Category Archives: Earth Girl

Earth Girl – You Cut the Trees Only to Become Lifeless

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe drizzling rain woke me up early in the morning today. I went down the lane of the parachute trees that welcomed me with the cold rain water droplets with their arms lowered. The calm and cold breeze refreshed my breath as well along with my mind. Refreshment reached the utmost level.

I could see the insects busy in gathering food, birds feeding their children and animals playing with their kids. Everything was so enchanting that I felt like walking down the lane perpetually.

However, that was not to be. I had hardly walked for a few minutes when I heard the sound of someone striking wood with metal. It was filled with pain and sorrow. The trees were raspingly cut down from the roots. I tried to talk to them, trying to dissuade them from what they were doing, but to no avail. They said they had the mandate to cut the trees. The reason – a road was to be laid down!

It seemed as if they were stabbing at the heart of Mother Nature.

I remembered last year when I went to a hill station. While taking a walk outside the cottage, I slipped while taking a step because the soil slid away from its position. This was something that could be easily correlated to deforestation. The trees have the ability to hold the soil firmly. Soil erosion is the direct result of deforestation.

Flooding is one of the outcomes of soil erosion. When trees on the banks of the rivers are cut, the soil eroded is often washed away to the river bed which in turn increases the water level of the rivers causing flooding.

Deforestation leads to a tragic loss of biodiversity. Millions of plants and animal species are at the verge of extinction as a result of deforestation. The continued degradation of the forests also increases the threat of global warming as the trees are reducing that take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis.

Deforestation is leading to desertification as the cleared land is no longer suitable for planting trees. Due to the denuded forests on mountains, watersheds are degraded leading to reduced water supplies to the lowland communities. Due to the siltation caused by deforestation, the coral areas are degraded that affect the coral reefs.

It is hard to imagine and describe the pain that Mother Nature would be feeling with every tree falling down.

Biofertilizers: A Better Choice

Earth Girl- Blog- XVII- 16 Jan 2014-4The scourge of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are obvious. If you ask my take then the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers for high production must be controlled and regulated. Now the question is – How to supply the necessary nutrients to the plant without posing threat to the environment? Bio-fertilizer is a straight and simple answer to the problem.

Not very uncommon nowadays, the term stands for a substance that consists of living microorganisms that are applied to seeds, plant surfaces, or soil to promote growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the host plant. Unlike chemical fertilizers, these fertilizers are not harmful to crops or plants as they are actually taken from the animal wastes along with the microbial mixtures.

There are mainly three types of bio-fertilizers:

Nitrogen Bio-fertilizer: This type of fertilizer helps to regulate the nitrogen level in the soil as it is a necessary component used for the growth of the plant. For example, Azobacteria and Rhizobium are used for non-legume and legume crops respectively.

Phosphorus Bio-fertilizer: This type of fertilizer is used to determine the phosphorus level in the soil and make the soil get the required amount of phosphorus.

Compost Bio-fertilizer: This type of fertilizer makes use of the animal dung to enrich the soil with useful microorganisms and nutrients.

Advantages of Bio-fertilizers:

  • They provide the soil with necessary nutrients and microorganisms for the growth of the plants in order to get high yield of crops.
  • Unlike chemical fertilizers, bio-fertilizers don’t decrease growth of the plants or pollute the environment by releasing harmful chemicals.
  • Plant growth can be increased with the use of bio-fertilizers as they contain natural components which do not harm the plants.
  • As they are free of chemicals, they help the soil retain its fertility which is beneficial for the plants as well as the environment. Also, plants are protected from getting any diseases.
  • Bio-fertilizers are cheap and even poor farmers can make use of them.

I think that the above explained features and benefits are enough to turn your mind towards using bio-fertilizers instead of posing threat to the plants and environment by using harmful chemicals.

Earth Girl – How Badly We Treat Our Oceans?

Earth Girl- Blog- XIV- 14 Jan 2014
A few days back, I was reading an article regarding an accident in which an oil tanker met a watery grave but not before spilling gallons of oil. Other than the loss of life, the article reported about the damages caused by the oil into the ocean.

Regular people are unaware about the massive damage such oil spills cause. These result in death of thousands of fish and other aquatic animals along with corals. Oil spill is one of the major causes of ocean pollution. Another major cause is ocean dumping.

There are many causes to ocean dumping, such as carelessness, no understanding of environmental concerns and lack of a place to put the trash. Some sewage pipes run directly to the ocean with all the contaminants that include bacteria, virus and other harmful chemicals. The sewage usually comes from homes, factories, ships and industries. People dump trash into the ocean water without bothering about the ill effects.

Oil spills are dangerous for marine life and greatly affect their life cycle. The spilled oil causes clogging in the gills of fish which can block respiration. The garbage dumped into the oceans causes the oxygen in the water to deplete resulting in poor health for marine life due to lack of oxygen. This also leads to the death of animals such as seals, dolphins, penguins, sharks, whales and herring.

Bottles and other plastic including bags can suffocate sea creatures. Plastic items are one of the major causes of death among turtles. They treat these plastic products as food, resulting in a painful death. Other than marine life, ocean dumping affects human health as well. For instance, if fish is contaminated and a human consumes it, it will have adverse health effects.

There is a lot that we can do to save our oceans. The best thing to start is to keep them clean and stop throwing trash and waste materials in them. Another thing we can do is stop pouring chemicals down the drain such as paint and oil. Now that you know the cause and effects of ocean dumping, I hope you will understand that it is just something that you should not do.

Deep Earthquakes – an Inside Story

NHT2The largest, deep earthquake ever recorded, struck on May 24, 2013, beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, between the Kamchatka Peninsula and Russian mainland. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 609 kilometers with a magnitude-8.3. Though here was no damage from the quake, but the effects were felt on the surface as far as the Middle East.

Deep earthquakes are exceedingly common. They most often occur in association with deep ocean trenches and volcanic island arcs in subduction zones. The body waves of deep earthquakes are used by seismologists more often than those of shallow earthquakes to investigate core, mantle and crustal structure. This is for the reason that deep earthquakes possess relatively more impulsive sources.

These deep earthquakes occur in the older and colder areas of oceanic plate that gets pushed into the earth’s mantle. It has been supposed that the earthquakes are caused when a mineral common in the upper mantle, olivine, undergoes a transformation that weakens the whole rock temporarily, causing it to fail.

Deep earthquakes are not felt at Earth’s surface in the same way as shallow quakes. These are felt in the skyscrapers as a swaying motion resulting from the low-frequency waves. On the other hand, shallow earthquakes are felt as sharp jolts on the surface. Deep earthquakes occur in the transition zone between the upper and lower mantle at depths between 400 and 700 kilometers, only at those subduction zones where cold material is forced down the mantle very quickly.

While studying about the consequences of the deep earthquake that occurred beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, the scientists suggested that deep earthquakes may be better at dissipating pent-up energy than similar earthquakes near the surface. The initial earthquake triggered four other powerful shocks. The entire sequence of earthquakes happened in just 30 seconds, with most of the energy released by the four major shocks. Contrary to this, similar earthquake swarms that occur near the surface can take hours or days to finish. So it is clear that deep earthquakes are likely more efficient in dissipating stress than are shallow ones.

Lead Poisoning – An Environmental Injustice

Earth Girl- Blog- XXIII- 20 Jan 2014While strolling down the street last evening, I noticed a child playing. Trying to keep up with other kids, he ran out of breathe and fell. Startled, I dashed and picked him up, attempting to figure out what really had happened.

There was dizziness in his eyes. He was weak, very weak indeed. I looked at him and hopefully found the cause. The kid appeared to be suffering from lead poisoning. I knew it because I had seen some other cases too in the sphere suffering from the same condition.

What I know about lead is that it’s a very strong poison which once swallowed can lead to serious health problems. On reading more about it, I found that it sometimes causes fatal conditions too and is especially harmful to the neurological development of children.

Children are exposed to lead when they put lead objects in their mouth or touch a dusty or peeling lead object. But, lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Contaminated air, water and soil are some of the other sources.

Human activities like mining, manufacturing and usage of leaded gasoline lead to lead poisoning. People who work as welders, potters and metal smelters, are at a greater risk of the condition. Even tap water can be contaminated with lead if the water pipes are made of this metal.

Lead poisoning can damage the nervous and reproductive system of the body and can cause high blood pressure and anemia. The condition can also result in severe mental and physical disorders in small children. In adults, it can cause nerve damage to the sense organs and nerves controlling the body. The condition can also lead to hearing and vision impairment and increased blood pressure.

If you care for your child and yourself, there is a lot you can do to reduce exposure to lead. Try to keep your home as dust-free as possible. Throw out old painted toys if you don’t know whether the paint contains lead. Wait for a minute and let the tap water run before drinking or cooking with it. Don’t forge, a healthy family is a happy family.