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Researchers: India’s Groundwater Widely Contaminated With Uranium

According to the researchers, several studies have linked exposure of uranium in drinking water may lead to chronic kidney disease

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Researchers: India's Groundwater Widely Contaminated With Uranium
Researchers: India's Groundwater Widely Contaminated With Uranium. (IANS)

Researchers have found widespread uranium contamination in groundwater from aquifers in 16 Indian states.

The findings suggested that the main source of the uranium contamination is natural, but human factors such as groundwater-table decline, over-exploitation of groundwater for agricultural irrigation and nitrate pollution may be aggravating the problem.

According to the researchers, several studies have linked exposure of uranium in drinking water may lead to chronic kidney disease.

“Nearly a third of all water wells we tested in one state, Rajasthan, contained uranium levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking water standards,” said co-author Avner Vengosh from the Duke University in US.

Representational image.
Representational image.

“By analyzing previous water quality studies, we also identified aquifers contaminated with similarly high levels of uranium in 26 other districts in northwestern India and nine districts in southern or southeastern India,” Vengosh added.For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the researchers sampled water from 324 wells in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat to analyze the water chemistry.

In a subset of samples, they measured the uranium isotope ratios. They also analyzed similar data from 68 previous studies of groundwater geochemistry in Rajasthan, Gujarat and 14 other Indian states.

Also Read: Can Water Be Harmful For You?

“The results of this study strongly suggest there is a need to revise current water-quality monitoring programmes in India and re-evaluate human health risks in areas of high uranium prevalence,” Vengosh said.

“Developing effective remediation technologies and preventive management practices should also be a priority,” Vengosh noted. (IANS)

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Uber India Rolls Out Driver Reward Programme “Uber Plus”

Uber India has planned free doctor access and micro loans for drivers

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Uber
Uber has rolled out a reward programme for drivers in India. Wikimedia Commons

Global ride-hailing major Uber on Wednesday rolled out a driver rewards programme called “Uber Plus” in India that will let drivers earn points for rides so that they can win free doctor consultations, concessions on education modules, access to micro loans, faster airport pick ups and savings on vehicle maintenance costs.

These points will be earned by the driver partners in 13 cities over a fixed period of every three months and can be then accumulated to unlock higher rating tiers such as blue, gold, platinum and diamond which, in turn, will let them access better rewards, informed the company.

“Under the programme, the Uber drivers get access to four tiers. To unlock these awards, they need to maintain a certain threshold rating and keep a low cancellation rate to unlock access to these benefits,” Prabhjeet Singh, Head of Cities, Uber India and South Asia, told IANS.

Uber Plus
Under this programme, Uber drivers get access to four tiers. Pixabay

“We have always worked towards prioritising their welfare and making them feel valued, respected and appreciated. ‘Uber Plus’ is an effort in that direction and will enable our driver partners to access greater benefits during their everyday journeys,” he added.

The rewards and offers are only available to drivers who use the Uber driver app, are participating in Uber Plus and meet applicable criteria.

Asked if this initiative will help in bringing down the number of cancellations, Singh replied: “We encourage ri ders to flag such cases if the driver cancels because the mode of payment is not cash, etc. That will help us take strict action against such drivers.

“We want to encourage behaviour which helps improve the marketplace reliability. Less the cancellation, the chances of the trip getting completed goes up and, overall, the network efficiency increases.”

An initial pilot phase was carried out in Delhi-NCR, Chandigarh and Mumbai and now, Uber Plus is being rolled out across 10 new cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi, Guwahati and Jaipur.

Also Read- Improved Cardiorespiratory Fitness linked To Lower Dementia Risk

“We also want to reward drivers who have lower cancellations,” said Uber.

Under the driver programme, Uber has partnered with “Ayushman Bharat” to provide access to free healthcare to its drivers, wherein they have access to free healthcare of up to Rs 500,000 in empanelled hospitals. (IANS)