Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Unmasking the new variant, but nothing to worry 

Himalayan Paths

By Narvijay Yadav

In most places, including the Capital City Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Chandigarh, the legal compulsion of masks has been done away with. Still, it would be prudent to wear a mask in crowded places as a precaution. It is similar to wearing a helmet while driving a bike or scooter to protect one’s life, whether the police are there to challan or not. In the same way, even though no one will come and punish you with a penalty for not wearing a mask, but to avoid infection, it is advisable to keep using a mask and sanitizer. Now alerts are coming again that a new variant of Corona, named XE has been detected. A person infected with the same variant was found in the country recently. It’s a facelift of Omicron, the same variant that was responsible for the third wave during the first two months of this year. Since almost everyone has got infected once with Omicron in India, and the majority of the population has been vaccinated, the XE variant will not pose any danger. Once a person is infected with Corona virus, antibodies are made in the body, which resist further infection. This is called natural immunity, while the second type of immunity is developed through vaccin. The effect of antibodies made from the vaccine lasts for six months or more, while the effect of natural immunity may go on for lifelong.

The rise in global temperature is a matter of concern, due to which the climate is changing on the Earth. Sometimes there is a problem of unexpected rain and snow, while sometimes there is uncontrolled flood or severe drought conditions. In April itself, temperature is rising due to climate change, causing tourists to rush to hill stations, where hotel rooms are available at double the normal rates. Hotels have got advance booking till May and room occupancy is going up to 80-90 percent in Uttarakhand, Himachal and Kashmir. With the influx of tourists moving to the mountains in search of coolness, it is expected that the tourism industry will make up for the losses of the past two years. The emission of greenhouse gases is responsible for the rise in temperature, which can be controlled by shifting to renewable and safe sources of energy. India contributes about 7 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Between 1990 and 2018, India’s greenhouse gas emissions increased by 172 percent.

In India, we have the highest emissions i.e. up to 74 percent due to the excessive use of coal and fossil fuels. This means that India will have to pay more attention to the development of alternative sources of energy in the coming time. Meanwhile, Adani New Industries Ltd. has announced plans to manufacture wind turbines for wind power generation, to develop green hydrogen projects, solar panels for solar powered equipment and machines, and production of batteries. Adani aims to produce hydrogen at the lowest cost in the world. The group has also ensured the use of environment friendly technology in steel production. For this, the group has tied up with Posco Company of South Korea. Together, the two companies will set up a green integrated steel plant in Mundra, Gujarat.

(Author is a senior journalist & columnist. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at Twitter @NarvijayYadav)

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