Tag Archives: ecosystem

Statue of Unity: Gujarat Villagers Wrote Open Letter to Protest PM Modi’s Visit


Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

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The Statue of Unity (Credit: https://www.livemint.com)

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The 182 metres Statue of Unity, a memorial to Sardar Patel, is situated on Sandhu island of Narmada river, an islet in Kevadiya and is touted as the world’s tallest statue. This statue was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 143rd birth anniversary of freedom fighter and India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue, constructed at a cost of Rs 2,989 crore, is now the world’s tallest and twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York.

But, do you know the sarpanches (headmen) of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar Dam, in an open letter having common content, addressed to Modi, wrote that he was not a welcome guest?

These forests, rivers, waterfalls, land and agriculture supported us for generations. We survived on them. But, everything is being destroyed now and celebrations are also planned. Don’t you think its akin to celebrating someone’s death? We feel so.  We, villagers, want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on October 31, 2018; Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here.

The sarpanches alleged that people’s hard-earned money is being wasted on projects like the Statue of Unity even though several villages of the area are still deprived of basic facilities like schools, hospitals and drinking water.

“If Sardar Patel could see the mass destruction of natural resources and injustice done to us, he would cry. When we are raising our issues, we are persecuted by the police. Why you are not ready to listen to our plight?” the letter said.

Also,  the local tribal leaders announced a boycott of the inauguration of the Statue of Unity on October 31, 2018, citing the destruction of natural resources due to the memorial?

During the month of October 2018, tribal activists had announced that people living in 72 villages near the dam will join the protest on October 31, 2018, by not cooking food.

Tribal leader Anand Mazgaokar said, “We have also urged tribals of the eastern belt of Gujarat, from Dang till Ambaji, to join our protest by observing bandh that day. We are confident that the entire tribal population will stand up against the injustice.”

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Following the protest ahead of Statue of Unity’s unveiling, in which several Ekta Yatra posters with photos of the PM and Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani were damaged, new ones featuring tribal leader Birsa Munda were put up on way to the statue. Police have been deployed to protect these. (Photo: Bhupendra Rana)

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Meanwhile, unidentified persons tore and defaced posters of Modi and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in several parts of the district a few days before the inauguration. Citing these incidents, Mazgaokar said, “It happened because locals are angry. No one provoked them. We have only given a call for bandh.”

New posters featuring tribal leader Birsa Munda were put up on way to the statue. Police have been deployed to protect these.

By the way, the Statue of Unity is open to the public from November 1, 2018, on all days of the week from 9 am to 6 pm.

Entry is free for toddlers below the age of 3, and for all others, tickets are priced at Rs 350 per person. It includes entry to the observation deck, valley of flowers, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam.

There is a cheaper option as well. For a basic entry ticket, which includes a visit to the valley of flowers, the Sardar Patel memorial, museum and audio-visual gallery, the Statue of Unity site and Sardar Sarovar dam, adults are charged Rs 120. For children aged below 15, the ticket price is Rs 60.

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Price of Bottled Potable Water Around the World


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Myself 

By T. V. Antony Raj

Bottled Water
Bottled Water

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Drinking a good amount of water is essential to maintain our health. Water helps us to conserve energy, lose weight, and combat disease by hydration.

Though all bottled potable water cannot be deemed healthier than tap water, in most parts of the world the demand for bottled water is increasing day by day even in regions where tap water is considered safe to drink. New York City offers its residents some of the purest, most delicious drinking water on the planet. Over 1 billion gallons are brought in every day from upstate reservoirs. However, most people in NYC just buy brand-name bottled water.

Recently, the authorities in the state of Tamilnadu, India, sealed hundreds of plants producing bottled water. Even so, many people in the state still buy bottled waters some of which do not meet the ISI standards and marketed illegally.

.Bottled Water Consumption in Ten Countries (1999 and 2004)

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Americans buy an estimated 42.6 billion single-serving (1 litre or less) plastic water bottles each year. People in Western Europe consume almost half of all bottled water produced, amounting to more than 100 litres per person every year.

Bottled Water is already having significant adverse effects on the ecosystem of countries all over the world, especially in developing countries.

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The cost of manufacturing, packaging, and transporting bottled water is more expensive than tap water.

Table 1 lists countries where the average price of a 1.5 litre bottled potable water costs USD$ 1.60 (IND₹ 100.58, EUR€ 1.20) or more. The conversions are at prevailing rates of exchange.

Table 1: List of Countries where price of 1.5 Liter Bottled Water
costs
USD$ 1.60 or more.

Country

USD$

IND₹

EUR€

Norway

3.32

208.24

2.49

Australia

2.84

178.24

2.13

Zimbabwe

2.75

172.55

2.06

Finland

2.60

163.03

1.95

New Zealand

2.51

157.36

1.88

Iceland

2.47

154.91

1.85

Venezuela

2.39

149.75

1.79

Guernsey

2.32

145.85

1.74

Sweden

2.29

143.88

1.72

Puerto Rico

1.97

123.61

1.48

Canada

1.92

120.19

1.44

Costa Rica

1.90

119.22

1.43

Papua New Guinea

1.83

114.80

1.37

Hong Kong

1.81

113.32

1.36

United States

1.75

109.80

1.31

Ireland

1.69

106.18

1.27

Brunei

1.61

100.80

1.21

United Kingdom

1.60

100.58

1.20

Table 2 lists countries where the average price of a 1.5 litre bottled potable water costs USD$ 0.50 (IND₹ 31.37, EUR€ 0.38) or less.

Table 2: List of Countries where the price of 1.5 Liter of Bottled Water costs USD$ 0.50 or less.

Country

USD$

IND₹

EUR€

Sudan

0.50

31.37

0.38

Vietnam

0.50

31.37

0.38

Turkey

0.49

30.93

0.37

Afghanistan

0.49

30.50

0.36

Thailand

0.48

30.03

0.36

Hungary

0.45

28.29

0.34

Egypt

0.44

27.34

0.33

Iran

0.41

25.54

0.31

Syria

0.40

25.10

0.30

Indonesia

0.39

24.77

0.30

Tunisia

0.36

22.75

0.27

Nepal

0.35

21.91

0.26

Algeria

0.34

21.31

0.25

Bangladesh

0.32

20.19

0.24

India

0.32

20.00

0.24

Table 3 is an alphabetically ordered list of 122 countries showing the average price of 1.5 liter of bottled drinking water.

Table 3:  Price of 1.5 Liter of Drinking Water across the World

Country                                                                          USD$          IND₹          EUR€

Afghanistan 0.49 30.50 0.36
Albania 0.67 41.80 0.50
Algeria 0.34 21.31 0.25
Argentina 1.28 80.60 0.96
Armenia 0.62 38.61 0.46
Australia 2.84 178.24 2.13
Austria 0.67 41.80 0.50
Azerbaijan 0.79 49.40 0.59
Bahrain 1.33 83.19 1.00
Bangladesh 0.32 20.19 0.24
Belarus 0.70 43.92 0.53
Belgium 1.27 79.42 0.95
Bolivia 1.08 67.69 0.81
Bosnia And Herzegovina 0.68 42.67 0.51
Botswana 1.17 73.52 0.88
Brazil 0.88 55.02 0.66
Brunei 1.61 100.80 1.21
Bulgaria 0.55 34.21 0.41
Cambodia 0.55 34.51 0.41
Canada 1.92 120.19 1.44
Chile 1.36 85.14 1.02
China 0.66 41.20 0.49
Colombia 1.30 81.61 0.98
Costa Rica 1.90 119.22 1.43
Croatia 1.05 65.80 0.79
Cyprus 1.28 80.26 0.96
Czech Republic 0.66 41.63 0.50
Denmark 1.43 89.65 1.07
Dominican Republic 0.91 57.00 0.68
Ecuador 1.00 62.74 0.75
Egypt 0.44 27.34 0.33
El Salvador 0.80 50.20 0.60
Estonia 1.07 66.88 0.80
Ethiopia 0.65 40.91 0.49
Finland 2.60 163.03 1.95
France 1.07 66.88 0.80
Georgia 0.60 37.65 0.45
Germany 0.67 41.80 0.50
Ghana 1.00 62.74 0.75
Greece 1.33 83.60 1.00
Guatemala 1.01 63.62 0.76
Guernsey 2.32 145.85 1.74
Honduras 1.00 62.74 0.75
Hong Kong 1.81 113.32 1.36
Hungary 0.45 28.29 0.34
Iceland 2.47 154.91 1.85
India 0.32 20.00 0.24
Indonesia 0.39 24.77 0.30
Iran 0.41 25.54 0.31
Iraq 0.75 47.06 0.56
Ireland 1.69 106.18 1.27
Israel 1.13 70.79 0.85
Italy 0.53 33.44 0.40
Jamaica 1.44 90.06 1.08
Japan 1.33 83.75 1.00
Jordan 0.58 36.57 0.44
Kazakhstan 0.78 48.97 0.59
Kenya 1.00 62.70 0.75
Kuwait 0.53 33.14 0.40
Latvia 0.85 53.54 0.64
Lebanon 0.80 50.20 0.60
Lithuania 0.77 48.43 0.58
Luxembourg 1.07 66.88 0.80
Macao 1.16 72.85 0.87
Macedonia 0.55 34.42 0.41
Malaysia 0.63 39.41 0.47
Malta 0.73 45.98 0.55
Mauritius 0.80 50.43 0.60
Mexico 0.92 57.42 0.69
Moldova 0.61 38.22 0.46
Monaco 1.05 66.05 0.79
Mongolia 0.51 32.23 0.39
Montenegro 0.67 41.80 0.50
Myanmar 0.53 33.36 0.40
Namibia 1.27 79.62 0.95
Nepal 0.35 21.91 0.26
Netherlands 1.33 83.60 1.00
New Zealand 2.51 157.36 1.88
Nicaragua 1.00 62.74 0.75
Nigeria 0.93 58.62 0.70
Norway 3.32 208.24 2.49
Oman 0.51 31.98 0.38
Pakistan 0.42 26.30 0.31
Palestinian Territory 0.85 53.09 0.64
Panama 1.15 72.16 0.86
Papua New Guinea 1.83 114.80 1.37
Peru 1.00 62.70 0.75
Philippines 0.69 43.56 0.52
Poland 0.64 40.21 0.48
Portugal 0.67 41.80 0.50
Puerto Rico 1.97 123.61 1.48
Qatar 0.55 34.47 0.41
Romania 0.75 47.20 0.56
Russia 0.93 58.08 0.69
Saudi Arabia 0.53 33.46 0.40
Serbia 0.54 33.97 0.41
Singapore 1.20 75.60 0.90
Slovakia 0.80 50.16 0.60
Slovenia 0.80 50.16 0.60
South Africa 1.17 73.44 0.88
South Korea 1.15 72.32 0.86
Spain 0.67 41.80 0.50
Sri Lanka 0.56 34.88 0.42
Sudan 0.50 31.37 0.38
Sweden 2.29 143.88 1.72
Switzerland 1.08 67.97 0.81
Syria 0.40 25.10 0.30
Taiwan 1.02 63.91 0.76
Tanzania 0.94 58.83 0.70
Thailand 0.48 30.03 0.36
Tunisia 0.36 22.75 0.27
Turkey 0.49 30.93 0.37
Uganda 1.00 62.57 0.75
Ukraine 0.73 46.02 0.55
United Arab Emirates 0.54 34.16 0.41
United Kingdom 1.60 100.58 1.20
United States 1.75 109.80 1.31
Uruguay 1.35 84.44 1.01
Uzbekistan 0.53 33.54 0.40
Venezuela 2.39 149.75 1.79
Vietnam 0.50 31.36 0.38
Zimbabwe 2.75 172.55 2.06

Source: Know : Price of 1.5 Liter of Drinking Water across the World

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Are There Snakes in Hawaii?


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Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Studies show that an invertebrate successfully colonized Hawaii once in every 70,000 years, a plant once in every 100,000 years, and a bird once in every million years.

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The Hawaiian Hotspots. (Image from Tasa Graphics)
The Hawaiian Hotspots. (Image from Tasa Graphics)

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Officially and technically, Hawaii doesn’t have any snakes.

Why?

All Hawaiian Islands are volcanic in origin. Over the past 44 million years, the islands rose up from the ocean floor due to erupting volcanoes. Even today, the youngest island, Hawaii, is still growing from under.

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Hawaii map - Distance from other countries (Source: Padi.com)
Hawaii map – Distance from other countries (Source: Padi.com)

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Hawaii is the most isolated archipelago in the world. The nearest continent, North America, is over 2500 miles (4000 km) away.

The extreme isolation of the Hawaiian archipelago makes it difficult for plants and animals to colonize its islands. The only way for wildlife species to reach the Hawaiian Islands from the rest of the world is to fly or swim across the Pacific Ocean. Chances of surviving the long journey over Pacific by air or sea is virtually small. It would indeed be a miracle to establish a reproducing population on these islands. Since there are no natural predators and diseases in Hawaii, many native plants and animals needed only a few natural defenses to evolve. Studies show that an invertebrate successfully colonized Hawaii once in every 70,000 years, a plant once in every 100,000 years, and a bird once in every million years. This is why it took over millions of years for a very distinct flora and fauna to evolve in Hawaii.

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Map of the Pacific Culture Areas (Author : Kahuroa)
Map of the Pacific Culture Areas (Author : Kahuroa)

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Before humans set foot in the Hawaiian paradise, there were no large animals to eat plants. Harm to the flora and fauna on the islands began about 1500 years ago when settlers started arriving from Polynesia. Mammals such as pigs, dogs, goats and plants brought by them literally devastated many native ecosystems.

It is illegal to own snakes or transport snakes of any kind to the Hawaiian islands. Anyone possessing a pet snake has to face jail up to 3 years and $200,000 in fines. In Hawaii there no natural predators for snakes and large lizards, therefore, if allowed, could pose a threat to Hawaii’s ecosystem by competing with native animals for food and habitat. Some snake species prey on birds and their eggs, and hence could pose a threat to endangered native birds.

Blind Snakes

Hawaii doesn’t officially have snakes. However, there is one snake that does live in Hawaii, the Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops hatmaliyeb) likely an import from the Caroline Islands in Micronesia, an area north of the equator and far west of Hawaii.

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Addison Wynn, a herpetologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History who studies the blind snakes on the Caroline Islands says:

They eat termites and small ants, and there are about 240 or so known species in the world. They spend their lives burrowing so their head is blunt and pointed to push their way through the soil. Their rudimentary eyes can only differentiate between light and dark and exist as pigment spots underneath scales on their head.

These new species extend the known range of blind snakes some 2,000 kilometers out into the Pacific Ocean, into areas where we didn’t know they occurred or could ever occur. We just didn’t expect to find blind snakes out there (Caroline Islands) in the middle of the ocean.

Some other studies that the blind snakes found in Hawaii could have come there from far off the Philippines, about 5300 miles (8530 km) away.

So, other than the blind snakes, it is widely assumed that there are no snakes in Hawaii. Sadly, this is not true. According to a few reports, people have seen some snakes in Hawaii.

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Ornate Tree Snake

The Ornate Tree Snake captured at Hickam Hickam Air Force Base. (Photo by Dr. Allen Allison, Bishop Museum
The Ornate Tree Snake captured at Hickam Hickam Air Force Base. (Photo by Dr. Allen Allison, Bishop Museum)

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On May 23, 2013, military personnel at the Hickam Air Force Base captured a foot-long mildly venomous Ornate Tree Snake (Chrysopelea ornate) in a maintenance bay near the airfield.

Since the Ornate Tree Snakes are able to spring from tree to tree, they are also known as ornate flying tree snakes. These snakes are native to South East Asia and related to the brown tree snakes which have devastated the ecosystem in Guam by virtually wiping out the native forest birds. Their diet consists of lizards, mice, bats and birds.

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Boa Constrictor 

This was a snake found ran over on the mainland. (Photo: National Parks Service)
This was the five-foot long boa constrictor found run over on Pali Highway (Photo: National Parks Service)

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On September 22, 2013, a motorist ran over a five-foot long Boa Constrictor on the Pali Highway. Several inspectors of Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) went directly to the area where the snake was found. However, they did not find evidence of any other snakes. Russell S. Kokubun, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture said:

Any snake found in the wild in Hawaii is of serious concern. Boa constrictors may grow up to 12 feet, which is particularly troubling for nearby residents and for the environment.”

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Rainbow Boa Constrictor 

A non-venomous rainbow boa constrictor
A non-venomous rainbow boa constrictor

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At about 7 am on November 5, 2013, Victor Palmeri, found a live two-and-a-half foot long non-venomous Rainbow Boa Constrictor on the Nuuanu Avenue sidewalk fronting the Kukui Plaza condominium. Native to Central and South America, rainbow boas can grow up to six feet long. Rainbow boas are known for their attractive iridescent sheen on their scales in the sunlight. Their diet consists of rodents, lizards, aquatic animals, and birds.

It is not known at this time how these snakes found their way to Hawaii.

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