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Lead in paints

Modern houses are full of harmful chemicals. One of them is lead, present in paints. Though several countries have banned the use of this substance India is yet to do so, which is why paint makers use them. Inhaling lead dust while performing mundane chores like opening or closing windows is the most common source of lead poisoning. The human body is not designed to process lead. Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead as it can damage the central nervous system and the brain.

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Environmental Clearance - The Process

The environmental clearance process is required for 39 types of projects and covers aspects like screening, scoping and evaluation of the upcoming project. The main purpose is to assess impact of the planned project on the environment and people and to try to abate/minimise the same.

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EIA Legislation

Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) notified the new EIA Notification in September 2006 after putting up the draft notification for public comment for a year.

Understanding EIA

Environment Impact Assessment or EIA can be defined as the study to predict the effect of a proposed activity/project on the environment. A decision making tool, EIA compares various alternatives for a project and seeks to identify the one which represents the best combination of economic and environmental costs and benefits.

Pesticide residues in blood of Punjab farmers

Pesticides are commonly used in India but this comes at great cost to human health. The Centre for Science and Environment decided to investigate the matter and looked at the agricultural heartland of Punjab. It found that  15 different pesticides in the 20 blood samples tested from four villages in Punjab. But what is more important to find out is how much of pesticide in blood is ‘safe’. Does a safety threshold level exist? If yes, how do scientists — and the industry — compute it?

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Pesticide regulations

Pesticides are widely used in agriculture without paying much heed to the consequences of its unregulated and indiscriminate use . This fact has been known to our policy makers for nearly five decades. The government is atleast under law supposed to regulate its use. The Insecticides Act of 1968 is a key piece of legislation that is supposed to govern the use, manufacture, distribution, sale and transport of insecticides with a view to lowering risks to human and animal health.

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Trans fat in oils

Oil is essential for our body to function. But that does not mean that we should take for granted the cooking mediums we use in our food. As the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) laboratory report recently discovered our branded edible oils are full of unhealthy trans fats. The results showed trans fats in seven leading vanaspati brands were five to 12 times the 2 per cent standard set by Denmark. Trans fats are formed during the process of addition of hydrogen atoms to oils, a process industry prefers as it keeps the oil from turning rancid and ensures a longer shelf life.

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Mercury

Mercury is a very toxic and dangerous substance. It is  poisonous in all forms - inorganic, organic or elemental. Mercury is a proven neurotoxin. Inhaling mercury vapours can severely damage the respiratory tract. Sore throat, coughing, pain or tightness in the chest, headache, muscle weakness, anorexia, gastrointestinal disturbance, fever, bronchitis and pneumonitis are symptoms of mercury toxicity. Health concerns should be reason enough for us to properly manage its imports and disposal.

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Making water-excreta accounts

How will India supply drinking water in cities? Many argue the problem is not inadequate water. The problem is the lack of investment in building infrastructure in cities and the lack of managerial capacities to operate the systems, once created. This line of thought then leads logically to policy reform, to invite private investment and hand over public water utilities to private parties to operate.

CSE fellow gets Bangladesh government’s award for best stories on climate-induced disasters

Salahuddin was selected as a fellow for CSE’s Media fellowship on Climate change for the South Asian region titled Climate Change in South Asia: Indications, Impacts and Innovations for Survival. Under the fellowship Salahuddin did a series of stories called the 'Tears of the Sunderbans' in the Daily Inquilaab.

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