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Delhi’s Pollution Brings Down The Diwali High

Many environmentalists agree and point out that emergency measures taken during the smog season will not fix Delhi’s pollution crisis

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diwali, delhi, pollution
Customers flock to markets selling gifts and sweets for the Hindu festival of Diwali. VOA

It is the time of the year when Indians hit the roads to distribute gifts and sweets to friends and family, visit colorful “Diwali bazars” and party as they gear up to celebrate the main Hindu festival of Diwali on November 7. But in the Indian capital, there is a party spoiler: a deadly haze of pollution that has prompted calls to minimize exposure to the dirty air and is making some pack up and leave the city during the festival.

Grey smog shrouds New Delhi and satellite towns as winter approaches and authorities have advised citizens to avoid strenuous outdoor activity, take only short walks, shut windows, reduce use of private vehicles and wear masks as a precaution.

A range of emergency measures has also been announced to reduce air pollution, such as a temporary ban on construction activity and coal and biomass based industries starting Thursday.

Pollution, Delhi
As pollution levels spike, Delhi and its satellite towns are enveloped in a haze of smog. VOA

The measures kick in as the level of PM2, the tiny particulate matter that can dangerously clog lungs exceeded by more than six times the safe limit set by the World Health Organization. Earlier this year, WHO named Delhi as the world’s most polluted megacity — the city and its surrounding towns are home to 19 million people.

“There are pollution hotspots in the city where we have seen levels that are hitting serious levels,” says Anumita Roy Chowdhury, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy at the Center for Science and Environment in New Delhi. “But at least the action has started and we are hoping the emergency response will help.”

The pollution in the city and surrounding towns is a toxic mix of of dust, fumes from vehicles, burning of waste and polluting industries, and has been exacerbated with explosive growth. It worsens at this time of the year as farmers set fire to thousands of hectares of farmland in neighboring states, Diwali revelers set off firecrackers and still winter air keeps pollutants hovering over the city.

Delhi, pollution
A Board shows pollution levels as “very poor” in New Delhi. VOA

Authorities have launched a campaign to prevent farmers from burning crop residue, which helps them prepare the fields for the next harvest without incurring heavy labor costs. The acrid smoke from the fields billows towards Delhi, becoming one of the major triggers for the city’s deadly smog.

State authorities are optimistic the number of fires has been reduced as the government offers subsidies on equipment that enables farmers to plant the new crop with the stubble still in the fields and imposes fines on those who still light up the residue on their fields. But thousands of resentful farmers continue to burn the stubble, saying it is easier to pick up a matchstick and pay the penalty rather than invest in the equipment.

Others grumble the additional expense is cutting into already slim farm profits and leaving their crop more vulnerable to pests like rats.

Delhi, diwali
Customers flock to markets selling gifts and sweets for the Hindu festival of Diwali.. VOA

“We don’t like scorching mother earth, but only when you work at the ground level you know the challenges you face,” said Vinod Kumar, who has a 16-hectare farm in Karnal in neighboring Haryana state. He does not find it viable to plant the new crop with the stubble still standing in the fields. “The taller stubble has to be set on fire.”

Even as crop fires rage, an ease on a ban on firecrackers by the Supreme Court has intensified New Delhi’s pollution worries. The top court rejected calls for an outright ban and said “green crackers” would be allowed for a two-hour window on Diwali.

But many in the country, including shops selling firecrackers, appeared clueless about what is an environmentally safe firework. They are doing brisk business — many in the city are loath to give up the age-old custom, which they see as an intrinsic part of Diwali celebrations despite several campaigns urging people to stay away from firecrackers.

firecrackers, pollution
India’s top court has allowed the sale of “green” firecrackers but no one is sure whether those available in markets comply. VOA

Doctors are already advising people suffering from respiratory problems to leave the city and those who can afford to heed the warning are taking it seriously.

New Delhi resident, Pradeep Bhargava, who has suffered bouts of asthma, is taking no chances after last year when pollution spiked to its worst-ever level around Diwali and prompted doctors to declare a “medical emergency” and authorities to shut schools. “The pollution is the major factor that we are heading to the hills, but five days out of the city won’t really help,” he said. “We have to breathe the dirty air through the winter.”

Also Read: Dusshera In Delhi Casts A Dark Blanket, Air Quality Worsens

Many environmentalists agree and point out that emergency measures taken during the smog season will not fix Delhi’s pollution crisis. “Focus now will really have to shift more towards round-the year plan so that those systemic reforms take place so that by next winter we begin to see more substantial changes,” said Chowdhury from the Center of Science and Environment. (VOA)

Next Story

OPPO Reno 2: A Perfect Flagship to Gift This Diwali

Conclusion: The Reno 2 is among the best options in the Rs 30,000 and above price segment, dominated by OnePlus 7. In terms of novelty, Reno 2 takes over OnePlus 7. A perfect buy to gift your near and dear ones this Diwali

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Charging, Technology, Users
Thanks to companies like Qualcomm, Huawei, OnePlus and Oppo, plugging in smartphones and having them charged (even if not completely) is a matter of minutes now. Pixabay

By Md Waquar Haider

After the initial success to Reno 10x Zoom, Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO has launched Reno 2 series — Reno 2 (20x digital zoom), Reno 2Z and Reno 2F — before Diwali in India that pack quad rear cameras, pop-up selfie camera and attractive designs.

The flagship Reno 2 (8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage) is priced at Rs 36,990. The device would go on sale, starting September 20.

After spending more than a week with Reno 2, here is what we think of the device.

The USP of the device is 48MP quad camera setup. The camera system includes a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor that supports optical image stabilisation (OIS) and electronic image stabilisation (EIS), 13MP telephoto lens, an 8MP wide-angle camera and 2MP macro lens.

The Reno 2 comes with 5x hybrid zoom support and 20x digital zoom.

In terms of low-light photography, there is an ultra-dark mode. The rear camera performed really well in various lighting conditions. Simply, the camera being the major highlight did impress with the neat images.

If you love photography but do not have the budget to invest on a premium smartphone, Reno 2 is the best option right now with 20X zoom.

The device also houses a shark-fin selfie camera with 16MP resolution that pops out at an angle. The front camera too worked fine during the testing. It captured good-quality images with ample detailing and near accurate colours.

In terms of design, the smartphone manages to stand out in the crowd. The phone retains the same design elements as the original Reno.

The top of the device houses selfie camera while the bottom sports 3.5mm headphone jack, Type-C port and a speaker grille.

Oppo, smartphones, china, launch
Oppo launched its Oppo Reno2 series of smartphones in August. Wikimedia Commons

The quad camera setup at the back is vertically placed under the glass with the OPPO logo and “Designed for Reno” — protected by “O-Dot” ceramic bead that aims to prevent the camera from getting scratches.

The volume rockers are on the left and power button on the right, both quite easy to operate.

The Reno 2 comes with a 6.55-inch Dynamic AMOLED display. The phone offers FHD+ (2400×1080) resolution and a screen-to-body ratio of 93.1. The front of the device is completely all display with no notch and very slim bezels. It also houses an in-display Fingerprint Unlock 3.0 scanner.

The display was bright indoors as well as outdoors. If you love watching videos, you would definitely like the display. Netflix streaming was an amazing experience.

The Reno 2 is powered by 2.2GHz Snapdragon 730G processor that is based on a 8nm process and comes equipped with an Adreno 618 GPU. The phone runs Android 9 Pie with ColorOS 6.1 on top.

Also Read: Zomato Gold is Still Proving to be a Bone of Contention, Says NRAI Executive

For those who love online gaming, the phone is near perfect.

Apart from the above combination of hardware and software, the huge screen also helped make games more immersive.

Oppo Reno 2 packs 4,000mAh battery with USB Type-C port. The battery lasted almost an entire day on a single charge. The in-house VOOC fast-charging technology quickly charged the device in less than an hour.

Conclusion: The Reno 2 is among the best options in the Rs 30,000 and above price segment, dominated by OnePlus 7. In terms of novelty, Reno 2 takes over OnePlus 7. A perfect buy to gift your near and dear ones this Diwali. (IANS)