measuring the extent of the situation because previous estimates have been criticized for overestimating the severity of the extinction crisis.

The primary researchers — from institutions such as UC Berkeley, Stanford University and the National Autonomous University of Mexico — compared current extinction rates with a normal baseline rate of two mammal extinctions per 10,000 vertebrate species per 100 years. Based on this measure, about nine vertebrate species should have disappeared from the earth since 1900. But the paper’s “conservative” extinction count stands at 477, which should have taken as many as 10,000 years to occur.

Paul Ehrlich, senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and co-author of the study, notes that the species extinction rate is the highest it has been in 65 million years.

“We’re essentially doing to the planet what the meteor did that took care of the dinosaurs,” he said of the data’s implications.

Seth Finnegan, an assistant professor in UC Berkeley’s integrative biology department who specializes in mass extinction, said the researchers’ study contrasts with other studies that tend to estimate modern extinction rates indirectly. For example, some measure areas of destroyed habitats and then extrapolate extinction predictions based on how many species are believed to exist in those areas.

“This study doesn’t take the inferential approach,” he said. “They are tallying up well-documented, well-observed extinctions of mammals.”

Though extinction can occur because of a variety of environmental factors, the study emphasizes humans’ effect on the alarming rate of species loss. According to Finnegan, industrialization has “drastically accelerated humans’ impact on Earth’s ecosystems.”

Co-author Anthony Barnosky, a campus professor of integrative biology, cited a high per-capita use of fossil fuels and the over-exploitation of ecosystems for economic gain as major contributing factors.

“In one or two human lifetimes, we are the ones wiping out what evolution took millions of years to create,” he said.

In addition to being the driving force behind the sixth mass extinction, humans will ultimately face “high moral and aesthetic costs” in as little as three lifetimes, according to Barnosky. Crucial ecosystem services, such as crop pollination and water purification, will suffer if high rates of extinction persist, the study says.

Considering that it took up to millions of years for the planet to rediversify after the previously recorded mass extinctions, the study says, these consequences would be effectively permanent on human time scales.

Ehrlich said that some conservation efforts could potentially slow the process of mass extinction but said he agrees with the study’s conclusion that “the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.”

“Conservation biologists are hard at work trying to stop it,” he said. “But there’s not a hope of changing this in the long run if human populations keep increasing and we maintain a pattern of perpetual growth on a finite planet.”

What’s happening to honey bees?


What happens if all bees die?

Big Five mass extinction events


Although the Cretaceous-Tertiary (or K-T) extinction event is the most well-known because it wiped out the dinosaurs, a series of other mass extinction events has occurred throughout the history of the Earth, some even more devastating than K-T. Mass extinctions are periods in Earth's history when abnormally large numbers of species die out simultaneously or within a limited time frame. The most severe occurred at the end of the Permian period when 96% of all species perished. This, along with K-T, are two of the Big Five mass extinctions, each of which wiped out at least half of all species. Many smaller scale mass extinctions have occurred, indeed the disappearance of many animals and plants at the hands of man in prehistoric, historic and modern times will eventually show up in the fossil record as mass extinctions. Discover more about Earth's major extinction events below.

Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction

The third largest extinction in Earth's history, the Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction had two peak dying times separated by hundreds of thousands of years. During the Ordovician, most life was in the sea, so it was sea creatures such as trilobites, brachiopods and graptolites that were drastically reduced in number.


Late Devonian mass extinction

Three quarters of all species on Earth died out in the Late Devonian mass extinction, though it may have been a series of extinctions over several million years, rather than a single event. Life in the shallow seas were the worst affected, and reefs took a hammering, not returning to their former glory until new types of coral evolved over 100 million years later.


Permian mass extinction

The Permian mass extinction has been nicknamed The Great Dying, since a staggering 96% of species died out. All life on Earth today is descended from the 4% of species that survived.



Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction

During the final 18 million years of the Triassic period, there were two or three phases of extinction whose combined effects created the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction event. Climate change, flood basalt eruptions and an asteroid impact have all been blamed for this loss of life.

Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction

The Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction - also known as the K/T extinction - is famed for the death of the dinosaurs. However, many other organisms perished at the end of the Cretaceous including the ammonites, many flowering plants and the last of the pterosaurs.

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