Familiar moorings: on foreign policy re-orientation
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three-nation visit namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore signals a re-orientation of India’s foreign policy.
- India attempts to moderate India’s strategic position.
- Prior to the three-nation visit, PM Modi attended informal summits in China and Russia.
- India and the U.S are committed to build a free and open Indo-pacific region.
- India is also a member of both the Quadrilateral and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
- Shangri-la dialogue:
- At Shangri-la dialogue, PM Modi emphasized on Indian “strategic autonomy”.
- India’s relation with Russia, China and the U.S got a special reference.
- In accordance with the concept of ‘Indo-pacific’, importance of ASEAN was discussed.
- A seven-point vision for the Indo-Pacific region was introduced.
Centre not to file counter-affidavit on Article 35A
- A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition has challenged the Article 35 A in the Supreme Court.
- The petition was filed by We The Citizens arguing that Article 35 A is against the very spirit of oneness of India as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens.”
- Another petition has challenged Article 35A for protecting certain provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which restrict the basic right to property.
- Article 35 A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to decide the “permanent residents” of the State, prohibits a non-State resident from buying property in the State and ensures reservation in employment for residents.
- Article 35 A was incorporated into the Constitution by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet in 1954.
- The Constitution Order followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 35A grants a special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
- Further development in the petition of Article 35 A
- The Centre has decided not to file any counter-affidavit in this case because the issues, which are raised for adjudication, are pure questions of law.”
Preventing the next health crisis
- K Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India expresses his views to tackle obesity in India.
- After wasting (a low weight-for-height ratio), India’s biggest nutrition challenge is obesity (excess body fat).
- India has the second highest number of obese children in the world (14.4 million).
- Consumption of junk food and less physical activity are the main reasons of obesity.
- Adverse affects of obesity:
- High risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some cancers,
- Fatty liver disease in children and
- Premature mortality.
- Measures to be taken:
- Ensure appropriate nutrition (the right balance of nutrients)for obesity along with adequate nutrition (usually interpreted as dietary calories) for undernutrition,
- Policies on agricultural system that promotes crop diversity,
- Decrease the availability, affordability and promotion of unhealthy foods,
- Make healthy foods more accessible,
- Provision of obesity management, prevention and treatment,
- Tax on sugar and its related commodities.
- Cycle of poverty leading to NCDs (Non Communicable Diseases) and visa versa should be addressed,
- Obesity and under nutrition should be jointly addressed under universal health coverage, and
- Universal health coverage should be financially accessible by all.
It will be War on single-use plastic
- India was the global host nation for 2018 World Environment Day (celebrated on 5thJune)
- The theme for 2018 World Environment Day was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’
- India generates around 25000 tonnes of plastic waste every day
- India Prime Minister highlighted the need for an efficient plastic waste management
- Initiatives proposed to tackle plastic pollution:
- ‘Green Pledge’ adopted by EU member states embassies in New Delhi. Under the initiative EU members made a commitment to discontinue use of plastics in the embassies and residences
- Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) proposed to install signage to raise environmental awareness
- Tamil Nadu has proposed a ban on manufacturing, storage and use of plastic products (except packing material for milk, curd, oil and medical products) from January 1st 2019
Nitrogen emissions going up: Study
- According to the ‘Indian Nitrogen Assessment’ nitrogen emissions in India has been increasing steadily.
- The ‘Indian Nitrogen Assessment’ is the first ever quantitative assessment of reactive nitrogen in the Indian environment.
- According the study, nitrogen particles constitute the largest fraction of PM2.5
- 5 is a class of pollutant which is largely linked to cardiovascular and respiratory illness
- Major contributors to nitrogen emissions (in 2010)
- Agriculture: Largest contributor
- Burning of crop residues: 240 million kg of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 7 million kg of nitrous oxide (N2O) annually
Note: NOx a generic term for the nitrogen oxides that is most relevant for air pollution, namely nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide
- Agricultural soil: 70% of total N2O emissions from India; major source- chemical fertilizers: 77% of total emissions from agriculture. Majority of chemical fertilizer used in cereal production, mainly rice and wheat:
- Wastewater 12%
- Residential and commercial activities: 6%
- Poultry industry: 0.415 tonnes in 2016
- NOx emissions grew 52% from 1991 to 2001 and 69% from 2001 to 2011
- The annual growth rate of NOx emissions from coal and diesel: 6.5%
- Annual emissions from sewage and fossil fuel burning increasing rapidly
- NOx emissions will surpass ammonia emissions and reach 8.8 tonnes by 2055
- Ammonia emissions:
- India is the biggest source of ammonia emission
- 80% from cattle; however growth rate is slow at 1% due to stable cattle population
- Nutrient recovery and recycling from wastewater for agriculture. This is expected to decrease emissions from sewage up to 40%
Green, Hygienic and Cheaper sanitary napkins
- On World Environment Day, the Union government launched biodegradable sanitary napkins
- The sanitary napkins are priced at Rs. 10 for a pack of four
- The napkin has an additive that makes it biodegradable when it reacts with oxygen after being discarded
- The product will be distributed in phases:
- Pilot phase: 103 generic medicine stores
- First phase: 3,063 generic medicine stores across India
- Second phase: All primary health centres and government hospitals
- Environmental pollution due to pads:
- Generates 1.3 lakh tonnes of waste annually
- Significance:Eco-friendly, important for ensuring the menstrual health
Environmental Day Bouquet: 539 species discovered in India in 2017
- According to publications from the zoological survey of India (ZSI) and Botanical Survey of India (BSI), in 2017, 539 species have been discovered in India.
- Zoological Survey of India: Animal Discoveries, 2017
- Botanical Survey of India: Plant discoveries, 2017
- Fauna Discoveries:
- Total: 300 species
- 241 vertebrates, includes 27 species of fish, 18 of amphibians and 12 of reptiles
- Important discoveries: Fossil reptilian species- Shringasaurus indicus; frog species and snake species
- India accounts for 6.45% of total world faunal species
- Flora discoveries:
- Total 239 species includes 148 flowering plants, 108 macro and microfungi, 4 pteridophytes, 6 bryophytes, 17 lichens, 39 algae, 30 microbes
- 20 species of balsams, 3 species of each wild Musa (banana) and jamun also discovered
- India accounts for 11.4% of the world fauna
- Discoveries across regions
- Highest discoveries made in Western Ghats and Himalayas
- Western Ghats: 19% of plant species and 37% of animal species
- Himalayas: 35% of plant species and 18% of animal species
- Among states, Kerala recorded the highest number of discoveries, followed by Tamil Nadu , West Bengal recorded 27 plant species discoveries and 45 animal species discoveries
Fly less and eat healthy to cut warming
- According to a study, Global warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- The study has been published in journal Nature Energy.
- According to the study:
- Global warming can be controlled by improvements in the energy efficiency of everyday activities namely travel, indoor heating and device use,
- Improvements in the energy efficiency can raise living standards in the global South to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals.
- Improvement in living condition can be attained without increase in energy demand.
- The study introduced a number of innovations. Energy efficient electric vehicles with increased occupancy can reduce global energy demand for transport.
- Way forward:
- New social, behavioural and technological innovations,
- Policy for energy efficiency and low-carbon development,
- Standards for energy performance of new buildings as well as renovations of existing buildings and
- Reduction of red meat in diet, and
- strong emphasis on electrification and current rates of renewable energy deployment.
India’s per capita plastic use among lowest: Modi
- On the eve of World Environment Day, Prime Minister said that India is among the lowest per capita consumption of plastic in the world.
- India has observed 43th edition of World Environment Day 2018 on June 5 in New Delhi.
- Theme for World Environment Day 2018 is “Beat plastic pollution”.
- Clean Seas programme
- It is a Sweden-led initiative to reduce littering of marine ecosystems.
- India is committed to reducee the use of plastic and would join the Clean Seas programme.
- Effects of Plastic pollutions:
- It has deadly impact on marine ecosystem.
- Plastic Pollution has led to the declining in fish populations
- Warming of oceans
- Vanishing of habitats
- Status of plastic pollution in India:
- According to the Central Pollution Control Board, India generates about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day of which about 40% remains uncollected.
- About 70% of the plastic packaging products become “waste” in a short duration of time.
- The disposable plastic such as bottles, cups, wrapping paper and bags account for over half the plastic produced.
- Government measure:
- The Environment Ministry has notified plastic waste management rules in 2016 which sought to control the manufacture of the particular kind of plastics.
- Government has introduced the provision for bans the use of plastic bags less than 50 microns thick.
Life in plastic: on waste management framework
- The article discusses the issues with the waste management framework in India
- Waste management legislation in India: Solid Waste Management Rules and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016
- Poor implementation by state governments
- Not much concern among producers of plastic articles
- Around 60% of total 25000 tonnes of plastic waste generated each day is collected. Nearly 10000 tonnes thus released to the environment; majority flows to water bodies.
- Collected plastic not scientifically processed; collection, segregation and transfer not done properly
- Micro-plastic pollution which even pollutes drinking water
- Not much achieved in regulating usage of single-use plastics. E.g.: carry bags, cutlery
- Fraudulent products entering markets; Example: compostable bags – According Plastic Waste Management rules, manufactures of compostable bags need to get a certificate from Central Pollution Control Board
- Impact of plastic pollution:
- Marine pollution; Threatens marine life
- Note: The Ganga-Bramhaputra- Meghna River System features on UN map of 10 rivers worldwide that carry a bulk of plastic waste to oceans
- Health hazard for people
- Voluntary efforts:
- Individuals, communities have taken initiatives to segregate waste, compost at home and run awareness programmes across social media platforms
- Reform in the waste management framework
- Anti-pollution rules should be effectively implemented