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Q.1) Aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of Black Carbon (BC), a pollutant that may be depleting the ozone layer. Discuss how aircrafts affects climate and ozone layer and the consequences of these effects. (GS-1)

Introduction

The Ozone layer is a deep layer in earth’s atmosphere that contain ozone which is a naturally occurring molecule containing three oxygen atoms. These ozone molecules form a gaseous layer in the Earth’s upper atmosphere called stratosphere.

  • The stratosphere extends anywhere from 4 to 12 miles (6 to 20 km) above Earth’s surface up to 31 miles (50 km). This is the layer where most commercial airliners fly and weather balloons travel to.
  • With due course of time, aviation has experienced rapid expansion as the world economy has grown. But along with the expansion the total aviation emissions have increased, because increased demand for air transport has outpaced the reductions in specific emissions from the continuing improvements in technology and operational procedures.

Emissions of aircraft:

  • The principal emissions of aircraft include the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and water vapor (H2O).
  • Other major emissions are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (which together are termed NOx), sulfur oxides (SOxO), and soot.

How Do Aircraft Affect Climate and Ozone?

  • Aircraft emit gases and particles directly into the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere where they have an impact on atmospheric composition. Their immediate adverse affects are as follows:
  1. These gases and particles alter the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide CO2), ozone (O3), and methane (CH4)
  2. Trigger formation of condensation trails (contrails)
  3. These gases may increase cirrus cloudiness-all of which contribute to climate change.
  4. Aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of Black Carbon (BC) — a pollutant which may be a contribute in depleting the ozone layer, according to a study by climate researchers from multiple institutions in the country.
  • Though airborne, BC is known to dissipate and settle down in a few months under the influence of rain and wind and is unlikely to travel upward of 4 km, but these black carbon particles can linger long enough to provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone layer.
  • Because BC particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere it can upset the monsoon system.
  • If deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.

Consequences:

  • The consequences of the depletion of the ozone layer are dramatic.
  • Increased ultraviolet radiation leads to a growing number of skin cancers and cataracts and also reduces the ability of people’s immune systems to respond to infection.
  • UV radiations also affect plants by increasing germination that reduces crop yield.
  • It causes severe damage in the early development stage of shrimps, crabs and amphibians.
  • Additionally, the growth rates of the world’s oceanic plankton, the base of most marine food chains, have been negatively affected, leading to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus to global warming.
  • Materials like plastics, wood, fabrics, rubber are massively degraded by too much ultraviolet radiation.

Q.2) Antibiotic Resistance is a matter of concern in developing nations, including India, where the burden of infectious disease is high and healthcare spending is low. In this context discuss what is antibiotic resistance. How antibiotic resistance can be prevented? (GS-3)

Antibiotic Resistance is a matter of concern in developing nations, including India, where the burden of infectious disease is high and healthcare spending is low. The country has among the highest bacterial disease burden in the world. Antibiotics, therefore, have a critical role in limiting morbidity and mortality in the country. The 2015 WHO multi-country survey revealed widespread public misunderstanding about antibiotic usage and resistance.

Meaning of antibiotic resistance:

Antibiotics are medicine used to treat infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotic Resistance refers to resistance developed by bacteria against antibiotics or the ability of bacteria to mutate or change so as to resist the effects of antibiotics. The more we use them, and the more we abuse them, the less effective they become.

Antibiotics are unquestionably useful against bacterial infections. However, indiscriminate use has resulted in development of resistance in patients with bacterial infections thereby leading to long lasting illnesses.

How antibiotics resistant infections can be prevented?

It is important to understand that, although they are very useful drugs, antibiotics designed for bacterial infections are not useful for viral infections such as a cold, cough, or the flu.

  • Before taking any antibiotic ask the physician if it is required and beneficial.
  • Always take antibiotics as prescribed by the physician.
  • Take antibiotics to treat only bacterial infections.
  • Do not take antibiotics in viral infections such as cold, cough, or flu
  • Do not repeat the same antibiotic for the next time you get sick.
  • Do not stop antibiotic before complete prescribed course of treatment.
  • Do not skip doses.
  • Do not copy the antibiotic with the same diseases which is prescribed for someone else.

Way Forward

Consumers need to remember that not all illnesses need antibiotics and the decision on when to take them and for how long are best left to a doctor.

Multi-resistance in some tertiary-care hospitals to bugs like Staphylococcus aureus has grown to dangerous levels. But the experience of countries like Australia shows that cutting down on antibiotics can reverse such trends. The National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance aims to repeat such successes in India.

Meanwhile, awareness must be built among consumers so that they see the coming crisis and take up the baton.

Q.3)Recently India won election to the International Court of Justice. What is the significance of this achievement for India? (GS-2)

Recently India won election to the International Court of Justice. Justice Dalveer Bhandari won the election to the International Court of Justice with 183 of 193 votes in UN General Assembly and all 15 at UNSC voting in his favour. This is also the first time that one sitting member of the ICJ lost to another sitting member.

Significance for India:

  • Analysts say the election result was crucial for India to gauge the support it enjoys in the world body where New Delhi has been campaigning for reforms, including a permanent seat for itself in the powerful Security Council.
  • The re-election is also crucial as it ensures India’s continued influence at the ICJ where the Kulbhushan Jadhav case against Pakistan will come up next month.
  • India has moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Pakistan, accusing the latter of violating the Vienna Convention in the case of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was handed a death sentence by a Field General Court Martial (FGCM) last month.
  • India requested the ICJ to ensure that Jadhav’s death sentence is suspended and declared a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
  • The re-election was a positive affirmation of Indian diplomacy.
  • This was the first time that a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was in direct contest with a non-member for the post of a judge at the ICJ. And India clinched the deal in the end.
  • The election shows how the exclusive club of few in the UN is now begun to yield space to new emerging economies.
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