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Mitigating the use of household fuels could reduce air pollution-related deaths in India by approximately 13 per cent, which is equivalent to saving about 270,000 lives a year, an India-US joint study has stressed.
Nearly half of the country’s population relies on dirty fuels such as wood, dung, coal and kerosene for cooking and heating, said researchers from the University of California, Berkeley and the India Institute of Technology-Delhi.
Eliminating emissions from these sources — without any changes to industrial or vehicle emissions — would bring the average outdoor air pollution levels below the country’s air quality standard.
“Household fuels are the single biggest source of outdoor air pollution in India,” said Kirk R. Smith, professor of global environmental health at UC Berkeley.
A study in the Lancet Planetary Health journal last year found that air quality in India is so poor that 1.2 million deaths in the country in 2018 can be attributed to air pollution.
“We looked at what would happen if they only cleaned up households, and we came to this counter-intuitive result that the whole country would reach national air pollution standards if they did that,” Smith added in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The co-authors of the paper are Sourangsu Chowdhury and Sagnik Dey of IIT-Delhi, Sarath Guttikunda of Urban Emissions in New Delhi, Ajay Pillarisetti of UC Berkeley and Larry Di Girolamo of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
As of early 2016, nearly half of the Indian population was reliant on biomass for household fuel.
“There are 3,000 chemicals that have been identified in wood smoke, and taken at a macro level, it is very similar to tobacco smoke,” Smith informed.
In 2015, India’s average annual air pollution level was 55 micrograms per cubic meter (ug m-3) of fine particulate matter.
Levels in New Delhi often soared beyond 300 ug m-3.
Complete mitigation of biomass as fuel – which could be achieved through widespread electrification and distribution of clean-burning propane to rural areas – would cut India’s average annual air pollution to 38 ug m-3.
While this is still far above the World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 10 ug m-3, it could still have dramatic impacts on the health of the people.
“You can’t have a clean environment when about half the houses in India are burning dirty fuels every day,” Smith said.
“India has got to do other things to fix air pollution — they’ve got to stop garbage burning, they’ve got to control the power plants, they’ve got to control vehicles and so forth.
“But they need to recognise the fact that households are very important contributors to outdoor air pollution, too,” he noted.
In 2016, India instituted a national programme to distribute clean burning stoves and propane to 80 million impoverished households, or about 500 million people.
Smith hopes the findings would bolster support for reducing outdoor air pollution, as well.
Similar programmes have been successful in China, where air pollution is now on the decline in 80 cities. (IANS)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday asked the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) to prevent dumping of toxic wastes in India. Speaking at an event to celebrate DRI's 64th foundation day, Sitharaman lauded DRI's compact strength of about 800 officers for their relentless efforts despite the imminent risks. The Finance Minister stated that the officers may be keeping a low profile, but they are acting like the frontline defence forces, doing spectacular work in safeguarding the economic frontiers of the country. "The recent smuggling attempts of huge quantities of narcotics, gold, red sanders, ivory, cigarettes etc. unearthed by DRI were appreciated by the Finance Minister," the Ministry of Finance said in a statement.
"Sitharaman said that the message through such enforcement actions should be such that these acts of brazen attempts at smuggling are nipped in the bud," the statement added. The Finance Minister also said that better coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies and sharing of actionable intelligence are the way forward in protecting the frontiers of the country more efficiently. "Sitharaman also asked the DRI to focus on interdicting dual use technology items as well as preventing the dumping of toxic wastes in our country," the statement said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Nirmala Sitharaman, India, Toxic Wastes)
Tech giant Amazon has expanded the sound detection capabilities of Alexa along with more features. Alexa can now identify the sounds of running water and appliances beeping, reports Android Central. This means users can set up an Alexa routine to notify themselves when the washer beeps to indicate that laundry is finished, the report said.
When Alexa detects that the faucet has been left open, it will send users a notification as well so they can take appropriate action, it added. Amazon previously said at its event in September that it would add the ability to programme Alexa to recognise custom sounds, but that feature has yet to arrive. Having said that, the two new sound detection capabilities not only help users save energy, but they also make it easier to avoid paying for unnecessary charges on your home utilities, the report said.
The retail giant has also announced ultrasound motion detection, which will allow you to set up "Occupancy Routines" on additional Echo devices. This feature allows your smart speaker to detect nearby motion and initiate a routine, such as turning on the lights. It is compatible with many of the best Alexa speakers including the 4th-gen Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Dot with Clock. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: laundry, appliances, beeping, running water, Sound, Alexa , Amazon)
By Olivia Sarkar
Comforting Christmas cocktails help you enjoy the celebrations and get into the festive spirit. The Leela Palaces, Hotels, and Resorts offer distinctive cocktails ranging from Hot Toddies to Decadent Egg Nogs. Sit back and enjoy one martini at a time to make the festive season a little brighter.
Dirty Chai Eggnog:
30 ml Bourbon
30 ml Baileys
90 ml Hot milk tea
Sweet cream foam to top up
Cinnamon powder and star anise.
1. In a heavy bottomed med sauce pot, prepare tea with milk. Strain and let it cool.
2. In a cocktail shaker add egg white, Bourbon, Baileys with whole spices. Shake well.
3. Pour the tea in the glass followed by ingredients from cocktail shaker.
4. Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon powder, whole star anise
Eggnog is a Christmas favourite that is accustomed to toasts for good health and prosperity.| Pikist
Inspired by the Christmas Spirits and holiday flavours is a wonderful concoction of warm whisky, sweet vanilla, and thick butter.
45 ml Butter fat washed Whiskey
20 ml Ginger bread syrup
15 ml Spiced Apple liquor
2 dashes of Bitters
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker
2. Shake well
3. Pour into an old-fashioned glass
4. Garnish with Gingerbread cookie
Inspired by the Christmas Spirits and holiday flavors is a wonderful concoction of warm whisky, sweet vanilla, and thick butter. | Flickr
(Keywords: Santa's Apple, Egg Nogs, December, Cocktail, Cocktail, Christmas, holiday, celebrations)