• Clean City award for capital hailed
  • Plastic in positive light
  • Scientists propose quake alert system

  • Clean City award for capital hailed

    The Hindu, May 4, 2003

    NEW DELHI MAY 3. The Indraprastha Gas Limited, the sole supplier of compressed natural gas in Delhi, today lauded the selection of Delhi for the "Clean City International Award'' by the Department of Energy of the Government of United States.

    The Managing Director of IGL, A.K. De, said Delhi's selection for this prestigious award is very encouraging as it is an acknowledgement of the hard work that has gone into in the conversion of the complete public transportation system on CNG mode.

    Pointing out that the transition took place in a very short span of time, Mr De. said IGL is proud to be associated with this landmark achievement. "The results of the CNG drive,'' he said, "are evident in Delhi where the pollution levels are showing a downturn, the air has become cleaner and people are feeling the difference.''

    The award has been conferred on Delhi for becoming the first city on the world to shift its complete public transport system from petrol and diesel to CNG for reducing the pollution in the city. And it would be presented to the Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit on May 21.


    Plastic in positive light

    The Hindu, May 4, 2003

    NEW DELHI MAY 3. At a time when the global annual consumption of plastics has crossed 130 million metric tonnes, an encyclopaedic study on "Plastics for Environment and Sustainable Development'' has sought to set at rest any lingering doubts about the sustainability of plastics as materials or their adverse impact on the environment.

    The first-of-its-kind scientific "Eco-Assessment Study'', which was released by the Director-General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, R.A. Mashelkar, here over the week-end addresses the multifaceted issues and dimensions of plastics.

    Initiated by the Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment and the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Chennai, the 250-page publication aims to provide a basis for a more informed discussion on plastics and their role in national development.

    In the foreword to the book Dr. Mashelkar and Prof. M.M. Sharma of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research have noted that in this "Plastics Age'', the lives of people would be much poorer without benign and environmentally-friendly materials like plastics as they offer a "cost-effective alternative'' to the severe pressure exerted by growing population and consumption on the natural resources and fragile eco-systems.

    The president of the governing council of ICPE, K.G. Ramanathan, noted that the endeavour was to "address misperceptions and concerns about plastics, highlight its benefits and uses, understand its impact on the environment and provide a scientific basis for discussion''.

    The study which strives to show plastics in a positive light, says plastics have a unique combination of properties as they can be lightweight yet strong, rigid as well as flexible, transparent as well as opaque and can allow selective permeation or act as a barrier and insulators.


    Scientists propose quake alert system

    The Hindu, May 4, 2003

    Los Angeles May 3. Scientists working in southern California have proposed a way of interpreting feeble tremors that herald a large earthquake, a step that could help in providing advance warning.

    The system theoretically could give anywhere from seconds to tens of seconds of advance notice enough time to send school children diving below their desks or to cut the flow of gas through pipelines vulnerable to rupture, scientists said. Details are in the journal Science.

    Similar systems are already used in California and Japan on a smaller scale. The latest system would not predict or forecast earthquakes, but rather interpret the staggered way in which a quake's energy travels to the surface.

    The first indication at the surface that a large earthquake has occurred is typically the jolt caused by the arrival of a fast-moving but low-energy wave called the primary or P wave.

    It is followed by the more energetic but slower-moving S or shear wave that causes far more violent shaking.

    Richard Allen of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hiroo Kanamori of the California Institute of Technology developed a way to determine the location, origin, time and most importantly the magnitude of an earthquake from as little as four seconds of measurements of the P wave.

    The system would rely on seismic instruments already deployed across the greater Los Angeles region.

    ``If we can detect this P wave and use the information contained in it to estimate the hazard associated with an earthquake, then there is the potential to issue a warning before any significant ground motion reaches the surface,'' Mr. Allen said. AP