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Bengaluru: A novel product developed by Nualgi Nano Biotech (NNB), a low-profile biotech company here, is helping clean up sewage-polluted Ulsoor Lake where thousands of fish were found dead last week owing to depletion of dissolved oxygen.
Ulsoor Lake, famous for army rowing competitions as well as for boating among tourists, was seen covered with thousands of dead fish that left people here stunned.
“Called Nualgi, it is a mixture of micro-nutrients in the form of nano-particles, including silica, iron, and manganese,” said Thothathri Sampathkumar, who founded the company which patented the product in India in 2008.
“‘Nualgi’ triggers the rapid growth of a type of algae called ‘diatoms’ and the oxygen released by the diatoms through photosynthesis quickly increases the dissolved oxygen level of water and thus keeps the pond clean,” Sampathkumar told IANS.
According to Sampathkumar, one kg of Nualgi can treat four million liters of water, adding that the affected fishermen — who have the contract for fishing in Ulsoor lake – have purchased 40 liters of “Nualgi” from his company on March 6 to increase the dissolved oxygen level and stop further fish death.
“We can see the results very soon,” added Sampathkumar.
“Nualgi can be used to grow “diatom” algae in any water including sewage polluted water. The growing “diatoms” absorb carbon dioxide from the air and, by photosynthesis, release oxygen at the micro plant level. The oxygen released helps aerobic bacteria breakdown organics in the water into base constituents, thereby eliminating the stinking odour from the water.
The growing “diatoms” are eaten by zooplankton that, in turn, is consumed by fish. “The fish clean up the lakes of all ‘diatoms’, zooplankton and organics, thus restoring the polluted lakes and water bodies to its original glory,” said Sampathkumar.
According to him, the mass fish death in Ulsoor lake took place, perhaps because the fishermen ran out of their stock of Nualgi or missed its timely application.
The tragedy could have been averted had the authorities installed monitors to continuously record the level of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the lake water and alert them when DO falls below a critical level. These DO monitors, he said, are now commercially available.
“Nualgi has been patented also in the US, Britain, Germany, and South Africa. Five years ago, the three-acre “Duck Pond” in New York state in the US that “was in a highly impaired state with a variety of water quality issues” was restored to normal health thanks to “Nualgi.”
Lake Savers, the US company that tried it out, had acknowledged in an email to Sampathkumar that the water quality of “Duck Pond” showed a “remarkable and sustained improvement” after a single dose of Nualgi application and that “fish productivity and health improved dramatically.”
Encouraged by its successful experiment in New York’s “Duck Pond”, Lake Savers had obtained clearance from the US Environmental Protection Agency for using Nualgi on a large scale in the country.
Nualgi, that requires no skilled labor, is an economical alternative to treat sewage and organic wastes in “eutrophic” lakes and ponds contaminated by nitrogen or phosphorus compounds, such as by laundry detergents, untreated sewage, and fertilizer run-off from agricultural lands.
“Nualgi is being used in many lakes in southern India for the past several years and fishermen are buying the product to increase fish catch in water bodies.
Sampathkumar is hopeful of promoting its use worldwide to revive fresh water “eutrophic lakes” and “dead zones” in coastal regions that are so much deprived of oxygen that they can’t support aquatic life. (K.S. Jayaraman, IANS)
In a global-first move, ride-hailing major Uber and Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp on Thursday announced that people in India can now book an Uber ride via the company's official WhatsApp chatbot. The service is being rolled out on a pilot basis in Lucknow first, and will soon be expanded to other cities in the country.
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"We want to make it as easy as possible for all Indians to take an Uber trip. We are thrilled at this global-first integration for Uber, and look forward to rolling it out across India," said Nandini Maheshwari, Senior Director, Business Development, Uber APAC.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.
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Currently, the option to book a ride via WhatsApp will only be available in English but it will be expanded to other Indian languages soon. "The Uber experience on WhatsApp is simple, familiar, and relatable for users and has the potential to accelerate adoption of Uber with a new category of riders in India," said Abhijit Bose, Head of WhatsApp India.
With this integration, riders will no longer need to download or use the Uber app. WhatsApp users can book an Uber ride through three simple ways: messaging to Uber's business account number; scanning a QR code; or clicking a link directly to open an Uber WhatsApp chat.
Built on WhatsApp Business Platform, the partnership will expand access to Uber's mobility services in one of the company's largest international markets.Unsplash
They will be asked to provide pickup and drop off locations. Users will receive upfront fare information and the driver's expected time of arrival. "Riders get the same safety features and insurance protections as those who book trips via the Uber app directly," the company said.
They will be informed of the name of the driver and license plate of the driver on booking; be able to track the location of the driver en route to the pickup point and be able to speak to the driver anonymously using a masked number.
If the user selects the "emergency" option while on the trip, they will receive an inbound call from Uber's customer support team. Uber riders will also have access to its safety line number to call, if needed, until 30 mins after the trip ends. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : WhatsApp, Uber, India, Lucknow, languages, rider, driver, cab, booking.)
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Australia's national science agency has opened a purpose-built facility to test technology before it is sent to the Moon.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Thursday opened the In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) Facility in Brisbane. The facility provides a Moon-like environment to test rovers and related equipment before it is sent into space, Xinhua news agency reported.
"Our ability to simulate the lunar terrain at this scale is an exciting advancement for the development of space technology in Australia," CSIRO Space Programme Director Kimberley Clayfield said in a media release.
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"This facility is the latest example of our commitment to stimulating innovation, supporting industry and solving the greatest challenges through space science, technology and exploration.
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"We're looking forward to working with researchers and businesses from across the space sector to test their technology and systems for future space missions."
The ISRU Facility, which is located at CSIRO's Queensland Center for Advanced Technologies, contains a sealed dust area to simulate various types of Moon dust, smaller pits for small-scale tests and a mission control room to monitor rovers and payloads.
"The challenge is the Moon dust is powdery, sharp and electrostatically charged so it sticks to everything and has the potential to damage the technology sent to investigate it," he said.Unsplash
The Australian Space Agency (ASA) in October signed a landmark deal with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US to send an Australian-built rover to the Moon for the first time as early as 2026.
ISRU Project Leader Jonathon Ralston said the new facility would be key to solving major challenges for the rover.
"The challenge is the Moon dust is powdery, sharp and electrostatically charged so it sticks to everything and has the potential to damage the technology sent to investigate it," he said.
"Our facility offers technology developers the opportunity to test their equipment closer to home, in a safe environment to find solutions to this dusty problem."
(Keywords : Australia, Brisbane, resource, scientific, research, simulate, lunar, innovation, project, moon, challenge, facility, opportunity, environment.)
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