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Ozone Becoming More Widespread In Delhi-NCR Across All Seasons: Study – dot newz

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The assessment has traced trends during different seasons. (File)

New Delhi:

Ozone, a highly reactive gas and dangerous for those suffering from respiratory conditions and asthma, is becoming more widespread in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) across all seasons, according to a new analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released on Friday.

The analysis said that contrary to the notion that ozone, produced photochemically from interaction between gases in the presence of sunlight, is predominantly a summer phenomenon, the gas has emerged as an equally strong concern during winter as well.

“Ozone is now a round-the-year problem requiring urgent attention of clean air programmes,” said CSE executive director Anumita Roychowdhury.

“The risk from it is often not well understood, as the current regulatory practice of spatially averaging the data from all monitoring stations blunts the curve, and underestimates the magnitude of threat from the worst affected locations and also during different seasons.

“As ozone is a highly reactive gas and even short-term exposure can aggravate respiratory conditions leading to emergency hospital admission, it requires a different approach to risk assessment and communication,” she added.

Another expert said that the number of days not meeting the ozone standards is increasing even in winters.

“This analysis shows that the number of days not meeting the ozone standards has begun to increase even during winter months, making the winter smog more toxic,” said Avikal Somvanshi, programme manager in CSE’s Urban Lab team of the Sustainable Cities programme.

The assessment has traced trends during different seasons – summer (March-June), winter (October-February) and monsoon (July-September), between 2018 and July 18, 2021.

It said that the eight-hourly standard for ground-level ozone exceeded at least in one station in Delhi on 290 days in 2020, which is up by 30 days compared to 2019 and 26 days more than 2018.

This year has already recorded 169 days of exceedance, an increase of 21 days for the same period last year, the analysis revealed, adding that in the NCR, Gurugram saw the maximum jump in number of exceedance days between 2019 and 2020 — its tally of 201 days in 2020 was an increase by over 300 per cent from previous year.

“Noida also registered a 54 per cent jump. Faridabad recorded no change between 2019 and 2020. Ghaziabad and Greater Noida saw a decline, with the latter showing the biggest drop of 28 per cent. 

Meerut does not have adequate data for 2019 to carry out comparative trend analysis, but with 109 days of exceedance in 2020, it was the least polluted major city in the NCR,” it said.

The CSE said that granular real time data (15-minute averages) have been sourced from the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) official online portal Central Control Room for Air Quality Management.

“The data has been captured from 81 official stations under the Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) spread across Delhi-NCR (40 stations in Delhi, four each in Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad, three in Meerut, and two in Greater Noida while 20 smaller towns in NCR have one station),” it said.

From this station-level data, the analysis has calculated the trends in terms of the number of days when the daily level has exceeded the eight-hour standard.

According to the CSE, the city-wide average largely remains within the standard with just occasional exceedances.

“But even from this yardstick, the “good” category days (50 per cent below the daily eight-hour concentration standard) have started declining in Delhi. In 2020, Delhi had 115 “good” days, which was 24 days less than in 2019,” it said.

According to location-wise analysis, exceedance of the eight-hour average standard is quite widely distributed in the city, the CSE said.

“The methodology used here is consistent with the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) method of considering the highest concentration among all the monitors within each reporting area,” it said.

The analysis found that ozone build-up is a hyper-local phenomenon as there can be 100 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) difference in ozone levels between two neighbouring stations.

“On April 27, 2021 Delhi saw variations as high as 150 µg/m3 between locations. While areas adjoining Yamuna, Lutyen’s Delhi and west Delhi showed low ozone levels, south, central, and north Delhi recorded higher levels, south-east Delhi had the highest levels that day.

“At the moment, it is not possible to compute the peak pollution in the city as the data that is available from CPCB is capped at 200 µg/m3. This also makes daily AQI reporting ineffective,” said Mr Somvanshi.



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Amarinder Singh On Backfoot? Congress Calls Key Meeting Of Punjab MLAs – dot newz

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The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year (File)

New Delhi:

There is fresh sparking in the Punjab unit of the Congress. Citing “representation from a large number of MLAs”, the Congress, in a late night tweet, has called for a key meeting of its Punjab legislators today.

“The AICC has received a representation from a large number of MLAs from the Congress party, requesting to immediately convene a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Punjab. Accordingly, a meeting of the CLP has been convened at 5 PM on September 18 at Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee office.

“AICC directs the PPCC to facilitate this meeting. All congress MLAs of Punjab are requested to kindly attend this meeting,” Harish Rawat, Congress’s Punjab in-charge, tweeted Friday night.

Mr Rawat also tagged Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in his tweet.

Navjot Sidhu, who continues to take potshots at his Chief Minister, retweeted Harish Rawat, then tweeted, and repeated, that a meeting has been called.

“As per the AICC directive, Congress Legislature Party meeting has been convened at @INCPunjab PPCC Office, Chandigarh on 18 September 2021 (Saturday) 5 PM,” said Mr Sidhu.

Harish Chaudhary and Ajay Maken will be the central observers for the Punjab meeting.

There has been no reaction from Captain Amarinder Singh so far.

Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators had raised a squadron of complaints against the Punjab Chief Minister and said that they had no faith in his ability to honour poll promises.

The Congress has been papering over the differences between the two top leaders in the state unit, telegraphing a message of unity and cooperation.

As recently as September 8, Mr Rawat, speaking to news agency ANI, said that the people assume party leaders in Punjab are fighting because the ”brave” leaders put forward their opinion strongly.

“Punjab is the land of braves. People there put their opinion very strongly there and it looks like they will fight. But, there is nothing like that, and they find solutions to their problems. Punjab Congress is solving their issues themselves. We are not doing anything,” the Congress leader said.

When asked about the relation between Amarinder Singh and Mr Sidhu, Mr Rawat said, “If there would be a dispute, it would be good for Congress.”

The BJP, in a sharp contrast, has replaced four chief ministers in six months. Most recently Vijay Rupani quit as Gujarat Chief Minister a year ahead of polls.. His resignation follows that of BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka in July and a double blow in Uttarakhand, where Tirath Singh Rawat quit barely four months after replacing Trivendra Rawat.

Both Gujarat and Uttarakhand will vote for new governments next year.

Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu was declared the Punjab Congress chief in July after weeks of infighting and in face of strong opposition by Captain Amarinder Singh. He has been a vehement critic of the state government.

Even after a month of assuming the new role, Mr Sidhu keeps pulling up the government for not fulfilling the pre-poll promises.

The Congress, which has only a skinny group of states in its kitty, has been battling leadership issues in Punjab, which is quickly turning into a political sinkhole for the grand old party.

The 117-member Punjab assembly will vote early next year.





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Coronavirus Live News Update: India Creates World Record In Vaccinations With 2.5 Crore Doses In A Day – dot newz

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The government had set out with a target of 2.5 crore vaccinations and crossed the mark by 10,390

India crossed 2.5 crore Covid vaccinations in a day for the first time on Friday as the government raced to deliver a record on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted to confirm the “historic” figure.

The government had set out with a target of 2.5 crore vaccinations and crossed the mark by 10,390.

With 34,403 more people testing positive for COVID-19, India’s overall infection tally has increased to 3,33,81,728, while the count of active cases has dipped to 3,39,056, according to Union health ministry data updated on Friday.

The death count due to the disease has climbed to 4,44,248 with 320 more fatalities being recorded, it said.

The number of active cases now comprises 1.03 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has been recorded at 97.64 per cent, according to the data updated by the ministry.

It said that active COVID-19 cases in the country decreased by 3,867 cases in a span of 24 hours.

Here are the updates on coronavirus (COVID-19) cases:

Over 7 lakh people vaccinated in Assam on PM’s birthday

A total of 7,09,524 people received the COVID-19 vaccine in Assam on Friday as the state government undertook a mega inoculation drive on the occasion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, a bulletin said.

Over 2.16 crore people have been immunised, and 44.02 lakh of them got both doses of the vaccines, it said.

The special drive was conducted in 4,575 COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs), of which 4,557 were government sites and 18 private ones.



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WHO Emergency Approval For Covaxin Delayed Till October 5 – dot newz

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The assessment of the SAGE working group on the available pieces of evidence will determine EUA.

New Delhi:

World Health Organisation’s (WHO) approval for the emergency use authorisation (EUA) to COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, is likely to be delayed till October 5.

As per WHO, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) will be meeting on October 5 to granting EUA to Covaxin.

Hanna Nohynek, SAGE member will be introducing session objective setting, an update on regulatory decisions and an overview of Working Group deliverables.

The session will recommend EUA based on the clinical data on Covaxin from phase 1, 2, 3 trial and post-marketing studies on safety, immunogenicity, efficacy and effectiveness.

It will update on global, regional and country-level plans for vaccine safety monitoring.

The assessment of the SAGE working group on the available pieces of evidence will determine EUA.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech on Friday said it has submitted all the data to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin and is awaiting feedback from the UN Public Health Agency.

In a series of tweets, Bharat Biotech said that Covaxin clinical trial was fully compiled and available in June 2021.

“#COVAXIN clinical trial data was fully compiled and available in June 2021. All Data was submitted for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) Application to World Health Organization in early July. We have responded to any clarifications sought by #WHO and are awaiting further feedback,” Bharat Biotech tweeted.

As a responsible manufacturer with past approvals for its other vaccines, the company said it would not find it appropriate to speculate or comment on the approval process and its timelines, it further said.

“We are continuing to work diligently on obtaining WHO EUL at the earliest,” it added.

Bharat Biotech has submitted its Phase 3 clinical trials data that demonstrated 77.8 per cent efficacy to the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

Covaxin was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology. Covaxin, which has been developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), contains a whole virion inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which is produced in Vero cells.

The vaccine is stable at 2 degrees Celsius to 8 degrees Celsius (refrigerated) and is shipped in a ready-to-use liquid formulation that permits distribution using existing vaccine supply chain channels.

The WHO has so far approved Covid vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, US pharma majors Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, China’s Sinopharm and Oxford-AstraZeneca for emergency use.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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