ENVIRONEWS

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF ENVIRONMENTAL BOTANISTS

Newsletter
LUCKNOW (INDIA) VOL. 23, No. 2 April, 2017

CAR–FREE CITIES: HEALTHIER CITIZENS
IN THIS ISSUE
Private motor cars are an important part of urban transport in cities. Private diesel
and gasoline vehicles contribute significantly to a city's air pollution (e.g.
particulate matter, such as PM2.5), greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. carbon dioxide
Letters .........................................02 (CO2) and black carbon), noise pollution and raised urban temperatures and motor
vehicle crashes. All of these things can raise the risk of early death and increased
incidence of disease.
Furthermore, road and parking infrastructure contributes to soil sealing and takes
News Flash .................................03 up space that could be used to create green areas as well as pedestrian and cycling
infrastructure, which are beneficial for people's mental and physical well-being.
Some recent studies have focused on the link between car-free initiatives in cities
and urban design and planning, city transport and planning, environmental
Let's save the self from self-inflicted impacts, health effects and socio-economic concerns.
pollution
In Europe, for example, primarily driven by the need to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, Oslo will invest in new bike ways, levy congestion charges during rush
R. K. Kohli (India) ......................04
hours, limit parking spaces and ban all private cars from the city centre by 2019. By
2034, Hamburg plans to ban cars from a number of city roads, which will become
pedestrian and bike zones. A green network, linking parks and other open spaces
and covering 40% of the city is also being developed. Madrid also plans to
Alien plant invasion: An Indian
pedestrianise the city centre with a view to making it car free by 2020. Germany
Perspective
recently decided to call for a ban on selling all new combustion-engine cars from
2030.
R. S. Tripathi (India) ...................06
A review of 28 health impact studies related to greater active transport and less car
use found people who switched from using a car to active transport received
substantial health benefits from increased physical activity. This benefit will
News & Views ............................10 outweigh any risk cyclists or pedestrians might experience from exposure to air
pollution or being involved in motor vehicle crashes. To ensure that cities are
designed around people, rather than vehicles, the researchers say new urban and
transport projects should focus on environmental and health priorities, rather than
Conferences ................................12 on enabling private-vehicle use.
Numerous studies have linked traffic-related air pollution exposure to early
deaths, as well as to lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and
obesity. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of traffic-related air
Books..........................................12 pollution. The researchers say public health will improve as car-free cities reduce
air pollution. A report has shown that levels of nitrogen dioxide (a major air
pollutant) fell by 40% in Paris, France and by 20% in Leeds, UK, when cars were
banned for one day.
Fewer private cars in cities will mean that traffic noise will also be reduced. One
report on the Brussels' environment revealed that noise levels fell more than 10
Contd. page 2

ENVIRONEWS, April 2017 1
decibels on a car-free Sunday. This reduction in noise should result in improved public health, as studies have associated noise
exposure with early death from cardiovascular diseases, as well as an increased risk of heart disease, sleep disturbances, high
blood pressure, and also with reading comprehension and memory in children.
Heat emitted from vehicles exacerbates the urban heat-island effect in cities. The researchers found no studies that had
evaluated the effects of reduced heat from vehicles on urban temperatures, but less heat emitted in cities free of private cars
could help to reduce cardio-respiratory problems, especially in children.
Measures are needed to ensure that banning private combustion-engine cars does not shift traffic-related problems to
surrounding areas, increase urban sprawl, and create socio-economic divides by making it more difficult for some people to
access shops and facilities, which they used to do by private car.
In planning new urban and transport schemes, bringing together planners, environmentalists and public health professionals
with policy makers and citizens, is key to public acceptability and successfully guiding the decision-making process.
Introducing measures incrementally may help with acceptance and a sequence of pedestrianization, creating cycling tracts,
car-free days throughout the year and events to increase appeal and awareness of the measures and benefits.
The researchers also point out that if enough cities become free of private diesel and gasoline cars, there could be a collective
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, which could help to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Source: Science for Environment Policy

LETTERS

T he BBVA Foundation, in
collaboration with the Spanish
National Research Council (CSIC) is
land Conservation Biology;
Information and Communication
Technologies; Economics, Finance and
B ees along with several species of
moths, butterflies, beetles and flies
are important insect pollinators that are
pleased to announce the tenth edition Management; Contemporary Music; responsible for pollinating several
of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Climate Change; Development major agriculturally and horticulturally
Knowledge Awards, and to invite you Cooperation. important crop species, forest and
to participate by nominating a The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of orchard tree species; and numerous
candidate or candidates through the Knowledge Awards in each category wild herbs, shrubs and trees that
institution to which you belong, come with €400,000 prize money, a constitute the core framework of our
following the instructions provided in diploma and a commemorative fragile ecosystems. In addition, some
the accompanying call conditions. The artwork. species of birds like the humming birds;
same information can be consulted on Candidates may be one or more natural and some mammalian species like bats
the Foundation website: persons of any nationality, without and small rodents are also known to
www.fbbva.es/awards. limitation of number in the case of serve as natural pollinators. Of all the
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of convergent contributions to a given pollinator species, native bee species
Knowledge Awards recognize advance, whether due to a formal hold special significance since they not
significant scientific advances of a collaboration (with the candidates only serve as natural pollinators; but
theoretical, methodological or belonging to one or more groups) or also serve as an important natural
empirical nature, technological parallel working. In the Climate resource for producing natural honey
innovations and developments, and the Change and Development Cooperation and bee's wax for the highly profitable
creation of outstanding works of new categories, entries are also open to bee farming or Apiculture industry
artistic or interpretative styles in agencies and organizations in the globally. Bees and other insect
contemporary classical music. Honors public or private sector (non-for-profit pollinators are, therefore, absolutely
also go to diverse endeavors (from in the latter case). important for the global agriculture,
research through to practical programs) horticulture, forestry industries; and for
It would be an Honor for us to count securing the natural ecosystems.
addressing two core concerns of the your organization among those
global society of the 21 st century: However, global bee populations are
nominating a candidate. showing alarming signs of decline due
climate change and development
cooperation. Thank you in advance for your interest to indiscriminate use of pesticides in
and participation. agriculture, global warming and
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of
Knowledge Awards take in the Rafael Pardo (Director) climate change, environmental
following eight categories: BBVA Foundation pollution, lack of abundant bee
Emilio Lora-Tamayo (President), CSIC foraging species. Hence bee nutrition
Basic Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Webiste: www.fbbva.es/awards to help them survive across seasonal
Mathematics); Biomedicine; Ecology;

2 ENVIRONEWS, April 2017
fluctuations, diseases and parasitic sanctuaries constituting bee-friendly legumes, oil seed plants as well as
infestations by other predatory insect native herbs, shrubs and trees so that native and indigenous wildflower plant
species. Hence, to secure the future of the bees and other insect pollinators species can also serve effectively as bee
agriculture and environment, it is could have constant supply of nectar sanctuaries to conserve bees and other
absolutely necessary that the vanishing and pollen grains to sustain their hives insect pollinators.
native bee species and other insect and are capable of growing their next Saikat Kumar Basu
pollinators are saved from the dangers generations without anthropogenic and UFL, Lethbridge AB Canada
of extinction. It is therefore important natural disturbances. Using pollinator saikat.basu@alumni.uleth.ca
to establish suitable bee habitats or bee seed mixtures comprising of some

NEWS FLASH

Prof. S.K. Barik, Director CSIR-NBRI and President ISEB
l Delivered an invited lecture entitled, "Conserving threatened plants" in National Symposium on Current trends in
Biological Sciences at Sardar Patel University, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat on 20th January, 2017.
l Was the Guest of Honour and delivered a Special lecture entitled, "Current trends, approaches and perspectives in
ethnobiological studies" in the National Seminar on "Ethnobiology and Traditional Knowledge in Biodiversity
Conservation - Approaches and Dimensions [ETKBC - 2017] at Assam University, Silchar on 2nd February, 2017.
l Delivered Prof. K.S. Bhargava Memorial Lecture at Department of Botany, DDU Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur on 9th
February, 2017.
l Delivered a lecture entitled, "Integrated approach to species conservation" in the one-day seminar organized by
Department of Botany, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, West Bengal on 19th February, 2017.
l Was the Chief Guest of the Valedictory function in the National Symposium on "Issues and challenges in Ecological
Sciences" at Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi on 25th February, 2017.
l Delivered Plenary Talk and Chaired, plenary session in the Fourth Lucknow Science Congress at Babasaheb Bhimrao
Ambedkar University on 4th March, 2017.
Dr. R.D. Tripathi, Ex-Chief Scientist, CSIR-NBRI & Emeritus Scientist CSIR and Additional Secretary, ISEB attended
“International Symposium on Plant Biotechnology for Crop Improvement” at Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, Assam
during January 20-21, 2017 and gave Plenary Talk on “Strategies for reducing arsenic levels in soil and crop for sustainable
environment and agriculture”.
Dr. Tripathi, also gave an invited talk on “Bioremediation and Molecular approaches for reducing Arsenic contamination for
sustainable environment” and chaired a session on 'Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology' in the 4th Lucknow
Science Congress at Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University on 3rd March, 2017.
Prof. Pramod W Ramteke, Dean, Post Graduate Studies and Head, Department of Biological Sciences, Sam Higginbottom
University of Agriculture, Technology & Sciences, Allahabad, U.P. (India), and a Life member of International Society of
Environmental Botanists (ISEB) delivered an invited lecture on “Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) in sustainable
cultivation of medicinal plants” at the National Conference on Development and Advancement in conservation, propagation
and Sustainable utilization of medicinal plants (DSUMP 2017) held during January 20-21, 2017 at Gautam Budha University,
Greater Noida (India).
He also delivered another invited lecture at the International Conference on Technological Advancement for Sustainable
Agriculture and Rural Development (TASARD 2017), entitled “Rhizobacteria in Sustainable Agriculture Development” held at
NASC, New Delhi during 20-22 February, 2017.
Dr. Pankaj Srivastava, Research Associate at ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil & Water Conservation (IISWC), Dehradun (India) and
a Life Member of International Society of Environmental Botanists (ISEB) has won the best poster Award for the poster
presentation, entitled "Enzymatic and Microbial status in different phases of degradation" at the Conference on Farmers First for
Conserving Soil and Water Resources in North Eastern Region, Assam Agriculture University (AAU), Khanapara, Guwahati,
Assam held during 9-11 February, 2017.
Dr. Neelima Jerath, Life member of International Society of Environmental Botanists has joined as Pro Vice Chancellor of Desh
Bhagat University, Punjab (a private University at Mandi Gobindgarh near Ludhiana) after her retirement as Executive Director,

ENVIRONEWS, April 2017 3
Punjab State Council for S&T and Director General, Pushpa Gujral Science City, Punjab (and Ex-officio Member Secretary of
Punjab Biodiversity Board & Punjab Innovation Council).
Dr. Sudhakar Srivastava, Assistant Professor, IESD, BHU Varanasi and a Life member of International Society of Environmental
Botanists (ISEB) participated in the National Conference on “Emerging Scenarios of Ganga River Development & Water
Resource Management”, jointly organized by Mahamana Malviya Research Centre for Ganga River Development and Water
Resource Management (MMRCGRDWRM) and Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development (IESD) during 28th
February to 1st March, 2017, at Banaras Hindu University. Dr. Srivastava was also the Joint Organizing Secretary of the
Conference.

WELCOME NEW LIFE MEMBERS
Dr. Rajesh K. Tewari, Associate Professor, Department of Botany, University of Lucknow, Lucknow.
rktewari_bot@yahoo.com
Mr. Arnab Majumdar, Junior Research Fellow, Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Science Education
and Research, Kolkata.
geomicrobiology.arnab@gmail.com

Let's save the self from self-inflicted pollution
R. K. Kohli, FNA
Vice-chancellor, Central University of Punajb, Bathinda, Punjab, India
rkkohli45@yahoo.com

Man by nature wants to lead a affect us more than the pollu on our lifestyle. In this write-up I try to touch
comfortable, healthy, long life. This is outdoor. upon some such ac ons which are
possible through development. If we do Today, without doubt, we are in the age of exclusively in our own hands.
not develop or develop very slow, we may chemicals. We can't think of anything What we generally do:
not have access to several things, (food, cosme cs, wearable, medicines
products and facili es that are needed Many of our houses, in strict sense, are
etc) that is devoid of chemicals. Daily new more or less places of Pollu on. Such
for making our life comfortable. On the products/brands are added to the
contrary, if we develop very fast, we will houses are termed as Sick-home-
market. Due to vigorous adver sing, we syndromes”. In such houses we lay wall-
have to face problems like air-, water- and get tempted to the new product. At the
noise- pollu on, social dispari es, to-wall carpets. These carpets are meant
same me, we remain worried about the for temperate climates, free of dust. We
conges on, resource deple on and diseases like cancer, heart failure, birth-
unrest. So we have to look for sustainable largely being in the tropical/sub-tropical
defects and nervous disorders. It all zone do not need such hygroscopic
way of development/growth. depends on ones a tude as to which fibrous flooring that retains humidity and
We tend to accuse industry and vehicles type of life one wants to lead. The risks of serves as a store-house of microbial/
for environmental problems and the our ac ons and likings depend on (a) fungal spores and carpet mites. The micro
government machinery for inac on. We gene c makeup and (b) product of dose d u st s e r ve s a s RS P M ( re s p i ra b l e
tend to accuse others, li le realizing that and exposure of the body to the toxic par culate ma er which is most
our own ac ons are more harmful than substance we use. It is up to us to dangerous for our lung func on).
those caused by others. We have hardly measure the risk to benefit ra o of our Likewise, our houses have large windows
realized our own contribu on towards ac on. Some risks like dying the hair, which we hardly open for fresh air.
invi ng problems for the self. Instead of smoking are under our control, while Instead, we keep them covered with thick
becoming a part of the solu on we end- others like deple on of ozone in the double curtains and do not let in even the
up becoming a part of the problem for the stratosphere or global warming or sunlight. During dry summers we use
self. I propose to share as to how we pes cide buildup in the food products are desert coolers whose stale water is hardly
normally inflict ourselves with pollu on not in our individual hands. The changed and that serves as a source of
and suggest as to what we should save resistance or suscep bility of the body microbial spores, pollen grains and
ourselves from it. About 80% of our lives depends on the gene c make-up that our trichomes from outside into the room.
are spent indoors – homes, labs, parents have given to us, our body For use, without taking care we switch on
workplaces etc. So, what-so-ever we do in weight, stage and dose of the toxic the fan and invite the pollutants inside
our houses or workplaces is bound to material we get exposed to and of course the room. We should switch on the water

4 ENVIRONEWS, April 2017
first and then the fan. For switching off phenylalanine or saccharine. The safety Food shiners, polishing dyes are nothing
the cooler, same sequence i.e. water of use of such ar ficial sweeteners is very but the waxes and synthe c food colours
followed by fan is be er. controversial. Prolonged use is harmful. (gulabi, hari, jamuni burfi etc.) that
Many of us do not mind smoking Likewise, we do not mind talking for very a ract us are mostly the azo dyes known
cigare es inside our homes, thereby, long on cell phones fixing it directly on to to cause cancer and gene c disorders.
pollu ng indoor air and endangering the the ears or keeping in our chest pocket, The face-paints that our youth is fond of
lives of our family members by making l i l e re a l i z i n g t h e b a d effe c t o f for seeking a en on especially during
them “passive smokers”. Some do not electromagne c frequency radia ons cricket matches or par cipa ng in “face-
stop tobacco smoking and chewing, in like those of microwave. We eat sweets paint compe ons” are dissolved in
spite of vigorous campaigning against it with silver-foil adhered on its surface, dangerous organic solvents like benzene
by the Government. Perhaps even li le knowing that it is less of silver, more (known for causing Leukemia – a type of
educated people do not know that of lead and aluminum – excess of which blood cancer), xylene (dries out skin
tobacco contains 43 carcinogens (cancer leads to avoidable toxicity. Similarly, we causing blisters), toluene (causes skin
causing chemicals) of class A (known to are fond of nned food including juices irrita on). These also contain lot of lead
cause cancer in human beings) as per EPA and soups. The seam of the n-container that is known for lowering intelligence
(Environment Protec on Agency of USA). is impregnated with lead to check the and cogni ve power. Other sources of
leakage. The lead ions in acidic medium lead are gasoline, lead adulterated n-
In order to keep slim many of us prefer to get dissolved in the food. Intake of such pla ng, soldering, ba eries, joints of
avoid intake of sugar and opt for ar ficial food leads to lead toxicity. water pipes etc.
s we e te n e rs co nta i n i n g a s p a r t y l

Some Common adultrants of foods:
Foods Adultrants
Cereals (wheat and rice) Mud, grit, soapstone
Dals - Pulses Kesari Dal, Metanil yellow (dye)
Haldi powder Lead chromate
Dhania powder Powdered cattle dung, horse-dung, starch
Black pepper Dried papaya seeds
Red Chilli powder Saw dust, brick powder
Mustard seeds Argemone seeds
Edible oils Cheaper oils like mineral oils, argemone seed oil
Milk Water, extract fat, addition of starch
Honey Jaggery / sugar
Vanaspati ghee Paraffin wax, hydrocarbon
Pure ghee Vanaspati, Paraffin wax,
Food grains Ergot, Dhatura seeds
Soap Marble powder

Some common practices in food - Roasted channas are rolled into hair colors / dyes contain Ammonia,
industry: yellow dye used to coloue pagries Hydrogen peroxide (for initial
- Free use of unpermi ed synthe c - Lead chromate is used for coloring bleaching of hair), Sodium Lauryl
colours like bright green, orange, pea, caspicum, lady's finger etc Sulphate (Protein Precipitant) and lead
pink and even brown for brightening - Chicken corners color the chicken that causes lead toxicity. To keep the
up the edible product. kka etc to give a blood color despite contents creamy, most of the cosmetic
- Toxin, Lead chromate is added to prohibi on under PFA Act-1954 creams contain ethylene glycol (which
“khoya”. To ward off crawling insects like is break oil) as anti-freezing agent and
- A d u l t ra n t l i ke O ra n g e I I a n d cockroaches we prefer to Permethyrine hydroquinone that causes allergy,
Rhodamin-B are used in Rasgulla, containing products which though blurred vision and slows reflective
halwa despite the ban. work like natural plant product, movements apart from causing fatigue.
- Me nil yellow is used in ice-creams, Pyrethrin but is regarded as carcinogen Some of the sun-screen lotions and
laddoos, jalebies, biryani etc. of group C (EPA). Most of us do not fail beauty cream for making the stem fairer
- Green dye is used to color saunf to apply hair dye on to our heads, for have such elements that disturb
(fennel) deceiving others of our age. Most of the hormonal balance and consequential

ENVIRONEWS, April 2017 5
Holi Color Composition Possible health effects
Gulal Mica, glass sand Corneal abrasion, loss of memory, eye-sight corneal ulcer
Black Lead Oxide Renal failure, learning disability
Green Copper Sulphate Temporary blindness, Eye Allergy
Purple Chromium Iodide Bronchial Asthma, high BP, kidney damage
Silver Aluminium Bromide Alzheimer's and cancer

health problems. During Holi festival, Colors? Some possible hints include, Some tips for healthy living:
the coloured powders we use are a Arrow root, Talcum powder, wheat Safe Remedies: Instead of using the
source of heavy metal toxicity flour, 'multani mitti', turmeric powder, organic/synthetic pesticides at homes,
Whom do we paint? We paint our sandal wood, extracts of marigold, we should follow the following tips for
friends and relatives and get painted. amaltas petals, indigo-blue, beet-roots, controlling different categories of pests.
Why not to prepare our own Holi mint, coriander, rose petals.
Ants Squeeze lemon juice at pt. of entry and, leave the peel there ; use chalk powder, damp coffee, charcoal dust, haldi
(turmeric) or pepper
Cockroach Put boric acid in cracks / holes switch boards etc. and plug them. Trap by greasing inner side of wide mouth bottle
with potato or stale wine; hang naphthalene ball in the kitchen/bathroom-drains or simply cover the drains with
some material like wood or stone
House fly Paste honey on a piece of yellow cardboard and hang it. Housefly will stick to it. Or make the room dark leaving a
slit of the door or window open and shoo the flies out.
Silver fish Use borax in book racks, wardrobes. Boric acid is safe for vertebrates
Stored food pests dry food and store in air tight container or add boric acid powder or mix
Mosquito Terminator with UV-A lamp, mosquito net, bath before retiring

We should avoid the following: l Storing food in polythene and l Glycerin with rose water is a good
l Drinking or bathing in chlorinated plastic container especially the oily moisturizer.
water and first flush of tap water to cooked food. l Multani mitti (Fullers earth)
avoid bleaching of hair. l Eating salad in Restaurants. removes dead cells of the skin.
l In northern Indian belt, fluoridated l Using cheap cosmetics (better l Sandal wood improves skin
tooth paste or better change brands make your own). texture; Natural oil nourishes body
every month to avoid fluorosis. l Laying carpets especially in skin; Un-boiled milk has a strong
l Excessive use of cell-phone direct summers and rainy seasons. cleansing power.
on the ear (use ear-phone); for long l Using cheap holi gulal (better make l Neem datun saves infection in
talks prefer landline. your own). buccal cavity.
l Agenomoto / Ascent (tastemaker), Some substitutes of beauty products: l Hair cleansing with Reetha, Amla
synthetic colored foods, highly l Besan–a very good Cleanser; and shikakai.
spicy food, Tinned food, food Haldi- a good natural disinfectant. l Fruits and vegetables good source
deep-refried in same cooking oil. l Milk Cream- replenishes body oil; of vitamins, minerals and medium
l Smoking of tobacco and excessive Honey- a strong cleanser, nourisher of removing wastes from body.
hard liquor. and healer. l Drinking clean water is the best for
getting rid of toxins of the body.

Alien plant invasion: An Indian Perspective
R. S. Tripathi, FNA
Formerly, Professor of Botany at North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong (Meghalaya), and
INSA Senior Scientist at
CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Rana Pratap Marg, Lucknow, India
tripathirs@yahoo.co.uk

The importance of plant invasions in cardunculus) and a tall thistle (Silybum species has become a matter of great
the transformation of landscapes did marianum) in Argentina, and Wallace concern all over the world. The
not escape the attention of Victorian (1905) reported abundant growth and migration of plant species from one
biologists including Darwin and distribution of alien Rumex acetosella geographical region to another across
Wallace. Darwin (1872) pointed to the in New Zealand. In recent times, the natural barriers such as high mountains,
rapid spread of alien cardoon (Cynara problem of invasion by alien plant seas, and oceans has been taking place

6 ENVIRONEWS, April 2017
since time immemorial, but the plant invasion has not been addressed affect the plant community
movement of plant species through adequately, although in India too, development and ecosystem processes
natural dispersal agents has been rather several exotic plants have invaded the adversely, but reliable quantitative data
slow. However, with globalization high-value biodiversity areas and have available on these aspects are few and
there has been a phenomenal increase adversely affected the natural and semi- far between. The effects of invasive
in trade, tourism, travel and other natural ecosystems. alien species on the distribution,
human activities, and this has caused abundance, and population dynamics
Alien Plant Invasion in India
both intentional and unintentional of native plant species in natural
introduction of species from one The extent of distribution, rate of ecosystems, hydrology, soil biology,
country to another at a pace that was spread, and persistence of invasive and ecosystem process need to be
never witnessed before (Tripathi 2009). alien species directly influence the studied in detail. In India, a good
If a plant species arrives in a territory native biodiversity of an invaded number of high-value biodiversity sites
where the habitat conditions are similar region, therefore, the trends in invasion have been invaded by invasive alien
to those of its native place, it by alien species have been identified as plants but unfortunately, studies on the
germinates, survives, grows, an important indicator of the loss of biology of plant invasion are rather
reproduces, and produces self- biodiversity. Biological invasion is one scanty. The biology and population
sustaining populations in natural and of the major threats to biodiversity, next dynamics of a number of exotic weeds
semi-natural ecosystems in the course only to habitat destruction. In northeast were studied by the author and his
of time. Many exotic species may grow India invasion of plant species is collaborators in the department of
luxuriantly in the new environment, triggered by human-induced habit botany at North-Eastern Hill University,
expand their range of distribution at a fragmentation, land degradation, forest Shillong, Meghalaya, from the 1980s
fast rate, and even pose a serious threat degradation, land-use and land-cover onwards. Research on weed biology
to the native species of the invaded changes, Jhum cultivation and other has also been conducted at several
area. These alien invasive species are kinds of anthropogenic stresses that other universities and research
characterized by rapid growth, high impact natural ecosystems. Studies on organizations in India, but the plant
reproductive capacity, efficient population dynamics and growth of a invasion perspective is missing in most
dispersal mechanism, strong number of exotic species such as of these studies.
competitive ability, and ability to adapt Chromolaena odorata, Ageratina
There is every likelihood that invasive
physiologically to new environmental adenophora, Ageratina riparia, and
alien species would adversely affect
conditions. Thus, they are able to cope Imperata cylindrica in relation to
vegetation pattern and processes by
successfully with the biological and burning, age of “jhum” fallows,
progressively replacing existing
physical conditions of the invaded associated vegetation, varied density
indigenous flora in not only high value
territory. and light regimes, and soil conditions
biodiversity areas such as the
have clearly revealed that these weeds
The problem of biological invasion has northeastern region of India and the
are particularly successful in disturbed
been recognized by the Scientific Western Ghats but also in other parts of
habitats (Tripathi 1985). The facilitative
Committee on the Problems of the the country. Adhikari, Tiwari and Barik
effect of these drivers on plant invasion
Environment (SCOPE) as central (2015) identified the hotspots of alien
may presumably be mediated through
problem in the conservation of species invasion in India through
the reduction in various kinds of biotic
biological communities. Invasive alien Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM)
and physical resistances that would
plants have serious ecological using species occurrence data of IAS
have been offered by the undisturbed
implications for the conservation of from the Global Biodiversity
host plant community. The
native biodiversity, maintenance of Information Facility (GBIF). About 49%
quantification of the extent of influence
plant community structure, plant of the total geographical land area of
exercised by different kinds of
succession, and ecosystem processes in India was predicted to be prone to
environmental resistances to an
the areas invaded by them. The invasion at moderate to high levels of
invading plant species in a host
problem of plant invasion has engaged climatic suitability. According to this
community could be a very challenging
the attention of ecologists, study, nineteen of 47 eco-regions of
area of ecological study. Apart from
conservationists, and India harboured invasion hotspots.
causing depletion of native
environmentalists all over the world Most ecologically sensitive regions of
biodiversity, invasive alien species alter
over the past 4 to 5 decades, especially India, including the “biodiversity
species composition of plant
after the launch of the Global Invasive hotspots” and coastal regions coincide
communities, affect physical, chemical
Species Programme (GISP) by SCOPE. with invasion hotspots, indicating their
and biological properties of soil, and
However, in India, so far the problem of vulnerability to alien plant invasion.

ENVIRONEWS, April 2017 7
The intersection of anthropogenic decline in resource use, and the hypothesis offers a plausible
biomass and ecoregions with the invaders can increase their explanation for the spectacular
regions of 'high' climatic suitability was distribution and abundance at the success of invasive plant species
classified as hotspot of alien plant expense of the resident species. in the areas that they invade.
invasion. This may cause a drastic reduction
l The herbivores and parasites or
in the population size of several
ENM has also been proved to be a pathogens, the natural enemies of
native species and some of them
powerful tool in predicting the invasion invasive species, that were
may even be eliminated from
potential of specific IAS under different regulating the population growth
their natural habitats.
climate change scenarios (Barik and of invaders in their native place
Adhikari, 2011). Such knowledge base l Most invasive plant species are absent in an invaded region.
is crucial for guiding the formulation of possess high phenotypic plasticity Invading species generally arrive
an effective policy and management (Rai and Tripathi 1983) coupled in new environments without
strategy for controlling the invasive with hybridization capacity and their co-evolved natural enemies
alien species. highly efficient reproductive from their natural habitats. This
strategies. Rai and Tripathi (1983) may provide invaders
Important aspects related to plant
have reported that in case of opportunities for luxuriant growth
invasion
Galinsoga ciliata and Galinsoga and more prolific reproduction,
Some of the interesting aspects and parviflora the reproductive effort which allow them to outcompete
exciting points emerging as a result of showed considerable plasticity, native species and expand their
analysis and synthesis of the scientific but it is maintained at a fairly high range of distribution. This is the
information gathered on the ecology of level even under the stressed basis of the so-called “enemy
plant invasion (Tripathi 2009, 2013) are ecological conditions. Their release” or “escape” hypothesis,
presented below: populations are characterized by which is employed to explain the
l Genetic changes are likely to the presence of at least three spectacular success of invasive
occur in a species subsequent to seedling cohorts, which emerge at alien plants in new environments.
invasion in a new region, and different times, and these seedling
The aforementioned hypotheses or
these changes may hold the key to cohorts differ in their half-life,
approaches explain why and how alien
its success in the invaded land. An survivorship, and seed output (Rai
species become more successful in the
invading species that colonizes a and Tripathi 1984). This adds to
invaded land compared to their native
novel environment has to face a their level of plasticity and
place. It may be mentioned that the
genetic challenge, because it has contributes to their adaptability,
majority of studies on invasive alien
not experienced the selective ecological success, and ability to
species have been conducted in the
pressures presented by the new invade new areas.
invaded territory and surprisingly, we
environment. Despite this, most l Many invasive plant species, for do not have any quantification
alien species become successful example, Ageratina riparia or regarding their abundance,
invaders, although they have to Eupatorium riparium (Rai and competitive success, aggressiveness,
face challenges from the already Tripathi 1984), Parthenium and response to natural enemies in their
well-adapted native species. hysterophorus, Chromolaena native land. The soundness of these
Biologists need to find out the odorata, and Ageratina “invasion hypotheses” can be tested
underlying mechanisms and adenophora (Tripathi et al. 2012), only when we apply a comparative
processes that make the invading release chemical compounds into biogeographical approach towards the
species so successful in their new the environment, which are not problem of biological invasion and
environments. generally harmful to them, but have sufficient relevant data on
l Invasive alien species (e.g., those chemicals suppress the invasive alien plants from their native
Eupatorium odoratum) are growth of other species growing as well as invaded regions. In one of his
intrinsically better competitors in the close proximity of invasive earlier articles, Tripathi (1985)
than the native species. And so species. This negative effect (often emphasized that a comparative study of
they offer strong competition and referred to as an allelopathic population behavior, individual fitness,
pose a serious threat to native effect) of invaders on the native and reproductive strategies of invasive
species in the invaded region species confers a tremendous alien species in their countries of origin
(Yadav and Tripathi 1981). The competitive advantage on the and in the invaded territory could be
native species of an area show a former. The “chemical release” quite revealing and rewarding.

8 ENVIRONEWS, April 2017
Genetic Diversity and Invasibility of community and ecosystem structure researches related to this subject must
Alien Plants are disturbed and this may affect be accorded high priority. Aspects of
ecosystem processes. The complex alien plant invasion that need to be
For any species to become successful in
communities comprising both plant addressed on urgent basis are:
a new environment, it is essential that
and animal species become simpler,
the species genetically adapts itself to (a) Monitoring the distribution, rates
food chain is shortened and food web
its new environment. It may also be of invasion and population
complexity is reduced. Thus invasive
mentioned here that preserving genetic dynamics of invasive alien
alien species can cause changes in the
diversity is absolutely necessary for a species under the climate change
food web architecture, which provides
species to continually adapt genetically scenario.
one of the mechanisms by which
to a changing environments. Therefore,
ecosystem processes are altered. There (b) Pathways of alien species
investigating the genetic adaptability of
could be three pathways underlying the invasion,
invasive alien plant species in the new
mechanism: (a) trophic cascades in (c) Identifying the hotspots of
environments should also be an issue of
which invasive species may reduce invasive alien species in India
focus for population ecologists and
populations of consumers that transport through Ecological Niche
conservation biologists.
nutrients between habitats reducing Modelling using species
Greater genetic diversity may lead to inputs and within-system cycling; (b) occurrence data, and predicting
greater phenotypic variation and invasive alien plants producing such vulnerability of ecological
adaptability. The greater overall hetero- secondary metabolites which can habitats and ecosystems to alien
zygosity may increase population adversely affect the species species invasion,
fitness and reduce genetic bottlenecks composition and abundance of
that can limit the adaptive evolution of detritivores, may alter the litter (d) Impact of invasive alien species
fitness-related traits. Therefore, decomposition rates; (c) litter of on native biodiversity, plant
invasive populations with greater invasive alien plants could be either community structure, natural
genetic diversity may be at an less or more palatable to decomposers succession and ecosystem
evolutionary advantage, and there are a than the native species, and this may processes,
number of examples of invasive species change the litter decomposition rates (e) Impact of alien plant invasion on
that have adapted to evolve adaptive and nutrient cycling in the ecosystem. the diversity and abundance of
traits in their introduced range. Intra- soil microbes and its implications
The way forward
specific genetic diversity of plant for nutrient cycling in the
populations is an important factor Like climate change the problem of ecosystem.
shaping the diversity and structure of alien plant invasion needs to be
communities, and thus, it is also addressed very seriously. Indeed, the (f) Bio-prospecting of invasive alien
important for assessing the impact of problem has been engaging the plants emphasizing particularly
invasive species on organisms of higher attention of ecologists all over the on the possibility of exploiting
trophic levels. Genetic diversity globe. The economic and ecological their secondary metabolites (e.g.
influences invasion success, however, costs associated with the invasion of allelochemicals) for producing
the increase in invasibility of alien alien plants are indeed staggering. natural pesticides and drugs.
plants vis-à-vis their genetic diversity However, in India, so far the problem of In view of the various ecological
needs to be tested empirically under alien plant invasion has not been implications of alien plant invasion,
varied ecological conditions of India. adequately addressed. there is a need to launch a national
Invasive Alien Plants and Ecosystem There is a strong need for undertaking website on biological invasion, set up
Processes long-term research programs on regional biological centres across the
different aspects of alien plant invasion country, and create a national
As mentioned earlier, invasive alien biological invasion authority which
in a network mode covering the entire
species cause depletion in native should cover the entire gamut of
length and breadth of India, as the
biodiversity the components of which problems associated with biological
problem of invasive alien plants is
are well adapted to their physical invasion. As the invasion by alien plant
already quite alarming in this country
environment and interactions among species is more conspicuous and
and it is going to further worsen during
themselves. As and when some of the serious in India, the proposed
the next few decades from now. In view
native species are lost, the subtle authority, initially, could lay a greater
of the enormity of the alien plant
interactions which contributed to the emphasis on invasive alien plants than
invasion problem in this country, the
development of a distinct plant the alien animals.

ENVIRONEWS, April 2017 9
NEWS AND VIEWS

Garden grass could become a source metals, and is more economical. In the Let's further explore the potential
of cheap and clean renewable first round of experiments, the dangers of Wi-Fi with these 10 facts.
energy researchers combined the three Contributes to the Development of
A team of UK researchers, including catalysts with cellulose in a round Insomnia
experts from Cardiff University's bottom flask and subjected the mixture
to light from a desk lamp. At 30 minutes We feel more awake after using Wi-Fi
Cardiff Catalysis Institute, have shown and even struggle to sleep through the
that significant amounts of hydrogen intervals the researchers collected gas
samples from the mixture and analysed night Reports of these phenomena have
can be unlocked from fescue grass with been frequent and even prompted a
the help of sunlight and a cheap it to see how much hydrogen was being
produced. To test the practical study in 2007 that evaluated low-
catalyst. It is the first time that this frequency modulation from cell phones
method has been demonstrated and applications of this reaction, the
researchers repeated the experiment and its impact on sleep. Participants
could potentially lead to a sustainable were exposed to the electromagnetic
way of producing hydrogen, which has with fescue grass, which was obtained
from a domestic garden. signals from real phones or no signal
enormous potential in the renewable from fake phones. Those exposed to the
energy industry due to its high energy Researchers say up until recently, the electromagnetic radiation had a
content and the fact that it does not production of hydrogen from cellulose significantly more difficult time falling
release toxic or greenhouse gases when by means of photocatalysis has not asleep and changes in brainwave
it is burnt. This really is a green source been extensively studied. Results show patterns were observed.
of energy. Hydrogen is seen as an that significant amounts of hydrogen
important future energy carrier as the can be produced using this method It's been suggested that sleeping near a
world moves from fossil fuels to with the help of a bit of sunlight and a phone, in a home with Wi-Fi, or in an
renewable feed stocks, and our cheap catalyst. apartment building with many Wi-Fi
research has shown that even garden signals can create chronic sleep
Furthermore, they demonstrated the problems as the constant bombardment
grass could be a good way of getting effectiveness of the process using real
hold of it. of Wi-Fi pollution interferes with falling
grass taken from a garden. This is the asleep and sleep patterns. For many,
Hydrogen is contained in enormous first time that this kind of raw biomass sleep deprivation is just the start for
quantities all over in the world in water, has been used to produce hydrogen in larger problems. The development of
hydrocarbons and other organic matter. this way. This is significant as it avoids depression and hypertension have also
Up until now, the challenge for the need to separate and purify been linked to inadequate sleep.
researchers has been devising ways of cellulose from a sample, which can be
unlocking hydrogen from these sources both arduous and costly." Damaging to Childhood Development
in a cheap, efficient and sustainable Source: News from Cardiff University. Exposure to non-thermal radio
way. A promising source of hydrogen is frequency radiation from Wi-Fi and
the organic compound cellulose, Shocking Facts about the Health cellular phones can disrupt normal
which is a key component of plants and Dangers of Wi-Fi cellular development, especially fetal
the most abundant biopolymer on Wi-Fi is convenient but many have development. A 2004 animal study
Earth. raised doubts concerning the safety of linked exposure to delayed kidney
In the study, the team researchers unseen forces that permeate everything development. These findings were
investigated the possibility of around us. Since the introduction of supported by a 2009 Austrian study. In
converting cellulose into hydrogen Wi-Fi in 1997, researchers have fact, the disruption of protein synthesis
using sunlight and a simple catalyst -- a performed dozens of studies to explore is so severe that authors specifically
substance which speeds up a chemical the subject. The results are clear and noted, “This cell property is especially
reaction without getting used up. This shocking — Wi-Fi can negatively affect pronounced in growing tissues, that is,
process is called photoreforming or overall health and brain health, in children and youth. Consequently,
photocatalysis and involves into especially in children. these population groups would be
hydrogen. The researchers studied the Perhaps most shocking is that this more susceptible than average to the
effectiveness of three metal-based information is not new or even that described effects.” In short, bathing the
catalysts -- Palladium, Gold and Nickel. controversial. In fact, in 2008, the well developmentally young in Wi-Fi
known publication Scientific American increases their risk of developmental
Nickel was of particular interest to the issues.
researchers, from a practical point of ran a piece called “Mind Control by
view, as it is a much more earth- Cell Phone” which explained the
abundant metal than the precious danger Wi-Fi has on the human brain.

10 ENVIRONEWS, April 2017
Affects Cell Growth or LTE cell phones, it may not be in your radiation, too.
When a group of Danish ninth graders head. A study involving 69 subjects Source: Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC,
experienced difficulty concentrating reported that many of them NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM,
after sleeping with their cell phones by experienced a real physical response to Founder of Global Healing Center
their head, they performed an electromagnetic frequencies. Exactly
what was the physical response? Agriculture a major cause of air
experiment to test the effect of wireless pollution
Wi-Fi routers on garden cress. One set Increased heart rate — similar to the
of plants was grown in a room free of heart rate of an individual under stress. Agricultural activities are the dominant
wireless radiation; the other group Linked to Cancer? source of fine particulate matter (PM2.5)
grew next to two routers that released in ambient air in Europe, the central US
This is extremely controversial but we and parts of China, according to a new
the same amount of radiation as a cell can't ignore that plenty of animal
phone. The results? The plants nearest study from the Earth Institute at
models indicate that exposure to Columbia University.
the radiation didn't grow. electromagnetic radiation increases the
Derails Brain Function risk of tumor development. While Agricultural air pollution comes mainly
human studies are rare, reports and in the form of ammonia (NH3), which
Just as the Danish high schoolers enters the air as a gas from heavily
noticed problems with concentration, case studies abound. One such case
involves a young 21-year-old woman fertilized fields and livestock waste. It
scientists have begun to look at the blows in over cities, reacts with
impact of 4G radiation on brain who developed breast cancer. What
makes this case unique was that her emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx)
function. Using MRI technology, and sulphur (SO2) from traffic and
research performed just last year found family did not have a predisposition to
breast cancer and she developed the industry, and leads to the formation of
that persons exposed to 4G radiation so-called secondary particles. The
had several areas of reduced brain tumor right on the spot she carried her
cell phone in her bra. combination of intensive agriculture,
activity. traffic and industry is unfortunately
Reduces Brain Activity in Females You Can Protect Yourself quite typical for some of the most
A group of 30 healthy volunteers, 15 Although mainstream outlets may populated parts of North America,
men and 15 women, were given a ignore the proven dangers, and Europe and Asia, which means that
simple memory test. First, the entire researchers have identified several these particles are formed where they
group was tested without any exposure methods that can offer a level of can cause a lot of damage.
to Wi-Fi radiation — no problem. Then, defense. First off, reduced melatonin The researchers used a global model to
they were exposed to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi seems to correspond with exposure. study the origin of fine particulate
from a wireless access point for about Thus, increasing melatonin through matter in different regions of the world.
45 minutes. During that portion of the supplementation may help offset some They divided the emission sources into
testing, brain activity was measured of the effects. In animal tests, L- three categories: natural,
and the women had a noticeable Carnitine provides antioxidant support anthropogenic non-agricultural and
change in brain activity and energy for nutrients negatively affected by 2.4 agricultural. Agricultural emissions
levels. GHz radiation. were defined as the change that
May Impact Fertility Limiting Exposure and Staying Healthy occurred if all agricultural activities
Although melatonin and L-Carnitine were turned on and off.
The results of an animal study suggest
that some wireless frequencies may offer a nutritional defense, they don't In Europe, emission precursors from
prevent egg implantation. During the block exposure. And that's very hard to fertilizers and livestock were
study, mice exposed 2 hours a day for accomplish anyway. Look at coverage responsible for 55 per cent of the
45 days had significantly increased maps from cell phone companies, or anthropogenic PM 2 . 5 . In the US,
oxidative stress levels. The cellular notice how many Wi-Fi networks your agricultural emissions represented
damage and impact on DNA structure smart phone prompts for you to join. around half of the human caused
from exposure suggest a strong We're surrounded and bombarded by emissions. China shows the highest
possibility of abnormal pregnancy or electromagnetic radiation. Blocking level of agriculture-related PM in
failure of the egg to implant. The exposure is difficult but there are a few absolute figures, and slightly less than
Karolinska Institute in Sweden released small steps you can take. For one, do half of the anthropogenic PM pollution.
a warning in 2011, stating: Pregnant not keep cell phones, laptops, and India is the only region in the study
women are cautioned to avoid using tablets close to your body. And if it's not where agricultural emissions are less
wireless devices themselves and being used, shut them off (your wireless significant for PM2.5 levels in ambient
distance themselves from other users. router too). There are also a number of air.
devices available to counteract Source: The Earth Institute at
Provokes Cardiac Stress electromagnetic frequencies. Check Columbia University,
If you think your heart races when out these ways to protect yourself from http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/3281
surrounded by wireless networks or 3G laptop radiation and cell phone
ENVIRONEWS, April 2017 11
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