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Introduction Very survival of humanity in the planet earth primarily is with the consent and support of portions of the three-sub-spheres of the planet earth, such as, troposphere (a part of the lower atmosphere), coastal waters, rivers, inland water bodies and glaciers and snow fields and the polar ice caps (part of the hydrosphere) and pedosphere (upper most part of the lithosphere). Of the three earth spheres, viz., atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere, the most dynamic of all is atmosphere and as a consequence, the currents generated by pressure differentials manifest as winds of varying velocity, character and consequences. One of the built in advantages of the dynamism is the ability of the lower atmosphere to dilute and transfer transoceanically or trans-continentally the gaseous and particulate (aerosols) effluents discharged either by natural sources and processes (i.e.,effluents from solfatras, mud volcanoes, and volcanic vents during eruptions) or by human actions (like rice paddy farming leading to release of methane gas, addition of methane by millions of ruminating livestock in ranches and the all pervading automobile and smoke stack emissions due to burning of fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal ). All these add to the level of GHGs to the atmosphere. However, the GW aquifers, waters of rivers and lakes and coastal waters in the various continents are far less dynamic than the atmosphere resulting in a slower process of dilution of anthropogenically added chemical wastes, residues of biocides, agricultural chemicals and soil amendments, (both in liquid and particulate form) and hence a longer residence time in the water bodies. As most of the aquifer systems are hydraulically linked to surface water sources, in such a context, the chances are that the chemical residue laden surface water tends to contaminates the ground water. Unlike surface water bodies, decontamination of aquifers is still a far cry, resulting near permanent loss o such sources of water. Yet, being water, one might still find an avenue for use of such waters in a limited way. Soil by definition is the nearly contiguous surface layer of earth that supports plant life and life of some soil bacteria. Hence, soil is the basis of all farming, viz., food stuff, floriculture and of late for fast growing seasonal species that is commercially used for manufacturing petrol additives like ethanol. Without soil, commercial cultivation of crops is impractical, and will affect the very sustenance of living beings including humans. Due to the pressing need to produce more food stuff to feed the growing populations, many nation states of the world have launched intensive and scientific farming with modern or genetically modified seeds, seedlings, irrigation, chemical fertilizers, soil conditioners and biocides. Residues of fertilizers, soil conditioners, and biocides originating from plantations and agricultural farms and even from golf-courses and homestead greens, are another important source of chemical pollutants. Such residues wreak havoc to surface water and ground water aquifers. In order to grasp the enormity of the problem, a knowledge of the earth system and its workings are very essential, and especially those like soil forming or rock weathering processes, loss of soil and loss of chemicals native to the soil, hydrological cycle and its modifications and newer-man-made-links within it. Ammunition of this knowledge alone can help design a model for correcting the situation. In what follows, current status of the realms of air, water and soil will be examined and certain initiatives for possible correction will also be proposed. Differences in climate, geological (rock) formations and tectonics of any region are foundations of the processes that will determine the nature and type soil and the water resources.
These generalities are valid on the scale of a continent as well as that of the basic study unit of the geological processes, like a watershed. Generally 3 rd or 4th order watersheds are considered in the documentation of parameters that are basic to the soil and water resources. Rock - water-air continuum For most of the first half of last century, many lay citizens (including those of developed world) with out any introduction to geoscience, minerals, rocks, groundwater and air quality are domains insulated from each other. In fact such information was only with specialists or academia. But increased awareness brought to light by the electronic and print media as well as the founding of separate ministry or department of environment in various nations paved the way for exposure of environmental issues and role of geoscience in such issues to the centre stage citizen’s life. Theme specific NGO’s like Green Peace, Sasthrasahithya Parishath as well as scores of others took the cause of environment from capital to capital and house hold to house hold. That geospheres, viz., atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere are the anchor sheet of environment necessitates a brief introduction to these. In other words, the rock-water-air interaction is the basis of all chemical ions traced in waters of all sorts like, surface water, ground water, seawater and so on. Knowledge of earth spheres is basic to a reasonable appreciation of the foregoing. It calls for an introduction to properties and compositions of geological materials like rocks and minerals, which slowly transforms to soil, and releases the dissolved, suspended and bed load to smaller streams and large rivers. Rocks belong to three major categories, viz, igneous (crystallized from a molten magma), sedimentary (formed by deposition of clastic or nonclastic sedimentary particles in small or large basins and seas) and metamorphic rocks (formed by transformation of the two former types under great temperatures and pressures in the range of several kb and temperatures of a few hundred degrees Celsius). Further 99% of the crust, the outer most of the three divisions of the lithosphere, is composed of eight elements (O,Si,Al,Fe,Ca,Na,K and Mg in the order of abundance), which go into making of a set minerals of low density, viz., dominantly by silicates and aluminosilicates (Table.1). Silicates of Fe,Mg and Ca form in highest temperatures and pressures and occur in basic rocks. Under lowest temperatures and pressures mineral silicates of Na, K and pure silica or quartz form the acid rocks such as granites. Table 2 lists the common minerals and the chemical elements in sedimentary rocks. The rock minerals, notwithstanding their types, when they are at the surface of the earth, undergo process of chemical weathering fuelled by water with dissolved atmospheric CO2, transform themselves to newer set of minerals that are more stable on earth’s surface temperature and pressure conditions. Some of the chemical elements of the parent minerals are released to the reacting water as dissolved ions (Table 3). Dissolution, oxidation, hydrolysis and acid hydrolysis are the chief weathering processes. Dissolution, a simple process independent of pH, involves dissolution of soluble minerals in water. Due to its polar nature, water very effectively dissolves ionic compounds. In Oxidation, oxygen freely combines with minerals in reduced state and creates colloidal oxides or hydroxides. Oxidation of mine waste with sulphide minerals generates pH in the level of <4. In hydrolysis water chemically reacts with the dissolved ions. In acid hydrolysis, a process similar to hydrolysis, water is laden with hydrogen ions from dissolved acids. Weathering and Rocks The ultimate effect of rock water interaction produces increasingly large concentrations of dissolved solids with variable anionic concentrations mostly dictated by sources hydrogen ions, where as cationic abundances are determined by the source rock or soil. In fact, chemistry and mineralogy are the factors that determine the resistance of minerals to weathering. Hornblende a low temperature iron and magnesium phase is more resistant than olivine a high temperature phase. Under surface conditions, many minerals are soluble in varying degrees, for example calcite (CaCO3) is readily soluble compared to partially soluble
alumino-silicates like feldspar, which result in a dissolved phase and solid phase or clay mineral. Therefore, in regions dominated by calcareous rocks, waters are rich in Ca2+ and HCO3- , have a higher pH and hence hard-water. But in terrains underlain by silicate rocks, the content of dissolved ions are very low in water and has a lower pH and hence is called softwater. Paths of dispersal of elements Chief geological agents, wind and water are efficient in redistributing the surface materials either as particulate matter (either as aerosols or as granular material closer to the earth’s surface) or in dissolved state (dissolved load).or in suspension (suspended load) or over the stream bed as bed-load. The latter three, i.e., dissolved load (DL), suspended load (SL) and bedload (BL) jointly constitute the total load (TL) of any river. Truly, the various types of loads are products of rock weathering. Weathering products, in dissolved, colloidal and granular states are dispersed in the realms of soil and water. Elements in the resistant minerals are hardly released to the environment and therefore do not pose threats. But from less resistant minerals, elements are added to water in dissolved state or as ions and neutral molecules (non-electrolytes)od organic and inorganic compounds. In addition, Eh and pH of the weathering environment are also significant in respect of solution or precipitation of minerals. Chemical Elements in Environment The basement rocks and soil are the chief determinants of distribution of elements in the physical system and indirectly the biotic system. All chemical elements are not equally reactive with the plant and only those that are easily leached from soils are available for plants and possibly part of the food chain thereby making its way to animals and finally to man. Though soils are a mixture of several elements, their relative abundance is no way an indicator of importance to man. Moisture content and pH are the factors deciding the release of mineral elements to plants. For e.g., soil with Se toxicity or selenosis, in animals are found in well drained soils with pH of 8 or more. But soil moisture works differently with different elements in respect of their availability. Rice plant, during growth in a pool of standing water, showed lower level of Cd in rice grain (Iimura,1981), due to decrease in soluble or extractable Cd from the soil. But Mo extractability is increased by such moisture levels. Plants also respond differently with respect to their uptake of chemical elements. For e.g., grasses, compared to legumes, are poor indicators of the geochemical environment of soils. Specific plant parts also differ in respect of concentration of chemical elements. Leaves have higher content than the stems. Plants and animals do help to maintain a healthy mineral level in human foods. The elemental distribution also varies geographically from one region to another as it is chiefly controlled by the distribution of source soils, which have dependency most of the time, on their parent rocks. The soil-plant-animal chain in fact is a system of subsystems which buffers man against possible exposure to excess mineral elements. Further, man might also get exposed to such elements from other sources like the work, or recreational environment. Trace element deficiencies and toxicities in the biota might not directly and easily find their way into humans due to corrections by supply of nutrients. For example, in Australia, “trace-element-deserts” have been converted to productive areas by fertilizing with Cu,Zn and Mo and this has increased productivity of the soil and also improved the geochemical environment (Anderson and Underwood, 1959). Trans-continental and trans-regional shipment of food and food preparation are in fact sort of an insurance against the relationship between soil and human health. Water Quality
Almost every human activity needs use of water. Water quality means the chemical composition that perhaps determines the suitability for a specific use. Hardness of water results from the presence of certain dissolved ions. Only chemistry of sea water probably stayed without change through geologic time, whereas chemistry did change through time in domains like rivers, lakes and lagoons. Climate and rock formations are the factors that influence the water chemistry. More acidic water occurs in polar streams due to higher solubility of CO2 in colder waters. In warm waters opposite is true. Streams draining wooded tracts tend to be brown or yellow due to presence of tannic acid produced by decay of plant remains. Water quality variations through a year, is a reflection of changes in climate resulting in modification of reaction rates. Human Impact Ingenuity of humans to modify and transform various elements of the environment is proverbial. Generally due to ignorance, humans did not understand the tacit balance that exists among the natural systems. Pollution of the environment was inaugurated by the very first nomads (by slash and burn agriculture) or by settlers (by lighting the first woodstove to cook or bake food stuff like meat or grains. Hem (1970) said that “pollution is not exactly definable but ……restrict it to adverse effects on natural water quality that are definitely man-produced”. Pollution originates: a. as direct input of such runoff from excessive fertilization b. as indirect and subtle inputs such as excess nitrates and phosphates leading to algal blooms and eutrophication of ponds and lakes Another source of pollution is effluents from improperly buried wastes, which also contaminate the GW aquifer systems. GW trace metals may originate from natural or man made sources (e.g., As pollution of GW in Bangala Desh). A knowledge of processes taking place in natural systems would possibly render designs to slow down or control the pollution. Drinking water quality Chemical elements and Human health Earth’s crust and sea water are the only sources of trace elements for human health, which need to be consumed as food stuff, unlike vitamins which are synthesized in the body. So far no element above atomic number 53 is yet to be proved as essential for humans. It must also be kept in mind that many elements are essential, therapeutic, toxic and carcinogenic`mutagenic, depending on their concentration and chemical form. (Anderson, 1977) has suggested the recommended dietary allowances of elements. Ca, Cl, Mg, P, Na and S are essential macro nutrients needing at least 100 mg/day. Essential micro-nutrients, i.e., about a few mg/day are Cr, Co, Cu, F, I, Fe, Mn, Mo, Se and Zn. Populations in areas where I is not available through meat or vegetables, addition of I through table salt (NaI) is resorted to prevent incidence of enlarged thyroid glands or goiter. In china, children living in Se deficient soil regions appear to contract a peculiar miocarditis. Toxic elements Elements like Hg, Cd and Pb, are known for toxicity and indeed some are even lethal to humans. As used to be known as a destroyer and savior of mankind, is a known carcinogen and populations in Taiwan and of late in Bengaladesh are left with As laden ground-water for drinking water needs. Natural Radioactvity in the Environment Terrestrial radioactivity is chiefly caused by Uranium, thorium and potassium contained in the terrestrial acid igneous rocks. U is an essential component of about 100 minerals. Importantly, distribution of these in soil and water are controlled by the distribution of parent rocks and the type of weathering. Average U values in soils reach upto 1-5 ppm. U can go in to solution and can migrate far off in solution can reach aquifers or through surface flow into basins of depositions, where it can get trapped in sediments under reducing conditions. The peat bogs of Russia and Scandinavia are best examples containing up to 3.0% U on dry basis. Th is
relatively immobile radio nuclide. With an average crustala abundance of 2.5%, among its 3 isotopes only 40K is radioactive with a low presence of 0.012 % in nature. 226 Ra, a daughter of U, has a daughter 222Rn a heavy gas. Being a gas it rises through the weak zones and fissures in the basement rocks and dissipates to the atmosphere. But it may also get trapped in confined spaces like highly insulated homes or energy efficient homes and buildings posing a threat to health of humans using such buildings where Rn levels has gone up considerably. Kerala: status of environment Kerala is a very special among other states of the union, in that it is a state with a support square size of 32.0m, tropical monsoon climate, a 580 km long wave dominated shore line, and a population of 32 million spread across the state in amore or less continuous style and in all the three physiographic divisions, viz., highland, midland and coastal land. Air, water and soil of Kerala have been subject to varying levels of environmental stress. In general, air quality in Kerala is spread over a wide range from pristine in the high ranges to polluted Udyogamandal industrial belt. Yet industrial emissions are not a great threat to the air quality. Automobile exhaust truly poses a threat to the vegetation and soil adjoining the state’s highways. The monsoon rains wash down all the particulates to the soil, smaller and finally into larger streams. A recent estimate of GHG (green house gases) like carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide emitted from various sectors in Kerala are given in Table 4. Burning of petro-products, firewood, wetland both coastal and inland wetlands, ruminating animals and retting of coconut husk jointly contribute to the GHGs. Analysis of temperature data supplied by IMD for the period between 1970 and 2000, reveal an increasing or rising trend of mean maximum temperature (SER, 2005), but distribution of rainfall does show little or no change. Though, Kerala receives at least 2.5 times more rain fall per unit area than the national average, many towns and villages of Kerala experiences scarcity for drinking water in summer months chiefly due to lowest-per capita-freshwater availability of fresh water I comparison with other Indian states. In 2005, drinking water requirement of Kerala is estimated as 645.0 mlpd which will grow to 697 mlpd by 2010. Increasing water demand by domestic, industrial, farming, hydel and other sectors of the state, has led to water scarcity. Many towns and villages go dry due to fall in water table. Other problems faced are salinity intrusion into aquifers in coastal districts, water logging due to irrigation (around 400 ha of land in the command areas of Kuttiyadi and Malampuzhaz irrigation projects, “over exploitation” of ground water (Table 5) and consequent problems like fall in water table and increased salinity of water, pollution due to dumping of untreated waste into the Periyar (to the tune of 260 million lit/day of factory effluents), by the “rogue” industries in the Kochi industrial belt. Admittedly large parcels of wetland (both in the coastal land and inland) have been facing a fast rate of conversion by filling to make better quality dry-land for various purposes. Wetlands play important roles by supporting mangrove forests, providing an ideal spawning ground for certain species of fish, retaining finer sediment and nutrients originating in the upland areas from escaping into the ocean According to CWRDM report, water quality of surface water sources, does face a serious threat due to bacterial pollution and it may perhaps be a result of the high density of population. We may keep in mind that population grew from little more than one crore to over 3 crores in a span of 50 yr. and such growth in population did bring in certain opportunities and challenges to Kerala. Locally, there are many “troubled areas” due to dumping of solid waste, bathing and washing clothes and discharge of effluents. Being a farming state with huge land area under plantation crops and a closely similar extent under annuals and seasonal crops, farm residues of agricultural chemicals pose a severe
problem to the water bodies like ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and lagoons as well as the coastal ocean. An immediate manifestation copious supply of plant nutrients is eutrophication of small and large water bodies across the state. Due to this ponds and lakes slide into a phase where large aquatic weeds like rooted reed grass and floating types like salvenia and water hayacyinth establish extensively and their death and decay steeply reduces dissolved oxygen in the water. With fall in oxygen level, aquatic life like a host of fish species and other crustaceans also sharply declines resulting in “death” of water body. A moderation in application of agrochemicals and reduction of the quantum of farm residues is a right step forward in saving the water resource and aquatic life in the water bodies of Kerala. Water transport sector gets a beating due to eutrophication as “green turf” on the water surface makes the cruising very expensive in terms of per-nautical-mile-consumption of fuel and maintenance of propeller and other drive mechanisms in contacting the water surface. Animal farms are known to produce huge volumes of solid and liquid excrements, which most of the time are conventionally stored in a pit, for later use in agri-farms. Interestingly a recent story in “Newsweek” states that genetically modified pigs are much more environment friendly than normal pigs. Excrement of the latter, in comparison with GM-pigs, contains very high levels of phosphate, a plant nutrient and an agent promoting eutrophication. Results of a study recently released by CSE, New Delhi, points finger at the status of human health (higher than average incidence of cancer) among some settlers in the lakeshore belt in Kochi. According to CSE report, dumping (sometimes clandestine) of untreated industrial effluents (liquid and solid) into the waters of the Periyar and Vemanad lake, is the cause of this malady. Yet another serious threat to aquatic environment is posed by indiscriminate discharge of untreated sewage directly into coastal lagoons and wetlands of Kuttanad by settlers along the shores. Though, studies on the nitrate and coliform levels are not many, sooner than later we must be harvesting the negative benefits. Undoubtedly surface water bodies and aquifers stand to loose. But the catastrophe that struck the larger and smaller rivers of Kerala due to extensive borrowing of channel bed sand, followed by paleochannel sand (as it happens now) for use in construction industry. Right from mid-seventies, the construction sector has been recording steady growth and one of the primary ingredients in making concrete and cement mortar is fine aggregate, which, our designers and contractors equated with river sand. As sand supply fell short of demand, any patch of land with a possible potential for a reserve of sand, is targeted now, even illegally. Unfortunately, the environmentalists who are very vocal in the issue of saving rivers and its ecosystem fail to suggest a viable alternative. The logical alternative is the manufacturing of sand or fine aggregate just like coarse aggregate, from rock using large crushing and sizing plants. Sadly, even manufactured sand is frowned by nature lovers and river ecologists. What every one should keep in mind is that by natural-chemical-weathering of one unit volume of the basement rock in Kerala, can result in 1/3 volume of fine aggregate or sand and takes about a million years. Removal of flood plain mud for making tile and brick, another product in great demand in the construction business, has also transformed vast patches of wetland or paddy-land into scarred patches with wide and deeper holes, affecting the ground water regimen of the terrain. Though very late, large scale entry of cement bricks as a viable substitute, especially due to scarcity of good quality red-bricks and for want of standard-brick-quality-mud, has come in to save the situation. Unfortunately, the debut is quite late. Urban and suburban sectors of the state produce large volumes of solid waste and invariably waste is dominated by plastic bags of various descriptions, tin and plastic cans (used to supply medicines, paint and solvents), demolition and construction waste and biodegradable kitchen waste of vegetables and meat. Plans and funds to build plants to convert the
biodegradable waste to organic manure faces very stiff resistance from the local citizenry, where ever such a proposal is unveiled. In the light of objections, a different model of waste treatment like high temperature incineration can be considered, especially when a captive steam generator becomes part of the process. New initiatives Unless a concerted effort is initiated, we may very likely to face, a run-away-slide in environmental health. Safe drinking water, clean air and a place called home are as important to the citizens as getting quality and relatively cheap or affordable health care and education. I will add drive against corrupt practices as part of the citizen’s wish list. Safe drinking water for the villages and towns in the coastal land can come only by treating water locally and piping it into the homes. Coastal land of Kerala hosts at least 9 large towns and cities of the state and need supply of safe drinking water and the best alternative is to go for plants based on reverse-osmosis-technology. For e.g., KMML is building a water treatment plant, based on reverse osmosis, at an estimated cost of Rs.60.0 crores to supply a million litres of water per day. Only the filters for the plant are imported fro Mitsubishi of Japan. Our conventional mind will go for designing a dam-reservoir-pipeline complex at the upstream and treatment-plant-reservoir-distribution system in the towns and cities. Instead of piping in water from highland, it is time to think of local sources and green technologies. I am sure that govt. would have included provision for reverse-osmosis-based-drinking-water projects in the coastal development plan submitted to center for funding. Contrary to the conventional format of waste treatment with the government, needing large parcel freehold land in an already crowded space and uncertain market for organic manure, a new model of waste treatment needs active consideration. The latter is high temperature incineration of waste, where in a captive power plant can be installed. Such systems are very ideal for sectors and regions of huge population density. Unfortunately, the elected and appointed bureaucracy does not easily accept site specific needs and desires nor are they experts in correctly proposing a cafeteria of choices when it comes to waste treatment or any issue in which citizens are at interface with. As far as construction sand is concerned, spurt in construction activity is bound to need more of all material in construction including sand and metal. It shall not stop, even if that is what we wish for. As long as there exist many more families without decent housing, the need for mortar and concrete, i.e., fine and coarse aggregates and cement must be on the rise, must be made available cheaply to keep the construction sector blooming. So, we have to get sand from sea bed, from crushers, from cinder or slag of industrial smelters, manufacturing plants etc. It is time for burial of one-material-one-source mindset. Mining is a sector in which Kerala has not shined yet, primarily because of fewer commercially viable mineral deposits. Chief mineral resources are Ilmenite sands of ChavaraKayamkulam belt, gold of Nilambur valley and china clay in Malabar in the north and Trivandrum and Kollam dist. in the south. Unfortunately, lay citizen’s mind set is against all mining activities, which is primarily due to fear of eviction form ones own land or being driven from ones own sector of work. Unfortunately, neither the government nor the industry has n’t so far explained to the public advantages of mining to the states industrial economy, newer avenues and opportunities of employment directly or indirectly. In fact, the mindset to mineral sand mining needs change as Kerala has one of the best black sand resources in the world in the offshore. Black sand is deposited on the modern beach face by the SW monsoon waves on an annual basis, by transporting a portion of seabed sand from the vast reservoir of sand deposited in the inner shelf during the last 65 ma. According to one estimate the worth sand, after mining and concentration, at to day’s price will fetch in excess of Rs.40,000 crores in the next 30 yr. or at 10 or 5% royalty a whopping 4000 or 2000 crores of rupees, a portion of which can be used for building first rate townships for the settlers in the coastal tract of Kollam and Alappuzha dist., and now sheltered in school buildings or similar places to escape from the wrath of monsoon waves.
The human efforts in recently launched National Job Guarantee Scheme launched can be focused to water-shed-based land and water management tasks so that water and soil conservation can be successfully initiated and maintained for the welfare people. Summary In the foregoing I presented some random thoughts on the question of how humans have impacted the environment, whose front office is the what is called biosphere. Many a times, enthusiast, generalists and lay citizens seem to believe that biosphere is the beginning and end itself. Equally important are the other parts of the physical system of the earth, viz., lithosphere (pedosphere), Hydrosphere (parts closer to and on continents) and atmosphere (lower troposphere). Being very dynamic any thing that goes into or comes out of troposphere and consequences or advantages there of are “swiftly” and uniformly distributed (i.e., diluted) all across the globe as a result of its very dynamic nature. It is no different in respect of pollutants entering it either. The response of the system, there therefore is global affecting every one at its interface with the other spheres. Hydrospheric parts do make a huge difference in that it is less dynamic, so consequences are more local and less easily dilutable. Though earth is known as a water planet, only about 2% of all the available water is fresh and usable. And factors of climate and relief makes its availability very much non-uniform across the continents and nation states. There is practically no human activity that can take place in the absence of water, yet the advantage is that across the spectrum, water quality need not be uniform. Water quality is an parameter defined by at least 60 different attributes. Pedosphere or the soil sphere is a direct derivative of the rocks and minerals making the rocks of the lithosphere in direct contact with atmosphere and hence its component gases including moisture, which shows wide variation in its content through the year and seasons. These can enter even the cracks and interfaces between mineral (meta stable at surface conditions) grains triggering chemical changes leading to the formation of more stable new mineral phases and release of surplus and easily mobile chemical ions to liquid water to be carried away to streams and oceans, which made the sea water salty and created soil for the survival of plants and animals for their sustenance. . . Size and activities of members (chiefly humans) of the biosphere, are directly reflected in the water. Unlike other living beings, human ability, intelligence and initiatives are incomparable to those of others in the biosphere. We have learned to control, transform, modify and regulate large number of processes in the other earth spheres. Processes in the Earthsystem, including all subsystems, operate on different time scales, which are different totally different from and majority of times inconceivable to humans. Truly, majority of humans have ignorantly taken for granted the members of physisphere and the rates, magnitudes and directions. This wide gap in knowledge between what we know of the earth system behaviour on the one hand and our active and passive intrusions into earth system processes, perhaps is the foundation of most of the environmental problems. If you can not grow or buy it, you got to mine it – Chinese proverb tells us bluntly our need to mine the resources on the surface, or deeper, in parts of lithosphere. Distribution of minable minerals is far less uniform in the rocks that some continents and nations have more mineral wealth than others. Any mining activity is an anomalous pursuit focusing on an anomalously large natural concentration either on the surface or deeper below in the solid earth or lithosphere, resulting a huge accumulation of waste. The latter will have deleterious and occasionally unpredictable consequences to the biosphere through trough the medium of pedosphere and/or parts of hydrosphere.
Yet, ingenuity of some humans is so great that has led to a system of checks and balances in diligently mining the very urgently required resources carefully, causing very little or less damage to the biosphere and physisphere. With this note of optimism, we, the majority can be sure of the welfare of the prosperity of the posterity. Acknowledgements I sincerely thank Dr. V.R. Prakasam (course convener for identifying me) and Dr. J.J.Kattakkayam (for the ambience)., References: Anonymous, 2005, State of the Environment Report, KSCST&E, Trivandrum, 349p. Fyfe, WS, 1974, Geochemistry, Clarendon Press, Oxford. Levinson, AA, 1974, Introduction to exploration geochemistry, Applied Publishing Co, Calgary Livingstone, D, 1963, Chemical composition of lakes and rivers in the world, USGS Prof. Paper, 440G, 64p Meade, RH, 1987, Movement and storage in river systems, in Lerman, A and Maybeck, M, (ed.) Physical and chemical weathering in geochemical cycles, Reidel Publishimng co., Netherlands. Menard, HW, 1961, Some rates of regional erosion, Jour. Geology, 69, 154-161 Subramonian, V, 1979, Chemical and suspended sediment characteristics of rivers of India, Jour. Hyrology, 44, 38-55 Thornton, I, (ed.) 1983, Applied environmental geochemistry, Academic Press, 501p. Thrivikramji.K.P., 1989, River Geochemistry, Final Report, SCST&E, Trivandrum, 56p. -------
Table 1 Common igneous rock forming minerals (after Levinson, 1974) Group Oxide Feldspars Pyroxenes Olivines Micas Amphiboles Formula SiO2, Fe2O3 NaAlSi3O8 KAlSi3O8 CaAl2Si2O8 CaMgSi2O6 MgSiO3 Mg2SiO4 Fe2SiO4 KAl2AlSi3O10(OH)2 KMg3AlSi3O10(OH)2 Mg7Si8O22(OH)2 Ca2Mg5Si8O22(OH)2 Minerals Quartz Magnetite Albite Orthoclase Anorthite Diopside Enstatite Forsterite Fayalite Muscovite Phlogopite Anthophyllite Actinolite
Table 2 Major element geochemistry of sedimentary rocks (After Fyfe, 1974) Rock type Sandstone Mineralogy Quartz, feldspars Chemistry Dominated by SiO2
Shale Limestone Chert Phosphorit e Soil
Clay minerals, chlorites, carbonates Calcite, dolomite Quartz, hematite Apatite Complex clay Minerals, quartz, organic materials Bauxite,Haematite Halite, gypsum
(+K,Na,Ca,Al) Al2O3-SiO2-H2O CaCo3, MgCO3 SiO2 (+minor Fe2O3,MnO2) Calcium Phosphate Al2O3-SiO2-H2O
Al2O3-Fe2O3-SiO2 NaCl, CaSO4,CaCO3,
Table 3. Mean composition of average rain water and river water (Livinstone, 1963) Ion Cl Na+ Mg2+ SO4K+ Ca2+ HCO3TDS(mg/l ) Rainwater mol/l 0.107 0.086 0.011 0.006 0.008 0.002 0.002 7.13 Riverwater Mol/l 0.22 0.27 0.17 0.12 0.06 0.38 0.96 130
Table 4 GHG emission in Kerala (SERK, 2005) Gas CO2 Methane Source Petro-products, Fire wood & wetland Agricultural soils, rice paddy, husk retting ponds, rumination of animals & petro-products Agricultural soils Emission, Gg/yr 19320.0 203.0 Equivalent CO2, tg/yr 19.32 4.22 % of total 80.47 17.58
Table 5 Well-density and water yield in coastal Districts (Nazimuddin and Basak, 1998) District Trivandrum Kollam Alapuzha Ernakulam Trissur Malappura m Kozhikod Kannur Kasarakod Well density no./km2 235.0 265.0 183.0 156.0 153.0 200.0 258.0 162.0 100.0 Av. Withdrawal Lit/day 680.0 800.0 1150.0 1600.0 2500.0 1370.0 800.0 1000.0 1523.0
Appendix I Protocol on collection and analysis of water samples, NOEF, GOI. (afterENVIRO News,J-M,2006) TYPE FREQUENCY, Yr PARAMETERS LOOKED FOR Baseline RIVERS & LAKESA.Pre-monsoon: once-a-year followed by in an interval of 3 PERENNIAL months: Estimate 25 parameters listed under – Four times a year. B.General: colour, odour,Temp.,pH, Turbidity, EC, DO &TDS Nutrients:NH4-N, NO2+NO3 &Total P RIVERS -SEASONAL Demands: BOD & COD 3-4 times during active Major ions: Na, K, Ca, Mg, CO3, HCO3, Cl & SO4 flow period Others: F, B and other site specifics Coliforms: Coliform-total and fecal LAKES Outside pre-monsoon: thrice analyze for 10 parameters like: 4 times colour, odour, temp, pH, EC, DO, NO2+NO3, BOD, Coliform – total & fecal Trend/ Monthly from A.Estimate all 25 parameters in pre-monsoon samples Impact / April / May; 12 times B.Only 15 parameters during rest of the year. flux General: colour, odour,Temp.,pH, Turbidity, EC, DO &TDS Nutrients:NH4-N, NO2+NO3 &Total P Demands: BOD & COD Major ion: Cl Coliforms: Coliform-total and fecal C.Micropollutants: once-a-year Pesticide: BHC, beta aand gamma BHC, OP-DDT, PP-DDDT, Endosulfan(alpha, beta), Diedrin, Carbary, Malathian, Methyl Parathian, Anilophos, Chloropyriphos C. Toxic metals: As, Cd, Hg, Zn, Cr, Pb, Ni, Fe (select site relevant parameters)
Appedix II: Scheme for collection and analysis of Ground water samples (afterENVIRO News,J-M,2006) Frequency Parameters Category Baseline Twice/year Estimate 20 listed parameters Pre-, & General: colour, temp, pH, EC, TDS postNutrients: NO2+NO3, orthophosphate monsson Demands: COD Major ions: Na, K, Ca, Mg, CO3, HCO3, Cl, SO4,%Na and SAR Others: F, B and other site specifics Trend Twice/year Pre-,Postmonsoon April/May: Estimate 20 parameters listed above Rest of the time – only 14 parameters General: colour, temp, pH, EC, TDS Nutrients: NO2+NO3, orthophosphate Demands: COD Major ions: Cl Others: F & B Coliforms, total & fecal Micropollutants (site specific only) Pesticide: BHC, beta aand gamma BHC, OP-DDT, PP-DDDT, Endosulfan(alpha, beta), Diedrin, Carbary, Malathian, Methyl Parathian, Anilophos, Chloropyriphos C. Toxic metals: As, Cd, Hg, Zn, Cr, Pb, Ni, Fe (select site relevant parameters)
Appendix III Specification for Sample containers (afterENVIRO News,J-M,2006) Parameter Type Storage 4 deg. C General Glass, PE in dark. 4 deg. C BOD Glass, PE in dark. COD, NH3, NO2, NO3 Glass, PE H2SO4, pH < 2 Coliform DO Fluoride P Pesticides Toxic metals Glass, PE Sterilized BOD bottle PE Glass Glass, Teflon Glass, PE 4 deg. C in dark DO fixing chemicals None None 4 deg C in dark HNO3, pH < 2
Appendix IV Estimates of sediment yield corresponding to av.annual run off (After Ursic,1965, USDA) Landuse/ Av. Annual Run Av.annual sediment Land cover off Yield, ton/ha or ton/acre cm/yr or in/yr Cultivted 40.0 (16.0) 50.0 (22.0) Paustre 38.0 (15.0) 36.0 (16.0) Abandoned fields 18.0 (7.0) 0.3 (0.13) Depleted hard woods 13.0 (5.0) 0.2 (0.1) Pine plantation 2.5 (1.0) 0.05 (0.02)
Appendix V: Volume rates of regional erosion (Menard,1961) Ton/acre/yr Ton/km2/yr M3/km2/yr 1 0.55 135.85 51.264 2 0.50 123.5 46.60 3 0.74 182.0 68.697 4 0.10 247.0 9.32 5 2.62 647.14 244.2 6 12.00 2964.0 118.47 7 200.0 49400 18641.0 -Geologic (1) and modern (2) deposition rates in Mississippi basin- the rates are nearly same -Deposition rates (3) in the Appalachian region in geologic past and modern day (4) -Geologic deposition rate (5) in the Himalayan region and modern day rate (6) Appendix VI Rates of continental erosion (after Ritter, 1964) No Type Rate, mm 1 Lowland, hot & moist, 33.0 Climate with dry season 2 Equatorial climate 22.0 (dense rain forest) 3 Mountain/hot moist 92.00 Climate
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