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It’s peak election season. But, even as political parties go all out to appease voters, the worsening quality of groundwater hardly finds any mention.
In northeast India, Assam is in the middle of a grave groundwater contamination crisis. According to government estimates, fluoride contamination affects 23 districts and arsenic contamination affects 24 districts (out of a total 33) in the state. Even as people grapple to survive this basic necessity of life – excess fluoride can lead to dental and skeletal fluorosis, and arsenic is known to cause cancer – experts warn of a worsening situation in the future.
Understanding the root of a crisis is essential to finding its pragmatic solution, and in this context, Dr Manish Kumar, faculty at Discipline of Earth Science in IIT Gandhinagar, compared the situation to a glass of water in which spoonfuls of sugar are added. Until the water is saturated, it will keep dissolving the sugar, and then, the granules would start settling without further dissolution.
Likewise, minerals containing fluoride and arsenic found naturally in rocks of underground aquifers will dissolve more and leach more fluoride and arsenic under unsaturated conditions. Aquifers essentially constitute rocks and water, surrounded by microbes and organic matter.
“Any kind of anthropogenic stress on aquifers, like pumping, irrigation and return flow, leads to change in the saturation condition of groundwater and thereby enhances the release of arsenic (and fluoride) into the water,” Dr Kumar told this correspondent. Through extensive research on spatial distribution of geogenic contaminants across the Brahmaputra river, Dr Kumar and his team found the co-existence of arsenic, fluoride and uranium at some places.
“We also found several places in Assam where the water is not yet saturated with arsenic and fluoride bearing minerals and thus prone to higher arsenic and fluoride concentration in their aquifers,” he said. In Nagaon district, for example, about 60 per cent of the samples tested were found to have “unsaturated” water.
Climatic factors like erratic rainfall, recharge and runoff also play a role in governing the weathering of minerals – otherwise found naturally – in groundwater, Dr Kumar said. The draft report of the Assam State Action Plan on Climate Change (2015-2020) states that Assam has been facing “continued warming of atmosphere” and “erratic rainfall” as a result of which there have been erratic flood and drought conditions since 2003.
Dr Robin Kumar Dutta, professor in the Chemical Sciences department of the Tezpur University, concurred with the linkage between climatic change and groundwater contamination.
“When dilution of aquifers is low (because of erratic rainfall), the concentration (of minerals like fluoride) goes up,” he said. And although Assam gets a good amount of rainfall, “the water table has depleted in some places”.
The issue, Dr Dutta added, also needs to be examined through the lens of geomorphology. “Karbi Anglong and Hojai, for example, fall in the rain shadow area and are among the fluoride-affected places in Assam,” he said. Dr Dutta has designed a low-cost filter technology to remove fluoride and arsenic (and iron) from water, which he has patented.
Geomorphology, added activist Dharani Saikia, is why, at times, adjoining villages can have completely different results when their water is tested for fluoride (or arsenic) contamination. Working on the issue of fluoride contamination for many years now, particularly in the Nagaon and Hojai districts – two of the worst-affected in Assam – he stated the example of the Tapatjuri village.
“Tapatjuri in the Hojai district is one of the worst affected by fluoride contamination of groundwater. Any child you see here has stained teeth – the sign of dental fluorosis – and some have bent legs (skeletal fluorosis). In contrast, its nearby villages have no problem of fluoride contamination,” he explained.
“Climatic changes, like erratic rainfall which results in sudden long, dry spells, leads to less runoff water seeping into the ground and rejuvenating the water table. This results in increase in concentration of minerals like fluoride, that is pumped up by borewells,” Saikia further said.
It is, however, not a hopeless situation and the key lies in revisiting and fine-tuning traditional methods. For instance, in Tapatjuri, the Public Health and Education Department (PHED) has put red-crosses on hand-pumps, indicating contamination. The villagers are now dependent on the PHED water supply from nearby rivers. (IANS)
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is a pattern of recurrent aggressive behavior in which one person (or a group of individuals) in a position of authority intentionally intimidate or abuse another individual to cause bodily or emotional harm to that other. Bullying may take place in either a physical or verbal manner. Bullied individuals, as well as those who bully others, may have long-term repercussions.
Bullying may occur anywhere, at any time, in person or online (cyberbullying), and can take many forms, including verbal, physical, and social. Bullies utilize their position of power — such as physical strength, knowledge of something embarrassing, or popularity — to exert control over or damage other people. Many people assume that bullying occurs solely during childhood; nevertheless, bullying does not necessarily stop after a person reaches the age of adulthood.
Bullies in adulthood can take the form of a threatening boss or colleague, a controlling partner, a relative, or any other type of person. Even in our personal and professional lives, we sometimes encounter adult bullies who can be harmful to our mental well-being.
Bullied individuals, as well as those who bully others, may have long-term repercussions. | Photo by Unsplash
How To Deal With An Adult Bully?
For obvious reasons, adult bullying can be a painful and challenging experience for anybody who finds themselves on the receiving end of such behavior. Knowing how to deal with the antics of a bully properly, on the other hand, may help you learn, develop, and feel better levels of confidence. When you find yourself in this scenario, one of the most crucial things to remember is that you must not exhibit the bully any signs of fear. This might be difficult, depending on the sort of bully you are dealing with, but bullies enjoy fear, encouraging them to continue with their terrible conduct.
Maintaining a sense of connection with other people while dealing with bullying is quite essential. Bullies usually see alone persons as easier targets since they have a smaller support network to challenge them.
Courage and a support network are significant advantages; but, reporting the bully is also an excellent line of action. Contrary to common opinion, just ignoring a bully does not always prompt them to cease their behavior. Adult bullies of all kinds often interpret being ignored as a sign of weakness, encouraging them to continue bullying. If someone is bullying you, don't be scared to speak out and report the individual.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Keywords: mental health, bullying, bully, bullied, courage, abuse, harass, support, cyberbully
Silver and gold have always been preferred when it comes to wearing jewellery. Right from the times of monarchy in India, wealth and riches have been associated with wearing gold and silver for the various properties they have. Copper is a metal that has always been worn by the poor. It is not a metal that carries a significant association with health or wealth, but wearing at least one article of copper is extremely beneficial for health.
Copper is a reddish-brown metal that cannot be worn on its own. It has to be worn in the form of an alloy to prevent a reaction. Copper oxidizes in air and forms a green layer on it when exposed, much like the Statue of Liberty. Usually, bangles, chains, or rings of copper always have brass and traces of silver in them which helps with stabilizing its reactivity.
Wearing copper with stones in it looks very aesthetic, but copper is not durable enough to hold the stones, which is why it is fashioned into elaborate designs and sold. Copper is very malleable, and over time, the bangle or ring will take the shape of the wearer's hand or finger.
A copper ring Image source: Wikimedia commons
Jewellery made out of copper can be an excellent health indicator. Copper helps metabolize bodily functions faster, and the wearer experiences relief from indigestion. It also soothes joint pain, headaches, and arthritis. Using copper utensils also aids those with deficiencies. Since copper is absorbed slowly into the body, there is no fear of causing any kind of imbalance.
Sometimes copper leaves a greenish tinge on the skin. This happens when it oxidizes with sweat. This stain can be washed away with soap and water, but the fact that it appears is noteworthy. It is an indicator of too much acidity in the body. Greenish skin appears when the wearer's diet includes too much meat or acidic foods.
Copper might not be a very attractive metal, but wearing it has a lot of benefits for the health. It regulates metabolism, assimilation, and indicates health. It is definitely a good idea to wear copper jewellery at least once in a while.
Keywords: Copper jewellery, Copper is a health indicator, Metabolism, Oxidation, Benefits of copper
By Md Waquar Haider
When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.
The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.
Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.
According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash
"On the other hand, there is a niche market for those new market entrants that are able to differentiate themselves from the competition in terms of features and value. "Alongside, they would need to back it with strong brand messaging to create awareness and recall amongst the target consumers," Ram added.
HP maintained its lead in the India PC market with a 33.6 per cent share as its shipments grew 54.2 per cent annually. Dell Technologies continued to hold the second position with a 22.1 per cent share and an impressive 86.1 per cent YoY growth in 2Q21. Lenovo maintained the third position with a share of 17.8 per cent in 2Q21.
Arvind Suraj, Research Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that there is always a trust issue with new brands. "You won't buy a laptop in 6 or 7 months just like smartphones. In this case, we often go for existing players. Brands like Lenovo, HP, ASUS and Acer have already gained our trust," he said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Chip, shortage, laptop, market, India, Xiaomi, hp, dell, brands