Press on Environment and Wildlife
Green energy: Lakshadweep to generate electricity from coconut leaves, stem, husk and shells (June Week #2 (2013))
Choudhury, a nationally renowned solar power expert, was invited by the Lakshadweep authorities to suggest ways to set up solar power generation systems on the islands for minimising pollution. "After studying the landscape of the cluster of islands, its
habitat and the ecological system, despite being a solar expert, I suggested setting up small bio-mass power generation systems on each island that will use coconut leaves, husk and the shells."

Assured, cheap fuel supply

Wind power has also been ruled out due to land constraints," Choudhury said.

He claims power from coconut is a global first. These trees being an intrinsic part of the island and available in such abundance, fuel for the power plants is assured and comes almost free of cost. "Energy content in the fuel is very high and it will
bring down cost of generation from 28 per unit to 11 per unit," he said.

Ravi Chandar, executive engineer at the Lakshadweep power department, says: "It will reduce emissions by 80-90% in comparison to diesel generators and outgo on account of subsidy will reduce from 80 crore per year to a meagre 8 crore every year."

The plan is to set up biomass units with a total installed capacity of about 10 mw that will meet the power demand of the population. "Investment for the project has been pegged at 80 crore. It will be set up on a built, operate and transfer basis. The
company that builds the units will run it for 10 years after which it will be transferred to the government," said Chandar.


Green funds for relocating people from wildlife areas (Issue of the week, May Week #5 (2013))
Dedicated money for developing green cover would now also be utilised for relocation of people from the tiger reserves and national parks.

The environment ministry has approved a proposal of National Tiger Conservation Authority to provide money from the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to relocate people living inside tiger reserves and other protected

Around 1,78,000 families live inside protected areas including tiger reserves and are considered a threat to wildlife because of increasing man-animal conflict. The ministry’s latest data shows that 652 people were killed and around 17,000 injured in attacks
by wild animals between 2002 and 2012. In retaliation, around 100 ferocious animals were also killed during the period.

In a bid to check this conflict, there had been a government scheme to give compensation of up to Rs. 10 lakh for a family willing to relocate in 41 tiger reserves. The fund provided in the 11th five year plan (2007-08) of around Rs. 600 crore for tiger
reserves had fallen awfully short for quick relocation


Delhi plays host to South Asian winged visitors (May Week #5 (2013))
At a time when most of its water bodies are drying up due to the scorching heat, Delhi is witnessing a rare wildlife phenomenon at Shanti Van where nearly a dozen species of South Asian waterbirds have found a safe refuge in a small seasonal wetland which
is still alive. Ecologist T. K. Roy is thrilled at the development and says it is rare for such waterbirds to be found in Delhi at this time of the year. “Wetlands, whether big or small, seasonal or perennial are very important for the aquatic ecosystem, biodiversity
and waterbirds’ habitat. While wetlands in Delhi either get completely dried up or are quickly degrading, the seasonal wetland in the middle of Shanti Van, which usually is full of waterbirds during winters but dries up in the summer months, has sprung a surprise
this time round.”

Mr. Roy, who is involved with the annual waterbird census in Delhi, says: “Among the waterbirds which can still be seen at Shanti Van wetland are the spotbill duck, little cormorant, little grebe, white-breasted waterhen, black-winged stilt, common moorhen,
little egret, intermediate egret, red-wattled lapwing, white-throated kingfisher, cattle egret and pond heron.”


Rare bearcat found in Assam (May Week #5 (2013))
A bearcat, a rare species of climbing mammals, was captured in Nagaon district and shifted to a rehabilitation centre, officials said on Wednesday.

"The sub-adult male (around 1.5-metre-long) had reportedly entered a house in Aahomgaon village on the outskirts of Laokhowa Wildlife Sanctuary, in Nagaon district," an official said. "The locals then handed it over to the police, who in turn informed
the Forest Department," said an official.

The bearcat, also called 'binturong', has been shifted to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC), near Kaziranga National Park in Golaghat district.

Officials said this is for the first time in the CWRC's decade-long history that this species has showed up.

"One of our veterinarians brought the animal from Nagaon to CWRC in Golaghat. The animal appears healthy except that it is blinded in one eye, which looks like a congenital deformity. We are hoping to release the animal and possibly monitor it to learn
more about this rare mammal," said veterinarian Anjan Talukdar.

Threatened by habitat loss and poaching, this species inhabits areas south of Brahmaputra river in northeast India.


Now, police stations to tackle wildlife crime (May Week #5 (2013))
The Assam government has decided to set up a police station exclusively to deal with wildlife-related crime in the state.

State environment and forest minister Rockybul Hussian said chief minister Tarun Gogoi has agreed to the idea of opening a police station to deal with wildlife crime. He added that the first police station to tackle crime related to wildlife would be set
up at Kohra near Kaziranga National Park. He added that two more such police stations would also be set up at Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary.


Mumbai marine life on deathbed, thanks to govt apathy (May Week #5 (2013))
Delay in setting up sewage treatment plants doing the damage, says NEERI

Sewage generated across Mumbai — over 2,600 million litres a day — is causing the damage. It flows out of your homes through seven treatment plants — Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Versova, Malad, Ghatkopar and Bhandup. About 45% of untreated human waste is flushed
into two creeks and the Arabian Sea.

The existing treatment plants need an upgrade to keep pace with the city’s burgeoning population. Had a sewage treatment plant been installed, it would have filtered the waste before the water gushes out into the sea.

The seven existing facilities are old and need upgrading, admits Ashok Mhatre, chief engineer of Mumbai Sewage Disposal Project – a Rs4,000 crore World Bank-sponsored plan. “The upgrading project has not yet kicked off. At three of the existing plants,
we cannot start work due to problems, including encroachment and land disputes,” said Mhatre.


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