City Buzz: Braving Yamuna’s toxic foam | COVID-19 booster shot | Carbon colonisation

Yamuna's toxic foam, India's plans for COVID-19 booster shot and SOS measures for Delhi smog - catch updates on these and more in this weekly round-up.

Devotees bathe in Yamuna despite toxic foam

To mark Chhath Puja on November 10th, hundreds of devotees stood in knee-deep waters of the Yamuna river that was heavily polluted with white toxic foam. Caused by pollutants from industries in New Delhi that dispose off their toxic waste into the river, the 1,336 km Yamuna is one of the world’s most polluted rivers, and provides more than half of New Delhi’s water.

Three Yamuna Action Plans have done little so far to clean up the river. Ironically, union cabinet minister Nitin Gadkari announced just after the media splashed pics of people standing in knee deep foam that Yamuna’s water will be fit to drink in 18 months.

Source: The Free Press Journal, Times of India

Read more: Why does our water ministry want a boat ride on Delhi’s largest sewer drain?

COP26: 22 countries including India protest against ‘carbon colonisation’

A 22-nation climate negotiation group, including India and China, known as the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC), on November 11th protested a paragraph on mitigation in the Glasgow climate meeting text.

The paragraph, yet to be finalised, includes collective measures on trying to limit global warming to 1.5 degree celsius above pre-industrial level (1850-1900), as opposed to the upper limit of 2 degree celsius in the Paris Agreement that kept 1.5 degree celsius as an aspirational goal. The text pushed the attending 196 countries to boost their climate targets by 2023.

The LMDC group called the move ‘carbon colonisation.’ And expressed concern over pushing climate targets to the distant future, and asked that countries reduce their carbon emissions within this decade. 

“Developed countries are pushing this narrative of 1.5 degree celsius very hard,” said Diego Pacheco, Bolivia’s lead negotiator, who represents the LMDC group. “We know this narrative will lead them to control the world once again. Those countries that are not able to achieve the net zero targets by 2050 will be ethically and financially condemned. That is unfair. That is against climate justice.” 

Source: Times of India

Group of people hold a banner that says 'climate emergency' as they protest outside the COP26 summit in Glasgow
Protest outside COP26 | Photo: Flickr

India will release policy on COVID-19 booster shot soon

A key member of the country’s COVID-19 task force confirmed on November 11th that a policy document on administering a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will soon be announced. Dr N K Arora, co-chair of the 28 lab association set up to track genomic variations of SARS-CoV-2, urged citizens to await official confirmation of the booster dose.

Likely to be announced in the next 10 days, the document will outline the government’s plan on rolling out a third dose. Officials including Telangana health authorities have openly advocated the third dose. 

Source: Times of India

Read more: Delta Plus vs Delta variant: How much do we know about these ‘Variants of Concern’?

Central Pollution Control Board asks citizens to prepare for emergency as Delhi smog worsens 

The central pollution control board on November 12th asked states and local bodies to prepare for emergency measures to combat New Delhi’s worsening air conditions due to drop in temperature and wind speeds. The thick haze of toxic smog covering India’s capital was made worse by burning of crop waste in surrounding farmlands, which reduced visibility. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was at 470, which falls in the very poor category..

Emergency measures include shutting down schools, imposing odd-even restrictions on private cars and stopping all construction.

Source: NDTV

Read more: Scrapping of old diesel vehicles in Delhi begins: The rules, players and concerns

Anti-COVID pill likely to get approval in India soon

The Drugs Controller General of India is currently reviewing clinical data to review Merck Sharp Dohme (MSD) and Ridgeback’s drug molnupiravir to treat COVID infection in adults. Sun Pharmaceutical Industries is one of the Indian companies with whom Merck has entered into a licensing agreement. 

“We are gearing up to make Molxvir available to patients and healthcare providers across India at an economical price post-approval by DCGI,” Sun Pharma India Business CEO Kirti Ganorkar said.

Source: Hindustan Times

(Compiled by Saachi D’Souza)

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