The park had been scrubbed to near-spotlessness by the time the politicians arrived, and the nearby alleys cleared of garbage. Even the suddenly well-swept dirt wasn't, well, very dirty. \nAt least for one day. \nIn a city that often seems to be drowning in its own trash, an obscure neighborhood park was the recent scene of New Delhi's "Clean City" campaign, a 10-day festival of parades, posters and pledges of cleanliness. \nFor that one day, this little corner of New Delhi was immaculate -- specially tidied up for the politicians' visit. The rest of the city? For the most part, "clean" was not the word that came to mind. \n"If Delhi was described as a rotting pile of garbage one would not be off the mark," said an article in the Times of India newspaper, in a fairly typical description of this city's filthiness. \nEvery day, this city of 13 million people produces anywhere from 7,000 to 12,000 tonnes of trash. At best, perhaps 6,000 tonnes of that is disposed of properly. The rest has to go somewhere -- and alleyways, streets, parks and even ancient monuments are common dumping grounds. \nIt's not just trash. Human waste is a big problem in a city where millions of people have no access to toilets. In the poorest slums, streets serve as open-air toilets, and even in the nicest neighborhoods some street corners, long used as public urinals, can choke passers-by with a fog of urine stench. \nBut perhaps the most astonishing thing about New Delhi's dirtiness is that it's less than it was. Street cleaners wielding straw brooms are a more familiar sight today than a few years back, and special magistrates now patrol the city's streets, handing out fines for public urination and littering. There are even a few more toilets. \nMuch of the credit, her backers say, goes to Sheila Dikshit, who as New Delhi's chief minister is the city's top official and the equivalent of its mayor. \nHer latest campaign, the Clean City program, wasn't intended to leave the streets spotless, she says, but with hundreds of children marching through neighborhoods carrying posters and chanting slogans, maybe it will change a few attitudes. \n"I'm not expecting a miracle, but I'm certainly expecting to get people's attention," she said in an interview. \nDikshit, who has served as chief minister for the past five years, arrived at the park in the Sarita Vihar neighborhood to lead the schoolchildren in the campaign's six pledges, including, "I won't throw garbage in the street" and "I will not urinate in the street, in a park, or in the open." \nSo were any attitudes changed during the just-finished campaign? Around the suddenly-clean Sarita Vihar park, few thought so. \n"What is this going to accomplish?" asked a neighborhood woman who asked to be identified only as Kirin, waving at streets she said would still be dirty if Dikshit and her colleagues had not attended the rally. \n"I just wish the politicians would visit more regularly," she said, "so then it would be cleaned more regularly."
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
‘LIKE A CASSANDRA’: Chinese residents of Prato went into self-imposed lockdown and warned their Italian neighbors about what was coming, but were ignored In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed — the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato. Two months ago, the country’s Chinese residents were the target of what Amnesty International described as shameful discrimination, the butt of insults and violent attacks by people who feared that they would spread the coronavirus through Italy. However, in the Tuscan town of Prato, home to Italy’s single biggest Chinese community, the opposite has been true. Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early,