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Top Indian hospital duped into removing organs for traffickers

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NEW DELHI — A prestigious Indian hospital says it was duped by traffickers into removing the kidneys of victims believing they were relatives of needy patients, after five people were arrested for the crime.

Police on Thursday busted an illegal organ harvesting racket operating out of the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, one of city’s top private hospitals.

They have since arrested five people, including two assistants of a senior hospital doctor.

The traffickers allegedly lured poor people into selling their kidneys for 300,000 rupees ($6,080) and then re-sold the organs on the black market at huge profit.

Fake identification documents were used to fool the hospital that the victims were relatives of recipients.

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital admitted it had unwittingly removed organs from victims and said it was co-operating with police in their investigation of the alleged kidney sale racket.

“While all due precautions were conducted, the use of fake and forged documents was used for this racket with a criminal intent,” a statement from the hospital said.

“The hospital has been a victim of a well-orchestrated operation to cheat patients and the hospital.

“We urge the police to take the strictest of action against all those involved.”

Two of the five arrested suspects were personal assistants to a senior nephrologist employed at the hospital, but were not on the hospital’s payroll, the statement said.

A chronic shortage of organs available for transplant fuels a booming black-market trade in body parts in India.

Commercial trade in organs is illegal in India and transplant donations must be approved by a special transplant committee at each hospital.

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Over 70% of deep-sea fish of Atlantic Ocean have ingested plastic : Study

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Fragments of plastic are found throughout the world, from nearly every continent to nearly every body of water. But, researchers recently have found 73 percent of Northwest Atlantic deep-sea fish are also eating it — the highest reported frequency of plastic-eating fish in the world.

Plastic particles were found in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean with almost three quarters of a sample of more than 230 deep-water fish collected by NUI Galway scientists having ingested plastic particles.

The contamination level among the fish species, located in the northwest Atlantic thousands of kilometres from land and 600m down in the ocean, is one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

The NUIG scientists, as part of the study, participated in a transatlantic crossing onboard the marine institute’s Celtic Explorer vessel.

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PhD candidate and lead author Alina Wieczorek said, “Deep-water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton [microscopic animals] and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics.”

During this research cruise they took dead deep-sea fish from midwater trawls such as the spotted lanternfish, rakery beaconlamp, stout saw-palate and scaly dragonfish.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering the ocean. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface.

The fish ranged in size from the smallest species the Glacier Lantern at 3.5cm to the largest species, the stout saw-palate at 59cm.

Agencies

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