Electric vehicle to reduce ecological/ carbon footprint ( blog #7)

From the I= PAT equation, we have learned the technology advancements are necessary to leave our impact positively on earth. Technology can be a powerful tool to reduce ecological footprint. It can also increase the earth’s carrying capacity as many expert believe. I am not a technology person but recently I have been looking into technology to reduce my carbon as well as ecological footprint.  This course has changed my way of thinking. I now think about the sustainability.

Lately I have been thinking to buy a electric car.  These electric vehicles are quick and eco friendly and powered by batteries and it doesn’t emit carbon  into the atmosphere. Electric cars are making a big comeback into the car industry since the electric vehicle disaster when GM made a car called the EV 1 and  General Motor (GM)  eventually had the them back to be crushed and left dead. It is still controversial why the GM took that steps. But then an entrepreneur named Elon musk made a car called the Tesla Roadster and the electric car industry was back many other companies such as BMW, Mercedes joined and electric cars were again in the market. Good and long range electric cars are very expensive but by 2040 they are going to be as expensive as their counterpart internal combustion engine (IC).Now all types of electric vehicles are available in market, like sedan, SUV, and 18-wheeler. Almost all series of Tesla cars have auto-pilot options, which can run at road with minimal supervision. Those cars have very good safety features, because of cameras are installed for different views, based on surround object control unit can make a smart decision and drive the care safely. Electric cars are way different what the IC counterparts. All electric cars use almost the same technology, it has induction motor(s), control unit, cameras, charge port, and battery with different types and power holding capabilities. Every car company place those main components in different ways with different configurations.  The electric car will most likely succeed because of the positive impact and efficiency of an electric vehicle. But electric vehicles will not get away without some downsides for example, the making of the car and disposal of the vehicle will most likely cause at least some pollution and to add on where the electricity is coming from could be from a power plant that emits carbon emissions. With everything there is a field of improvement like safer batteries and the energy production. I have a strong feeling that electric car companies will very soon fix it’s problems and everyone could have one.


The former president Barack Obama has declared that by 2025 the cars will go 55 miles per gallon, which will make America to be self-dependent reducing the use of foreign oil. I think it will also boost our economy too. To know more Obama administration’s fuel efficiency standard, visit


A delicious healthy plant based recipe from my kitchen!


On March 27th, 2018, our class had the opportunity to have Justin McGonigal, a promising nutritionist and  researcher  at MUSC, as our guest speaker who gave his presentation on sustainable nutrition. He advocated for plant-based diet heavily. He also stressed about the association between animal product consuming and cardiovascular diseases. He also explained why the atherosclerosis ( hardening of the arteries) has already begun and what to do to prevent coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and other heart related diseases. He also mentioned the effect of phytochemical, which only can be found in plants are so important to fight cancerous cell. After taking this class, I am now aware of my ecological footprint and I try to consume more vegetables than meat (especially beef) to not only for the sake of my body but also to lower my carbon footprint. I am inspired by Justin McGonial’s lecture so much that I’m almost every day cooking a plant based food that are rich in protein. Today, in this blog I am going to share one of my favorite recipes  from my kitchen.


We know that the protein is a macronutrient, which must be consumed to maintain cell function, growth and to build muscle. Amino acids are the monomers which make up the protein.  We need 20 different kind of amino acids, of which nine cannot be synthesized by the human body and needs to have them from the diet, and those nine amino acids are called essential amino acids. We get protein from meat, but the fact is we can also nourish our body and meet the need of protein simply from legumes, bean, lentils which are the excellent source of amino acids. But we have to keep in mind that the plant based protein are not complete protein so that various typed of lentils and legumes must be added in diet to meet the need. The following is the recipe I want to share:



¼ cup yellow lentils

¼ cup chana daal

¼ moong daal

¾  tsp turmeric powder

¼ chili powder (optional)

½ cup chopped cilantro

½ cup various kinds of bean( kidney, lima bean)

1/3 cup oil/ ghee

1 chopped onion

1 tsp cumin seed

Chopped garlic 2 clove chopped

Ginger chopped 1 tsp

1 bay leaf

1 or two whole green chili

Lime juice 1 Tbsp




1 Boil all the daals, lentils and bean in water. Put turmeric powder, chopped garlic and bay leaf, and cumin seeds and give it soupy look. Add salt according to your taste.

  1. Heat the oil/ghee in a separate pan. Sauté or fry the chopped onion until it become brown. Careful to not burn the onion but make it brown to give the soup its rich flavor. And pour the boiled lentil-bean mix. Now reduce the heat and cook it on stove for 7-10 more minutes. You can add chili and chopped ginger now.
  2. Garnish your protein rich soup with cilantro, if you want you can add few drops of freshly squeezed lime.
  3. You can also add chopped potatoes, okra, tomatoes to make it more nutritious. In that case you will have to increase the amount of other ingredients (onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric) if you want.

All the ingredients are available in Bombay Bazaar, an Indian store, on Rivers Avenue. Turmeric is also can be found in Sam’s club and Whole Food market. Following is the picture of my cooking, “Delicious Daal”.

Save “Sundarbans”, a World Heritage site, the world’s largest mangrove forest from “Rampal Coal Plant”

Do you know the name of the world’s largest mangrove forest? It’s name is the Sundarbans. In Bengali “Sundar” means beautiful and “Ban” means jungle. ” Yes, this jungle is as beautiful as one can dream about in stories such as The Jungle Book.  It is in Bangladesh, a small country in South Asia, and the forest is situated in the southwest part of the country. It is the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger, incredibly ferocious, marked with black stripes all over its yellow body. The region also has pythons, deer (chitra with white spots), elephants, alligators, monkeys and birds of many species. The forest is also the home for many trees which are endemic to the area. Unfortunately, the trees are being cut down for the need of expanding the human habitat to support the country’s massive population. Smugglers  are also cutting the trees as it has high demand to be used as the raw materials in many factories, cooking, producing matches and paper illegally.

But the Sundarbans faces its largest threat right now when the government agreed to establish a power plant called the Rampal Power Plant. The power plant will be a coal-powered power station to be founded  in the Rampal area in the Khulna division in Bangladesh. The planning of this proposed power plant was agreed between two countries: India’s National Thermal Power Corporation and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). The joint-venture company is called Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company. Perhaps it was for friendly relations between the two countries, but plan is not friendly to the environment. According to environmentalists, this project is designed in a way that highly violates the preconditions that was set up by the Department of Environment (DoE) which says that the “location of plant, 14 kilometers from the Sundarbans, violates one of the basic preconditions which says such projects must be outside a 25-kilometer radius from the outer periphery of an ecologically sensitive area.”

The Sundarbans is in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, deemed by the Ramsar Convention to be incredibly important, not just in an ecological matter, but in culture, economic, and other matters. The proposed location will not only occupy over 1800 acres of land, but India has abundant coal as a natural source, so millions of tons of coal that will be brought to the power plant in Bangladesh by ship. Environmentalists say the ship that will bring the coal will not be covered which will pollute the air with coal dust and other toxic substances, and also it will pollute the nearby Poshur river with its waste and other debris which will affect the waterbody of the mangrove forest and will be highly detrimental to the marine life and surrounding ecosystem of the Sundarbans. Many species are already endangered by the human encroachment, which will be made even worse by a large industrial presence.

The Sundarbans are a part of UNESCO world heritage. The Indian and Bangladeshi government deny the allegation that this coal based power plant will be detrimental to the environment to the environment, but construction of the Rampal Power Plant has temporarily stopped nonetheless due to protests. The Sierra Club, a highly esteemed organization with roots stretching back to the beginning of the environmentalist movement and founded by famed activist John Muir, and several other organizations are demanding a petition to stop this project. I think the Sundarbans is not solely the asset of Bangladesh, it is an asset of the whole world. We as world citizens must protest this industrial encroachment to save the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger and join to abolish the Rampal Power Plant.

This is my blog # 5. This blog is very close to my heart, I spent two years of my childhood living in Jessore, Khulna division which is close to Sundarban.  Sundarban is considered one of popular tourist destinations in the world.

You can get  a glimpse of Sundarban by visiting following link   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-efniRgE5Y

Lyme disease : The first epidemic resulting from climate change

Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease in the USA. It is caused by the bite of the tick that is infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This virus is helix or spiral shaped and is very versatile which make it very difficult to treat. The deer tick that cause the lyme disease often called the black legged tick.  For the last past  two decades, lyme  infected population has been increased, and experts believe that climate change is one of the main culprit because it is providing suitable environmental condition for the tick habitat to grow and expand. The first case of lyme disease was found  in Colorado and ticks were found in only in the east region in USA, but now the ticks are found in all fifty  states in America.

The  tick has three stages in life : larvae, nymph and adult. It has two years of life span.Ticks need to feed on the blood of three animals to complete their life cyle.  Rick Ostfelt, an ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. “We know that climate change has contributed to Lyme disease spreading northward and to higher elevations.” He   further explained that the cold blooded  bugs can only move and look for a meal when the weather is warmer, so when it is near freezing point it is very difficult to thrive. If they find their yummy warm meal before finishing up the reserve, they will die sooner. Now we see the early blooming and leafing before even the spring start. As the spring is coming earlier now and the summer is getting longer, it is much easier  for the tick to creep on northward to find the animal  to latch on for the blood.

The tick usually latches on its meal for 36 hours and it takes time to transfer the Borellia bacteria from their gut to saliva, so it is very important to check and look for the tick in the body when a person goes  hiking, camping or the heavily infested tick area. The circular bull’s eye rash, along with the fever, chills are the classic symptoms of the infection. But this rash is not seen in everyone who is infected. It is usually treated with the first line antibiotics and the duration of the treatment depends on the symptoms and its severity. If left untreated it usually cause further severe symptoms like meningitis and many form of disabilities. This disease  is one of the most under reported disease because the sign and symptoms of the lyme disease mimic  other diseases. Lyme disease often is mistaken for fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, arthritis or even with alzheimer. Dr. Pal, a researcher in the University of Maryland mentioned  the importance of diagnosing and  treating  lyme disease as soon as it gets diagnosed. Recently he discovered a protein marker, that will identify the lyme infection in the body. He also found that even if the immune system responds perfectly, the bacteria can spring back in the body weeks later. He also explained if the bacteria is not destroyed by our first wave of immunity, our adaptive immunity actually will overreact so strongly that it will cause inflammation in all joints and areas ( heart and nervous system) where the bacteria invaded.


According to the Centers for Disease Control CDC, 300,000 people are getting infected with lyme disease annually. There is no specific treatment regimen or  vaccine for lyme disease in the market currently. A vaccine, called lymerix, was withdrawn from the market in 2002.  Many people now are conscious about  human activity on climate change. Climate change is a threat to public health in every aspect, from the vector born disease to environment pollution. We cannot stop climate change, but as people we  are capable to slow down the global warming process, which will certainly help to minimize the spread of these tick-borne disease. Hopefully we will have an effective vaccine for lyme disease soon, which will make us less worried when we will go  hiking and camping in the summer in thewoods.





Drug Disposal And Its Effects On Environment

Have you ever wondered what to do with your prescription bottle/container that has some medication left? The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back events where collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed guidelines to dispose medication responsibly through the Take Back program. If people do not have access to that program, he or she can just throw out unused medications, but there is also a list known as the “flush list” where excess medicines from this list should be flushed for public safety. Product formulations listed on the most current version of the flush list contain the following 13 active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs): buprenorphine, diazepam, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, methylphenidate, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, sodium oxybate, and tapentadol. Characterizing by their effects, the thirteen APIs can be broken down into one benzodiazepine (diazepam), one respiratory and central nervous system stimulant (methylphenidate), one central nervous system agent (sodium oxybate), and the remainder being opioids. Out of all items on the flush list, opioids are dominating the list. Perhaps it has been done so reduce the accidental ingestion by children. We are in the midst of opioid epidemic so quickly disposing excess opioids is highly recommended to avoid non-medical use of opioids by adolescents or accidental ingestion of sodium oxybate by children, which can result in rapid sedation. Pets are also at an elevated risk to these potentially hazardous medicines.

These APIs are listed in the flush list due to their severe toxicity and documented poison cases. But a large problem remains: even when flushed as it can remain in and poison our water system and soil. The effect of the existence of these APIs in the environment on human health is not yet fully understood, but researchers are assuming that this has a negative impact on health and are demanding an alternative to flushing these pharmaceutical ingredients.

Recently endocrine  disrupting compounds are also found in the drinking water. And Drinking water which serves or about 28 million people were tested for fifty-one different kinds of drugs  by  Mark J. BenottiRebecca A. TrenholmBrett J. VanderfordJanie C. HoladyBenjamin D. Stanford and Shane A. Snyder. Water was contaminated with not only different kinds of drugs but also other organic compound which is definitely pose risk for plant or animal  plankton, fish and human as well. Pharmaceutical compond such as atenolol, atrazine, carbamazepine, estrone, gemfibrozil, meprobamate, naproxen, phenytoin, sulfamethoxazole, TCEP, and trimethoprim were found.  Researchers also stated :

“The typical compound concentrations were less than 10 ng/L for these top eleven with an exception for sulfamethoxazole at 12 ng/L, However, TCEP levels at one drinking water treatment plant was detected to be at an absurdly high level of 120 ng/L, showing wide variance in these concentrations. Atenolol, atrazine, DEET, estrone, meprobamate, and trimethoprim can also serve as indicator compounds to represent potential contamination from other pharmaceuticals and EDCs and can gauge the efficacy of treatment processes.”

As mentioned earlier, FDA  suggested guidelines about disposing drugs in household trash. It says to mix the capsule/tablet with cat litter or used ground coffee and put the mixture in a sealed plastic bag. Any personal information on the medication must be scratched off before disposing the original medicine packaging container.

If anyone is interested to know how to dispose drugs, he or she may visit the following link.


A hot line is available for the consumer to provide information about disposal of drugs .Consumers may directly call 18008829539 to get DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center to reach the drug collector in the surrounding area. Although there is no evidence that the presence of in nature in significant amount and contributing to ecotoxicology, we hope that all our unused medication can be disposed and stored safely in certain areas so that they will not pose any threat to the environment or to the public.








Event blog “Floating Island”

     Floating Island- Is it Real?

In February 16th, 2018 College of Charleston arranged a very interesting event where a promising science fiction writer, Dr. Melody, gave her speech on floating islands. She is currently an assistant professor at University of California, Santa Barbara. She said that although she was not an architect, she was struck by some pictures of floating islands in an article in “The Guardian,” and later, as a scholar of literature, she did some research on her own. She thought maybe those floating islands can solve the problems some pacific islands are facing due to global warming.

At the beginning of her presentation, she mentioned that several movies such as “Water World, China Mieville, Snow Crash, [and] 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” were based on the concept of floating lands in post-flood worlds. However, the acceleration of sea level rise now requires the floating island to be taken out of the realm of science fiction. Small island states like Torres Strait Island, the Seychelles, Tuvalu, Micronesia, and the Maldives are considering many options to respond to a post flood future. She showed us a video that actually struck us about how vulnerable those island nations are. In the video clip the president of the Maldives said, “It’s not something in the future, we are facing right now… people were living here for thousands of years but ability sustain human life here seems to be very fragile”. The president Nasid also said, “if we cannot stop the global warming and sea level rising, as the president, it is clear to me that the most important to me to fight for our survival. In the video it showed how flat is the Maldives; there is no hill. The capital Malé has walls around it, but it is still very vulnerable to the rising seas.

Because of the increasing coastal erosion and sea level rising in the near future, perhaps the citizens of these threatened islands will be climate refugees. President Nashid has arranged climate activity forums (COP 21 conferences) and intragovernmental lowland organizations that are now advocating to reduce carbon emission to slow global warming to reduce the speed of this dangerous rise in sea level. If reducing carbon emissions does not work, the people of the Maldives and other island nations will be forced to evacuate to higher lands and become climate refugees. Dr. Melody said that the World Bank has recently come up with a structured migration program suggesting that people of these sinking lowlands can be transferred to the highlands of Austrailia and New Zealand. Some people of the archipelago of Micronesia and Fiji have already invested money to develop the legal framework to assist in climate refugee relocation.

Recently, another option has emerged, large international architecture firms such as Water Studio from the Netherlands and the Sea Studying Institute in Silicon Valley alongside various others in Japan, France, and the rest of the globe have been designing futuristic floating islands that could potentially be sold to the endangered small island nations. Most of these designs are periodically featured in newspaper like in “The Guardian” or the New York Times. These floating island structures could provide new and safer habitation.  In one interview with the President of Kiribati, he said that he has already had meetings with architects who designed some of the spectacles in Dubai with their artificial islands, and he thinks that building floating islands is a potential solution to save their nation, although it is not possible to accommodate every person. Now we can only wait. Perhaps floating islands will not simply remain in the dreams of science fiction writers as scientists and architects are working together to make these islands become real and efficient to save human lives.



Before the Flood- a must watch documentary by National Geography

Before the Flood – a must watch documentary by National Geography


The documentary film “Before the Flood,” directed by Fisher Stevens, is a film about the impact of global warming. The Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio crosses the earth to observe the impact of global warming with his own eyes. Throughout the documentary, he interviewed scientists and activists and went to so many places across five continents. A significant amount of people refuse to acknowledge global warming, claiming that it does not exist. Despite any different political views, people are now weathering more powerful storms and tornados than ever before.

He went to Bahamas to witness the effects of coral bleaching. Because of the ocean’s rising temperatures, the corals are regurgitating algae and starving to death, a big threat of our oceanic ecosystem since coral reefs play a tremendous role reducing carbon emission. He went deep into the ocean in a submarine expedition initiated by marine biologist Jeremy Jackson. Jackson pointed out that over one billion people depend on fisheries from the rapidly-disappearing coral reefs for their diet and livelihoods.

We know that sea level is rising. To see the consequences with his own eyes, DiCaprio went to the South Pacific and met with Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati, and H.E. Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., the President of Palau. Their coastline is declining. They are often hit by powerful storms. They are at the highest risk of sinking because of man-made global warming even though they are not the one who have higher ecological footprints.

In 2013, while DiCaprio was shooting for the film “The Revenant,” the set was melted by the unexpected high temperatures in Northern Canada. In that location, nothing should melt in March because it simply wouldn’t be a normal weather pattern. Because of this, the crew had to relocate 9000 miles away, somewhere in South America. It was quite expensive, and the crew faced the dangerous, first-hand effects of global warming.


Leonardo also visited exotic India where 300 million people has no electricity to use. Coal is one of their abundant natural resource.  In some areas they still use coal to cook and they feel that coal is the cheapest way to get energy even though it increases the effects of climate change. India, because of this unavailability of cleaner energy, is considered to be at the very top in the list of carbon emitting countries.

Leonardo DiCaprio and his team went to visit Sumatra as well. Over there, the palm oil farmers are intentionally setting up various fires for the deforestation of their native forests. They want the land to use it for palm oil plantations because palm oil is so cheap to produce and the fact that so many foods, soaps, and toiletries have palm oil as a chief component. The rainforests that the farmers are razing are in general considered to be the lungs of the earth because they absorb a large amount of carbon which helps mitigate the greenhouse effect. Besides that, Sumatra is well known for its biodiversity, where it is home for rhinos, orangutans, various species of birds, elephants and tigers, but because of rapid deforestation, the rainforest’s acreage is decreasing at an alarming rate. Indonesia has already consumed 80% of its forest land for other purposes.

This is a must watch. You can watch the film just by clicking this link.