Sunday, January 20, 2019

Biome Environmental Trust at Lakshya 2019: A student led initiative of St. Joseph's College of Commerce

Biome Environmental Trust was invited to partner and collaborate with St. Joseph’s College of Commerce on an event called LAKSHYA, 2019. This is an initiative of students of St. Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bengaluru. This year’s event was held on 11th January 2019. LAKSHYA is aimed at engaging students in spreading awareness and arriving at potential solutions through interesting and skill based festive events and mass platforms like the social media. The theme of LAKSHYA 2019 was underground water depletion. The event had 4-theme based competitions where the teams of 3 students from several colleges across Karnataka as well as few other states participated.

The event was very well managed. It was great to collaborate with the team. We hope to continue the partnership with further initiatives.

Glimpses of the event:




 













Display Board at Kaikondrahalli- Citizen Science Project

Biome has been a part of Citizen Science project that aims at fostering knowledge based engagement for citizens around lakes. As a part of engaging citizens, it is important to educate citizens about their lakes, it’s features, its community and about administration of the lakes. In this context, it was appropriate to have Display boards that give information installed at lakes.

Display board at Kaikondrahalli lake:

4*3 ft display board at Kaikondrahalli lake

While Biome Environmental Trust(Biome) has spearheaded this activity, MAPSAS, the lake community has provided support in terms of getting necessary approvals, providing necessary information, and providing infrastructure required for execution. 

ATREE(Ashoka Trust for Research in Environment and Ecology), has made this entire project possible by not only mobilising CSR funds from Oracle but also spearheading and driving the overall Citizen Science project. 

Biome has also worked with creative designers like Adira Andlay, who designed the display board and her creative ideas, thoughts have shown expression in the display board. The printing and installation of the display board was done by Mr. Prasad of Signhive Printers. 

Rekha Arun, the translator of text from English to Kannada has helped us reach out to a larger community by her work.

We would also like to thank BBMP for its continued support in this project.


Biome Environmental Trust

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Responding to Bird kill at lakes...

Biome Environmental Trust has been involved in multiple projects in and around the lake ecosystem and has come across cases of bird kills at the lakes. We wanted to understand how one should respond to such incidents and in this context, we approached Dr. Shankar who is a senior Veterinary doctor in Bangalore. He is associated with Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAHV), Hebbal, Bangalore.
   
From our interaction with Dr. Shankar on 2ndNovember 2018, we gathered the following:

1.     A dead bird should be taken to labs for autopsy within 16 hours after its death. However, if the dead bird is stored in Ice soon after its death, one will have about 48 hours to take it to autopsy. 
2.     He mentioned that a bird kill can happen due to many reasons and some of them are
a.     Death due to Starvation
b.     Death due to exposure to polluted/contaminated water (Chemical or sewage exposure)
c.     Old age
3.     He mentioned that when birds die in many numbers (say above 5) at the same time, that is when it requires them to conduct various tests to understand the cause of death. When the bird is taken to IAHV, an autopsy is conducted. If the cause of death is not easily detectable by an autopsy, then bacteriological, toxicological and viral tests are conducted. If certain tests cannot be conducted in their lab, then they refer the concerned party to private labs where the tests can be conducted. The cost of an autopsy and Bacteriological/Toxicological/Viral tests at IAHV are Rs. 25 and Rs. 100 respectively.
4.     During initial observation and testing, if they detect bird flu, then all the birds in that region (a few kilometers from the epicenter) is culled and the epicenter is isolated. 
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5.     He also mentioned that there are no statistics available on the number of incidents of bird kill.


Contact Information:
Dr. Shankar B P- 9844287557
IAHV- 080-23411502

Biome Environmental Trust

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Initiating People-Centric platform for addressing fluorosis in Chikkaballapur


31st Oct 2018.  

When I type the word “convergence” on my dictionary app, one of the meaning reads “the merging of distinct technologies, industries or devices into a unified whole”. This seems so apt for something like assembling a computer desktop, right? But more relevant usage is also seen in the development sector or projects, where bringing diverse actors together to achieve a common goal is increasingly put forth as a solution to many development problems.




The word is heavily used by different actors in different context. I’m no exception to this.

I would like to share my experience when I put this word into practice. I had organized a stakeholders meeting in Bagepalli in southern district of Chikkaballapur in Karnataka with help of our INREM team and Taluk Health Officer, Bagepalli. This is part of an ongoing European Union (EU) funded project on fluoride and arsenic issues across India.





After sharing observations from our team we opened the floor for discussion.  Participants shared objectives and numbers, of their presence and outreach. The issue and history of fluorosis in these parts of Chikkaballapur was well known among them. Some of the highlights of this meeting are as follows.


One, when participants expressed gratitude to INREM for enabling coming together of these actors, some of them pointed us that it is time to have “such meetings”, where there is representation of government, NGOs and other civil society groups seated together to discuss how to mitigate fluorosis. Because in real world, all problems have multiple linkages or causes to it. Hence there is a need to share or draw knowledge from different disciplines like Water, Sanitation, Health, Education, Nutrition, Agriculture, Ecology etc. Based on this specific inputs from participants have been noted, converting plans into action for fluorosis mitigation is next phase of our work under this project.



Second, participants used words like “convergence”, “forum”, “co-ordination”, “platform” to describe this meeting and wanted to contribute through their own work. We also have a name, it is “people-centric platforms” to ensure civil society have a voice on complex water quality problems. Whatever is the name, people want to solve such problems. Participants requested us to hold such meeting once in 3 months. If such spaces are coordinated well enough, the goal of safe drinking water and good nutrition for all, can be achieved. 

Finally, such meetings need to happen closer to the area of work. For instance participants felt Taluk or block level meeting are good way to initiate and build “people-centric platforms”.   




As this meeting ends, there are handshakes as they see possibilities opening for working together on this issue before they savor bisibele bath and curd rice for lunch.




                                                     KIRAN KUMAR SEN

INREM Foundation

kirankumarsen@gmail.com

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Session on Stakeholder Mapping and Engagement at Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute

Between September 25-September 28, a training program was co-organized by Biome Environmental  (Biome) in partnership with Center for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi. The training program was focused on 'Urban Wetlands Management'. The location of the training was Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute (AAETI), Nimli, Rajasthan. The campus is an education and training initiative of CSE equipped with rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment systems (reed bed and soil biotechnology).

Biome also conducted a session on 'Stakeholder Mapping and Engagement strategies: bringing together stakeholders for robust wetland management' on 27th September. The presentation is available at: https://www.slideshare.net/biometrust/stakeholder-mapping-and-engagement-bringing-together-stakeholders-for-robust-wetland-management. The session included a presentation and interactive session followed by a short documentary on Kaikondrahalli lake.

Biome's session focused on lakes of Bangalore, historical and current narrative, and community led and managed initiatives in Bangalore. 



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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Water quality testing kit from FFEM

On 25th September, 2018, Foundation for Environmental Monitoring(FFEM) conducted a training workshop on how to use their low cost smartphone-based water quality testing kits. Training covered water quality testing for a few very important parameters like pH, Nitrates, Phosphates and DO. 



The training session was attended by members of Biome Environmental Trust, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment(ATREE) and Jakkur and Kaikondrahalli lake groups.

FFEM is a Bangalore based nonprofit organisation, which create products that are designed for field use. Their products are integrated with apps that posts test results to online databases. Some of their products are fife water and fife soil. More details about the testing kits can be found in the following link. http://ffem.io/products/