Call for more awareness of environmental pollutants in The Hindu on 5 Feb, 2011

Call for more awareness of environmental pollutants

The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, S. Gandhiselvan has called for greater efforts at spreading awareness among the common population about the ill-effects caused to human health by environmental exposure to mutagens and carcinogens.

The lack of knowledge about the impact of the environmental pollutants leads to numerous problems in several parts of the world. The contaminants of food, water and air produce curable diseases like diarrhoea and nausea, due to physiological changes, while contaminants such as radioactive wastes and chemicals produce incurable diseases. “Without studying the biological property of neutron radiation it was applied in cancer therapy. The results showed more deaths due to radiotherapy than cancer itself,” Mr. Gandhiselvan said, while delivering the keynote address at the inaugural function of the 36th Annual Conference of Environmental Mutagen Society of India (EMSI) and the International Symposium on Environmental Exposures to Mutagens and Carcinogens on Human Health organised by the School of Bio Sciences and Technology (SBST) at the VIT University campus here on Friday.

The Minister said that the conference should motivate the VIT students to take the outcome of this meet to the general public. , he said.

Navin B. Chawla, former Chief Election Commissioner of India, who released a compact disc and inaugurated the conference requested the Union Minister and the VIT to initiate efforts towards a scientific study of the possibility of using polythene wastes for improving the quality of roads, as disposing of the polythene wastes caused environmental problems.

He called upon the budding scientists to come up with cost-effective solutions to the problems caused by environmental pollution. "There is great concern today for the poor who do not have access to potable water and good health care. I see in you not only scientists, but also leaders who will take action to solve the problems of the poor," he said.

G. Viswanathan, Chancellor of VIT who presided said that India require seven lakh doctors and 15 lakh nurses. Therefore there was an urgent need to expand higher education facilities in medicine and nursing in India. The government should support higher education for the poor by providing scholarships to them.

More institutes of higher education should be started in India to cater to the needs of the high youth population in the country, he said.

Mr. Gandhiselvan released the conference souvenir. Mr. Chawla received the first copy. V. Raju, Vice-Chancellor, VIT welcomed the gathering. Radha Saraswathy, organising secretary, said that the symposium was being held in the context of the fact that new genetic disorders were being detected everyday. There were already more than 1000 documented genetic disorders, calling for scientific research to tackle them. VIT Vice-Presidents Sankar Viswanathan, G.V. Sampath and Sekar Viswanathan participated. Anilkumar Gopinathan, Director, SBST proposed a vote of thanks.

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