New Delhi, July 26 (IANS) As much as 56,898.14 tonnes of Covid-19 bio-medical waste (BMW) was generated between June 2020 and June 2021 in India, as per the data collected by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.This data was collected through an app -- COVID-19 BWM -- developed by the CPCB to track the generation and disposal of Covid-19 BMW from across the states and Union Territories, Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, said in a statement in the Upper House in reply to a question by Akhilesh Prasad Singh.Covid-19 BMW is required to be segregated as per Schedule-I of Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016.Thereafter, the collected BMW is required to be handed over to the Common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBWTF) operator for final treatment and disposal. The CPCB has issued guidelines for 'Handling, Treatment and Disposal of Waste Generated during Treatment/Diagnosis/Quarantine of COVID-19 Patients' under the provisions of BMWM Rules, 2016.Smaller states and UTs such as Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Lakshadweep, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim do not have CBWTF, the data revealed. In all, 202 plants have the capacity to process about 1184.8 tonnes BMW per day, it added.--IANSniv/arm
New York, July 11 (IANS) Drinking one or more cups of coffee per day was associated with about a 10 per cent decrease in risk of Covid-19, compared to less than one cup daily, claimed a study.
The study, led by researchers from the Northwestern University in the US, also found that the consumption of more vegetables, and less processed meats, could cut the risk of Covid infection.
Coffee is known to contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
"Coffee consumption favourably correlates with inflammatory biomarkers such as CRP, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumour necrosis factor I (TNF-I), which are also associated with Covid-19 severity and mortality," said the study published in the journal Nutrients.
"Coffee consumption has also been associated with lower risk of pneumonia in elderly. Taken together, an immunoprotective effect of coffee against Covid-19 is plausible and merits further investigation," it added.
For the study, the team analysed the records of 40,000 British adults in the UK Biobank. They looked at the link between diet factors including daily intake of coffee, tea, oily fish, processed meat, red meat, fruit, and vegetables, and Covid.
They found that consumption of at least 0.67 servings/d of vegetables (cooked or raw, excluding potatoes) was associated with a lower risk of Covid-19 infection.
Processed meat consumption of as little as 0.43 servings/d was associated with a higher risk of Covid-19. However red meat consumption presented no risk, suggesting meat per se does not underlie the association observed with processed meats.
"Our results support the hypothesis that nutritional factors may influence distinct aspects of the immune system, hence susceptibility to Covid-19. Encouraging adherence to certain nutritional behaviours (eg, increasing vegetable intake and reducing processed meat intake) may be an additional tool to existing Covid-19 protection guidelines to limit the spread of this virus," said the researchers.
"Although these findings warrant independent confirmation, adherence to certain dietary behaviors may be an additional tool to existing Covid-19 protection guidelines to limit the spread of this virus," they added.
Chennai, June 9 (IANS) With the possibility of a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic looming large, the unhindered dumping of bio-medical waste across the suburbs of Chennai on highways and water bodies have become a major issue in Tamil Nadu. Political parties like the VCK and the BJP have raised the issue separately with Non-Governmental Organisations like Thanal and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch also coming out in protest against the dumping.Dr Sindhu Vinod, Director of Thanal, an NGO working among school children to create environmental awareness, told IANS, "There is huge dumping of bio-medical waste in the outskirts of Chennai and this is a matter of grave concern. Bio-medical wastes like syringes, gloves, blood bags, etc are being dumped in large quantities in areas that are not much inhabited like Kelambakkam and others. We have already taken the photograph of this waste and passed it on to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board."In the outskirts of Tambaram also, bio-medical waste is being dumped in large quantities with syringes, needles, blood bags and empty glucose bags lying scattered. BJP state president L. Murugan, while speaking to IANS, said, "We will raise this issue of doing away with the bio-medical waste in and around Chennai and the government must immediately take action to remove this waste so that this does not turn into a place wherein the virus multiply."Tamil Nadu, according to VCK MLA, S. Balaji has only seven companies that process bio-medical waste. Balaji said that the amount of medical waste generated during the pandemic has increased manifold. While speaking to IANS, Balaji said, "There are only seven biomedical waste processing companies in Tamil Nadu and with the high output of medical waste due to the pandemic and many hospitals don't have any agreement with the biomedical waste processing companies, these hospitals use small trucks to dump the waste along highways, sometimes this reaches to water bodies resulting in an increase in pollution. This has to be strongly condemned and I have already taken up this issue with the state health minister Ma Subramanian."Balaji said, "In the third wave of the pandemic, experts say that the spread might be more in the rural areas and this biomedical waste being dumped in rural areas along the highways is a matter of concern and hence I have taken up this matter with the State health minister Ma Subramanian."Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, the intellectual arm of the RSS is also trying to push the case of dumping of biomedical waste in the outskirts of Chennai. State Joint secretary of Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, Mahesh Krishnamoorthy told IANS, "Dumping of biomedical waste is a major issue Chennai and its outskirts are facing and there is an indiscriminate volume of biomedical waste being dumped. We have taken several photographs and videos of biomedical waste including syringes, empty glucose bottles, blood bags, etc being dumped in the highways and rural areas of Chennai. We will be sending these materials to the TN Pollution Control Board and if action is not taken, we will be meeting with the minister and other officials."--IANSaal/skp/
New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday remarked, "You must smell the coffee", as it grilled the Centre over its vaccine policy and emphasised that the policy to fight back the deadly virus should be aligned with the ground situation in the country.A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, "You must smell the coffee and see what is happening across the country", and stressed that Centre's vaccination policy should not be carved in stone, rather it should evolve based on the ground situation. The bench suggested that the Centre must know the ground situation and change its policy accordingly. "If we had to do it, we would have done it 15-20 days back. If we had to do, we would have done so 15 days ago. But we want you to smell the coffee and realise what is happening in the country and make the necessary amendments.", said the bench.The bench emphasised that the vaccination not reaching the rural population and indicated that 75 per cent vaccination is being done in urban areas. "With shortage there is no chance of vaccine going in rural areas," the bench noted.Justice Chandrachud noted that private hospitals, procuring the vaccines, are not serving the core rural areas, therefore the Centre is merely addressing urban areas. "The policy today does not include vaccination in rural areas, it is a matter of concern," noted the bench.Justice Chandrachud emphasised the policy cannot be ad-hoc day-to-day response, instead there should a plan based on science. "We want the policy to be amended..need enforceable policies for the country. You have to have a policy to deal with these issues. If a new issue comes up then policy has to address it", said the bench. Citing technical glitches on CoWIN application used for registration for vaccinations, Justice Bhat said he had received distress calls from all over the country, and added that young people, who had registered for vaccination, visit private hospitals, only to find all slots are booked. Making it clear that its suggestion on vaccine policy should be taken in the right stride, the bench said "We are not going to run central govt and make policies for you." On the aspect of vaccine policy, Justice Chandrachud told Mehta that the ability to recognise that 'I am wrong' is not a sign of weakness, but that of strength.He added that this is a platform for dialogue across the spectrum. "The idea is not to criticise, but to strengthen the arms of the government..The fact that MEA went abroad, had dialogue shows the seriousness of the situation", said Justice Chandrachud. During the top court's suo motu hearing on Covid-19 crisis management in the country, the Centre informed the top court that it is confident of vaccinating all eligible persons over 18 years, by the year end. Mehta submitted the production from domestic vaccine producers will be enough to vaccinate all who are over 18 years of age. --IANS ss/ash
Jaipur, May 24 (IANS) On the complaint made by a Jaipur law student with regard to the Covid-19 biomedical waste lying scattered in garbage dumps near Redhills, Chennai, the National Human Rights Commission slapped a notice to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary directing him to take appropriate action within 8 weeks.One Tapish Saraswat, a law student from Jaipur was quite upset to read the media reports of Covid biomedical waste including the PPE suits, test kits and syringes lying open in garbage dumps in Chennai and hence wrote to National Human Rights Commission alleging serious negligence on the part of the concerned authorities. In his complaint, Saraswat said, "The biomedical waste generated during treatment and diagnosis of Covid-19 patients is required to be treated and disposed off in a scientific manner and in line with provisions under Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016. The second wave of the pandemic is serious to mankind. A large number of Covid patients are detected every day and a massive amount of medical waste is generated. PPE suits, Covid test kits and syringes are seen in open garbage dumps near Redhills, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (As Reported in media)."This is a serious negligence on the part of the concerned department as it not only spreads the virus but is also a threat to the environment. The average generation of Covid-19 related biomedical waste in the country shot up from 75 tonnes per day in March to 203 tonnes per day in May following the spike in cases, according to estimates by the Central Pollution Control Board. The average monthly generation increased to 139 tonnes per day in April from 75 tonnes in March. As on May 10, the corresponding figure was 203 tonnes per day.""Peak generation of about 250 tonnes per day was reported on May 10. The earlier peak in the year 2020 was in the range of 180 to 220 tonnes per day," as per the estimates by the Central Pollution Control Board, he said, adding, "Despite a spike in the number of patients, there was no proportional growth in the quantity of Covid related biomedical waste generated owing to the proper segregation of waste," said Saraswat.Acting on his complaint, NHRC directed the chief secretary of Tamil Nadu to take appropriate action within 8 weeks, associating the complainant/victim and to inform him/her of the action taken in the matter.--IANS arc/skp/
New York, Coffee pulp, a waste product of coffee production, could be used to speed up tropical forest recovery on post agricultural land, suggests a new study.
In the study published in the journal 'Ecological Solutions and Evidence', the team spread 30 dump truck loads of coffee pulp on a 35-40m area of degraded land and marked out a similar sized area without coffee pulp as a control.
"The results were dramatic", said lead researcher Rebecca Cole from the University of Hawai'i in the US.
"The area treated with a thick layer of coffee pulp turned into a small forest in only two years while the control plot remained dominated by non-native pasture grasses," Cole added.
After only two years, the coffee pulp treated area had 80 percent canopy cover compared to 20 percent in the control area. The canopy in the coffee pulp area was also four times taller than that of the control area.
The addition of the half metre thick layer of coffee pulp eliminated the invasive pasture grasses which dominated the land.
These grasses are often a barrier to forest succession and their removal allowed native and pioneer tree species, that arrived as seeds through wind and animal dispersal, to recolonise the area quickly.
The researchers also found that after two years, nutrients, including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous, were significantly elevated in the coffee pulp treated area compared to the control.
For the study, the researchers analysed soil samples for nutrients immediately prior to the application of the coffee pulp and again two years later.
They also recorded the species present, the size of woody stems, percentage of forest ground cover and used drones to record canopy cover. (agency)