Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. Presently, he is teaching Mathematics at JCRE Global College. Jugeshwor can be reached at: [email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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The New Year calls for a basic change in priorities- a need to focus on the development of rural areas. The current farmer’s agitation has thrown into sharp relief the failure of the government to understand the concerns of large section of the rural population and their real need and aspirations. Over the years, various governments have spent large sum of money to improve conditions in rural areas without having a serious impacts. More recently , the Prime Minister himself initiated a number of projects for rural improvement, including schemes for building pucca houses, providing a toilet in every rural home, training youths in craft skills in rural areas and a programme to provide jobs to migrant returning home. However all these schemes have failed to facilitate real change in the overall rural environment. This is partly because, all such projects have been arbitrarily implemented in bits and pieces and to a large extent because of lack of planning and clear vision of what our future villages should be. As a result, there has been minimal change and an overall condition remainsabysmal. Planning for the villages has to be implemented on a hands-on basis with a focus on the problems of each individual’s village-something that cannot be done by politicians sitting in state capital or by bureaucrats who are not privy to rural issues and problems. This is one of the main reasons why large number of unskilled migrants who had lost their jobs, returned to their home after the COVID-19-induced lockdown was imposed and is now once again considering returning to the marginally better conditions of life in the city.
Each state needs to focus on the planned future development of its rural areas. This needs an organized framework for the preparation of plans as well as an administrative structure for the control of future growth. Professional involvement is essential for the preparation of plans. Presently such matters are being handled by local politician in league with the administrators and this has disastrous implications. This is an issue that Niti-Aayog, the central body responsible for planning, needs to address. One of the major impediments to change in rural areas is the bureaucratic system that controls development. Over the years, various politicians have commented on the government’s administrative system and called for change, which has been strongly realized by IAS officials. The government’s mode of functioning has not changed over time, noted that the IAS was set up in accordance with the British framework for governing India, which was based on distrust, a system which still prevailed. Development administration was a specialized job. Presently any secretary is often posted to do work of which the person had little or no understanding. Specialist advice was neither sought nor respected. Secretaries were freely transferred from one department to another on their way up. An agriculture secretary may get transferred after two years to become an education secretary or secretary of Industry. This had all become a process of moving from one job to another, depending on political contact. The entire system had become one of control and power, regardless of the nature of work and needed to be changed.
Distrust of Indian led the British to form a highly centralized system of administration. As the demands for proper local administration had grown this system caused needless delays and interference. It would therefore be better to re-organize the entire bureaucratic system to make it more effective. Over the years, senior government officials also called for the administrative system to be re-organized, but other than the separation of control in one department and the other department, the basic system of the administration still remains the same. It is interesting that despite serious evaluations, we remains stuck in a quagmire. It is also amazing that an organization likeNiti-Aayog, on one hand acknowledges the importance of developing new technologies like solar and wind power and creation of large scale power storage facilities with new chemical storage batteries and the need of an internet connection to each and every home is still so obtuse when it comes to visualizing future urban development. With the return of large number of unskilled workers from cities to their homes in rural areas, the current situation requires a change of approach and the need to focus on the proper development of our large rural hinterland and small towns. This calls for the active involvement of professionals like architects, urban designer, landscape architects and environmental experts on an original basis. To date no plans have been prepared for the growth and development of our large number of villages and small towns. This now needs urgent attentions. It would be good, if the Niti-Aayog were to focus on these issues and help the government to set up a cadre of trained professionals responsible for the detailed development of rural areas in each and every state. Currently the conditions in rural areas in large part of our country are abysmal. It is common to see picture of villages with houses crowded along narrow lanes with sewage and storm water flowing alongside. There is no open space or meeting areas other than those on the outer fringes of the village or in the residential courtyards. The schools and health centers are also developed in isolated pockets. The type and size of dwelling units are still largely based on the caste and traditional hierarchy of the occupants. Conditions however are not static. Change is being brought about despite conflicts on many issues. It is common now to see every young villager with a cell-phone. Those who are more confident and familiar with the use of computers with access to the internet are aware of events across the world. These changes are not because of schools or educational institutions but are the result of a process of self-education. Such motivated youths should be mobilized, trained and made aware of the need for rural improvement and development.
At present , there is no systematic planning of rural areas in states and virtually no site plans are available, In the absence of plans, a lot of development is currently occurring on a haphazard basis, without proper consideration of the suitability of the location of the facility involved. In order to prevent this kind of chaotic development, the system needs to be reestablished with proper plans prepared by experts and needs to establish a separate new Rural Administrative System/Service (RAS). In order to establish a separate newRural Administrative System/ Service (RAS), the government will have to over-ride the resistance posed by IAS officials to the setting up of an independent service system. But such a change is now essential and urgently called for. The present system where IAS officials are in control of the development of rural areas and who have no understanding of the specific issue and problems involved has proved to be ineffective. A cadre of officials specially trained to understand different aspect of rural issues along with a team of professionals responsible for future planning would help bring about a change and improvement of life in these areas.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 17:23

Danger of Pesticide pollution

In recent years people have been exposed to several types of substances with broad spectrum due to the rapidly evolving technology. One of these chemical substance groups are pesticides. Pesticides are chemical compositions employed to eliminate fungal or animal pests. Nonetheless, an average of 95% reaches other organisms apart from the targeted pests, because of their application technique in the farming fields. Pesticides have been an essential part of agriculture to protect crops and livestock to protect from pests infestation and yield enhancement for many decades. Despite their usefulness, pesticides could pose potential risks to food safety, the environment and all living things. Concern about the environmental impact of repeated pesticides use has prompted research into the environmental fate of these agents which can emigrate from treated field to air, other land and water bodies. The importance of agriculturalpesticides for developing countries is undeniable. However the issue of human health and environmental risk has emerged as a key problem for these countries in accordance to a number of studies. The chemical pesticides provides necessary guarantee for the output increase, but pesticides abuse has led to daily worsening of ecosystem of agricultural lands. The use of large amount of pesticides is the main reason for agricultural pollution.
A global map of agricultural land across 168 countries has revealed that 64% of land used for agriculture and food crops is at risk of pesticides pollution. Almost a third of these areas are considered to be at high risk. The study published in “Nature Geoscience” produced a global model mapping pollution risk caused by 92 chemicals commonly used in agricultural pesticides in 168 countries. The study examined risk to soil, the atmosphere and surface as well as ground water. The map also revealed Asia houses the largest land areas at high risk pollution with China, Japan, Malaysia and Philippine at highest risk. Some of these areas are considered “food bowl” nations, feeding a large portion of the World’s population. University of Sydney Research Associate and study’s lead author Dr.Fiona Tang said, the widespread use of pesticides in agriculture—while boosting—productivity—could have potential implications for the environment, human and animal health. Study has revealed 64% of the World’s arable land is at risk of pesticide pollution. This is important because the wider scientific literatures have found that pesticide pollution can have adverse impacts on human health and environment.
Pesticides can be transported to surface water and ground water through runoff and infiltration polluting water bodies, thereby reducing the usability of water resources. The breezes can take them to other areas such as human settlements and grazing regions, probably affecting other animals. More challenges arise as poor production, storage and transport practices. Repeatedly spraying the pesticide, pest resistance and resurgence while still affecting the other organisms in the soil. Although the agricultural land in Oceania shows the lowest pesticide pollution risk, Australia’s Murray- darling basin is considered a high—concern region both due to its water scarcity issues and its high biodiversity. Globally 34% of the high risk areas are in high –biodiversity regions, 19% in low—and lower – middle – income nations and 5% in water scarce areas. There is a concern that overuse of pesticides will tip the balance, destabilize ecosystems and degrade the quality of water sources and humans and animal rely on to survive. Every pesticide or a group of pesticide gets accompanied by a set of hazards in the environment. Such unwanted outcomes have caused the banning of a lot of pesticides in addition to regulations that are meant to minimize and decrease the usage of others. As much as the number of pesticides sprayed per hectare has reduced due to pesticide use regulations globally, it is still on the rise in some areas that use old and out of date pesticides. This has created some significant levels of pesticide footprint in the environment.
Global pesticide use is expected to increase as the global populations’ heads towards and expected 8.5 billion by 2030. In a warmer climate, as the global populations grows, the use of pesticide is expected to increase to combat the possible rise in pest invasion and to feed more people. Although, protecting food production is essential for human development, reducing pesticide pollution is equivalently crucial to protect the biodiversity that maintain soil health and functions, contributing towards food security. It will be important to carefully monitor residue on an annual basis to detect trends in order to manage and mitigate risk from pesticide use. Global strategy to transition towards a sustainable global agricultural model thatreduces food wastage while reducing the use of pesticides is the need of the hour. However, reducing the use of pesticides strategies will not help us protect human health, because there are enormous kinds of pesticides in the market to be sold. In this case, people need to go towards ecological farming. This is critical act in avoiding all risks. Protecting crops via multilevel approach will help us increase the heterogeneity of the agricultural areas and this will provide a natural habitat for pollinators and natural pests control species. Thus a functional biodiversity can be created if we can achieve an active vegetation management. A variety of crop types and cultivars increase both the fertility of soil and resistance to pests. Natural control agents, such as beneficial bacteria, viruses, insects and nematodes can be used in improving crop protection successfully.

Wednesday, 09 June 2021 18:00

Aerosol and Lightning

Natural and anthropogenic aerosols play a major role in the development of convective clouds and more specifically thunderstorms. On the one hand it is possible that aerosol loading can change the microphysics of clouds and hence the convection intensity (lightning activity) while on the other hand aerosols can impact the stability of the atmosphere itself. To understand the link between aerosols and electric discharges, Scientists must unravel the mysteries of clouds. In Greek Mythology, Zeus had dominion over the creation of lightning. Thousands of years later, humans have begun to assume that role. Scientists have already linked aerosol emissions to increase in lightning over areas of amazon prone to forest fire as well as regions with thick air pollution. The clearest example, yet of humanity’s influence on atmospheric electrostatic discharges however, surfaced recently when researchers discovered dense trails of lightning in the soot-filled skies over two of the world’s busiest shipping routes in the Indian Ocean and south China sea. Poring over 12 years of detailed data, atmospheric scientist “Joel Thornton” at the University of Washington, postdoc” Katrina Virts” of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and their colleagues, found lightning flashes occurs nearly twice as often directly above heavily trafficked shipping lanes as they do elsewhere over the ocean. Oceanic lightning can be a sensitive indicator of aerosol effects on lightning characteristics as thermodynamic contrast is indistinct over adjacent oceanic regions and this makes oceanic lightning. The increased frequency of lightning follows the exhaust from ships and cannot be explained by meteorological factors such as winds or the atmosphere’s temperature structure, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters in last September.
The effect was easier to see over water than land, because in general, the atmosphere above the Ocean is relatively low in aerosols- tiny liquid or solid particles that float in the air. Scientists noticed a greater density of lightning in locations where ships blast emissions, including sulfur and nitrogen dioxide into the air. Then the researchers tracked instances of lightning using the World Wide Lightning locations network (WWLLN)- a system of acoustic sensors that detect electrical disturbances all around the globe. In fact, aerosol is an important player in atmospheric electrification. The relationship between aerosol and lightning over the Indo-Gangetic Plain(IGP), India has been evaluated by utilizing aerosol optical depth(AOD), cloud droplet effective radius and cloud fraction imaging Spectroradiometer. Lightning flashes have been overseen by the lightning Imaging Sensor on the board of Tropical Rainfall and measuring emission and humidity from modern era retrospective – analysis for research and applications for the period of 2001-2012. The role of aerosol in lightning generation over the north –west sector of IGP has been revealed.It is found that lightning activity increased (decreased) with increasing aerosol during normal (deficient) monsoon rainfall years. However lightning increases with increasing aerosol during deficient rainfall years, when the average value of AOD is less than 0.88. Even as the evidence of humanity’s role in generating lightning mounts, the proposed correlation creates more questions than they answer. Why would aerosol have this effect? And, are there ways of analyzing clouds that can help predict future lightning strikes? Lightning is a natural features of storms that occurs when certain conditions are met. Particles in a cloud rub together, gathering opposite charges that eventually separate into positive and negative regions. These two poles create a space across which a transfer of charge- or lightning bolt may then occur. Sometimes the bolts transmit the charge to the ground and lightning strikes. But we are now learning the amount of lightning generated may be influenced by the factors that go beyond natural meteorology, including aerosols. Other recent studies have given evidence to the idea, aerosols are linked to more lightning, since Thornton’s and his colleagues, study was published. Ilan Koren and Orit Altaratz at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and colleagues have found, using WWLLN, that more intense lightning is connected with aerosol sources over land. The result is consistent globally and the effect appears over large continental region “on global scale”. Lightning can damage buildings and vehicles and is responsible for thousands of death every year, many of them in developing countries. It may be premature to suggest a direct link between pollution and electrical destruction, but keeping an eye on increased lightning activity could be helpful to those working on preventive measures.
Scientists have some idea of how aerosols change a cloud’s inner working but the microphysics of charge separation and lightning generation are still not fully understood. Clouds droplets form when water vapor condenses on to aerosols. If there are more condensation sites- called cloud condensation nuclei – so the water is distributed among them to make smaller droplets. These little droplets are especially light and so it is easier for them to rise to higher levels of clouds on thermal updrafts. They eventually freeze partially forming what’s known as graupel and begin colliding with ice crystals also floating in the cloud. Those collisions are what make lightning possible. It’s a classic example of creating an electric charge via friction- just like when you rub a balloon to create a static charge. But this is also where the story gets murky. It is not known why the graupel tends to become negatively charged and the ice crystals positively charged. A key question facing researchers is whether increased electrification is the result of more aerosols or an abundance of warm air. The hot air may, on its own, help the droplets rise to that crucial upper layer before they fall out of the clouds as rain. This is known as the thermodynamic effect.A 2013 computer simulation of this process found increased aerosols alone did result in more lightning due to ice crystal collisions, although at very large aerosols volumes the effect was muted. At extreme aerosols contents (the droplets were) too small, they travelled through the air at slower speeds, meaning they may have been less likely to collide with ice crystals, rubbing against them and causing that all- important charge separation.
A comprehensive understanding of cloud microphysics- such as those complex interactions between graupel and ice crystal – may some way off. But the scientist at “The Hebrew University” of Jerusalem, suggest that more accurately quantifying how many aerosols are present at the base of clouds could lead to a better understanding of aerosols, impact on electrification. Rosenfeld of MIT’s and his students have developed an aerosols quantification method that use satellite – based measurement of infrared light reflected by clouds. Clouds droplets absorb certain wavelengths of light depending on their size, so noting which wavelength are missing in readings, reveals the size of droplets present. It is a bit like knowing whether a gemstone appears to be a ruby or an emerald. Rosenfeld than divides the total volume of water in the cloud by the droplets size to reveal an estimate of the total number of clouds droplets. Additional measurements help estimates the effect of hot air updrafts. If aerosols quantities are known, they can of course be compared with how much lightning is later produced by the cloud in question. Clouds remains complex and mysterious systems. Scientists are gradually discovering how they work-and what factors influence the creation of lightning, one of nature’s more dramatic calling cards. That human beings may take some credit for the generation of those bolts may come as something of a surprise but future measurements will reveal the true significance of the role we play. One thing is certain: Zeus is may be off the book.
The writer is Asst.Prof., JCRE Global College, Babupara Imphal. He can be reached to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

By: Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh


On 22nd February 2021, Pakistan announced that it will host World Environment Day 2021 in partnership with UN Environment Programme(UNEP). This year’s observance of world environment Day is on the theme” ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION” and focuses on resetting our relationship with nature. It will also mark the formal launch of the “UN DECADE OF ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION 2021-2030.” World Environment Day takes place every year on 5th June. It is the United Nation’s flagship day for promoting worldwide awareness and actions for the environment. Over the years, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people across the World.
Ecological restoration is the process of repairing sites in nature whose biological communities and ecosystems have been degraded or destroyed. In many ecosystems, humans have altered local native populations of plants and animals, introduced invasive species, converted natural communities to extractive use such as agriculture or mining, fouled waters and degraded soil resources. Ecological restoration focuses on repairing the damage human activities have caused to the natural ecosystem and seeks to return them to an earlier state or another state that is closely related to one unaltered by human activities. Ecological restoration is distinguished from the practice of conservation, which is primarily concerned with preventing further losses to the ecosystem. To repair and restore ecosystems, restoration specialists apply concepts from the field of ecology. For example, in temperate coniferous forests, plant species provide food and shelter for various animals. The forest ecosystem provides important services such as nutrient cycling, both for the animals that live there and for human who use the forest for timber and recreation. To remain health, many forest species rely on periodic disturbances such as wildfires. However, some disturbances such as deforestation are so damaging that they may instead impair the normal functioning of the forest by increasing soil erosion or by eliminating wildlife habitats. Thus restoration ecologists must understand the ecosystem pattern of ecological disturbances. In order to restore a deforested site, restoration ecologists often attempt to reverse the ecological changes caused by the removal of trees and other plants, the displacement of animals and changes to the now exposed soil, which may be more prone to drying and erosion after deforestation. Ecological succession, the long-term evolution of the structure of an ecosystem’s biological community that follows a disturbance event is also an important part of the restoration process.
The restoration of the ecosystem is one of the objective repeatedly established in the Sustainable Development Goals(SDG)14 i.e conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development and SDG-15 i.e. protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystem, sustainably manage forest, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. It is generally targeted in SDG-14.2: to take action for the restoration of marine and costal ecosystem. It is also written with a commitment date in SDG15: by 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services.SDG15.1: by 2030combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil including land affected by desertification and draught and floods and strive to achieve a land degradation neutral world(SDG15.3). We do not include here, to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics (SDG14.2) because this statement focuses on the recovery of fish population while ER focuses the recovery of ecosystem. So, restoration of degraded ecosystem is a key point to achieve sustainable development goals. In fact the restoration of ecosystem is an activity increasingly taking place at all the spatial scale. One of the essential objectives is the recovery of the structure and functions of natural ecosystems, the inherent characterizes of natural ecosystem. This is referred to as “restore” in the SDGs. An ecosystem can provide different services. However there may be trade-offs between the provisions of services by an ecosystem. In contrast, a territory made of a mosaic of ecosystem can provide a combination of different services decreasing their trade-offs and optimizing the provisions of a set of services.Then the restoration of degraded ecosystems can be planned and implemented to recover and to improve the provision of ecosystem services. This is particularly adequate for the restoration of territories where different areas can provide different services. Then the restoration of territories as watersheds can be oriented to obtain a planned combination of ecosystem services. This can include the provision of food and raw materials and support, regulation and cultural services which maintain the sustainability of the territory. This approach, planning and implementing the restoration to provide a combination of ecosystem services is a tool for the sustainable development of territories as it integrates the provision of human demanded services and inherent characteristics of natural ecosystem which support the ecological functioning of the whole system.
If the objective is the restoration of a homogeneous area, the same ecosystem type e.g. a wetland, a forest, a costal lagoon, the traditional way of planning the restoration is in comparison with a reference ecosystem in good ecological state, which offers the target objectives for the restoration. However there are alternative to substitute this gap. For example, defining a series of characteristics from an ecosystem type theoretically define as similar to the reference system; also from historical or paleo-ecological information. Following this approach, ecological restoration is achieving a certain degree of success. In general restoring ecosystem takes a long time. In other words, not all the objectives are achieved or it takes long time, which is not usually covered by monitoring. It may take 25 years or more to recover major characteristics of wetlands and even after longer periods of time. Some key characteristics remained about 25% lower than the reference wetlands. Restoration does not result in full recovery of biodiversity and vegetation structure but can complement old- growth forest if there is sufficient time for ecological succession. Recovery of different characteristics of aquatic ecosystem may range 1-80 years. In fact the degree of restoration success depends on many factors including initial state of degradation compared to the reference system, the landscape relationship of the restored ecosystem and the intensity of the restoration actions; it will take longer the first one to show the same restoration result than the second one. Having a strong and close link with other areas of the territory will favor the colonization by species and water and biogeochemical exchanges. It is quite common to remark the relevance of applying a type of passive restoration for the efficiency of the actions. However quite degraded ecosystem e.g mine zone, abandoned agricultural land, polluted areas, channelized rivers usually require active restoration( intensive geomorphological arrangements) incorporating good quality soil, re- vegetation to start and progress their restoration.
The writer is a Asst.Prof. JCRE Global College,Babupara,Imphal. He can be reached to:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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