Thursday, July 17, 2008

honour for chickens and compassion by humans

Continuing from the last post: One of the things we were crazy for in college was a free chicken leg. The day the hostel mess had chicken for lunch; it was a dash from the lectures. It was like our very existence was at stake if we didn’t get a good chicken piece.

I am not sure why there is so much at stake for a chicken piece because over a period of time specially since a decade or more back when I gave up non veg and stuck to veg food I started noticing people at parties and how they used to inch towards chicken items and often overate just to have their hands on an extra chicken piece.

It also maybe possible that when I gave up non veg did I acutely get aware of nature and animals around me. It is quite a site to see the way these winged birds are transported for slaughtering. I am sure the people in the trade over a period of time become used to this or anyway as they say “ they anyway are going to be killed so why care”. Strange attitude!! I also wonder how no organization, political party or individuals don’t raise their voice against this. I am sure animals also have honour. If we forget about animal honour what about human compassion???

Non veg specially chicken was a really sought after thing in the college. in the mess if the lunch had chicken on its menu we would ensure that we would do a 100m sprint from our lectures even if it involved a little pushing and shoving.

the clock has moved and with age comes maturity. but i am amazed at the fact that we were so blind that we never during those fun filled days looked or questioned "how is the chicken transported, stored and cooked"

maybe had it not been for the fact i turned a veg a decade or more back and that now i look at everything nature has to offer much closely that i see scenes which shake me to my foundation. a few photos i clicked on the move. the photos are on hens being transported for slaughter. how can one eat after seing this? however do humans specially the religious kind who feel that no meat on tuesday and saturday get themselves to put dead meat of this kind in their mouth. how can no political party, organisation or individual not object to such inhuman treatment of animals.

Monday, July 14, 2008

and here's the article from indian express about river yamuna with a view of the shit stream joining najafgarh drain from gurgaon.

New Delhi, July 13 57% of Delhi’s waste is dumped in the Yamuna.
The sole water source for Delhi’s burgeoning population is fast losing ground, with environmentalists describing the Yamuna as a “dead river”. Here is a ‘postmortem’ on what caused the ‘death’
* The Yamuna’s 22-km stretch in Delhi is barely 2 per cent of the length of the river, but contributes over 70 per cent of the pollution load.
* Pollution levels in the Yamuna have risen. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) load has increased by 2.5 times between 1980 and 2005 - from 117 tonnes per day (TPD) in 1980 to 276 TPD in 2005.
* Delhi discharges about 3,684 MLD (million litres per day) of sewage into the Yamuna.
* The faecal coliform count, which indicates the presence of disease causing micro-organisms, is nearly 25,000 times more than the limit prescribed for bathing.
* Delhi and Agra together account for 90 per cent of the pollution in the river.
* The Capital has 16 drains discharging treated and untreated wastewater/sewage into Yamuna.
* Approximately 1,900 MLD of waste water is discharged from the municipal sector and 320 MLD from the industrial sector. The installed capacity for treatment is 1,270 MLD.
* The Najafgarh drain contributes to 60 per cent of the total wastewater and 45 per cent of the total BOD load being discharged from Delhi into the Yamuna. The municipal wastewater has increased from 960 MLD in 1977 to 1,900 MLD in 1997.
* The capacity for treatment has been increased from 450 MLD in 1977 to 1,270 MLD in 1997.
* A Central Pollution Control Board study on river water quality at the upstream of Wazirabad shows dissolved oxygen (DO) level at 7.5 mg/l and BOD level at 2.3 mg/l.
* At downstream Okhla, the DO level declined to 1.3 mg/l with the BOD at 16 mg/l, indicating considerable deterioration in water quality due to discharge of sewage and industrial effluents.
* The coliform count at Wazirabad is 8,506/100 ml whereas at Okhla, it increases to 3,29,312/100 ml, as against the prescribed standard of 500/100 ml.

The Sahibi or Sabi River originates in Jaipur District of the state of Rajasthan. After passing through Alwar District in Rajasthan and Gurgaon District in the state of Haryana it enters Delhi near Dhansa.
In the earlier years, the discharges in Sahibi used to moderate till the same reached Delhi. Due to interception of Jahajgarh and other jheels and the under ground reservoirs of Rajasthan and Haryana,very little quantity of water used to enter Delhi. Due to land developments and improvement in Drainage system in Haryana, it is seen that every year, the quantity of water entering Delhi increased and the Najafgarh Jheel areas started remaining under water for the full year. To check this entry of water in Delhi, the bund and regulator at dhansa were constructed in the Year 1964 and the same year there had been an unprecedented heavy flood in Sahibi which caused breach in Dhansa Bund and resulted in submergence of most of areas of Najafgarh Block in deep waters.
Instances of heavy flood in Sahibi have been in the years 1967 and 1977. Though the flood of 1967 did not make any damage in Delhi area but 1977 flood created even worse position than 1964, when even the far off colonies of Delhi like Janakpuri, etc. were threatened by the flood waters.

This is now the famous najafgarh drain which is the 60% cause of all pollution in river yamuna.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tree Planting : The Eucalyptus Angle

Eucalyptus was called the wonder tree. Indian Forest Department in the 1970s felt that they had found an ideal solution to increase forest cover. Eucalyptus grows very fast and hence, along major highways (for example, Delhi-Chandigarh) it was planted copiously. However as more information was gathered, there were facts about the eucalyptus that had not been accounted for. I picked up these two articles on the net and subsequently read a little about eucalyptus.
James Randerson, science correspondent of The Guardian on Friday December 23, 2005: “Neutralising your carbon emissions is becoming the must-do activity for the eco-conscious citizen. But now an international team of scientists has raised an unexpected objection: some tree-planting projects may, they suggest, be doing more harm than good.”
Researchers have found that planting trees to soak up carbon can have detrimental knock- on effects. "I believe we haven't thought through the consequences of this," says team-member Robert Jackson at Duke University, North Carolina, "I think the policy could backfire on us, but it will take decades to play out." Dr Jackson says the two most common plantation species are pines and eucalyptus trees. These fast-growing species rapidly suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but they result in monoculture forests which support a meagre range of biodiversity. Dr Jackson stresses that planting trees is not a bad thing per se, but schemes that are not well thought through can turn out to be environmentally harmful.
Times of India Delhi, November 1, 2002: “There are a number of misconceptions associated with Eucalyptus trees, which is causing panic among the residents of Noida. The most serious among them is the belief that nothing grows under an Eucalyptus and that these are detrimental to the water level of an area. But is Eucalyptus really harmful to the environment as has been made out by a section of the society?”
“Well, most of these stories are actually myths. A survey had been carried out in Dehradun, which showed that about 223 varieties of plants grew under a Eucalyptus compared to a much smaller number of plants under a Sal tree. Since this species grow very fast it consumes more water. But even that does not mean that the water level of the area goes down as its roots do not go below 10 feet,” assures V.M. Arora, O.S.D. (Forest), Noida Authority. In 1853, the British planted this Australian tree for the first time in Nilgiri Hills, some of which can still be found there. “But the water level of these hill stations has not gone down nor has it hampered the growth of other plants,” adds Arora.

From Wikipedia I found the following on Eucalyptus:
Eucalyptus (From Greek, ευκάλυπτος meaning "well covered") is a diverse genus of trees (and a few shrubs), the members of which dominate the tree flora of Australia. There are more than seven hundred species of Eucalyptus, mostly native to Australia, with a very small number found in adjacent parts of New Guinea and Indonesia and one as far north as the Philippines islands.

An essential oil extracted from eucalyptus leaves contains compounds that are powerful natural disinfectants and which can be toxic in large quantities. Many Eucalyptus species have a habit of dropping entire branches off as they grow. Eucalyptus forests are littered with dead branches. On warm days vapourised eucalyptus oil rises above the bush to create the characteristic distant blue haze of the Australian landscape. Eucalyptus oil is highly flammable (trees have been known to explode and bush fires can travel easily through the oil-rich air of the tree crowns.) The dead bark and fallen branches are also flammable. Eucalyptus are the basis for several industries, such as sawmilling, pulp, charcoal and others. Several species have become invasive and are causing major problems for local ecosystems, mainly due to the absence of wildlife corridors and rotations management.

It is quite clear that native or local solutions work best. Sometimes humans in their quest for finding short term fast solutions forget the fact that nature has different designs. We humans still have to acquire a lot of knowledge in the natural process, to say things with certainty. AMEN!