COVID-19: Schools reopen in India
Tamil Nadu government, in India, is to announce school reopening guidelines ("Pictures: India surpasses 5 million coronavirus cases", Gulf News, September 16). It is great that they have prepared a report, after collecting feedback from all stakeholders, including teachers, academicians and parents. We are confident that the state government would not take any hasty decision before ensuring the safety of students and teachers. Keeping in view the increase in COVID-19 cases, we feel it would be nice if the schools remain closed till November or December, as the government has announced that there would take no quarterly or half-yearly exams. I feel that students below the age of 12 should not be exposed to the coronavirus. Students up to seventh grade could be automatically promoted, as in this year, to the next class. Also, precautionary measures like wearing masks, social distancing, sanitation, etc. should be strictly followed by students and teachers.
From Ms Janaki Mahadevan
World Water Monitoring Day
World Water Monitoring Day, celebrated in September every year, was established by America’s Clean Water Foundation (ACWF) in 2003. It aims to promote social awareness and encourage people to regularly monitor their local water bodies such as ponds, lakes, wells, and rivers. Basic test kits are to monitor water bodies’ dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, clarity, and acidity. Monitoring the quality of surface water bodies is a good indicator of the condition of groundwater, too. Most of our drinking water comes from the ground. Hence its regular monitoring would ensure that our water is free from any toxic chemicals and pollution. In India, most places get their drinking water from surface and groundwater bodies. However, 70 per cent of surface water in India is unfit for drinking. It is reported that two-thirds of Indian households drink untreated water, and are even unaware of where it comes from or if it has been treated for consumption.
There is a simple solution to this. If every individual began taking up responsibility for their local water bodies monitoring, this problem could be easily solved. Taking monthly recordings of chemical levels in wells and drinking water sources, and reporting these to local municipalities has many benefits. Firstly, it helps prevent water-borne, preventable diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea. Secondly, clean water in ponds and rivers helps preserve the ecosystem. As phosphorus and ammonia levels in rivers rise, many species have begun to go extinct. Clean water bodies would, therefore, also maintain the water ecosystem of localities.
In conclusion, world water monitoring day is a simple and significant initiative, which preaches individual responsibility to our surrounding environment and provides a simple solution to several water-related issues.
From Mr Amisha Bansal
Tennis: Dominic Thiem wins US Open final on tiebreak against Alexander Zverev
Congratulations to Dominic Thiem for claiming his maiden Grand Slam title at the U. S. Open, with a stunning coming back, to beat Alexander Zverev in five sets (“Dominic Thiem beats Daniil Medvedev to reach US Open final”, Gulf News, September 12). Like the women's finals this year, where Naomi Osaka came back from one set down, to win her second U. S. title, Thiem too came back from 2 sets to love, and Zverev was serving for the title at 5-3. Probably Zverev was over-confident, which killed his chance to lift his maiden Grand Slam title. Throughout this tournament, there have been many twists and turns. Anyway both the women and men finals were interesting, and both Osaka and Thiem richly deserved to win the title. We wish them many more.
From Mr N V Krishnan