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Indian Army initiates go green campaign this Diwali


New Delhi: Indian Army regiments in the National Capital Region have decided to go for a cracker-free, green Diwali to contribute towards healthier festivities in the pollution-battered city.

Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated to mark Hindu god Ram’s return post his 14-year exile. People of Ayodhya celebrated his return by lighting up earthen lamps filled with ghee. Since then, the lighting aspect of the festival was extended to firing of crackers and subsequently, use of electric lights for decorative purposes. It is said that the lamps attract insects towards the flame and, in a way, the environment gets rid of them as they get killed by going towards the flame. The ghee vapour which is released in the air is known to be a purifying agent.

Delhi is one of the most polluted cities of the country as vehicles, industries and bad practices of civil society pollute the atmosphere with the release of smoke and other pollutants in air, apart from adversely affecting water and soil.

During the time of Diwali, the level of pollution in the atmosphere rises alarmingly, adding to the woes of the residents who suffer from several diseases caused due to the pollution. Apart from people, animals go through a very hard time as well due to crackers bursting out everywhere because they have more sensitive hearing.

This year, the Delhi Headquarters of the Army Cantonment initiated a campaign for Diwali – This Diwali Let’s Go Green.

The initiative is to bring in an environment friendly, pollution free and safer Diwali this year. The campaign was already initiated a week prior to the celebrations starting in full swing.

“The whole idea of the campaign is to ‘say no to crackers’ so as to reduce pollution levels, as the extent of air and noise pollution caused due to bursting of fire crackers is a cause of concern every Deepawali,” Army sources said.

The Army had, over the weekend, organized a ‘Green Diwali’ mela which was inaugurated by Namita Suhag, president of the Army Wives Welfare Association.

Such steps by the Indian Army represent India’s bigger concerns such as environmental amelioration as opposed to the religious aspect, where certain sections would raise the point of Hindu festivals being ‘fiddled with’. This initiative of the Indian Army also recovers the old practice of lighting lamps on Diwali, as ‘Deepawali’ literally means ‘a line of lamps’.

The active steps taken by these men protecting our borders as well as focusing on internal troubles represent their concerns towards the nation on the whole. We, the members of civil society, must follow these initiatives for a healthier and happier Diwali.




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Youth in polluted cities at increased risk of Alzheimer’s

Climate Trends works on solutions to air pollution, while Co Media Lab is a community media lab.
Pollution can lead to Alzheimer's in youth. Wikimedia Commons

Children and young adults living in polluted megacities are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s, a debilitating brain disease characterised by memory loss, a new study has warned.

“Alzheimer’s disease hallmarks start in childhood in polluted environments, and we must implement effective preventative measures early,” said one of the researchers Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas from University of Montana in the US.

Air pollution can trigger Alzheimer’s. Flickr

“It is useless to take reactive actions decades later,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. The findings, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, indicate that Alzheimer’s starts in early childhood, and the disease progression relates to age, pollution exposure and status of Apolipoprotein E (APOE 4), a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s. The researchers studied 203 autopsies of Mexico City residents in the US ranging in age from 11 months to 40 years.

Metropolitan Mexico City is home to 24 million people exposed daily to concentrations of fine particulate matter and ozone above US Environmental Protection Agency standards. The researchers tracked two abnormal proteins that indicate development of Alzheimer’s, and they detected the early stages of the disease in babies less than a year old.

Also Read: Your daily cup of coffee can worsen Alzheimer’s symptoms

The scientists found heightened levels of the two abnormal proteins — hyperphosphorylated tau and beta amyloid — in the brains of young urbanites with lifetime exposures to fine-particulate-matter pollution (PM2.5).

They also tracked APOE 4 as well as lifetime cumulative exposure to unhealthy levels of PM2.5 — particles which are at least 30 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair and frequently cause the haze over urban areas. The researchers found hallmarks of the disease among 99.5 percent of the autopsies they examined in Mexico City. In addition, the findings showed that APOE 4 carriers had a higher risk of rapid progression of Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s can cause depression too. Pixabay

The researchers believe the detrimental effects are caused by tiny pollution particles that enter the brain through the nose, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and these particles damage all barriers and travel everywhere in the body through the circulatory system.

The authors noted that ambient air pollution is a key modifiable risk for millions of people across the globe. “Neuroprotection measures ought to start very early, including the prenatal period and childhood,” Calderon-Garciduenas said. “Defining pediatric environmental, nutritional, metabolic and genetic risk-factor interactions are key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease,” she added. IANS

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