regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Letters to the Editor: Science turns to ‘unhygienic’ communities to harvest faecal matter

Readers write in from Calcutta, Chennai, Andhra Pradesh and Siliguri

The Editorial Board Published 25.11.23, 06:20 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo.

New harvest

Sir — ‘Eat s**t’ is no longer an abuse. It is a reality in many parts of the world where the human obsession with sanitisation has killed all healthy gut microbiome, leading to various illnesses. The solution: faecal transplants. Science is now turning to communities that have historically been shunned as ‘unhygienic’— the Hadza tribe in Tanzania, for example — to harvest their faecal matter which is rich in diverse gut bacteria. Harvesting bodily matter, however, is fraught with ethical challenges. The bodies once colonised for their ‘inferiority’ will now be colonised for their superior internal resources.


Meghna Roychowdhury, Calcutta

Out of line

Sir — One cannot help but point out that governors in states ruled by the Opposition parties have wasted the Supreme Court’s valuable time with their resistance to democratic processes (“Battle line”, Nov 24). Their unwillingness to give their assent to bills that have been passed by elected representatives and state legislatures also reveals that they have scant respect for the Constitution. But can the governors be blamed when the government at the Centre itself often ignores the apex court’s directives?

It is high time that the post of the governor is done away with. A former governor, Gopalkrishna Gandhi, himself has stated as much in the past in one of his columns in this paper. This will improve the functioning of state governments.

Tharcius S. Fernando, Chennai

Sir — The exact duties and powers of the governors and the Speaker must be defined. Specific timeframes should be set within which bills have to be cleared. Both offices play a vital role in safeguarding democracy. Yet, the actions of some present-day governors are not in tune with the spirit of the Constitution. This has to stop.

D.V.G. Sankara Rao, Andhra Pradesh

Wheels of success

Sir — The chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, has said that the state has received many investment proposals in the two days of the Bengal Global Business Summit (“Business Summit ends in hope”, Nov 23). One of these investments will see the introduction of Uber Shuttle services in the city. This service might begin as soon as in March 2024. The company has proposed to invest about $10 million in the state by 2025, creating approximately 50,000 livelihood opportunities in the next five years. The state transport department should explore the opportunity of a public-private partnership with Uber to rejuvenate the ailing transportation network, especially the tramways. If the tramways are revived, people from all sections of society will benefit.

D. Bhattacharyya, Calcutta

Delicate balance

Sir — India must protect its interests in the subcontinent (“Could be better”, Nov 23). New Delhi’s diplomatic relations with Bangladesh have improved owing to the Awami League government in Dhaka. If the Bangladesh Nationalist Party comes to power in that country in the upcoming elections, India’s influence on Bangladesh will wane. This will foment trouble in the Northeast. India should refrain from its big-brotherly attitude towards Bangladesh. Dhaka requires a soft touch.

Aranya Sanyal, Siliguri

Foul air

Sir — The Air Quality Index in India is deteriorating with every passing day. Indian cities are among some of the most polluted in the world. It is unfortunate that in spite of landing a shuttle on the moon we cannot provide clean air to our people. Unless drastic measures are taken on a war footing this situation will not change. But politicians who put populism before public welfare will never take such steps.

Anwar Saeed, Calcutta

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