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Perils of the plastic pollution: alarming time ahead!

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Every piece of plastic ever disposed of (this includes the toothbrush your great-grandfather used) is damaging the earth. It’s lying somewhere in the earth, floating in the ocean, or been broken down into micro-particles and in the food chain. Although a fraction of the plastic disposed of is recycled, most of it eventually ends up in the ocean or in dumpsites outside city limits. The best way to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce and phase out its consumption. Solutions range from carrying your own reusable steel glass, box, spoon and cloth bag while eating out or shopping for groceries to using alternatives to plastic for household items.

Plastics are organic polymers of high molecular mass and often contain other substances. They are usually synthetic, mainly derived from petrochemicals. Their low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, non-corrosiveness, and imperviousness to water, plastics make them useful for multiple purposes at different scales. Further, many chemists, including Nobel laureate Hermann Staudinger (father of polymer chemistry) and Herman Mark (father of polymer physics), have contributed to the materials science of plastics. However, these scientists could not have anticipated such exponential growth of plastic production.

 

India consumes an estimated 16.5 million tonnes, about 1.6 million trucks full of plastic annually, as per this June 2018 report in Down to Earth that cites data provided by PlastIndia Foundation, a conglomeration of associations and institutions that deal in plastic. Of this, 43% is plastic manufactured for single-use packaging material that will mostly find its way into garbage bins, the report said. In all, 80% of the total plastic produced in India is discarded. It mostly ends up choking landfills, drains, and rivers and flows into the sea where it is ingested by marine animals. It leaches into soil and water, contaminating the natural environment with poisonous dioxins.

National Green Tribunal rapped 25 states and union territories for not following its orders on submitting a plan by April 30, 2019, on how they would comply with the Plastic Waste Management Rules of 2016. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has pulled up 52 companies — including Amazon, Flipkart, Danone Foods and Beverages and Patanjali Ayurved Limited — for not specifying a timeline or a plan to collect the plastic waste that results from their business activities.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018. In 2016, the Union government implemented the Plastic Waste Management Rules and Solid Waste Management Rules. But the rules faced various challenges. Based on representations received from various stakeholders, MoEF&CC had constituted a committee to resolve such issues.

At least 40% of the plastic waste generated every day–25,940 tonnes or about 2,594 truckloads, as per this 2015 CPCB study for the year 2011-12–goes uncollected. Thin plastic bags and films do not have enough value in the recycling market–they fetch no more than Rs 4 a kg–to be collected by rag pickers.

There are numerous reasons for Plastic Pollution.  The vast network of unlicensed units manufacturing low-grade plastic bags and other material such as Styrofoam and the indifferences of municipal authorities to waste management is certainly the main causes of the pollution. Another important factor which is adding to the injury is India able to recycle only about 4 million tonnes and at the same time before the re-imposition of the plastic waste import ban in March 2019, Indian recycling firms were importing plastic waste from China, Italy, Japan, and Malawi.

Plastic Pollution can have some serious repercussion such as it can upset the food chain as it comes in sizes large and small, polluting plastics even affect the world‘s tiniest organisms such as plankton. When these organisms become poisoned due to plastic ingestion, this causes problems for the larger animals that depend on them for food and water conservation is already a concern in places ranging from California to parts of India, but the world‘s water is in great danger because of leaking plastics and waste. Similarly land is critically polluted when plastic is dumped in landfills; it interacts with water and forms hazardous chemicals. When these chemicals seep underground, they degrade the water quality. The wind carries and deposits plastic from one place to another, increasing the land litter. Recently as we experience the menace of air pollution, burning of plastic in the open air, leads to environmental pollution due to the release of poisonous chemicals. The polluted air when inhaled by humans and animals affect their health and can cause respiratory problems. It also kills animals despite countless TV ads over the years showing ducks or dolphins trapped in six-ring plastic can holders, these items are still used and discarded en masse each day. It is heavily poisonous. Man artificially makes plastic by using a number of toxic chemicals. Therefore, the use of and exposure to plastics has been linked to a number of health concerns affecting people around the world.

India is reckoned to generate over 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day. The residues can stain the environment and natural resources for hundreds of years. Plastic toxicity is known for its enduring adverse effects on territorial and aquatic life. In food, it can alter human hormones to cause major life-threatening diseases. Plastic materials, especially bags and bottles strewn on roads, have been noticed to cause flooding by blocking drains. They also kill stray cattle by choking.

Plastics are not totally dispensable as their use seems desirable in certain situations. In fields like agriculture and automobiles, packaging, information technology, and biomedical industries, they are relevant. But their non-degradability and emission of toxic gases on combustion and incineration are growing concerns. It is thus imperative to manage plastic debris appropriately and at the same, It would be advisable to reassess the new set of rules and switch back to the 2016 plastic waste management norms.

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Sarada Prasanna Pattnaik is based out of Balasore, Odisha. He was earlier a banker and later a faculty at quite a few reputed colleges and institutions. He now teaches civil service aspirants in leading coaching institutes. He is the chief architect of Vidya Group of Educational Institutions. He is an author and a writer in the civil service coaching arena. Writing is his passion and he loves to pen down his thoughts on varied topics ranging from Literature, Politics, Science & Technology, Finance, Sports and Travel.



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The Other Side of White Tigers

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The popular white tigers have been mesmerizing humans for centuries. White tigers are the Bengal tigers and not an albino nor a separate subspecies, as many people assume. When two Bengal tigers with recessive gene controlling coat color are bred together, the white tiger is born.

The unique look is the result of recessive genetic mutation of both the parents that halts the production of red and yellow pigments, which means the fur grows white instead of the natural deep-orange color.

Facts about white tigers

A White Tiger

  1. White tigers are the Bengal tigers born with white furs. They are neither a separate subspecies of Royal White Tigers or Snow Tigers nor the albinos.
  2. The white fur of such Bengal tigers is a very rare genetic mutation which occurs in nature, possibly in as few as 1 in 10,000 wild tiger births.
  3. The natural behavior of tigers prevents the necessary inbreeding methods to produce white cubs. Since the unique recessive color variant occurs very rarely, breeders often go for intentional inbreeding of brother to sister, cousin to cousin, and so on.
  4. Sometimes, white Bengal tigers are crossed with Siberian tigers to get a larger breed which as a result causes even more genetic problems.
  5. This kind of captive inbreeding of white tigers causes high neonatal mortality rates, exceeding over 80%.
  6. Most of the tigers needed to inbreed several times to get the one perfect white cub, which the exhibitors can market to the public. Here we need to think about those cubs that aren’t “perfect”. What happens to them?
  7. In order to get a perfect white cub, the average number of cubs born is 1 in 30. So, 29 tigers out of 30 born either with typical deformity, or considered as the wrong color and euthanized, or die soon after birth due to genetic flaws.
  8. White cubs were once being sold for about $50,000 each. Now the price has dropped drastically as the breeders have produced many of them.
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Organic farming: The future of Indian Agriculture

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India is an agrarian economy. Around 60 percent of people are heavily dependent upon agriculture but it contributes averagely around 15 percentage towards the Indian GDP. At the same time, the average decadal growth lies at a meager 4 percentage. It definitely raises eyebrows for many of us. So it is the need of the hour to unearth and reveal the truth for the lackadaisical growth of Indian agriculture. In this context, state initiative to promote organic farming which augurs well both for the growth and as well as for the chemical-free cultivation. Let’s have a scientific perspective which needs to be a pervasive approach in recent times and future ahead.

Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It emphasizes the use of management practices in preference to the use of on-farm inputs, taking into account regional conditions require locally adapted systems. This is accomplished by using agronomic, biological and mechanical methods, as opposed to using synthetic materials. The area under organic cultivation in India is about 5.71 million hectares (2015-16) including the cultivable area of 1.49 million hectares (26%) and rest 4.22 million hectares (74%) under forest and wild area harvest. Sikkim has been recently declared as the first organic state in India.

Ecological and Economical benefits

Organically grown vegetables

Since organic farming address soil health, human health and environmental health and is eco-friendly, it is one of the best options for sustainable crop production and crop yields. Adoption of organic agriculture in India can bring greater economic benefits to farmers and environmental growth for the nation that emphasizes on more sustainable production system crucial for achieving food security apart from maintaining natural resources.

Application of scientific approaches to organic farming practices maintain and in some cases, increase the yield in the long run. It sustains biodiversity, soil fertility, and natural ecosystem processes and other services that underpin agriculture. It allows the farmers to overcome the risk of crop failures and increased cost of production, encourages the production of healthy food and fiber of high quality. It also enhances the quality of agro-ecosystem and soil, the health of crops, animals, and people maintained through biological processes. Local resources are used in a way that minimizes losses of nutrients, biomass, and energy resources.

Organic farming in progress

Organic farming fraught with hurdles

According to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, productivity on an average dips by 6.7 percent in the first year, and the government needs to have a plan in place to support farmers during the transition. The report on Doubling of Farmers’ Income by Ashok Dalwai committee, too, echoes the concern of the farmers who claim up to 30 percent drop in yields when embracing organic. It takes about a decade to attain pre-conversion yield levels, according to the committee report.

To ensure the marketing of organic produce, connecting farmers with the domestic and global supply chain is extremely important. But a new ICRIER study found the supply chain to be underdeveloped. As a result, the small and mid-sized farmers located in hilly regions and tribal belts find it extremely difficult to access the market.

Despite all these issues and shortcomings, organic agriculture is making inroads into the hinterlands of rural India as well as the urban individuals. They are adopting organic farming practices and reaping more benefits; the more organic and natural the product, the safer and healthier it is for us and for the environment.

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‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR): An external challenge to India’s economy and security

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In recent times China has emerged as a strong player in this new unfolding global system.

It has launched a new initiative called One Belt and One Road initiative. The aim of the OBOR project is to create an economic land belt and marine link to redirect  Chinese capital to develop infrastructure and trade capacity of ASEAN, Europe, Central Asia, and Africa.

The concept of OBOR is based on certain principles where the broad aim is to establish multi-dimensional and multi-tiered connectivity to tap the market potential of the region’s leading countries to aggressively undertake job creation and promotion of consumption. It has the plan to involve more than 60 countries in the project and also plans to negotiate a free trade agreement with all of them, the entire OBOR.

OBOR

 

OBOR, CPEC, String of Pearls

China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The China –Pakistan relations, over a period of time, have evolved to the extent that some scholars aptly call Pakistan, China’s Israel. Today, china clearly believes that Pakistan has a core part to play in its transition to global power and lies at the heart of China’s plan for ports and railways and for oil and gas. The CPEC comes at a time of growing geopolitical ambition of china, being partly a strategic gambit. One of the important aims of CPEC is to bolster the Pakistani Economy by addressing the Key infrastructure constraints in Pakistan.

CPEC as a subset of OBOR

In March 2015, China’s National Development and Reform Committee announced the OBOR initiative. The CPEC is part of OBOR and was formalized in April 2015 between Pakistan and China. This concluded with around 51 memorandums of understanding with a total investment of 46 billion dollars. CPEC has emerged out of the Chinese principle of co-operative mechanism with different parts of the world to increase its trade. It has identified the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Bangladesh-China-India–Myanmar(BCIM-EC) as the key initiatives broadly associated with OBOR.

India’s official position is that CPEC passes through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(PoK), which is a disputed territory, and land that has been illegally occupied. India asserts that China has not shown any understanding of India’s sovereign claims and thereby it will not be part of the OBOR. Again for India, OBOR is a national initiative of China to enhance its connectivity all over to ensure that it is able to sustain its low-cost manufacturing programme which is declining due to rising domestic wages in China. This is by integrating itself to global value chains.

India has now to decide whether it would allow political differences to prevail over economic interaction.

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Bring Home the Green Air Purifiers

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With many of the cities facing alarming air pollution, it’s quite obvious for people to pursue different natural ways to fight hazardous air quality. Many of us spend on buying air purifying masks that keep you away from the toxins and dust particles present in the air. However, there is another eco-friendly option is to bring home some house plants that act as natural green purifiers.

Here are a few indoor plant options for you.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera, a succulent plant widely serves medicinal purposes. It primarily absorbs carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde from the air in your home.

It is considered that an Aloe plant can replace nine air purifiers. Apart from this, the gel of the fleshy plant leaves is a great ingredient for smooth and clear skin.

Ficus Elastica

Ficus elastica, commonly known as rubber fig or rubber bush or rubber plant is a fig genus plant. The rubber plant neither needs much sunlight nor requires high maintenance.

It effectively purifies the air by removing formaldehyde present in the atmosphere. However, it needs to be kept away from pets and kids as its leaves contain a toxic substance.

Ivy

Hedera commonly known as ivy belongs to the family Araliaceae. This evergreen climber or ground creeper woody plant is a native to central, western and southern Europe, northwestern Africa and Macaronesia.

It is also found across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan. It is considered as one of the best indoor plants that remove 58% of the feces particles and 60% of the toxins present in the air inside the house.

Spider Plant

Chlorophytum comosum, commonly known as spider plant or airplane plant is a perennial flowering houseplant.  These plants are tolerant of adverse conditions, adaptable to climate change and durable as well.

Spider plants are capable of carrying out photosynthesis under minimum sun light. It also absorbs most of the toxins such as carbon monoxide, gasoline, formaldehyde, and styrene from the air. Apparently, one spider plant is sufficient to purify the air in a 200 sq. m space.

Snake Plant

Sansevieria trifasciata, commonly known as snake plant or Saint George’s sword or mother-in-law’s tongue or viper’s bowstring hemp belongs to the family Asparagaceae and native to tropical West Africa.

Just like a spider plant, the snake plant is durable and capable of performing photosynthesis under low light. Since it produces oxygen during the night, it is suggested to keep the plant in the bedroom area.

Peace Lilies

Spathiphyllum, commonly known as Spath or peace lilies, is a monocotyledonous flowering plant that belongs to the family Araceae.

The plant is known for removing toxins like formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air. As per to NASA, 15-18 of these plants per 500 sq. m area is enough to purify the toxic air.

These plants are really effective in removing toxins from the air and increasing oxygen levels in your house.

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Talaq Talaq Talaq: instantaneous and irrevocable divorce

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Shah Bano, a 62-year-old Muslim mother of five from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, was divorced by her husband in 1978. She filed a criminal suit in the Supreme Court of India, in which she won the right to alimony from her husband. However, the Muslim politicians mounted a campaign for the verdict’s nullification. The Indian Parliament reversed the judgment under pressure from Islamic orthodoxy.

After 41 years India has witnessed the victory for all these Muslim women who had been directly or indirectly having been suffered the most in the name of triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat or talaq-e- mughallazah(irrevocable divorce). The revocation of triple talaq has shown the way for one nation and one law. It has certainly purged the impurities which are marring Indian society for a long time. It is hard to believe such a stigma of society still persists in India. There was a time when movie maker could not put the name of the movie as triple talaq as it can simply jeopardize their marriage status by uttering the words by a husband.

Not only Muslims women, but in the case of Hindus women also, they do face the black horror of bigotry, superstition and social stigma since the dawn of history. Be it female foeticide, child marriage, dowry disgrace, women trafficking or gender inequality in every sphere of life, have ceded the developed India’s goodwill and harmony. According to sources in every hour 4 Indian women lost their modesty and that 117 million girls demographically go “missing” due to sex-selective abortions, as claimed by the United Nations Population Fund.

The historic landmark judgment which has unveiled the curtain of superstition and introduced the new legislation which makes the practice of instant divorce through ‘triple talaq’ among Muslims a punishable offense with 3-year imprisonment. The new law clarifies and invokes  ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal. It makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times — spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat — in one sitting.”Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal,” the law says.

The road to glory has not been rosy as the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has argued that the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to strike down provisions of personal law, organizations calling for reform and Muslim women from various walks of life across the country have urged the court to declare triple talaq and polygamy as “un-Islamic”. In the past, courts have made discordant notes about the immunity enjoyed by personal laws.

In 1951, the Bombay High Court in State of Bombay versus Narasu Appa Mali held that personal law is not ‘law’ under Article 13 of the Indian constitution. The judgment was never challenged in the Supreme Court.  In Ahmedabad Women Action Group versus Union of India, the Supreme Court was asked to consider that unilateral divorce by talaq and polygamy violated Articles 14 and 15.

The Article 13 of Indian Constitution provides a constitutional basis to judicial review since it gives the Supreme Court or High Courts the authority to interpret the pre-constitutional laws and decide whether they are in sync with the principles and values of the present Constitution. A judicial declaration from a Constitution Bench under Article 13 that personal laws are liable to comply with the fundamental rights guaranteed by Constitution would bring religious law, even uncodified practices.

The instantaneous and irrevocable (triple talaq) divorce has certainly addressed such sectarian rules which are earlier hard to be touched and forget of curtailing or wiping out from the society. Time has come now and again to act upon such inadmissible and untouched principles which are definitely cursed for the society in this developing and holy nation.

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Let’s Talk Green: Types of Deficiencies in Plants

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Plants can’t say through words about how they feel? Or what they need? However, these green living beings can express through their appearance about their needs. The abnormal yellowish color of leaves of plants often tries to tell us about their basic requirements for a healthy life. Let us take a look at the below symptoms or signs of deficiency to know what exactly the plant is craving.

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is a vital nutrient for the creation of chlorophyll, which is the key ingredient of photosynthesis. Additionally, nitrogen is the main constituent of amino acids that forms proteins. Protein stimulates growth in plants and promotes fruit development.

Signs: Yellowish or pale green leaves and inhibited growth

Solution: Adding coffee grounds directly to the soil or plant makes the rich in nitro nutrients. Another method is to plant a nitrogen-rich plant such as beans and peas near nitrogen-deficient plants.

Phosphorous Deficiency

Phosphorus (P) is a vital macronutrient for plant productivity. According to research results, Phosphorus deficiency limits the photosynthetic machinery and the electron transport chain. It reduces the orthophosphate concentration in the chloroplast stroma to levels that inhibit ATP synthase activity.

Signs: Darkening around edges of leaves, stunted growth and small or no flowers.

Solutions: Adding aquarium or fish tank water to soil however ensure the water doesn’t contain salt components. The fish water is also a great source of nitrogen.

Potassium Deficiency

Potash deficiency is common in sandy soils because potassium ions (K+) are extremely soluble and easily leach from soils without colloids. Potassium deficiency impacts protein synthesis in plants and maintains turgidity and flaccidity of guard cells that helps in opening and closing of stomata.

Signs: Leaves with brown spots and yellow or brown veins or yellow edges. This deficiency leads to disease and drought.

Solution: Bury peels of Banana an inch below the topsoil. Peels take some time to rot and will slowly help plants. Banana peels also deter aphids.

Magnesium Deficiency

Insufficient magnesium in plants degrades the chlorophyll in the old leaves, which causes interveinal chlorosis, which limits the photosynthesis process in plants and subsequently the plant growth is compromised.

Signs:

Yellowing of veins and edges of leaves.  Sometimes it leads a marbled appearance.

Solution:

Epsom salt works tremendously when directly added to the topsoil of the plant before watering it. It is significantly beneficial for peppers, tomatoes, and roses.

Calcium Deficiency

Inadequate Calcium in plant cells leads to tissue necrosis leading to stunted growth of plants. Lack of calcium also increases the plant’s vulnerability to root diseases such as Pythium.

Signs:

Yellow spots between the leaf veins, blossom end rots, stunted growth, weak or dying stems.

Solutions:

Crushed eggs shells are a great source of calcium when added to the soil. This method will slowly help your plants, so make sure you till the eggshells well into the soil to help the process along.

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Plants are not always friends!!!

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Plants, an amazing creation of Almighty, provide oxygen to supports the animal kingdom on earth. However, there are many venomous or poisonous plants do exist in nature, which we are not aware of.  It is also believed by some people that there are some man eating tree do exist somewhere in the Middle East. Although there is no strong evidence reported regarding the existence of such trees, current world, however, deadly poisonous plants do exist.

Below is a brief compilation of some of the most dangerous plants that are still found in nature.

Nerium Oleander

Nerium Oleander is believed to be the most poisonous plant on Earth. The plant is filled with poisonous chemicals including two most powerful toxins namely oleandrin and nerine. The poison of oleander so powerful, that it can poison the human body even on ingestion of the honey made by the bees that consumed oleander nectar. Even though it is noxious in nature, Oleander plants are used for decorative purposes because of it a lovely fragrance.

Cicuta or Water Hemlock

Primarily found in the marshy areas of America, Cicuta, commonly known as Water Hemlock, contains a poisonous toxin, cicutoxin, in its roots. Unfortunately, the white roots of Cicuta are often mistaken for the parsnip. The chemical cicutoxin causes nausea, cramps, vomiting and muscle tremors. People survive the cicutoxin suffer from long-term health conditions, such as amnesia. Ingestion of this plant material can cause death in the animal within 15 minutes of consumption.

Abrus Precatorius or Rosary Pea

The beautiful red and black colored seeds, of rosary pea plant popularly known as rosary prayer beads, are widely known for making imported jewelry.  These beautiful seeds contain the poison abrin, however, the seeds are absolutely safe until they are broken or the outer coating is damaged. Each pea of the pod contains approximately 2.5 milligrams of abrin, which is sufficient to kill a human. Abrin inhibits protein synthesis by bonding with the plasma membranes. Symptoms of abrin poisoning include tough breathing, nausea, vomiting, fever, and fluid in the lungs. It also leads to dehydration and ends with the kidneys, liver, and spleen shutting down causing death within four days.

Atropa Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade

Atropa Belladonna, commonly known as ‘Deadly Nightshade’ grows to a height of 1.5 meters and can be recognized by its bell-shaped purple flowers and the dull, dark green leaves. The plant is completely safe for animals and birds, however deadly for human beings. Symptoms of Belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, headaches, confusion, and convulsions. The deadly poison doses disturb the nervous system, rendering the nerve endings in involuntary muscle paralysis.

Castor Oil Plant

Castor plant contains the deadly toxin, ricin, found in high concentrations in the seed coating. Symptoms of castor poisoning include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, internal bleeding, and kidney and circulation failure. Exposure to the dust is most common in areas where the beans are processed for commercial use.

Taxus Baccata or the English Yew

These plants are believed to be a symbol of the immortality of the soul and seen in plenty at church graveyards across Great Britain. The 22 meters giant trees contain poison in all of its parts except the bark. Consumption of the leaves and seeds can lead to dizziness, dry mouth, dilation of the pupils, weakness, irregular heart rhythm, and possibly death. It also possesses medicinal values, such as a cure for water elf disease and potential as an anti-tumor. Yew extract is used for Taxol, which inhibits the growth of cancer cells.

Ageratina Altissima or White Snakeroot

The white snakeroot is a shadow loving weed mostly found in the eastern and southern United State. The plant contains high levels dangerous toxic substance called trementol, which acts as a powerful poison for horses, goats, and sheep and symptoms poisoning include depression and lethargy, placement of hind feet close together or far apart, nasal discharge, excessive salivation, arched body posture, and rapid or difficulty breathing. In humans, the poisoning symptoms include bad breath, loss of appetite, listlessness, weakness, vague pains, muscle stiffness, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, severe constipation, coma, and possibly death.

Aconitum or Aconite

Aconite is a beautiful but poisonous plant that contains toxins in every part of it and is known to poison people who mistake its white carrot-like root for horseradish or some other herb. Its poisoning symptoms cause numbness, tingling, and cardiac problems as well. When ingested, the poison leads to a burning sensation in the mouth followed by increased salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, a tingling sensation in the skin, changes in blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities, coma, and sometimes even death.

Datura Stramonium or Jimsonweed

Jimsonweed or Datura with its pointed leaves and fruits looks scary itself. The parts of the plant contain toxic alkaloids with hallucinogenic properties that can cause hospitalization and death when consumed in high dosage. Even beautiful white or lavender trumpet-shaped flower of Datura also contains the poisonous toxins atropine and scopolamine. It is also widely known for its medicinal values such as relieving asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bone-setting.

Hippomane Mancinella or Machineel

Manchineel or the ‘little apple of death’ found in plenty Found across the Florida Everglades, Central America, and the Caribbean. Its white sap can cause damage, including rashes, skin irritation, coughing, loss of voice, etc. These tiny apple-like fruits, if ingested, can cause blisters in the mouth, swell the throat to shut it off, and even cause gastrointestinal problems.

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Amazing Sundarban Forest!!!

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The Sundarbans is a mangrove forest spans across the borders of India and Bangladesh. It is a delta formed by the confluence of Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. The forest is extends from the Hooghly River in India’s state of West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh. The Sundarbans are comprised of wide variety of flora and fauna which attracts millions of tourist from all over the world.

Apart from its incredible beauty and wildness there are also other amazing facts.

It is the largest Mangrove forest in the world. The tremendous growth of mangrove is due to the coastal water around the Sundarbans. 40% of the mangrove forest comes under India, while rest of the forest comes under Bangladesh. It is also considered to be the UNESCO World heritage site.

Sundarbans (India) is ten times bigger than the city of Venice. Encompassing 4000 sq. km, the Sundarbans Forest in India has 102 islands, out of which 54 are inhabited and rest of the area is covered with the forest.

The dense mangrove forests are home to the royal Bengal tigers. It is believed that Sundarban has the largest number of royal Bengal tigers in the world.

The name Sundarban has been given after a mangrove tree that is named as Sundari which in Hindi means beautiful. That is why Sundarban is considered to be as a very beautiful place.

As declared by the Fishery Board of India, Sundarban is the largest Biosphere Reserve in India because of its brackish water fish production and marine fisheries.

There is a village called widow village in Sundarban, which is home to India’s resilient Tiger Widows.

Sundarban is also famous for its night safaris due to the Phytoplanktons, the small micro-organisms that reflect light in the dark new moon.

So, these are a few facts that we have tried to present you; however, there are many more other amazing facts about Sundarban.

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In the Memory of Padma Bhushan Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan

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Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s writings are considered as great milestones in Hindi literature which needs no introduction. He was a rebellious Indian poet noted for the Nayi Kavita literary movement in early 20th century.  He was born in a Hindu Kayastha family, in Allahabad in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, in British India. He was also a poet of the Hindi Kavi Sammelan.

In 1976, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest award for his contribution to Hindi literature. He had incorporated vocabulary from several languages, including Awadhi, Hindi, and Urdu, which were considered as Hindustani language during that time.

Let’s check of his best poems below,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These evergreen compositions will always remain with us.

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The Sultan of Music: Adnan Sami

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Adnan Sami is one of the best & most underrated singers of Bollywood we have ever seen. He is a musician, pianist, and actor who performs Indian as well as western music, mostly in Bollywood movies. His most remarkable musical instrument is the piano. He is considered as the first person to play Indian classical music on the piano in a way he created through the Santoor.

Some of his best songs are –

Born in London to a Pakistani diplomat, Arshad Sami Khan and Naureen from Jammu & Kashmir of North India, Adnan has been titled as “Sultan of Music” by The Times of India.

Adnan is also known for playing over 35 musical instruments.

His first single was in English, Run for his life, recorded for UNICEF and released in 1986. It was ranked No. 1 in the music charts in the Middle East followed by three more No. 1s: Talk To Me, Hot Summer Day and You’re My Best Kept Secret.

With the song Aye Udi Udi in the movie Saathiya (2002), he got an opportunity to work with A. R. Rahman.

In 2000, Adnan joined with Asha Bhosle on the album named Kabhi to Nazar Milao in India. Composed by Adnan, the album became an instant hit and had topped the indie-pop charts in early 2000.

His second album was Tera Chehra, released in October 2002. The album featured Rani Mukerji in the title track and Amitabh Bachchan in another track “Kabhi Nahi”, who also sang the duet with Adnan.

Hope you will like this collection of Adnan Sami’s best songs.

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