Remember we told you about the huge hole that appeared in the Earth's protective ozone layer above the Arctic in 2011? According to a recent study, this hole is now as big as that over the Antarctic. “The chemical ozone destruction over the Arctic was, for the first time in the observational record, comparable to that in the Antarctic ozone hole,” say scientists, led by Gloria Manney of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The hole above the Arctic was always much smaller – until March this year, when a combination of powerful wind patterns and intense cold temperatures high up in the atmosphere created the right conditions for already-present, ozone-eating chlorine chemicals to damage the layer. According to reports in the journal, Nature, the hole had opened over northern Russia, parts of Greenland, and Norway.
So people in these areas were likely to have been exposed to high levels of UV radiation.
Shantanu Gangwar, a 17-year-old aspiring engineer from Delhi has designed a ‘Smart Stick’ for visually challenged people. The smart walking stick is fitted with infrared sensors that can detect the obstacles on a person’s path and alert him.
The infrared sensors in the walking stick can detect objects within one-foot range. On detecting an obstacle, the sensor sends signals to a motor connected to it, which in turn vibrates, alerting the user.
The innovation has helped him bag the prestigious ‘Inventions’ award from Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
A Class XII student of Delhi Public School-RK Puram, Shantanu hopes to produce his innovation on a commercial scale once he has more time on his hands.
Here’s the latest from the land of findings. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, breathing in large amounts of traffic fumes can trigger a heart attack up to six hours after exposure. The research reaffirms health risks associated with pollution and identifies exposure to pollutant particles and nitrogen dioxide expelled by cars as the main culprits.
Yes, the authors have quantified the risk as small. After all, it is only 1.3% higher risk of a heart attack up to six hours after exposure to those substances. But according to the researchers, getting enough of those two substances into the lungs can bring forward by a few hours a heart attack that would have happened anyway. This is called short-term displacement or the "harvesting" effect of pollution.
Timothy R Walsh , professor at Cardiff University, UK, and co-author of the controversial ‘Superbug’ study published last year in British medical journal, 'The Lancet', has made a new claim.
“It is impossible to say what levels of spread can be reached, but if it is anything like ESBLs (another type of resistance affecting the same group of bacteria ), then 80 per cent in India and 40 per cent in many other countries is not impossible.
For community-acquired i diseases, such as urinary tract infections, this is a nightmare there are no antibiotics to treat them.
“The fact we have found NDM-1 in Shigella bacteria also indicates that shigellosis will be more difficult to eradicate. NDM-1 is no longer a hospital infection control problem, but has now become a public health catastrophe,”rues Walsh.
World Health Organisation (WHO) has carried out its first global survey of fine particle pollutants. According to the result, Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia have most polluted cities in the world.
Towns in the US and Canada are among the cleanest. Wondering what fine particle pollutant are? Called PM10, these are particles smaller than 10 micrometres. The study looked at data for 1,100 cities and the Iranian city of Ahvaz has the distinction of the highest measured level.
PM10s can cause serious respiratory problems in humans. Our last cover story told you all about air pollution and the extent of damage it can cause. Make sure you read it, if you haven’t already!