Tea and coffee provide a great succor (with or without sugar) to burdened minds, thanks to caffeine present in it which stimulates the mind. But now, research shows bone-chilling harm of coffee cups which exude plastic particles to the tune of trillions. In the US, National Institute of Standards and Technology did a research and found hair-splitting insights about coffee cups used which are coated with low density polyethylene (LDPE) and unclogs nanoparticles into the hot steaming beverages at a certain temperature, (which is a treat to eyes in the office writing and brainstroming otherwise).
LDPE is basically a flexible plastic film which circles the cup to make latter waterproof.
To reach the conclusion, researhers filled the cup with hot water and made a spray into the fine mist and watched it getting dried to notice nanoparticles present in a large number.
As the mist settled dry, the nanoparticles could be sorted easily as per their small proportion.
Even though such strengths fall within the limits allowed by the regulators, microplastic are deeply being reviewed because of their potent risks to health.
Earlier too, studies were carried out that indicated that plastic materials like polypropylene baby bottles and tea bags of polyethylene terephalate release ultra tiny particles into the heated liquids.
What are microplastics?
Such are plastic particles, very small in size, 5mm in length. The chemical composition is polyethylene as well as polyprophylene or polystyrene.
Microplastics are derived from discarded plastic items such as PET bottles, toothpaste tubes, which undergo change under the impact of sun, wind or water.
Then, the synthetic fabrics of our attires also ooze fibers when we wash them and such are mixed with sewage and are ultimately drawn to the ocean. In the ocean, fish consume them and such take a route into our stomach through our mouths, as we relish the delicacies.
As A Respite To Delhiites; Four Locations Of Wilderness Are Willfully Converted Into Serene Habitats:
In an attempt to choke the distance between nature and residents,four forests are identified in Delhi which would be turned into lush green spots where greenery would touch the sky.
The move comes at a time when our Delhi is likened to a Gas Chamber and is counted among the polluted cities in the world. Such a declaration is a great succor to the residents. Informing this, Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai, (last week), said, “ Of the 19 city forests, four forests will be revamped and developed on the theme — ‘Prakriti ke paas parivar ke sath” — which aims to connect people with nature.”
These include Mitraon city forest with an area of 98 acres) in west Delhi, Alipur city forest having an area of 48 acres in north Delhi, Garhi Mandu city forest comes with 42 acres and is situated in northeast Delhi and Jaunapur city forest has 98 acres in south Delhi.
Planned are meditation huts, amphitheater made up of grass and mud for public entertainment and some outdoor activities alongside, such as bird watching and forest walks. Then, nurseries will be set up and free distribution of saplings will take place. There is a steering committee set-up to take care of this project.
The government is going to set up a steering committee that will oversee the development of these four world-class city forests. Our government wants to provide the people of Delhi with a place where they appreciate nature and educate the next generation about it,” Rai concluded.
An official from the forest department also disclosed before the media, “Monsoon is the best time to plant shrubs and native saplings .. Work at the four forests is already under way and a couple of them might get ready by the end of the year.”
The officer continued, “With the creation of a city forest, you get more area to plant saplings. This ends in creation of mini green zones across the capital. With the current rate of plantation, reaching the 25% green cover target is quite possible,”
A vast section of the Indian population are at the receiving end of scorching heat stark-direct, in the presence of sun shining wildly on their heads which is supplemented by the absence of ACs and coolers. To their respite, an NGO has re-invented an old idea of beating heat effortlessly and in the most affordable way.
Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) sprang into the limelight with the effective approach of applying white paint on the external surface of homes in slums. Such an effort to grapple the heat intensity has been cool as temperature fell by 3 to 4 degree celsius, turning their humble dwelling into a comfy abode.
From a world perspective, the sweltering has claimed some lives too in some parts of the world. In India too, summer temperature has broken all past records. Then, frequent power failures make the situation unbearable. While a handful of well-off residents can shrug off sweat and any mention of heat and humidity by turning on their ACs and coolers, there is a large social class which faces it all by itself. (Class struggle is imminent)
Luckily, as an alternative, white paint is found to have been effective in checking heat, especially to those living in informal social groups (slums). The approach isn’t new and in various parts of the world, such has been in use. For instance in California and in Greece where the residents put while paint onto their roof-tops and bright surface simply reflects 85% of sunlight back and also the heat ingrained within. Dark shades absorb heat.
As for MHT, such is a steadfast NGO operating in cities across India, such as Delhi, Ranchi, Surat, Ahmedabad, Jaipur etc and their help has brought result too. In terms of more comfortable living as well as in enhancing productivity of those running their business at home, white paint coat rooftops has been a delight. Their electrical usage has also been reduced drastically.
Bhavna Maheriya, one of the program coordinators, points out congestion as a reason. ”They have shared walls so there is no scope for windows. We connected with an architect and some visiting students from MIT (Massachusett Institute of Technology) who offered us some unique solutions”.
Airline Ventilation: Such was the term given to the project initially. In this, corrugated fiber sheet was made use of netting and a vent was designed like a dome. This operated perfectly as a cost-effective skylight and ventilation mode. MHT installed this system in about 223 homes.
In similar cool spirit to soak heat, ModRof was also used but the model was soon shelved due to high costs, (Ruppees 450 per square feet while paint option involved Ruppees 25 per square feet).
In the same passion, they also make use of bamboo to develop roofs and such green flora roofing provides an organic defense and brings inner temperature down. In cities like Bhopal and Ranchi, slum homes used creeper plants which proved a pretty effective tool in fighting against heat.
Meanwhile in Bhopal, the Anganwadi Centre turned into a precarious state and needed repair. The centre was a crucial hangout for street children where their primary education could be imparted in a playful way. The principal of this school, Ms Sneha Srivastava views, “The temperature used to be a big problem for us but now, after they have put in the new roof, there is ventilation and it is pleasant ”.
This new roof is made up of agricultural fibre that is compressed. She also complained, “The only problem remaining are the small cracks in the wall and some tiles are coming out”.
However, the experts believe that such solutions are useful to the symptoms but not to the root of the issues. Such point is also bought by members of MHT and they call for structural shift in urban planning.
Ms Maheriya says, “As our cities get more vertical, heat is only going to be more and more of a problem. When buildings are constructed, there should be proper ventilation and the materials used should be those which generate less heat”.
She argues in favour of concrete blocks instead of tar roads. She opines, “Tar roads generate so much heat. Earlier, they used to leave space for percolation, but now they don’t do that either. This leads to more water scarcity”.
This agency works closely with Amdavad Municipal Corporation, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar and NRDC India. Their attention and efforts are focused upon a recommended green zone in Ahmedabad and are pondering upon a policy concerning cool roof technology.
Besides, in low-income neighbourhoods in Ahmedabad, they carry out an audit of thermal comfort and try to reach out to patterns of electricity consumption and are also examining the shape of buildings that affects the temperature.