Our Toxic World – A Guide To Hazardous Substances In Our Everyday Lives
April 2010: This is one of the most unique and useful publications of its kind (designed for non-technical people) to have emerged from India’s struggling anti-toxics movement in over two decades. Meticulously researched and very well-written and illustrated, it should be compulsory reading for all families.
Every school library should make this book available to its students for, along with reading, writing and arithmetic, survival and self-defence is also a lesson our children desperately need in a world fast being ruined by adults who are either ignorant of the risks to which they place the young, or, worse, uncaring.
Our Toxic World is an illustrated story (in comic book format) about the Sachdeva family, which, like many others, has a father in a government job, a wife who is a homemaker, a son starting out on his career and a daughter in high school. Like most families, the Sachdevas are surrounded in their everyday lives by a cocktail of toxic substances they are hardly aware of. The book follows the journey of these four individuals who, through Madhavi Kulkarni, an environmental activist and friend of young Prasad Sachdeva, the family and others that come in and out of their circle of existence, learn about the perils they face and the solutions they can use to live a little cleaner, a little safer. Readers are provided a ‘fly on the wall’ insight into the life of these players. Everyone who reads the book will recognise themselves in some or other of the very living characters that have been created.
The book offers a whole compendium of solutions that makes this a virtual manual for safe living for those running schools, offices and homes. Sage Publications is to be complimented on its persistent attempt to bring meaningful books to the public. Ravi Agarwal of Toxics Link is to be congratulated too, for his sheer persistence and indomitable spirit that continues to fight the toxic demons of despair. I placed an order for 10 copies to be distributed to those I care about. I gave them the books with a note suggesting they buy 10 copies and present them to those they care about.
Our Toxic World – a Guide to Hazardous Substances in our Everyday Lives
A Toxics Link Project
Scripted by Aniruddha Sen Gupta, Illustrations by Priya Kuriyan
Published by Sage
Soft cover, 162 pages, B&W, Price: Rs. 395
Reviewed by Bittu Sahgal, Editor, Sanctuary Asia
N.B.: The copyright notice put out by the Just Environment Charitable Trust, 2010 reads: All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. This is the only part of the book I disagreed with. My suggestion is to change that text to: “The information contained within this book may be freely copied and recirculated for all non-commercial purposes, provided the source is quoted. Notwithstanding the above, the ownership rights of the copyright holders are asserted.”