SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

SHRI SAPTARSHI NAG, WBCS (EXE), BVSC & AH

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E -WASTE

E waste or electronic waste is loosely defined as discarded, surplus, obsolete, broken, electrical or electronic devices like computers, printers, scanners ,CD/DVDs, mobile phones, microwave ovens, refrigerators, televisions etc. Often they are disposed off without thinking the consequences and they often release toxic and harmful elements like Lead, Silicon, Cadmium, Mercury etc, thereby causing irreparable damage to the environment and human health. This has much to do with the growing consumer culture all over the world. In a recent data published by the Indian Institute of Material Management, the total obsolete computers originating from government offices, business houses, industries and household is of the order of 2 million nos. There has been much debate over the disposal of such ewaste. It has become a lucrative business for some unscrupulous brokers who call themselves recyclers, of the developed nations, to dump such products to developing nations. Nations like China, South Korea or Taiwan have been engaged in refurbishing such used products. Such refurbishing has threatened the existence of traditional manufacturing markets in countries like India. The hazards associated with such unprocessed e -waste are plenty

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Some of such products are carcinogenic The degrading materials release toxic substances which again turns water unsafe Air and soil pollution May lead to death of animals upon grazing on the fields where such wastes are dumped Loss of physical beauty of the environment

The Solutions

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Strict international legislations on disposal, procurement and dumping of such products Developing new technologies based on the socio economic patterns of different regions for recycling of such products Strict laws to regulate trade in e -waste. Global consensus on the negative impacts of such wastes and international cooperation to combat the situation

In India, although the total e-waste production is much less than that of US or EU, India suffers from absence of sophisticated technologies to recycle the waste materials. At present there are only two formal units of recycling of such waste materials in India, whereas most of the recycling work is done by informal sectors, often ignoring the socio-economic status or demographic patterns of different regions. Although rules like Hazardous waste (management and handling) Rules, 2003 and Municipal solid waste (Management & handling) Rules, 2000 exist, the implementation have not been up to the mark so far.
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MOBILE NUMBER PORATBILITY

Mobile number portability is basically switching from one service provider to another without changing the number. Here the old service provider is known as "donor" and new service provider is known as "recipient”. In the International system, the customer is required to contact the "recipient" to make necessary arrangements for the process and is known as "recipient led porting" whereas UK is the only country where" donor led porting" exists. The system routs all calls, messages and other services to the new service provider database through a central database. In India, the government has decided to launch MNP from December. The country will be divided into two service zones and eleven licensed service areas. However in the Indian context some problems may arise like- quick spread of mobile virus, less memory capacity to bear the switching exhaustion and less capacity of the batteries to handle the additional load. http://www.saptarshinag1.blogspot.com/

SUPER COMPUTER

Super computer is basically a computer with higher processing capacity and therefore it is able to do calculations at much faster rate than the normal computers. It is required for calculation intensive tasks like molecular modeling, weather forecasting, nuclear researches, quantum mechanics etc. It is widely used in military researches, weather houses or various research organizations and universities. The speed of Super computers is denoted by FLOPS along with certain prefixes like TFLOPS(Tera FLOPS),PFLOPS(PetaFLOPS)etc.A particular problem "Grand Challenge" requires semi infinite computer resources and thereby needs super computers. Such computer use variants of LINUX or UNIX as Operating systems. Presently IBM's Road Runner is the fastest super computer in the world. Blue Gene is a Computer architectural Project to design and build super computers. India’s EKA installed in Computational Research Laboratory (CRL) is world's 4th fastest super computer. CDAC'S Pram Padma is the first super computer of India. The challenges before super computers are that these become heated very early and as the process and integrate data very fast, there is need for more works on external storage bandwidth.

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3G TECHNOLOGY

3G or 3rd Generation Technology is the latest technology for the up gradation of mobile phone services. It simultaneously enables to transfer voice and non voice data like downloading or uploading, sending and receiving e-mails and instant messaging. The bandwidth needed for 3G is 5 to 20 MHz. The maximum download speed provided is 14.4 Mbps whereas upload speed may be as high as 5.8 Mbps. The highlight of 3G service is video telephony. This will provide the service providers the opportunity to provide better quality service over a large number of subscribers. It promises to improve mobile phone operational standards in India by providing better network connectivity, facilitation of e-governance and ecommerce services, thereby bridging the urban-rural techno divide. The technology followed in 3G is IMT 2000, endorsed and accredited by International Telecommunication Union. Presently the Government of India has allowed five foreign players to bid for 3G Spectrum. The floor price is $20.20 billion. In 2009; BSNL launched its 3G service in India, although the response even after half a year has not been satisfactory. Many hazards like high operation cost, health hazards due to excessive electromagnetic waves are some of the reasons behind its lack of popularity in the initial periods despite having tremendous potentials for future.
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LASER AND ITS VARIOUS USES

LASER or light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation is spatially coherent which means that the light is emitted in narrow, low divergent beams or can be converted into ones by using optical tools like lenses, unlike other lights where the light is spatially incoherent. Theodore Maiman demonstrated the first working laser back in 1960.Since then it has become multi billion dollar industry. Laser uses a gain medium inside a highly reflective optical cavity. Light which passes through the cavity becomes amplified. It may be electromagnetic radiation of any wavelength, not necessarily visible. This feature is used for security purposes. Laser is usually labeled with a safety class number to avoid any danger. The single largest use of laser is in optical storage devices such as compact discs where a semiconductor laser less than 1 mm wide scans the whole disc. Besides, it is widely used in fiber optics communication. It is being used in medical technology as well for blood less surgery, kidney stone treatment, hair removal, eye treatment etc. In research laser spectroscopy is a popular field. Laser shows are popular during various festivals and ceremonies. In product development it is widely used in developing pointer mouse, printers, scanners etc. In defense, laser is gradually replacing radar for locating targets. In industry laser is used for welding, cutting or marking.

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BIOMETRICS

Biometric is an automatic method of recognizing a person by physical, physiological or behavioral characteristics like finger prints, retinal scan, and face recognition etc .It is widely used in financial systems, IT security, immigration, law enforcement sectors etc. It has much potential to be used in homeland security.

It is a more accurate method of identification than the presently used password or PIN systems. People have to remember their passwords, ID proofs may be lost or stolen, PIN may be cracked. However biometrics is free from such hassles. It is fast, easy to use, reliable and accurate system. Certain principles of biometrics
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Universality of character Permanent nature of character, e.g. - although retina scan is a very useful method, the features of retina may be changed with aging or eye diseases and thus impossible to recover the data.

Technology must be difficult to be deceive

Apart from the above mentioned systems newly emerging biometric techniques like keystroke dynamics (here a person is recognized by his typing behavior and speed), behaviometrics or behavioral biometrics like mouse gesture, facial thermography, vein scan are also becoming popular.

However, it must be remember that, in biometrics once a character is chosen, it is not possible to replace it with another one. That has been an obstacle in the rising popularity of biometrics.
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ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants are the molecules which prevent oxidation of other molecules.These are generally reducing agents like Theol or polyphenols. Oxidative stress in the body produces free radicals which cause irreparable damage to the body systems and may in turn result in cancer, heart diseases, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes etc. Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals and thereby prevent numerous diseases. Antioxidants are of two types-lipid soluble (prevents per oxidation of cell membranes) and water soluble (reacts with oxidative agents in plasma or cytoplasm).Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin E (Alfa Tocopherol), Glutathione, melatonin are some of the important antioxidants. However strong reducing agents like tannin or oxalic acid bind to dietary Fe or Zn and cause nutritional imbalance.

Antioxidants have other uses as well, namely
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As supplement after exercise Food preservation Lubricant and cosmetics

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GM CROPS

GM Crops or Genetically modified crops have their DNA modified through genetic engineering. Transgenic plants where the plant genome is altered by Recombinant DNA Technology also belong to this category. Soybean, canola, cotton, corn are the common crops which are used for producing GM Crops.

Advantages:
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Herbicide resistant: Due to insertion of herbicide tolerant genes., e.g.- Monsanto's Round Up Ready Soya bean Insect resistant: By inserting Bacillus thurigiensis into the gene, e.g. - BT Cotton against Ball Worm and Bt Maize against Maize Borer. Pest resistant Virus, bacteria, fungus resistant High yielding Reduction in the cost of pesticides Addition of essential nutritional factors through genetic engineering into such crops, e.g.- "Golden Rice" contains high amount of Beta Carotene Drought resistant/salinity resistant

Disadvantages:

Potential gene flow from cultivated to wild species

There is apprehension that these crops will harm not only insect pests but also other insects and thus will disturb eco stability, e.g.- recent threat to the existence of monarch butterfly Emergence of new viruses/ diseases through antigenic shift, e.g.-Mad Cow Disease( caused by Prion) is believed to have emerged from indiscriminate plantation of Monsanto's Round Up Ready Soybean Due to potential gene flow, enforcement of patent in such crops is often contentious

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Artificial Intelligence is the intelligence of machines and it also refers to the section of science which seeks to create it. It is also known as synthetic intelligence or computational intelligence. The term was first coined by John McCarthy in 1956.He described it as “the science and engineering of creating intelligent machines". But AI does not have to confine itself to methods that are biologically observable. The basic objective of this section of science is to create machines capable of thinking. Such machines will posses qualities like knowledge, planning, communication, reasoning, perception apart from the general ability to move and manipulate objects. Thus it will create a bridge between computer science and Linguistics, Psychology, logic, cognitive science and economics. In terms of moving and manipulating objects this field is very closely related to robotics. It is widely being used in software development, game

development especially chess, information analysis, speech recognition etc. However as there is no concrete definition of intelligence till now, the grading of AI or the success of it, is difficult to judge.
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JUNK FOOD

The famous microbiologist Dr. Michael F. Jacobson coined the phrase "Junk Food" in 1972 to describe unhealthy or nonnutritious food. Junk food contains little or zero nutritious value to the diet - it contains too much unnecessary calories and fat which are useless and harmful to human health. Junk food has been a part of the consumer culture for years and now it has become an addiction for many people. Junk foods are very convenient to purchase and consume, which is one reason that millions of busy people don't think about a healthy diet or spend the time to prepare healthy meals. Junk food is also very popular among children, and with every passing day, its addiction is increasing. Moreover, spending millions of bucks by the corporates in advertisement to promote junk food as symbol of modern lifestyle is also another reason for its sky high popularity. The effects of junk food are as below Drowsiness Obesity Lethargy Heart diseases

High blood pressure To conclude, it can be said that junk foods can be used occasionally, but using them on a regular basis is very unhealthy and harmful.
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PROJECT ANTARIKSHA

Project Antariksha, a pioneering effort at networking Kerala through an array of satellite-based automatic weather stations, intends to bring out a weather and climate atlas of the State in the near future. It is a collaborative project among the Indian Space Research Organization, (ISRO) the Kerala State Planning Board (KSBP) and the Centre for Monsoon Studies of the Cochin University for Science and Technology (Cusat). Two years into implementation, the project has seen 58 automatic weather stations being set up over Kerala and two on the Lakshadweep Islands. Project Antariksha seeks to reach real-time data, including rainfall, on a Web-based system to reach the user groups.
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Advisories on precipitation and temperature anomalies are being issued to the State Government. Farm advisories on irrigation, pest infestation and yield prediction for major crops would be provided to specific user groups through KSPB. Local weather advisories are being sent through the Village Resource Centers. Proper knowledge about the nature of rainfall, humidity, wind

speed/direction and solar radiation will help them arrive at preventive measures as well as initiate judicious plans for raising production and controlling pest incidence and diseases with minimum costs. The data From the AWSs is - expected to help people extrapolate the extreme weather conditions to the larger global warming and climate change scenarios. However the real success of the ambitious project depends on how the user groups, i.e., mostly local rural bodies can use the available data by making them publicly available and educate them on how to take effective preventive measures.
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BIODIVERSITY-CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF ITS DEGENERATION

Biological diversity refers to the variety and variability among living organisms and the ecological complexes in which they occur. The term encompasses different ecosystems, species, genes, and their relative abundance. The biodiversity found on earth consists of millions of biological species as a result of 3.5 billions years of evolution. Extinction is a natural event and, from a geological perspective, routine. In the modern era, due to human actions, species and ecosystems are threatened with destruction to an extent rarely seen in earth history. Probably only during the handful of mass extinction events have so many species been threatened, in so short a time. Below are the reasons. Over-hunting has been a significant cause of the extinction of hundreds of species and the endangerment of many more, such as whales and many African large mammals.

Most extinction over past several hundred years is mainly due to over-harvesting for food, fashion, and profit. Commercial hunting, both legal and illegal (poaching), is the principal threat.

Habitat loss/degradation/fragmentation is an important cause of known extinctions. As deforestation proceeds in tropical forests, this promises to become the cause of mass extinctions caused by human activity.

All species have specific food and habitat needs. The more specific these needs and localized the habitat, the greater the vulnerability of species to loss of habitat to agricultural land, livestock, roads and cities. In the future, the only species that survive are likely to be those whose habitats are highly protected, or whose habitat corresponds to the degraded state associated with human activity Pollution from chemical contaminants certainly poses a further threat to species and ecosystems. While not commonly a cause of extinction, it likely can be for species whose range is extremely small, and threatened by contamination. Several species of desert pupfish, occurring in small isolated pools in the US southwest, are examples. A changing global climate threatens species and ecosystems. The distribution of species (biogeography) is largely determined by climate, as is the distribution of ecosystems and plant vegetation zones (biomes). Climate change may simply shift these distributions but, for a number of reasons, plants and animals may not be able to adjust.

The Military and the Environment

Many military forces of the world also have an effect on the environment. Sometimes, the scale of problems they leave when they move out of a training area or conflict is considerable. In some nations, such as the United States, the military can be exempt from many environmental regulations. By no means a complete set of examples, the following illustrate some of the issues: In the Gulf War and Kosovo crisis, the US and UK used depleted Uranium which have environmental consequences as well. In the Vietnam war, the US used Agent Orange to defoliate the entire Vietnamese rainforest ecosystem. The effects are still being felt.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, various forces often kill gorillas and other animals as they encroach upon their land. In Okinawa, the large US military bases also affect the environment for the local population. Consequences Food Security: Biodiversity ensures our food security. Thus indiscriminate hunting of animals leads to food crisis. This in turn affects human health as well because of lack of resources for a balanced diet for many communities due to over exploitation of the species. Natural Disasters: Loss of biodiversity has resulted in increasing natural disasters in the last few decades or so. Various mangroves or coral reefs act as excellent natural buffers to protect the lands from floods or storms. Thus loss of coastal biodiversity makes the coastal communities prone to natural disasters.

Energy security: Even today people of many communities and countries depend upon traditional woods for fuel needed for cooking, heating and other purposes. Unavailability of such fuel resources due to loss of biodiversity creates severe problems and leads to malnutrition, high infant mortality and death. Zambia is a classical case where human problems are mostly due to over exploitation of natural resources. Water scarcity: Loss of rain forests and watersheds reduces the quality and availability of water resources for drinking and agriculture which in turn produces irreversible impacts on human life.

Social impacts: Eco systems play a great role in binding human beings with socio cultural or religious bonds. Destruction of biodiversity thus changes the social fabric and encroaches upon human relations. The Chipko movement was the manifestation of popular discontent over such social damage caused by loss of biodiversity.
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PLASTIC HAZARDS

Plastic is a synthetic substance produced by chemical reactions. Almost all types of plastics are produced from petroleum except a few experimental resins prepared from corn or other sources. Plastic is widely used in packaging materials or for preparing bags or containers. Its easy availability and cost effectiveness make it a popular choice for various purposes. However the hazards associated with plastics are plenty. Hazards:

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The "use and throw away" culture associated with plastics causes its improper disposal and is one of the cardinal reasons for unclean, unhygienic environment Improper disposal of plastics causes blockage in the drainage system, unclean water and water borne diseases They remain in the soil for long period and cause infertility of soil. Certain plastics when burnt produces carcinogenic substances and Green House Gases The littering of plastic reduces rain water percolating and causes low ground water level

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Consumption of plastic by animals and fishes causes death or other health hazards. Exposure to the chemicals in plastic produces toxicological effects on human health. The circulatory, endocrine, reproductive and urinary systems are most affected.

Remedies:
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Educating people on proper disposal of plastics More R& D activities to produce cheap bio degradable plastics Subsidizing bags or containers made from traditional materials Taxation on the use of plastics Penalties for improper disposal of plastics

It must be noted that plastics have become part and parcel of the modern material culture. It has uses in almost every sphere of human activities. It is therefore almost impractical to do away with this valuable material. Thus the quest for bio degradable, environment friendly plastics has become the need of the hour.
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BIO PIRACY

Biopiracy is the theft or usurpation of genetic material especially of plant or other biological origin by using the patent process. In simple, practical term it is the theft of genetic material or traditional knowledge of the biodiverse third world countries by the western nations by using their money power. A classic example would be the use of turmeric for healing wounds. This has been in use in India from the ancient age.

http://www.saptarshinag1.blogspot.com/ However in 2003 two US based people were granted the patent of using turmeric for using against wounds. It was simply an intrusion into our cultural tradition and theft of our traditional knowledge to enrich the pockets of a few. The Texmati case where a strain of Basmati, a native of India was crossed with a semi dwarf variety of rice by Rice Tech, a US based company is another example of Bio Piracy. This way Basmati which traditionally has been a communal property of the Sub Himalayan region of India has been” Hijacked" by the patent process by USA and poor Indian farmers have been left at the receiving end. Use of Kala Jira or Kalaunji,Jamun, Methi have been pirated by the West by using the patent process and this has left thousands of Indian farmers impoverished. The basic logic behind patents is that it is a mechanism to promote innovation, by ensuring that the "inventor" would have the exclusive right to sell and distribute the "products he has "invented". Unfortunately the Western corporates have resorted to unethical practices of swindling our very own knowledge or genetic resources to entrench their own pockets in the most unethical way.

To ensure that there are legal mechanisms in place to ensure that this knowledge is not freely appropriated, the Indian government is in the process of finalizing a law titled the Biological Diversity Bill. The bill contains various provisions for regulating access to biological resources, patent claims, and indigenous knowledge protection. This bill is a beginning, though inadequate. What we must understand is our right to our resources-genetic, human or knowledge. Awareness of the

common people along with proper legislation and international cooperation can curb this menace.

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HYDROGEN FUEL

Hydrogen—nature’s bounty, which is available in abundance— has the potential to help resolve the global energy crisis. India has already joined the global quest to find ways to harness this valuable resource for large-scale commercial application. The advantages of Hydrogen fuel are many

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It is available in plenty. It is present in water. So no chances of its scarcity or being exhausted like fossil fuels. It is the most abundant element in the universe, constituting about 93% of all atoms. When combusted with Oxygen, it is converted into water. So no chances of pollution and other curses like Global Warming It can be used in running motors, producing electricity or in domestic uses. It is used in space programmes as well It yields three times more energy than ordinary fossil fuels. The fuel cells are compact and lightweight--not overly bulky or heavy, thus light weight vehicles may be produced

The other side of the coin
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High Cost: Initial technology involved is costly. It costs around $1 million to produce a Hydrogen fuelled car. Lack of a hydrogen refueling network: The refueling option is difficult due to scarcity of Hydrogen fuel stations Initial response: It is difficult for the manufacturers to convince the consumers to switch over to this newly developed technology.

There have been several demonstration and pilot projects around the world that have proved the efficacy of hydrogen energy and fuel cell technologies, but most of these are suitable for small-scale operations. The challenge before the world is to harness this natural bounty for commercially viable large-scale operations, which includes production, safe storage, transportation and delivery etc. http://www.saptarshinag1.blogspot.com/

ORGANIC FARMING

Any agriculture system has a duty towards feeding the earth and it has to fulfill this responsibility using safe and sustainable methods and technologies. Organic farming is a set of simple practices which bring into picture a diverse, healthy and sustainable crop production system, without the use of poisonous chemicals like pesticides and fertilisers. It is a responsible way of farming which ensures that healthy, chemical-free food is produced without harming the environment. It is a fallacy that organic farming leads to loss in productivity it is proven that after a short period of a drop in yields, organic

farming is more productive than chemical farming. Organic farming is also cheaper to practice than chemical agriculture. It is turning out to be the only way to farm, taking into account farmer conditions, environmental conditions and the health needs of the consumer.

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In India there are some negative fallouts of traditional way of farming. These are 1. Loss of seed diversity S Contamination of water resources by pesticides - the twin controversies in 2003 regarding pesticide content in bottled drinking water and aerated beverages in India hardly came as a surprise to many working with the environment and in farming. Even if we blame beverage manufacturers (and rightly-so) for allowing pesticide residue in their products and treating human health so cheaply, the fact remains that pesticides got into the water supply in the first place only because of the agriculture system which uses them

3. Falling ground water levels - agricultural chemicals require plenty of water to respond, hybrids also usually need more water compared to local varieties S S Greater dependence of farmers for external inputs, and increased risks incurred by them on account of higher crop production expenses and lower net returns

5. Poor soil quality. Some tested techniques of Organic Farming Biological / natural pest and weed control

Composting Cover cropping Crop rotation Diversity on the farm Do-nothing farming Effective Microorganism (EM) Green manuring and green leaf manuring Homa farming Indigenous seeds Intercropping Integration of systems Living fences Microbial biofertilisers Mulching Multicropping Multipurpose trees Permaculture Polyculture Reduced tillage Soil and water conservation

Specialised organic farming techniques Vermicomposting According to the International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD), about 2.5 million hectares of land was under organic farming in India in 2004. Further, there are over 15,000 certified organic farms in India. India therefore is one of the most important suppliers of organic food to the developed nations. No doubt, the organic movement has again started in India

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Courtesy: Sattvic Farms Flat 4A, North Tower, 4th floor 2/3 Judges Court Road Kolkata - 700027, India.

CYBER TERRORISM

The most popular definition of cyber terrorism is that “It is the premeditated use of disruptive activities, or the threat thereof, against computers and/or networks, with the intention to cause harm or further social, ideological, religious, political or similar objectives, or to intimidate any person in furtherance of such

objectives." The increased reliance on the Internet by business, government and society has made it a prime target for terrorist intent on disrupting our economy and way of life. Security professionals have expressed their increasing concern over not only the increase in frequency of attacks against the Internet, but also the increase in the level of sophistication of these attacks. The intention of a cyber terrorism attack could range from economic disruption through the interruption of financial networks and systems or used in support of a physical attack to cause further confusion and possible delays in proper response. Although cyber attacks have caused billions of dollars in damage and affected the lives of millions, we have yet witness the implications of a truly catastrophic cyber terrorism attack. One example of cyber terrorists at work was when terrorists in Romania illegally gained access to the computers controlling the life support systems at an Antarctic research station, endangering the 58 scientists involved. In May 2007 Estonia was subjected to a mass cyber-attack in the wake of the removal of a Russian World War II war memorial from downtown Talinn.ven more recently, in October 2007, the website of Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko was attacked by hackers.Other examples include "Love Bug" or "Millennium Bug" virues.

The effects of cyber terrorism can be summed up as ─ Secret information appropriation and data theft ─ Privacy violation ─ Demolition of e-governance base which in turn can harm (1) International relations;

(2) National security (including defiance) and public safety; (3) Investigation, detection and prevention of crime; (4)Information received in confidence from a source outside the Government; (5) Information about scientific discoveries. ─ Tarnishing the image of individuals ─ Network damage and disruption

In India The Information Technology Act, 2000 has given some ways to combat such form of terrorism. It must be noted that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has been designated as the single authority for issuing of instructions in the context of blocking of web sites. Some suggested ways to combat cyber terrorism

• Global consensus on this menace and enacting comprehensive international laws to curb it • Enhancing public awareness • The judiciary must come forward with novel ideas to curb the menace • The government sector must institute tougher penalties for cyber crimes and increased funding for law enforcement efforts to fight it.

Easier said than done. This must be accomplished with a high degree of collaboration globally.
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ALTERNATE ENERGY SOURCES

Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels. The increased power demand, skyrocketing fuel prices, depleting fossil fuel resources and growing environmental pollution have led the world to think seriously for other alternative sources of energy. Basic concept of alternative energy relates to issues of sustainability, renewability and pollution reduction. In reality alternative energy means anything other than deriving energy via fossil fuel combustion. Various forms of alternative energy sources are solar, wind, biogas/biomass, tidal, geothermal, fuel cell, hydrogen energy, small hydropower ,geo thermal energy etc. Due to limited oil reserves, India has to depend on substantial imports for meeting its present and future requirement. The bulk of demand for oil is from transport sector and in order to reduce the pressure from this sector it is necessary to explore possibilities of developing substitute fuels like biomass and producer gas. BENEFITS OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY OPTIONS: Renewable and environment friendly Provide sustainable fuel system Have the potentials to reduce India's high fuel import cost and thus reduce foreign debt Provide local employment opportunities Low cost energy supply

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Solar Energy: Most popular alternate energy source. Solar cells, solar ponds, solar cookers are the devices to trap solar energy. Solar photo voltaic system which uses solar cells to convert solar energy into electrical energy is the most promising and progressive source of it.
Wind energy: It is in the form of kinetic energy. A blade of windmill is moved by blowing winds and can be exploited for doing work. Theoretically around 60% of wind energy can be converted into other forms of energy. Suzlon, an Indian-owned company, emerged on the global scene in the past decade, and by 2006 had captured almost 8 percent of market share in global wind turbine sales.

Geothermal energy: It is also a potential source of energy. In India, Godavari delta, Pegu valley are the potential sites for such energy. Bio Fuel : The popularity of bio fuel is increasing everyday. Plants like Jatropha, Pongomia are being cultivated for such energy. The sugarcane extracts are also being used for this purpose.

Tidal Energy: By using turbine the kinetic energy of tides can be converted into electrical energy. It is popular in the coastal regions.

Importance of Biodiesel • Environment friendly • Clean burning • Renewable fuel • No engine modification • Increase in Engine life • Biodegradable & non toxic • Easy to handle and store Biomass energy: It utilizes waste materials and excreta to convert into energy. However due to lack of processing facilities the potential in this sector is still underutilized. These sources of alternative energy promise a new horizon in sustainable matter and with proper utilization of the available resources, our fuel crisis can be tackled.
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STEALTH TECHNOLOGY

Stealth technology also known as LO technology (low observable technology) is a sub-discipline of military countermeasures which covers a range of techniques used with aircraft, ships, submarines, and missiles, in order to make them less visible (ideally invisible) to radar, infrared, sonar and other detection methods. Attacking with surprise gives the attacker more time to perform its mission and exit before the defending force can counter-attack. The term "stealth" in reference to reduced radar signature aircraft became popular during the late eighties when the Lockheed Martin F-117 stealth fighter became widely known. The first large scale (and public) use of the F-117 was during the Gulf War in 1991. However, F-117A stealth fighters were used for the first time in combat during Operation Just Cause, the United States invasion of Panama in 1989. Presently USA and Russia have acquired such technology while many other developed nations are in the quest for acquiring it. The use of such technology has revolutionized modern day warfare. Anti stealth detection system is yet to be developed.

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SETHUSAMAUDRAM PROJECT

The proposed Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project aims to create a link between Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by creating a shipping channel through the shallow sea known as Sethusamudram. The project recently got a nod from the central government although it was first conceived by Alfred Dundas Taylor in 1860. The proposed project envisages breaking the limestone shoal known as Rama Sethu and creating a continuous navigable channel across the Indian peninsula. Thus it will save around 400 nautical miles of sailing distance and 30 hours of journey time. Once the project is finished, ships will be able to move freely between East and West coast, thus saving the time to circumnavigate SriLanka.

However various organizations have raised objection over the project for economic, religious and environmental issues. There is apprehension that the project will cause much damage to the Marine National Park in the Gulf of Mannar especially to the coral reef and other flora and fauna therein. Moreover fishing activities win the region may be disrupted as well. Besides, there is an opinion breaking the Ram Sethu may hurt religious

sentiments in India. However, a study conducted by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute suggests that by the apprehensions of financial or environmental damage are unfounded.
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GLOBALIZATION AND CLIMATE CHANGE

By definition, climate change is a global issue. The composition of the atmosphere which surrounds the planet is altering as a result of the emissions of tonnes of polluting gases (called greenhouse gases - GHGs) from industry, transportation, agriculture and consumer practices. With this thickening blanket of gases, the atmosphere is gradually warming. The entire planet will be affected by the climatic changes and impacts which are predicted e.g. increased droughts and floods, rising sea-levels, more extreme temperatures, etc. The willingness of countries around the world to cooperate in the negotiation of treaties to address this global problem is a positive example of globalization - or perhaps this is better referred to as internationalism. Intensive discussions over an 18-month period before the 1992 Rio Earth Summit led to the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Negotiations have continued subsequently to develop another agreement for more specific emission reduction targets for industrialized countries.

There are many environmental impacts of economic globalization: transnational corporations moving operations to developing countries to avoid the stricter environmental regulations of their home country; free trade agreements which

restrict the capacity of national governments to adopt environmental legislation; destruction of southern rain forests to provide exotic timber for northern consumers and to create pasture land for beef for northern hamburgers, oil spills in the seas and oceans destroying oceanic environment because of increasing number of business treaties and increasing shipping are to name a few. The climate change issue illustrates how inter-related the world is both in terms of the causes of the problem and the options for addressing it.

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Social Forestry

The term social forestry was first used by the National Commission on Agriculture, Government of India. In a broad sense the term signifies plantation of tress in and around the agricultural fields, along railway tracks and roadsides, river and canal banks, government and panchayat wastelands in order to take the pressure off the forests and for optimum use of the waste and fallow lands. The objectives of social forestry can be summed up as
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Improvement of environment for protecting agriculture from adverse climatic effects To ensure steady supply of wood, fuel, fodder and minor forest produce To provide employment for unskilled workers Reclaim wastelands Improvement of the standard of living of the rural population Improvement of the scenic beauty of rural India

Social forestry can be categorized into four groups 1. 2. 3. 4. Farm forestry Community Forestry Extension Forestry Agro-Forestry

The weaknesses noticed so far in this program are
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Lack of awareness of the benefits of social forestry among rural people Indiscriminate cutting of community forests Corruption and misuse of funds Unsatisfactory implementation by the state governments

However it must be noted that it is one of those less highlighted yet highly successful programmes undertaken by the government. A visit through the roads of rural India is the documentary evidence of the success of this mammoth task.

However considering very little forest coverage of the country the program has to be implemented with more enthusiasm and better public cooperation.

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WETLANDS

Wetlands are transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic zones, where the water table is near the land surface and the land is covered by shallow water. The Ramsar Convention, 1971 was held to protect the wetlands of international importance and ensure the sustainable use of such wetlands. The science dealing with wetlands is called paludology. Such wetlands are the life support systems for the people living in the zones, winter resort for the migratory birds and they work as bulwark against encroachment by the sea, buffer against storms and hurricanes and provide habitat to various flora and fauna in the region. Moreover they are important as tourist places, scientific and educational interests, and they provide ample vegetables for the people and green fodder for the livestock. Moreover, they provide habitat to mangroves and

play very important role in maintaining biodiversity of the world. Some of the important wetlands of India are Pichavaram,Vembanad,Chilka,Harike,Bhitarkanika,Bhoj,Loktak etc. With the looming threat of climate change and food scarcity it is the need of the hour to develop international and national strategies to conserve the wetlands so that they are allowed to play their role in ecology.
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RAINWATER HARVESTING

It is basically accumulation and storage of rainwater in a scientific way to combat the increasing water crisis of the present day. It is advantageous in many ways, such as
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Use of ancient concept in a sustainable manner Low cost technology

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Can be performed even in common households without much apparatus or technical knowledge It can supply plenty of water for consumption, irrigation or other works The areas where ground water is saline, rainwater can solve agricultural crisis.

Rainwater can be harvested in many ways from simple rooftop harvesting to complex commercial harvesting. Rooftop harvesting
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Here catchments area is available free of cost Supply is done at the zone of consumption

Pond, lake or other water bodies
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This can be used to recharge ground water aquifers Here subsurface dyke may be used.

Rain water is generally free of harmful minerals and in most cases chemicals, but can be adversely affected by air pollutants and/or contaminated by animals in the catchments area. Due to increasing levels of pollutants, city and bottled water providers are increasingly turning to use of sophisticated treatment processes and chemicals to ensure a quality product. Consequently, rainwater for drinking should be carefully stored and treated prior to consumption. Several technologies exist for home treatment including: ozone sterilization, UV and distillation.
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WATER CRISIS IN INDIA

In a list of 122 countries on the availability of quality potable water prepared by UNEP, India ranks 120.This is surprising, considering the fact that India has 4% of total water reserve of the world. According to the census report 2001 only 68% of the total households have access to quality potable water.37% of the population, of whom 75% are children are affected by water related diseases. In around 20 states, 60 million people are at high risk due to excessive amount of fluoride in water. While the permissible limit of Fluoride in water is 1 mg/lit, in Haryana it is as high as 48 mg/lit. Around 10 million people are at high risk of exposure to excess amount of arsenic in water. This is most severe in West Bengal. Due to excessive use of fertilizers, poor sanitation standards, the amount of nitrate in water in India is ever increasing. Moreover, water borne diseases like hepatitis, cholera, and diarrhea are frequent in India. High salinity of land is causing irreparable loss to agriculture. By 2020, India will be a water starved nation. Some facts:

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Per capita availability of water during independence was 5000 cu mt/year. Now it has come down to 1800 cu mt/year. Water has been one of the cardinal reasons of inter state problems and inter regional clashes. According to a survey by World Bank, out of 27 Asian Cities with more than a million population, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai occupy the bottommost position in terms of water availability per day Excessive nitrogen content in water leads to eutrophication or growth of aquatic weeds rendering water unsafe for consumption Waste of human resources due to traveling long distances in search of water.

Solutions:

1. Polluters Pay- a tax for polluting water in urban areas in both industrial and domestic levels. 2. Better solid waste management 3. Developing Public private partnership and chalking out a holistic plan for conservation and better management of water and proper execution of the plan through community development programs, extension networks 4. Rainwater harvesting 5. Water management system to recycle water waste in each industry. 6. Popularizing organic farming.
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INDIA'S MISSILE INITIATIVES

Tracking the history though India perhaps is the first country in the world where missiles were used in war (by Tipu Sultan against the British), India woke up to its missile potential much later. After two failed efforts, i.e. Valiant Program and Project Devil to develop ballistic missiles SAM in 1970s, in 1983 India started a missile development program under the aegis of DRDO. National security, threat from China and Pakistan, power balance in the South East Asian region are the main factors behind India's missile initiatives. Under Integrated Guided Missile Development Program, started in 1983, Indian Missile development today is under two groups - Tactical missiles, such as the Brahmos, Astra, LRSAM and the SRSAM - Strategic missiles such as Agni III, Agni-V, AAD, AD-1, etc. One of the earliest missiles is Prithvi, a surface to surface missile with a range of 250 km.Its naval version is Dhanush with a range of 150 km. Nag is a third generation, anti tank missile using fire and forget technology. Agni is a re entry technology demonstrator missile. A-I,II and III are part of the

project, with range varying from 500 to 3500km.Astra is air to air targeting missile whereas Brahmos is the latest anti ship cruise missile developed in collaboration with Russia. Shourya is being developed as inter continental ballistic missile. Some of the future missiles of India's arsenal include HSTDV, SRSAM, and LRSAM etc. Although India depends on countries like Israel, Russia for the development or import of missiles, it must be noted that within just a quarter century India has made a remarkable progress towards being self sufficient in missile technology. The role of DRDO and the "missile man" Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam's name in this regard hold much significance.

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