Today is World No Tobacco Day (also popularly known as World Tobacco Day, and Anti Tobacco Day). It is observed worldwide on 31st May every year to encourage tobacco users to abstain from consumption of all forms of tobacco. The primary objective behind observing the day was to enlighten people about the deadly components of tobacco and its repercussions, awareness to draw people’s attention about the negative effects of tobacco.
Seminars and events on World Tobacco Day are organized by health organizations and governments while emphasizing on punch lines and pictures to persuade people to quit consuming tobacco permanently. Creating and distributing brochures, posters, fliers, press releases, websites and videos are also considered an integral part of the World No Tobacco Day. 

In our Islands too, World No Tobacco Day will be celebrated in varied ways with great zeal. DHS and local NGO’s will organize camps and events on this occasion to apprise people of early death and other ill-effects of consuming tobacco.

Consumption of Tobacco in India

• There are almost 275 million tobacco users in India.
• Over one-third of adults (age 15+) use some form of tobacco, including almost half of men (48 percent) and 20 percent of women.
• Among youth (age 13-15), 4 percent smoke cigarettes and almost 12 percent use other types of tobacco products.
• Bidis, cheap hand-rolled cigarettes, are the most popular tobacco product used in India.
• Bidis comprise 48 percent of the tobacco market, chewing tobacco 38 percent and cigarettes 14 percent.
Health consequences: India 

• About 1 million Indians die from tobacco-related diseases each year in India.
• Among youth (age 13-15), 27% are exposed to secondhand smoke at home and 40% are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places.

The Global Adult Tobacco Survey found out that 35 percent of Indian adults use tobacco in some form or the other. Most unfortunately, 35 percent adult Indians use tobacco of which, 80 percent are men and 20 percent women. Of the 35 percent, 26 percent men and women use chewing tobacco and only nine percent smoke cigarettes.
The tobacco users with cancer, 80 percent was caused by chewing tobacco while only 20 percent due to cigarette use as per the survey. The Global Adult Tobacco Survey was the "biggest ever" in India conducted in 28 states and two union territories with technical cooperation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and full funding by the Indian health ministry.
Tobacco use and smoking are very dangerous addictions which commonly cause a wide variety of diseases, cancer and death. The vast majority of tobacco users and smokers are hooked when they are children. During this time period they are easily influenced by peer pressure and advertising. Once hooked, the majority of tobacco users become hopelessly addicted. 

More than 5 million children living today will die prematurely because of a decision they will make as adolescents---the decision to use tobacco and smoke cigarettes. Our Islands are also not so far behind in this list. Tobacco use(pan) is very common in our Islands and children starts consuming tobacco from very tender age ignoring its ill effect. A massive awareness drive is required for sensitizing people about the ill effects associated with the consumption of tobacco products. Adolescent use of smokeless tobacco is constantly on the rise, with some users starting when they are only nine or ten years old. 
World No Tobacco day is only a day, an opportunity and no different than yesterday or tomorrow, what’s important is to take a positive decision towards quitting tobacco. This decision won’t be that difficult. Lets hope for zero tobacco users in our islands.  
Reference: www.tobaccofreecenter.org  

COMPLIED BY: BENCY JOY(PHD SCHOLAR IN PSYCHOLOGY)


(CNS): As Philip Morris International (PMI) executives heralded the corporation's USD 27 billion revenues in 2010 at its annual shareholders' meeting, another not-so-welcome account of the corporation's activities was distributed to shareholders. Corporate Accountability International released a report called "Philip Morris International Exposed: Alternative Annual Report," documenting the human toll of PMI's profits and the range of tactics employed to grease the wheels for such earnings – tactics ranging from hiding behind front groups to litigation and intimidation of national governments.

"There may be 89 pages in PMI's annual report from which shareholders can judge this corporation's performance," said Gigi Kellett, Challenging Big Tobacco campaign director for Corporate Accountability International. "But to truly understand PMI's impact, you have to look at the enormous human costs it leaves off the ledger."

The report, published by Corporate Accountability International, exposes the externalized costs and corruption of the cigarette giant's business:

- Tobacco kills one person every six seconds – nearly 6 million people every year.

- On average, smokers lose 15 years of life and up to half of all smokers will die of tobacco-related causes.

- Tobacco use is leading to higher healthcare costs and lost productivity. Tobacco causes a USD 500 billion global economic drain that is equivalent to nearly USD 74 for each person in the world.

- For every dollar of PMI's revenue this year, health care expenses and productivity loss cost the world economy USD 7.39.

"The death toll is rising not only because PMI aggressively markets a deadly, addictive product, but also because PMI does everything in its power to obstruct tobacco control efforts," explained Bobby Ramakant, spokesperson for Asha Parivar in India and the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals (NATT). "Its calculations around employing these tactics are all about dollars and cents, but the reality is that cost of the devastating effects of tobacco cannot be measured … individuals across the globe are telling PMI: it's time to stop."

 In conjunction with the report release, advocates from around the country, along with a number of nurses with The Nightingales attended the annual shareholders' meeting to directly challenge CEO Louis Camilleri and PMI for its global abuses, and to tell PMI to "Butt Out of Public Health."

The report called attention to PMI's increasing focus on expanding its markets to developing countries where the tobacco epidemic is taking the greatest toll. Big Tobacco's death toll will rise to eight million people a year by 2030 - with 80 percent of those deaths occurring in the regions it is destructively targeting.

"Those countries, large and small, that refuse to be intimidated, are emboldening others to follow their lead," said Philip Jakpor, spokesperson for Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria and NATT. "PMI has sought to thwart progress, but civil society is standing resolute against their advances."

The global tobacco treaty, entered into force in 2005, provides a roadmap for countries to tackle the tobacco epidemic through a range of tobacco controls, from comprehensive ad bans to smoke-free places. 171 countries have ratified the treaty. Its central provision also safeguards the treaty against tobacco industry interference in public health.

But as the report finds, PMI continues to flaunt the treaty by employing a range of tactics to prevent its lifesaving measures:

- Litigation: Suing for profit, bullying governments. In 2010, PMI mounted legal assaults against countries attempting to pass or implement strong tobacco control measures. The corporation targets small countries with limited resources that may be unable to singlehandedly engage in expensive legal battles, such as Uruguay and Norway.

- Circumventing advertising bans: Selling a deadly product at any cost. PMI and its subsidiaries use marketing tactics that circumvent even the strongest advertising bans and regulations. PMI clearly aims to undermine the intent of these regulations through its the sponsorship of concerts and sporting events, which are particularly attractive to youth.

- Government partnerships: Undermining public health laws. PMI lures customs agencies and other government entities into partnerships, claiming to be part of the public health solution. In 2009, PMI signed an agreement with the Colombian authorities and gave the government USD 200 million to "address issues of mutual interest." In 2010, as part of the 20 year agreement, PMI paid the Columbian government a total of USD 10.6 million.

- Front groups: Poorly disguised efforts to protect profits and influence policy. The tobacco industry often establishes entities that are funded and directed by corporations that act in the interest of industry. In Australia, tobacco corporations are bankrolling a media campaign by the Alliance of Australian Retailers to vocally oppose the government’s move to implement plain packs and to influence public and policymaker’s opinions.

Corporate Accountability International recommends that:

- PMI stop interfering in and obstructing the enactment of countries' health policies that will save lives.

- PMI honor the legally binding WHO FCTC treaty ratified by more than 170 countries.

- PMI stop manipulative marketing targeting children and youth.

- PMI stop using litigious scare tactics to intimidate countries from passing health and marketing policies.

- Governments and civil society continue to stand up to Big Tobacco and implement and enforce provisions protecting public health from industry interference. (CNS)

Report: Philip Morris International's grabbing at straws. Source: Citizen News Service (CNS) | www.citizen-news.org


Our Planet Earth has so much to give us! From the beautiful natural surroundings to the rich flora and fauna, Planet Earth has loads of things to offer that only make the life more beautiful. However, have you given a thought to how many individuals actually respect this planet? Have you ever felt responsible towards Planet Earth? April 22nd is known the world over as Earth Day. This day was first celebrated in the year 1970. 

The celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd began in the United States in 1970 and was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson, who had long pondered about finding a way to "put the environment into the political 'limelight' once and for all". Earth Day is celebrated in order to create more awareness about our planet and situations that we need to take care of to ensure our Planet Earth is well loved and cared for. We are all aware that the earth is on a dangerous apth with our climate becoming less stable and more volatile. The earth is also burdened with effects of pollution,accumulation of wastes and many other ills. 

Earth day network was founded on the premise that all people, regardless of race, gender, or income or geography have a moral right to healthy and sustainable environment. The mission of earth day is to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy environment. The importance of Planet Earth is something that should be taught to children in their early years, at home and even in the school. Only then will the young and old alike, understand the issues such as global warming, deforestation, energy conservation and the importance of recycling. 

There are actually two Earth Day celebrations one on 22 April and other one in March 21 which are equinox days. This article focuses on the April 22 Earth Day, which is now celebrated in most countries of the world. Earth Day is a perfect time to reflect about what you are doing to help protect the environment. There are many ways that you can celebrate alone and with others.

The contribution of Andaman and Nicobar Islands to climate change is insignificant 0.03% but our islands can be the first one to face the brunt of climate change. Climate is one of the harshest realities facing mankind today. We have to cut down on green house gases, a change in 2 degree centigrade can change productivity ,yield and pattern of agricultural practices. Urbanization causes more climate change, the challenge is to build climate friendly and climate resilience, resilience for giving a margin for survival of species. The time has come for focusing on alternative economic pathways. 

The first thing you can begin with is turn off the lights when not in use. Whenever possible, use natural day light for activities such as reading. 93% of power in our islands is generated from diesel imported from mainland and only 7.2% is obtained from sustainable energy resources. The islanders enjoy 64% subsidy. The following activities can be undertaken on earth day.

Cleaning up part of your local area can be a great way to celebrate Earth Day. 

Avoid the use of plastic. Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle and Refuse as often as you can. 
Keep your neighborhood areas clean. Make sure everyone in your neighborhood is equally enthusiastic and aware of their duties towards the planet. 
Avoid leaving your phone for charging overnight. Most cell phones have an indicator that shows when the charging process is complete.
Do not throw garbage in the drains and the garbage reaches the nearby sea causing pollution also it chokes the drains which can lead to diseases like malaria, dengue and chikun guniya.
The coral reefs of Andaman’s are affected by bleaching and are slowly dying.
So let us pledge an act of green today, together we can make the world a more sustainable place on earth day and every day.

Aparna Singh, assistant professor, environment studies, JNRM Port Blair


In 1945 the catastrophe was inflicted by the enemy. In what remains till date the most horrendous attack on human beings, over three lakhs were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and many more continued to suffer because of radioactivity related ailments. Today it is self-inflicted catastrophe for Japan . What makes the tragedy of this most ill fated nation on earth, from the point of view of nuclear mishaps, more ironic is that it had resolved not to develop a nuclear weapon programme. The Japanese argument was that they would not like any other human population on earth to suffer the way they did in 1945 attack. In spite of this noble resolve they chose to go ahead with a big nuclear energy programme for power generation. They would have never imagined that their nuclear power plants would one day bring back the nightmares of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to haunt them.

There seems to be no end to the horror at Fukushima . The emergency crew is on the job to contain damage round the clock but new reports of radiation release pour in every day. In a ridiculous attempt to allay public fears first the Tokyo Electric Power Company reported a radiation level is water at the reactor No. 2 in Fukushima Daiichi plant to be 1 crore times higher than permissible limit causing panic among workers but later retracted it claiming it to be erroneous and conveyed the radiation levels were in fact only 1 lakh times higher! Should that be considered a cause for relief. Even one lakh times higher radiation levels can be fatal for human beings. Already radiation release from this accident has affected large parts of water, soil, food in this area and probably made it inhabitable, at least for some time to come. Already people are leaving the place as they don’t consider it safe living here.

One can only salute the emergency crew members who are trying to bring the plant under control knowing full well the dangers that their government is exposing them to. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki people had no choice as they were caught unawares. In Fukushima even though the earthquake and tsunami caught them unsuspecting, the scientists who built the nuclear power plants were well aware of the dangers involved in this technology. The Japanese government has put its population to tremendous risk by adopting the nuclear energy programme and it must accept its mistake.

Japan had seriously begun researching the renewable energy options and hopefully would over a period of time rely more on such technologies which will be safer, cleaner and cheaper to meet its energy demands. But the earthquake-tsunami came a bit too early, maybe as a warning not only to Japan but to the rest of the world too. Japan has resolved to be a low Carbon society in near future. Now it must commit itself to be no nuclear society too.

The Japanese accident has shaken the confidence of people all over in nuclear energy as never before. Countries which were toying with the idea of either starting or reviving their nuclear energy programmes are having second thoughts now. It is people’s awareness which has not allowed a single new nuclear power plant to be initiated in Europe and US for the last 25-30 years. Nuclear power plants are turning out to be the most costly and dangerous method of producing electricity. Most developed countries which have a nuclear power programme would be phasing out their nuclear power plants in the years to come.

An important reason for abdication of nuclear power programme is that scientists have not been able to solve the problem of safe disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. The spent fuel is cooled at the plant site in pools and continue to pile up. One doesn’t know what to do with a host of radioactive elements produced in the process of fission of Uranium atom. They continuously contaminate the water, soil and atmosphere in the surroundings.

The most common hazards faces by human beings due to exposure to radiation are cancer or leukemia and genetic mutation potentially affecting future generations. The high dose of radiation at the Japanese plant site may not prove to be immediately fatal to workers involved in clean up but is likely to manifest itself in the form of cancer some years later in life. They could also produce deformed babies. The people will suffer for no fault of theirs. It is the Japanese energy policy makers who will be held responsible for the resulting misery.

No government has a right to expose its innocent citizens to radiation hazards causing health risks. They should adopt benign technological options for producing electricity. People should have a role in determining the energy policy of the government. Well informed public debate must precede any such decision making.

Consider the nuclear power plant at Narora in Bulandshahar district of UP in India . It is situated on the banks of river Ganga . In 1993 there was a major fire at this nuclear power plant. It was sheer luck that this did not get out of control. If an accident of the scale which took place at Union Carbide plant in Bhopal were to happen here it which would jeopardize all life along the bank of river for much of the breadth of UP, Bihar and West Bengal and parts of Bangladesh. Depending on the direction of wind Delhi could be affected too as it is merely 50-60 km from here.

We must not play with nature. The safest place for Uranium is beneath the earth. This only naturally occurring radioactive material must not be mined. There are better ways of producing our electricity and meeting our energy demands, some of which may be fulfilled without electricity. Hence a wise and sane energy policy is required in consultation with the people.

Dr Sandeep Pandey is a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for emergent leadership (2002) and leads the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM). He did his PhD from University of California, Berkeley in control theory (used in missile technology) and taught at IIT Kanpur before plunging full-time in social activism. He is also a member of national presidium, Lok Rajniti Manch. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Despite numerous and regular reports in the media about the presence of pesticides and other chemical contaminants in food and water, we have not been goaded into searching for and demanding food grown in a non-toxic way. We are also very isolated from the food production process - many of us do not have the faintest idea where our food comes from or how it is grown.
 
While the latter is a matter of personal interest, we need to understand that chemical agriculture operations and the wanton commercialization of farming affect each one of us adversely, even the city dweller ensconced in a high-rise for whom life begins and ends in a city. Their effect on the environment and wildlife is also well-documented. The cruelty of modern-say animal husbandry, whether for milk, eggs or meat is horrifying and repulsive.
 
The organic farming initiative is not new and has been taken up in various parts of the country over time. Organic farming is being adopted in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Bangalore, Karnataka and Punjab etc. In India, as against 42,000 hectares under certified organic farming during the 2003-04, initial estimates for 2009-10 indicate organic agriculture under certification has grown to 1.05 million hectares. Out of this, nearly 750,000 hectares are fully certified while the remaining 300,000 hectares are under various stages of conversion.
 
The International Panaacea Limited (IPL) is the country's pioneer’s organization of grassroots organic farmers. Since Indian agriculture continues to remain a source of livelihood for mostly small farmers and peasants. IPL is the organization working in this arena leading the organic movement through implementation of large scale organic farming projects sponsored by various agencies which broadly involves awareness about the benefit of organic farming, organizing them to form clusters, training management practices and documentation, facilitation for certification and establishment of marketing channels for better returns to the producers.
 
“Promotion of organic farming will not only ensure increased availability of organic and biological sources of nutrients, but will also provide technologies and information which will help other forms of agriculture in restoring soil health and conservation of resources.” said by Mr. Suraj Bhagchandka, President , IPL. 
 
“Besides farmers, consumers too, stand to gain in many ways by switching over to organic produce. One of the major benefits is that the consumer can safely consume organic food products in the knowledge that no harmful chemicals were used in their production. Organic products are more nutritious, and in many cases, also taste better than those produced using chemicals. It is also found that food produced organically last longer than conventionally produced ones” said by the President, IPL.
 
Apart from India, IPL has undertaken a project in Ethiopia. In the near future, IPL products will be available in many European countries, Asian Countries as well as African countries. IPL has pledged to revolutionize agriculture by its innovations in the organic civilization.