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Images from Kolkata: Reality of Swachh Bharat

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Reality Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

By Arnab Mitra

Mini Bus Stand, Howrah

A year back, on 2 October on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, Narendra Modi launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ in order to make India clean by 2019. The Prime Minister himself led the charge of the movement, coming to the streets with brooms along with his ministers and other government employees.

The campaign witnessed not only common people taking initiative to make India clean, but also big names like Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani, Amitabh Bachhan and others in order to make “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” a successful story.

But almost a year after the launch of the clean India Mission/Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the condition of the country is as grimy and unsanitary as before. The roads continue to function as garbage dumping grounds, people continue to spit pan/gutkha casually in public places and in several villages people have no other option but to defecate in open. This is the reality of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

NewsGram travelled all around the ‘City of Joy’ Kolkata to find out how successful the “swachh Bharat” campaign has been in the past one year.

The first spot that the NewsGram team visited was Howrah, which houses the famous Howrah Bridge. However upon reaching the place, the deplorable condition of the city came out in full proportion.

Howrah Bus Terminus. Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
Howrah Bus Terminus
Howrah Station Approach. Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
Howrah Station Approach

 

One of the finest works of British architecture, Howrah Bridge is ‘decorated’ with red spots of gutkha at every nook and corner.

At the Howrah Station, people were seen relieving themselves in the open with foul smell of rotten food and urine all around.

The next stop was the anglo-hub of Kolkata’s Park Street, famous for the party goers was no better. There were wine bottles and waste food dumped on the roads, despite of a corporation dustbin on the street.

Amardeep Singh owner of the Mantra restaurant and bar at Park Street while talking to NewsGram, about the indifferent attitude of citizens towards sanitation said, “It’s temporary garbage, so we just dump it on the street. The corporation car comes and collects this garbage. We have been doing this since a long time.”

Jagannath Ghat Flower Market. Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
Jagannath Ghat Flower Market

Maidan, the next place NewsGram visited, is a place of known for its greenery.  With Victoria Memorial at one side, and Eden Garden at the other side, it is a famous tourist spot of Kolkata.

N R S Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta
N R S Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata

However upon reaching the place we found that the green pasture was littered with food packets, banana peels, cigarette buds.

This year on October 2, there will possibly be a huge celebration of one-year completion of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The government and the media outlets will probably make a month long propaganda of Government’s huge success in the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ project. But the sanitary condition of the country will continue to deteriorate, if the citizens do not participate seriously and actively to make India a clean nation.

Photo Courtesy: Madanmohan Samanta

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Exposure to Ground Level Ozone Increases Risk of Death

Daily exposure to ozone pollution ups mortality risk

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Ozone
Researchers have found that daily exposure to ground level ozone in cities worldwide is associated with an increased risk of death. Pixabay

Researchers have found that daily exposure to ground level ozone in cities worldwide is associated with an increased risk of death. This is the latest health news.

Ground level ozone is a highly reactive gas commonly found in urban and suburban environments, formed when pollutants react in sunlight.

The findings, published in the journal The BMJ, based on data from over 400 cities in 20 countries across the world – show that more than 6,000 deaths each year would have been avoided in the selected cities if countries had implemented stricter air quality standards.

Ozone
What’s more, smaller but still substantial mortality impacts were found even for ozone concentrations below WHO guideline levels. Pixabay

“These findings have important implications for the design of future public health actions; particularly, for example, in relation to the implementation of mitigation strategies to reduce the impacts of climate change,” said researchers from University of Bern in Switzerland.

Current air quality thresholds (in micrograms per cubic meter of ambient air) range from 100 µg/m3 (WHO), 120 µg/m3 (European Union directive), 140 µg/m3 (US National Ambient Air Quality Standard), and 160 µg/m3 (Chinese Ambient Air Quality Standard).

Recent reviews suggest that 80 per cent of the world’s population in urban areas are exposed to air pollution levels above the WHO threshold.

Most previous studies have found positive associations between ground level ozone and mortality, but differences in study design and quality make it difficult to draw consistent conclusions across different regions.

Ozone
Ground level ozone is a highly reactive gas commonly found in urban and suburban environments, formed when pollutants react in sunlight. Pixabay

To try and address this, an international research team has analysed deaths and environmental measures (weather and air pollutants) in 406 cities of 20 countries, with overlapping periods between 1985 and 2015.

Using data from the Multi-City Multi-Country Collaborative Research Network, they derived daily average ozone levels (above a maximum background level of 70 µg/m3), particulate matter, temperature, and relative humidity at each location to estimate the daily number of extra deaths attributable to ozone. A total of 45,165,171 deaths were analysed in the 406 cities. On average, a 10 µg/m3 increase in ozone during the current and previous day was associated with a 0.18 per cent increased risk of death, suggesting evidence of a potential direct association.

This equates to 6,262 extra deaths each year (or 0.2 per cent of total mortality) in the 406 cities that could potentially have been avoided if countries had implemented stricter air quality standards in line with the WHO guideline.

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What’s more, smaller but still substantial mortality impacts were found even for ozone concentrations below WHO guideline levels, supporting the WHO initiative of encouraging countries to revisit the current air quality guidelines and enforcing stronger emission restrictions to meet these recommendations, say the researchers. (IANS)