23 July 2013

Canna Lilies - Best solution for water scarcity

Canna ( Canna Lily) plant is said to be a genus of nineteen species of flowering plants as per wiki. Even-though they are not a true lily, it is named so. The Canna Lily is a plant that has bright color flowers and it is also an agricultural plant. This Canna lily plant is considered to have the world's richest starch sources. It is tropical American plant which needs at-least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Due to this feature, this plant is grown around the world where these condition can be met. The flowers of this plant of usually red, orange or yellow in color.

Images Source : Internet

Uses of Canna Lily :

   ~ They are widely used in Horticulture and as ornamental plants.

   ~ The rhizome ( i.e. horizontal underground stem ) of this plant is said to rich in starch which can be consumed by humans. The foliage( plant leaves) is used as animal fodder.

   ~ The fiber in the stem can be used as a replacement for jute.

   ~ The seeds are used as beads in jewelry and it is said that a purple dye can also be obtained from these seeds.

   ~ In Thailand, these Canna plants acts as a traditional gift for Father's day.

   ~ If you are an ardent bird watcher then it would be an additional treat for you to plant this plant as this plant attracts humming birds.

   ~ Last but not the least, most importantly, the Canna lily plant can be used to filter the impurities/pollutants. 

Now coming to the main crux of this post, the grey water recycling done with the help of this Canna plant can save you from water scarcity. This is what I have read about just few days back.

What is Grey water ?

           Grey water is nothing but the waste water that is being produced from baths, sinks and washing machines. This grey water completely differs from black-water which is a sewage. Hence grey water is safe to use and recycle.

Grey water recycling (GWR) :

           Grey water recycling (GWR) is done in many ways. The recycled water is used widely used for irrigation purposes , indoor reuse and in critical situations. The vital point to be noted is not all kind of purification methods is potable. Some of the recycling methods were done without purification and some were done with purification.

The grey water recycling process that I have read in 'The Hindu' Newspaper just few days back comes under the recycling method with purification that is done in the biological way which includes this Canna plant as a main source for purification.

Here's the link from 'The Hindu' newspaper where I read about this process :


If you go through that entire article, you can understand how much benefits we would get through this process. It is mentioned that this GWR process was already mentioned along with the rain water harvesting system that was implemented in the year 2002. But very few are aware about this till date. Today, almost many cities including Chennai are in quest for uninterrupted water supply especially during the summer. An apartment in Adyar, Chennai is said to be free from this quest as they have implemented this process with the help of the Canna lily plant.

I hope that this process would be a solution for water scarcity, pollution free environment and for an adequate ground water source.

Thanks for reading :)

07 July 2013

Furious Nature - The Uttarakhand Tragedy

Nature is not just known for its beauty, but also for many disasters. It is all about how carefully we treat our nature. When we cause so much harm to our own surroundings, it shows off the result in some means of disasters.Everyone of us would have heard about the recent disaster that had happened in Uttarakhand where many of them died and most of them were stranded. It is widely said that this Uttarakhand tragedy is not uncommon since that area is always prone to natural disasters. But some researchers and environmental enthusiasts say that it is also caused due to deforestation, construction of more dams that needs tunneling the ground and also due to some careless constructions of buildings, lodges and homes in the river bed which are being washed away in the floods.

Uttarakhand aka Uttaranchal is a northern state of India which was partitioned from Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. As per wiki it is said that Uttarakhand is the 19th most populated state in India. Since Uttarakhand is mostly covered by mountains ( Himalayas in the northern side) and forests it acts an important tourist site. Uttarakhand is one among the most famous pilgrimage sites where the sacred temples like Kedarnath and Badrinath is located. It is where the two major rivers of India the Ganga and the Yamuna originates at Gangotri and Yamunotri respectively. They were said to be caused by the glaciers melts, lakes and streams in their place. Adding to this there are two national parks such as the Valley of Flowers and the Nanda Devi national park located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand which are considered under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many of the most famous hill stations of India like Nainital and Mussoorie are located in Uttarakhand.

Being such an enriched state, Uttarakhand has also been prone to earthquakes and floods always. But this time it has faced something bigger and harder than before I guess. As we all know there was a major cloudburst in the state this year in MID-June, it is said that it takes almost two or five years to resume back to normal. Since the tragedy has happened in the middle of the pilgrimage season, thousands of lives has been ruined. Due to this cloudburst, heavy floods had washed away many lives, buildings, pathways and bridges which made many people left stranded and helpless. Many lodges, hotels and houses have also been washed away by floods. The surprising fact is that despite this heavy downpour and lashing floods has washed away the compound walls of the Kedarnath temple, the Kedarnath Shrine has survived and is safe. And it is also said people inside the shrine has been saved while others were dead in front of the temple.

Images Courtesy : Ibnlive.com

But anyhow people whomever have survived this calamity had said that they have found and seen God in the Indian army and the ITBP ( Indo- Tibetan Border Police ) who played a brilliant and vital role in rescue operations. NDRF ( National Disaster Response Force )and NDMA ( National Disaster Management Authority ) have also done their part in the rescue operations. They used some ladders, ropes and even constructed small winch like machines to evacuate people. Most of all the IAF ( Indian Air Force) have also done a major Chopper evacuation to rescue stranded people. But the hardest part is many people have missed their loved ones.

Salute to all the brave hearts of the Indian Army, IAF, ITBP, NDRF, NDMA and some adventurer's who played a vital role in saving lives.

Many people who went there along with family members, have missed some or whole while returning back. It is reported that some people who have been rescued have placed some camps there and are waiting for their family members with hope. Despite these rescue operations, as I have read yesterday in the web that almost 1200 children were still missing. And the most terrible part is a 3 year old girl who is rescued with fractured legs is missing her family. She was found alone at Gaurikund and she got treatment at Doon hospital, Dehradun and got recovered now. Unfortunately this young child couldn't find her family yet. Hope their family reaches her soon.

Here I'm sharing few websites through which you can help since there are still missing peoples and relief's are being distributed.


'Google crisis response' has played a vital role to find the stranded people. They have also provided maps related to floods. Additional information's were provided in PTI.
Uttarakhand Floods Information as provided by Google :

Uttarkashi                                : (+91) 1374-226461
Chamoli                                   : (+91) 1372-251437, 9411352136
Rudraprayag                            : (+91) 1364-233727, 9412914875
Control Room (Uttarakhand)   :  (+91) 135-2710334, 9557444486

Since many people are still missing, the NDRF are planning to deploy some devices to trace them. As per this move, they have accepted to use a drone named 'Daksha' designed by Dr.Senthil Kumar of the Madras Institute of Technology ( MIT ). Here's an article from The Hindu Newspaper about it.

And kindly check this following link for some information regarding the cause of floods, how it can be tackled etc.,

Preventive measures for such Natural disasters :

                   * We can't stop a natural disaster, but still we can avoid some of the causes of it. First thing is as much as we can, we must stop constructing buildings in or near the river beds.

                   * We must stop deforestation which is a very concerned issue. By cutting down the trees, we ourselves are creating damage to ourselves. By planting trees or conserving the existing trees we can make sure that excess water is consumed by the roots of the trees. In places like Uttarakhand, deforestation in mountains causes the landslides. It is said that planting Oak and Pine tress in these places could help to resist such situations.Have a look at this link in the Economic times about this: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

                   * A proper rain water harvesting system and drainage system has to be constructed in a way that  it collects excess water. It is said that proper maintenance of these systems can avoid landslides.

                   * Constructions of dams must be regulated properly.

                   * Weather forecasting systems can be updated and regulated properly.

Hope we can still handle such situations wisely by studying the nature of our locality and regulate the activities according to it to avoid major disasters.

Hoping that everyone finds their missed loved ones soon.