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Liquid Gold: Human Urine can be Organic alternative to chemical fertilisers, say Researchers at Kalyani University

An added advantage is that its use would reduce eutrophication -- the process where fertiliser washed off the land cause damaging blooms of plankton in rivers and lakes

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Fertilizers. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bengaluru, August 29, 2016: Convinced about its medicinal values, Indian scientists had taken a patent on cow urine in 2002. Now, researchers at the International Centre for Ecological Engineering of Kalyani University near Kolkata report that human urine can be used as safe fertiliser “after eight months of storage under closed conditions.”

Urine contains the essential plant nutrients — nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium — besides some growth-promoting agents like amino acids, glucose and vitamins, says the report by Bara Bihari Jana and his colleagues published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology.

On an average, each person excretes almost six kilos of pure plant nutrients via urine, says the report. “The amount of human urine generated daily in a highly-populated country like India can be an important resource if it is managed properly as liquid fertiliser.”

Representational Image of Farming. Image Source: Wikimedia commons.
Representational Image of Farming. Image Source: Wikimedia commons.

Jana’s team had been working for over a decade on the project to test human urine as a replacement for chemical fertiliser. “Earlier we have examined the fertiliser value of human urine for the production of fish food,” he told IANS.

In recent years, human urine as liquid fertiliser is getting attention in Europe and in some Scandinavian countries in view of the promotion of organic farming, says the report.

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The possible presence of disease-causing pathogens in urine had raised some questions. Though storage has been advocated by others for inactivation of bacteria in urine, there has been no study so far to examine this aspect under tropical conditions.

Jana says his latest study aimed at examining the pattern of changes in the counts of coliform bacteria as well as physico-chemical characteristics of human urine during different days of storage under closed conditions in order to identify the optimal storage period of human urine for use as safe fertiliser. The urine for the study was collected from students in the university.

According to the report, the study found that human urine during the storage period “undergoes microbiological and associated chemical changes and becomes highly alkaline”, resulting in death of pathogenic bacteria.

Human Urine sample. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Human Urine sample. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

“We observed that after 253 days of storage under closed condition, the coliform counts were reduced significantly and remained within the safe limit,” the report said.

According to the author, human urine is cheaper and more environment-friendly because hazardous chemical compounds or heavy metals such as cadmium are generally absent or low in human urine compared to commercially available fertiliser.

An added advantage is that its use would reduce eutrophication — the process where fertiliser washed off the land cause damaging blooms of plankton in rivers and lakes.

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“With the results of the present study, it may be concluded that human urine can be used as low-risk fertiliser after its storage for 253 days under prescribed conditions,” the report said. “Further research and extension activities of this work is necessary,” Jana added. “This can be done through NGOs, self-help groups, etc.”

But is the scheme workable?

Jana believes so. “Human urine may be collected daily in community toilets at airports, railway stations, market places, schools, colleges, etc., and stored in containers labelled with the date of collection,” he says.

“The government’s current campaign against open defecation and its plans to provide toilets in each village provides the opportunity to implement the concept by making provision in the toilets for collection of urine and faeces in separate chambers.”

Would it be practical to truck large volumes of urine around for use in agricultural fields across the country? The answer is “yes”, according to the report.

“About 80 per cent of the nutrients contained in human urine can be concentrated in 25 per cent of the original volume by freezing (the urine) which would facilitate transport and storage.” (IANS)

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Chef Sanjeev Kapoor Brand Ambassador for Food Street at World Food India event

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World Food India Ambassador
Sanjeev Kapoor. Pixabay

New Delhi, Sep 21, 2017: Popular chef Sanjeev Kapoor on Wednesday was named brand ambassador for Food Street, a curated food experience zone at the forthcoming World Food India event.

World Food India is a three-day mega international event covering the entire food processing value chain.

Food Street, being held by Ministry of Food Processing Industry, will be hosted for the first time in India from November 3, a statement said.

The experiential platform will celebrate and bring together culinary practices, flavours and fragrances from cuisines across the world, and Indian elements to create fusion food.

Also Read: Offbeat Blend of Food and Ambiance: Know About These Weirdest Restaurants Here! 

“I am honoured to be associated with a platform such as Food Street that celebrates food as a means of bringing together cultures, heritage and business… I am excited to be a part of an event of this stature and scale, being hosted for the first time in India, that is sure to delight every foodie’s palate,” Kapoor said.

To this, Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal added: “We want to curate a platform that not only celebrates food and cultural diversity, but also provides an avenue for countries and entrepreneurs to collaborate and interact for new business opportunities.”

Food Street will also provide an opportunity to generate new product development initiatives and drive business for budding entrepreneurs. It is also aimed at building a sustainable agri-business where the attendees will get to know about the process of organic farming and the plethora of opportunities it holds in trade.

The sessions will also involve panel discussions among experts to discuss the future of super-foods and organic farming. (IANS)

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Indian Fashion Industry Must Embrace Safety, Says Suki Dusanj-Lenz at Lakme Fashion Week

 India must first stop using chemicals that are banned in the rest of the world

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Indian fashion industry
Sabyasachi Mukherjee's show at Lakme Fashion Week 2011 on day 1. Wikimedia
  • The country’s coordinator for Fashion Revolution India stressed upon the global movement that desires greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry
  • The movement followed the death of 1,138 workers in Dhaka while making garments in the Rana Plaza factory
  • The aim of Fashion Revolution was to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution so that what the world embraces what’s safe, clean and fair 

Mumbai, August 20, 2017: The Indian fashion industry needs to embrace the highest safety standards, says Suki Dusanj-Lenz, country coordinator for Fashion Revolution India.

For this, India must first stop using chemicals that are banned in the rest of the world, she said, talking about a global movement that desires greater transparency, sustainability, and ethics in the fashion industry.

The movement followed the death of 1,138 workers in Dhaka while making garments in the Rana Plaza factory, which collapsed after a structural failure in the building on April 24, 2013. The workers were making garments for the international market.

“The sad thing is the staff was complaining about the building but nobody listened,” she said.

Dusanj-Lenz is an advocate for gender equality, sustainability and champions the need for a fair and transparent fashion industry. She spoke to IANS on the sidelines of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Winter/Festive 2017.

“Carry Somers and Orsola De Castro came together and founded the Fashion Revolution, which has spread to 100 countries. We are working towards a safer, fairer, cleaner fashion industry.”

Dusanj-Lenz is also Executive Director at the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director at MARD, a people powered initiative campaigning against discrimination.

Also Read: Eco-friendly Fashion: Should India Contribute on this Booming Global Market?

The aim of Fashion Revolution was to unite the fashion industry and ignite a revolution to radically change the way clothes were sourced, produced and purchased so that what the world wears was made in a safe, clean and fair way.

“We want to empower every spectrum of the supply chain to transform the industry into a more sustainable one.”

Would she like to share about the sustainability issues of the Indian fashion industry?

“There are layers of complexities in the fashion industry but one thing for sure is that India must look to international standards for the safety of the staff?

“There are chemicals that are banned in other parts of the world, yet India still uses them.

“Are our lives any less than those of another country? In Kanpur, the leather making industry is astonishingly hazardous to the staff. Have you watched that movie ‘Erin Brockovich’? Remember that chemical that was banned in the US that is the subject of that movie. Well, the Indian industry still uses it and our staff is exposed to the dangers of such chemicals,” she added.

“Let’s not have the people that make our garments or shoes pay the price for our fashion,” she added.

Talking about sustainable fashion in Indian fashion industry, Dusanj-Lenz said: “On the upside, India also has some incredibly sustainable brands and a massive recyclability culture which we must celebrate and encourage. Sustainable Fashion Day at the LFW brought many of them together.”

She said around 80 per cent of the garment makers in India were women.

“It’s important that we hear their voice and work to campaign for them and not against them. Fashion Revolution wants to educate the consumer about the damage throw away fashion has on our environment.

“We want to inform people about the dark side of polyester and viscose both in a landfill and the chemical process… There is always a price to pay for cheap fashion. Someone somewhere is paying for it,” she added. (IANS)

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BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi wants to know if Research being done on Goodness of Cow Urine

New Delhi MP Lekhi had a starred question to Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in the Lok Sabha related to the quality of milk products of Delhi Milk Scheme; however, she went on a different track altogether

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Gau Mata
Indian cow. Pixabay
  • BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi mentioned in the Lok Sabha a case about an official who got cured of a “serious” illness after consuming cow urine as medicine
  • He also asked if the government was encouraging any research on the medicinal properties that can be derived from cattle
  • Lekhi discussed the goodness of bovine by-products including cow urine and lamented how the “ancient science” had disappeared

New Delhi, August 2, 2017: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi mentioned in the Lok Sabha a case about an official who got cured of a “serious” illness after consuming cow urine as medicine, and asked if the government was encouraging any research on the medicinal properties that can be derived from cattle.

New Delhi MP Lekhi had a starred question to Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday related to the quality of milk products of Delhi Milk Scheme (DMS). However, she went on a different track altogether, and discussed the goodness of bovine by-products including cow urine and lamented how the “ancient science” had disappeared.

Meenakshi Lekhi
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi. Wikimedia

Lekhi mentioned a case where a person who was a “former ASD” was taken seriously ill, and was cured after he consumed cow urine as medicine.

She said the “ancient science” of the country has disappeared and asked if the government is planning to commission research on the medicinal science related to cattle.

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Minister Radha Mohan Singh in reply said under the “Rashtriya gomang Utpadak Mission”, a centre was being established in Karnal, Haryana.

Lekhi then said that the humus content in soil is coming down due to which it converts into dust which is a threat to health. The MP said cow dung can be used as fertiliser and also suggested using cow waste for methane production.

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She also asked if the government has any plans of using cow dung for increasing humus content of soil.

Singh said the government is concerned about the environment, but added that the main question was focused on quality of milk products of DMS.

This prompted Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to say on a lighter note that it was the minister’s skill that he could answer unrelated questions.

Mahajan however added that MPs are not reading the question.

“I am sad that MPs are not reading the questions, even those who ask the question do not read it,” she said. (IANS)