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Friday,27-May-2022

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Tale of Mumbai’s rising trend of air pollution

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Every winter, smog-filled days and nights across entire north India are a common thing and by contrast, the western region looks much cleaner.

However, a new analysis of regional air pollution levels by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has shown that proximity to the sea has not helped in containing the increasing air pollution in the financial capital, Mumbai.

Even though winter pollution levels in the western region are not as high as that seen in the Indo-Gangetic Plains due to its proximity to the sea and improved ventilation, the levels have been seen to be increasing despite the geographical advantages and favourable meteorology, the CSE analysis said.

In other words, increasing air pollution is not restricted to winters but is now an yearlong problem in Mumbai too.

“The number of bad-air days in Mumbai have doubled between 2019 and 2021, while good days are down by 20 per cent. This underscores the urgency of scaling up action across all sectors to prevent further worsening and to arrest the trend in this region,” executive director, research and advocacy, CSE, Anumita Roychowdhury said.

This new analysis, released on Wednesday, of real time pollution data is part of CSE’s air quality tracker initiative and also has an assessment of annual and seasonal trends in PM2.5 concentration for the period January 1, 2019, to January 9, 2022.

This analysis is based on the real time data available from the current working air quality monitoring stations. Review of data availability from the automated monitoring stations in the region under the continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) programme of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows major data gaps. When it comes to data availability calculated as number of days with adequate PM2.5 data for computation of a valid 24-hour average, among Mumbai stations, Kurla in east-central Mumbai had only 55 per cent data while Malady (West) in north Mumbai came up with 68 per cent.

“It is not clear why these stations have such poor data availability despite minimal problems of electricity and internet connectivity in the region,” said CSE’s programme manager, Urban Data Analytics Lab, Avikal Somvanshi.

Like other cities in Maharashtra and Gujarat, studied as part of the same analysis by CSE, Mumbai too has indicated a rising trend in annual PM2.5 levels after an initial drop during 2020 (when there were lockdowns) with a rebound and a rising trend visible in 2021.

The CSE analysis to indicate that the number of bad-air quality days are increasing in Mumbai is supported with Air Quality Index (AQI) data. Daily AQI analysis based on 10 oldest stations shows a 20 per cent drop in the number of good AQI days in the city between 2019 and 2021 — while days with poor or very poor AQI have doubled.

South Mumbai has the worst air within the city during winter: In December 2021, the stations in south Mumbai reported significantly higher PM2.5 levels compared to the rest of the city.

Mazgaon with a monthly average of 134 micrograms per cubic metres was the most polluted neighborhood of the city, followed by Navy Nagar, Colaba (124 micrograms per metre cube), Kurla (101 micrograms per metre cube), Vile Parle-West (101 micrograms per metre cube) and Worli (97 micrograms per metre cube).

Khindipada, in north Mumbai, which is at the edge of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the suburbs with a monthly average of 54 micrograms per metre cube was the least polluted neighborhood. Bandra and Malad (West) reported low numbers, but the values are not considered valid due to a significantly large amount of missing data from these two stations, the CSE analysis showed.

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Monkeypox: Trivitron healthcare develops real-time PCR based kit in India

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 Medical devices company Trivitron Healthcare on Friday announced it has developed the real-time PCR-based kit for the detection of monkeypox virus in India.

Monkeypox, once endemic to countries in West and Central Africa, is spreading at a fast pace globally — with about 200 confirmed and more than 100 suspected cases in over 20 countries.

“India has always been at the forefront of extending help to the world, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this time also the world needs assistance,” said Chandra Ganjoo, Group Chief Executive Officer, Trivitron Healthcare, in the statement.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

The PCR kit is a four colour fluorescence based, which can differentiate between smallpox and monkeypox in a one tube single reaction format within an hour.

“In this four gene RT-PCR kit, the first detects the viruses in the wider orthopox group, the second and third targets and differentiates the monkeypox and smallpox virus, respectively, and the fourth detects the internal control corresponding to human cell to address the assay performance and aid in following its epidemic spread,” the company said.

However, the kit is now available only for research-use (RUO) and based on literature search and in-silico design, it added.

For the response measures such as tracing efforts and treatment strategies, the diagnostic tools are crucial for responding to control the emerging public health challenges.

Trivitron has 15 manufacturing facilities in India, US, Finland, Turkey and China to roll out medical technology products.

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Supreme Court Collegium recommends transfer of six high court judges

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The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the transfer of six high court judges to the high courts of Patna, Calcutta, Orissa, Gauhati, Bombay, and Delhi.

The collegium, which is headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, recommended the transfer of Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah from the Andhra Pradesh High Court to the Patna High Court and the transfer of Justice Chitta Ranjan Dash from the Orissa High Court to the Calcutta High Court.

The collegium also recommended the transfer of Justice Subhasis Talapatra from the Tripura High Court to the Orissa High Court, and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir from the Manipur High Court to the Gauhati High Court.

It also recommended the transfer of Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav from the Madhya Pradesh High Court to the Delhi High Court, and the transfer of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court to the Bombay High Court.

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Narendra Modi to address beneficiaries of government schemes from Shimla

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 Preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s day-long visit to state capital Shimla on May 31 were reviewed on Friday by the BJP-led government.

Modi will be addressing beneficiaries of the Central government’s schemes for 30 minutes and will also hold a roadshow ahead of the Assembly elections in November 2022.

The BJP is aiming to hold a rally of 50,000 people for the Prime Minister’s visit.

As many as 22 BJP mandals have been given the job to mobilise people for the occasion.

State BJP General Secretary Trilok Jamwal told the media that it is a matter of pride for the state that Modi has chosen Shimla for the rally on the occasion of completion of eight years of the Union government.

“Himachal is the second home of our Prime Minister and he is always excited to visit it. The people of Himachal Pradesh are excited to welcome Modi on his visit,” said Jamwal, who is also political adviser to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

The Prime Minister will hold a virtual interaction with beneficiaries of 17 government schemes from all over the country for 30 minutes.

Jamwal said plans are underway for smooth traffic movement in Shimla during Modi’s visit as there will be three entry points — one for travelling towards upper Shimla, second from Solan to Sirmaur and the third towards Chandigarh.

The Prime Minister will hold a roadshow from the Central Telegraph Office to Ladies’ Park followed by a rally at the historic Ridge.

Meanwhile, the Shimla Nagrik Sabha, a group of locals, has urged the Prime Minister’s Office and the state government to shift the venue for Modi’s rally from the Ridge to the Annadale ground in view of the sinking Ridge that has a British-era water tank beneath it.

“There’s more than a 100-year-old water tank beneath the Ridge that supplies water to 40 per cent area of the city. The tank has started developing cracks since 2017. In 2020, the cracks got wider and had to be repaired. In the light of this incident, it would be dangerous to gather thousands of people at the Ridge,” said Shimla Nagrik Sabha Convener Sanjay Chauhan, also a former Mayor of the Shimla Municipal Corporation.

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