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Killer heat wave: Over 1700 dead in two Telugu speaking states of India

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New Delhi: People fill water from a water tanker to beat the heat on a scorching hot day in New Delhi on May 23, 2015. (Photo: Sunil Majumdar/IANS)
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Hyderabad/New Delhi/Mumbai/Jaipur: The searing heat wave continued unabated on Thursday in many parts of India, claiming another 414 lives in Andhra and Telangana alone to take the toll above 1,700 while rains brought relief in some states, officials said.

Andhra Pradesh reported 313 more deaths due to sunstroke during last 24 hours while 100 more succumbed in Telangana.

With this the toll in the two Telugu states rose to 1,774. While Andhra Pradesh accounted for 1,334 deaths, 440 people died in Telangana, officials said.

Four deaths due to sunstroke were reported from West Bengal and one from Bihar, in addition to two from New Delhi on Wednesday. According to unofficial sources, two dozen people have died in Bihar.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the heat wave conditions will continue at few places in Odisha, Vidarbha, Jharkhand and Telangana and at isolated places over Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and coastal Andhra Pradesh over next two days.

It has also forecast rain/thunder showers at most places in the northeast and at a few places in Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

No respite from the blistering heat was in sight in Andhra and Telangana as both states sizzled with the highest temperature of 47 degrees Celsius.

Khammam and Nizamabad in Telangana recorded 47 degree Celsius, as did Nandigama and Ongole in Andhra Pradesh.

According to the Meteorological Centre in Hyderabad, though rains brought the temperature down in some parts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, severe heat wave conditions continued in the state.

The heat wave paralysed life in Rajasthan, which continued to reel under heat wave conditions on Thursday, with the maximum temperature hovering between 40 and 45 degrees Celsius.

The temperatures in some places, including state capital Jaipur was higher by 3-4 degree celsius above the average. Jaipur was hot at 44.7 degrees Celsius, four degrees above average, while Bundi and Kota were sizzling at 45.5 degrees and 45.4 degrees Celsius.

“The heat wave is likely to prevail in some places in Rajasthan in the next 24 hours. Jaipur will see partly cloudy skies with the possibility of a dust storm. The maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 44 degrees and 28 degrees respectively in Jaipur in next 24 hours,” a weather department official told IANS.

The hills of Himachal Pradesh experienced warm weather, with Una town recording a high of 43.2 degrees Celsius.

“Temperatures soared due to the dry spell. Shimla recorded a maximum temperature of 28.5 degrees Celsius, four degrees above normal (average) for this time of the year,” a meteorological department official told IANS.

Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, recorded 32.6 degrees Celsius, five notches above average.

It was a hot and dry Thursday in the national capital, with the maximum temperature recorded at 41.1 degrees Celsius, a notch above average. The met office forecast similar conditions on Friday, with the sky likely to be clear through the day and the maximum and the minimum likely to hover around 41 degree and 27 degree Celsius.

Heat wave conditions continued in Bihar with the mercury touching 41.7 degree Celsius in Gaya district, the hottest place in the state and Patna recording 39 degree Celsius, met officials said in Patna.

“People will have to wait for a few more days to get any respite from the prevailing severe heatwave,” said met office director A.K. Sen.

Vayas ji, the principal secretary of the state disaster management department told IANS that heat wave has claimed one life so far. However, unofficial reports received from different parts of state said that at least two dozen people have died in the last one week due to the heat.

Uttar Pradesh also continued to reel under the intense heat with the met office promising no immediate relief from the scorcher.

The weather office in Lucknow said maximum temperatures across the state were expected to rise further during the next 24 hours to Friday evening.

“Bundelkhand region and parts of western UP will see as much as three degrees rise in day temperatures,” said meteorological department director J.P. Gupta

Slight relief was experienced from the heat wave conditions in certain parts of Maharashtra’s Vidarbha and Marathwada regions though high temperatures ruled the roost in most areas on Thursday.

Chandrapur recorded the highest temperature of 47 degrees Celsius and Nagpur was second at 46 degrees, though the state has no officially recorded heat-wave related casualties.

Wardha, Akola and Parbhani recorded 45 degrees – a degree higher than Wednesday -while Yavatmal stood at 44 degrees on Thursday.

Intermittent drizzle and strong winds overnight brought welcome relief to Bhopal and other places in Madhya Pradesh which had been reeling under blistering conditions.

The residents of Bengaluru experienced pleasant weather on Thursday, while other parts of Karnataka braved a heat wave – the mercury at 42.5 degrees Celsius in Kalaburgi, 41.5 degrees in Bijapur and 42.4 degrees in Raichur, officials said.

-IANS

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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)