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Indoor air quality inﬂuences the health of persons in a big way. In fact, in modern times, indoor air pollution is more dangerous than polluted outdoor air because we tend to spend 8090 percent of our hours in indoor environments. However, it is not to say that outdoor air pollution is not harmful. Almost 500,000 people in India succumb to their deaths every year as a result of indoor air pollution emanating from burning of wood, coal and animal dung as fuel. There is an urgent need to address unhygienic cooking habits in India, which is rampant in the country, and which are collectively the major cause of indoor air pollution in India. Many of the rural homes still cook through the fuel from burning of wood, coal and cow dung, which is a sure invitation to toxic fumes entering into your body. Making smokeless chullahs and liquid gas cylinders available to the rural poor is the need of the hour, so that they can shift from their unhygienic biomass-based cooking habits. Solar cooking is also an environmental friendly option. The healthy cooking habits should be complemented with proper ventilation in homes, which is lacking in majority of rural Indian Indian homes. However, for these objectives to materialise from theory to practice in a massive way, adequate funding should be channelised towards creation of environmentally friendly cooking habits and environmentally friendly homes in rural India. Furthermore, adequate funding should be supplemented with awareness exercises to change the deep-set feudalistic attitudes. Though indoor air pollution is more rampant in rural India, but it is no way limited to rural India only. Many sleek homes and oﬃces in big cities are also inviting indoor air pollution in a big way, and consequently, jeopardising its inmates’ health. It is about time we as a society realise the mammoth global health problem caused by indoor air pollution, and collectively tackle it through green constructions and healthy habits. In our Cover Story, we have attempted to cover the issue of indoor air pollution, the factors inﬂuencing it and the ways to counter it in some detail, which we hope would interest our readers. The pesticide problem is another serious everyday issue having severe health and economic repercussions. Though pest management is almost as old as agriculture, but since the last two decades or so, it has assumed a professional and integrated approach. A great majority of us have come to the realisation that pest management solutions may vary with the pests, and also with the nature and the extent of infestation of the pests. Thankfully, nowadays simply sprinkling pesticides is not perceived as the solution to all your pest problems. Integrated pest management, which emphasises on identiﬁcation, inspection and selection of the optimum methods of pest control in a given situation, has gained importance in homes, oﬃces, hospitals, malls and myriad other properties, and this trend may eventually pave towards more green pest management options. In our Business Story, we have holistically explored the issue of pest management along with useful guidance to the potential pest control entrepreneur. Besides these informative and analytical pieces, interviews and features on our regular topics are also geared to keep you engrossed between the covers. I am hereby signing oﬀ, while wishing you all more informative reading in the coming ﬁnancial year.
Editorial Policy : Editorial emphasis in Clean & Hygiene Review magazine is on educational & informational material specifically designed to assist those responsible for managing cleaning & maintenance, Laundry, Pest Control, Water & Waste Management and Environment. Articles are welcome and will be published on the sole discretion of the editor.
Contents COVER STORY
30 Jan-Feb ’12
Kerala to Give an Impetus to Sanitation with 450 e-Toilets By the end of March 2012, Kerala will have 450 functional e-toilets. By constructing these high tech e-toilets, Kerala will become the ﬁrst state in India with Connected Toilet Infrastructure, which would be at par with the prevailing health and hygiene standards present in the developed countries. Already there are over 150 e-toilets across various locations in the state and before the end of this ﬁscal, another 300 such e-toilets will become welcome realities in the clean & hygiene scenario of the state. These e-toilets have been developed by Eram Scientiﬁc Solutions Pvt. Ltd., a part of Eram Group, which has operational presence in India, the Middle-East and South-East Asia. These e-toilets are endowed with automated door opening, power ﬂushing, automatic closet washing and sterilisation, and automatic platform-cleaning mechanism. All these facilities are supported by SMS alerts so as to inform the control room about the status of water tank and biogas plant in case of error or eventuality. The cost of these e-toilets vary from Rs.350,000 to Rs.850,000, which is inclusive of bio-membrane reactor’s price. Here it deserves a mention that bio-membrane reactor is a nano-technology-aided device that instantly recycles the used water and makes it ready for future use. Such an e-toilet in Kerala is spread across an area of 20 square feet and has two doors, which are a sliding door at the front and a normal door ahead of the toilet. With the dropping of the coin (entry charge), the sliding door opens and the light and the exhaust fan gets switched on. And if an unhygienic user does not ﬂush after toilet usage in these e-toilets, the subsequent users would not have to suﬀer stench and ﬁlth. The inbuilt system in these toilets automatically performs the cleaning operations. Moreover, in these e-toilets, the human excreta is treated and reduced to a sand-like material which is devoid of bacteria, and is removed physically once in three months. The agency entrusted with the responsibility of operation of the e-toilet will also be able to clean the toilet through remote-control. This measure should encourage similar praiseworthy sanitation initiatives across the country, where creation of more toilets is a huge priority.
Elephant Excreta to Green Paper Recycling has become the buzzword for ensuring a green and clean in-vironment or environment. Though only a few do anything proactive about this. But Vijendra Shekhawat has set an example, by making green paper from elephant excreta. The 30year-old entrepreneur’s passion towards green innovation is reﬂected by the fact that even his visiting cards are made from poo paper. The creativity of he and his team is also evident in the handmade papers, notepads, handicrafts, photo albums and clocks from elephant excreta, which can found at an outlet in the sleek Dilli Haat— the ethnic marketplace of the capital. Initially the entrepreneur faced resentment of his family towards this innovative endeavour, but later his family members got interested in the venture. The young entrepreneur said, “After several failures, the right mix was arrived which is 75 percent dung and 25 percent cotton waste. The elephant excreta has to be washed, sorted, beaten, laid out in sheets and coloured. It is an eco-friendly and chemical free method, which also saves trees.” Vijendra Shekhawat’s family has already bought a new patch of land in the northeastern side of Rajasthan, with the objective to enhance their business operations. Here Shekhawat also intends to set up an eco-camp for potential tourists, who can observe the interesting journey of elephant excreta to environment-friendly handmade paper. Shekhawat has future plans to make paper from bamboo, sugarcane and vegetable waste also. 4
Noida Witnesses an Innovative Cleanliness Drive In the recent past, a large number of people gathered at Noida to raise awareness on cleanliness in the satellite city. In fact, the gathering was so large that it could easily be passed oﬀ as mob. People from various age groups were seen holding brooms under the banner ‘Celebrating the Broom’, and breaking into a jig, to raise awareness on the issue of cleanliness at Noida. The event was part of the `Come, Clean India` campaign which was launched by Imagindia Institute, an independent think tank and research centre. Before Noida, Chennai, Warangal and Khandwa have also witnessed such cleanliness drives under this campaign. According to Imagindia Institute, “Our objective in conducting these cleanliness drives with ﬂash mobs is to stir up the national imagination regarding cleanliness. Even today we have a social stigma associated towards holding a broom, and it is our own civic habits which account for half the problem.”
An Effort Towards Clean Assam Assam government has taken a ﬁrm step to ensure a clean environment. Tarun Gogoi, the Chief Minister of Assam, has said that a new Act would be passed in the Assam assembly which would make it compulsory for all the commercial establishments and households in the state to keep their environment clean. According to the proposed legislation, if the commercial establishments and households in Assam are found to be contributing towards the polluting of their environment they would be subjected to a ﬁne by the concerned authorities. Gogoi informed that after the new act on cleanliness becomes a law, commercial establishments and households found polluting the environment will be smacked with ﬁnes from the concerned authorities. Gogoi appealed to the people of Guwahati to set an example of cleanliness, for Guwahati is the gateway to the north-east and Assam. “As Guwahati is expanding, the load of waste materials generated is also rising, which need to be properly disposed. The plastic packets should not be carelessly dispensed into the drains as this adds to the problem of ﬂash ﬂood,” said the Chief Minister. Gogoi urged the people and the civic bodies to carry out cleanliness drives at least once a week for facilitating a clean and healthy environment.
India Envisages DGR for Permanent Storage of Nuclear Waste After ﬁfty years of launching its nuclear programme, India has felt the need for a deep geological repository to cater to its nuclear waste generation in the future. The country is working on developing a deep geological repository to permanently store its nuclear waste. Here it deserves a mention that presently the generation of nuclear waste in India is very less, but in future it may not be so. As the country envisages an ambitious growth in nuclear power generation; to the tune of 63000 MW by 2032, a separate repository for nuclear waste disposal would be very much required so to prevent jeopardising the health of our future generations. Over the next ﬁve years, scientists would explore various physical and geological factors, which are required for setting up the nuclear waste storage facility, and then only the location of the nuclear waste burial site would be determined. The proposed site needs to be totally impervious, must be geologically stable and should be devoid of any ﬁssure. The proposed deep geological repository would be endowed with large chambers with adequate shielding where nuclear waste generated across the country would be transported periodically. The site would also have the facility of automatic heat management and radioactivity monitoring. Presently India has a nuclear waste site, located at Tarapur. A second nuclear waste disposal unit will become a reality in Kalpakkam, during the 13th plan period, and these two sites are expected to be enough to cater to the nuclear waste of India in the next two decades, which at present is quite meagre. 6
A Novel Recyclable Facility at Bangalore Waste Wise Trust (WWT), a solid waste management organisation based in Bangalore, in partnership with the Electronics City Industries’ Association (ELCIA), has inaugurated the ﬁrst of its kind recycling facility at Electronics City, Bangalore. The inauguration was held at the Solid Waste Management Facility, near Ajmera Apartment, Dodda Thoguru Road, Electronics City, Bangalore. Here it deserves a mention that Waste Wise Trust (WWT) is a solid waste management organisation and member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table Bengaluru (SWMRT). WWT runs its own recycling facility in Bangalore. The Electronics City recycling facility will be the second recycling facility managed by WWT. Whereas, the Electronics City Industries’ Association (ELCIA) is a member-based body of industries located at Electronics City, Bangalore. ELCIA is committed to bringing sustainable waste management and making Electronics City a zero waste community. Towards this, ELCIA has commissioned several waste management trainings. Its recent partnership with Waste Wise Trust to operate its own solid waste management facility at Electronics City, Bangalore is a noteworthy endeavour in this direction. The waste management facility initiated by ElCIA provides a decentralised, market-based solution in waste management. It will help in retrieving hundreds and thousands of tonnes of recyclable waste going to the dump sites and help in the process of recycling. In the course of time, the facility through its services, hopes to arrive at zero waste management at the Electronics City. The facility has been designed to handle dry recyclable wastes like paper, plastic, glass and metals and also organic wastes like leaf litter and garden waste. The facility will receive on a daily basis dry recyclable materials from member companies, which will be sorted into categories of paper, plastics, glass and metals. The sorted materials would then be sent to recycling factories for recycling purposes. The road sweep in the form of leaf and garden litter will be converted into compost through various forms of composting. The facility will provide new approaches in market-based solutions to waste management.
Soon Pune Will Know the Air it Breathes QUALITY ASSURED COMPANY
Soon the people of Pune would be able to know the quality of the air that they would be breathing, including the aﬀects of ultra-violet radiation on them. In the recent past, System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the successful project of the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), has been launched in Pune, with an added feature of the eﬀects of UV radiation on human beings. SAFAR was successful during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Under the ambit of SAFAR, which will be implemented in Pune from November 2012, 100 students from Fergusson College and 30 students from the Department of Environmental Science of University of Pune will be deployed to measure the air quality per vehicle, at various chowks. Under this environmental awareness exercise, the UV index and daily erythemal dose i.e. the levels of UV in air, will be displayed. The UV data will also help to understand the photochemistry, which will enable better predictability of air quality, a day in advance. Through SAFAR, besides the pollution levels, the number of vehicles passing through a given chowk, per minute would also be ascertained. Jan-Feb ’12
Would E-Waste Disposal Become More Stringent?
Thankfully, from May 2012, the rules and regulations pertaining to e-waste in India are going to be more stringent. According to the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules 2010, which will come into eﬀect in May 2012, the manufacturers of electronic goods, under the Extended Producers’ Responsibility (EPR), will be responsible for recycling, for reducing the levels of hazardous substances in electronics, and also for setting up of collection centres. Moreover, the bulk users of electronic items, which include large corporations, banks, insurance companies, government
agencies and educational institutions among others, will also have to maintain a record of their e-waste disposal. But how far the rules would be executed is a million dollar question. Presently, the huge mountains of e-waste in India pose a monumental health hazard for its people. According to Centre for Science and Environment, India is responsible for generating 350,000 tonnes of electronics waste every year and besides that, it also imports another 50,000 tonnes. Out of that only 19,000 tonnes is currently being recycled. Moreover, the predominant recycling process of e-waste in India is also far from satisfactory. Presently most of the e-waste generated in corporations, industries and households end up in recycling wards scattered across the informal sector, where they are recycled for commercial purposes without taking care of proper precautionary measures, thereby harming the health of the those labourers in the informal sector, and also our environment as a whole. This issue needs to be addressed with due urgency. However, there is an apprehension that going by India’s negative corporate culture, the corporates may add the recycling costs also to their products, and conveniently pass them on to their consumers. It would lead to the consumers of electronics shouldering the entire cost burden of addressing the e-waste problem.
Infosys to Achieve its Green Goals by 2017 By 2017, Infosys endeavours to draw hundred percent of its energy from the renewable sources. Recently, India’s IT conglomerate, which employs more than 100,000 people across its development centres, was crowned as the eighth greenest global company in the world by Newsweek. The environmentally f riendly company has targeted this 2017 goal through two routes. The first of such measures is to reduce the per capita emissions of the company and the second is through generating energy from oﬀsite and onsite renewable sources. Presently, 20 percent of the energy requirement of Infosys is addressed by renewables. According to Rohan Parikh, the head of Green Intiatives and Infrastructure at Infosys, on the construction front, the company’s new buildings are “conforming to the highest standard of green buildings in the world.” It is estimated that each Infosys employee consumes about 180 to 200 units of energy every month, which the company has the goal of reducing to 70 units. 10
This includes saving in energy in air-conditioning, lighting and computers. The buildings of Infosys have been designed to be abundantly lit by sunlight while eliminating the glare, which saves on the power consumption. Moreover, the high performance glass prevents the harmful ultra violet rays f rom entering the building, and abolishes the need to use electricity during the day. The windows in buildings use the “light shelf ” design–reﬂectors that enable the light to bounce and go deeper into the room spaces. Parikh also talked about the ‘Radiant Cooling’ system in the Hyderabad oﬃce of the IT conglomerate that works oﬀ human beings radiating heat. Under the radiant cooling system, the heat radiated by the body is absorbed by cold water in water pipes running beneath the ﬂoor and above on the ceiling, in oﬃces. Compared to the regular air-conditioned building, the buildings equipped with radiant cooling system reduce energy consumption by 32 percent. Jan-Feb ’12
COVER S T O R Y
Threat of Polluted Air Indoors 12
C O V E R STORY These days, everybody seems to be becoming environment conscious. They can’t afford to do so otherwise with pollution of all types reaching alarming proportions. The threat of global warming is out to threaten our very existence on this planet, which is inducing many government and corporate bodies, as well as many private individuals to keep the pollution levels in check. However, despite environmental awareness becoming necessary and as well as fashionable very little attention is being paid to address the problem of indoor air quality. This is despite the fact that people in modern societies often spend 80–90 per cent of their time in indoor environments. It is of great importance to analyse indoor air quality (IAQ) and its determinants and to consider the health inﬂuences of IAQ at the household and corporate level. For the past few years, there have been many debates among indoor air quality specialists about the proper deﬁnition of indoor air quality and speciﬁcally what constitutes ‘acceptable’ indoor air quality. However, there is no debate on the fact that poor indoor air quality affects the health of the individuals. The problem of indoor air pollution is all the more relevant in India where close to 72 percent live in rural areas. Majority of them use chulhas in cooking whose harmful smoke emissions not only pollute their homes but also affect their health, often dangerously. Ashok Malkani takes a look at the detrimental inﬂuences of poor IAQ and how to tackle this issue.
ore than half the accidents, it is said, does occur in homes. Unlike many other popular sayings this is likely to be true. Health of a person also depends on a large extent on his/her home environs. More often than not one’s unhygienic home and hearth environs are the causes of several diseases. And home environment is largely inﬂuenced by indoor air quality. Indoor air quality or IAQ can be affected by moulds and bacteria, gases (including carbon monoxide, radon, volatile organic compounds), or any mass or energy
stressor that can trigger adverse health conditions. Exposure to either outdoor and indoor air pollution can take lethal proportions, if goes unchecked for long periods of time. Air pollution can lead to multiple health problems like respiratory infections, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, etc. Exposure to the air pollution can also cause aggravation of existing respiratory and cardiac problems. Air pollution is now also being regarded as a risk factor for stroke, more so in the developing countries characterised with high pollution levels. The air pollution also contributes towards increased incidence and mortality from coronary artery disease.
Some of the most common sources of air pollution are particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide among others. It is a sorry state of affairs that children aged less than ﬁve years residing in developing countries are the most vulnerable section in terms of total deaths caused by indoor and outdoor air pollution. Though both indoor and outdoor air pollution are responsible for approximately 3.3 million deaths across the globe, but people are more prone to get affected by indoor air pollution.
The Extent of Damage In fact, indoor air pollution, which can be simply described as
COVER S T O R Y
the degradation of quality of indoor air by the influence of harmful chemicals and other materials, can be up to 10 times worse than the outdoor air pollution. The reason is simple. The contained areas enable potential pollutants to coalesce more than they can do in open spaces. Research has shown that people in industrialised countries use 90 percent of their time at indoors, on an average, and there is a wealth of scientiﬁc evidence showing that indoor air can be 10 to 100 times more polluted than the outside air. According to a WHO ofﬁcial, the total suspended particles present inside a kitchen has 1,000 times greater chance to penetrate deep into the lungs than the suspended particles present outside. According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 million people meet their deaths each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution, and among them 1.5 million deaths are caused due to indoor air pollution. This translates into the gory fact that indoor air pollution claims one life in every 20 seconds, across the globe. A major source of indoor air pollution in rural India comes through the burning of biomass such as wood, charcoal, dung, or crop residue, which are used for heating and cooking purposes. It is an unnerving fact that indoor air pollution resulting from burning of
wood, coal and animal dung as fuel leads to 500,000 deaths in India every year, most of whom of them being women and children. Across the globe, more than three billion people depend upon the burning of solid fuels to prepare their meals, which emits carbon monoxide, particulates, benzene and formaldehyde. Their inﬂuences can result in asthma, lung cancer, pneumonia, tuberculosis, blindness and low birth weight.
WHO Bothers India is one of the major centres of indoor air pollution in the world. According to the World Health Organization, about 80 percent of the 600,000 premature deaths due to exposure to IAP that occured in the South-east Asia per year were accounted by India. According to WHO estimates, the pollution levels in rural Indian kitchens were 30 times higher than the recommended levels. Though the study was carried some years back, but I doubt whether the ﬁgures have drastically improved by now. However, smokeless chullahs and improved ventilation can greatly reduce the deaths due to indoor air pollution, in India. Distribution of smokeless chullahs and liquid gas cylinders to the rural poor on a mass scale is the need of the hour, which of course, is easier said than done. Sourcing the funding is one of the major problem areas to address the issue of indoor air pollution. Even today, in the backdrop of 1.5 million people succumbing to their deaths every year across the globe due to indoor air pollution, globally and more particularly in India, indoor air pollution has not attracted the seriousness which it deserves to be treated and this explains the paucity of funding to address indoor air pollution issues. Besides addressing the funding problem on a war-footing, tackling the deep-set attitudes is also necessary in India so as to free the bulk of its womenfolk from the exposure of toxic fumes while cooking. The men in Indian villages often prefer the burnt flavour in their food, which comes from the inﬂuence of smoke; heedless of the
potential health repercussions that such ‘smoky cooking’ may cause to the women. The idea of ventilation is also often being frowned upon in Indian villages, as it is perceived to compromise privacy. But chulha smoke from unhygienic cooking is only one of the factors of concern for IAQ. And neither does bad indoor air quality is a feature of rural India only. Homes and offices with solar cooking systems is an effective alternative to keep the ambient air from getting polluted, but we could ﬁnd that very few residential buildings, offices or hospitality properties in India employing such a method. In the residential properties, the usage of the renewable and non polluting source of solar energy is far from being vogue in India.
Other Fuelling Factors Absence of adequate ventilation is also a rampant feature not only in rural India, but also in the Indian homes and ofﬁces in urban space. It is distressing that close to 70 percent of rural households in India don’t even have proper ventilation, but even in an apparently sleek ofﬁce in a posh area of Mumbai or Delhi, indoor air pollution because of inadequate ventilation could be very much a reality. The emergence and perpetuation of the green building culture could address this challenge. A lack of ventilation at indoors concentrates air pollution where people often spend majority of their time. But there are other factors besides unhygienic cooking methods and improper ventilation which cause or facilitate towards indoor air pollution. Radon (Rn) gas, a carcinogen, is emitted from the earth in certain locations and gets trapped inside houses. Building materials including carpeting and plywood also does emit formaldehyde (H2CO) gas, which is a major cause of indoor air pollution. Paint and solvents give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as they dry. Lead paint can degenerate into dust and can get inhaled. Air fresheners, incense, and other scented items can also contribute to indoor air pollution as
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do the usage of pesticides and other chemical sprays indoors without proper ventilation. One of the most lethal indoor air contaminants is the carbon monoxide, which happens to be a byproduct of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Tobacco smoke, space heaters using fossil fuels, defective central heating furnaces and automobile exhaust are some of the common sources of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and fatalities are often the result of faulty vents and chimneys, or as a result of burning of charcoal indoors.High levels of carbon monoxide can lead to nausea, unconsciousness and even death by depriving the brain of oxygen. Bad habits like smoking also contribute towards indoor air pollution and affect the smoker as well as the non-smoker present in the room. Here it deserves a mention that second-hand tobacco smoke includes both a gaseous and a particulate phase, with particulate hazards arising from levels of carbon monoxide and very small particulates which get past the lung’s natural defenses. Thankfully, nowadays you will ﬁnd a plethora of restaurants having a separately demarcated section for the smokers. Extensive use of asbestos can be one of the causes of indoor air pollution and its usage needs to be limited in healthy buildings. Asbestosis is a chronic inﬂammatory
medical condition affecting the tissue of the lungs. Heavy exposure to asbestos from asbestos-containing materials in structures on a sustained basis causes this chronic ailment. The affected persons from this disease suffer from shortness of breath and are exposed to increased risks of different types of lung cancer. Carpets, varnishes, solvents, printers, fax machines, asbestos, tobacco smoke all have the potential to release harmful contaminants like volatile organic compounds ( VOCs), formaldehydes, radon, etc. and encourage development of biological organisms like bacteria, viruses, fungus, pollen, etc. They also do have the potential to emit foul odour and dust. The tightly sealed buildings, the increasing usage of synthetic building materials in the recent times, have also contributed to the indoor air pollution. Another reason for indoor air pollution occurs when the buildings are built more air tightly to save money spent on heating and cooling. The new-age builders should avoid such pitfalls through both awareness and action. Besides toxic gases and myriad other pollutants, low and high humidity also contributes towards indoor air pollution. Low humidity can cause particles and vapours in air to be more irritating at high levels whereas high humidity enhances odour problems and favours mould growth.
Maintaining indoor air quality can not only prevent many deaths, but also can reduce absenteeism in ofﬁces. Besides helping to keep many potential diseases at bay and generating beneficial effects on health and hence productivity, the improvement of ventilation of the buildings can lead to cost savings also. By improving the indoor air quality, the building owners and/ or property developers can lower the energy costs by as much as 50 percent by simply incorporating energy recovery ventilators (ERVs). Designing of the right spaces between things in the buildings could play a vital role in curbing indoor air pollution, for pollution of indoor air is often facilitated through the cluttered furnishings in the room.
Countering the Malady The indoor air pollution is a huge health malady in India, which can be countered through a comprehensive strategy, which include greater awareness building exercises, change in fuel usage and modiﬁcation in the stove design, improvement in ventilation, and building of more eco-friendly properties. Firstly, the government, corporate bodies and the general public need to be educated about the mammoth loss to human lives that indoor air pollution entails and also about the factors causing indoor air pollution.
C O V E R STORY Only then we can expect the urgent need for better kitchen management and the need for building of ‘healthy buildings’ would emerge on a massive scale. Only with awareness the attitude can change, and attitude is the root cause of all problems and solutions in this world. Of course, the massive awareness building exercise should be complemented by inducing the people, particularly the people in rural India, to change their fuel usage to healthy options. Massive shifting from biomass-based cooking to LPG and solar cooking would however need massive public investment and great political will towards welfare, which sadly till now, has been seen lacking in both the private and public sectors in India. All said and done, the usage of cleaner fuels on a widespread scale, especially in the rural areas, is a longterm proposition in India. Therefore, till this goal gets translated into reality, efforts should be directed to
modify the stoves in order to make them fuel efﬁcient and also to equip them with a chimney of sorts so as to remove the residual pollutants from the indoor environment. At the same time of course, ventilation, particularly ventilation in kitchens should be given top priority in future constructions. Especially the houses ﬁnanced by the government/s should never overlook the ventilation element. Along with these, the state and the environmentalists should ensure that the sustainable building movement gains further momentum in the Indian real estate domain. One simple way of purifying the ambient air or preventing its pollution is to dot your property with green plants at appropriate empty spaces. This would keep the level of CO2 and other air pollutants in the building in check. A building endeavouring to be a green building should make extensive use of eco-friend l y materials and products in its design
to counter indoor air pollution. First of all, the building users should avoid using volatile organic compounds, which can cause a wide array of symptoms ranging from headaches, eye irritation and chronic coughing, to fatigue, depression and even loss of memory. VOCs are both naturally occurring and synthetic, and they evaporate easily at room temperature. Over long periods of time, VOC vapours are gradually released into the air at room temperature. These vapours are not detectable by the human senses, but can affect the environment and human health. VOCs are numerous, varied, and somewhat omnipresent. It goes without saying that effective countering of the incidences of indoor air pollution requires committed and concerted collaboration between agencies responsible for health, energy, environment, housing and rural development. ■
Tackling a Perpetually Pestering Problem
es, as they say in a popular advertisement, even one mosquito can be dangerous to your health. But mosquitoes are
not the only pests affecting people. And the human fear of pests, according to research, is the third most common fear after the fear of public speaking and the fear of heights, while spiders are the second
most feared animal in the world, only behind snakes. While many of our fears are unfounded, some pests do pose tangible health and business problems to humans. Health concerns associated with
Pest control or pest management is becoming an onerous task for the common man. In fact, keeping the pestering pests away is graduating from a tedious task to a specialised job. Be it residential or commercial premises, hospitals or hotels, restaurants or ofﬁces, the problem of pests pesters them all. And pest control managers can be the answer to their problems. Industries, warehouses and even agriculture need their help to keep the pests at bay. Pest control industry also encompasses pesticides manufacturers. Ashok Malkani ﬁnds that pest control is a fast expanding ﬁeld in India and it has immense growth potential, providing ample opportunities to new entrepreneurs. 18
pests not only include venomous stings and bites. They also include transmission of diseases through food poisoning, allergies and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Pests can also incur great economic loss in the way of eating away of food grains and decimating the ofﬁce infrastructure. Living in an environment infested with pests like spiders, rats and/or ﬂies may also have adverse psychological impact us. Many a time, human beings are responsible for encouraging a pest-infested environment. For example, it is a well-known fact that dirty stinking environs, with dirty poodles of stagnating water lying here and there are breeding grounds for mosquito larvae, but still we keep many environments in our society in such a state. Improper sanitation measures also invite ﬂies in hordes, which is a common sight
in India. Keeping food uncovered may encourage the ants to march in, but we still are casual about our food safety. Rats eat away tonnes of food grains annually, but still we do not build sufﬁcient number of well-managed warehouses in India. We do not take proper maintenance of our walls and furniture, thereby encouraging moulds and termites to ﬂourish. Rodent menace is one of the pressing pest problems, which of course, is not only germane to India. Rodents are responsible for annually consuming and contaminating close to 20 percent of the global food supply. In the absence of pest control measures, half of our food might have been destroyed by pests and compounded the present problem of global hunger. Besides eating away and contaminating food grains, rodents can also gnaw through the infrastructure of the property, and
this may even cause a ﬁre outbreak in an ofﬁce building. The cost of damage repair and control due to pest menace such as termites is in fact unimaginably huge. In fact, we can safely say that effective pest control measures can save the cost of many natural disasters. Effective pest control measures assume great importance with regard to physical and as well as economic health, of the individual as well as the organisation of people. No wonder, the pest control business is growing at a rapid pace globally, for wherever there is a demand, there needs to be corresponding supplies. In the United States there are more than 18,000 pest management companies. In India also, the market for pest management is growing. Especially with the growth of the real estate and hospitality industry, and with the growing popularity of green buildings, the
BUSINESS the highest pesticide consumption, followed by cotton. Succinctly, even today, the judicious use of quality pesticides in Indian agriculture is extremely crucial.
pest management industry is also expected to gain momentum in corporate India. The growth in disposable incomes will encourage pest management in the Indian households in the near future.
History of Managing Pests However, here it deser ves a mention that pest control is not a new industry, though it experienced maturation only in the late twentieth century. The origin of pest control can be traced to the nascent days of agriculture, as the need to keep the crops free of pests emerged soon after agriculture came into existence. Of course, in the dawn of civilisation pest control was primarily confined to destroying weeds by burning or plowing them. However, the history of chemical pesticides is also quite long. Probably Sumerians were the ďŹ rst to employ chemical pesticides in the form of sulfur compounds and insecticides, some 4500 years ago. The use of poisonous plants for pest control was talked about in the 4000 year old Rig Veda. However, during the 18th and 19th century, the chemical pest control became popular and widespread with the advent of industrialisation and the consequent mechanisation of agriculture, and with the introduction of the insecticides pyrethrum and derris. With the discover y of several synthetic insecticides such as DDT
and herbicides in the twentieth century, the chemical pest control gained a further impetus. Even with the increasing popularity of green pest management, chemical pest control is still the predominant type of pest control today, though its long-term environmental impacts have led to a revival in interest in traditional and biological pest control towards the end of the 20th century.
Pests and Crops T h e p ro d u c t i on o f I n d i a n pesticides industry was between 82000-85,000 MT during 2010. In value terms, the size of the Indian pesticide industry was estimated at Rs.180 billion for 2010, which included exports of Rs.100 billion. The indiscriminate use of pesticides can be detrimental to the health and environment but thankfully, the per hectare consumption of pesticide in India is 600 gm, which is much lower than the global average of 3000 gm. Insecticides account for the majority of the pesticide consumption in India. Among the crops, rice accounts for
Types of Pesticides Any chemical used by mankind to control, prevent or eliminate pests is known as pesticide. Insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, etc., are all various types of pesticides. There are different types of pesticides in use in India too. Some pesticides need only to be touched by the pests to become lethal, while other pesticides need to be taken by the pests in order to have any effect. The different types of pesticides are: Bactericides: A bactericide is a substance that is used to annihilate bacteria. Preferably, they shouldnâ€™t have affect on anything else. They come across as either disinfectants, antiseptics or antibiotics. Fungicides: Fungicides are chemical compounds or biological organisms used to prevent the spread of fungi, which have the potential to cause serious loss of crop yield and quality. Fungicides are also applied to tackle fungal infections among animals. Fungicides can either be contact or systemic. A contact
BUSINESS fungicide eliminates fungi when sprayed on its surface, whereas a systemic fungicide needs to be absorbed by the plant. Fungicide residues have been traced on food for human consumption, mostly from post-harvest treatments. Some fungicides are dangerous to human health, such as Vinclozolin, which has now been removed from use. Like other pesticides, fungicides can induce pesticide resistance. Equivalently, antifungal drugs can encourage drug resistance. Herbicides: A herbicide is used to kill unwanted plants. Selective herbicides kill speciﬁc targets while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed. Some of the herbicides act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often synthetic imitations of plant hormones. However, the herbicides which are used to clear waste ground, industrial sites, railways, etc. are nonselective in nature and kill all plants with which they come into contact. Some plants produce natural herbicides, such as the genus Juglans (walnuts). Herbicides have wide application in agriculture and in landscape turf management. They are also applied in total vegetation control (TVC) programs for maintenance of highways and railroads. Insecticides: A pesticide which is used against insects in all developmental forms is called an insecticide. They include ovicides and larvicides used against the eggs and larvae of insects respectively. Insecticides have wide applications in agriculture, medicine, industry and the household. The increasing use of insecticides is being regarded as one of the major reasons behind the substantial growth in agricultural productivity during the twentieth century. The increasing use of insecticides is believed to be one of the major factors behind the increase in agricultural productivity during the 20th century. Nearly all insecticides have the potential to signiﬁcantly alter the ecosystem; many have toxic impact on humans while others are concentrated in the food chain. Environmental and health issues need to be taken into account while
applying insecticides, which should in any case, be applied prudently. Miticides: Miticides or acaricides are pesticides that can decimate mites. Miticides include antibiotic miticides, carbamate miticides, for mamidine miticides, mite growth regulators, organochlorine, permethrin and organophosphate miticides. Rodenticides: Rodenticides is a pest control chemical intended to kill rodents. Here it deserves a mention that rodents are not that easy to kill with poisons because they tend to eat a small bit of something and wait, and would continue with the intake only if they don’t get sick. An effective rodenticide therefore must not only be tasteless and odourless in lethal concentrations, but should also have a delayed effect. Virucides: They are meant for the control of viruses. Pesticides can also be classiﬁed as synthetic pesticides or biological pesticides, although the distinction is sometimes not that clear. Broadspectrum pesticides do have the potential to kill a wide array of species, while narrow-spectrum or selective pesticides can only kill a small group of species.
Professional Pest Management However, besides agriculture, pest management is also being used extensively in ofﬁces, hotels, hospitals and households. In fact, in nonagricultural use, pest management in India is generally more sophisticated in terms of applications. While it is common to see households using pesticides themselves, very often it is necessary to call for professional help, particularly when termites strike households. Every year about threequarters of the US households use pesticides, and about one in every ﬁve households in the US hires professional help to address the pest menace. Now pest management is regarded as a specialised profession, and the pest management professionals are expected to not only cure your property or facility of every type of pests, but also to create an environment which prevents the pests from invading your
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property or facility. To d a y i n t e g r a t e d p e s t management has become the buzzword in the modern day pest management solutions. Integrated pest management is much different than routine chemical pest control. It emphasises identiﬁcation, inspection, and selection of the optimum methods of pest control in a given situation. IPM has gained popularity because people have come to the realisation that different situations or facilities or for that matter different types of pests require different pest control methods. In integrated pest management, pest management professionals ﬁrst identify the pest/s and gather information about the nature and the extent of infestation. Then the best method or methods of pest control for the given situation is
being arrived at, after considering the saf et y, eff ectiv eness, the environmental impacts and the comparative beneﬁts and costs of each method. However, IPM doesn’t mean reduction or elimination of the use of pesticides. In many cases, the application of pesticides may be the best solution to address the pest problem. In other situations, non-toxic methods such as trapping, sealing of food source and reducing moisture can be more effective solutions. Sometimes chemical, mechanical, and environmental methods are used in combination to arrive at an optimum solution regarding pest control. One of them can be complementing proper sanitation exercises with the creation of physical barriers. Another method involves using baits, which
can either eliminate the pests or prevent them from breeding. Yet another method involves using mechanical devices, such as traps, that prevent the pests from entering your facility and spread their menace. The best method is not ﬁxed, but will vary with the type of pest/s and the extent and nature of infestation. Additionally, the best pest control method may also vary with the user’s comfort level with a given method. O ver the years, the use of technology has made pest management more efficient. For example, microchips can be very useful for identifying the termites’ activity. The chips, which are placed at the baiting stations, emit signals that can tell pest control workers about the presence of the termites. Workers pick up the signals using a device similar to a metal detector, allowing them to quickly evaluate an entire building. The integrated pest management also has agricultural applications. With the increasing popularity of integrated pest management exercises, the use of bio-pesticides and genetically modified (GM) seeds have increased over the years. Use of GM seeds may lower the use of insecticides in agriculture; on the other hand the use of herbicides may gain currency.
Becoming a Pest Control Entrepreneur If you want to enter the pest control business, then let me tell
HYGIENE you it need not be an expensive proposition. You can start locally with a spraying machine, pesticides & insecticides and help your neighbours to maintain their property free of pests. However, the business plan and the marketing strategy of your pest control business need to be very pragmatic and well-researched, and you must be armed with the knowledge of the pest management industry. You must set your business targets, which of course include projected sales and revenues, and must monitor your business performance continually. And it is always advisable to hire staff with years of industry experience to pass through the often turbulent start-up phase without any major problems or impediments. A website or a blog or a facebook presence can also enhance your business without much investment. If your service is consistently good, you can expect to not only get more clients, but also repeat clients, as pest control needs to be
done periodically. By investing your proﬁts judiciously, you can buy more pest control equipment or provide a more sophisticated range of services. Eventually you would be needing extermination supplies, specialised gear, a range of chemical equipment, organic-based sprays, etc. to expand your business and for entering the competition in a big way. The pest management service also has several sections. It is up to your predilection and expertise whether you want to be a general pest manager or be specialised in a particular domain of pest management. The types of pest control services include agricultural pest management, residential pest management, pest management in commercial and public buildings, pest management in gardens, ponds, lakes, etc. In agricultural pest management, you have to primarily deal with birds, insects, and squirrels, whereas in residences, pest management entails tackling the cockroaches, mosquitoes, ants, rodents, ﬂeas, insects, etc. In
commercial and public buildings also rodents and insects tend to create their menace, whereas for gardens, ponds and lakes to be kept clean, often the mosquitoes, frogs and reptiles need to controlled. Recent years have seen a great number of new developments in the pest management industry, which include the increased use of so-called biorational molecules like juvenile hormone analogues and chitin synthesis inhibitors. Internationally, these insect growth regulators (IGRs) are increasingly emerging as crucial arsenals for controlling urban insects and their role is likely to become more pronounced in the near future. The pest controller of today must not only keep abreast of them but apply them judiciously in order to tackle competition. The pest control industry in India, with the introduction of new pesticides and techniques is all set for impressive growth. So if you are an enterprising entrepreneur, what are you waiting for? ■
The Advent of
Modern Laundries A
dvancements in the laundr y technology and the expansion of the laundry business are welcome realities of our times. However, making the most of the emerging opportunities is in itself a challenging proposition in any business. A lot of upcoming institutions are expected to make use of the commercial laundry facilities as they help in reducing investment, manpower and other related expenses needed for laundry operations. But the demand for laundry equipment is stimulated also by in-house laundry facilities, mostly used by institutions that require laundry services on a frequent enough basis. Many institutions utilise commercial laundry facilities when they do not have their own laundry set up. All these sound great for the laundry business. However, like bad news, good news too sometimes does not come alone. Every age also brings with it a new set of challenges. For the world grappling with environmental problems, and formulating innovative measures for fighting the threat of global warming, water and energy crisis have become major issues that have affected most business ventures around the world. In today’s energy starved world, laundry systems in a commercial laundry or in in-house laundry needs
to be highly productive and efﬁcient. The operator must understand the need to achieve various goals such as, higher productivity, streamlining of laundry process, creating more environment friendly operations, decreasing the number or hours of attendants, and slashing water and utility costs. The laundry must deliver high production with low operational costs.
Types of Laundry Equipment Perhaps the most often thoughtof laundry equipment is the washing machine, known as a washer extractor in industrial settings. Washer extractors differ from household washing machines in both their size and features. Whereas most household washing machines have an inlet valve, a standard rinse cycle, and relatively limited options as to cycle types, washer extractors often have up to 4 high-speed inlet valves for quick ﬁlling of the tub, a jet spray rinse cycle for thorough rinsing, and extremely high speed spin cycles for effective extraction. They also have much larger capacities and various features such as overnight soak, soft wash, or delayed start. Although speciﬁc details vary according to washer extractor models and manufacturers, washer extractors are almost similar in their ability to handle much
larger loads of laundry, and in their handling of special options; necessary when running a commercial facility. Drying machines or dryer tumblers are also found in homes and commercial settings. Industrial dryer tumblers have a super fast drying capability for quicker drying of laundry, and often are endowed with an energy efﬁcient design. While dryer tumblers range in the size of load they can handle, the largest of the industrial dryer tumblers can handle upwards of 75 pounds of laundry at a time, which is many times more than a standard household dryer. While homes may use a standard iron, this is not effective for a large laundry facility. Thus most laundry equipment retailers offer a variety of ironing equipment, which may be heated roll or heated press. Heated roll ironers are preferred by smaller to medium sized laundry facilities, while heated chest ironers are generally used by larger laundries, who can afford the higher initial investment. The eighties witnessed the advent of the continuous batch processing systems, which are also known as the tunnel washing systems. The modern generation of tunnel washers, if set up and used correctly, are designed to give vastly improved productive economics in situations, where the loads to be processed are substantially high i.e. in the range of about 400kgs/hr. These wonderful machines have overcome the two big disadvantages of the washer extractors. Washer
extractors, due to their high speed (revolutions per minute) cause more wear and tear in the linen. In addition, these are batch processing systems, which in fact set the working pace for the functioning of the laundry, resulting in easier handling of the work and less strain for the staff deployed there. But unfortunately in India, the huge sizes of the tunnel washers have also raised doubts about their maintenance cost and their uses have so far remained very limited.
Selecting the Right Machine The washer-extractors, flatwork ironers and drying tumblers should be highly programmable to meet the individual needs of speciﬁc markets, including hospitals, hotels, drycleaners, prisons, schools, etc. To source out the commercial laundry equipment having labour and energy saving features, that have now become the priorities, operators should carefully make a cost beneﬁt analysis of the different brands. In order to maximise productivity, one must choose quality commercial laundry equipment that can pave the way for the creation of productive and efﬁcient on-premise laundries. The supplier should provide proper laundry layout speciﬁcations, equipment options and ancillar y products to meet speciﬁc needs. For pre-existing on-premise commercial laundry facilities, laundry equipment with improved washing ability, costeffective options for utilities and ancillary items, expertise in proper
chemical usage, and topnotch service are the pre-requisites for the supplier. The laundry equipment should be packed with features designed to improve productivity, simplify the wash process and turnout a consistent, quality result with each wash. It also must be perfect to suit the particular needs of the laundries. Washers equipped with automatic chemical injection, high-speed extract, and optimum programmability can increase the total productivity and quality of laundry. Depending on the setting for which the laundry equipment is intended, there may be special features that are desirable in the equipment to be purchased. For example, larger versions of the stacked washers and dryers found in many institutions may be preferred in a small or medium sized laundry that has very limited space. Coin laundries require equipment that is compatible with coin mechanisms. It needs to be mentioned here that a good number of manufacturers of commercial laundry equipment offer machinery that already has coin features in place. The wide var iet y of laundr y equipment available ensures that any facility, from a small property needing to wash towels to the largest hotel with huge quantities of linens that need to be laundered, can now ﬁnd the right equipment for them. The advent of computer and microprocessor controls in various laundry equipment have revolutionised their performance and dramatically reduced labour cost as well as working hours per employee. ■
Ensuring a Clean Kitchen
ith increasing integration of the world, food safety has graduated from a mere national concern. Recognising the inalienable relation between safe food and health, food safety authorities of various nations have come together to build closer relations at the international level to discuss emerging food safety issues
and effectively meet the challenges of food safety emergencies. Here it deserves a mention that the World Health Organization ( WHO), in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), manage a global network of 177 national food safety authorities, called the International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN).
Its objective is to promote the exchange of food safety information and to improve collaboration among food safety authorities at national and international levels. And as always, with international concern comes stringent rules for maintaining international standard. Kitchen cleanliness, although a minor segment in the broader issue of food safety, can go a long way in ensuring international standard of food, and avoiding several diseases related to the contamination of food.
Building the Right Kitchen Keeping the kitchen c lean, however, is not a simple task even for a star-rated hotel, swanky restaurant or any good food outlet. Right from the architecture of the building to the education of the staff, maintaining hygiene in the kitchen involves a complex process, strict monitoring and complete dedication. Building the kitchen that properly ventilates air and make regular cleaning easy and simple is very important. The room temperature and the exhaust system also matter a lot in preventing perspiration. Green pest management is very important in the kitchen as conventional pest control systems often do not eliminate the risk of contacting harmful pesticides with food items. However, the kitchen building
also plays an important role in the success of green pest management exercises. While planning kitchens in the hotel, matters like net usable area, proper drainage system, ambience, etc. need to be considered carefully. Drainage is especially important as the kitchen drain is susceptible to clogging due to heavy ďŹ‚ow of peel, grease, food, oil and waste water. But one has to be circumspect in using commercial drain cleaners as the acids and enzymes in them can cause gradual damage to the pipes. Some preventive measures like not allowing any solid materials to go down the drain, or occasionally using a mixture of baking powder and vinegar, may do wonders to the drain and the dishwasher. It is here worth noting that baking soda, lemon and vinegar can be widely used as green products for keeping a clean kitchen.
Cleanliness is in Your Hands Keeping the kitchen clean is not limited simply to sparkling utensils and clean clothes. In fact, the secrets of a clean kitchen often lie in the hands of the food service professionals of the hotels or restaurants, or the housewife/ householder, as the case might be. Taking proper precaution is very important for preventing the staff from sneezing away bacteria to the valued guests of the restaurants.
People working in kitchen should always hold their hands before their mouth, before sneezing, and then immediately wash their hands before handling the food items. Of course, it is preferable to not to sneeze, but that is another story. As hands are used umpteen times to practically do every activity in the kitchens, a strict routine needs to be adhered to for ensuring immaculate hand hygiene. The kitchen staff needs to follow the habit of washing hands after touching the bins, pets and raw meat. One should instinctively wash hands after going to the toilet and before starting the process of food preparation. Those who reach the apron or look out for the tea towel after washing their hands should immediately amend their habit and switch to disposable kitchen towels to ensure kitchen safety. As the kitchen staff in the hotels or restaurants has to perform the unsung heroics of serving safe food, most Chefs recommend keeping extra care for hands after smoking, shaking hands or touching other parts of oneâ€™s own body with hands. Poor hand hygiene can invite infections from bacteria such as salmonella and E-coli. A pair of clean hands also plays an important role in preventing any
unintentional transfer of food items to the equipment or other foods.
Other Facets of Cleanliness Regular cleaning of all the kitchen appliances is the essential prerequisite for serving safe food. For example, cleaning the chopping boards and worktops needs to become a habit before starting the process of food preparation, in order to avoid the spread of bacteria. Having separate chopping boards for meat and poultry products also helps in maintaining long-term hygiene. Using hot water for washing out bacteria from the worktops and chopping boards is the general practice in clean kitchens. Despite the widespread use of disposable napkins in the kitchens, use of cloths and sponges becomes often unavoidable. Dirty and damp cloths can play the
perfect spoiler to safe food as they breed bacteria, which can then easily travel to the plate. All kitchen cloths therefore need to be regularly washed and dried before using. Keeping different cloths for separate purposes also goes a long way in keeping the kitchen hygiene intact. Special care needs to be taken in not touching the tea towels after handling meat. In order to prevent a delicious dish to turn into a recipe for multiple diseases, keeping wooden spoons, knives, spatulas, tongs and other utensils clean is very essential. For achieving that, washing such utensils at a very high temperature, with good quality detergent has critical importance. A dishwasher comes very handy to make the tedious task of cleaning the utensils easy and effective. All star hotels generally have their own SOPs (standard of cleaning process) in place. The Sous Chef monitors the personal hygiene of the staff and all kitchen equipment on a day- to-day basis. Some hotels entrust the Chef on duty to check the nails, hairs and uniform of the personnel and ensure that the cleaning staff does not touch the food items. Following the age-old adage that prevention is better than cure, some hotels prefer to keep a wash station outside the receiving area of the kitchen for cleaning food stuffs such as eggs, vegetables and fruits. Stringent norms are specially followed for meat, ďŹ sh, and seafood products. Here it deserves a mention that in order to maintain personal hygiene of the staff, hotels should periodically conduct food handling caution training, temperature control and special cleaning training, training
in handling of potential hazardous food, training in food storage and efﬁcient use of the equipment in the kitchen temperature. The role of the housekeeping staff is also no less important in keeping the clothes of the kitchen personnel disinfected. Floor cleaning is another aspect of kitchen hygiene that often goes unnoticed. Different cleaning schedules need to be followed to maintain the cleanliness of every nook and cranny of the kitchen of a given facility. To sterilise the breeding of bacteria from the ﬂoor, most hotels keep one staff dedicated to constant ﬂoor cleaning. However, comprehensive cleaning of the ﬂoor takes place generally at night, when all the movable furniture can be shifted and every corner of the kitchen can be scrubbed with disinfectant. Adequate and constant supply of electricity and water are other two
very important aspects of kitchen hygiene. Sufﬁcient supply of hot and cold water in the kitchen is as important as oxygen is to life. Correct lighting is important not only to the Chef for checking the colour of the food, but also goes a long way in maintaining hygiene in the room. Proper food storage is another important facet for a clean kitchen. Maintaining the required temperature for food products and cleaning the fridge on a regular basis is important for preventing contamination from rotten food items. As the kitchen of the hotel or a restaurant is the place where the Chefs unleash their creativity and aspire for perfection, the ambience of the four walls of the hotel’s or the restaurant’s kitchen must invite attention, for all the right reasons. A safe, clean and properly equipped restaurant and hotel kitchen not only facilitates health and hygiene of the guests, but it can also work as an inspiration to the Chefs and other kitchen staff to put their best foot (read hand) forward while preparing a dish. Another factor that often surfaces in any talk of clean kitchen is the cost. While proper upkeep of a kitchen demands loosening of your purse strings by only a bit, an unclean kitchen may force many of your kitchen equipments to die their untimely deaths, eventually leaving a heavier burden on the ■ housekeeping budget.
Creating Excellence in Health and Care I By Swarnendu Biswas
t is alarming to note that 42 percent of children in India are malnourished and in India close to 1.72 million children meet their untimely deaths each year before they turn one. According to a UNICEF report, 665 million Indians didn’t have access to toilets. The maternal mortality is extremely high in India. In fact, according to a report titled ‘Trends in Maternal Mortality’ which was released by the WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank in September 2010, with 63,000 maternal deaths a year, India recorded the highest number of maternal deaths in the world, in 2008. Presently, India’s maternal mortality rate is 212, which is a very lamentable statistics indeed. To top it all, a great majority of our hospitals, especially in the
rural areas, are acute reﬂections of the state of state apathy towards health. Many of the hospitals in India, of both government and private varieties, are far from the
exacting standards of cleanliness, and in a plethora of hospital beds in India, pests do share the space with inmates. No wonder, instead of cure, many inmates pick up new diseases during their hospital stay. The availability of comprehensive healthcare infrastructure is still a distant reality in many government and private hospitals of India, which contributes towards the country’s huge maternal and infant mortality rate. It is a natural scenario for a country where the public spending on healthcare is only an abysmal 1.4 percent of GDP, which is simply shameful as compared to the developed world standards. Amidst the desert like dismal healthcare scenario of India, Apollo Hospitals stands tall as an oasis. The vision of Dr. Prathap C Reddy, the Founder Chairman of Apollo
Preetha Reddy 30
HEALTH Hospitals, and the winner of Padma Bhushan award, has started the stupendous growth process of this world class healthcare chain, and is inﬂuencing its progress till the present day. Commenced as a 150bed hospital in Chennai way back in 1983, today the group has grown exponentially both in India and overseas, and has emerged as one of the largest healthcare conglomerates of India. With over 8500 beds across 54 hospitals within and outside India, the Apollo Hospitals Group is
the Managing Director of the Apollo Hospitals. To enhance the performance and service to customers, the company also makes available telemedicine services, education, training programs & research services and a host of other non-proﬁt projects. Apollo currently engages more than 20,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics, clinical staff and management professionals to continue its holistic healthcare endeavours, and also to scale new heights of medical excellence and
one of the largest healthcare groups in Asia.
social happiness. “Apollo Hospitals offers cuttingedge medical care, at par with the best hospitals in the world and in many cases even surpassing the global benchmarks. Patients from over 120 countries visit Apollo every year. The successful clinical outcomes achieved at Apollo at an incredibly lower cost as compared to international rates have motivated many foreign patients to choose India as destination for medical tourism,” informed Preetha. In fact, in the nineties, the story of Apollo Hospitals became a case study at the prestigious Harvard University.
A One-stop Healthcare Solution Today Apollo Hospitals Group is an integrated healthcare organisation with owned and managed hospitals, diagnostic clinics, dispensing pharmacies and consultancy services. In addition, the group’s service offerings include healthcare at the patient’s doorstep, clinical & diagnostic services, medical business process outsourcing, third party administration services and health insurance. Apollo has a signiﬁcant presence at every touch-point of the medical value chain in the country. “Besides our huge network of hospitals, with over 1200 pharmacies, health insurance services and clinical research units, Apollo Hospitals is Asia’s foremost integrated healthcare groups,” conﬁrmed Preetha Reddy,
Setting New Benchmarks Apollo Hospitals has dedicated Centers of Excellence for several key specialties and superspecialties. They are unique and state-of-theart facilities spread across several of the Apollo hospital locations. The healthcare chain has consistently
led revolutionary developments in healthcare in India by bringing to the people the latest innovations in key medical specialities and superspecialities at par with the west. Apollo Hospitals provides the latest new procedures, services and therapies in the ﬁeld of radiosurgery, liver transplant, hand & micro surgery, infertility care, bone marrow transplant, stem cell transplant, cosmetic surgery and in many other domains of healthcare, and together, these contributions by Apollo Hospitals is sure to become a glorious chapter in the modern India’s healthcare history. Apollo Hospitals is the first private healthcare provider to perform a heart transplant, way back in 1995. It also has the credit of performing the ﬁrst successful pediatric liver transplant in India and also the ﬁrst adult liver transplant in the country. That is not all Apollo Hospitals is also the ﬁrst hospital group to bring the 320 Slice CTAngio scan system and the 64 Slice CT-Angio scan system to India, and also has the distinction of becoming the ﬁrst hospital group in SouthEast Asia to introduce the 16 Slice PET-CT Scan. The Apollo Specialty Hospital in Chennai has the credit of being the ﬁrst hospital in India to perform total knee replacement surgery as well as Birmingham hip resurfacing. This hospital is one of the few places in India with facility to offer bone marrow transplantation and is the pioneer in cord blood transplantation in India. It is also the ﬁrst Indian hospital to introduce new-age techniques in coronary angioplasty and stereotactic radiotherapy. Apollo Hospitals Chennai had completed 10,000 coronary angioplasties in 2009. India’s first keyhole multiple bypass surgery was conducted at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi. It took less than four hours to perform this scar less surgery, without cutting any bone of the patient. This technique uses a combination of small holes in the chest and a small incision, made indirectly over the coronary artery to be bypassed. It is often performed using robotics
and video-imaging, which help the surgeon operate in a small area. These are only few of the path breaking innovations performed by Apollo Hospitals, which together makes it a truly pioneering institution in India’s healthcare. As one of the greatest entrepreneurs and healthcare visionaries of modern India, Preetha has been fostering the astronomical vertical and horizontal growth of Apollo Hospitals, and also its journey towards enduring international fame. Apollo is one of the important healthcare players in India to nurture a culture of international quality in healthcare. Presently the group has the enviable distinction of having 7 JCI accredited hospitals. Here it deserves a mention that Joint Commission International ( JCI) is a US-based accreditation body dedicated to improving healthcare quality and safety around the world. JCI accreditation is an international gold standard for hospitals. The Apollo Hospitals group attained this unique distinction of achieving JCI accreditation for its hospitals at Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Bangalore, Kolkata and Dhaka. Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi, became the first hospital in India, while Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, became the ﬁrst hospital in South India to achieve this coveted accreditation. Furthermore, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai was the ﬁrst hospital in India to be awarded an ISO 9002 certiﬁcation.
Healthcare with a Human Face Preetha however doesn’t only believe in providing international quality healthcare, but also in driving healthcare with social conscience. “Introducing a powerful business model with an intrinsic social conscience, Apollo Hospitals Group has catalysed a healthcare revolution in India,” asserted Preetha. In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say that Apollo Hospitals Group is one of the chief facilitators of medical tourism in India and at the same time is playing a huge role in making quality healthcare accessible to the underserved and unprivileged sections of the Indian society. U n d e r Pre e t h a’s i n s p i r i n g leadership, Apollo Hospitals is also engaged in providing international quality healthcare to the underprivileged sections of the
society. A wonderful example in this regard is SACHi (Saving A Child’s Heart initiative), which is a community service initiative from the Apollo Hospitals with the aim of providing quality pediatric cardiac care to the underprivileged children with congenital cardiac diseases. This is a need-based initiative, which covers all aspects of congenital heart disease; a major socio-economic problem in India. “Our team of doctors and paramedical staff offer free cardiac screening at medical camps in cities, towns and villages across India, for all children under 12 years of age. Under the ambit of SACHi, over a 1000 surgeries have been performed and close to 50,000 children have been screened for heart diseases,” informed Preetha. Another social welfare-oriented initiative of Apollo Hospitals is SAHI (Society to Aid the Hearing Impaired), which strives to help poor children with hearing impairment. One can easily infer that if only our healthcare industry in private sector had introduced many more of such praiseworthy initiatives involving healthcare with a human face, the medical landscape of India could have been transformed. “We are committed to the wellbeing of not just our patients, but of the society as a whole. Our aim is to make quality healthcare accessible to all those who need it. Initiatives like SACHi, SAHI, CURE and DISHA aim to reach out and provide healthcare to the economically backward,” elaborated the dynamic lady, who has been
HEALTH instrumental in giving the term corporate social responsibility its true meaning. It is extremely lamentable that on the one hand India is emerging as one of the preferred medical tour ism destinations for the outbound tourists, who can get quality healthcare at affordable costs compared to international levels at some of the high-end multispecialty medical facilities in the country, on the other hand, even the basic healthcare facilities are out of reach for many in the majority of our population, particularly among those living in remote rural areas. Preetha naturally feels very worried about this lopsided healthcare scenario and through Apollo Hospitals, she is endeavouring to bridge this yawning gap.
Making Distant Healing Near Besides the lack of ﬁnance, the other reason that is hampering the availability of even the basic healthcare among large sections of the people of India is the lack of infrastructure and access. Apollo Hospitals is making honest and powerful attempts to address this seemingly perpetual socioeconomic malady through advances in technology. The revolutionary thought process initiated by Apollo Hospitals is also reflected in its telemedicine endeavours. There is no denying the fact that telemedicine is a hugely potent tool to make international quality medical care accessible to the remote, underprivileged and underserved sections of the Indian society, by synthesising the recent developments in telecommunication with the recent developments in medical science. In fact, if the potential of telemedicine is properly harnessed, it can solve many of the chronic lacunae of our healthcare system, which is characterised by extremely lopsided growth; abysmal depths of darkness interspersed with few heights of global excellence. To Apollo goes the credit of pioneering the concept of telemedicine in India. “Apollo views telemedicine as a healthcare delivery
system that facilitates a synergy of clinical, administrative and technical modalities to deliver high quality healthcare across geographies,” explained Preetha. Apollo Hospitals has been enabling online quality healthcare consultations available to large sections of people residing in inaccessible areas. I asked the great lady about DISHA, the new-age telemedicine endeavour of Apollo Hospitals. Taking healthcare to the most remote corners of the country and making quality healthcare accessible and affordable to all are some of the commendable objectives of DISHA. This is an initiative partnered by Apollo Hospitals, Philips, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and the Dhan Foundation. Propelled by Preetha’s potent vision, DISHA is headed towards the right direction. “Apollo Hospital’s novel telemedicine initiative – Distance Healthcare Advancement (DISHA) does provide long distance quality healthcare to the underserved. Under the DISHA initiative, a van outﬁtted with an ultrasound machine, an X-ray, a deﬁbrillator and an ECG machine, along with dedicated doctors and other paramedical staff from Apollo Hospitals, travels to identified locations once a week,” elaborated Preetha. The hospital chain has also ensured the availability of specialist doctors and operational staff at its hospitals to facilitate multi-specialty consultations for patients visiting the mobile tele-clinical vans. DISHA is expected to cover a population of 750,000 in phase I.
Hygienic Issues One of the shameful aspects of our healthcare system is the rampant lack of hygiene in plethora of small and big hospitals spread across both rural and as well as urban areas. Great sanitation and hygiene can prevent many diseases from emerging, but sadly our government/s, corporates and civil society as well do not give the right weightage to these pressing issues. Apollo Hospitals and Preetha feel very strongly about this. “Hygiene is one of our primary focus areas. The prevention of ailments and
diseases is not possible in healthcare without maintaining of high levels of hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation. The infection control program at Apollo Hospitals oversees this vital aspect very stringently,” stated Preetha. I probed one of the greatest minds and voices in India’s healthcare industry on Apollo’s infection prevention and control program. “Each hospital in the healthcare group has a comprehensive infection prevention and control program which covers policies on hand hygiene, infectious diseases notific ation, c linic al sample collection, environmental hygiene, antibiotic usage and infection prevention in practice settings and visitor areas,” Preetha elaborated while adding, “Special care is always accorded to the mother and child in all Apollo facilities to prevent any additional risks of infection. These measures are applicable across all Apollo facilities in India and abroad.”
Prioritising Society’s Healthcare Preetha wisely summed up the maladies of India’s healthcare scenario in a few words. “A huge shortage in healthcare infrastructure, the acute scarcity of trained health manpower, the dearth of ﬁscal measures that could channelise investments into healthcare, and most importantly the lack of comprehensive sanitation exercises contribute to the dismal healthcare indicators in India,” averred Preetha. She believes that the government needs to increase its public healthcare spending to at least 3 percent of GDP. She also believes that healthcare should be accorded the national priority sector status. “ The government also needs to encourage public-private partnerships (PPP) in healthcare, since healthcare is too vast a domain with multiple issues and complexities to be left only with the public or private sector to tackle. Through more and more PPPs, we can draw out the best of ‘both worlds’ to meet the challenges confronting Indian healthcare,” she concurred. ■
Green Pest Management Garnering Popularity By Gokul Bhagabati
i t h t h e c on c e r n for environment and health growing among the people across the world, ethical consumerism is no longer an unfamiliar concept. And when it comes to the major clients of pest management organisations, a tilt towards the green pest management strategies is clearly evident. According to popular deﬁnition, the green pest management is a pest control strategy through usage of organic or plant-based materials or materials of natural origin. Green pest management is an extension of integrated pest management and can be construed as eco-friendly pest management. H o w e v e r, sometimes non organic substances are also used in green
pest management, as they too can be non toxic. Broadly, usage of nontoxic substances for pest control that doesn’t have a possible polluting after effect, can come under the ambit of green pest management. M o r e o v e r, i n g r e e n p e s t management, people are equally focussed about the process of pest control, as they are on the outcome. Application of green pest management is attracting popularity in today’s agriculture. Green pest management or GPM, as it is popularly known, is gaining ground
in other areas too, as it plays a very important role in the functioning of green buildings. Here it deserves a mention that environmental activists and governmental agencies across the globe have been promoting the use of green buildings at workplaces because of their role in sustainable development. However, gaining the recognition of green building is possible only through adherence to a sustained policy of reducing the usage of toxic substances in pest control, cleaning and other maintenance activities. Green buildings emphasise water conser vation, energy efﬁciency, usage of recycled p r o d u c t s , renewable energ y sources a n d m i n i mu m presence of pesticides, moulds, insects and rodents. Despite its visible viability and
PEST MANAGEMENT popularity, green pest management as an idea is yet to get the backing of a globally acceptable regulatory agency. In developing countries like India, GPM is adversely affected by widespread prevalence of unfounded myths. The ﬁrst among them is that the green products are necessarily excessively costly. The fact of the matter, however, is that in GPM, the use of conventional pesticides or any toxic pest control product is minimised, and the cost varies according to the nature of the structure where GPM is to be introduced. Moreover, green pest management strategies also work with a long-term vision and therefore eventually help in cutting down costs by endowing a more permanent character to the pest management process.
Proactive Pest Control Green pest management is a proactive mode of controlling pests, which is signiﬁcantly different from the reactive mode of the conventional
pest control method. With a focus on reducing the effects of toxic substances on environment and health, GPM strategies emphasise on scanning all naturally derived and synthetic pesticides before approving them for application. As against the reactive conventional pest control methods, which focusses only on the pesticides, green pest management strategies work with the overall objective of reducing effects of toxic substances on the environment. As discussed
before, although the emphasis of green pest management is on the usage of pest control materials of natural origin, all natural pesticides do not naturally ﬁt into the GPM category. The process of applying the product is more important in green pest management and therefore enclosed insect bait stations may be termed ‘green’, despite having a synthetic active ingredient. Many regard green pest management as the extension of integrated pest management (IPM),
PEST MANAGEMENT which entails several non-pesticide approaches to pest management such as exclusion, environmental changes and physical trapping. Green pest management also stresses on reducing the use of harmful substances such as Volatile Organic Compounds ( VOCs), which include cleaning solvents, and infestations caused by birds, animals and insects. Pest management strategies have improved over the years with GPM being the latest development over the conventional integrated pest management strategies. It is a part of the new-age integrated pest management methods that are in vogue. In conventional pest control methods, parts of the building for pesticide application are demarcated. Pesticide is applied in these areas frequently without properly monitoring its effects. The conventional integrated pest management strategies are considered better in terms of the method, but their outcome is found to be not much different. Moreover, in conventional IPM, the performance depends considerabl y on the concerned practitioner. However, clients can expect better performance in advanced IPM strategies.
E d u c a t e d P e s t Management GPM strategies include the process of inspection or identiﬁcation of the pest, understanding its habits and biology, habitat modiﬁcation to make it less attractive to the pests, monitoring pest presence, blocking entrance points for the pests, use of non-chemical control measures, and appropriate and effective use of least hazardous chemicals. GPM is considered as the most advanced form of IPM where technicians are continually provided training on common pests, recent developments, sessions on diagnosing and correcting pest friendly conditions, effective use of new products and sealants, proper door sweep installations, and how to make the customers co-operate in the entire process. The trained professionals inspect the building thoroughly, check new
developments and subsequently, report to the customer. The GPM professionals spend considerable time in inspecting pest vulnerable a re a s a n d p l a c e s w h e re p e s t problems were earlier reported. The technicians also look for removing pest friendly conditions from the building in the future, by checking all the traps and taking necessary rectiﬁcation measures. The primary objective of the GPM professionals is to prevent pest related problems in the long-term. The technicians take up different measures for different types of pests. If the building is infested by mice, green pest technicians suggest exclusion as the solution rather than elimination. The technicians look for missing door sweeps and complete the necessary installation. When the building is infested by cockroaches, the GPM professionals conduct a detailed research on the nature of species, degree of threat and direction of movement, and then the suspected harborages are sealed after the necessar y cleaning. The technicians flush the harborages with compressed air and the escapees are eliminated with high-efficiency particulate air vacuum. The technicians also educate the customers about the necessary steps required to be taken in case of reinfestation. In green pest management, pesticide is used after thorough research and only in unavoidable conditions. The technicians evaluate the pesticides for potential exposure and toxicity. They also get the required pesticides approved by the customers before applying. The use of GPM is especially encouraged in areas where the health of children is at stake.
Leveraging the GPM Movement With effects of climate change becoming more evident to everyone, green products are increasingly being preferred by more and more government agencies and private organisations. The popularity of green pest management, despite its compar itivel y higher cost on an average, is a reﬂection of
that. Green pest management has the potential of considerably reducing toxic substances in the environment. One can say that pest control companies willing to accept the challenges of the changing times would have to eventually offer competitive green pest management strategies to stay aﬂoat in the market of the future. The GPM operators also need to do the needful to increase their mindshare and popularity. As most customers become apprehensive of green products because of their initial cost, it would be prudent for GPM operators to run some educative advertisements about the long-term gain that the customers can reap from the application of green pest management strategies. However, GPM operators must also realise that customers cannot be fooled by non-performing green products for a long time. They should remember that all organic products are not necessarily a panacea to the environment. Succinctly, the focus therefore should be on quality and performance apart from being environmentally sensitive. For remaining competitive in the market, GPM operators must be equipped with qualiﬁed technicians who are capable of conducting adequate research and offering exact solutions such as door sweep installations, tree/shrub trimming, exclusion products and services, repairs, clutter removal, gutter cleaning, construction/design review and such other green strategies. With the right attitude and adequate skills, the GPM operators may easily turn the challenges of climate change into an opportunity to earn some green bucks along with providing well-being. H o w e v e r, a s g r e e n p e s t management, despite its growing popularity is a novel concept, and therefore there is a section of customers who still find difficult to rely on the companies claiming to offer green pest management. The need of the hour is therefore to educate oneself about the prevalent GPM strategies and ask the relevant questions to the vendors before ■ employing them.
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The professional WWD900-2 industrial wet & dry vacuum cleaners of Charnock — one of the leading manufacturers, importers, exporters and suppliers of professional industrial cleaning equipments in Asia — embodies 15 years of global experience in a single machine. The product reflects premium quality in terms of design, construction and performance. The full Structofoam construction alone sets it apart from competition, and if you combine this with its singular multipurpose tipper system for emptying, you have a truly simple and elegant machine that is extremely userfriendly, and can be emptied quickly and easily; be it floor drain or WC. The power and performance to the full Twinflo specification is exceptional and there is a choice of one or two-motored models, both of which include the Nucable replaceable cable system as standard. The 38 mm accessory kit complements the machine in every way with long hoses, stainless steel tube sets, and both wet and dry Structofoam 400 mm floor nozzles. Charnock Equipments Pvt. Ltd. email@example.com
Stefab has launched a new range of washer extractor for the laundry industry. The machines are easy to install and takes half the space than the conventional washing machines and pressure extractors. The computercontrolled washer can wash, rinse and spin with a regular wash cycle of 35-45 minutes without been constantly monitored by the operator. It has a fully programmable computer with step-by-step guiding LEDs. The machines’ loading capacity varies from 30-120 kg and has the basket speed of 30-45 RPM. It has a super strong hydraulic suspension and a five-compartment auto chemical dispenser for all kinds of detergents like powder, liquid and gel. Stefab manufactures laundry machines for housekeeping and drycleaning purposes in the hotels, and for commercial purposes. Stefab India Limited firstname.lastname@example.org
Polishing stone is in a way, bringing it to life. Quartz Home Care offers its experience & technology to introduce an ideal way of working with stone & creating high precision, flexible polishing system. ‘QHC’s polishing arts’ are among leading process being utilised in the abrasives
industry today. The Japanese Dia Ceramica series, the flexible polishing pads, enable to polish any curved granite application. QHC’s system brings old stone back to life with no acid & no chemical. Each step of the pad makes it possible to grind, hone and polish floor of granite & marble at a new construction & daily maintenance job site. A great advantage of the system is a quick processing to complete restoration in a limited renovation period. Quartz Home Care email@example.com
Multifunctional Recess Panel
An uncluttered and clean washroom with all the necessary accessories is what everyone looks for as one enters it. The multifunctional recess panel can be immensely useful in meeting this legitimate and yet exacting wish of the guests. Kinox-KMR 2N Multi-Functional Recess Panel and Kinox-KPD Multi-Functional Recess Panel of Euronics are two such useful products that can easily bestow a savvy and elegant aura to an otherwise cluttered washroom. Made of fabricated stainless steel with satin finish, both the products are designed to be durable and steady. The Kinox-KMR 2N Multi-Functional Recess Panel is equipped with a paper dispenser, auto hand dryer and a waste container. The paper towel panel of the recess panel can hold 800 multifold or c-fold paper towels. Operated by infrared sensor, the auto hand dryer can quickly dry the hands. The removable waste container has a capacity of 16 litres. The Kinox-KPD Multi-Functional Recess Panel comes with a paper container of similar capacity, but with a waste container of double the capacity of Kinox-KMR 2N. Euronics Industries firstname.lastname@example.org
he information published in this section is as per the details furnished by the respective manufacturer/ distributor. In any case, it does not represent the views of Hammer Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
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Reﬂecting the Evolution in Housekeeping Sangeetha R, Associate Director — Housekeeping, GRT Grand, Chennai, began her career with The Residency, Coimbatore where she worked for about a year and then joined GRT Grand, Chennai in 1997. She considers herself fortunate to have been working with this chain of hotels as it has provided her with a very consistent growth and the exposure to further hone her skills. This varied exposure in the same organisation has made my work more interesting and has given me immense professional growth,” stated Sangeeta . Working with GRT Grand, Chennai has also given her an opportunity in setting up hotel projects. “For instance, I worked with the project team at the Radisson Resort Temple Bay, in which I was fully responsible in liaising with the architects and the designers. That exposure gave me immense knowledge in setting up a luxury resort,” she concurred. The excerpts of the interview follow: By Sharmila Chand
How important in your opinion is housekeeping to hospitality? As the saying goes, ‘the difference lies in the details.’ The housekeeping department is responsible for the immaculate care and upkeep of all guest rooms and public areas of the hotel. In the competitive hotel market, with big names coming into India, service has become the game changer. The housekeeping service and cleanliness make an impact on our guests and determine whether they will be return visitors to the property or not. How has the role of housekeeping in India changed over the years? Today the role of a housekeeping department in the Indian hospitality industry is not limited to just cleanliness. It is about how the same product is shown differently with the same hardware available. Housekeeping has emerged as a sophisticated profession where every activity is focussed on delighting the guest through personalisation of service. Innovation in hospitality is the key, not only to delight the guest, but also to break the monotony of the job. With great opportunity to personalise guest services, housekeeping has become the key area in bringing in guests again and again to the hotel. What is the housekeeping philosophy at your hotel? We ensure that we give a comfortable workplace with good working tools for our housekeeping personnel, which creates a cheerful environment. We have focussed on retaining existing staff which can do magic to our guests. Recognition, retention and recall have always
been our motto.
What are the new trends in housekeeping? W ith the advent of technolog y, housekeeping is moving towards more mechanisation. Current housekeeping trends are to clean more thoroughly, more quickly, using fewer resources, achieving longer-lasting results from easier-to-manage equipment that does not break down as quickly as previous models. Housekeeping with environmental consciousness has also gained importance, and as such there is also the trend towards using environmentally sustainable materials in housekeeping. Nanotechnology and microﬁbre cleaning are becoming in vogue. Also, as guests are becoming more sensitive, the new trend of allergy-friendly rooms is becoming increasingly popular. Please name any one tool which has made the housekeeping operations comparatively much easier? ‘Triton Software’ is a guest request/ complaint management software, which is currently being used in our hotel. It has made the operations effective, enabling to attend to guest calls instantly, and improved communication within departments. The software facilitates to improve room attendant productivity by up to 20 percent, can save up to 40 percent of Floor Supervisor’s time, can eliminate 80 percent of phone calls between front ofﬁce, housekeeping and maintenance, improves quality and staff morale, enables instant
communication between housekeeping staff, and also enables real time view of room availability to streamline check-in/check-out at reception.
How much of an emphasis does your hotel place on this? GRT Grand, Chennai emphasises a lot on training. In the existing market trends, we cannot match guests’ requirements unless the efﬁciency and effectiveness of every employee improves; therefore we have drawn out a focussed training module for our staff. Furthermore, whenever a need of an expert is felt, we go ahead and organise the same. Apart from regular work training, emphasis is on selling some unique hotel facilities, including F&B and viewing of classic cinemas from our private ‘World Box Ofﬁce Collection.’ What elements you take into account to recruit staff in housekeeping department? The key factors to consider for the potential recruit are physical ﬁtness with presentable profile, basic knowledge on hygiene and cleanliness, basic understanding of English language, exposure to hospitality industry, and education. How signiﬁcant is the role of training in the area of housekeeping management? Training has proven to be an important tool in managing my team. Training helps in developing skills, reducing costs, and most importantly in facilitating retention, which has become extremely crucial for managing hotels today.
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