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Activists Gather Along to Demand Cleaning of River Yamuna

Activists allege that this was the first such tragedy of river pollution that claimed human lives

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Yamuna
Activists allege that this was the first such tragedy of river pollution at Yamuna that claimed human lives. Earlier, there had been cases of only animals falling sick after consuming the toxic water. Wikimedia Commons

Green activists have gathered along the banks of the Yamuna demanding early clean up of the river, which is the lifeline for millions of people in north India.

The region was hit by a tragedy 10 days ago when hundreds of pilgrims on Braj Yatra were swept away while crossing the river in a pontoon bridge. The fragile plastic rope they were holding on to didn’t prove strong enough and many began to drown after a virtual stampede.

Though all the pilgrims were saved from drowning, many of them gulped down the toxic river water as they attempted to keep themselves afloat. While two pilgrims died later, hundreds had to be hospitalised and some of them are still under treatment at private hospitals.

Activists allege that this was the first such tragedy of river pollution that claimed human lives. Earlier, there had been cases of only animals falling sick after consuming the toxic water.

The state government, however, has denied the charges of negligence and of failing to prevent pilgrims from crossing the Yamuna.

Yamuna
Green activists have gathered along the banks of the Yamuna demanding early clean up of the river, which is the lifeline for millions of people in north India. Wikimedia Commons

“These pilgrims on a yatra tried to cross the river Yamuna on the Palwal-Aligarh border, holding on to a fragile rope that did not prove strong and many drowned after a stampede. Hundreds lost control and toop sips of the polluted water,” an activist told IANS on Monday.

“An alarm was raised and scores were hospitalised in Mathura, Vrindavan, Kosi and Naujheel for treatment. So far, two have died, many are still critical. The district administration and the police should be taken to task for allowing devotees to cross the river, when dangers were staring at the face,” he said.

More than 20 pilgrims are still in a serious state. An organiser of the yatra, led by Padamshri Ramesh Baba of Barsana, accused officials of the Haryana government, who had failed to repair the pontoon bridge in time.

Reports claimed that a plastic rope tied to tractors on both sides of the river was provided to support pilgrims for wading through the river.

“People of short height could not prevent water from entering their mouths. When one pilgrim was seen drowning, a number of them ran to rescue him. This resulted in a stampede,” a source said.

What is shocking for locals is the rank apathy of the administration.

“Today (Tuesday) being Yama Dwitiya, thousands of pilgrims will come for the special Yamuna bath,” the source added.

Yamuna
The state government, however, has denied the charges of negligence and of failing to prevent pilgrims from crossing the Yamuna. Pixabay

Neither the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh nor the local MP Hema Malini have addressed this problem of river pollution, despite repeated demands and assurances, agitated locals said.

The stink from the river causes nausea and puts off the pilgrims who choose to return to their hotels and dharamshalas for the ritual bath.

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The river is already dead in Vrindavan, declares Jagan Nath Poddar of the Friends of Vrindavan forum. With hardly any fresh water flowing, the stink at the ghats and the heaps of garbage are proving a nightmarish experience, the locals added.

The Yamuna river is regarded as very sacred by Hindus. (IANS)

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36% Consumers Would Like Devices to Offer Guidance on Environment: Report

36% consumers want guidance on environment from devices

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consumers
36% consumers would prefer being guided on environment by devices. Pixabay

While nearly half of consumers worldwide see technological innovation as critical to tackling future environmental challenges, about 36 per cent would like their devices to offer guidance on leading a more environmentally conscious life, an Ericsson report said on Wednesday.

Interestingly, consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions to help them live more environmentally consciously, compared to others, said the report “Consumers, sustainability and ICT”.

“ICT tools and services can play a significant part in assisting consumer’s daily efforts to reduce their personal environmental impact,” Zeynep Ahmet Vidal, Senior Researcher at Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab and author of the report, said in a statement.

Consumers
Consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions. Pixabay

The consumers do perceive ICT as helpful as an aid in their daily life, be it for environmental, health, cost or convenience-related reasons.

“But ICT also has the potential to enable future innovation in climate action, and here the service providers have a unique opportunity and position to provide novel solutions that can aid consumers in making more sustainable choices in daily life,” Vidal said.

The findings of Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab report is based on a quantitative study of 12,000 Internet users from across the world.

The countries involved in the study include India, the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China and Australia. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents from each country.

The report uncovers the current consumer mindset of leading environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

In the last two decades alone, concern about air and water pollution has risen from concerning one in five consumers, to almost one in two, the research showed.

While consideration for climate change and global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent.

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Global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent. Pixabay

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The study also includes consumers’ thoughts on where ultimate responsibility lies in mitigating environmental impact.

Globally, 8 in 10 consumers consider governments as being responsible for environmental protection.

While approximately 70 per cent consider that citizens should also be responsible, 5 in 10 expect companies and brands to uphold their share of the responsibility, said the report. (IANS)

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Above 51% Women Believe Indian Schools Don’t Have Menstrual Awareness Programme: Survey

Approximately 60 percent women believe that Indian schools do not have adequate facilities for girls to dispose off sanitary napkins

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"Without the right information, girls often don't know how to safely manage their period.", Manushi was quoted saying. Pixabay

More than 51 percent of women respondents say that Indian schools do not have a proper system to prepare teen and adolescent girls regarding the onset of menstrual periods. Nearly 60 percent women feel schools lack adequate facilities for girls to change and dispose of sanitary pads off, says a survey.

Today is Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020 falling , and feminine hygiene brand Everteen had conducted the fifth edition of its annual Menstrual Hygiene Survey.

The survey was conducted among nearly 7000 Indian women participating from various cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Kolkata.

Over 51 percent women respondents claimed that Indian schools do not have adequate systems to educate or mentally prepare teen and adolescent girls regarding the onset of menstrual periods. More than 95 percent women asserted that Indian school system should have some awareness programs to prepare girls on the subject. The survey also revealed that during adolescence, nearly 60 percent women did not have any prior knowledge about menstrual periods. In fact, as many as 38 percent women had first misinterpreted it as an injury or disease.

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Nearly 60 percent women did not have any prior knowledge about menstrual periods. Pixabay

In terms of infrastructure, almost 59 percent women felt that schools do not have adequate cleanliness of public toilets or facilities for girls to change and dispose sanitary pads off.

Chirag Pan, CEO, PAN Healthcare, says, “Menstrual hygiene and wellness have been known issues in the Indian context. While there has been progress in recent years, it is imperative that we leverage our strength in the Indian value-based systems and inculcate the importance of good menstrual hygiene from the onset of puberty itself. Schools can and must play a pivotal role in bringing this paradigm shift through classroom education, awareness programs and focused infrastructure development.”

In workspaces too, 41 percent women felt their office needed better cleanliness and facilities to change and dispose sanitary pads off in toilets.

The survey also suggests that the role that doctors can play in preventing gynecological problems is significantly downplayed due to the shame and guilt associated with menstrual cycles in Indian context. More than 50 percent women said they have had some gynecological infection or problem such as UTI, rashes, foul smell or itching during or after menstrual cycle in the past one year. Among these, 20 percent of women had such issues more than 3 times during the year. More than 64 percent women have faced irregularities in their period dates, out of which half have had to deal with it more than 3 times in a year. Ironically, only 37 percent of women said they consult a doctor in case or irregular periods, whereas 32 percent prefer to discuss it within the family and 30 percent just ignore it. Similarly, more than 54 percent women have had white discharge, but only 25 percent prefer to consult a doctor.

As many as 56 percent women believe that menstruation is still perceived as a taboo in Indian society. Not surprisingly, then, more than 42 percent of women felt uncomfortable buying sanitary essentials from a shop or a chemist, especially when there were several other customers. Because of the guilt associated with menstrual cycle, 87 percent women admitted that they had to hide or secretly take their sanitary product for changing. Interestingly, more than three-fourth of the respondents said that menstruation would not have been such a taboo subject in the society if men had it too!

Menstrual cup
87 percent women admitted that they had to hide or secretly take their sanitary product for changing. Pixabay

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Another key revelation from the survey shows that 53 percent women have used a public toilet more than 3 times at an office, mall or cinema hall to change sanitary product. Hariom Tyagi, CEO, Wet and Dry Personal Care,says, “Our survey shows that 75 percent women feel uncomfortable having to use public toilets to change sanitary products. Yet, more than 93 percent women still use sanitary napkins. By switching to better, modern-age menstrual hygiene methods (MHM) such as menstrual cups, women can reduce the number of times they have to change their sanitary product in a day. Many women have told us that using menstrual cups has greatly reduced their daily discomfort due to periods.” The survey revealed that menstrual cups are now being used by 4 percent of the women, and their adoption has overtaken tampons by almost double.

One of the alarming trends that emerged from the survey shows that more than one-third women said they have used a pill or some other method to delay periods in case of an important occasion. (IANS)

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COVID-19: Taking Care of Eye Glasses a Must

Taking care of Eye Glasses becomes a necessary practice during the pandemic

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Taking care of your glasses and contact lenses has become very important during the ongoing pandemic. Pixabay

The practice of hygiene is not new to us and is something which has been a part of our basic lessons since childhood. The Covid-19 pandemic has just shifted the subject to the forefront and has taught us to make cleanliness our priority and a regular habit.

International health forums have already shared guidelines which state that the spread of Covid-19 is possible through person-to-person contact and exposure to contaminated surfaces. It is found that Covid-19 can survive on certain hard surfaces forseveral days, so touching a contaminated surface and then touching your face potentially exposes you to the virus.

This brings an additional concern to people who use eyeglasses or lenses. They have to ensure that apart from maintaining self-hygiene, it is equally important to disinfect their eyewear on a regular basis. Pammi Jamalpuria, VP-Corporate Marketing, Vision Rx Lab, pioneer of international eyewear brand, Nova Eyewear shares a few important recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus through your eyewear or lenses:

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You must wash your hands before touching your glasses/lenses. Pixabay

Clean your hands before touching your contact lens or eye glasses –

Always wash your hands with mild soap, dry your hands with a clean towel and then put your hands on your contact lens before putting it in your eyes. Remember do not apply any synthetic moisturizer or cosmetic before touching your lenses.

Clean your glasses at frequent intervals –

Always clean your eyeglasses with a cleaning solution which contains mild detergent, helpful to remove surface microbes. Before using it you will have to make sure that you clean them thoroughly, not forgetting the nose pads and sides, and dry them with a clean glass cleaning cloth.

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Keep frequently cleaning your glasses and keep them in their respective boxes. Pixabay

Keep your glasses in dedicated boxes –

Always remember to keep your glasses in dedicated boxes or in some hard shell cases. Keeping them at random spaces can make its surface collect dust and dirt. Hence it is advisable to keep your spectacle in a right sized hard shell case when you are not using them at all.

Have a good grip –

Always hold your frames and glasses with care. The gripping has to be careful to protect the glasses from bending and making it uncomfortable to wear.

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When putting your glasses on or taking them off, it is almost impossible to do so without touching your face. Make sure your hands are clean before doing so by washing them with soap and water.

It is advisable to go for a professional cleaning if there is accumulation of lot of grime from years of wearing. Lenses that don’t have many blemishes and frames that have maintained their shape well can be given professional cleaning to use for a longer run.

Eye health practitioners have confirmed that eyeglasses may help to prevent the virus as one avoids touching their eyes, but it is important to follow the tips as suggested to keep your essentials contamination free and stop the possible transmission through it. (IANS)