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NGT declines to relax ban on tourist activities in Rohtang

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Photo: http://www.rohtangla.com/

Shimla, (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday declined to relax its recent order banning all tourist activities in and around the Rohtang Pass overlooking the picturesque tourist resort Manali, to check environmental degradation.

Photo Credit: http://www.rohtangla.com/
Photo Credit: http://www.rohtangla.com/

A two-member bench, headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, issued a show-cause notice to the Himachal government, asking them about the steps initiated to prohibit commercial activities after its July 7 order.

Listing the case for next hearing on August 13, the bench asked the government to come out with a rehabilitation policy for the people, mostly from the hospitality industry, going to be affected by the ban.

Earlier, the tribunal banned horse-riding, snow-biking, paragliding, and plying of snow scooters at Rohtang, Solang, and Marhi and also ordered closure of eateries and kiosks.

The tribunal said the ban on tourist activity would help check environmental degradation and melting of the glaciers in the region which were receding at the rate of 20 metres a year since 1986.

“Except water, everything else should be prohibited in and around the Rohtang Pass,” it observed.

Citing an experts’ status report, the tribunal said heavy increase in tourist inflow was adversely affecting the glaciers and environment.

“The entire snow on the roadside from Manali to Rohtang had turned black. The pollution and high emission have even blackened the snow at nearby mountains. The orders of the tribunal are being abused at their will. Prima facie, we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that the state has failed to carry out the directions issued by the tribunal,” the report said.

“There is a right to tourism, but it has to be within the framework of the Constitution where the fundamental right of the public at large (to life and liberty) in terms of Article 21 has to take precedence,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal has also limited the entry of diesel and petrol tourist vehicles to the Rohtang Pass to 1,000 per day.

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Researchers Develop Wearable Device to Measure Wearer’s Physiological Response to Environment

The team says the aim of Project Coolbit is to create a personalised comfort model for each wearer, as well as crowdsourcing environmental data in the city in real-time.

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Fitbit watches, Sensors, Environment
Fitbit watches have sensors that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment. Pixabay

Researchers are developing a wearable device that aims to provide individualised information while gathering environmental data.

According to researchers, the device can measure the wearer’s physiological response to their immediate environment.

“We have added some sensors to the Fitbit watches that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment, such as your heart rate, your skin temperature, and your skin humidity,” said Negin Nazarian from UNSW.

“We have also developed some apps where you can interact with and tell us how you feel about the environment, so that way we can develop a methodology and a solution that is personalised and not one-size-fits-all,” Nazarian added.

Fitbit watches, Environment
There are some apps where you can interact with and tell us how you feel about the environment. Pixabay

The team says the aim of Project Coolbit is to create a personalised comfort model for each wearer, as well as crowdsourcing environmental data in the city in real-time.

“So your wearable already knows your personal comfort model, it knows your preference of the environment, the type of activities you like and some information about your physiological response,” the team said.

ALSO READ: Scientists Find Solution to Reduce Air Pollution, Develop Smart Windows

A Coolbit user could create a personalised heat safe route for a run, based on the previous information received by the wearable, according to the researcher.

“It also knows, based on the environmental information that other parties may give about the cities, the climate of the city,” the researchers said. (IANS)