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90% Delhiites don’t know how to dispose of their trash, according to a study. Experts say most people don’t realise the consequence of discarding e-waste, or any trash, in an improper manner.

Ever wondered where does all your old and worn-out gadgets go after you chuck them in the bin or sell them to the junk dealer? Experts say they come back to you in the form of toxic fumes and polluted water.

These gadgets often land up in makeshift workshops, where metal is extracted of them using the crudest methods releasing a range of toxic elements.

According to the experts most people don’t realise the consequence of discarding e-waste, or any trash, in an improper manner. A report released by Toxics Link in 2016 had stated that 90% Delhiites don’t know how the trash must be disposed.

If they reach the dump yards, they are collected by rag pickers, who in turn, sell them to junk dealers after keeping the parts they can reuse. Even the junk dealer sells them to scrap aggregators. From the dealers, they reach the illegal dismantlers, who sell them to extractors.

“Once the gadgets reach the unauthorised extractors they are broken, burnt and bathed in acid to extract metals. This crude process emits toxic fumes and chemicals that make way into the drains, and then to rivers and water bodies. Chemicals from e-waste can also pass through the ground and contaminate the soil and groundwater. It all comes back to us in the form of polluted air and water,” said Swati Singh Sambyal of Centre for Science and Environment.

An analysis by CSE of soil samples collected from the banks of the Ramganga in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad — known for its dismantling industries — showed very high levels of heavy metals. The water samples also showed the presence of heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury above permissible limits.

Apart from recoverable materials such as plastic, iron, aluminium, copper and gold, e-waste also contains significant concentration of substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment. “The metal has several impurities as they are extracted in the crudest form. To put it back into the formal chain, the metal is sold to smelters who purify the metals before selling it to the formal metal market,” said Preeti Mahesh of Toxics Link.

At present more than 90% of e-waste recycling activities are done by the unorganised sector. In Delhi, areas such as Mustafabad and Seelampur are known for their illegal dismantling units.

“It is very important that safety measures are in place during treatment of this waste. Otherwise these pollutants might seriously affect the health of the recyclers who treat the waste by entering their body through respiratory tracts, skin, or the mucous membrane of the mouth and the digestive tract,” said Chitra Mukherjee of Chintan.

It is here that the extended producer responsibility (EPR), which forms the core of the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 comes into play. The EPR intends to break this informal chain of recycling, which is polluting the environment and make the recycling process more eco-friendly.

“The EPR makes it mandatory for the producers to take responsibility of the product after their life ends. Once it is strictly implemented, it can formalise the recycling industry,” said Mahesh. Source : HT

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Late-night eating habits disrupt the working of the body’s biological clock, resulting in high blood-fat levels and heart problems.

If you enjoy late night snacking, you have a higher risk of developing various heart diseases and diabetes, says a new research. Late night eating habits disrupt the working of the body’s biological clock. It is out-of-sync with the 24-hour cycle, resulting in high blood-fat levels and heart problems, the researchers found. Previous research has said that midnight snacking can affect your skin and your heart health.

“The fact that we can ignore our biological clock is important for survival. We can decide to sleep during the day when we are extremely tired or we run away from danger at night,” said Ruud Buijs, Professor at the University of Mexico in Mexico City. “However, doing this frequently — with shift work, jet lag, or staying up late at night — will harm our health in the long-term, especially when we eat at times when we should sleep,” Buijs added.

The researchers studied rats who were subjected to a challenge. They were fed during the beginning of rest phase (day) and the beginning of active phase (night). The results showed that after feeding the rats at the beginning of their rest period, the level of blood fat spiked more drastically than when fed during the beginning of their active phase.

The research, published in the journal Experimental Physiology, revealed no change in the blood fat levels when the researchers removed the part of the rat’s brain that controls the 24-hour cycle. It was evident that the presence of blood fat in high levels not only affected the metabolism rate but also increased the chance of various heart diseases and diabetes. Source : HT




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Lawyer Afroze Shah said the drive was stopped after 109 weeks owing to abuses from local goons and inadequate waste clearance by BMC

Days after city-based lawyer Afroz Shah announced the plan to suspend Versova beach clean-up, the minister of state for housing and urban affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, took up the matter with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Shah announced the drive that has been on for 109 weeks would be stopped owing to abuses from local goons and inadequate waste management by the civic body.

Puri tweeted on Tuesday that he was deeply concerned about the attack on Shah and his volunteers by criminal elements. “Took up the matter with Maharashtra chief minister’s office and was assured that instructions had already been issued to Municipal Corporation and Mumbai police authorities to give all help,” he tweeted, adding, “This service [clean-up drive] to the nation must go on.”

Shah told HT on Wednesday that he stood by his decision of not conducting clean-up drives at the beach. “I have not told anyone that the clean-up drive will resume. I am grateful to the minister and the Centre for highlighting the issue. I don’t want to take a call until the time the ground reality doesn’t change. It will only become a cyclical process, where citizens clean the beach, but there is no follow-up action,” he said.

Clarifying on Shah’s allegations of improper waste management, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials told HT the location where the trash (5 lakh kg) was collected was inaccessible during the monsoon, and the process of segregating the waste into dry and wet was time-consuming. The BMC removed 12 truckloads of collected garbage from the beach on Tuesday and another 15 on Wednesday. “We have removed 50% of the trash so far. The remaining will be removed by Friday,” said Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner and ward officer. “We have increased manpower for waste segregation at the site. As dumpers can’t reach the location, we have deployed tractors. We have also decided to deploy two vehicles for every clean-up, so the garbage is collected and sent during the drive itself.”

The civic officer said the local police station has been asked to file a non-cognisable offence against unidentified persons for the alleged abuse. “We have been told that police personnel will be deployed for security of volunteers this weekend, if Shah decides to carry on with the drive,” said Gaikwad.

Shah and 84-year-old neighbour, Harbansh Mathur (who passed away in 2016) started to clean the 2.5km stretch in October 2015. The volunteers have so far cleared 7 million kg of trash from the beach. The effort was hailed by the United Nations Environment Programme as the ‘world’s largest beach clean-up’, and was lauded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this year.

The Mumbai police said they would provide safety to Shah and his volunteers even in the absence of complaints. “Shah has set an example for citizens and the Mumbai police will support him in his endeavour. We will ensure full security to Versova Residents’ Volunteers,” said Kiran Kale, senior inspector, Versova police station. Source : HT

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The quality of air across the Indo-Gangetic belt plunged on Monday night and continued to remain very poor on Tuesday morning as stagnant wind speeds prevented particulate matter or very small pollutant particles from being flushed out of the region, an expert said.

Southern India, on the other hand, is enjoying a spell of good air partly driven by settling of pollutants due to northeast monsoon showers.

This, however, may be translating into worse air quality for north India, D Saha at the Central Pollution Control Board’s Air Laboratory said.

“Moisture from the south is entering the north and trapping pollutants near the surface,” Saha said.

According to the CPCB, individual stations in Delhi and the National Capital Region recorded Air Quality Index (AQI) as high as 446 at 9.30am. Out of 19 monitoring stations in NCR, 12 recorded severe air quality.

Delhi was one of the worse with an AQI of 397, inching towards the severe category with air quality between 400-500. In Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, air pollution levels are threatening to go off the charts with AQI of 478, as per data from the CPCB.

The national capital also witnessed a cold foggy morning on Tuesday with visibility dropping to 200 metre at 8.30am.

Saha also said what Delhiites experienced in the morning was fog and not smog because of low levels of sulphur dioxide.

The other major factor was crop burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, that will persist for the entire winter season.

Noida and Ghaziabad also witnessed hazardous levels of pollution in the past 24 hours and it is unlikely to get better.

Moradabad is the hub for waste recycling, in particular, electronic waste, and pollutants from improper disposal practices feed into poor air quality.

The still air has made the problem worse with PM 2.5 levels recording a sudden jump to over 600 µg/m3 (micrograms per metre cube), over 10 times the prescribed limit. Exposure to these levels of pollution over a long time causes respiratory problems especially for people with lung and heart disease.

Source : HT.




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MMC Act to be implemented in state to control mosquitoes

Written by Thursday, 14 September 2017 06:06

With mosquito-borne diseases on the rise in the state, the public health department is planning to expand the scope of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (MMC Act), 1888, to the entire state to effectively act against offenders allowing mosquito breeding in private spaces.

In a meeting held by state Health Minister Deepak Sawant and senior state health officials on Monday, it was decided to seek the opinion of the law and judiciary department on enforcing sections of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Act in state.

“This will be similar to Bombay Nursing Homes Registration Act initially limited to only Mumbai and later enforced in the entire state,” said Dr Satish Pawar, director at the Directorate of Health Services. The state government plans to pick specific sections from MMC Act, such as reporting of certain communicable diseases, sections on water and sanitation, and legal action taken for allowing mosquito breeding.

The most important section the state hopes to implement is Section 381 of MMC Act that allows civic body to prosecute a person found guilty of allowing mosquito breeding in public or personal space. The fine ranges between Rs 2,000-10,000. Section 381(B) of the Act deals with those who default on making water tanks mosquito proof.
In June, BMC found maximum mosquito breeding in public buildings.

The public works department buildings had 536 non-mosquito proof spots, central railways had 446 spots and central public works department was found with 252 breeding spots. Western railways owned 636 buildings, where 3.7 per cent tanks had no mosquito proofing. Central railways, which owns 577 premises, had a significant 23.5 per cent breeding spots. All government agencies were issued notices by BMC.

“The fine is minimal. Offenders are let off easily which is why we have been asking to increase it to prevent multiple offences,” Dr Rajan Naringrekar, insecticide officer, BMC, said. With monsoon receding and weather conducive for viral infection to multiply, the state is taking special efforts to control malaria and dengue, both spread by mosquito. In Mumbai itself, 271 malaria cases and 102 dengue cases were recorded since September 1.

While malaria is carried by anopheles, dengue is spread by aedes aegypti. Indoors, aedes mosquito breeds in feng-shui plants, flower pots, fish tanks, unused tyres and petri-dishes. “We are expecting a spike in dengue, leptospirosis and gastroenteritis in the coming days because of flooding in Mumbai. Steps have been taken to ensure medicines are adequately stocked,” a civic official said. Dr Pradeep Awate, state epidermiologist, said H1N1 cases have also been high. In the state, 4,628 have been diagnosed with H1N1 infection, including 488 who succumbed until August end.




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Member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher has submitted proposals to Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, regarding setting up of a 300-bedded trauma centre in Chandigarh, apart from construction of a sports injury centre at Government Medical College and Hospital(GMCH), Sector 32.
A statement issued Tuesday said Kher met Chaubey Monday and submitted the proposals.

“In one of the letter addressed to Chaubey, she mentioned that the Trauma Centre already running at PGIMER is over burdened and not sufficient to cater to the needs of the region (i.e Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir). Construction of the proposed trauma centre is need of the hour. In a separate letter, she has written that Chandigarh Administration has proposed to construct sports injury centre in GMCH, Sector-32,” the statement said. It further said that the project report has already been submitted to the Director General Health Services, Government of India, for approval.

Kher, during the meet, requested Chaubey to look into the matter and arrange requisite approval for the project.
The MP also told Chaubey that Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has already granted its approval regarding setting up of a Trauma Centre as an extension of GMCH. “Chandigarh Administration has already earmarked a plot measuring 9.6 acres for setting up of a Trauma Centre in Sector 53, Chandigarh, and a detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Trauma Centre has also been prepared. Whereas the project related to construction of Sports Injury Centre is pending with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, since April 2013,” the statement said.

The statement further stated that GMCH has established itself in the region in the field of sports injuries and on an average is performing 100 surgeries on elite players of different games coming from all over the country.

“Presently, there is only one dedicated Sports Injury Centre in the country which is based at Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. Chandigarh Administration has already earmarked a plot measuring 1.43 acres for setting up of this centre. Accordingly, a Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed centre has been prepared. It is felt that setting up of a similar centre in Chandigarh, which caters to the needs of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, will go a long way in restoring the health of athletes in the region so that they can go back to the pre-injury level of games at the earliest,” the statement added.




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CHENNAI: AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala's husband M Natarajan is in a critical condition after sufferingmultiple organ failure on Sunday. Natarajan, 74, has been admitted to Gleneagles Global Health City in Perumbakkam, where he is under intensive care.

According to a medical bulletin released by the hospital administration, Natarajan suffers from chronic liver disease and has been receiving treatment for it for the past six months. "He is admitted at the Liver Intensive Care Unit with decompensated liver disease leading to liver and kidney failure and lung congestion. He is receiving dialysis and other intensive care therapies," the hospital statement said.

Natarajan has been registered with the Tamil Nadu Organ Sharing (TNOS) waiting list for deceased donor liver transplantation. "He is being taken care by a multidisciplinary team of liver specialists headed by Prof. Mohamed Rela," the hospital note said.

According to hospital sources, Natarajan had undergone a dialysis session for more than eight hours on Sunday. This is not the first-time Natarajan has been hospitalised this year. On February 5, he was brought to Apollo Hospitals on Greams Road after complaining of breathing problems.




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Swine flu spurts in Delhi: 1,066 cases last month

Written by Saturday, 19 August 2017 06:15


Swine flu has surged sharply in the capital with 1,066 cases being confirmed in the last one month, which is more than four times the number reported during the rest of this year.

The total number of cases till August 13 this year stands at 1,307, more than six times the corresponding period of 2016.

Nationally, 18,855 cases of theH1N1 influenza have been reported this year, claiming 929 lives.

But despite the spurt in cases in the capital, the number of deaths has not risen significantly. "Only four deaths have been reported: two from Delhi and two patients from outside have died," Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain said in the assembly last week. At a review meeting on Friday , Delhi health department officials told their counterparts in the Centre that the city has sufficient training and stocks of medicines to tackle the swine flu outbreak.

Health experts said there was no cause for panic over the sudden spurt in swine flu in Delhi. "People should not panic if they suffer normal viral infection. The high risk groups include people with heart diseases, pregnant women, children below eight years of age, senior citizens, diabetics and kidney disease patients. These patients need special treatment," said a doctor.

Dr Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services, told TOI that the Centre had offered to train doctors of Delhi government and private hospitals on treating swine flu cases. "If any hospital wants training, we can send our doctors," he said. Delhi health minister Sandar Jain said in the as tyendar Jain said in the assembly last week that the government had enough stocks of medicines and vaccines to tackle the outbreak.

"Adequate facilities for treatment are available in Delhi. We have placed orders for advance purchase of medicines," Jain said. He added that there were reserved beds for patients in government hospitals and not even 5% of these beds had been occupied.

The spike in the cases at this time of the year has come as a surprise because swine flu usually peaks in the postmonsoon season and early winter. Some health conscious people have started maintaining caution when they are in public places because the H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, transmits from human to human.

"The spike in swine flu at this time is also due to infection coming in from states where a very high number of cases have been reported.Such a big outbreak in the month of August is a matter of concern since swine flu usually rises in October and November," said Dr K K Aggrawal, national president of the IMA. The association has planned to launch a poster campaign against swine flu."






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A study has warned that cloudy drinking water is linked to increased cases of gastrointestinal illness. Cloudiness in water is caused by material floating in it. The undissolved particles may actually provide some protection for harmful pathogens against disinfectants.

Researcher Anneclaire De Roos from Drexel University in Philadelphia, US found associations between acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) and water turbidity, a term meaning cloudiness or opacity. Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by large numbers of individual particles that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air.

The results revealed that exposures through drinking water caused a low but detectable number of AGI cases in the regions. There is no clear, alternative explanation for the patterns of associations — particularly when a similar pattern was seen multiple times. Acute gastrointestinal illness could be caused by waterborne pathogens like norovirus, Giardia, or Cryptosporidium and carry symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting. Researchers looked into a collection of studies that had been done on the topic.

These studies were designed to evaluate risks from contamination of source waters (usually rivers in the cities studied), before the water entered cities’ distribution systems. They found that turbidity of drinking water was linked to increased AGI in multiple studies, and not just when there was increased cloudiness. “As expected, the association between turbidity and AGI was found in cities with relatively high turbidity levels, often in unfiltered drinking water supplies,” De Roos noted.




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AHMEDABAD: Gujaratgovernment and theAhmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) once again got a rebuke from Gujarat high court on Wednesday "for taking its direction lightly" in response to a petition seeking prompt measure to curb spread of swine flu, which has already claimed over 200 lives across the state.

A bench headed by Justice M R Shah told government's law officers that everything looks all right on paper, but the reality is different. The court asked the state government to state what measures have been taken to curb the spread of the disease.

The court said that so many people dying of the disease is really serious, and the authorities must take prompt steps in public interest. The court has sought a report in this regard by Monday.

The court also expressed concern about testing facilities and commented whether there is a provision to provide this facility free of cost to the poor.

The court's chiding came after advocate K R Koshti urged the court to issue directions to arrest further damage due to swine flu spread in absence of proper facilities. By adding the issue of swine flu in his last year's PIL to curb vector-borne diseases, the lawyer submitted that the state government and AMC machinery was never prepared to fight against H1N1 virus, and to prevent loss of life.

The PIL has demanded appointment of a committee of experts for field visit to take stock of the situation and to report to the court about the reality.

It seeks directions for creating facilities of diagnosis and free treatment for the poor. It has also asked for compensation for the victims.

Meanwhile, Justice Shah recalled the directions issued last week to AMC to clear roads of stray cattle and garbage.

The judge said that heaps of garbage have not been removed yet, though the authorities had promised to bring in visible change in a week's time.

The PIL stated that despite World Health Organization (WHO) warning, no effective measure has been chalked out by the administration to tackle the outbreak. Till August 15, 208 people died out of total 1,883 swine flu patients in Gujarat.

The petitioner complained that the government has not set up laboratories at districts across the state for testing the virus, and delay caused in diagnosis proves fatal in most cases. The PIL has complained that AMC does not have enough staff in its health department to deal with the situation.





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