June 30, 2010

Graft spoils river saving project

The project to save a dying river in Natore is likely to fail as a section of local politicians and Water Development Board officials are busy pocketing the funds, an investigation reveals.
The Tk 13 crore project was taken in 2008 to revive the river Narod by widening and dredging. Contractors were entrusted to dig five feet deep into the river and leave the earth far from the banks.
But they are digging the river haphazardly and putting the extracted earth right on the banks, further narrowing down the stream.

June 28, 2010

Breakthrough in jute research in BANGLADESH

Bangladeshi researchers have successfully decoded the jute plant genome opening up a new vista in the development of variety of the world’s most adorned biodegradable natural fibre.
Experts said this gene sequencing would help improve the fibre length and quality, including colours and strength; and develop high yielding, saline soil- and pest-tolerant jute varieties through genetic engineering.
With the successful sequencing of jute genome, Bangladesh becomes only the second country after Malaysia, among the developing nations, to achieve such a feat.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the announcement of Bangladesh’s scientific achievement in the parliament yesterday amid cheers and desk thumping by lawmakers.

June 26, 2010

Let Bangladesh have a People's Biodiversity Register

KEITH A Wheeler, Chair of the Commission on Education and Communication of IUCN highlights: “Today's challenges are moving towards more sustainable financial and energy systems, food security and international security -- all these challenges ultimately depend on the services nature offers”. These services are mainly offered by biodiversity, although this is a critical period for it in this year (2010) of biodiversity.
Biodiversity is considered as the most important wealth for mankind. Countries like Bangladesh should derive economic benefits from their rich biodiversity resource base. Unfortunately there is no proper inventory and monitoring of the country's biodiversity. Documentation, monitoring and conservation of local biodiversity and indigenous knowledge should be considered as the thrust area of activities since the said tasks remain significantly incomplete in the country. This needs extensive countrywide activities. Bangladesh is a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is in force since 1993 and is the most significant of the pertinent international agreements. However, there is hardly any action-oriented follow up since Bangladesh has become a party to CBD. We are yet to register country's biological diversity which India has already started in the name of People's Biodiversity Register.

June 24, 2010

Health Risks in a Bangladeshi Population due to Arsenic Exposure

Researchers of Columbia University conducted a population-based prevalence survey in Araihazar, Bangladesh, to describe the distribution of arsenic exposure in a rural Bangladeshi population and to assess the population’s awareness to this problem as well as to possible remediation options. Water samples from 5,967 contiguous tube wells in a defined geographic area were tested using laboratory-based methods.
Additionally, for each well, the owner/caretaker (or a close relative) was interviewed regarding his or her awareness of the health consequences of as exposure. Arsenic exposure data and demographic characteristics for the 65,876 users of these wells were also collected from the 5,967 respondents.

June 17, 2010

ten biggest health denger behind oil spill

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which began after an explosion crippled the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, is now the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history. Cleaning the mess will take months, and the longer-term effects on health and wildlife will take years to heal.
Right Now
  1. Sickness among clean-up workers: The combination of oil fumes and heat from the Gulf has led to several workers being hospitalized from fumes, and the curious chemical makeup of some of the substances used to clean up the oil can often lead to skin irritation or, at high levels, cancer.
  2. Danger to marine life: The underwater nature of the spill means it's that much closer to undersea life, and therefore able to do more damage in a shorter amount of time.
  3. Aggravation of existing illnesses: People already suffering from asthma or similar lung diseases could see their conditions worsened because of exposure to oil and chemicals.
  4. Pregnancy risks: The oil contains many volatile and toxic chemicals, some of which have been linked to premature birth, low birth weight, and miscarriages, making the Gulf Coast region a dangerous one for pregnant women.
  5. Smoke fallout: Planned burns of spilled oil on the ocean's surface have a way of backfiring. Often, particles held in the smoke drift down to earth and wind up in people's eyes and lungs, which can aggravate existing medical conditions for some.

June 11, 2010

Biodiversity for life and livelihood

Human being is probably the most intelligent among the million species. He has tamed the nature by his knowledge and comparative physical advantages. However, in his reckless consumption spree for the sake of development and prosperity, humans have used different species in such a way that many of those have already become extinct and some others are under threat of extinction.
At present, humans have intensified use and production of some so-called economically valuable species ignoring others' contribution. Lately, humans have started to understand significance of ecosystem services generated by different species and estimated that 60% of the ecosystem services, accessed, are in decline due to unsustainable human actions (MA, 2005).