India | Centre for Science and Environment

India


Connected events and difficult future

Two major events happening at two ends of the world—Japan’s natural disaster and nuclear fallout and unrest in Libya and other countries of the region—have one thing in common. Energy. The fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, hit by earthquake and then the tsunami, has not yet been contained. As I write this, news is breaking about possible contamination of the seawater surrounding the damaged installation. Fears are it could lead to groundwater contamination and radioactive toxins in the food and fish. Last week there was a scare when Tokyo’s water was reported to have iodine 131 in excess of safe limits. Nobody really knows how badly the core of the reactor is damaged. Nobody’s clear how Fukushima’s problems will be buried.

BIS agrees Phthalates are harmful

The BIS agrees that there is a need to regulate the use of phthalates in toys. The BIS stated this in a response to the Bombay High Court on Feb 24th 2011. The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Consumers Welfare Association in 2007, seeking action against the sale of toxic toys in India. The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice D Y Chandrachud in September last year, asked the BIS to respond to central government's suggestions on the need to regulate the use of phthalates in toys.

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Indian scientists: missing in action

I suspect Indian scientists have retired hurt to the pavilion. They were exposed to nasty public scrutiny on a deal made by a premier science research establishment, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), with Devas, a private company, on the allocation of spectrum. The public’s verdict was that the arrangement was a scandal; public resources had been given away for a song. The government, already scam-bruised, hastily scrapped the contract. Since then there has been dead silence among the powerful scientific leaders of the country, with one exception. Kiran Karnik, a former employee of ISRO and board member of Devas, spoke out. He explained it is wrong to equate this deal with the scam of mobile telephony, where it was alleged that the minister fiddled with procedures to hand out spectrum at throwaway prices. The reason is that this band of spectrum called S-band, reserved for use in satellites, is different from terrestrial spectrum used by mobile operators. In the S-band the users are different, risks are higher and the customer base is smaller. Hence, the cost calculations done for terrestrial spectrum cannot be used to estimate the loss to the exchequer in the ISRO-Devas contract.

Special Mention on Cancer Train

By H K Dua in the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2011
 
Train No 339 leaves Abohar every night to reach Bikaner next morning.  Over a period of time it has come to be known as “Cancer Train”.  This train has acquired the dubious reputation simply because nearly 100 cancer patients travel by it from Punjab to Bikaner for diagnosis and treatment at the Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Institute.

Sharing the wealth of minerals: Policies and practices across the world

Note by the Centre for Science and Environment, based on extensive research published in its book, Rich Lands, Poor People: is ‘sustainable mining possible?
August 2010

BIS agrees Phthalates are harmful

The BIS agrees that there is a need to regulate the use of phthalates in toys. The BIS stated this in a response to the Bombay High Court on Feb 24th 2011. The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Consumers Welfare Association in 2007, seeking action against the sale of toxic toys in India. The Bombay High Court bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice D Y Chandrachud in September last year, asked the BIS to respond to central government's suggestions on the need to regulate the use of phthalates in toys.

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Fatal disconnect

The World Economic Forum—the gathering of power glitterati each year in Davos—has assessed the top risks the world faces in 2011. According to this analysis, climate change is the highest-ranking risk the world will face in the coming years, when its likelihood and impact are combined. What’s even more important is the interconnections between climate change and the other top risks: economic disparity (ranked 3), extreme weather events (ranked 5), extreme energy price volatility (ranked 6), geopolitical conflict (ranked 7), flooding and water security (9 and 10). The world—even according to the richest men—is in deep and desperate trouble.

How to approach environmentalism

By: Sunita Narain

2010 was a loud year for the environment. High profile projects—from Vedanta to Posco and Navi Mumbai airport to Lavasa—hit the headlines for non-compliance with environmental regulations.

While 2009 was the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was only last year that we were all outraged by the disaster. The realisation of how every institution—the judiciary, parliament and government— had miserably failed to provide justice to the victims shocked us deeply.

Sponge iron’s dirty growth

In the years to come, India's expanding steel production will be largely driven by sponge iron. Sponge iron, also known as direct reduced iron(DRI), is produced from direct reduction of iron ore (in the form of lumps, pellets or fines) by a reducing gas produced from natural gas or coal. Sponge iron gives a cheaper way of producing steel which has a high demand in the market. 

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