Monday May 28, 2018
Home Uncategorized ‘Recycl...

‘Recycle waste, manage garbage to control street dog numbers’

0
//
94
Republish
Reprint

Kolkata: What has the Swachh Bharat campaign got to do with dogs? Well, Indian experts have found that managing how garbage is dumped and handled can help in controlling the population of strays in urban areas.

While dog lovers have a way with free-ranging dogs or strays, for the municipal authorities and health management officials, it’s a problem of plenty: more dogs mean more littering and the risk of rabies spreading.

Behavioural biologist Anindita Bhadra, who works on the behaviour and ecology of stray dogs, says her research has shown street dogs are essentially scavengers and extremely capable of selectively sniffing out meat protein in garbage bins.

“Hence, in order to manage dog populations on streets, it is essential to manage garbage, and ensure that there are no open bins and garbage dumps within city limits,” Bhadra, founding chairperson of the Indian National Young Academy of Science (INYAS), told IANS over the phone from Mohanpur in West Bengal.

Bhadra and her team of student researchers showed through innovative methods like the “chicken smell” experiment that strays will virtually go for anything that smells meaty, irrespective of the nutrient content.

“While the food provided by humans is dominated by carbohydrates, food obtained through foraging attempts is rich in animal proteins.

“So, the dogs display a tendency to selectively feed on protein-rich sources of food through scavenging, compensating for the lack of hunting for meat,” she explained.

Thus, they will rummage through whatever they find on streets.

Now, factor in the threat of rabies.

India accounts for 20,000 of the 45,000 deaths in the world due to rabies every year but taking dogs off the streets is not a solution, felt Bhadra, who has been spearheading studies on the relationship between dogs and humans.

“The way we do population control in India in pockets doesn’t help because they migrate a lot. The best way would be to go for the comprehensive long-term animal birth control procedure. But in India we don’t follow that as it’s time consuming and expensive,” she said.

Moreover, in the ongoing breeding season, the streets have literally gone to the dogs, what with strays actively engaging in mating rituals, protecting pups and defending territories – and in the process, leaving scraps of litter on streets.

“There is a lot of activity and interactions among them during the breeding season compared to the non-breeding period; so you tend to see more littering,” the researcher said.

But the meat of the matter is, stressed Bhadra, that if you want clean roads, you’d better manage and recycle your own waste.

“Make sure the waste is inaccessible to dogs. Protocols could be drawn up to ensure garbage is dumped at specific locations,” she added.

The study was published online in the Ethology, Ecology and Evolution journal. The other contributors to the study are from the Thiruvananthapuram and Bhopal branches of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the Asian University for Women, Chittagong.

(Sahana Ghosh, IANS)

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

0
//
13
representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)