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Chicago: Chinmaya Mission wraps up its Youth Camp

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

With an aim to educate kids in Indian values and morals, a week long youth camp was organized by the Badri branch of Chinmaya Mission, Chicago. The camp just concluded here last Sunday (19th July).

The camp was organized to acquaint the children with India, Indian heritage, culture and spirituality. Imparting values of vedanta and spiritual growth are core areas of focus at the Chinmaya Mission and likewise, they were the core practices at the camp too.

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The camp saw children of diverse age groups, ranging from kindergartners to 12th graders in attendance.

Children from various states of the US came to attend the camp in Chicago. The camp was conducted by Swami Sharanananda, the resident swami of Chinmaya Mission here along with acharyas (teachers) from Chicago. Also, other acharyas from different parts of US and Canada were also present.

Speaking to NewsGram about the activities of the Youth Camp, Jyoti Shah, the coordinator of the camp said that during the program, the day started at eight in the morning with bhajanas.

After the morning bhajanas, various activities like sports, arts, and crafts kept the children occupied. Yoga was also an important activity during the camp.

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The children were served satvik food in the camp. The cuisines served included both Indian and non-Indian delicacies.

Words of wisdom were imparted to the kids by Swami Sharanananda and the acharyas through extempore speeches. The emphasis was on enlightening the kids in Indian values and morals.

The penultimate day of the camp, i.e 18th July, witnessed fun activities. Food stalls were set up in the camp premises with popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream. A barbecue was also set up. Various games like dunk tank, etc. kept the children engaged and made it a memorable event for them.

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The concluding session of the camp took place on Sunday, 19th of July and the children were joined by their families. The kids took part in a quiz which was followed by a cultural program for everybody.

Various volunteers from different places came and worked with the camp and the children and helped in making it a success.

Similar camps are also conducted at satellite branches of Chinmaya Mission over the summers and also at the Yamunotri branch, situated in Greyslake, a suburb of Chicago.

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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)