South Asia News in brief: 11–24 December
Satellite rainfall estimation in the Himalayas
Countries in the Hindu Kush region of the Himalayas will work with US and Japanese scientists to estimate rainfall from satellite data and thus improve flood forecasting. Poor infrastructure restricts the ability to estimate rainfall in remote mountain areas. More>>
India's first foreign satellite order
A communications satellite, W2M, built by the Indian Space Research Organisation and EADS-Astrium of Europe was launched on 21 December from Kourou in French Guiana. This is the first time ISRO has built a satellite for a foreign client. More>>
Arsenic contamination in Pakista
Arsenic contamination in Pakistani groundwater is causing skin lesions in people drinking the contaminated water, a survey shows. Meanwhile Indian researchers report from cell studies that Vitamin A helps remove some of the arsenic-induced toxicity. More>>
Microbes remove chromium from effluents
Aquatic plants and microbes help remove chromium from tannery effluents faster than current methods, scientists from Lucknow report. There was significant improvement in the quality of the effluents and reduction in chromium content. Meanwhile, guar gum is also effective in mopping up chromium, another group from Allahabad reports.
Fluoride mapping in south India
Scientists in India are mapping fluoride-endemic areas and assessing the levels of fluoride exposure in their populations for better management of the problem. Such data is essential for the government to take remedial measures and ensure a supply of drinking water with fluorides below permissible limits, they say. More>>
Cataract-induced blindness in poor regions
People with cataract-induced blindness are more likely to live in poverty than people with normal vision, a study in Bangladesh, Kenya and the Philippines shows. The study highlights the urgent need to provide cataract surgery services to poor people who tend to be more vulnerable to vision loss due to cataract. More>>
Asian tsunami quake shook San Andreas fault too
The massive 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that triggered a devastating tsunami off Sri Lanka and south east India also set off tremors 9,000 miles away in the San Andreas fault in the United States. University of Washington scientists report that this is a new kind of seismic phenomenon. More>>
First socioeconomic survey of coastal reefs
The first-ever socio-economic survey of coastal reef management — conducted in 27 tropical coastline countries including those in South Asia — says coastal managers are not implementing decades-old recommendations to protect coral reefs. It highlights the need to find alternative livelihoods for fishermen, involve them in local decision-making on reef management, and improve education and awareness on the need for reef protection. More>>
Compiled by T. V. Padma, with additional reporting by Biplab Das.
If you would like to suggest a story for this news in brief, please contact the South Asia Regional Coordinator T. V. Padma ([email protected]).