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California Drought: Water crisis may force citizens to drink their own sewage

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

With the lingering Californian drought becoming worse, citizens of the western American state are facing the prospect of eating their own faeces. The impact of the drought has been so hard that Californians are now appealing for treating sewage into drinking water.

Although the idea might seem gross, many scientists believe it is a safe and a more efficient way of treating the moderately treated sewage that is currently being flushed into the Pacific Ocean.

“That water is discharged into the ocean and lost forever. Yet it’s probably the single largest source of water supply for California over the next quarter-century”, Tim Quinn, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, told the LA Times.

According to several experts, carrying out proper and thorough filtration to remove bacteria can reduce the threat that treated sewage poses to health and can even make it cleaner than bottled water.

Treated sewage is not used for drinking purposes due to major opposition from the public, although it is already employed for ‘non-potable’ purposes, such as irrigating golf courses.

However, rhe immensity of the drought might change the opinion of people regarding the usage of treated sewage.

Professor George Tchobanoglous, a water treatment expert from UC Davis in California, pointed to 20 wastewater plants currently discharging into the Colorado River that could be harnessed.

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Google To Provide 4K Chromebooks, 1 Lakh Wi-fi Hotspots For Rural Students in California

The search engine giant has announced to provide over $800 million to support small and medium businesses (SMBs), health organisations, governments and health workers on the frontline of global COVID-19 pandemic

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Google
The search engine giant has announced to provide over $800 million to support small and medium businesses (SMBs), health organisations, governments and health workers on the frontline of global COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

Google has announced to provide 4,000 Chromebooks and 1,00,000 Wi-Fi hotspots for rural students in California, who are studying from home due to coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative was announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday. “We are providing 4,000 Chromebooks to California students in greatest need & free wifi to 1,00,000 rural households during the #COVID19 crisis to make distance learning more accessible,” Pichai tweeted.

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Governor Newsom said the state’s Department of Education will distribute the Chromebooks and WiFi hotspots, prioritising rural communities.

However, the governor estimated that California needs an additional 1,62,013 hotspots on top of the 1,00,000 hotspots and to meet the need the governor has asked other companies to donate.

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The initiative was announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Wikimedia Commons

The search engine giant has announced to provide over $800 million to support small and medium businesses (SMBs), health organisations, governments and health workers on the frontline of global COVID-19 pandemic.

ALSO READ: HP, Lenovo Witness Massive Surge in Bulk Buying of Laptops in India Amidst “Work From Home” During Lockdown

The commitment would include $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organisation (WHO) and more than 100 government agencies globally provide critical information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other measures to help local communities. (IANS)

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Researchers to Develop Paper-Based Device to Detect Coronavirus in Wastewater

Paper-based device to soon detect COVID-19 in sewage

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Researchers are working on a new paper-based device that can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) within the wastewater of communities infected with the virus. Pixabay

Researchers are working on a new paper-based device that can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) within the wastewater of communities infected with the virus.

According to the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, rapid testing kits using paper-based devices could be used on-site at wastewater treatment plants to trace sources and determine whether there are potential COVID-19 carriers in local areas.

The wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) approach could provide an effective and rapid way to predict the potential spread of COVID-19 by picking up on biomarkers in feces and urine from disease carriers that enter the sewer system.

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“In the case of asymptomatic infections in the community or when people are not sure whether they are infected or not, real-time community sewage detection through paper analytical devices could determine whether there are COVID-19 carriers in an area to enable rapid screening, quarantine and prevention,” explained researcher Dr Zhugen Yang, Professor at Cranfield University in the UK.

WBE is already recognised as an effective way to trace illicit drugs and obtain information on health, disease and pathogens.

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The wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) approach could provide an effective and rapid way to predict the potential spread of coronavirus. Pixabay

Dr Yang has developed a similar paper-based device to successfully conduct tests for rapid veterinary diagnosis in India and for malaria in blood among rural populations in Uganda.

Recent studies have shown that live SARS-CoV-2 can be isolated from the faeces and urine of infected people and the virus can typically survive for up to several days in an appropriate environment after exiting the human body.

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According to the researchers, the paper device is folded and unfolded in steps to filter the nucleic acids of pathogens from wastewater samples, then a biochemical reaction with preloaded reagents detects whether the nucleic acid of SARS-CoV-2 infection is present.

Results are visible to the naked eye: a green circle indicating positive and a blue circle negative.

“We have already developed a paper device for testing genetic material in wastewater for proof-of-concept, and this provides clear potential to test for infection with adaption,” said Dr Yang.

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“We foresee that the device will be able to offer a complete and immediate picture of population health once this sensor can be deployed in the near future,” Yang added.

Paper analytical devices are easy to stack, store and transport because they are thin and lightweight, and can also be incinerated after use, reducing the risk of further contamination, the study noted. (IANS)

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Know About the Various Fasting Methods for Weight Loss

Fasting for weight loss: Know the pros and cons

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Fasting can have various health benefits and can help you out with your weight loss. Pixabay

Across India, fasting is generally linked with religious beliefs, and people fast before or during traditional rituals. On the other hand, fasting also has many health benefits and some of its pitfalls.

Many times, people ignore their bodily conditions and choose to fast. For instance, women who are breastfeeding or are pregnant must not fast. Also, people with Type 1 Diabetes who are on medication and people who have had a history with an eating disorder should consult a health specialist before altering a dietary pattern.

Fast can be done in various patterns: the ’16:8′ pattern involves 14 to 16 hours of fasting and eating between the 8 hours. Another fasting method is 5:2, that is fasting for alternate two days in a week.

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A good diet can not only help you lose weight but it can also boost immunity. Pixabay

There are various types of fasting methods that you can follow considering your health condition, as says Shikha Mahajan, holistic nutritionist and founder of Diet Podium:

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting or IF includes reducing calorie intake for an interval of time so that the person fasts for the other hours. This kind of fasting allows restricting the calorie intake and results in weight loss. Time-Restricted Fasting is also similar to IF.

Water Fasting

Water fasting is a way of fasting where the individual only takes water and the intake of food is restricted for a duration of time. This kind of fasting should only be preferred under medical supervision. Sometimes doctors prescribe this kind of fasting to cure various health issues. There is a major drawback of this fasting. Since it is very difficult for a body to survive only on water. Therefore, it can cause many adverse effects on the body.

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Water fasting can help you lose weight but should only be preferred under medical supervision. Pixabay

Fasting Mimicking Diet

This is the diet that tricks the body to think it is fasting. The individual is allowed to eat but only the diet which includes plant-based food, low in carbs and calories, and high in fat.

Here are some pros of fasting. Fasting helps to boost immunity. It naturally increases energy and will help you to feel more alert and focused throughout the day. It helps you attain a leaner, harder physique as fasting kills body fat dead.

There are cons of fasting too. The desire to binge after fasting is the biggest problem people face with fasting. Sometimes people tend to overeat during the non-fasting duration. This can lead to health issues like hormonal imbalances, increase in stress and migraines.

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Occasional lightheadedness is the major problem faced during fasting, To negate this con, you can start with shorter fasting periods first. Always remember fasting or changing your dietary pattern can make a big change to your body functioning, its metabolism and psyche.

Before opting for any kind of fast, consult a health expert and consider your health background. (IANS)