Geneva, Aug 22 (AP/UNB) — The World Health Organization says the levels of microplastics in drinking water don't appear to be risky, but that research has been spotty and more is needed into their effects on the environment and health.
Microplastics are created when man-made materials break down into tiny particles smaller than about 5 millimeters (roughly one-fifth of an inch), although there is no strict scientific definition.
In a report published Wednesday, the U.N. health agency said the minuscule plastics are "ubiquitous in the environment" and have been found in drinking water, including both tap and bottled, most likely as the result of treatment and distribution systems.
"But just because we're ingesting them doesn't mean we have a risk to human health," said Bruce Gordon, WHO's coordinator of water, sanitation and hygiene. "The main conclusion is, I think, if you are a consumer drinking bottled water or tap water, you shouldn't necessarily be concerned."
Gordon acknowledged, however, that the available data is "weak" and that more research is needed. He also urged broader efforts to reduce plastic pollution.
The report is WHO's first review to investigate the potential human health risks of microplastics. It said people have inadvertently consumed microplastics and other particles in the environment for decades without sign of harm.
Andrew Mayes, a senior lecturer in chemistry at Britain's University of East Anglia who didn't participate in the WHO report, agreed that microplastics in water don't appear to be a health worry for now.
"But I wouldn't want people to go away with the idea that microplastics are no longer important," because they might be harming the environment, he said. He said stronger measures to reduce plastic are needed.
"We know that these types of materials cause stress to small organisms," he said. "They could be doing a lot of damage in unseen ways."
"Even if we stop (adding) plastic to the environment right now, microplastics will increase as larger pieces divide into smaller and smaller pieces," Mayes said, adding scientists have little understanding of the long-term consequences.
WHO called for further analysis of microplastics in the environment and their potential health significance.
Gordon said that although WHO would continue to monitor levels of microplastics in water, the higher priority is proven risks in drinking water like bacteria that cause typhoid and cholera.
"These are things that cause immediate illness and can kill a million people," he said.
Dhaka, Aug 21 (AP/UNB) - There was a time not that long ago when designers were tearing out anything terracotta-colored, whether it was tile, painted walls or upholstered furniture. A darling hue of the '80s, the brownish orange — evocative of terracotta earthenware — was considered dowdy and done.
But like so many examples of decor's fickle temperament, terracotta's come roaring back for another turn in the spotlight.
And this isn't the muddy, old-fashioned color you might be remembering.
New takes on the hue bring in light to deep pinks, or the ochre tones of a sunset. Pair those with today's trending palette of graphite, blues and creams, and you've got something fresh yet friendly.
Benjamin Moore's color specialist Nivara Xaykao says the popularity of pink over the past few years has paved the way for stronger iterations of the palette. But there's also something more happening, she says.
"Because terracotta is literally drawn from the earth, it evokes that connection with nature and craft and working with the hands. It's a warm, rich color, so it has energy to it," she says.
Taking the edge off that intensity are terracotta's brown tones, making it comforting, something welcome in today's stressful world.
If you're thinking of paint, look at Benjamin Moore's Warmed Cognac, Audubon Russet or Saddle Soap. From Behr , there's Glazed Pot and Balcony Sunset. From Farrow & Ball , try Red Earth or Terre d'Egypt.
At the design site Modsy , Vice President of Style Alessandra Wood loves the new earthy neutrals.
"They're warmer and more inviting than some of the cooler color trends of the past few years," she says.
To avoid that '80s/early '90s, overly Southwest feel, she advises: "Opt for sculptural pieces, chic textures like velvet and minimal styling."
On the furniture front, many pieces now are trim, tailored. Upholstered seating, matte-finished metal side tables, nubby textured fabrics; this is furniture with a modern vibe, so the color looks sophisticated. As for accessories and other elements, look for ceramics, glassware and hints of the hue in textile prints or wallcoverings.
Wood mentions the curvy Rory side chair from Harper, available at Chairish . Its mahogany frame is covered in a soft rust velvet. "It makes it feel super contemporary," she says. "And if you really want to lean into the earthy trend, the Terracotta Sperduti print bed from The Inside is an amazingly beautiful print that blends warm earthy tones with a terrazzo vibe."
Hem's Kumo modular sofa system from Norwegian design team Anderssen & Voll is offered in a fiery, rust-hued wool they call Canyon.
Joss & Main's Charlie sofa comes in a sumptuous rust velvet, and there are some lovely patterned rugs here too.
Target has several well-priced side chairs in versions of terracotta, from Ashley, Handy Living and Christopher Knight Home. Also here, Saffron's slipper accent chair, in a simple burnt orange/cream lattice pattern that would fit into many décor styles.
Big Chill , maker of popular retro-style appliances, offers a slim fridge in an earthy hue called "red beige." Kate Marker, a designer in Barrington, Illinois, put one in the kitchen of a rehab project; the fridge's toffee-like pop of color is a great foil for a mix of homey vintage furnishings, salvaged wood pieces and creamy white surfaces.
For smaller accessories, West Elm's terracotta floor vases bring in the handcrafted vibe. A hand-painted pattern of graphite, cream and terracotta makes the Sway Low bowls as much art pieces as serveware. Material Kitchen has a sandy-hued cutting board made of recycled plastic and renewable sugar cane.
Blueprint Lighting's Ludo wall sconce features a wine-glass-inspired aluminum fixture enameled in a rich, deep hue, clasped in an articulating brass arm — perfect for bedside, or to illuminate a cozy nook.
Xaykao says the key to using terracotta successfully is restraint.
"It's great on an accent wall to show off artwork, textiles, open shelving or a beautiful headboard in the master bedroom. It can also be used to evoke materials like wood or leather, so I'd take a cue from the fixtures around you," she says. "For example, terracotta could look lovely in a kitchen with gold hardware. A little bit of the color can go a long way, so it's all about balance. I wouldn't do a whole room in the color, especially if it's a large room — the color needs space to breathe, so mix in some whites, neutrals and paler colors."
Dhaka, Aug 21 (UNB) - Known for its aromatic flavour, tej patta or bay leaf is widely used as a culinary spice in Indian dishes. The herb, which is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, is full of essential nutrients and minerals like vitamins A and C as well as folic acid and also boasts of a variety of health benefits, reports The Indian Expess.
The nutrient-rich herb is considered to help prevent digestive troubles, protect the heart and even act as a stress buster. Even diabetics who consume this wonder herb are known to report improved insulin function. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Biochemical Nutrition, suggested that those with type 2 diabetes who consumed bay leaves had reported lower glucose levels and improved cholesterol profiles. The type 2 diabetes patients took capsules of 1, 2, or 3 grams of ground bay leaf per day for 30 days and a fourth group took a placebo. The three groups who consumed bay leaf had lower glucose levels and improved cholesterol profiles at the end of the trial.
The active component of bay leaves is a polyphenol, which helps control glucose levels. A health condition where the body experiences erratic rise and fall in blood sugar levels, diabetes is particularly widespread in India. According to one estimate, currently some 62 million Indians suffer from diabetes mellitus, which constitutes about seven per cent of the entire adult population of the country. According to Indian Heart Association, the number of diabetics in India will jump to 109 million people by 2035.
It is considered that one tablespoon serving provides about five calories, primarily in the form of carbohydrate. Micronutrients in bay leaves include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, iron, and calcium.
Additionally, bay leaves were also found to improve the lipid profile of patients.
How to use
Most people use dried, crumbled, or ground bay leaves. Since ground bay leaves are considered too strong, usually a whole leaf is used in dishes while cooking and later discarded at the time of eating.
A single bay leaf used in cooking is not likely to change the nutritional value of the dish being prepared. Usually, the leaf is removed from the dish before eating it. However, if crumbled bay leaves are consumed in a dish, you may gain a few nutritional benefits.
Diabetics are advised to consume tej patta along with their regular medication as well as follow other healthy diet and lifestyle regulations.
Dhaka, Aug 20 (UNB) – Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) took the initiative to discuss the life and works of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through a lecture series titled Bangabandhu Memorial Lecture and the 2nd episode of this interactive lecture series was held at BSA’s National Theatre Hall on Tuesday.
Eminent writer Selina Hossain presented her lecture titled ‘Manobik Dorshoner Wriddhwo Manush: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ (An Enlightening Man with Humanitarian Perspective: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) In this episode the writer discussed about several aspects, incidents and works of Bangabandhu’s life.
The program commenced with one minute silence as homage to all the martyrs of the tragic 15th August. Shilpakala’s children troupe then performed two songs- “Dhannya Mujib Dhannya” and “Joto Din Robe Padma Meghna”, dedicated to Bangabandhu.
The event was the second installment of BSA’s initiative of presenting hundred memorial speeches on the versatile life of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The inauguration ceremony was commenced on 7th August, which featured the first lecture by National Professor Dr Rafiqul Islam titled ‘Political Leadership in Bengal and Bangabandhu’.
Helheim Glacier, Aug 20 (AP/UNB) — This is where Earth's refrigerator door is left open, where glaciers dwindle and seas begin to rise.
New York University air and ocean scientist David Holland, who is tracking what's happening in Greenland from both above and below, calls it "the end of the planet." He is referring to geography more than the future. Yet in many ways this place is where the planet's warmer and watery future is being written.
It is so warm here, just inside the Arctic Circle, that on an August day, coats are left on the ground and Holland and colleagues work on the watery melting ice without gloves. In one of the closest towns, Kulusuk, the morning temperature reached a shirtsleeve 52 degrees Fahrenheit (10.7 degrees Celsius).
The ice Holland is standing on is thousands of years old. It will be gone within a year or two, adding yet more water to rising seas worldwide.
Summer this year is hitting Greenland hard with record-shattering heat and extreme melt. By the end of the summer, about 440 billion tons (400 billion metric tons) of ice — maybe more — will have melted or calved off Greenland's giant ice sheet, scientists estimate. That's enough water to flood Pennsylvania or the country of Greece about a foot (35 centimeters) deep.
In just the five days from July 31 to Aug. 3, more than 58 billion tons (53 billion metric tons) melted from the surface. That's over 40 billion tons more than the average for this time of year. And that 58 billion tons doesn't even count the huge calving events or the warm water eating away at the glaciers from below, which may be a huge factor.
And one of the places hit hardest this hot Greenland summer is here on the southeastern edge of the giant frozen island: Helheim, one of Greenland's fastest-retreating glaciers, has shrunk about 6 miles (10 kilometers) since scientists came here in 2005.
Several scientists, such as NASA oceanographer Josh Willis, who is also in Greenland, studying melting ice from above, said what's happening is a combination of man-made climate change and natural but weird weather patterns. Glaciers here do shrink in the summer and grow in the winter, but nothing like this year.
Summit Station, a research camp nearly 2 miles high (3,200 meters) and far north, warmed to above freezing twice this year for a record total of 16.5 hours. Before this year, that station was above zero for only 6.5 hours in 2012, once in 1889 and also in the Middle Ages.
This year is coming near but not quite passing the extreme summer of 2012 — Greenland's worst year in modern history for melting, scientists report.
"If you look at climate model projections, we can expect to see larger areas of the ice sheet experiencing melt for longer durations of the year and greater mass loss going forward," said University of Georgia ice scientist Tom Mote. "There's every reason to believe that years that look like this will become more common."
A NASA satellite found that Greenland's ice sheet lost about 255 billion metric tons of ice a year between 2003 and 2016, with the loss rate generally getting worse over that period. Nearly all of the 28 Greenland glaciers that Danish climate scientist Ruth Mottram measured are retreating, especially Helheim.
At Helheim, the ice, snow and water seem to go on and on, sandwiched by bare dirt mountains that now show no signs of ice but get covered in the winter. The only thing that gives a sense of scale is the helicopter carrying Holland and his team. It's dwarfed by the landscape, an almost imperceptible red speck against the ice cliffs where Helheim stops and its remnants begin.
Those ice cliffs are somewhere between 225 feet (70 meters) and 328 feet (100 meters) high. Just next to them are Helheim's remnants — sea ice, snow and icebergs — forming a mostly white expanse, with a mishmash of shapes and textures. Frequently water pools amid that white, glimmering a near-fluorescent blue that resembles windshield wiper fluid or Kool-Aid.
As pilot Martin Norregaard tries to land his helicopter on the broken-up part of what used to be glacier — a mush called a melange — he looks for ice specked with dirt, a sign that it's firm enough for the chopper to set down on. Pure white ice could conceal a deep crevasse that leads to a cold and deadly plunge.
Holland and team climb out to install radar and GPS to track the ice movement and help explain why salty, warm, once-tropical water attacking the glacier's "underbelly" has been bubbling to the surface
"It takes a really long time to grow an ice sheet, thousands and thousands of years, but they can be broken up or destroyed quite rapidly," Holland said.
Holland, like NASA's Willis, suspects that warm, salty water that comes in part from the Gulf Stream in North America is playing a bigger role than previously thought in melting Greenland's ice. And if that's the case, that's probably bad news for the planet, because it means faster and more melting and higher sea level rise. Willis said that by the year 2100, Greenland alone could cause 3 or 4 feet (more than 1 meter) of sea level rise.
So it's crucial to know how much of a role the air above and the water below play.
"What we want for this is an ice sheet forecast," Holland said.
In this remote landscape, sound travels easily for miles. Every several minutes there's a faint rumbling that sounds like thunder, but it's not. It's ice cracking.
In tiny Kulusuk, about a 40-minute helicopter ride away, Mugu Utuaq says the winter that used to last as much as 10 months when he was a boy can now be as short as five months. That matters to him because as the fourth-ranked dogsledder in Greenland, he has 23 dogs and needs to race them.
They can't race in the summer, but they still have to eat. So Utuaq and friends go whale hunting with rifles in small boats. If they succeed, which this day they didn't, the dogs can eat whale.
"People are getting rid of their dogs because there's no season," said Yewlin, who goes by one name. He used to run a sled dog team for tourists at a hotel in neighboring Tasiilaq, but they no longer can do that.
Yes, the melting glaciers, less ice and warmer weather are noticeable and much different from his childhood, said Kulusuk Mayor Justus Paulsen, 58. Sure, it means more fuel is needed for boats to get around, but that's OK, he said.
"We like it because we like to have a summer," Paulsen said.
But Holland looks out at Helheim glacier from his base camp and sees the bigger picture. And it's not good, he said. Not for here. Not for Earth as a whole.
"It's kind of nice to have a planet with glaciers around," Holland said.