Around the world:
In a world of plastic
Beginning last week one of the biggest supermarket chains in the US,
WHOLE FOODS, would not be issuing plastic bags to its customers. This
decision has been taken after learning that the US throws away 100
billion plastic bags a year.
It is not only the fact that so many billion plastic bags go to waste
but that it takes something like 500 to a 1000 years for those plastic
bags which end up in land fills to decay. Whole Foods feel that this is
too much on their conscience; hence this drastic measure.
A writer on the Herald Tribune points out that her immediate vision
is that she will not have any plastic bags to line her waste paper
baskets with. Exactly. How, indeed, did we manage it before plastic bags
came along! I think that it was old newspapers that did the trick.
Are we going back to the environmentally harmless old newspapers
then? But even if we do that won't remove the polymer peril from our
lives. For, as this writer points out, plastics have now invaded our
lives at nearly every point and to a state where we cannot do without
This truth was only too evident to me, for looking down on the
keyboard of my computer and placing my fingers delicately on the keys I
realised that this acrylic or whatever the substance that goes into the
making of these keys is plastics.
Look around your household and see the number of things that are
turned out of plastics - telephones, plastic lenses, motor cycle
helmets, book cases and book shelves, curtains and many another article
you may come across is made of plastic.
You may bless the industrial revolution for the comforts we are
surrounded with today, but as we are beginning to realise the comforts
that we are surrounded with now are bound to get uncomfortable soon
A good example comes from Canada. Canada Health a Canadian health
organisation has successfully campaigned for the removal of plastic
bottles used by babies and water bottles used to store water for
containing a chemical called bisphenol A, which has been found to be a
Indian plan to orbit the moon
India is to launch a space craft to orbit the moon for a period of
two years, towards the end of this year. The Indians boast that Mother
India is one of the five countries in the world to have advanced space
technologies. Prithiviraj Chavan, Minister of State, said that India has
already launched eight foreign satellites with the help of Indian made
rockets and was ahead of China in remote sensing and satellite building.
Regarding the sending of a man to space, the matter is under
consideration, he said, but no final decision has been taken. The
Government has set aside a sum of Rs 950,000 million to produce a
Detailed Produce Report with reference to this proposal. The Chandrayan
- 1 space craft will, in its two year mission, according to the The
Statesman, observe the landscape of the moon.
Mr. Chavan admitted that there was an exodus, but not too high, of
Indian space scientists. Steps were being taken, however, to set up an
institute for space science in Thiruvananthapuram.
El Nino and La Nina
If you have friends or relations in Australia you may have heard of
the torrential rain and floods they may have experienced recently in
some parts of that country. This is the result of the action of one of
the most powerful phenomena of the Pacific Ocean - La Nina meaning in
Spanish 'little girl'. It has a male counterpart called El Nino - the
'little boy' which is equally ferocious by bringing about hurricanes and
thunderstorms around the world.
We have been learning to live with this unusual weather ever since
some fishermen discovered this phenomenon off Peru centuries ago. Of the
two we mentioned La Nina's visits are not as frequent as El Nino's. La
Nina is reported to be currently around 'cooling' the planet a fraction
less, but this also helps to bring minus factors like torrential rain to
some parts of the world and also bring some of the 'coldest temperatures
in memory in snow bound parts of China.'
Meteorologists in Britain expect, however, La Nina to continue
throughout the British summer with global temperatures remaining stable
since 1998. Our other experience of global warming due to the release of
carbon gases seems unconnected with the dance performed by El Nino and
La Nina. These two make predictable appearances yet there is nothing
very much that we could take as safety precautions.