Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
United Nations on Tuesday named plastic one of the biggest environmental threats, flickr

Marking World Environment Day, the United Nations on Tuesday named plastic one of the biggest environmental threats facing the world.

The report, Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability, said while government regulation on the use of plastic has made some impact on reducing waste, it is not enough, and more urgent action is needed.


“Our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a speech. “Microplastics in the seas now outnumber stars in our galaxy.”

“From remote islands to the Arctic, nowhere is untouched. If present trends continue, by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish,” he said.

The report noted that by some estimates, as many as 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

While acknowledging that combating plastic waste is different for every country, the U.N. report suggested 10 universal steps that policymakers can follow, including use of more eco-friendly alternatives to plastics and the promotion of reusable products.


UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ press conference with the national and international press to present the results of his visit to Mali and to answer the many questions of journalists.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the Earth’s oceans every year, which adds to the estimated 150 million metric tons already in the marine environment.

A 2017 report by the Ocean Conservancy said China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are dumping more plastic than the rest of the world combined.

But the advocacy group warned that the problem is not Asia’s alone. It noted the United States tosses out more than 33 million tons of plastic, of which less than 10 percent is recycled.

For years, environmentalists have warned of the deadly effect plastic trash has on marine wildlife. This week, a pilot whale died in Thailand after struggling for five days to stay alive. Thailand’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources announced that the whale had 80 plastic bags lodged in its stomach.

Also read: Plastic free Delhi promised EU India

A Thai marine official said the whale, which normally feeds on squid, probably mistook the floating debris for food. (VOA)


Popular

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Delhi to get new QR-based driving livenses and registration certificates.

In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.


voa

In this handout photo provided by Sotheby's Auction House, the auction for Banksy's "Love is the Bin" takes place in London, Oct. 14, 2021

LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally shredded itself just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost 18.6 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.

"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).

Keep Reading Show less
voa

Representations of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on a screen showing binary codes are seen through a magnifying glass in this illustration picture taken Sept. 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — Suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million were made in the first six months of this year, more than the $416 million reported for all of 2020, U.S. authorities said on Friday, as Washington put the cryptocurrency industry on alert about its role in combating ransomware attacks.

The U.S. Treasury Department said the average amount of reported ransomware transactions per month in 2021 was $102.3 million, with REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon, and Phobos the most prevalent ransomware strains reported.

Keep reading... Show less