Monthly Archives: August 2013
Mosquitoes can be a real pestilence. Anyone who lives in an area with a high population of mosquitoes knows how annoying they can be. Mosquito bites can be infuriating, and will soon leave you with itchy sores all over your hands and feet where they bite.
Mosquitoes often carry deadly diseases such as dengue, malaria, etc. These diseases are spread almost exclusively by mosquitoes, and you can never be sure whether the mosquito infestation that is pestering you every night isn’t carrying these diseases.
There are many ways you can get rid of mosquitoes. You can use sprays and mosquito coils to kill these insects. But these are toxic, and long term you affects your health too. You can use bug zappers, which are not really that effective. At the end of the day, mosquitoes require long term solutions, like removal of stagnant water pools where they breed and lay eggs.
An unique way to control mosquitoes are a few herbs and plants that act as mosquito repellants.
The following is a list of seven plants that seem to have this mosquito repellant effect:
BASIL [ TULSI ]
Basil emits its aroma without crushing the leaves, so you can grow basil in pots and put them in your backyard to control mosquitoes. To keep the mosquitoes away from your body, rub a handful of crushed basil leaves on your skin. Any variety of basil can repel mosquitoes but it is advisable to use lemon basil cinnamon basil and Peruvian basil since they have the strongest fragrances.
Valued for its flowers and its fragrance, lavender makes an excellent mosquito repellant. The lavender plant is fairly easy to grow as it needs less care. To make a chemical-free mosquito solution, just mix lavender essential oil in water and apply directly on your skin. To control mosquitoes, keep the lavender plant pots around seating areas on your patio, backyard and garden. You can ensure yourself of blissful evenings.
Lemon balm also keeps the mosquitoes at bay as its leaves contain citronella compounds in large amounts. The citronella plant is popularly used in commercial mosquito repellants and there is up to 38% citronella content in some varieties of lemon balm. You can grow lemon balm in your garden and allow them to proliferate, leaving less room for mosquitoes to thrive. To keep mosquitoes at bay, you can also rub crushed lemon balm leaves on your skin.
Rosemary is a herb that is often used in culinary efforts, to great effect. However, the plant contains an oil that seems to be unbearable to mosquitoes, and a few pots of rosemary can easily keep mosquitoes out and well away. Rosemary thrives in warm climates. If it gets really cold in winter where you leave, you have to take the rosemary plants in for the winter. They will work as well from the inside in repelling mosquitoes.
Besides being an eccentric choice for cat lovers due to its ability to put our feline pets in a euphoric state, catnip has the ability to repel mosquitoes as a member of the mint family. Simply grow catnip near the backyard or patio of your house. Cats love the aroma of catnip put catnip leaves around your household for them to crush and eat, thereby releasing its fragrance to ward off mosquitoes. You can also crush fresh leaves then rub it all around your skin
Marigolds are beautiful looking, but they don’t smell that great. However, they are not that bad smelling to be deterring, even if you are sitting next to them. However, marigold is a powerful mosquito deterrent, as well as a deterrent for other pests and snakes. You can grow some in your garden to keep garden pests away.
Citronella candles are well known. These candles can be lit to get rid of mosquitoes. The candles are infused with citronella oil that keeps mosquitoes well away. You can just as well grow citronella grass to get rid of mosquitoes. These plants grow up to 6 feet tall in tropical climates, so if space is an issue for you, this may not be the mosquito deterrent of your choice.
PEPPERMINT AND OIL
An oil that commonly helps combat indigestion and nausea, this is also great for mosquito deterring. Additionally, it helps deter pesky mice and other insects too. It also grows quite prettily in beds, and you can always pick some up for a delicious peppermint tea.
EUCALYPTUS AND OIL
Eucalyptus is quite famous for its mosquito deterring properties. It is really good at keeping mosquitoes well away.
1. Plan your meals
Planning meals ahead of time not only helps you save money on groceries, but it will prevent leftovers from going bad. Plan for a week or for as far out as a month.
2. Shower less frequently
Don’t wrinkle your nose. Often, people shower (or bathe their kids) every day whether they need to or not. Before hopping in out of habit, think about whether it’s really necessary.
3. Wear clothes more than once
This goes along with the showering thing. Just like your jeans see days of wear before they hit the washer. (When they’re clean of course.) Wash clothes only when they’re dirty to lower water and electricity usage.
4. Hang your clothes to dry
Try to avoid drying clothes in the dryer, rather hang them in balcony or veranda, it helps reduce electricity consumption and save you money. And it also helps clothes last longer.
5. Bring home less waste
Avoid food and other products with lots of packaging. Buying in bulk helps a lot since you won’t have individually wrapped things coming into your home (It’s great for your budget, too!) If eating out, take along a reusable container for leftovers so you don’t have to bring home a wasteful container from the restaurant.
6. Grow your own veggies
Many veggies are shipped long distances, using lots of fuel just to get to your grocery store. Start a simple garden to reduce dependency on grocery-store produce.
7. Make a windowsill herb garden
Most of the herbs for sale in our area come packaged in plastic boxes. Grow some of your favorite herbs in a sunny windowsill so you can add flavor to your food without extra waste.
8. Give it away to Recycler/s
You know how when you’re done de-cluttering, you have a ton of stuff lying around your house that you need to get rid of? Rather than throwing it away (some people do that!), give it away to recycler/s to spare a landfill and make some money from your excess stuff.
9. Use your car less
Make an effort to stay at home more and drive less. Walk, bike or use public transit if possible to reduce your contribution to air pollution.
10. Invest in reusable bags
Or make them from scrap fabric. Countless plastic bags end up in landfills each year and don’t need to be there. Either buy or make bags in different sizes and take them with you to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Make small ones to use with bulk bins and produce. (Find shopping bags online here or produce bags online here.)
Keep the environment neat and clean is the hot topic that is under consideration today. The world is trying to take necessary measures to keep the environment friendly. The UN started a United Nation Environment Program (UNEP) for the whole world as there are a lot of problems being faced. Member countries are conducting conferences and meetings to create awareness in public. UNEP was observed first time in 1972 and 5th June is celebrated as the World Environment Day. Mongolia is going to host this event in the year 2013.There are so many challenges associated with these problems and member countries are trying to manage these challenges. Global warming, unavailability of clean water, diseases caused by pollution and noise are some of them.. They have taken bold steps to keep the environment friendly even that resulted in a high cost to the stakeholders. The most amazing thing is that people are also taking interest in these activities and are well aware about the importance of keeping the environment neat and clean.
Plastic shopping bags have been the most notorious product in the last few years. Environment conscious analyses are available which shows these bags as the basic cause of numerous problems. These are responsible for choking sewer, open drain system, spoiling sanitation and creating an overall unenthusiastic view of the environment. A decision was made to burn these plastic bags but this step causes damage to the environment. They produce dioxins and furans in the process of burning which is excessively and extensively inhaled by human beings. Dioxins and furans are the root causes of different problems just because of their high toxicity. International environment standards recommend these two elements should be absent from the air. Polythene is the raw-material which is non-degradable in nature, the plastic bags continue to be present in the environment and delivers their undesirable effects for a very long period. They are mostly visible in the urban areas due to their excessive use in cities.
Effective research and development resulted in a solution to this issue with the help of reusable grocery bags. Government institutes and enterprises are encouraging the use of these bags. Leading departmental stores have stopped providing traditional plastic bags. There are a large number of grocery bags, produced in different styles, sizes and stuffs. Users can take these bags for a long time and helpful for carrying heavy items as well. Users can fold these bags without occupying additional space. These are marked as environment friendly. This is the responsibility of government, NGOs and enterprises to promote them in true spirit. It is a smart way to keep our environment clean and green.
Coca-Cola has actually done it, launching a “natural” Coke called Coca-Cola Life in Argentina.
Like the so-called “Mexican Coke” that comes in glass bottles and contains real sugar, instead of high-fructose corn syrup, Coca-Cola Life is being marketed as a healthier substitute with more eco-friendly packaging.
‘Coca-Cola Life’ is said to be an all-natural, low-calorie soda packaged in a fully-recyclable plant-based bottle. The drink is made with a mixture of sugar and stevia-based substitute, and contains two times less the calories than regular Coke. The all organic sugar drink is launched in Argentina, with total world domination soon to follow.
In addition to the type of sweeteners and bottle material, the marketing imagery for Coca-Cola Life also comes equipped with all the requisite accoutrements of a “green” or greenwashed product. From the earth-tone colors of the logo and consistent use of green, outdoor settings, it is clear Coca-Cola is trying to show this product as having a closer connection with nature and the environment. Even the wooden “antique” bottle cases harken back to an earlier, healthier era for the soda industry (at least, healthier in the sense that it was before the high-fructose corn syrup era).
There are myriad health reasons to not drink beverages that contain a lot of sugar, so I won’t spend time talking about that, but I do want to say that in a way, products like this are a sign that the movement to a healthier society and more sustainable economy is making progress. If the voices calling for change weren’t being heard, nothing would change. As annoying as it can be to some to see the imagery of “green living” co-opted by a major brand, another way of looking at this is that when a corporation as large as Coca-Cola feels the consumer pressure and sees the business opportunity, in creating greener plastics, less caloric and less sugary drinks and wants to be seen as closer to nature, that means that the pressure placed on these companies is working.
Davos: India’s has the worst air pollution in the entire world, beating China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to a study released during this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
Of 132 countries whose environments were surveyed, India ranks dead last in the ‘Air (effects on human health)’ ranking. The annual study, the Environmental Performance Index, is conducted and written by environmental research centres at Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of outside scientists. The study uses satellite data to measure air pollution concentrations.
India’s high levels of fine particulate matter (a subject we’ve been looking at on India Ink, albeit just in Delhi) are one of the major factors contributing to the country’s abysmal air quality. Levels of so-called PM 2.5, for the 2.5 micron size of the particulates, are nearly five times the threshold where they become unsafe for human beings.
Particulate matter is one of the leading causes of acute lower respiratory infections and cancer. The World Health Organization found that Acute Respiratory Infections were one of the most common causes of deaths in children under 5 in India, and contributed to 13% of in-patient deaths in paediatric wards in India.
When it comes to overall environment, India ranked among the world’s “Worst Performers,” at No 125 out of the 132 nations, beating only Kuwait, Yemen, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Iraq. Neighbouring Pakistan, in contrast, ranked 120th and Bangladesh was listed as No. 115 on overall environment.
It is not just India’s big cities which are grappling with air pollution, said Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director of India’s Centre for Science and Environment, a non-profit organization which was not involved in the study. Air pollution also is worsening in smaller cities, she said.
The main culprit, Ms Roychowdhury said, is the growing number of vehicles in India. While the country still has far fewer vehicles per capita than developed nations, India’s cars are more polluting, Ms Roychowdhury said. Other air pollution experts also cite India’s reliance coal and polluting industries like brick-making that are located close to densely-populated areas.
Emission standards are nearly “10 years behind European standards,” Ms Roychowdhury said, and these standards are not legally enforceable, unlike in countries like the United States which has the Clean Air Act. India has an Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 which is supposed to be enforced by the Central Pollution Control Board. This act lacks teeth, Ms Roychowdhury said. “We need to take big steps or the problem will overwhelm us,” she said.
D Saha, a scientist in the “Air Lab” at India’s Central Pollution Control Board said the study’s findings were not a matter of huge concern.
“We should not compare our country with others,” Dr Saha said. “India has a different terrain.” He cited seasonal rainfall, deserts and dusty conditions as being responsible for the particulate matter. “Can we put water sprinklers across the country?,” he asked.
Particulate matter comes from boilers, thermal power plants and cars, as well, he said, but India would not have development if these activities were curbed, he said. “The diseases mentioned in the report are caused by many factors not just particulate matter, we are raising undue alarm,” Mr Saha said.
His advice? “It is a non-issue, we have other pressing problems like poverty, focus on them.”
India is densely populated and has high solar insolation, an ideal combination for using solar power in India. India is already a leader in wind power generation. In the solar energy sector, some large projects have been proposed, and a 35,000 km2 area of the Thar Desert has been set aside for solar power projects, sufficient to generate 700 GW to 2,100 GW. Also India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has released the JNNSM Phase 2 Draft Policy, by which the Government aims to install 10GW of Solar Power and of this 10 GW target, 4 GW would fall under the central scheme and the remaining 6 GW under various State specific schemes.
In July 2009, India unveiled a US$19 billion plan to produce 20 GW of solar power by 2020. Under the plan, the use of solar-powered equipment and applications would be made compulsory in all government buildings, as well as hospitals and hotels. On 18 November 2009, it was reported that India was ready to launch its National Solar Mission under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, with plans to generate 1,000 MW of power by 2013. From August 2011 to July 2012, India went from 2.5 MW of grid connected photovoltaics to over 1,000 MW.
According to a 2011 report by BRIDGE TO INDIA and GTM Research, India is facing a perfect storm of factors that will drive solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption at a “furious pace over the next five years and beyond”. The falling prices of PV panels, mostly from China but also from the U.S., has coincided with the growing cost of grid power in India. Government support and ample solar resources have also helped to increase solar adoption, but perhaps the biggest factor has been need. India, “as a growing economy with a surging middle class, is now facing a severe electricity deficit that often runs between 10 and 13 percent of daily need”.
With about 300 clear, sunny days in a year, India’s theoretical solar power reception, on only its land area, is about 5000 Petawatt-hours per year (PWh/yr) (i.e. 5000 trillion kWh/yr or about 600 TW). The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 1500–2000 sunshine hours per year (depending upon location), which is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, assuming the efficiency of PV modules were as low as 10%, this would still be a thousand times greater than the domestic electricity demand projected for 2015.
The amount of solar energy produced in India in 2007 was less than 1% of the total energy demand. The grid-interactive solar power as of December 2010 was merely 10 MW. Government-funded solar energy in India only accounted for approximately 6.4 MW-yr of power as of 2005. However, India is ranked number one in terms of solar energy production per watt installed, with an insolation of 1,700 to 1,900 kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak (kWh/KWp). 25.1 MW was added in 2010 and 468.3 MW in 2011. By the end of March 2013 the installed grid connected photovoltaics had increased to 1686.44 MW,and India expects to install an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of 20,000 MW by 2022.
Progress under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission
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Ever heard the words, you have got to fight for what you want; if you don’t stand up for your rights, then who will? In short, you have to take matters into your own hands instead of being passive and just wishing the problem away. And take matters into their own hands is exactly what a group of villagers did. They literally clung (chipko, loosely translated meaning hugged) on to their rights.
In 1974, in a small village named Reni located in the Himalayas, a group of female villagers stood their ground, embraced their beloved trees and saved their forest. They refused to let the contractor system of the State Forest Department decide their fate and rob them of their right to a better life. The trees do more than give aesthetic appeal to the village, they provide protection from landslides, they provide cleaner air, and they stop the erosion of land. The land that is important to the villagers for their and their live-stocks survival. Their protest paid off and their act of bravery inspired many similar acts on a grassroots level for forest protection. In the 1987, the Chipko Movement was awarded The Right Livelihood Award.
Anyone who appreciates a good beer now and then knows that it can taste like heaven, but the Buddhist monks of Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew raised the beverage’s status even closer to godliness when they built Wat Lan Kuad.
In 1984 they started collecting beer bottles to use primarily for decoration, but in an effort to eliminate pollution in the surrounding region, encouraged the locals to donate their beer bottles for recycling.
With the construction of Wat Lan Kuad, meaning “Temple of a Million Bottles,” the monks were able to clean up their environment and create a beautiful and functional structure. Wat Lan Kuad is made from 1.5 million Heineken (green) and Chang (brown) beer bottles and has become an eco-friendly tourist destination.
The temple complex, located about 400 miles north of Bangkok, now includes more than 20 buidings, and the monks have even constructed toilets and a crematorium. Bottle caps provide a well-used source for interior murals and decoration. The bottles provide good lighting, effective insulation, and are easy to clean.