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Photo: Vijaykhaitan under a Creative Commons Licence

Why we should weep for the sparrow

[By Mari Marcel Thekaekara| New Internationalist] Did you celebrate World Sparrow Day on 20 March?  It bothers me when I read that these birds are becoming extinct in Indian cities. Chirpy, cheeky little sparrows were part of our life, growing up as children in a dilapidated Kolkata flat. They nested high up in an old-fashioned ventilator. And caused us kids ...

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One of 24 ATMs being piloted across Delhi. The machine is located in Dwarka Sector 3 Resettlement Colony — an unplanned neighbourhood that lacks public services such as piped drinking water | Anita Makri

Water ATMs’ deliver liquid assets in India’s capital

[By Anita Makri|SciDev.Net] Two years ago, Anand Shah, founder of Indian firm Sarvajal, wrote about how the company had developed solar-powered ‘water ATMs’ to get clean and affordable water to people in remote parts of India. Shah ended by sharing his vision to have a water vending machine in every village and on every city corner, as a simple solution to ...

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Photo: Coastalcare.org

Eight million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean each year

You might have heard the oceans are full of plastic, but how full exactly? Around 8 million metric tonnes go into the oceans each year, according to the first rigorous global estimate published in Science today. That’s equivalent to 16 shopping bags full of plastic for every metre of coastline (excluding Antarctica). By 2025 we will be putting enough plastic ...

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Sundarbans, which literally translates as “beautiful forest”, straddles the border between India and Bangladesh along the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. India has 40% and Bangladesh has 60% of the mangroves. Both areas are designated wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests.

Staining The Sundarbans

|By Arati Rao| It was 5am as we set off from Chandpai forest station, heading south into the Sundarbans. A thick dark fog hung sullenly about us. A few kilometers on, visibility beyond the prow fell to near zero, forcing us to dock mid-river. As we waited, voices rang out from somewhere in the thick blur: fishermen singing to semaphore their presence. ...

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Garbage seen on Sunkalpet Main Road, near KR Market in Bangalore

Bangaloreans segregate waste to save their city

|By Mari Marcel Thekaekara|New Internationalist| There’s plenty to moan about, for sure. But after endless rape and other horror stories, I decided I’d like to focus on some stories of hope; more so during this season of good cheer. When I opened my favourite newspaper, The Hindu, this morning, there was a news item that made me sit up with a ...

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Photo: Creative Commons / Flickr user Travelbag Ltd

Man Bites Shark

|By Bradnee Chambers| BONN – Sharks have long been portrayed as man-eaters, a menace to any swimmer brave (or foolish) enough to share the water with them. But this perception could not be further from reality. To be sure, there have been many laudable shark-protection efforts in the last few years.

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A new strain of GM rice has been developed that can endure extreme conditions | Photo: ourworld.unu.edu Creative commons

More Crop for the Drop

|By Henry I. Miller| STANFORD – The United Nations has called drought the “world’s costliest natural disaster,” both financially, imposing an annual cost of $6-8 billion, and in human terms; since 1900, it has affected two billion people, leading to more than 11 million deaths. That is because so much of the world is vulnerable; currently affected areas include Australia, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, ...

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Plastic road : A bypass to garbage menace

|By Sanjay Pandey| India’s Silicon Valley is sitting on a ticking bomb of garbage piles with the authorities caring little about finding alternative ways to fix the problem. Rapid economic growth, overcrowding, growing culture of consumerism, poor urban planning, cancerous corruption and political paralysis are literally turning Bangalore, the Garden city into a garbage bin. The IT capital’s infamous garbage ...

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No Need to Grow Grains, Dig the Earth and Get ‘Cereals’

|By Sanjay Pandey| Rajmahal: As their poor parents go about tilling the land to grow crops, a gang of semi-clad young boys and girls gather around a pond and start digging cereals – albeit of a different kind. But how do stone pebbles take shape of cereals?

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New Delhi at night: India’s surging electricity demand may prove a challenge for renewable energy. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center/Flickr, CC BY-NC

India’s energy future: Australian coal or renewable revolution?

|By Craig Froome| India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inherited the ongoing problem of supplying energy to one of the world’s largest economies. The challenge is made even bigger by India’s ambitions to meet rigorous renewable energy and carbon reduction targets. But coal — particularly from Australia — will remain a temptation. Modi, as state leader for Gujarat, made ...

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