Your environment this week: nanodiamonds from pollutants, sustainable fashion and khesari dal debate

This week’s environment and conservation news stories rolled into one.

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Toxic debate rages on over cultivation ban on ‘poor man’s pulse’

Sale of grass-pea (khesari dal) has been banned since 1961, following reports that it contained a neurotoxin causing paralysis of lower limbs. The hardy crop is still being cultivated.

Lathyrus seeds. According to studies, risks increase if raw, unripe or boiled seeds are consumed. Photo by Kanchan Srivastava.

Air pollutants turn into nanodiamonds

A team of researchers has explored the potential of transformation of harmful carbonaceous aerosol particles into nanoparticles that are important to the biomedical industry.

Nanodiamond particles, grown synthetically in the lab. The crystals can be seen clearly, on an average being about 100nm in size.  Photo by D. Mukherjee/Wikimedia Commons.

Despite controversies on tribal issues, BJP wins in tribal constituencies

Of the 47 seats in the elections, reserved for scheduled tribes, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party won more than half and even improved its performance from the 2014 elections.

Opposition parties including tribal leaders vows to continue focusing on issues related to the welfare of the tribal community. Photo by Vishnu Munda/Wikimedia Commons.

In Kerala there was nothing “golden” about this missed opportunity

In this commentary, Gopikrishna Warrier writes that the people of Kerala missed an opportunity to introspect about the floods of August 2018, when the Sabarimala temple controversy erupted a month after the extreme weather event.

The last time Kerala flooded so severely was in 1924, and the 2018 event caught the people and the administration unprepared. Photo by Smibinozone/Wikimedia Commons.

From opulence to sustainability, Indian fashion gets redesigned

The benefits of high-end designers turning to sustainable fashion seem to trickle down to the weaving and associated communities with many reporting better health and higher income.

Designer Vaishali S. roped in women weavers for a fashion collection photo shoot, leaving aside professional models. Photo courtesy Vaishali S.

[Photos] City dwellers…now you see me?

A photo essay taking you through some of the colourful spaces that city-dwelling insects find, to blend themselves in, often escaping the eyes of the city-dwelling humans.

The dirt bug, covered in tiny grains of sand and a dried leaf. Photo by Jency Samuel.
The dirt bug, covered in tiny grains of sand and a dried leaf. Photo by Jency Samuel.

Indian forests may be able to withstand climate change better than feared

Despite their resilience and contrary to government claims, forest cover continues to decline in extent and quality in India, due to human activities.

This tropical lowland rainforest from Agumbe in the Karnataka Western Ghats can withstand large changes in rainfall patterns. Photo by Anand Osuri/ Wikimedia Commons.

Govt modifies compensatory afforestation rules for ease of business

States with over 75 percent forest cover, looking to divert forest land for non-forestry projects, can now carry out compensatory afforestation in other states.

The issue of compensatory afforestation in exchange for diversion of forest land has been controversial in India. Photo by Anand.osuri/Wikimedia Commons.

As fall armyworm invades northeast India, scientists scratch the surface of a tree-killing beetle

Scientists in northeast India have initiated molecular studies of a guava and litchi trunk borer, a longhorn beetle.

The guava-and-litchi trunk borer (Arastobia reticulator) reported in northeast India. Photo by Ganesh Behere.

[Commentary] Back to the Future: Lessons from Cyclone Fani

In this commentary, researchers from the Climate Resilience Program of the World Resources Institute India analyse cyclone Fani and Odisha’s response.

A mother and child inside a relief camp. Photo by Sahana Ghosh/Mongabay.
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