BMC must respond to air pollution as a public health emergency like Covid-19


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Clearly, the agencies involved in Mumbai’s administration can no longer treat this as business-as-usual or an issue that will dissipate on its own as the winter ebbs, as they are most likely to, and wake up only when the smog makes the city invisible next winter

For several years, Mumbaikars believed the coastal city was a cut above New Delhi in the fierce rivalry between the two during winters, given that the national capital was generally enveloped in a smog for days, making visibility low and people’s health precarious as air pollution peaked. Mumbaikars have been forced to drop this snobbishness in the last two months as Mumbai’s air quality has seen depths that we did not think possible. The city has had more days of “poor” and “very poor” Air Quality Index (AQI) through December and January than in any previous winter, according to the data available. On some days, the AQI has been worse than in New Delhi too.The problem needs no more description or testimony; we know it, we are all living it. The question is: What have the agencies responsible to counter the air pollution done about it in the last two-three months? A more basic question, perhaps, is where, with which agency, does the buck stop.

To recap, Mumbai’s AQI has swung between 200 and 400, straddling the categories of poor, very poor, and severe since December 2022. These are alarming and cataclysmic levels of pollution which affect every person across the city, irrespective of class and geographical location. Mumbai, going by the trend of the last few years, usually sees moderate to poor AQI, between 100 to 200, through the winter months thanks largely to the sea breeze which helps lift the load. This has been the first winter in which “the city has seen a seen a prolonged period of poor to very poor AQI in the last six years” since tracking was started six years ago by SAFAR, according to its founder project director Dr Gufran Beig.

The reasons for the rising pollution levels are not clouded. There has been a huge uptick in construction and related activities across Mumbai after a lull during the Covid-19 years of 2020-21. Traffic movement is back to the pre-pandemic levels too, possibly with more vehicles on the roads than at any other time in the city. Land-filling has been relentlessly happening at various locations. Along with all these there is dust from unpaved roads, debris thrown every few metres at the sites of major infrastructure projects across the city, and garbage dump fires, all contributing to the rising air pollution.

There have been natural reasons too; the sea breeze which helped Mumbai has changed, perhaps due to climate change factors. Experts have noted a reduction in coastal wind speeds around the city due in large measure to the abnormal drop in surface temperature in the Pacific Ocean among other locations. Simply put, the change in wind patterns has meant that dust particles — of which there are many more now due to the causes identified above — remain in the air for a longer time.

Clearly, the agencies involved in Mumbai’s administration can no longer treat this as business-as-usual or an issue that will dissipate on its own as the winter ebbs, as they are most likely to, and wake up only when the smog makes the city invisible next winter. The buck stops with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB). The time for action is now; in fact, it is late already.

To begin with, it is important to see the alarming air pollution as a complex multi-sectoral issue rather than an isolated one to be addressed by one agency — the most important acknowledgment of such drastically poor levels of AQI should be as a public health emergency or at least a public health hazard. Mumbai’s air has to be made cleaner, first and foremost, for its 20 million residents. It has caused health problems for millions, with general practitioners in practically every area registering a higher number of patients with upper respiratory tract infections.

Poor air quality most impacts all those who work outdoors and spend a large amount of time on streets, such as vendors, drivers, police personnel and so on. It has been a health hazard for months now — and air purifiers or masks cannot be the answer to the problem. At what point will it be declared a public health emergency so that counter-measures can be initiated on a war footing? This is a question that public health professionals in the BMC and the state government must answer — soon.

The BMC is responsible also for the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that has been drawn up for precisely such a time. How and to what extent it was implemented in the last two months remains unclear in the absence of direct communication from the civic body to Mumbaikars. Is this not important? During Covid-19 months in 2020, the BMC had kept a steady stream of information about the spread of the pandemic in every ward, steps taken, location and occupancy of Covid centres and so on. If it could be done then, it can be done again. And air pollution is no less a public health emergency than the pandemic.

In fact, the ward-wise war room approach to tackle that public health emergency, often cited as the Mumbai model, and Mumbai’s municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal had come in for lavish praise from all over the world. Air pollution, according to the GRAP, too needs to be tackled at micro-area and ward levels. The template exists; Chahal and his team have to resurrect it from two years ago and tweak it to address air pollution instead of the virus spread.

Alongside this, the BMC and MPCB must join forces to regulate construction sites with at least adequate proper green curtains, ban the throwing of debris along infrastructure project sites irrespective of how important that project is, and use water sprinklers regularly across the city to keep the road and traffic dust down. There is some merit in regulating the number of vehicles on the roads, perhaps through the controversial odd-even number plate registration as was done in New Delhi, and commercial vehicles can be off the roads from 8am to 8pm; there must be recognition that the odd-even measure is a Band-aid solution to a bleeding wound but it might work in the short run. If nothing else, the BMC can — and must — start imposing stiff penalties on offenders from infra majors to polluting vehicle owners.

What Mumbai needs is rapid and purposeful action that is not hampered by the multiplicity of agencies; the BMC has to be in command and control. If it could use water sprinklers and regulate construction activities along Marine Drive during the G-20 summit last month, then it can do so across the city too. The ball is in your court, Mr Chahal. And this action should be replicated across the Mumbai metropolitan region.

Smruti Koppikar, journalist and urban chronicler, writes extensively on cities, development, gender, and media. She is the founder editor of ‘Question of Cities.’

(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )

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Impossible Objects Enters Joint Development Agreement to Produce New High-Performance Materials for 3D Printing


NORTHBROOK, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Impossible Objects today announced a joint development agreement with Owens Corning to develop new materials for Impossible Objects’ revolutionary composite-based additive manufacturing (CBAM) process.

The collaboration with Owens Corning, a global building and industrial materials leader, will enable the production of stronger parts at costs lower than other 3D printing processes. Fiberglass composites boast key advantages for 3D-printed parts, including substantially greater strength-to-weight ratios compared to aluminum, lower costs, superior high-temperature performance and greater chemical resistance. Lowering material cost is important for broadening adoption of additive manufacturing; research has shown that costs of materials used in 3D printing can be higher than traditional manufacturing materials by up to a factor of eight on a per-weight basis.

“Owens Corning is committed to the development of composite materials and their applications,” said Dr. Chris Skinner, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, Composites, Owens Corning. “We seek to be at the forefront of new processing and new applications involving Composites. We have found the Impossible Objects technology and know-how potentially transformative for the conversion of some applications to composites. Because we believe it can be successful and deliver value to the market and our customers, we’ve entered into a joint agreement to support the development further.”

“Our CBAM process is a revolution in 3D printing, with faster speeds, better material properties and wider material selection,” said Robert Swartz, chairman and founder of Impossible Objects. “This collaboration with Owens Corning will allow us to quickly experiment with and refine new materials to significantly lower cost and bring unprecedented options for additive manufacturing.”

Impossible Objects’ proprietary CBAM technology can produce parts up to ten times faster than conventional fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing. By combining high-performance polymers like Nylon and PEEK with carbon fiber and fiberglass nonwoven materials, parts printed with Impossible Objects machines are stronger, lighter, have better dimensional accuracy and have better temperature performance than what’s possible with conventional 3D printing methods. The CBAM process can use a great variety of materials including carbon fiber and fiberglass paired with PEEK, PA 6, PA 12, elastomerics and most other thermoplastics.

By bringing together Impossible Objects’ CBAM process and Owens Corning’s fully integrated glass nonwoven manufacturing capabilities, the joint development agreement will allow the scaling of the CBAM process to industrial scale, enabling it to compete with other high-volume manufacturing methods like injection molding. The CBAM process can eliminate the long lead-times and tooling costs involved in injection molding, while enabling mass customization of parts. CBAM also allows for the combination of parts, resulting in lower assembly costs.

Owens Corning is the latest materials leader to join forces with Impossible Objects to enable the development of the CBAM process. In May 2019, the chemical company BASF entered a collaboration with Impossible Objects to 3D print high-performance carbon fiber-PA6 composite parts for the first time. Also in 2019, TIGER Coatings began work with Impossible Objects for the development of thermoset-based 3D printed composites.

To learn more:

– Watch a video to learn how CBAM works

– Explore the high-performance materials available for use with CBAM

– Request a free sample part from Impossible Objects

About Impossible Objects

Impossible Objects, a 3D printer and materials company, was founded with the belief that materials science inventions would enable 3D printing to revolutionize the world in the same ways that computers and the Internet have revolutionized the way we live, work and play. The company’s composite-based additive manufacturing technology (CBAM) is an entirely new process that is fundamentally different from conventional additive manufacturing technologies. CBAM parts are stronger, lighter, have better temperature performance, and are more durable than other additive manufacturing technologies on the market. For more information, visit www.impossible-objects.com.



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U‑Blox And KPN Settle Patent Dispute And Sign Patent License Agreement – Patent


Recently, U-Blox AG and U-blox America Inc.
(“u-blox”), announced that it has entered into a
worldwide, non-exclusive, patent license agreement with Koninklijke
KPN N.V., (“KPN”), for a defined term while settling
their ongoing patent disputes. The patent license agreement covers the sale
of u-blox products and services that KPN believes to be essential
for telecommunication standards. Patent infringement litigation between
the two companies has been dismissed.

U-Blox is a global provider of leading positioning and wireless
communication technologies and services while KPN is Dutch
telecommunication (including fixed, mobile, television, and
internet) and ICT solution provider.

The patent license agreement was reached in the background of
patent-related disputes the two companies were engaged in
(Koninklijke KPN N.V. v U-Blox AG and U-Blox America, Inc..in the
District Court of Delaware). Specifically, the dispute was with
respect to KPN’s US Patent No. 6,212,662, titled “Method
and devices for the transmission of data with transmission error
checking” with priority going back to the year 1995. KPN is
the owner by assignment of U.S. Patent No. 6,212,662 and holds all
rights, title, and interest to it, including the sole right to sue
and recover for any and all infringements.

The invention concerns a method and devices for the detection of
errors, in particular transmission errors, in data streams and/or
data packets. Transmission errors may arise, for example, through
electromagnetic radiation, inadequacies in a storage medium
(transmission in time), and errors in switching and transmission
equipment. Systematic errors, that is to say, errors that repeat
themselves, can arise inter all through an error that repeats
itself in the transmission channel (for example an interference
signal with a certain frequency) or through an equipment error.
With systematic errors, the case may therefore arise that an error
once not recognized as such, is continually not detected. With the
technology, the detection function is varied on the basis of the
time and/or the data themselves, for example by assigning an
individual variation value to each index (packet index),
effectively varying the data themselves. The invention is
particularly suitable for application to compressed data
streams.

The devices claimed in U.S. Patent No. 6,212,662 have proved to
be of great importance to the field of error detection and
correction. At a minimum, such ‘662 Accused Products include
all smartphones and other mobile telecommunication devices
configured to send or receive data over an LTE, UMTS, or cdma2000
radio telecommunication network using or incorporating the error
checking technology described in Exhibit A. This includes products
like the following: the u-blox Lisa-U2 series, Toby-L2 series,
Toby-R2 series, MPCI-L2 series, EVK L2 series, Lara-R2 Series,
Sara-U2 series, C027 Series with LISA cellular module, C16 Series
Telematics Application Board with LISA cellular module, EVK-U2x,
EVK-U26/27 with SARAU2, EVK-U20//U23, EVK-L20/EVK-L22 Cellular
Evaluation Kit, ADP-L200, and ADP-L210.

United States Patent No. 6,212,662 previously was the subject of
litigation in Koninklijke KPN N.V., v. Samsung Electronics Co.,
Ltd., (Civil Action Nos. 2:14-cv-1165 and 2:15-cv-948; E.D. Tex.).
The court in that matter construed the patent. Samsung subsequently
entered into a settlement and patent license agreement with
KPN.

In around January of this year (2021), KPN filed a slew of
patent infringement suits against U-Blox, as well as against Acer,
BLU Products, Bullitt Group, Xiaomi, and Yulong Computer
Telecommunications Scientific Company (Coolpad Technologies) in the
District of Delaware, most of which since then has been dismissed.
In August of this year, U-Blox filed a declaratory judgment action
in the Southern District of California against KPN (3:21-cv-01220),
asserting various claims related to KPN’s alleged failure to
license its standard-essential patents related to 2G, 3G, and 4G
cellular technology on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory
(FRAND) terms.


U-Blox And KPN Settle Patent Dispute And Sign Patent License
Agreement

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.



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Bakuchiol: A Potential Anticancer Compound from Psoralea corylifolia Linn



Background:

Bakuchiol is a monoterpene phenol isolated from the seeds of Psoralea corylifoliaLinn. It is used traditionally in Indian and Chinese medicine and has been reported to possess extensive pharmacological potential against a variety of ailments. A recent study enumerates the anticancer potential of bakuchiol.


Objective:

The objective of the present review study is to explore the anticancer potential of bakuchiol which provides insight into the design and develop novel molecular entities against various disorders.


Methods:

Current prose and patents emphasizing the anticancer potential of bakuchiol have been identified and reviewed with particular emphasis on their scientific impact and novelty. An extensive literature survey was performed and compiled via the search engine, PubMed, science Direct, and from many reputed foundations..


Results:

The study’s findings suggested and verified the anticancer potential that Psoralea and bakuchiol against a variety of cancer. Both Psoralea and bakuchiol also portrayed synergistic or potentiating effects when given in combination with other anticancer drugs or natural compounds.


Conclusion:

Altogether, the promising anticancer potential of bakuchiol may open new probes for therapeutic invention in various types of tumors. Thus, the present review gives the erudition of bakuchiol and Psoralea as anticancer which paves the way for further work in exploring their potential.


Keywords:

Anti-cancer; Bakuchiol; Derivatives; Monoterpene; Psoralea corylifolia..



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Exploring a COVID-19 Endemic Scenario: High-Resolution Agent-Based Modeling of Multiple Variants




doi: 10.1002/adts.202200481.


Epub 2022 Nov 11.

Affiliations

Item in Clipboard

Agnieszka Truszkowska et al.


Adv Theory Simul.


2023 Jan.

Abstract

Our efforts as a society to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are continuously challenged by the emergence of new variants. These variants can be more infectious than existing strains and many of them are also more resistant to available vaccines. The appearance of these new variants cause new surges of infections, exacerbated by infrastructural difficulties, such as shortages of medical personnel or test kits. In this work, a high-resolution computational framework for modeling the simultaneous spread of two COVID-19 variants: a widely spread base variant and a new one, is established. The computational framework consists of a detailed database of a representative U.S. town and a high-resolution agent-based model that uses the Omicron variant as the base variant and offers flexibility in the incorporation of new variants. The results suggest that the spread of new variants can be contained with highly efficacious tests and mild loss of vaccine protection. However, the aggressiveness of the ongoing Omicron variant and the current waning vaccine immunity point to an endemic phase of COVID-19, in which multiple variants will coexist and residents continue to suffer from infections.


Keywords:

COVID‐19; agent‐based model; epidemiology; multiple variants; urban science.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures


Figure 1


Figure 1

The town of New Rochelle, New York and the highlights of our current computational framework.


Figure 2


Figure 2

COVID‐19 progression with two variants. Subscripts 1 and 2 denote base and new variant, respectively; absence of a subscript indicates resistance (

RV

and R) or susceptibility to both variants (

SV

and S). Superscript

“V”

corresponds to vaccinated agents. Thin lines are visually differentiated without specific meaning, to enhance readability. Thick colored lines mark transitions that hold for the entire group. Regardless of their variant type or vaccination statuses, an agent in the model can be susceptible (S), exposed (E), and symptomatic (

Sy

). Agents can be tested and home isolated (

IHm

) with testing being performed in a car (

Tc

) or in a hospital (

THs

). All the agents can be subject to contact tracing (

ICT

), resulting in home isolation of unvaccinated individuals and vigilance of others. Exposed agent may recover without ever developing symptoms (R) or become symptomatic after a latency period (

Sy

). Symptomatic agents can be tested and treated through home isolation (

IHm

), normal hospitalization (

HN

), or hospitalization in an intensive care unit, ICU (

HICU

). The disease ends in either recovery (R) or death (D). Recovery grants temporary immunity against the variant with which the agent was infected.


Figure 3


Figure 3

Prevalence of COVID‐19 infections after a year‐long simulation period for two different scenarios: (a–c) ineffective booster shots and new variant less infectious than the base variant; and (d–f) perfect booster shots with both variants equally infectious. In both scenarios, we assume 50% protection loss and 50% testing efficacy loss. The plots show the number of infections with both base and new variants per 1000 agents for one realization.


Figure 4


Figure 4

COVID‐19 infections during the 3‐month simulation period as a function of protection and testing efficacy losses. The heat‐maps show the number of infections with both base and new variants per 1000 agents after 3 months of simulations, averaged over 100 realizations. The top and bottom panels display different outcomes of booster shots: a–c) ineffective, and d–f) highly effective. The left, central, and right panels pertain to different infectiousness of the new variant relative to the base variant, which is less infectious in (a) and (d), equally infectious in (b) and (e), and more infectious in (c) and(f). A version of this figure with a common color‐scale for all the panels is reported in Figure S4, Supporting Information.


Figure 5


Figure 5

Contributions of each variant to the total number of COVID‐19 infections during the 3‐month simulation period as a function of protection and testing efficacy losses. The heat‐maps show the number of infections per 1000 agents with both base and new variants after 3 months of simulations, averaged over 100 realizations. The set of six top and six bottom panels display different outcomes of booster shots: a–f) ineffective , and g–l) highly effective. The left, central, and right panels pertain to different infectiousness of the new variant relative to the base variant which is less infectious in (a), (d), (g), and (j); equally infectious in (b), (e), (h), and (k); and more infectious in (c), (f), (i), and (l). Note that limits of the color‐map for the heat‐maps are adjusted to the infectiousness of the new variant. A version of this figure with a common color‐scale for all the panels is reported in Figure S5, Supporting Information.

References

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