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Toxin threat over Bhutan

Reports say that an incinerator installed by the Tala Hydro-electric Project Authority has just been inaugurated by the deputy minister of National Environment Commission in Bhutan.

tech reviews Updated: Mar 02, 2004 17:58 IST

Bhutan is a beautiful, pristine land. Now, here is a way by which they are axing their own environment. Reports say that an incinerator installed by the Tala Hydro-electric Project Authority has just been inaugurated by the deputy minister of National Environment Commission in Bhutan.

This incinerator, which has the capacity to burn about 100 kilos of civic and bio-medical waste per hour, will be used for burning all the residential and medical waste. Anyone with basic information about incinerators will tell you that this would be a complete disaster. The incinerator will convert the waste from a relatively manageable type into a complex mix of toxins, which will be almost impossible to control. When plastics are burned, then the heavy metals in them disperse into the environment and get into the food chain, as do other by-products, such as the deadly diox.

Advertising for dumbos

These days, there is an advertisement on radio that tries to convince listeners to buy an extra strong insecticide. The advertising suggests that it is more human to kill a mosquito instantly rather than let it suffer and die slowly by spraying it with a less potent chemical. The question we should all be asking ourselves is this: Are we all really dumb enough to fall for this? Anything we spray also ends up in the environment. That's how workers in farms get pesticide poisoning and so much of our food and even drinks are contaminated with pesticides.

Worse still, mosquitoes develop resistance to pesticides. The most recent example of one of the most common mosquitoes of North America turning resistant to pyrethroid pesticides should remind us that spraying stronger and stronger pesticides are not our solution.

Let’s play safe Holi

Holi is round the corner. If you can't get natural colours, currently available only in some niches in big cities, at least use less of the toxic powder or gulal and completely avoid the fast colours, because most of them are the same toxins we use to dye our clothes. And then, you don't need to fill entire buckets of water to throw at your friends: Use less water and conserve a resource that we hardly get in the summer. Talking of conserving water, this is now the season to use dry leaves falling everywhere to cover the surface of flower pots, so that there is less evaporation and hence, less water usage. Maybe then we can enjoy Holi without causing an environmental mess.

(If you feel for Planet Earth, write toearthwatch1@rediffmail.com)