A gel to selectively remove oil or water, Pollution: 6 States told to submit action plan, A viable alternative to open-heart surgery

Only 26% of rural toilets use twin-leach pits: survey - The Hindu

Others use a single leach pit (18%) or a closed pit (11%). Open pits, open drains or nallahs, or simply discarding waste directly into a nearby pond or local water body are the other options, while a few toilets are connected to a closed drain leading to a sewer system.

The twin pit has been promoted by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation as well as the World Health Organisation as an in-situ sanitation system which claims to bypass thorny issues as owners will be dealing with manure, not excreta.

A viable alternative to open-heart surgery - The Hindu 

The procedure, called transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), has been reserved mostly for patients so old and sick they might not survive open-heart surgery. Now, two large clinical trials show that TAVR is just as useful in younger and healthier patients. 

Pollution: 6 States told to submit action plan - The Hindu 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed six States to submit by April 30 action plans for bringing air quality standards within the prescribed norms, failing which they would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs. 1 crore each. 

New hydro policy to help meet renewables target - The Hindu 

While the government’s decision to re-classify large hydroelectric projects as renewable energy will certainly help the sector, the move will also go a long way in meeting the targets set by it for the sector, according to analysts. 

Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet approved a new hydroelectricity policy that, among other things, included large hydro projects within the ambit of renewable energy. Prior to the policy, only small hydro projects of a capacity of less than 25 MW were treated as renewable energy. Large hydro projects were treated as a separate source of energy. 

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UN meet dilutes Indian plan to phase out single-use plastics - The Hindu 

An ambitious resolution piloted by India to phase out single-use plastics by 2025, was watered down at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) that concluded on Friday in Nairobi. 

At the World Environment Day summit on June 5, 2018 here, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had pledged to eliminate single-use plastics from India by 2022. This was lauded by then UN Environment Chief, Erik Solheim. This pushed several States — notably Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh — to enforce previous commitments to ban plastic bags and similar disposables. 

A gel to selectively remove oil or water - The Hindu 

A natural biopolymer, chitosan (a kind of polysaccharide obtained from a chitin shell such as the shrimp’s), which is water-soluble, has been chemically modified by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati to selectively remove either an oil or water phase from an oil-water mixture. 

This becomes possible by making the chitosan-based material, also biodegradeable, to exhibit either an extremely water-repelling property in air (like the lotus leaf) or an extremely oil-repelling property under water (like a fish scale). In a breakthrough, the researchers have also made it possible to switch the chitosan-based material’s property — from being extremely water-repelling to extremely oil-repelling and vice-versa — by treating it with certain chemicals. It is also possible to repeatedly switch from one property to another. 

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