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By AAKANKSHA KHAJURIA
Due to the reduction in air and noise pollution pursuant to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown to fight the Covid-19 outbreak, the population of birds and butterflies has surged significantly across the country.
“The lockdown has resulted in an increase in the population of birds in the country. Resident birds are breeding much more than before due to less human activity, no noise and air pollution,” wildlife biologist Faiyaz Khudsar said.
Clanking of machinery in factories, buzzing of car horns and whirring of vehicular engines have now been replaced by chirping of birds in the dawn and the dusk.
Khudsar, who is also the scientist in-charge at the Yamuna Biodiversity Park (YBP), said that due to the reduction in noise pollution, bird mating calls and songs are being understood by its mates clearly.
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“Vocalisation is very important. When there is less noise pollution, it is very easy for birds to express themselves. Otherwise, there are many studies which suggest that due to noise pollution, birds sometimes fail to reach their mates,” Khudsar said.
He also said that at a place where there is less human population, aircraft are grounded and no vehicles ply on the road, birds tend to increase their flight or retain their historical geographical ranges. “Lockdown is a good time for birds,” he said, smiling.
Khudsar also alluded to the effect of air pollution on butterflies and said that heavy metals emitted from the vehicles and haze increases their mortality. “Due to reduction in sulphur dioxide toxicity, flocks of ePioneer’ butterflies are flying around and are breeding more than ever before,” he said.
Vikrant Tongad, environment conservationist and founder of Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE), expressed happiness over the increase in the population of birds and butterflies, but rued over the maintainability of the current situation post the lockdown period.
“The rosy situation we see today is part of our policies, but there is lack of implementation in the country. We should move towards green energy; people should be made aware and policies should be implemented,” Tongad suggested. (IANS)
In a global-first move, ride-hailing major Uber and Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday announced that people in India can now book an Uber ride via the company's official WhatsApp chatbot. The service is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Lucknow first, and will soon be expanded to other cities in the country.
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"We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip. We are thrilled at this global-first integration for Uber, and look forward to rolling it out across India," said Nandini Maheshwari, Senior Director, Business Development, Uber APAC.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.
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Currently, the option to book a ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon. "The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar, and relatable for users and has the potential to accelerate adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India," said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
With this integration, riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride through three simple ways: messaging to Uber's business account number; scanning a QR code; or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.Unsplash
They will be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations. Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver's expected time of arrival. "Riders get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly," the company said.
They will be informed of the name of the driver and license plate of the driver on booking; be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number.
If the user selects the "emergency" option while on the trip, they will receive an inbound call from Uber's customer support team. Uber riders will also have access to its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : WhatsApp, Uber, India, Lucknow, languages, rider, driver, cab, booking.)
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Australia's national science agency has opened a purpose-built facility to test technology before it is sent to the Moon.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Thursday opened the In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) Facility in Brisbane. The facility provides a Moon-like environment to test rovers and related equipment before it is sent into space, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Our ability to simulate the lunar terrain at this scale is an exciting advancement for the development of space technology in Australia," CSIRO Space Programme Director Kimberley Clayfield said in a media release.
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"This facility is the latest example of our commitment to stimulating innovation, supporting industry and solving the greatest challenges through space science, technology and exploration.
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"We're looking forward to working with researchers and businesses from across the space sector to test their technology and systems for future space missions."
The ISRU Facility, which is located at CSIRO's Queensland Center for Advanced Technologies, contains a sealed dust area to simulate various types of Moon dust, smaller pits for small-scale tests and a mission control room to monitor rovers and payloads.
"The challenge is the Moon dust is powdery, sharp and electrostatically charged so it sticks to everything and has the potential to damage the technology sent to investigate it," he said.Unsplash
The Australian Space Agency (ASA) in October signed a landmark deal with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US to send an Australian-built rover to the Moon for the first time as early as 2026.
ISRU Project Leader Jonathon Ralston said the new facility would be key to solving major challenges for the rover.
"The challenge is the Moon dust is powdery, sharp and electrostatically charged so it sticks to everything and has the potential to damage the technology sent to investigate it," he said.
"Our facility offers technology developers the opportunity to test their equipment closer to home, in a safe environment to find solutions to this dusty problem."
(Keywords : Australia, Brisbane, resource, scientific, research, simulate, lunar, innovation, project, moon, challenge, facility, opportunity, environment.)
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