Friday, August 29, 2008

Toxic Parthenium grass spreading in Ranchi city of Jharkhand State, India.

Toxic Parthenium grass spreading in Ranchi city of Jharkhand State, India.
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

Fig: Parthenium around State Pollution Control Board

Cases of breathlessness and asthma due to pollution through different sources - air, water and pollen –may rise alarmingly in the city of Ranchi the capital of Jharkhand State of India. Threat comes from rapid growth of Parthenium grass, better known as “Congress Grass”.
People of Ranchi and its adjoining areas are going to be affected with asthma, Allergic, Trinities Sinusitis, dermatitis (type of skin disease) especially among the childrens, Eczema, Allergic papules and all types of Allergic reactions.
It cannot be said that above mentioned diseases were not common in Ranchi earlier. Climate of Ranchi unfortunately favours such types of diseases, but with the growth of parthenium this diseases are going to multiply affecting more people.
The most vulnerable areas are outskirts of Ranchi city like HEC township, SAIL and MECON and Harmu colonies. These are places where the weed is found in plenty and it has been seen spreading to other parts of the city. The most interesting is that weeds has also surrounded Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board office in HEC area.
What is the Municipal Corporation of Ranchi doing to check the growth of this parthenium grass?

Parthenium weed's botanical name is Parthenium Hystrophorous. It is a herbaceous plant, and a native of Tropical America. It is an annual herb and has a deep taproot and erect stem, which becomes woody with age. Parthenium weed leaves are deeply lobed. It is pale green in colour and has soft hair. Parthenium weed flower is creamy white in color. The weed has a large number of stems. It has small (1-2mm long) black seeds with white scales. They are not visible to the naked eye. It has been declared noxious in America, Australia, India and many other countries especially those having tropical climates.
A single plant can produce 10,000 to 15,000 viable seeds that occupy roadsides, tank bunds, fence lines, waste lands, agricultural fields etc.

This plant has covered most parts of the HEC areas, especially along the roadsides, and the waste lands around J.N. College campus, and it is rapidly moving towards the center of the City. This spreading is going to cause many serious health problems to the people of Ranchi.
If it intrudes into the agricultural domain productivity is definitely going to be adversely affected.
Just few years ago Ranchi was free from such toxic plants but now this weed has shown its presence threatening the health of the Ranchi people.
It squeezes grasslands and pastures, reducing the fodder supply. Scientists describe it as a "poisonous, allergic and aggressive weed posing a serious threat to human beings and livestock."
The presence of parthenium in cropped lands results in yield reduction up to 40 per cent. It is also responsible for bitter milk disease in livestock fed on grass mixed with parthenium.
Probing biological pollutant, highly successful in distribution. No species of the past or the present century can ever match with this.
The reasons for its fast spread are: (l) High germination ability throughout the year, (2) Large seed production ability, (3) High survival rate, (4) Extreme adaptability in a wide range of habitats. (5) Easy dispersal of seeds.
From the day it was perceived as a menace, efforts are being made to control the weed by different methods. But so far, no single method appears to be satisfactory, as each method suffers from one or more limitations, such as high cost, impracticability, environmental safety, tem and Mechanical Eradication It is observed that cutting or slashing of parthenium enhances its regeneration. So uprooting manually is the finest option. During the rainy season, the soil remains wet and hence manual or mechanical removal can be done before the onset of flowering with people's participation. This operation should be started before blooming as uprooting after fruit setting will be a sheer waste of time and money. As manual removal is not cost effective, it can be advocated only in limited situations. If it becomes imperative to use labour, they should be equipped with protective measures including ascertaining their parthenium sensitiveness.
During the last few years much emphasis has been laid on controlling parthenium through various biological agents like insects, pathogens and by creating competition that result in 'survival of the fittest'. In the recent past, this approach gained momentum to do away with unwanted plants. Experimentally, it was found that Cassia species can control parthenium. C.sericea(C.uniflora), a non-nitrogen fixing leguminous herb, colonizes more aggressively without giving scope for Parthenium to manifest. Cassia can be encouraged either from wild source or by introducing it in targeted areas.
Problems associated with Parthenium:
1. It is a vigorous species, which colonizes in grassy land . It grows rapidly in bare areas along
roadsides and water points.
2. It reduces the production of pasture.
3. It is very expensive to control.
4. It is a major health hazard to human beings.
5. It emits carbon dioxide and hence, poses a problem to nitrogen fixation and becomes a
parasite, dependent on standing crops and animals in its vicinity.
6. Its pollens are a major cause of asthma, especially in children and elderly people.
7. It is a major cause of Allergic, Trinities Sinusitis, affecting about ten percent of the people who
live near it.
8. It is a major cause of dermatitis, a skin disease, among animals and human being.
9. It reduces yield of milk and weight of animals.
10.It causes irritation to eyes.
There is need for people and residents' welfare associations to put their heads together and declare a war on parthenium weed so that further growth in city areas could be checked. This will go a long way in the interest of the poor sufferers of asthma and other allergy-related disorders.

Monday, August 25, 2008

क्या मानव निर्मित है गंगा नदी ?

क्या मानव निर्मित है गंगा नदी ?

झारखण्ड के राजमहल मे है कुछ रहस्य ।

डा नीतिश प्रियदर्शी

ऐसा माना जाता है की गंगा नदी को पृथ्वी पर लाने का श्रेय रजा भगीरथ को जाता है। तो क्या गंगा नदी प्राचीन मानवों द्वारा निर्मित है ।

सत्रव्हीं शताब्दी मैं अंग्रेज शोधकर्ताओं द्वारा गंगा नदी के प्रवाह का विस्तृत सर्वे किया गया । इनमें प्रमुख थे कैप्टेन हर्बर्ट , रेनल , सर विलियम विल्कोक्स । उन्होनें गंगा नदी छेत्र का भूवैज्ञानिक सर्वे किया तथा पाया की गंगा प्राकृतिक न होकर मानवनिर्मित है ।

प्राचीन पुस्तक गंगावतरण मैं विस्तार से गंगा नदी के निर्माण का वर्णन है । इस पुस्तक के अनुसार इसको बनाने मैं पाँच राजाओं का योगदान है जिसकी शुरुआत रजा सागर, उनके ६०,००० पुत्र , उनके वंशज अंशुमन , राजा दिलीप तथा अंत मैं राजा भगीरथ जिन्होनें इस पवित्र नदी को समुद्र तक लाने मे सफलता पाई ।

राजा सागर जो उस वक्त हिमालय के गोमुख के पास भृगु ऋषि के आश्रम के पास तपस्या कर रहे थे , पाया की गंगोत्री के पास अथाह जल है तथा यदि इस हिमनद के जल को मैदानी छेत्र मे लाया जाय तो उनके राष्ट्र का कल्याण होगा । वैसे गंगा नदी को हिमालय से मैदानी छेत्रों मे लाने के पीछे कई पौराणिक कहानियाँ हैं।

राजा सागर के स्वप्नों को पुरा करने के लिये उनकें पुत्रों ने नहर बनाना शुरू किया जो धीरे धीरे पाताल लोक (दक्षिण की तरफ़ ) की तरफ बढ़ने लगा । जब वे झारखण्ड के राजमहल के छेत्र मे पहुंचे , तो शोध के अनुसार यहीं पर कपिल मुनि नामक साधू से उनका युद्ध हुआ तथा सारे सागर पुत्र भस्म हो गए ।

शोधानुसार , राजमहल के छेत्र का यदि भुवेज्ञानिक विश्लेषण करें तो पाएंगे की वहां ज्वालामुखी विस्फोट के अवशेष है। तो क्या सागर पुत्र जब नाहर खोदते हुए राजमहल पहुंचे तो वे ज्वालामुखी विस्फोट के चपेट आकर भस्म हो गए । किंतु इस तथ्य पर मतभेद हो सकता है क्योंकि राजमहल के ज्वालामुखी विस्फोट का समय जुरासिक काल का है और उस वक्त के मानव का अवशेष पृथ्वी पर नहीं पाया गया है । इसका मतलब है की कारण कुछ और था । हो सकता है की कुछ कारण वश गर्मी अचानक इतनी बढ़ गई की सागर पुत्र उसके चपेट मे आकर भस्म हो गए । आज अगर हम झारखण्ड के राजमहल छेत्र का विस्तार से भूवैज्ञानिक तथा भुभोतिकी शोध करें तो कई रहस्यों से परदा उठ सकता है।

झारखण्ड के जनजातियों के लेखों मैं कई बार अग्निवर्षा का जिक्र आता है तो क्या सागर पुत्र राजमहल मैं इस अग्निवर्षा के चपेट मैं आ गए ।

सागर पुत्रों के बाद उनकें पुत्रों मे से एक राजा अंशुमन ने इस कार्य को आगे तक ले गए ।

जब हिमालय से राजमहल तक गंगा नदी का रास्ता बन गया तो अब राजा भगीरथ ने गंगा नदी के जल को इस रास्ता से ले गए ।

जिस गंगा को लाने के लिये इतनी कोशिश की गई आज यही अंत होने जा रही है ।

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Coals are best indicators of ancient climate

Coals are best indicators of ancient climate.


Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Palaeoclimatology, the study of climates during the geological past, is one of the most topical areas of research in the geosciences at present. The threat of future climate change caused by higher levels of greenhouse gases, which would drastically alter many aspects of our environment, has prompted much research to try to understand how our complex climate system works. Only by understanding how climate has evolved over million of years can we identify important climate cycles with a frequency in excess of the short climate records we possess. These climate cycles have the potential to have a profound effect on our environment.

Understanding our climate history in the geological past is also important for climatologists trying to construct accurate numerical computer models of our present climate system to use for predicting future climate change.

Basic information about past climates comes from understanding how climate influences certain sedimentary systems, floras and faunas on earth today and extrapolating this information back to interpret geological evidence.
The formation of some rock types is directly influenced by aspects of climate. Some of the most useful are coals, evaporates, glacial deposits and carbonates. I am presenting only a brief resume of coal as a paleoclimatic indicators.

Coal- climatically sensitive rock:

The presence of coal, initially formed from the accumulation of plant material as peat, is generally taken to indicate warm and wet humid climates ideal for lush plant growth, and where the rainfall is higher than the rate of evaporation, such as in equatorial regions. However, rainfall is more important factor than temperatures, as are high water tables and waterlogged swamps (mires) which are required to preserve the peat.
Coal seams are composed of genetic coal types which are determined to a certain extent by the character of the particular type of vegetation. A careful analysis of all the available data on geochemical, palynological and petrological constituents of the coals reveals that there existed distinctive types of vegetation associated with different peat types. The character and relation between the miospore assemblage and petrographic type reflect particular environment, topography and climatic conditions.
Pollen and spores commonly retain their morphological characteristics through all stages of coal formation. They bear specific relationship to the original geological and botanical setting.

In the past, the most abundant coal deposits were formed during the Carboniferous when large subsiding continental areas were situated in low latitudes and experienced hot and humid climates. The great Carboniferous forests were composed of the pithy-stemmed clubmosses and lycopods, such as Lepidodnedron, Sigillaria and Calamites, which grew to giant sizes in the hot wet conditions and formed thick layers of peat as they collapsed into waterlogged swamps. The disappearance or decrease in size of these water- loving plants at the end of the Carboniferous marked the onset of much drier conditions in low latitude regions during the Permian. Extensive forests dominated by glossopterid plants lived on all southern continents and their remains form extensive and some economically important and coal deposits today.

A discussion on depositional environment of Permian peat swamp phases may well be preceded by the remarks that, based on different analysis and support from geological setup, Karharbari, Barakar, and Raniganj Stages of Lower Gondwanas of India were climatically controlled. The climate during the Karharbari period was rather cold as evidenced by flora and by possible effects of glaciation in Talchir Series. On the contrary, climate during Barakar and Raniganj commenced with cool and humid climate gradually becoming warmer and humid as evidenced by flora and coal composition. Humidity seems to have recurred in some part of Raniganj Stage also.
In the early period of the Permian, coal formation took place under the relatively cold, humid, shallow water deposition mainly from arborescent vegetation.

Chemistry of Coal-bed and paleoclimate:

The chemical arguments for the interpretation of paleoclimate from coal beds come principally from the work of different geologists. Their work was partly in response to studies purporting to show that high-sulfur coals were influenced by marine sedimentation. They argued that peat that forms economic coal cannot form in seawater because ash and sulfur enrichment is too great there. Thus they concluded that all economic coals were originally freshwater peats. They further concluded that, if all economic coal beds were derived from freshwater peats, ash content must be indicative of climate, and they proposed the following model, which predicts three types of peat:
1. anaerobic (permanently waterlogged) peat with pH less than 4.5, which would give rise to low-ash, low-sulfur, vitrinite-rich coals;
2. anaerobic with pH greater than 4.5, which would give rise to high-ash, high-sulfur, liptinite-rich coals; and
3. intermittently aerobic peat, which would give rise to low-sulfur, moderately high-ash, inertinite-rich coals.
Boron element in coal as a Paleosalinity Indicator:
The concentration of boron in Australian and Canadian coals was determined in order to assess the variation of boron in coal with respect to rank, age, geological setting and the degree of paleosalinity of the coal forming environment. The boron content of seams is sensitive to the environment of deposition and may show the variation in the same seam laterally due to changes to the environment of deposition and /or the enrichment of boron by secondary source.
It is proposed that the following ranges of values for boron in coal indicate the degree of marine influence during the early stages of coalification:
1. up to 50 ppm (parts per million) boron- coal formed in a freshwater environment.
2. 50 to 110 ppm boron – coal formed in a mildly brackish water environment.
3. greater than 110 ppm boron- coal formed in a brackish water environment.
Coal petrography and paleoclimate:
Vitrinite-rich coal beds are generally regarded to have been deposited in wet conditions, usually meaning high water tables, especially if the coal beds have clay partings and inclusions of syngenetic pyrite . Inertinite-rich coal beds are generally regarded to have been deposited in dry conditions, usually meaning relatively low or fluctuating water tables.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pipes carrying radioactive wastes burst in Jadugoda in Jharkhand State of India.

Villagers fear of Radiation


Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi

The tailing pipes carrying the radioactive and toxic slurry from the mills of the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) burst Saturday night(16/8/2008) in the Dungridih village under the Jadugoda police station of Potka block of East Singhbhum in Jharkhand State of India, spewing the village with uranium waste.

According to the information received from the local villagers, the slurry has flown for about 5-6 hours, till early hours of morning on Sunday. The pipe burst was first observed by the patrolling group in the morning and was rectified by evening.

It may be mentioned that it is the third such incident of tailing pipe burst. The first being on December 2006 followed by the second in February 2008. On December 24, 2006, one of the pipes carrying radioactive wastes from the uranium mill to a storage dam had burst, discharging highly toxic wastes into a nearby creek. The accident occurred in the same Dungridih a small village near Jadugoda inhabited largely by displaced families whose lands were acquired to construct two of the three storage dams, also known as tailings ponds. The tailings ponds store all the radioactive wastes generated by the milling of uranium ore in Jadugoda.

Owing to the record 338.1 mm rainfall on June 17, maximum in the past six decades, radioactive wastes from the tailing pond of Turamdih uranium mines on the outskirts of the Jamshedpur city has reportedly spilled over into the village ponds, wells and fields.
According to the sources, the spill over was obvious due to torrential rain as there is no way to divert the water flowing into the village.

According the UCIL it is a case of sabotage. How is that the incidents are being reported from the same village for the third time in a row? Said one of the authority.

It is troubling that UCIL did not have its own alarm mechanism to alert the company in cases of such a disaster.

A local NGO pointed out that the effluents flowing out of the pipes are under high pressure; hence when there is burst of the pipes, the flow does not take time to spread over large area.

The people in the Jadugoda area are affected not only by radiation from tailing dams but also by lack of safety at the mines. Fatigue, lack of appetite, respiratory ailments are wide spread. Increases in miscarriages, impotency, infant mortality, Down’s syndrome, skeletal deformities and different skin diseases, children with big heads, thalassemia have been reported. The incidence of tuberculosis among the miners is very high.One women of nearby Tilaitand village says that her husband deserted her because she could not get pregnant. Her villain: uranium mining. Other tribal women says her two children were born deformed at birth and were killed soon after. "The earth here is poisoned,'' she said.

Exposure to nuclear radiation is affecting the health of miners and villagers at Jadugoda in Singhbhum district in Jharkhand State located in Eastern India, which is India’s first uranium mining. Jadugoda, literally meaning "magic land", intrigues an outsider.

According to different N.G.Os working among the tribal peoples of Singhbhum said the radiation may not bring sudden dramatic illness but slowly undermines the health of the people living in the surrounding villages.