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India expresses concern over fighting in Yemen

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United Nations: India has expressed concern over the serious economic impact of the fighting in Yemen on global trade and urged the warring groups to get to the negotiating table.

Yemen Conflict. Photo Credit: http://www.newsweek.com
Yemen Conflict. Photo Credit: http://www.newsweek.com

Addressing a Security Council debate on the Middle East, Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said, “With major shipping lines passing through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb the situation in Yemen has a considerable impact on the cost of shipping and in turn the regional and global trade.”

Besides creating a humanitarian crisis, the Yemeni conflicts “impose serious economic costs for the region and the whole world,” he said. “We, therefore, urge all parties in Yemen to return to the negotiating table forthwith.”

Rebel Houthis have been fighting the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition of Gulf States.

Yemen is located strategically on the maritime cross-roads linking the rest of Asia to the energy-exporting Middle East and beyond to Europe.

In February, the Houthis drove Hadi into exile, but after sustained aerial bombardment by the Saudi coalition, supporters of the exiled president took back the crucial port city of Aden last week.

Mukerji condemned the attacks on UN peacekeepers by terrorists in the Middle East and called for prosecuting them. “Only such action endorsed by the Council will deter such groups in other parts of the world from committing acts of terror,” he said.

He reiterated India’s endorsement of the agreement between Iran and the five Security Council permanent members along with Germany. “India has maintained that diplomatic dialogue is the only effective way to resolve issues,” he added.

About “the activities of proscribed outfits, radicalized and extremist groups” in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Syria, Mukerji said, “We believe the consolidation of political processes and solutions while building durable state institutions will be the effective way of addressing such extremism and radicalism in the region.”

Mukerji reaffirmed India’s support for “a sovereign, independent, viable and a united State of Palestine within secure and recognized borders side-by-side and at peace with Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital.” This puts at rest media speculations that India was cooling off in its support of Palestinian nationhood.

As India and Israel draw closer with a visit to Israel by Narendra Modi — the first-ever by an Indian Prime Minister — slated for this year, Mukerji took a measured approach to conflict between Palestinians and Israel. In contrast, many nonaligned countries had harsh words for Israel.

Calling for a return to the peace process, Mukerji said, “We are particularly worried that since last year there has been a downward trend in the Peace Process despite efforts for serious negotiations between the parties which remained inconclusive. Unilateral actions by the parties unfortunately are moving them further apart.”

(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)

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