Dear Pandit ji,
I am Abhinav, and I study in class nine. I have a doubt about recycled paper. It is known that recycling is one measure to reduce waste products and save natural resources. But, many people refuse to use recycled products, as they are of cheaper quality. If we take a common paper and a recycled paper, the recycled one will not be so smooth and get easily torn. Are there any other measures, which are of the same purpose but, retain the quality of original product?
Dear Abhinav ji,
It is a myth that recycled paper is of cheaper or lower quality. It is the fibre content of the paper that is recycled. The rest of the processes remain the same as the original one. So, the quality of the paper depends on the paper-maker. It is just that some people are apprehensive about re-using products. But, it is imperative for the environment to recycle the materials we can, and we should try to eliminate the use of those that we cannot. And for recycling to work, we have to buy the recycled too.
Dear Pandit ji,
My name is Aashish Singla, and I study in class 8th. I am making a project in my school for exhibition. My project is on terrace farming. I have to give a speech on it and I have to
prepare some points. Can you tell me some points?
Dear Aashish Singla ji,
If you have to grow crops on a steepsloping hillside, how would you do it? How would you grow crops with everything sliding down the hill? The solution is Terrace farming. In this, a series of steps are cut into the hillside. The sides of each of these steps are protected by building stone walls.
In ancient times, farmers built terraces to shore up a hillside, creating several levels of farms. People of the Inca civilisation, living in the Andes Mountains, created “steps” using rocks and trees. They made many level plains from a steep slope, and grew crops.
It is a tried and tested method of soil conservation that slows or prevents the rapid surface runoff of irrigation water. On a steep slope, water would flow freely down the hillside, and erode the crops and the soil. But in terrace farms, this water stops on the level plain. Thus, the lower terraces are not eroded and the higher terraces get enough water.
Natural terracing is the result of small-scale erosion. It is often formed where cattles are grazed for long periods on steep sloping pasture. In Glastonbury Tor, England, for example, it gives an impression of archaeological artifacts.
The rice fields of Southeast Asia are good examples. A large portion of the rice that comes from Vietnam, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries is grown on terraces. And you are sure to see terraced hills in India. The Himalayan farmers here use three kinds of terrace farming methods.
Bari: These are rain fed terraces built on higher and steeper slopes. The terraces slope outward to check water logging. Millets, maize and buckwheat are grown here.
Khet: These are wet terraces, which slope inward and have irrigation systems. Rice and wheat are the main crops, and the crop yield is very high (higher than Bari).
Pakho: These are untilled lands that are not suited for cultivation. But, many people feel that terrace farming is a major reason for land erosion in the hills. The truth is that the farmers are very good land managers and have developed ways to deal with these problems. When there is a fear of landslides, cultivation is stopped. Khets are turned into Baris to reduce water logging, even if it means a reduction in the crop yield. Sometimes even Baris are turned into Pakhos to conserve soil. Hope you have got enough points for your project. All the best!
Dear Pandit ji,
I was surfing the Centre for Science and Environment's website and am intrigued by the use of cow dung as a natural resource and not a waste. Can you give me more examples of such natural resources, which are used in India as a wealth and may otherwise go waste?
Dear Shazia Javed ji,
There are innumerous examples of using waste as wealth in India. Cow dung is one of the most common and major ways of treating waste as wealth. Here are some other examples:
Coco parts: Coconut husk is used for extracting coir yarn. This coir is used for producing ropes, mats, mattresses and other products. Coconut shell is also used for making handicrafts items, and shell charcoal (primary raw material for activated carbon that has a high commercial and market value). Coconut dry ‘leaf stick brooms’ are also produced.
Bran brands: Rice bran is a byproduct of rice mills. Oil is extracted from it, and is used for making soap (cosmetic, powder and washing), salad oil, frying oil, medicinal oil, margarine, Vanaspati, and lubricating oil.
Going nuts: Areca nut is dehydrated Betel nut (Supari), which is processed into sliced and scented supari, and Pan Masala. Areca nut leaves (Dhokua) are used for making low cost disposable plates.
Trunk tale: Banana trunks, after the fruit is harvested, are waste materials. They contain fibre to the extent of approximately 4 per cent of its weight. The banana trunk fibre is used to make paper. There is another way. Paper can also be made from banana fibre, called Banana Ply Paper (BPP). This technology produces a fibre mat without the need to pulp the banana plant fibre. This saves a lot of energy required in the process and removes the need for external water and chemicals.
I am truly impressed by the article ‘Down the Roads in India’ in the latest edition of Gobar Times. The writer must truly be commended for the in-depth coverage he/she has achieved in a rather simplistic way. I would like to share some more information on the impact of poor road planning that I have come across, which you may also be aware of.
In the desert areas of Rajasthan, the Bishnois have been exemplary in their commitment towards the preservation of the desert ecology. However, the “good” roads developed by the Rajasthan government have been causing major problems. They block the flow of water, above and below the surface, into the natural lakes and rivulets that once existed in plenty, and were the source of drinking and irrigation waters for the people and the animals.
Most of these water bodies have dried up. And as these water and food sources vanished, there was a major reduction in the population of the once widespread species such as Chinkaras, wolves, peacocks and so on.
In addition, street dogs and the English Babool plant have wrecked absolute havoc on this once carefully preserved ecosystem. This is a very rudimentary picture of what is happening here.
Dear Pandit ji,
I’m Pallavi, and I’m 14 years old. Gobar Times has cool facts that amaze children as well as adults. Please add more rosswords and quizzes.