Farming with toxic water – Newspaper – DAWN.COM

Farming with toxic water

Ahmad Fraz Khan


A recent survey conducted by the Punjab government on the contamination of vegetables reveals a threatening picture of what we, as a nation, consume, and the urgency required to resolve the issues.

According to the survey, 51 samples of 16 vegetables were collected from nine divisional headquarters and tested for 22 metals. They were found to have been contaminated with toxic metals like cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel etc.

In Punjab, 98 tehsil municipal areas produce 504m gallons of wastewater daily, and out of them 66 use the same water for agriculture purposes, and 28 dispose their wastewater into canals, rivers and their tributaries; only four have some kind of wastewater disposal system.

Thus, an overwhelming amount of the wastewater finds its way into agriculture. The provincial water treatment capacity is woefully inadequate. Punjab has only oxidation ponds in the southern part of the province. Thus, its most populated areas (major cities) like Lahore, Faisalabad and Gujranwala don’t have any treatment plants. If the situation remains unchecked, the slow poisoning would only help create a generation of physically and mentally handicapped citizens.

via Farming with toxic water – Newspaper – DAWN.COM.

RIP Yellow Hive…Again

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Winter is a period of worry and uncertainty when it comes to the bees.  Yesterday was in the 40’s, so I took the opportunity to peek in on them and add candy.  The only hive that showed any sign of life was Mint Hive.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t clustered down in the bellies of the hives keeping warm, but it certainly stirs up anxiety about what I did, should and shouldn’t have done, and whether I’ll have any hives left by time spring gets here.

Yellow hive, my strongest going into winter, was found at the top clustered and dead.  They had plenty of stores, the hive looked dry inside.  Maybe the cold got to them, maybe they starved regardless of stores, maybe they separated and froze.  I don’t know.  When things warm up a bit I’ll get in and take a closer look.

Last year when this happened I was crushed.  This year, its disappointing and frustrating, but not the end of the world.  If I lose all 5 hives, then I’ll most certainly be on the verge of hanging up my bee suit.  But I’ve got too much invested, and I love my bees.  Worst case, I’ll learn from my mistakes, start with two new packages in the spring, and get a better plan in place for next winter.

All the best to everyone else’s hives this winter.  Stay warm, read up, and get that equipment prepped.  Doesn’t seem like it now, but spring will be here soon!


Assorted Links | Everything and the Carbon Sink

Assorted Links


This GAO report from 2010 undertakes the difficult task of estimating the amount of Federal research dollars spent on Carbon Dioxide Removal (“CDR”). The reasons this task is so difficult? Some funding is “generally” or “directly” applicable (i.e. focused on broader climate/environmental science and/or mitigation questions that overlap with questions about CDR) without being dedicated specifically to CDR — where to draw the line is not always clear. The table below from the report gives interesting order of magnitude estimates for this research funding as of five years ago:

The journal Nature has an interesting news feature up about biochar. My one complaint: I think the article frames the discussion on biochar too much on the question of “is biochar beneficial for soils?” as opposed to “in what circumstances is biochar most beneficial for soils?” This distinction is important — questions about whether we use biomass for biochar v. energy production/bio-materials/etc. depend directly on this latter question.

A good review article on CDR from Deutsche Welle: fairly comprehensive and nuanced discussion on CDR is nice to see in popular media outlets.

Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative (links from CSF, The Global Environmental Facility, The Guardian, and World Bank) shows both great promise and potential for large-scale, adverse unintended consequences. Projects like these deserve much greater awareness and scrutiny to highlight the role that afforestation could play in improving society, and the pitfalls inherent in such large-scale projects.

Direct Air Capture is necessary for humans to survive in outer space. Basic science to enable better air capture in outer space could help inform larger-scale processes back on Earth. All the more reason to fund basic science in areas not immediately relevant to CDR.

via Assorted Links | Everything and the Carbon Sink.

What I’d Do For A Vegetable Right Now- Or Why My Community Must Think I’m Crazy | Chance Encounters


Posted on January 18, 2015 by wilcoxchance

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins”- Laurie Colwin

“May I a small house and large garden have; And a few friends, and many books, both true”- Abraham Cowley

Óga Ita, Paraguay

In regards to the Paraguayan food pyramid, I’d say it’s lacking. Based on what I’ve been eating for the last three months, I believe that the government must endorse a pyramid of equal parts sugar, fat/oil, starch, carbohydrates, salt, and strange animal parts, with a watermelon thrown in every now and then for good measure. Something’s missing (besides teeth and physical fitness)…. What could it be, I just can’t put my finger on it…. Ohhhh wait. Vegetables.

So, yeah I’d kill for a vegetable right now. I have hated eggplant, squash, and beets all my life, but really I’d eat them all right now and love every minute of it.

via What I’d Do For A Vegetable Right Now- Or Why My Community Must Think I’m Crazy | Chance Encounters.