LIFE STYLE

Monthly Archives: JUNE 2017


It's Harmful;
Avoid Re-using Disposable Plastic Bottles
27.06.17 - team pt
Avoid Re-using Disposable Plastic Bottles



While drinking plenty of water is good, refilling that plastic bottle again and again could actually be doing more harm than good.
 
That's because the plastic bottle you're constantly replenishing isn't made to be re-filled - meaning it could have the potential to leach chemicals and harbour harmful bacteria.
 
In particular, there have been concerns about Bisphenol A (BPA) - a controversial chemical, which is used in the manufacture of plastics and is thought to interfere with sex hormones.
 
"Certain chemicals found in plastic bottles can have effects on every system in our bodies,' Dr Marilyn Glenville warned Good Housekeeping.
 
"They can affect ovulation, and increase our risk of hormonally driven problems like PCOS, endometriosis and breast cancer, among other things."
 
It's a sentiment shared by the NHS too, which has confirmed BPA has the potential to migrate into beverages. However, they have suggested that more research is required into the affects of the chemical on humans.
 
It said: "The science is not yet completely clear on how BPA may affect humans. BPA may mimic hormones and interfere with the endocrine system of glands, which release hormones around the body.
 
"Those calling for a ban suggest that it may be a factor in a rising numbers of human illnesses, such as breast cancer, heart disease and genital birth defects."
 
But aside from this, there is another potentially worrying side effect of topping up your water bottle - bacteria.
 
In a study conducted by Treadmill Reviews, researchers lab-tested water bottles after each had been used by an athlete for a week and found that the highest number of bacteria reached over 900,000 colony forming units per square cm on average.
 
Worryingly, that's more bacteria than the average toilet seat.
 
It also found that 60 per cent of the germs they found on the water bottles were able to make people sick.
 
So what can you do to avoid becoming ill?
 
It's simple really - don't re-use disposable bottles. Drink from them once and then recycle.
 
It's also a great idea to buy BPA-free plastic bottles where possible or invest in a refillable one made out of glass or stainless steel.




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'Practice what you preach'
Wanna Drink? Fine! But Please Avoid With Non-Doctors, Says IMA
26.06.17 - team pt
Wanna Drink? Fine! But Please Avoid With Non-Doctors, Says IMA



The recent advisory released by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) directs doctors to avoid drinking with non-doctors to promote healthy living and become "brand ambassadors of health" for the society. This advisory intends to spread awareness among the people of the disadvantages of consuming alcohol through doctors who are touted to be the spearheads of healthy living.
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A safe limit has been set out for both female and male doctors
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Prohibitions that are laid-out
 
According to a NDTV report, the representative voluntary organization of Doctors asked its members to observe dry days on July 1st (Doctor's Day) and September 5th (Teacher's Day) as an attempt to put this advisory quickly into practice.
 
Apart from fixing these dates and asking the doctors to be wary of alcohol consumption among non-doctors, the IMA has also set "safe-limit" for the doctors to curtail their alcohol intake at an individual level. While the limit for female doctors is 9 Ml, it is double, at 18 Ml for male doctors.
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 Doctors are advised to observe dry days on Doctor's and Teacher's Day
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Moreover, the IMA has directed to prohibit alcohol during its meetings as per the new 'alcohol policy'. The policy has also appealed the doctors to say "Thank You" to their patients because according to a study, 40 % of the patients expect their doctors to say thank you to them.
 
'Practice what you preach'
 
The Indian Medical Association intends to spread the disadvantages of alcohol consumption among the masses through the doctor and other IMA members so as to strike a balance between what they preach and what they practice. Along the same lines, the advisory says that the doctors should maintain dignity among his/her patients by not indulging in any kind of unhealthy activity. The code of ethics laid down by the Medical Association of India (MAI) has a similar dictum which talks about maintaining proper decorum with patients.
 
According to the National President of the IMA- Dr KK Aggarwal, a patient should be able to trust his doctor and have confidence in him. Any display of 'undignified' behavior erodes the trust in the doctor and gives the profession a bad name.




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Green Your Religion
16.06.17 - Ramanpreet Kaur
Green Your Religion



When was the last time you asked abut the carbon footprint of a Nagar Kirtan? Or enquired whether the temple or the gurdwara near your home adopts environmentally good practices in langar cooking? When Punjabis forgot their Hindu, Sikh affiliations and fought as one in Guru Ka Bagh morcha, they were making a point against a corporate big business enemy that they will not surrender their resources and their rights to brute power.

Today, those of us who tell our children the story of Guru Ka Bagh must explain that those times were different, and the Sikhs used to go out and get some wood from the nearby grove for cooking langar because the environmentally friendly notions were in keeping with those times. In today's world, a Sikh who refuses to burn wood in the langar and rather beseeches the sangat to invest in solar panels on gurdwaras' rooftops will be a true Sikh of the Guru.

Punjabis have had the great heritage as given to us in the Slok, Pavan Guru  Paani Pitaa, Mataa Dharat Mahat. The whole environment that sustains us has the status of Guru: Water the Father and, Earth the Mother. We are the children of nature. How worried we are to what we are doing to our Mother Earth and Father Water?
At a time when opinion leaders, politicians and activists around the world are talking about olive ridley turtles dying on the beaches, polar bears getting drowned, unprecedented pollution and epidemic increase in the number of diseases, we cannot fulfil our role by merely watching programs about global warming on National Geographic.

If the poor are the worst sufferers of certain actions, then those who claim to be the inheritors of Sarbat Da Bhala philosophy cannot sit at home and live in the false hope that Nanhi Chhaanv is enough of an endeavour to erase the guilt from our collective souls. One day, the election gets over. One day, the public relations team finds the issue is now hackneyed and overdone. They will move ahead and find new theatre.
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It is unfortunate that we are now witnessing extensive use of bottled water in Nagar Kirtans and Ram Navmi processions. Once the procession is over, the roadside is littered with plastic bottles and Styrofoam plates.
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Punjab, the land of two and a half polluted rivers, has to live long after the media is tired of the story. The poor have to suffer the impact of our actions long after we have polluted the air and plunged the water tables to new moral lows.

We need to talk about in our gurdwaras and temples the issues of personal responsibility. We must ensure that the institution of Langar that feeds and nurtures the hungry with simple and nutritious food does so in the most earth friendly way, just as Guru Har Rai Ji had showed towards conservation and sustenance of flora and fauna, just as Bhagat Puran Singh lobbied for saving trees and reversing pollutions of our rivers when he only had the power of one.

It is unfortunate that we are now witnessing extensive use of bottled water in Nagar Kirtans and Ram Navmi processions. Once the procession is over, the roadside is littered with plastic bottles and Styrofoam plates.We have abused our planet for a long time. Let's not do ot in the name of our God. It’s time to stop trashing and contaminating the environment with synthetic toxic wastes that our fast and convenient lifestyle produces.

The idea of religion is also about taking personal responsibility. The Mother Earth is too dear to us to be left only to the activists to fend for. We must become the change agent for the future and we can all do our part. Simply by making a few lifestyle changes for ourselves and inspiring others to do so, we can bring about a revolution in the way we treat this earth!
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It is time that the SGPC gets into the act in a major way and carries out a drive to make all gurdwaras green. It is a pity that even the Golden Temple greening project has not moved beyond some press statements.
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So the next time you sit on the dining table, take a stock of your household's carbon footprint. Making your kitchen greener, so that you can have the moral force to ask the gurdwara or temple managers to make the langar kitchen greener. The prospect is unlimited if we all join together.

It is time that the SGPC gets into the act in a major way and carries out a drive to make all gurdwaras green. It is a pity that even the Golden Temple greening project has not moved beyond some press statements. We need to understand that greening of a gurdwara or langar cooking practices or nagar kirtans or temples is not just about good practices in administration of religious places. People take these ideas home; these ideas creep into all spheres of life. 

One would ideally expect that religious seminaries that prepare our kathakars and kirtani jathas should weave ideas about taking care of the planet into religious discourses. There are huge lessons to be learnt from the Guru’s decision to have a sarowar around Golden Temple, to have a Dukh Bhanjani Beri by its bank. Our religion joins us to nature, to mother earth, to our real inner being. Environment may be a new fad for some, for us in Punjab, it was always about life.




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Punjab’s Cancer Trains and Chemical Addiction
13.06.17 - harleen kaur
Punjab’s Cancer Trains and Chemical Addiction



On a scorching June afternoon in Jhajjal village in southwestern Punjab, elderly men have gathered in a communal courtyard to quell the boredom of the long afternoon with a game of cards. The cotton crop has been sown, and the farmers have a few weeks’ holiday before they must return to their fields. As with most small villages, everyone knows everyone else here, and the conversation centers around marriages and births. But these usually mundane topics have taken on a tragic twist, involving couples failing to conceive, children being born with genetic disorders, people of all ages succumbing to cancer.
 
Nadar Singh, the village headman, says there have been some 20 cancer related deaths during the last five years in Jhajjal, a village of only 3,200. "A 23-year-old died of cancer in our village last year,” he says, "But such news has stopped shocking us. Here even kids have cancer.”
India’s rural activists for years have blamed the overuse and misuse of pesticides for a pervasive health crisis that afflicts villages like Jhajjal across the cotton belt of Punjab. Evidence continues to mount that the problems are severe.A government-funded study revealed that chemical fertilizers and pesticides have seeped into the groundwater in four Punjab districts and are causing an alarming array of ecological and health problems including cancer and mental retardation. Another study by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment found residues of between 6 and 13 pesticides in blood samples of villagers from Mahi Nangal, Jajjal and Balloh villages in Bhatinda district.
 
Recent research by Punjabi University at Patiala established evidence of DNA damage among agricultural workers exposed to pesticides; damaged genes can give rise to a range of cancers as well as neurological and reproductive disorders. Bala, a 24-year-old day laborer, worked for two months in the fields during the spraying season four years ago. Not long after, her second child, a boy, was born with a neurological disorder and has recently been diagnosed with hydrocephalus. "His treatment is so expensive that we have had to borrow large amounts of money... I know he won’t survive” she says. Umendra Dutt, the executive director of the rural NGO Kheti Virasat Mission, says, "Punjab is paying with its life for a dubious promise of prosperity.”

Punjab’s lethal pesticide legacy can be traced to the Green Revolution of the 1960s and ‘70s, when high-yielding varieties of cotton were introduced in the region’s relatively arid Malwa belt. Initially the move was successful as yields and prices were good. But farmers soon discovered that the cotton was highly susceptible to pests, and ended up spending huge amounts on pesticides. As the pests, such as pink bollworm and aphids, became increasingly resistant to chemical spraying, farmers reacted by laying on even more, sometimes mixing two or more products against all scientific evidence.
 
The region virtually became a chemical laboratory. The expense of spraying put many farmers deep in debt, yet they remain vulnerable to outbreaks such as a mealy bug attack last year that destroyed 70% of the crop. "Earlier, we used less water, traditional crops and organic manure .Now, it’s all chemicals,” says Sarmukh Singh, a 93 year old patriarch in Jhajjal. "We’ve got our land addicted, but we don’t know how to fight this addiction.”
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Do not ever tell anyone in Bathinda that people need to be aware about environmental issues. That awareness comes easy in Punjab’s Malwa. Everyone knows someone who has contracted cancer, and every glass of water reminds one of what we have done to our soil, air and water. The whistle of the train has the ring of death.
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The health impact on the region is shocking. A daily passenger train that runs from Bathinder to Bikaner in neighboring Rajasthan is nicknamed the "Cancer Express” because it routinely fills a dozen cars with patients and their attendants on their way to a charitable hospital. Despite the high incidence of cancer, there is no government run cancer hospital in the Malwa region, although the government announced plans to build one last year. "Officials sometimes visit our village, but they never seem to do anything,” says Santosh, a 35 year-old resident of Jhajjal who was diagnosed with leukemia three years back and goes to Bikaner every six months for a blood transfusion. 

There’s plenty of blaming going on. Pesticide companies blame farmers for not adhering to prescribed quantities and not using protective gear.Workers who spray the chemicals blame landlords for not investing in protection, and companies for not properly informing them of the dangers of exposure. Farmers claim it is greedy dealers who push them to spray more, and also blame the government’s failure to change its policies after the harmful side effects of the Green Revolution began showing. "We know what we are doing is not sustainable,” says Nadar Singh, the chief of Jhajjal. "The agriculture department and the Punjab Agricultural University, which pioneered the Green Revolution, should come up with an alternative.”
 
Faced with the latest studies on the effects of pesticides on the ecology and on people’s health, Punjab Pollution Control Board is holding a meeting in the coming weeks to decide what action to take. For the moment, the government doesn’t seem to have a plan of action, though piecemeal steps are afoot. It is promoting herbal pesticides and extending outreach programs to better educate farmers about the dangers of pesticide overuse not only in this region but all over Punjab.
 
Some farmers are taking up organic farming, and many scientists have been calling for a return to crops more suited to the local landscape—in the case of the Malwa region, pulses and cereals like bajra and maize in addition to cotton—to restore the biodiversity of the soil. India is now talking about the need to launch a second Green Revolution, for which it is partnering with countries like the U.S. and Israel to devise technologies that are more sustainable. It is looking at developing and introducing transgenic crops and other advances in biotechnology. But as Kheti Virasat Mission activists point out, the government must ensure that it doesn’t repeat the mistakes it made the first time around. "The Punjab farmer basks in the glory of making Punjab the bread basket of India but the price has been too high. Punjab cannot pay with the lives of its next generation.”




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Pb Health Min directs Civil Surgeons to ensure tree plantation in all government hospitals
04.06.17 - team pt
Pb Health Min directs Civil Surgeons to ensure tree plantation in all government hospitals



The Minister for Health and Family Welfare Punjab Brahm Mohindra today, ordered all civil surgeons to plant trees in the government hospitals to mark celebrations on ‘World Environment  Day”.
 
In a statement issued here, Health Minister said that in order to protect atmosphere as well as disease less lifestyle, Punjab Government has chalked out an extensive plan to plant trees in the government hospitals on the occasion of World Environment Day-2017. He said that government hospitals especially in the rural areas likewise Community Health Centres, Primary Health Centres and Mini Primary Health Centres have ample open space for the plantation.

He said that United Nation Environment seeks to make the biggest global call and mobilization for action on 5 June, ‘World Environment Day’ on Wednesday and theme of the day is "Connecting People to Nature”.
 
Mohindra said that Punjab Government is committed to provide pollution free and healthy life style to the people of state. To accomplish this propose the health department is all set to initiate the Plantation Drive to protect nature by planting  trees in government health institutions across the state.
 
The Minister opined that after five to ten years these trees would provide relief and comfort to the patients besides giving a green soothing look to the hospitals.




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