M R Rajagopalan
M R Rajagoplan, Managing Trustee of Gandhigram Trust and Dr Soundram Trust, passed away on March 17. He was 83.

Born in August 1935, he was selected for central secretariat service from IAS Allied Service and joined Central Government in 1960 and served in various government departments. In 1980, after taking premature retirement from Government, he joined Gandhi-gram Trust.

He was connected with various NGO Groups and served as Executive Committee member of CAPART, Ministry of Rural Development, New Delhi. He was associated with Khadi movement.

He was also a member of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari, AVARD—New Delhi, Gandhian Society for Village Development, Karaikudi, Gandhiniketan Ashram-Kallupatti and several other institutions.

He authored many books and wrote articles on environment, renewable energy and Gandhian economy. He was a regular  contributor to Frontier. In truth he reviewed many interesting books and most of his write-ups were thought-provoking.
A Reader, Bengaluru

Plastic in Bottled Water
New Orb Media research and reporting has recently found that a single litre of bottled water can contain thousands of micro-plastic particles. Exclusive tests on more than 250 bottles from 11 leading brands worldwide reveal widespread contamination with plastic debris including polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

The brands, Orb Media said it had tested were : Aqua (Danone), Aquafma (PepsiCo), Bisleri (Bisleri International), Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (PepsiCo), Evian (Danone), Gerolsteiner (Gerolsteiner Brunnen), Minalba (Grupo Edson Queiroz), Nestle Pure Life (Nestle), San Pellegrino (Nestle) and Wahaha (Hangzhou Wahaha Group). Analysis found an average of 325 plastic particles for every litre of water being sold. Particle concentration ranged from zero to more than 10,000 likely plastic particles in a single bottle.

The study was supervised by Dr Sherri Mason, Chair of the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences at trip State University of New York at Fredonia, a leading micro-plastics researcher.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water after this study was published. Earlier studies have found micro-plastics in tap water as well, but this study has found twice the amount in bottled water.

Bottled water is made out to be the picture of purity and this could be a hard pill to swallow that despite paying a huge premium for bottled water, people are seriously compromising their health. Micro-plastic pollution in the ocean is a serious issue. And now, plastic is ending up on plate and in bodies. "Between the micro-plastics in water, the toxic chemicals in plastics and the end-of-life exposure to marine animals, it's a triple whammy". Says Jacqueline Savitz of campaign group Oceana.

A second unrelated analysis, also just released, was commissioned by campaign group Story of Stuff and examined 19 consumer bottled water brands in the US. It also found plastic microfibres were widespread.

All the major water brands must work towards making water purification technologies available and not just single use disposable water bottles. They create trash and also lead to water contamination with leached chemicals and loose particles.
Shilpi Sahu, Bengaluru

Vol. 50, No.40, Apr 8 - 14, 2018