The Swachh Bharat Mission has Bill Gates’ Seal of Approval


Image: Gates Notes

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received a bright review from Bill Gates for the implementation of Swachh Bharat in 2014. The mission aims to stop public defecation and clean the country’s streets for the health and safety of its citizens. Both Gates and the Indian public have praised Modi for his efforts and given him support throughout his journey to complete the mission.

Gates brought to light the fact that Modi took India’s sanitation problem very seriously and was bold enough to look for a solution despite the issue being sensitive, something very few leaders have attempted. Constructing 75 million new toilets across the country will save $106 billion or more every year.

Two and a half years after Swachh Bharat was put into place, the number of citizens with adequate sanitation tools rose from forty-two percent to sixty-three percent, and the project is expected to come to a close by October 2019. Each state has its own tracking system to determine whether it meets sanitation requirements or not.

Furthermore, nearly one-third of India’s total villages have abolished public defecation, compared to 2015’s one-tenth. Gates mentioned an app that helps citizens overcome their discomfort with the idea of toilets, as well as how impressed he was that Modi recruited Bollywood actors to speak openly about the issue.

Looking at the results and Bill Gates’ praise, it’s clear that Prime Minister Modi is taking steps in the right direction to give India a cleaner and brighter future.

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Scientists Plan to Mimic Plastic-loving Caterpillar’s Abilities

The world’s plastic build-up could be gscientists-plan-to-mimic-plastic-loving-caterpillars-abilitiesone within the next few decades thanks to a species of caterpillar that eats plastic bags. This caterpillar – the moth Galleria mellonella’s initial form – is known to eat beeswax from hives, and the creature’s molecular synthesis of this material works just as well for polyethylene, the thin, flexible plastic that makes up grocery bags.

Polyethylene is constructed at a shocking rate of eighty million tonnes per year, and effectively disposing of it has been a long-time problem. Although the material is biodegradable, the process lasts hundreds of years. Fortunately, plastic-eating caterpillars take less than sixty minutes to create holes in polyethylene bags, making them more susceptible to rapid breakdown.

The science behind this caterpillar’s plastic-destroying ability is still a mystery, but researchers plan to investigate and form a concrete solution for excess polyethylene. Some suspect that the insect’s microbes play a significant part in the deterioration process, which could be mimicked and applied to areas with plastic overload.

Of course, reducing the amount of products made with plastic will have a significant positive effect on the problem. However, the material cannot be eliminated completely without society suffering serious consequences.

If this study produces a remedy to our plastic build-up problem, we could be one step closer to restoring the planet’s health.


Waterloo Encounters a Green Bin Shortage while Garbage Rules Change

waterloo-encounters-a-green-bin-shortageWaterloo Region has recently changed its policy on urban waste collection, and they’ve encountered a problem. The day after the new policy was put into place, the demand for green bins surpassed the supply by a shocking amount.

Over 20,000 green bins were given out last year alone, compared to the annual norm of around 6,000. And now, only four months into this year, over 11,000 more have been distributed. Despite those somewhat frightening statistics, the situation is by no means unfixable.

The heightened demand for green bins in the city indicates that its citizens are dedicated to the cause, and already were before the waste program had even changed. When the new rules became valid, an unmanageable amount of bins was needed, and staff is working hard to produce more.

Waste management began creating and delivering green bins to houses seven years ago, and demand has been inconsistent since then. Although the backup green bin supply has been used up, the stockpile should be full again by the end of the month.

Waterloo Region reportedly still has some blue boxes up for grabs. Homeowners should keep a close eye on their district’s website for relevant updates.


Waste Bin Removal Test in New York Ends After Five Years

waste-bin-removal-test-in-new-york-ends-after-five-yearsIn an attempt to decrease garbage littered in its underground train system, New York took away its waste bins and watched citizens react. Instead of people discarding their garbage elsewhere, however, the volume of litter in the stations increased with the absence of the waste bins, causing the city to scrap the idea.

The experiment began in 2011, implemented in only two stations at first. By 2014, the number had grown to thirty-nine, but the test came to a close in 2016 after a surplus of waste and track fires were detected. With over 450 underground train stations in the city, excess litter quickly became a health and safety hazard that could not be tolerated.

The test’s organizers admit that their hope for not only littered waste, but waste in general, to decrease was somewhat unrealistic. The major American city is looking into better options to clean up litter on the tracks and prevent it from getting there at all.

Although the original test had adverse effects, it was a valiant effort nonetheless.


Longtime Nurse Turns Hospital’s Trash into Treasure


Ever wonder what happens to the many plastic parts used to maintain hospital tools when they’re no longer needed? For one healthcare employee, they become a work of art.

Tilda Shalof was an ICU nurse at Toronto General Hospital for nearly three decades, and in that time, she collected hundreds of lids, levers, screws, and connectors of various colours. Why? Because none of them were true biomedical waste.

Having been removed from their tools before use and otherwise untouched, Shalof decided to bring the pieces home and put them to use again. With the help of two experienced artists, she created a thirty-six square foot mosaic of reds, blues, greens, yellows, purples, and oranges. The finished product has been mounted on the wall of Shalof’s old workplace.

The nurse-turned-radiologist even took the time to describe what the parts were all for. Everything from blood culture case lids to adrenaline injection tops make up the mosaic, all colour coded differently. The artwork, according to Shalof, is a sort of farewell to the many patients she tended to at Toronto General Hospital.

Shalof’s new radiology career is at a different hospital, and though she keeps on collecting pieces, she writes books in her spare time, too. In more ways than one, she has managed to turn waste into wonder and keep her creativity flowing.


Ohio Inmates Construct Computers out of Trash to Obtain Internet Connection

                                             Hacker News

A 2015 incident has been released to the public about two prisoners in an Ohio jail who created personal computers from discarded electronic parts. The inmates were able to conceal the computers in the training room ceiling and hook the devices up to the internet through the prison network.

This occurrence came to light after a year of collecting evidence in a recent fifty page report, written by the state’s Office of the Inspector. The parts recovered by inmates were part of a program in the correctional facility to reuse pieces of old electronics, reducing the building’s waste.

The two prisoners quickly secured a network connection to their devices and began looking through the digital files of their peers. Furthering their legal offence, they found ways to create imitation passes for restricted areas, fraudulent credit cards, and fatal weaponry. It was also determined that pornography sites, online chat rooms, forged signature certificates, and other related media were accessed.

Although only two inmates executed the entirety of the plan, they were aided by three others along the way, all of whom had some kind of involvement with the correctional facility’s rehabilitation programs. Each of the five prisoners is now in a new building.

Ohio’s prison staff will put preventative measures into place for the future, being sure to maintain programs that will allow behaved inmates to grow.


How One NGO is Using Recycled ‘Mata Ki Chunni’ to Make Wedding Dresses for the Under-Privileged

how-one-ngo-is-using-recycled-mata-ki-chunni-to-make-wedding-dresses-for-the-under-privilegedAn Indian wedding is a big event in just about all possible ways. But it’s also expensive for many family, especially those with less money to spend on the event.

That’s why an NGO called Goonj, based in Delhi, has made it their mission to make sure people with limited financial resources to have all they desire out of their wedding. Goonj goes about this by obtaining wedding dresses that have been worn from people in wealthier cities, redesigning them and then distributing them through local panchayats to people in rural areas.

How? By reusing and recycling ‘mata ki chunni’ (which is often used in large amounts in religious ceremonies) to manufacture lehengas for women getting married. Since many dispose of their chunnis into the river or simply give them away to others, Goonj is asking for people to donate these items to make wedding kits.

With a touch of innovation and skill, this shimmery cloth makes can be used to make stunning apparel. Then there are the kits, which come with an assortment of items like purses, footwear, clothing, cosmetics and other makeup. Because of this, much of the expense for the bride’s and bridegroom’s kin is gone and now the wedding can be had for much less.

Since being founded, Goonj has been able to send 100s of kits to people in various regions, making so many lives better. Those who receive these kits talk about how they exceed their expectations and allow them to experience a bit of luxury that they would otherwise never have.

A standard Wedding Kit comes with wedding dresses for both the bridegroom and the bride, footwear, a purse, jewelry, general clothing, bed sheets, a set of utensils etc.