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India requests UN to drop annual human rights resolution on Myanmar

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In order to uplift the citizens of Myanmar affected by violence, India asked UN members to drop the annual ritual of passing a resolution on Myanmar’s human rights situation, on Friday.

Ashok Kumar Mukerji, a permanent representative of the Partnership Group for Peace, Development and Democracy in Myanmar, said, “In Rakhine State, the Myanmar government has taken steps towards restoration of law and order and has expressed readiness to cooperate with UN and other humanitarian agencies regarding rehabilitation of those affected by violence.”

“We urged member of states to agree to the discontinuation of annual resolutions on the human rights situation in Myanmar. In our view, this would convey the world community’s strong support and encouragement for the reform measures that are already underway in Myanmar,” said Mukerji.

Myanmar had made big strides in trying to end more than 60 years of ethnic insurgencies around the country. The government’s Union Peace Making Work Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed groups Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) agreed on a ceasefire agreement on March 31, reported the officials.

Mukerji also stated that, “India had provided aid to help Rakhine State recover from the riots. New Delhi gave $240,000 for the rehabilitation effort after the riots first broke out and $1 million for constructing 10 schools for both communities in the affected areas.”

Development aid to Rakhine State includes $300 million earmarked for the state from the total development assistance of $1.75 billion to Myanmar, and lines of credit totaling $85 million for electricity transmission and road construction in the state, he added.

Myanmar has emerged from nearly 40 years of military rule after the military council was dissolved in 2011 following the 2010 elections. With democratic reforms underway, the general elections are scheduled for later this year.

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who chaired the meeting, praised Myanmar’s “exemplary resolve in striving to achieve peace and stability in the country.”

“The reform process initiated by the Government of President U Thein Sein continues to progress steadily. The country has taken visible strides in many areas of socioeconomic development, national reconciliation and democratization,” said the Secretary General.

The meeting was attended by the Government of Myanmar including Soe Thane, Minister in the Office of President, Immigration Minister Khin Yi, Attorney General Tun Shin, and Rakhine State Chief Minister Muang Muang Ohn.

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)