JAN 2020  

Climate change and biodiversity losses are the two most crucial factors affecting the globe. It is believed that 8.7 million species of plants and animals can be found on earth. Though many of the earth’s magnificent species are yet to be discovered, there are several which are on the verge of extinction. Industrial pollution, unsustainable hunting, illegal logging, creation of farmlands, and industrial sites out of wild areas are some of the reasons for the loss of biodiversity. Poor forest management and unsustainable fuelwood collection degrade forests, and affect the biodiversity of a region.

Presently, humans are solely responsible for the mass extinction of biodiversity. In the last decade, the number of tigers has decreased by 97 per cent. ‘Bringing Back Tigers to Mukundara: Understanding Reserve Management in the Hills’ is this month’s cover story. It discusses the behavioural ecology of tigers in the Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve,  Rajasthan’s recently established tiger reserve. Suggestions have been given for the successful management of the reserve. The wildlife article throws light on the various aspects of the Great Indian Bustard. Once found in vast regions covering Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, today its home has got restricted to the Thar Desert in Rajasthan and in small, isolated areas in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Its cousinsthe Bengal Florican and the Lesser Florican are also staring at an uncertain future.

Packaging waste is another grave concern worldwide. Paper, paperboard, glass, and plastics contribute the most to this problem. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas suggests that the annual per capita consumption of plastic in India would be 20 kg by 2022. Reduce, reuse, recycle have been on the consumers’ minds for decades to tackle the issue of packaging waste. The special report of the month explains how the beverage industry has been trying to transform the beverage carton recycling landscape in India by pooling resources to build an efficient waste management ecosystem. New packaging materials, efficient and minimal packaging design, ‘smart packaging’ solutions, and increasing compostable content in the overall packaging segment are impacting the recyclability possibilities and reuse aspects in the beverage carton recycling.

Year after year, we witness fires burning billions of hectares of forests globally. Particularly vulnerable are degraded forests. In 2019, we saw the world’s largest rainforests going up in flames. It is estimated that 4500 km2 of the Brazilian Amazon have been burnt and deforested from 2017 to 2019. These fires have increased pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and aerosols. While we struggle with outdoor air pollution, we tend to forget that indoor air pollution is also a serious health concern for people. The TERRA Youth story highlights the urgent need for devising strategies to combat health hazards of indoor air pollution, and suggests possible preventive measures.