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Dia Mirza Wows At Environmental Summit In San Francisco

Actress-activist Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India, flew to San Francisco earlier this week to participate in an all-women's panel discussion on the environment at the Steve Jobs Theatre.

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Dia Mirza
Dia Mirza. (Wikimedia Commons)

Actress-activist Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for India, flew to San Francisco earlier this week to participate in an all-women’s panel discussion on the environment at the Steve Jobs Theatre.

Dia brainstormed on stage with three distinguished women — Vien Troung (CEO of Green For All organisation), Alexandra Cousteau (globally recognised for her work on water-related issues) and Lisa Jackson (Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiative).

Dia said: “Thankfully, my world is expanding and I am getting to do, meet and be a part of incredible change. On Friday (April 27), I was in San Francisco participating in an all-women panel environmental discussion at the Steve Jobs Theatre. It was an immensely rewarding experience.”

Back home, Dia who was formerly a beauty pageant winner, is distressed by Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s comments on beauty queens.

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“What can one say of a man who claims Internet existed in ancient India? He seems to have a resource of information that the rest of us are not privy to,” Dia sighed.

Deb had reportedly said in Agartala that international beauty contests were a farce as the results were all predetermined. He also said he failed to understand the “process of judgement” of the crowning of the Miss World contest in 1997, in which Diana Hayden was crowned.

Earlier, Deb was widely trolled for saying that Internet existed during Mahabharata era.  BollywoodCountry

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Dharavi Musicians Create Rap Anthem, Urge People to Wear Masks

Music from the lanes of Dharavi

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A rap anthem was created urging people to wear masks. Pixabay

By Puja Gupta

Young rap musicians from Dharavi, Mumbai have created a unique trilingual rap anthem to urge people to wear masks, get timely tests and stay home to curb community spread of coronavirus in densely populated spaces.

The song “Stay Home Stay Safe” in Hindi, Marathi and Tamil is produced by Gully Gang Entertainment, directed by Joel D’Souza and written, composed and performed by Mc Altaf, Tony Psyko (Dopeadelicz) and Bonz N Ribz (7 Bantaiz).

It also features popular rapper Divine along with popular Bollywood, Tollywood and Marathi cinema stars such as Ajay Devgn, Akshay Kumar, Atul Kulkarni, Dia Mirza, Rana Daggubati and Suniel Shetty who have lent their voice to the cause.

Created out of their own experience of living in close quarter in Dharavi which is considered as Asia’s largest slum, the musicians try to reinforce that it is essential to aid the efforts of police and the doctors who are working tirelessly to save people and educate people in densely populated places to adopt safe and healthy habits despite the cramped quarters in which they live.

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The anthem was created by Rap musicians from Dharavi, Mumbai. Wikimedia Commons

Mc Altaf Shaikh of Gully Gang states: “Stay Home, Stay Safe aspires to drive home the message of how safety should be of highest importance to each and every one and we should strictly follow preventive measures as prescribed by the authorities..Right now if you are alive, consider it a blessing and stop complaining. Assist the COVID warriors in carrying out their duties diligently.”

Tony Sebastian of Dopeadelicz states, “Stay Home, Stay Safe is a multi- lingual track about the unprecedented global pandemic and we are creating awareness around the need to follow protocols and guidelines, keeping your surroundings clean, co-operating with the government and supporting the frontline workers. With unity and cooperation, we can maintain social distancing and eradicate this virus by staying home and staying safe. Jai Hind.”

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Lending his support to the initiative, actor Suniel Shetty said: “It’s an absolute honour and pleasure to be a part of this beautiful initiative. These are trying times and it is so humbling to see so many people come together to spread a message, that too, so powerfully. This song truly touched my heart, and I know the emotion will speak to many. Thank you for making me a small part of it.”

Suniel_Shetty
“It’s an absolute honour and pleasure to be a part of this beautiful initiative. These are trying times and it is so humbling to see so many people come together to spread a message, that too, so powerfully.”, actor Suniel Shetty said. Wikimedia Commons

Echoing his words, actor Dia Mirza said:

“This effort is a onderful example of encouraging behavioural change and spreading awareness that has been made possible with these amazing artists! I feel grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this effort and truly wish it encourages more people to understand the importance and need to stay home and stay safe.”

The anthem and music video are a part of a larger #StayHomeStaySafe campaign supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the ATE Chandra Foundation that seeks to unite communities in densely populated areas in the fight against coronavirus. (IANS)

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Cafes in San Francisco are Replacing Disposable Coffee Cups with Glass Jars

San Francisco Cafes Are Banishing Disposable Coffee Cups

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The growing number of coffee houses in San Francisco re banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies. Pixabay

A new cafe culture is brewing in the San Francisco area, where a growing number of coffee houses are banishing paper to-go cups and replacing them with everything from glass jars to rental mugs and BYO cup policies.

What started as a small trend among neighborhood cafes to reduce waste is gaining support from some big names in the city’s food and coffee world.

Celebrated chef Dominique Crenn, owner of the three-star Michelin restaurant Atelier Crenn, is opening a San Francisco cafe next year that will have no to-go bags or disposable coffee cups and will use no plastic. Customers who plan to sip and go at Boutique Crenn will be encouraged to bring their own coffee cups, says spokeswoman Kate Bittman.

On a bigger scale, the Blue Bottle coffeehouse chain, which goes through about 15,000 to-go cups a month at its 70 U.S. locations, says it wants to “show our guests and the world that we can eliminate disposable cups.”

Coffee to Go cups
Reusable to-go glass jars rest on a counter top at the Perch Coffee Shop, which stopped using paper and plastic cups in Oakland, Calif. VOA

Blue Bottle is starting small with plans to stop using paper cups at two of its San Francisco area branches in 2020, as part of a pledge to go “zero waste“ by the end of next year. Coffee to-go customers will have to bring their own mug or pay a deposit for a reusable cup, which they can keep or return for a refund. The deposit fee will likely be between $3 and $5, the company said.

Blue Bottle’s pilot program will help guide the company on how to expand the idea nationwide, CEO Bryan Meehan said in a statement.

“We expect to lose some business,” he said. “We know some of our guests won’t like it and we’re prepared for that.”

Larger coffee and fast-food chains around the U.S. are feeling a sense of urgency to be more environmentally friendly, and will no doubt be watching, said Bridget Croke, of New York-based recycling investment firm Closed Loop Partners, which is working with Starbucks and McDonald’s to develop an eco-friendly alternative to the disposable coffee cup.

Despite the name, today’s conventional paper cups for hot drinks aren’t made solely from paper. They also have plastic linings that prevent leakage but make them hard to recycle, Croke said. She says it’s unlikely large national chains will banish disposable cups, in the immediate term, or persuade all customers to bring mugs, so they’re looking for other solutions.

Starbucks and McDonald’s chipped in $10 million to a partnership with Closed Loop to develop the “single-use cup of the future” that is recyclable and compostable.

“They know there are business risks to not solving these problems. And the cup is the tip of the spear for them,” said Croke, adding that Blue Bottle’s choice of San Francisco for its test run is clearly the right market.

Starbucks, which has more than 15,000 U.S. cafes and about 16,000 internationally, plans to test newly designed recyclable cups in five cities next year: San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver and London, spokeswoman Noelle Novoa said.

California cities have long been leaders in recycling and passing laws to encourage eco-friendly habits.

This year, the state became the first to ban restaurants from automatically handing out plastic straws with drinks. It was also the first, in 2014, to prohibit stores from providing disposable plastic grocery bags to shoppers, and bags at checkout now cost 10 cents.

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The step of banishing disposable cups was taken so that the cups do not harm the environment. Pixabay

Also this year, San Francisco International Airport became the nation’s first major airport to stop selling water in plastic bottles. Water is now sold in glass bottles and aluminum cans, and travelers are encouraged to bring their own empty bottles to fill up for free.

Starting in January, cafes and restaurants in Berkeley will charge 25 cents for disposable cups, and San Francisco is considering similar legislation.

Anticipating the fee, a group of about a dozen Berkeley cafes teamed up in a mug-sharing program, where customers can rent a stainless steel cup from one cafe and drop it off at any of the others. Vessel, the Colorado start-up that provides the cups, has a similar program running in Boulder.

Many coffee drinkers in the San Francisco area are taking Blue Bottle’s announcement in stride.

“Of course it’s a good idea,” said freelance writer Tracy Schroth, at a Blue Bottle cafe in Oakland. “It’s such a small step to ask people to bring their own cup. People just have to get into the mindset.”

At a Blue Bottle in San Francisco, electrician Jeff Michaels said he does love the coffee but doesn’t want to pay more if he forgets a mug.

“I paid almost $7 for this coffee,” Michaels said, sipping a cafe mocha. “How much are people willing to pay for a coffee?”

Small-cafe owner Kedar Korde is optimistic that one day it will become trendy for coffee drinkers to carry around reusable mugs, just like stainless steel water bottles have become a must-have accessory in the San Francisco area.

Korde’s Perch Cafe in Oakland ditched paper and plastic cups in September, along with lids and straws.

“We now offer a glass jar that comes in a 12 ounce (350 milliliters) or 16 ounce (470 milliliters) size,” Korde said. Customers put down a 50 cent deposit and can return it for a refund or keep it and get 25 cents off future drinks. The cafe also sells 50 cent reusable sleeves for the jars.

Korde says he’s been surprised by how quickly customers have adapted. He was inspired to make the change after his 9-year-old daughter’s school did a cleanup project at Lake Merritt, across from his cafe, and found their disposable cups in the water.

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His daughter joked that she shouldn’t have to clean her room if he couldn’t keep his stuff out of the lake, but he took it more seriously.

“We’re a small coffee shop. We’re not going to save the world,” Korde said. But at least “our cups are no longer winding up in the lake.” (VOA)

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San Francisco Airport Bans Sale of Plastic Water Bottles

The new rule will apply to airport restaurants, cafes and vending machines

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FILE - Vehicles wait outside the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco. VOA

San Francisco International Airport is banning the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Friday that the unprecedented move at one of the major airports in the country will take effect Aug. 20.

The new rule will apply to airport restaurants, cafes and vending machines. Travelers needing plain water will have to buy refillable aluminum or glass bottles if they don’t bring their own. As a department of San Francisco’s municipal government, the airport is following an ordinance approved in 2014 banning the sale of plastic water bottles on city-owned property.

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SFO spokesman Doug Yakel says the shift away from plastics is also part of a broader plan to slash net carbon emissions and energy use to zero and eliminate most landfill waste by 2021. (VOA)

One response to “San Francisco Airport Bans Sale of Plastic Water Bottles”

  1. More proof than San Francisco is run by idiots. You cannot buy water in plastic bottles, but you can buy every other kind of soft drink, including the sugary carbonated or caffeine-infused drinks the same aforementioned idiots rail against. So I make a connection at SFO to get to China or someplace, and can’t buy a bottle of water for a 12+ hour flight in a aluminum can in the sky that has been de-humidified. And for no good reason other than so some moronic politicians can feel good about themselves.

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