Bangalore Environment Trust Newsletter, September 1998

Sat, 03/03/2007 - 18:29 admin


Some Beautiful Flowering Trees of Bangalore

Pride of India or Queen's Flower
(Lagerstroemia Speciosa)
Bangalore has a rich herittage of beautiful Dowering trees, both indigenous and exotic. Hyder Ali and his celebrated son Tippu Sultan got many plants from outside countries to create the Lalbagh Garden. Later foreigners. scientists and administrators introduced many more exotics into Bangalore. The scientist and the nobel-laureate C.v. Raman was a great lover of plants and devoted his spare lime in watching the colour-play of various types of Dowers in the Raman Institute. Lalbagh, Cubbon Park and Indian Institute of Science. Here a few flowering trees of Bangalore are described.

If I am given a choice to name the most handsome flowering tree in India, my choice would go to the 'Pride of India'. The well-known botanist Bor calls this tree the most striking tree in India. So it isl The tree is extremely handsome when in flower, bearing magnificent mauve to pink Dowers in long clusters, In Latin 'speciosa' means 'good-looking', Its generic name Lagerstroemia is named to commemorate Magnus Lagerstroern (16911759). a Swedish merchant who was supplying botanical specimens to Linnaeus - the renowned botanist,

There are various shades of colours in the flowers of these trees, some purple and others of different shades of mauve approaching pink, These light pinkish-mauve varieties are perhaps the most beautiful. All its colour variations are strikingly beautiful, deserving Its name as 'Pride of India'. All the colour-variations exist in Bangalore. These trees flower from late March to May in Bangalore and some varteties in June/July - thus giving the impression that it flowers twice in a year.

Many botanists descrtbe this tree as a medium-sized one. So it is in Bangalore. But one should follow H. Santapau to the Sharavathy valley, around Jog Falls, to find it growing to a large' size and great height (upto 20-25m). Its home is in the Western Ghats, spreading from Goa Southwards through Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada to Malabar and Travanacore in Kerala. It is also found in Ceylon,. Assam, Burma and eastwards to Malaya Peninsula and northwards into China. In the cities this species seldom grows over 8m in height.

This plant needs much water and is naturally found growing in the forests along river banks, streams and in low lying swampy places, It, therefore, has this additional advantage that it can be planted in swampy and water-logged areas, It is also suited for planting under urban-forestry schemes, for its shady crown and showy cluster of flowers.


S. G. Neginhal I.F.S. (Retd)

Harvesting Rain Water
Sat, 03/03/2007 - 18:36 admin
From Science Express Tue, 14th July '98

The country reeling under severe heat conditions can now bank on monsoons to improve the depleting groundwater tables. Excessive tapping for multi-storey buildings. new colonies. 'agricultural needs. droughts and climatic changes are responsible to the receeding water table, The solution lies in adopting better water management techniques like conserving rain water.

Rain water collected on roof tops can be diverted to percolation pits which in turn direct the water to 'aquifers'. Aquifer is a saturated permeable layer present in the earths crust. Rainwater from terraces can be diverted through pipelines to the percolation pit.

Percolation pit recharges water. A low lying area or a foothill of a slope is ideal for a percolation pit. To construct a pit. sand. small  size road metal and grave are required. There should be distance of all east 10 feel between two pits. Each pit should have three feel depth and a circumference of one-and-a-half feel. Two thirds of the pit has to be covered With soil. The top. middle and bottom portions should be filled with road metal and gravel. Bathing water can. also be directed to these pits or tress. The connecting pipe should have a 'U' bend which acts as a waterseal by not allowing bad smell and insects in the bathroom.

Percolation pits can be dug in stadiums and parks. Sand from the pits should be cleared every six months. This is because organic particles get accumulated in between the pores. Rain water can also be directed to a dried up well. Care should be taken to dig Ole pits away from the sewerage pipelines.

These pits in agricultural lands help percolation of stagnant water. Dig six feet cubical pits and connect them to wells with pipes. The two ends of the pipes have to be covered with net to prevent clogging. contamination and silting of the wells. Percolation pits recharge water, raise water tables. reduce salinity. crack formation on building walls and enhance crop yield.

waste, plastic cannot be decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. "You could toss it in the sea or bury it in the earth. the problem will not go away. It will stay there and cause damage," says Sujit Banerji, co-chairman, Indian Centre for Plastic and Environment and vice-president. Reliance Industries Limited.

The damages it causes are many. Plastic cuts off air supply to whatever it surrounds. Plant and marine life choke on plastic bags. Raw materials used to create plastic are polymers (basic component), to which are added colourants, plasticizers and reinforcement (to determine flexibility) and stabilizers (to determine durability). All of the above do not. a toxic combination make. the plastic industry is screaming it.self hoarse. What. makes plastic a cause for such grave concern is the way it is disposed.

Burning. one of the most. popular and ignorant methods of disposing plastic, is dangerous if not done under controlled conditions because. for one. it changes the air we breathe.

Temporary help, permanent hazard
From Ind Exp Tue. 4 Aug 1998

The little plastic shopping bag your local grocer generously hands out to you may outlive all of humanity. In Mumbai annually, over 20,000 tonnes of plastic is left to last, for eternity in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) landfills.

The fact that plastic in non-biodegradable and just refuses to go away is the root of all problems. Unlike vegetable and paper Plastic when burnt releases large. highly concentrated quantities of carbon monoxide (CO). a poisonous gas. CO is the main component of automobile exhaust that's harmful to Jife. The other toxins released when plastic is burnt have more to do with additives that go into giving plastic its shape. And they are the ones that can cause serious damage anything from reproductive disorders. multiple cancers, foetal damage to hormone disturbance and severe endocrine system damage. "This is just scratching the surface. research is on globally to delve deeper into the problems incorrect plastic disposal can lead to." says Bittu Sahgal, editor of Sanctuary magazine.

Apart from these problems. toxins released also work at corroding the ozone layer.

Furthermore, some of the additives used to control the physical properties of plastic contribute to the overall generation of pollution from the plastic industry - not only in manufacture. but also in the residues they leave behind.

Incineration does not seem a powerful enough solution. "Incinerators are the only way of disposing plastic. And they too, have ta be stale of the art, which involves a great deal of money" says Banerji.

The BMC is currently negotiating with an Australian company to install incinerators in Mumbai. But senior officials say a global movement against incineration has slowed down talks.

More, the money factor is never far behind - the latest technology doesn't come cheap. and to go for anything less would be a waste. The only solution for a cash-strapped country like India, Banerji feels, is recycling, the fact that all kinds of plastic is not recyclable notwithstanding. It is up to the plastic industry to increase awareness among masses.

Finally. it lies in the hands of people to decide if they want to help speed along the process or reducing the threat plastic poses to the environment.


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