Free Press Journal

  • BMC water supply pattern condemned

    CONGRESS Corporator Rajendra Prasad Choube on Tuesday pointed out that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is discriminating the water supply in different pattern parts of the city.

  • Poultry industry expresses anguish over fresh incidents of bird-flu

    The National Egg Co-ordination Committee (NECC), an apex body of the poultry industry in the country, on Tuesday expressed deep anguish over recent reports of fresh incidents of bird-flu in some backy

  • Possibility of cold war over Arctic meltdown (Editorial)

    With oil above 100 dollars a barrel and Arctic ice melting faster than ever, some of the world's most powerful countries -- including the United States and Russia -- are looking north to a possible en

  • TMC debates who will oversee construction of dam at Shai river

    Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) approved the construction of a civic dam at Shai River in Murbad Taluka of the district.

  • BEST deal in Metro projected

    The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) which has taken up mass transport system projects like Metro rail, Mono Rail, BRT etc will soon get one more partner for its ongoing developmental projects - BEST Undertaking. According to the new proposal, the BEST is going to provide its prime spaces in the city on equity participation. Though the proposal is still in an initial stage, this step is going to help the BEST Undertaking in the long run. Talking to FPJ, General Manager (GM) of the Undertaking, Uttamrao Khobragade said after working on the modalities we took this decision. The city is going to see a sea change in transportation as the MMRDA has taken up some important project for city commuters.'

  • Check aviation generated pollution

    Some of the major airlines of the world seem to be lately realizing the adverse role of their big passenger jets on climate changes resulting in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the engine-exhausts into the earth's atmosphere. In this context Virgin Atlantic's first flight of a commercial aircraft powered with biofuel from London to Amsterdam on February 24, 2008 to show it can produce less carbon dioxide than normal jet fuels was an appreciable endeavour. This particular flight was partially fueled with a biofuel mixture of coconut and babassu oil in one of its four main fuel tanks and is expected to produce much less CO2 than regular jet fuel. Since aircraft engines emit gases and particulates that reduce air quality, spearheading the test flight was indeed a potentially useful experiment aimed at cutting down emission of greenhouse gases. A few weeks prior to this, an airbus A 380 too had taken off on a similar test sortie, powered on a blend of regular fuel and liquid fuel processed from natural gas with the hope that the super jumbo will become a centerpiece of efforts to develop the next generation of cleaner fuel. Besides, Air France-KLM is reported to invest almost US$3 billion a year until 2020 to modernize its fleet with the aim of cutting pollution. Several other airlines have also pledged to clean up their fleets as fears about global warming and fuel costs have mounted. Usually, people form their opinion on the adverse impact of air pollution by observing petrol and diesel-driven vehicles leave harmful trails of smoke on the roads. However, the great damage being done by thousands of air turbine fuel (ATF) guzzling aeroplanes that release tonnes hazardous fumes into our biosphere daily goes unnoticed. The increasing size of aircraft, the emission of black smoke during take-off, and the density of air traffic at major airports, have drawn environmentalists' attention to pollution by aircraft. A loaded jumbo 747, for instance, uses tens of thousands of litres of fuel on merely take-off. Further pollution by aircraft arises from the jettisoning of spare fuel after being airborne. Under such circumstances, it must be released at a height sufficient to allow it to vaporize so that it does not reach the ground in liquid form. Commercial jet planes make a significant contribution to the problem of global warming. According to a UN report, aviation is responsible for over half of the pollution caused by transportation on the surface. Scientists estimate that the effect of aviation emissions on the climate is up to five times the impact of emissions occurring on the ground. The primary gas emitted by jet aircraft engines is carbon dioxide, which, scientists believe, can survive in the atmosphere up to 100 years. It means denying the coming generations from living in a world where they can breathe clean air, enjoy diverse ecosystems and eat healthy food. In India the number of passenger and freight aircraft flown by private airlines is fast multiplying. Similarly, the Indian Air Force, currently in aircraft acquisition mode, is likely to increase its flying operations in the coming years. Its increasing use of supersonic combat aircraft flying at high altitudes may lead to increasing pollution of the upper air, where pollutants may accumulate since natural dispersion at such heights is not very effective. This development is going to be a major contributory factor in the destruction of ozone and the accumulation of green house gases in the upper layers of the atmosphere. It is estimated that one multi-engine passenger aircraft is being added every fortnight to the fleets of India's domestic carriers that are engaged in cutthroat competition to fly to the remotest corners of the country. As a result, the number of aircraft flying the Indian skies has gone up considerably. Here, one must not forget the domain of military aviation, Air Force, Army, Navy and the coast guard, where more than 1,000 fighter jets, transport planes and helicopters are kept aloft in routinely scheduled day and night flying. As per the estimates, the movement of aircraft in Indian airspace is growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent. Incidentally, kerosene happens to be the principal component of ATF. It is used as a propellant in modern commercial as well as military aircraft. Like other fossil fuels, kerosene produces carbon dioxide and water vapour on combustion. As the combustion process can not be said to be entirely efficient, carbon monoxide and oxygenated organic compounds, that are the products of partial oxidation, are emitted into the upper layers of the atmosphere. Hence, the extremely harmful environmental impact of pollutants left behind by aircraft engine exhaust fumes should be a great cause of concern for enlightened citizens. Though the International Civil Aviation Organisation (IACO), a UN body is reportedly supposed to regulate aircraft engine emissions by setting emission certification standards for all aircraft but it more or less appears to be an exercise on paper. In December 2007, the UN Climate Conference in Bali, Indonesia negotiated a new climate policy to chart out long term goal for global green house gas emissions. The world will not be able to realise these objectives unless technological breakthroughs are achieved in drastically reducing exhaust emissions from commercial as well as military aircraft gas turbine engines. This will necessitate a global effort in finding alternative jet fuels and developing engines that burn existing fuels more slowly.

  • Small birds flee city as crows multiply

    Forget pollution woes. The city is in the grip of a feathered monster which is slowly but surely driving out other birds from its limits. Sparrows, pigeons, parrots and koels are suffering because of the ever-increasing population of crows. The house crow or the common crow is a common sight in India and are abundantly found in the cities. They are also termed as scavengers for their constant search for edibles and the term has been passed over by the vultures that are facing extinction. The crow population in a few years' time might simply preponderate to other bird population in the country. These abysmal creatures survive on garbage, anything dump carelessly without proper sanitation or dead rodents. At times they even feed on human spit. Speaking to FPJ, Anish Andheria, director, science, natural history and photography, Sanctuary Asia said, " the crow population has grown because of humans; we are extremely poor in getting rid of the waste and dump garbage in an open waste ground. Crows are indicators of solid man-made pollution and reflect what we do to the environment. We need to change our dirty and unhealthy practices or otherwise just watch the crow population mounting.' In addition to this, they are being deemed as a threat to other birds like sparrows, koels, parrots or pigeons that are very vulnerable and defenceless or are simply too weak to retaliate. And at times they don't kill these weak birds like sparrows just because they are hungry but for self-gratification. The next time when you hear a koel croon, listen to it a little longer for you may not hear that crooning after a few years as the birds could be annihilated completely by the destructive crows who are out there to get every other species of birds, feel several environmentalists. These crows ruthlessly attack young, attractive birds unnecessarily which can be hazardous for their population.' States Anish. It is being apparently known that the hapless sparrows are disappearing mainly due to these over-populated black birds that pursue them unconditionally. These abominable creatures are actually killed in Singapore, it being a cleanliness conscious city; these feathered monsters are proved to be an anathema for its immaculate environment and are therefore done away with. On the contrary it has been stated that crows can act as cleanliness agents for the city for they consume everything that is carelessly jettisoned which could be a source of pollution. They regularly eat away the rats that are left dead and mutilated by a speeding vehicle. " It's a meager benefit from these birds and cannot be termed as an advantage, it's the responsibility of the municipality to clean such filth like dead rats and not of crows. It is very unhealthy. The best way is to reduce the garbage and regularly clean the niche provided for garbage to lessen the crow population,' adds Anish.

  • A people-friendly budget on the cards (Editorial)

    Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government is gearing up to present its last budget before the general election and there is no doubt that please-all is going to be the mantra for this annual accounting ritual. Finance Minister P Chidambaram has made it clear that next year will only be a vote on account, so his last budget speech - at least under the present regime - will be on Feb 29.

  • Butterfly boom at national park

    YOU'LL be glad to know that in the concrete jungle of Mumbai, some beautiful creatures are giving children something to smile about.

  • BMC trucks dump waste into Thane's mangroves

    Dumper trucks with BMC logo on them bound for the Mulund dumping ground dumped solid waste in the mangroves itself Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's dumpers carrying solid waste from Mumbai are allegedly dumping it in the mangrove forests at Kolshet in Thane. The dumpers, according to Shiv Sena corporator Pandurang Patil, bearing BMC labels dump solid waste into the mangrove cover at the edge of Thane creek. Patil discovered this when he was passing through the area on Wednesday on some official work. Patil sent a letter of complaint to civic commissioner Nandkumar Jantre demanding that the BMC dumpers bringing in solid waste into the city from Ghodbunder Road en route to Mulund dumping ground near Anand Nagar check naka be kept under a watch. Those dumpers that are found disposing off their waste on the mangrove cover on the way, according to the letter, should be impounded and fined for the act. Venkatesh Bhat, the Deputy Municipal Commissioner (DMC) TMC Headquarters informed that it was the primary duty of the district collectorate to check the slaughter of mangroves. He added that civic commissioner Nandkumar Jantre held meetings with the collector and officials of the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) few days back and highlighted the problem. Bhat assured that the civic officials would keep an eye on such dumpers and fine those who are found illegally dumping solid waste into the area. He also informed that several civic dumpers were confiscated in Thane in the past and the TMC would not hesitate to seize BMC dumpers carrying out the illegal act of dumping garbage into the wetlands in future. The TMC, however, came under pressure from the standing committee as well. Rajan Kine, chairman of the civic Standing Committe has taken a serious note of the incident and directed the corporation to ban the passage of BMC dumpers from the city of Thane altogether earlier, these dumpers refused to pay entry taxes for using the TMC roads.

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