Matters concerned with Environment

Monday, May 21, 2012

Veerappan den to be tiger haven

Veerappan den to be tiger haven
Kalyan Ray, New Delhi, May 15 2012, DHNS:

For stars with stripes
Roars of tigers may soon be heard in the den of notorious forest brigand Veerappan—Sathyamangalam forest—as the Centre has “in-principle” agreed to declare it a tiger reserve.
“We are in the process of establishing more tiger reserves. Based on our 2010 assessment, a new tiger reserve (Kawal Tiger Reserve, Andhra Pradesh) has been constituted.  Further, ‘in-principle’ approval has also been accorded to declaring the Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu a tiger reserve,” Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said here on Tuesday at a regional stock-taking summit on tiger conservation.
The Sathyamangalam forest was the hideout of Veerappan until he was killed in an encounter in 2004.
This forest is also significant as a wildlife corridor in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats and is a link between four other adjoining areas of Biligiriranga Swamy Temple Wildlife Sanctuary, Sigur Plateau, Mudumalai National Park and Bandipur National Park.
The minister said a national repository of camera trap photo database of tigers is also being set up that would enable linkages with similar repositories in states to keep track of wild tigers.
The Tamil Nadu government, too, stated in the Assembly that it had decided to create the state's fourth tiger reserve in Sathyamangalam on 1,40,924 hectares through a notification. The state has three tiger reserves at Mudumalai, Anaimalai and Kalakad-Mundanthurai.
India's official tiger count now stands at 1706, an increase of 295 tigers from the 2006 tiger estimate. The latest tiger census—based on camera trappings in the night, satellite tracking and prey-base estimates—actually provides a range, suggesting that the total number of tigers in India may vary from 1,571 on the lower side to 1,875 on the upper side.
“The 2010 country-level snapshot assessment of tiger and its habitat has shown an increase of 20 over the 2006 assessment. However, the outcome has highlighted the need for restoring the fringe areas of tiger reserves and connecting forest linkages,” the minister said.  Fourteen wild tigers were poached in 2012 whereas 18 died natural deaths.

The high court stays compulsory consultant accreditation for EIA

High Court relief for environment engineers | Deccan Chronicle
The high court has stayed an official memorandum by the Ministry of Environment and Forests which made it mandatory for environment consultants to obtain accreditation with the National Accreditation Board of Education and Training, Quality Council of India (QCI).

This comes as a major relief for such engineers, who conduct environment impact assessments (EIA) and prepare such reports to obtain prior environment clearance of projects from regulatory authorities. An environmental impact assessment is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the environmental, social and economic aspects.

Experts in the field of environment engineering, who prepared the report argued before the court that such mandatory scheme is illegal and beyond the law. In line with the National Environment Policy, the MoEF had issued Environment Impact Notification, (EIA Notification) in 2006, imposing certain restrictions and prohibitions on new projects or activities. It also mandated that all industrial activities and projects that are listed under the notification must get prior environment clearance.

“As the preparation of EIA Report is necessary for submission of application for clearance, the project proponents generally engage the services of Environment Consultants. However, the official memorandum which is challenged before the court restricted the area of consultancy to the accredited sectors and notified that the EIA reports prepared by non-accredited consultants would not be considered by the Ministry,” states petitioner.

They further state that after the scheme was made compulsory, the consultants were not only precluded from preparing the report and making representations before the appraisal committees but also had to await their turn for consideration of their application. They often have to wait for over a year considering the long queue of applicants and the fact that QCI does not possess the required manpower or the infrastructure.

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer while staying the memorandum also issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests and state government’s department of ecology and environment.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

No Power Shortage in Japan Despite Idling 90% of Nuclerar Capacity

PanOrient News | Greenpeace: No Power Shortage in Japan Despite Idling 90% of Nuclerar Capacity

Greenpeace: No Power Shortage in Japan Despite Idling 90% of Nuclerar Capacity

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tokyo- (PanOrient News) Despite the cold winter and with more than 90% of nuclear capacity being offline, there are no power shortages in Japan, according to Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Executive Director, commenting on the Shikoku Electric Power’s Ikata No.2 nuclear reactor being taken offline on January 13th for scheduled checkups, bringing the three-reactor plant to a complete halt for the first time since the No. 3 unit started operating in 1994..............Read on ...

Health check-up: how healthy is it?

The Hindu : Opinion / Open Page : Health check-up: how healthy is it?

With the advent of myriad tests, everyone can be made' a patient'
by detecting insignificant abnormalities which do not call for any
One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicines. Sir William Osler

While the hi-tech, modern medicine has done a lot to take care of the sick, it seems it is causing injustice to the apparently healthy by over-investigating and over-treating. Extensive, needless health check-ups may reveal insignificant abnormalities in many healthy persons. With the advent of total body scanning' and the myriad laboratory tests and procedures of investigation, everyone can be made' a patient' by detecting insignificant abnormalities which do not call for any intervention. Detection of these abnormalities' causes jubilation to the technological, pharmaceutical and medical industry from the commercial point of view! Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine,' should pardon me for associating medicine with the word industry,' for he doesn't know what happened to medicine since he left this world in 377 BC! The present-day consternation about health check-ups' is not so much about the rationale of it as about its marketing and application with ulterior motives mostly of the murky commercial deals and monetary exploitation of patients. The erosion of standards and values in research, reporting, marketing and application of the science to humanity calls for critical comments to stem the rot.

It is shown that to prevent one stroke' we will have to treat 850 normal people unnecessarily with anti-hypertensive drugs (which are not without side effects) for well over five years. The big business bosses have continuously been trying to reduce the normals (normal lower limits of blood pressure readings, blood glucose levels, etc.) through paid research so that many millions of normal people could be labelled as patients, which means filling their coffers! And we gullible doctors simply swallow these scientific reports as gospel truth, which are pumped in by their high-powered marketing strategies.

They brainwash the medical profession, and condition their brains through other unethical means. Beware the endless efforts of these industries to make' new patients out of the healthy population by creating' a scientific basis to change normal limits of blood sugars and blood pressure and a host of other parameters so that more of the normal' population is brought into the net' of diseases out of their vested interests. They even create new diseases on paper to make more money. Awareness of these abnormalities and the inescapable further investigations' deprive happiness and produce ill-health due to anxiety, depression and even neurosis.

Just a few basic investigations and a thorough clinical examination will do in most of the apparently healthy individuals to detect significant problems and common diseases, or just to have the psychological satisfaction of being in good health.

It has become a fad in the higher socio-economic strata to run to specialists (not family doctors a tribe which is almost extinct) for every trivial symptom, have needless investigations done, and get a long laundry' list of drugs. Some of my patients, with great pride and satisfaction, show bulky files of periodical health check-ups and tell me that they have routine check-ups and routine medication with Aspirin, Atorvastatin, Alprazolam (the 3 A's considered a panacea against heart problems !) and a host of other drugs, thinking that these compensate for all the bad lifestyle they live with. Many of them receive a premature divine call.

Meera it is her pseudonym had cold and headache for a week and went straight to a neurologist. He promptly ordered a CT scan of brain which revealed some age-related changes. Worried a lot after reading the abnormalities' in the scan report, Meera lost appetite and started losing weight. Later, she was referred for an ENT check-up which revealed the presence of a small polyp (insignificant) in the nose. On seeing the endoscopy report, she lost the remaining appetite and got depressed. The loss of weight prompted a referral for a pulmonological check-up which included all tests from CT scan of the chest to pulmonary function tests and beyond.

Severely stressed, Meera got admitted to a huge hospital where all the specialists descended on her like eagles and took away their pound of flesh. The team included a psychiatrist to whom we doctors usually refer finally to wash of our hands. Finally, no significant abnormality could be found except the stress (doctors' induced psychological and financial stress)-induced loss of appetite and weight. The original problem of cold and headache, perhaps, subsided naturally, for treated cold lasts for one week and untreated cold lasts for seven days! Meera, a graduate in Arts, should consider herself lucky to get out without her abdomen or skull opened in the name of evidence-based' treatment.

Pritham Bhattacharjee, Editor-at-Large of Pentasect and Founder & Chief of Wordsmith at Wordsmith Communication, while narrating incidents connected with this subject, wrote to me: In Edinburgh, I went to register myself in National Health Service. Once all paper formalities got completed, I was told to come next week for a Health Check-up. I sincerely told the lady: I pray to Lord that I may not need to come again after that. The lady's brows twisted, and then I said: Don't you think my prayer is sincere? She understood and burst out in a laughter of understanding.

Certain studies revealed increased morbidity in places where there are more number of doctors!

(The writer is a pulmonologist at the ‘Pay what you can' Clinic,  Perundurai, Erode district, Tamil Nadu. His email ID is


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