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Second International Conference on Plants and

Environmental Pollution (ICPEP-2) -A Report

By: Anil K Gauniyal and J K Johri* NBRI, Lucknow

 

This Conference Report has been taken from

“Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research”

Vol. 61, September 2002, pp 734-742

The second International Conference on Plants and Environmental Pollution (ICPEP-2) was organized at the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow (India) from February 4-9, 2002. The conference was jointly organized by NBRI and International Society of Environmental Botanists (ISEB), besides co-sponsored by many national and international organizations. In all, over three hundred delegates, including 50 delegates from 21 foreign countries, attended the conference. The conference was organized to provide an international forum for discussion and deliberations among scientists, researchers and NGO's, interested in promoting and conducting research, education and mass awareness on environment, highlighting the role of plants in environmental protection, pollution indication, bioremediation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

The inaugural session was held in the afternoon of February 4, 2002. Dr K J Ahmad, the Organizing Secretary of the conference and Secretary, International Society of Environmental Scientists (ISEB) presented the welcome address. The world-renowned agricultural scientists and the father of green revolution in India, Prof MS Swaminathan, F R S, was the Chief Guest of the inaugural session.

Prof. Swaminathan delivered a highly illuminating lecture on "Biodiversity : An effective safety net against environmental pollution". He said that unsustainable lifestyle leading to unsustainable consumption of natural resources, commercial greed, population growing in a manner that it exceeds the supporting capacity, of the ecosystem and the continuing damage to the ecological foundations, essential for sustainable agriculture, have all resulted in humankind reaching the crossroad in relation to its future. In these adverse conditions, it is the biodiversity that has the power to rescue the humankind by providing suitable bioindicators to monitor their ecosystem, bioremediators to clean up their spoiled locations, value added products through bioprospecting and sustainable food, nutrition, and health care security through the traditional but time proven agrobiodiversity and medicinal plants preserved by tribal communities. He described in detail the various steps required before initiating the biological monitoring programme. He suggested simple, reliable and inexpensive methods of biomonitoring should be popularized in all schools and colleges. Commenting about the bioremediation, Dr Swaminathan said that the use of naturally occurring microorganisms in the soil and water to actively degrade! remove the toxic or unwanted compounds and transferring them into harmless substances would be very effective. About bioprospecting, he said that advancement in the field of biotechnology and phytochemistry, have demonstrated the need for novel genetic materials and biomolecules for varied usages for crop improvement, health and nutritional implements, etc. Many new organisms, which are yet to be identified may open a new avenue for the economic development of the local community, based an biopartnerships, he said. Discussing on biosecurity, Prof. Swaminathan informed that MSSRP is involved in the revitalization of conservation traditions of tribal and rural families with an aim to improve their livelihood security by linking their traditional wisdom with the frontier technologies. On bioterrorism, he mentioned that the use of pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi and thereby evident products like hormones in the warfare as destructive material is highly condemnable. The recent use of Anthrax as a tool of terrorism is a grim reminder that the ability to produce designer microorganism can be abused. It is evident that unless the technological push is matched by an ethical pull the products of our brain may become a curse rather than a blessing. He also spoke on the threat of invasive alien weeds like, Chromolaena, Lantana, and Mikania which had infest extensive tracts of agricultural and forest land, displacing native flora and animals, and even human communities. Parthenium, yet another weed, a major threat to human health, now dominates vegetation in town and city wastelands, he mentioned. To manage the invasive alien species, he described a seven point action plan which include awareness, research, action to local level, action at state level, action at national level, action at regional level and action at global level.

Dr P Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI, and President of ISEB in his welcome address introduced the Chief Guest and paid glowing tributes to the scholarship and scientific pre-eminence of Prof. M S Swaminathan for his outstanding contributions in the field of plant science in general and agricultural sciences in particular. He further said that since the world is developing fast to meet the basic needs, it has created an imbalance in the nature. This imbalance along with regular weeding out the plants resulted to huge loss to our plant biodiversity which function as the back bone of the environment. Prof William Manning, Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, USA; Prof S V Kurupa, Department of Pathology, University of Minnesota, USA and Prof J N B. Bell, Imperial College of Science, UK, also spoke on this occasion as Guests of Honour for the inaugural function.

In all ten sessions were held, some concurrently, to, deliberate upon the entire gamut of the vast subject under consideration. The scientific programme of the conference included sessions on :(i) Climate Change; (ii) Environmental Pollution and Biodiversity; (iii) Environmental Biotechnology, Bioremediation and Bioindicators; (iv) Plant Response to Environmental Pollution; (v) Environmental Impact Assessment; (vi) Environmental Education, Mass Awareness, Legislation and Economic Impact; (vii) Improvement, Protection and Utilization of Plants in Relation to Environment. Besides, a workshop and two satellite sessions were also held on the following important topics.: (1). Workshop on Bioinformatics - Plant species diversity, Databases of Botanical collections on Web (Herbnet) and its role in conservation of diversity; (2) Farmer's Right, Environment and Legal Responsibilities; and (3) Neem for Sustenance of Land, Food and Environment. Poster Sessions were also held daily and in all 130 posters were displayed during various sessions.

The first session started from February 5, 2002, in which presentations were made by the participants on the subject `Climate Change'. Dr D A Grantz of Department of Botany and Plant Science and Air Pollution Research Centre, University of California, USA delivered the lead lecture of this session on "Ozone alters assimilate allocation and sugar translocation in cotton and melon". He said, that ozone depletion was a matter of concern, as it resulted in ultra-violet radiation which negatively affects both plants and animals. He explained plant behaviour when exposed to ozone. Since photosynthesis and carbohydrate allocation are the most important metabolisms of the plant system, irrespective of the host and these directly or indirectly affect its later generations, he said.

Another lead lecture on "Global Climate Change and Agriculture" was delivered by Prof. S V Krupa, Professor, Department of Pathology, University of Minnesota, USA. Prof Krupa said that air pollution responsible for the global climate change was posing a grave threat to agriculture crops. He elaborated the different effects of the various gases on plants. He further added that pollution has no boundaries and 23 per cent of the total crop production of world is under ozone pollution and the situation is going to be worse in the near future. He gave information about how doubling the amount of CO will affect the production level of wheat, rice, and other crops. The adverse effect of green house gases and ozone hole caused as a result of our use of CFC compounds will have a great impact on climate change and agriculture crop production. He further said that any accelerated change in the climate was likely to disrupt some of the current cropping system and to create a green belt, as a complementary measure for pollution abatement was a short term cure. He, therefore, recommended systematic scientific efforts to ascertain the impact of impending global climate changes on agricultural crops across the world.

Dr Elina Oksanen of Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, University of Kuopio, Finland, presented an invited lecture based on the findings of her research on responses of two clones of Betula pendula to different ozone profiles. According to her, there is a large variation in prevailing ozone concentrations over Europe, highly depending on climatic condition.

Prof. C K Varshney, School of Environmental Sciences, JNU, New Delhi, India, presented a lead lecture on `Environmental indicators - Yardstick for sustainable development'. He pointed out that environmental indicators would play an important role in national economy. He mentioned that sustainable development should be free of environmental degradation and a balance between the demands of economic development and the need for protection of the environment should be attempted. To convince the administrators and planners, environmental indicators should provide the representative picture of environmental conditions. These should be simple, easy to interpret and be national in scope.

Dr Madhoolika Agarwal, Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, presented an account of Air pollution and Periurban agriculture. She presented field studies conducted on important plants, such as Vigna radiata, Beta vulgaris, Triticum aestivum, and Brassica compestris. Her presentation revealed the magnitude of plant response evaluated in terms of biomass accumulation and indicated a mixed influence of gaseous pollutants, such as sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and ozone that affects crop yield negatively. Dr Maria Sanz, of Spain gave her invited lecture on ozone effects in Mediterranean region. She described the vertical and horizontal distribution of ozone and correlated it with its effects on plants.

Dr Riikka Niemi, Department of Environmental Science, University of Kuopio, Finland, presented a paper entitled "Sphangum Mosses Sensitive to Small UV-B Increases - An Outdoor Microcosm Experiment". The Sphagnum moss may suffer even from a rise in UV-B, other peat land species and the carbon dynamics may be affected as well, she explained.

The first satellite session on "Farmer's Rights, Environment and Legal Responsibilities" was held after the lunch which was chaired by Prof Ms Josanidia Santana Lima of AV Sete de Setembro, Barra, Salvador-Ba, Brazil and was assisted by Dr Vijay Lakshmi Goel, NBRI, Lucknow. The lead lecture was presented by Dr P Pushpangadan. He stressed the importance of Biodiversity, IPR, Patent, CBD, PBR and explained how CBD and WTO Regime came into force. He said that some of the developing countries have realized their potential of bio-resources issues and have now awakened to these issues and challenges posed by the GATT and TRIPs guidelines, as stipulated by WTO. He explained, how the developing countries are seeking intellectual property registration systems that would identify and document the sources, the genetic material and also extend IPR to traditional knowledge systems, particularly those of the indigenous communities, in line with the Article VIII(J) and Article X(C ) of CBD. India has the proud distinction of being the first in a benefit sharing model that implemented in letter and spirit, Article VIII (J) of CBD, Dr Pushpangadan informed. He talked about biodiversity act of India and important clauses relating to IPR and nature of benefit sharing. Dr Pushpangadan stated that global plant conservation initiatives are very essential since Asia has great biodiversity and high level of endemism. Almost more than 45,000 species of plants of which 17,500 are flowering in nature are available in India. Inventory of these plants has already been made by Botanical Survey of India. However the efforts are on to conserve them. The old estimate states that more than 15,000 sacred groves existed in India at the beginning of the 20th century. However the current estimate shows it to 3,000 in number which means that 12,000 have already disappeared. Presently there are more than 187 botanical gardens in India - 130 small and 40 medium, out of these only 12 are continuing their job of conservation. He further added that five of such big gardens are busy in multi-disciplinary research, working for the cause of conservation of plant resources. Speaking in the same session, Dr H M Behl, Scientist, NBRI, Lucknow, India introduced the audience to the "Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer's Right Bill, 1999". He highlighted the necessity for enforcing the Farmer's Right as the farmers are the cultivators, breeders, conservators, and enhancers of genetic resources. Their knowledge, innovations and practices have to be protected. He emphasized the main points of the bill, viz. protection, of traditional knowledge, benefit sharing, participation of farmers in decision making, right to sell, save and exchange seeds, restrictions to GMOs-destructive terminator technology. Mr Nirvikar Gupta, HJS, Institute of Judiciary Training and Research, spoke on the legal aspects of IPR. He emphasized the different articles of CBD and legal aspects, TRIPs and IPR.

In the second session on "Environmental Pollution and Biodiversity", Dr M P de Silva, Department of Botany, University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka delivered a lead lecture concerning effects of some environmental factors on the distribution pattern of algae on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

Dr Giuseppe C Bertoli, Museo de Historia Natural La Satlle, Fundacion La Salle. Aptdo, Caracas, Venezuela, focused his lecture on "Diversity Reduction and Dam Construction in the Orinoco River Delta, Venezuela" wherein he found that clam construction has effected changes in the hydrological and sedimentological regimes of its channel and surrounding wetlands. The differences found in the floral composition of the meadows are the result of the hydrodynamic differences between the channel morphology, bank slope, current-velocity, and hydrology regime, he informed.

Dr Purushottam Shrestha of Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathamandu gave his invited lecture on the findings of a case study on the environmental pollution and biodiversity of lake Phewa Tal of Nepal, wherein he highlighted issues, such as biomanipulation of aquatic macrophyte species, eco-zoning of the lake shore line and monitoring of drainage discharge for sustainable biodiversity management of lake ecosystem. He also suggested management strategy for water quality preservation, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management of this lake. Dr Anil Kunmar Goel, NBRI, Lucknow described in detail about the conservation of plant diversity in India.

The presentations of the first session of the third day of the conference dwelt on "Environmental Biotechnology, Bioremediation and Bioindication" was chaired by Dr Roger M Cox, Canadian Forest Service, Atlantic Forestry Centre, New Brunswick, Canada. Dr Maria Sanz of Spain was the Rapporteur.

The lead lecture of this session was delivered by Dr William J Manning of University of Massachusetts, USA on "Detector Bioindicator Plant Responses give Biological Significance to Ambient Ozone Monitoring Data". Dr. Manning explained that detector bioindicators are plant species that naturally grow in an area and respond to ambient ozone only when conditions are appropriate for ozone uptake and plant injury. He also added that for individual locations, it was possible to develop simple models that use monitored ozone concentrations and environmental variables for making short term predictions of ozone injury on detector bioindicators. He further said that Ethlenediurea (EDU) was known to suppress acute and chronic ozone injury. He concluded his talk with the remark that in any event, prediction of ozone injury in nature plants must be verified by ground proofing to have biological significance.

Dr Osvaldo A Fernandez of CERZOS and Departmento de Agronomia, Universidad Nacional del Sur 8000 Bahia Blanca, Argentina, with several examples elucidated that aquatic vegetation is an indicator of sustained ability of fresh water systems and any positive or negative growth in the population represents the environmental pollution. Dr Rashmi Sanghi, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India explained the need of cost-effective alternative technologies or sorbents for treatment of metal and dye-contaminated waste streams. She informed that adsorption process offers most economical and effective treatment method for the removal of colour and treatment of textile effluents.

Dr Moire Wadleigh of Department of Earth Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, Canada described the use of stable isotopes to determine the anthropogenic sulphur signal in two genera of epiphytic lichens, namely Alectoria and Cladonia. The spatial distribution of sulphur isotopic compositions of all samples suggested contributions from sea spray, local point sources and long-range transported sulphur.

Prof. Ms Josanidia Santana Lima of AV Sete de Setembro, Barra, Salvador-Ba, Brazil presented her deliberation in the post lunch session chaired by Prof DA Grantz (USA) and supported by Dr UN Rai, NBRI, Lucknow and Dr Rikka Neimi of Finland. Ms Lima stressed upon biomonitoring and remediation of contaminated soils. Her lecture was based on the study on, "Biomonitoring of Air Pollution Effects Near a Copper Smelter in Brazil Using Mango Trees and Soil Microbiological Parameters". She stated that the plant's respiration rate increases following pollution and this development can be used as an indicator in the restoration process. The other lectures that continued for the day were 14 in number of which seven were from the foreign countries and rest from India.

The day was also marked by concurrent satellite session on "Neem for Sustenance of Land Food and Environment" under the guidance of Dr H M Behl, Coordinator, National Neem Network of India. In the opening remark, Dr P Pushpangadan, Director, NBRI stated that Neem - An Ancient Plant, is known to purify the air and was traditionally used as an disinfectant. It has around 228 uses in the fields of health care, agriculture, and pesticides. Neem cultivation is now done scientifically and national gene bank of neem has been created at NBRI, lie informed. The researchers discussed various aspects relating to cultivation, utilization, and processing of neem and production of value added products from the same.

Two sessions were held on the fourth-day centering around on the important topics of "Environmental Biotechnology, Bioremediation and Bioindication" and "Plant Response to Environmental Pollution". The session on "Environmental Biotechnology, Bioremediation and Bioindication" was chaired by Prof. Masahiro Inouhe, Department of Biology and Earth Science, Faculty of Science, Ehime University, Ehime, Japan, assisted by Dr Ms Carole ER Pitcairn, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK and Dr J S Lima AV Sete de Setembrq, Barra, Salvador-Ba, Brazil.

The first lead lecture was delivered by Prof. J N B Bell, Imperial College of Science, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, UK on "Biomonitoring of Air Pollution with Plants". In his lecture through case studies conducted by him and his team in the UK, he presented a detailed information of how the higher and lower plants like lichens could be used as biomonitors ranging from local to national scale. Such bio-tech methods of biomonitoring are both cost effective and highly appropriate for the developing countries, lie suggested. Prof. Andreas Klumpp from Institut Fur Landschafts-und Pflanzen Okologie, Universitat Hohenheim, Stutgart, Germany presented the third lead lecture on "Biomonitoring of air pollution effects near a copper smelter in Brazil using mango trees and soil microbiological parameters". At the polluted sites, a strong accumulation of sulphur, arsenic and copper in mango leaves as well as in superficial soil was detected by him. He suggested for a routine biomonitoring pragramme in the area of industrial complex of Latin America, Camacari (NEBrazil), including chemical, biochemical and morphological parameters. Dr Rakesh Tuli of NBRI, Lucknow in his lecture on "Designer Plants for a Sustainable Environment" said that advances in biotechnology could be utilized to provide future technologies for environmental clean up and sustainable development. He also dwelt in detail about the advanced research work being carried out at NBRI in the development of transgenic plants using BT-technology.

The post-tea session was chaired by Dr P Pushpangadan, Director, N B R I, Lucknow, India and Prof. C K Varshney, Professor, J N U, New Delhi. They were supported by Dr L D Emberson (UK) and Dr R D Tripathi (India). It featured six lectures.

Prof. Roger M Cox of National Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada gave his lecture on "The Use of Passive Samplers to Determine Canopy Exposure to 03 NO2 and SO2". He described the recent advances in the development of relatively inexpensive passive sampling devices for monitoring gaseous pollutants and advantage of using these devices, as they are relatively inexpensive, require no electrical power and provide a cost-effective means to provide dense enough sampling to determine exposure, especially to complex terrain. He also discussed the configuration and case studies using passive samplers to determine forest-exposure to gaseous air pollutants.

Dr S M Mathur, College of Technology and Engineering, Udaipur, India discussed about "Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) -Problems and Remedy". He was of the view that water hyacinth's invasion and its rapid spread have a significant influence on availability of water, food security, human health and national economics. Dr U N Rai of N B R I described the biotechnological applications for bioremediation of fly ash using blue green algae and tolerant Rhizobium strains which helped the vegetation to grow. Dr R D Tripathi, N B R 1, Lucknow presented his paper on "Role of Phytochelatins in Phytoremediation of Toxic Metal Ions from the polluted environment". He said that phytochelatins with ability to accumulate high levels of heavy metals could be used as suitable species for phytoremediation of metal from polluted environment. Dr D J Godin of Lucknow Christian College, Lucknow, India in his lecture stressed the importance and applied use of algae as bio-indicators combined with standard physico-chemical parameters to assess Gomti river water quality. Lecture of Dr Ram Jee Srivastava, Forest Research Institute, U P, Kanpur, India centered around the need of development of green belt for bioremediation of urban pollution. He implied the need for screening of pollution tolerant plant species suitable for the establishment of green belt around industrial sector for creating aesthetic environment.

In the fifth day session four on "Plant Response to Environmental Pollution" was chaired by Prof. J N B Bell and Dr Irina V Lyanguzova of Komarov Botanical Institute, St-Petersburg, Russia was the Rapporteur. In all, 12 lectures were delivered in this session. The first invited lecture of this session was delivered by Dr G A D Perera of University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She delivered a talk on the outcome of her study on the effect of edaphic conditions on the invasion of Prosopis juhflora and Opuntia dillenii, at Bundala National Park of Sri Lanka.

Dr LI de Bauer from Instituto de recursos Naturales, Montecillo, Edo Mexico, Mexico thereafter, presented her lecture on "Air Pollution as a Component of Environmental Deterioration and Its Effects on Vegetation in Central Mexico". She said that about two per cent of the total green house gases of the world were emitted from Mexico itself. She gave information about the natural and anthropogenic characteristics of Mexico Valley. The research work carried out by her in the Mexico Valley would be useful to illustrate the problems involved in India as both these countries lie between the same parallels on the world atlas. Dr Ms Elizabeth Olivares, Centro de Ecologia, Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas, Caracas, Venezuela presented her lecture on "Evaluation of lead impact in foliar organic compounds of Tithonia diversifolia growing in natural conditions. Dr S K Datta of N B R 1, Lucknow in his lecture on "Parameters for Detecting Effect of Pollutants on Plants" focused on the possible genotoxic effects of different environmental pollutants, like radiation, industrial effluents, pesticides, fumigants and their effects on human beings in terms of gene mutations and morphological, physiological, anatomical and chromosomal aberrations. Dr Mujeebur Rahaman Khan, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India in his lecture informed that coal smoke exposure influenced the development and severity of root-knot nematode disease caused by Meloidogyne incognita in plants.

Dr S B Agarwal, Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Allahabad, India delivered a lecture on "Effect of Vehicular Emissions on Air Quality and Plants Performance Along a National Highway in India". His studies were based at various places along national highways of India between Varanasi and Naubatpur sections for monitoring the air pollutants, such as NO2, SO2, 03, SPM, and Pb at five different locations. Plants growing in high pollution zone showed lower concentration of ascorbic acid in leaves and lower photosynthetic rate. He concluded that air quality along the highways has potential negative impact on plant performance in the area.

Dr Tushar K Das of Department of Botany, Behhampur University, Behrampur, India in his lecture presented the results of his investigation on the effects of industrial effluents from three major industrial units of southern Orissa on germination behaviour of two cultivated varieties (BAM 6 and T90) of rice and observed that Chlor-Alkali Industry Effluents drastically reduced seed germination in both the varieties, specially under the influence of higher concentrations of the effluents. He concluded that this was clue to the presence of mercury and various chlorinated compounds in them and revealed that with the increase in the concentration of the effluents there was gradual decrease in seed germination.

In a almost similar lecture Dr Ms Irina V Lyanguzova V Lyanguzova of Komarov Botanical Institute, St-Petersburg, Russia spoke on "Reproductive Ability of Flower Plants Under Industrial Pollution". She investigated different areas situated at various distances from Ni-Cu smelter complex and the most significant change observed was gradual decrease in the number of vegetative dwarf shrubs while approaching the pollution source. For some species it resulted in the increasing of coenopopulations generativity. She concluded that the difference in the seed productivity of flower plants were significant in some years, as were the seed productivity and seed crop of the some coenopopulations.

Dr K R Arya of Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, India spoke on "Ethnobotanical Heritage and Cultural Diversity of Bhotias Tribes in Uttranchal and Its Conservation". Large-scale illegal felling of trees, deforestation due to poverty and industrialization, tourist traffic, land slides, etc. are playing havoc with the vegetational wealth of the region and endangering the ethnomedicinal folklore of these regions. There is, therefore, and urgent need to conserve the etnobotanical knowledge in the folklore and daily life of the tribe. Another speaker of this session Dr Mohamed A Soliman spoke on the impact of chlorine gas pollutant of a soap factory on the cultivated crops.

The post-lunch session on "Improvement, Protection and Utilization of Plants in Relation to Environment" was chaired by Prof. Andreas Klumpp (Germany) and assisted by Dr Ms Melor Ismail, University of Malaya, Malaysia and Dr Nandita Singh, NBRI, Lucknow, India. It featured twelve lectures.

Dr Subodh Sharma of Aquatic Ecology Centre, Kathmandu University, Kathmandu, Nepal delivered a lecture on "Present Status of River Bagamati in Kathamandu, Nepal". He highlighted the rapid deterioration of water quality in the river due to unsustainable use of water resources for human use, resulting from the comparison between available physico-chemical and biological data obtained during 1986 and 2001. Dr Asha Khandelwal of Birbal Shahni Institute of Palaeobotany, Lucknow, India gave a lecture on "Qualitative and Quantitative Assessment of Aerobiopollutants". She stated that the air-borne pollen grains and fungal spores are the causal organisms for many respiratory diseases. She described the results of her study carried out in Chowk area of Lucknow city (India). In all, she described 31 types of pollen grains, 34 types fungal colonies and 35 types of fungal spores. She studied various pollen grains, fungal colonies and fungal spores, and found that while pollens showed the highest dominance, the fungal colonies were found with the maximum intensity in the months of January, May, September, and December.

Dr 0 N Tiwari of Council of Science and Technology, Lucknow, India delivered a talk on "Effects of green mannuring and application of biofertilizers on ricewheat cropping system in integrated nutrient management". He focused on the increasing trend in total N and organic C content in the case of BGA biofertilizer application. He said that there had been an increasing response to the application of biofertlizers as compared to their respective control. Dr R S Raghuvansi of G P Pant University of agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttranchal, India presented her paper on "Uncommon Plant Foods of Uttranchal Hills: A Boon to Human Health". She elucidated the nutritive value of 15 food plants grown in Uttranchal hills. She also informed that these plants posses therapeutic properties.

The lecture of Dr Dhan Prakash of NBRI was related to nutraceuticals, wherein he said that nutraceuticals were likely to play a significant role as preventive, protective and health promotive food supplements and would be preferred prescriptions of tomorrow even for diseases associated with increasing environmental pollution. Dr V P Kapoor also from NBRI discussed "Current Trend in Natural Food Colours and Its Scope". Dr A S Sodan, Department of Botanical Sciences, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjab, India delivered a lecture on "Studies on the Development of a Computer Software for Inventorization and Identification of the flora of Punjab plains (Family Asteraceae)". He described the role of computers in invetorization and identification of species. A manual identification key has been prepared using ASTKEY software. FORTAN has been used as the programming language, he informed. Dr A K Sharma in his lecture, stressed the need on conservation of some trees through excised root culture method. He stressed the need of in vitro method of germplasm preservation of heterozygous trees through long-term regenerative excised root culture.

The lectures centering around the theme on "Environmental Education, Mass Awareness, Legislation and Economic Importance" encompassed following papers.

Dr Sudershan Kumar of N B R 1, Lucknow presented his paper on 'Biodiversity Information Management : Reference Management Software (RMS) Based on Client Server Architecture". He described about the softwares and databases developed and future planning related to biodiversity and policy making worldwide. The papers of Dr A N Sharga and Dr R K Roy both of NBRI Lucknow were concerned with eco-education. Dr Roy presented his paper on "Environmental Education in Botanic Garden: Challenge and Opportunities in the New Millennium" He said that environmental pollution was a global problem and a growing concern so there was need to create mass awareness by educating common people about the devastating consequences of environmental pollution. He stressed that a consolidated approach supported with technical personnel would certainly be able to meet the environmental challenges in the new millennium by utilizing the resources and opportunities available in the botanic garden. Dr A N Sharga presented his paper on "Biodiversity Conservation and Eco-education for Mitigating Pollution". He said that loss of biodiversity poses one of the greatest challenges to the world community and the conservation of the biodiversity by bringing awareness through eco-education is imperative for sustainable utilization of plant wealth resources. He also described the efforts made by NBRI in this direction.

The paper by Dr Abha Singh of College of Family Resource Management College of Home Science, NDUAT, Faizabad, India on "Environmental Concerns Related to Farm Women" was significant. `Ignorance on the part of the farm women also reflected hazardous effect on the health of children and other family members', she says. Therefore the awareness of the farm women towards the use of hazardous chemicals is required and also a initiative to campaign to improve the traditional chulas used by rural women, she concluded.

Dr H M Behl of NBRI, Lucknow lectured on 'Biofuels : A Paradigm Shift'. He informed that use of biofuels in the developing country like India would be pivotal for its economy as a large chunk of its economy goes for oil imports. He advocated the research on biofuels as these are environmental friendly raw material source for manufacturing vegetable oils and other industrial chemicals.

Concluding Session

On the concluding day one lead lecture and four invited lectures were delivered. Dr P V Sane, Emeritus Scientist (C S I R), N B R I, Lucknow, India Chaired the scientific session and was assisted by Dr A K Goel. Dr Hem Chand, Medical Superintendent of SGPGIMS, Lucknow lectured on "Hospital waste: An Environmental Threat and Effective Management". He said that approximately from 8 lakhs beds from Indian hospitals about 12 lakhs kg hospital waste was generated. However, in fact, 15 per cent of hospital waste is hazardous and not the complete, he explained but when mixed with non-hazardous waste, the 100 per cent wastes become hazardous, he warned. He dwelt in detail the rationale of hospital waste management, health hazards and risk associated with poor hospital management, and approach for hospital management.

Dr Lisa Dianne Emberson of Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York, York, UK delivered a lecture on "Establishing an Air Pollution Network to Assess Impacts to Vegetation in Asia". She said that the predicted increase in emissions of primary pollutants in Asia may have severe consequences for the health and productivity of forest trees and agricultural crops. She described different methods for assessing air pollutant impacts to vegetation and recommended establishment of a network of air pollution scientists from countries across Asia for the synthesis of information of air pollution.

Dr Padam B Rastogi of Ministry of Environment and Forests, Regional Office. Lucknow, India delivered a lecture on "Environment-friendly Technologies vis-avis Environmental Conservation". According to him, rapid industrialization and exploitation of natural resources to achieve the quick economic development has increased the pollution load alarmingly. Dr Arun Arya from M S University of Baroda, Vadodara, India presented the results of their studies on fungal biopollutants and said that fungi were not only biopollutants but played a key role in biodeterioration causing damage to books, charts, botanical objects and herbarium specimens. He also recommended the use of biofungicides, viz. Lantana camara and Ailanthus exelsa in place of conventional fumigants as a safe and ecofriendly alternative.

Dr A K Gupta of School of Environmental Sciences, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow explained the importance of environmental impact assessment (EIA) for assessing the quality of environment and the need for the comprehensive EIA for setting up various type of Industries. He also presented his work on the EIA carried out in Kymore valley region in Madhya Pradesh, located in proximity of cement and lime kilns factories. Studies revealed severe deterioration of air quality at all the experimental sites, especially during the winter season.

Finally the plenary-cum-valedictory session was held on February 9, 2002, in which the recommendations of this International conference were finalized and passed on unanimously for ameliorating the global environment. The Chairman of the Plenary Session Dr P V Sane, the first and the former President of ISEB and former Director, NBRI thanked the participants for their good and fruitful interaction they shared during the conference. The recommendations and future actions would echo our experiences in one voice, he said. Dr Sane expressed his gratification at the high standard of scientific papers presented and the discussions that followed subsequently. He suggested for the possibility of developing of the network of the society in different countries for addressing the environmental problems worldwide. The others who spoke on this occasion were: Prof. J N B Bell of the UK, Prof Roger M Cox of Canada, Prof S V Krupa of the U S A and Dr H M Behl of India. Dr Bell said that he was happy to note that numerous papers were related with the environmental problems of the developing countries. Addressing the participants, Dr Krupa of the USA on this occasion said that to fn.uctify the recommendations, our approach should be to convey the message to the general masses, government and industry in most effective manner. Awards were also given to the first and second winners of the poster presentations. Three of the distinguished foreign delegates. namely, Prof. S V K Krupa, Prof. JNB Bell and Prof. Roger M Cox also addressed the gathering and gave their comments and impressions about the conference. Earlier, Dr K J Ahmad, the Organizing Secretary and Secretary, ISEB welcomed the delegates and guests to the Plenary-cum-Valedictory session and conducted its proceedings. He also presented the recommendation emerged out of this five-day conference.


This Conference Report has been taken from “Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research”

Vol. 61, September 2002, pp 734-742


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