How did the pesticides reach our soft drinks? Do soft drinks manufacturers put the pesticides in the bottle?
Students of Salwan Public School,
Well, companies aren’t that bad that they’ll start putting pesticides into soft drink bottles! Pesticides come from the groundwater that is used in the drinks. Pesticides have been used extensively in fields to kill pests that infest crops. Their usage went up after the Green Revolution when farmers started using new varieties of crops that gave higher yields through high use of pesticides. From the sixties our soil has taken huge quantities of pesticides. Pesticides are not degradable and they pollute the environment.
They travel from the land or soil where they have been applied and seep into the groundwater and also contaminate rivers and lakes. The soft drink industry uses the very same groundwater as their source of raw water. And water constitutes 90 per cent of a soft drink. Usually soft drink plants are set up on the outskirts of the city or rural areas surrounded by fields where pesticides have been used. So the solution is that the plants adopt a thorough cleaning technology during production that completely eliminates pesticides.
My question to you is related to water conservation. In a city like Chennai where water is a very rare commodity, would it be advisable to use reverse osmosis and what are the consequences? Are there other forms of saving water other than rainwater harvesting which can be used in a complex with 50 apartments?
First of all, installing a reverse osmosis plant is costly. Secondly, disposing the filterate (the left over after filtering) will be rich in effluents. It has to be carefully disposed. It should not be let into the ground or sewer which will either pollute the groundwater or increase the treatment load of sewage treatment plant.
In a complex of 50 apartments, greywater recycling can be done. A few builders in Chennai have successfully implemented this. Greywater is the wash and bath water excluding sewer which can be biologically treated by reed bed system and can be used for non potable purposes like toilet flushing, gardening etc., by this way about 50 per cent of the daily consumption can be reused.
Can you tell me about amino acids present in seaweeds and its uses?
Seaweed contains between 7 and 36 per cent of proteins by dry weight. The amino acids they contain are very similar to those of vegetables, but they are more complete, comparable to those found in eggs. Almost all edible varieties of seaweed contain the amino acids that humans need. That is why seaweed is considered as the food supplement for the 21st century. Seaweed has a very high content of minerals and trace elements.
It is a source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulphur, copper, zinc, cobalt and iodine. The Chinese, the Japanese, the Filipinos and the Hawaiians consider seaweed a food of great delicacy and have been using it in their diets for centuries.
In parts of Southeast Asia, seaweed is consumed raw, with salads or with cooked vegetables. The Japanese refer to seaweed as 'sea vegetables'. Also, scientists and industrialists are constantly developing new uses for seaweed—in the food industry, in chemistry, pharmacology, cosmetology and agriculture, in the paper and textile industry, in the film industry and in several other areas, even in metallurgy.
We attended the Centre for Science and Environment's workshop on rainwater harvesting. It was a very interesting and informative. It was also a great learning experience. It was good to hear about the opening of rainwater harvesting structures in Mumbai. We became aware that Mumbai is also in the list of cities with a widening gap between supply and demand of water. Water parks in and around Thane and Raigad district use over 50,000 million liters of water per day.
That's much more than the daily supply to Mumbai city! The CSE workshop revealed that a lot still needs to be done, especially in Mumbai where all the rainwater is drained into the oceans. We found that a single drop that enters the oceans undergoes a one year water cycle to come back as a raindrop.
Vice president, Brihan Mumbai
Licensed Plumbers Association
Water is arguably the most essential substance for survival. In a city like Delhi, an average middle class family uses about 1000 litres of water a day. So, considering the population, it's necessary that there should be as many sources of fresh water as possible. However these sources are decreasing rapidly even as other water bodies getting contaminated. Delhi once had so many lakes, but now less than half of them exist.
When people buy land near a lake, they would rather build a commercial building to earn money than help preserve the lake. So they fill it with garbage. When the lake is full of waste, it is filled and buildings are built on it. Until necessary steps are taken, lakes will continue disappearing. This will lead to a water shortage. Water may have to be transported from distant places, which will be very expensive.
Woodstock School, Mussorie
Shodhyatra is walking from village to village to look out for local innovators and to honour them. I heard about shodhyatra from my father and wanted to join. We started from Bangalore on 24th night and reached Jaipura of Koppa on 25th morning. The first day I met a girl named Sharadi, from whose house the shodhyatra started. The first thing I saw was a turbo made by Rathnakar uncle, generating electricity from the water falling there.
Several people from Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and different parts of Karnataka walked in the shodhyatra. Along with me there were two small children, Kabir and Amul. Kabir is from Bangalore and Amul from Gujarat. We used to walk for a few kilometers and in between, when we were tired, we used to travel in a jeep or a tractor. These were carrying the luggage of people who were walking in the shodhyatra.
While walking I ate groundnuts from Amul's grandmother and 'kumberkot' chocolates made of jaggery and coconut from a Tamil Nadu uncle. In villages we stopped to honour people who invented new things, who preserved plants, and who knew about medicines.
I saw many old people being honoured by the shodhyatra group. And whenever I saw them I remembered my grandmother. In one village, an old man said that he lived so long because he ate red rice called 'hegga'. I took a few seeds of that for my grandmother because I want her to live long.
Many children got prizes because they told the name of several plants. In one village, one girl knew about 150 plants. Even her father and grandmother were honoured. Her grandmother gave herbal medicines to the villagers. Of all the people, I was very inspired to see a happy man without legs.
He lost his legs 25 years ago while climbing a tree. Since then, he has been bedridden. Still, he was happy and smiling. I touched his feet to get his blessings and decided that I will never cry because I have so much. At night we use to camp in villages. We all used to eat together and the villagers used to cook for us.
When we used to enter the village for camping in the nights, they used to welcome us with drums, songs and people in different costumes like tribal people, purandaradas and several such others. In nights there used to be cultural programs in villages. In one village there was a drama and dance of bears by villagers.
And in reciprocation, Gujarati people from our group did 'garba' dance of Gujarat. In another village, the villagers danced with fire. I enjoyed shodyatra and would like to join it again.
(Savinitha was a shodhyatri who submitted