Answers: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – October 27


Q.1) The Supreme Court recently re-imposed the ban on the sale of fireworks in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR). What is the necessity of the ban? What possibly makes the air of the capital so polluted that lead to such bans? (GS-1)



  • The Supreme Court re-imposed the ban on the sale of fireworks in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) till November 1st.
  • The direction, according to the court, is an outcome of “direct evidence of deterioration of air quality” every year during Deepavali on account of bursting of fire crackers.

What is the need for the ban?

  • Burning of firecrackers during Deepavali in 2016 pushed up the particulate matter in the air by three times.
  • Each year, the seasonal festivities make the air in and around Delhi and surrounding areas thick with smog and suspended particulate matter, leading to residents and children feeling breathless and vulnerable to asthmatic attacks.
  • The Supreme Court observed that the air quality deteriorates abysmally and alarmingly and the city chokes thereby, leading to closure of schools in view of the health emergency situation and thus the ban came into being.

What possibly makes the air of the capital so polluted? A report:

  • At least four major government studies over the past decade have reached varying conclusions on what makes Delhi’s air so foul.
  • 2007 report concluded that control on emissions of pollutants from vehicular traffic necessitates the control on the new registration of commercial diesel vehicles in Delhi.
  • ·2008 report identified road dust as the biggest contributor (52.5%) to particulate matter in Delhi’s air, followed by industries (22.1%). It attributed only 6.6% of particulate emissions to vehicles.
  • 2011 report conclusion that road dust from paved and unpaved roads contributed the largest share to air pollution (55%), followed by residential sources (15%), transport and vehicular pollution (13%), industrial sources (12%), and power (5%).
  • 2016 report says that while underlining the role of road dust, also stressed on vehicular emissions moving vehicles, in fact, contributed to over half of Delhi’s air pollution

What are the laws relating to air pollution in India?

  • The Government of India under Article 253 of the Constitution of India enacted the Air Act, 1981 (“Air Act”) for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution and further to implement the provisions of the Air Act
  • Air pollution, according to the Air Act means the presence of any air pollutant in the atmosphere.
  • The Air Act confers the regulatory power to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to prevent and control the air pollution.

What is Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB)?

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs):

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  • CPCB along with its counterparts the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) are responsible for implementation of legislation relating to prevention.

Functions and Power of CPCB:

  • Advice the Central Government on improvement of air quality and prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and to provide training to persons engaged in such program.
  • Prescribe the standards for air quality.
  • Execute nation-wide programs for prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and training to persons engaged in such programs.
  • Give direction to SPCBs, co-ordinate between SPCBs and provide any technical assistance, guidance and resolve the disputes among SPCBs.

Functions and Power of SPCB:

  • Plan comprehensive program for the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
  • Advice the State Government on any matter concerning the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution.
  • ·Prescribe the standards for emission of air pollutants into the atmosphere in consultation with CPCB.
  • Collaborate with CPCB in providing training to persons engaged in the prevention, control or abatement of air pollution and also to organize mass education programs.

What is the way ahead?

  • Instead of putting a ban on sale of firecrackers, the government should seek to check their production.
  • Efforts should first be made for sensitizing the people about the ill-effects and futility of burning firecrackers before imposing a ban.
  • The sensitization could be achieved through inclusion of a chapter in school, advertisements and holding of seminars and workshops.
  • Different NGOs and SHGs should come forward and make efforts to provide an adequate information about harmful effects of the firecrackers among the common mass.

Q.2) Bottom trawling seems to one of the major reasons of conflict between India and Sri Lanka. What are the possible ways to deal with the situation? What are the legal initiatives in this regard? (GS-3)



  • India informed Sri Lanka that it has taken measures to stop bottom trawling by its fishermen in the waters near the Sri Lankan coastline.

What is bottom trawling?

  • Bottom trawling is an ecologically destructive practice.
  • The practice involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea-floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources.
  • Bottom trawling captures juvenile fish, thus exhausting the ocean’s resources and affecting marine conservation efforts.

What is deep fishing?

  • Deep fishing is an eco-friendly practice.
  • The activity of catching fish that live in the deep parts of the sea/ocean is called deep-sea fishing.
  • It is practiced worldwide, especially in the coastal areas with no ecological damage.

What are the initiatives to prevent bottom trawling in India?

  • Recent initiatives taken by the Government of India to end bottom trawling in the Palk Bay area include:
  • The launch of a programme on diversification of bottom trawlers into deep-sea fishing vessels for tuna long lining under the Blue Revolution Scheme,
  • Construction of harbors like, Mookaiyur and Poompuhar fishing harbors,
  • Capacity-building programmes for fishermen of the Palk Bay area in deep sea tuna long lining and
  • Fresh registration for bottom trawlers in the Palk Bay area has been banned by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
  • India also recently informed that schemes promoting seaweed farming and sea-cage farming have begun in the Palk Bay area to wean away fishermen from deep-sea trawling.

What is Blue Revolution Scheme?

  • The Blue Revolution Scheme by the government of India aims to create an enabling environment for integrated development of the full potential of fisheries of the country.
  • Along with substantially improvement in the income status of fishers and fish farmers keeping in view the sustainability, bio-security and environmental concerns.

What are the disputes between India and Sri Lanka?

  • The maritime boundary agreements of 1974 and 1976 were concluded by the two governments did not reflect realities on the ground.
  • The ongoing dispute has escalated tensions between those fishermen using traditional methods and those using mechanized methods leading to increase in the infringement of territorial boundaries.
  • The issue of fishermen straying in each other’s territorial waters has come as a potential irritant in the bilateral relations between the neighboring states.
  • There is no well-defined boundary line between the two nations.
  • Overuse of mechanized trawlers in the Palk Bay has further Fueled the dispute over Kachchatheevu.

What is the way ahead?

  • The solution lies in transition from trawling to deep-sea fishing in India.
  • Making the use of trawling technique an offence by the Indian government is another solution.
  • Permitting licensed Indian fishermen to fish within a designated area of Sri Lankan waters and vice versa.
  • There is an evident need for institutionalization of fisherman in Indian waters by the government of India so that alternative means of livelihood are provided.
  • Government needs to mark up a comprehensive plan to reduce the necessity of Indian fishermen on catch from Palk Bay.

Q.3) Recently in news, what is Lancet Commission? What are the various causes of Air pollution in India?In this context, what are the steps that have been taken by the government to tackle pollution in India? (GS-3)



  • Reports of the Lancet Commission on pollution and health concluded that deaths in India occur mostly because of pollution.

Pollution in the context of India: a report:

  • With 2.51 million deaths in 2015, India has been ranked No. 1 in pollution related deaths, according to a report by The Lancet Commission on pollution and health.
  • India accounted for about 28 per cent of an estimated nine million pollution linked deaths worldwide in 2015.
  • In the case of air pollution, the number of deaths in India from ambient air pollution is at the first place i.e. 1.09 million.

Effects of air pollution:

  • Deaths from air pollution were a result of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Pollution has been responsible for the most non-communicable disease deaths.

What is the Lancet Commission on pollution and rhealth?

  • The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health is a two-year project that has involved more than 40 international health and environmental authors.


  • The Lancet Commission on pollution and health addresses the health and economic costs of air, water, and soil pollution.
  • Through analyses of existing and emerging data, the Commission reveals pollution’s severe and underreported contribution to the Global Burden of Disease.
  • It uncovers the economic costs of pollution to low-income and middle-income countries.
  • The Commission informs key decision makers around the world about the burden that pollution places on health and economic development, and about available cost-effective pollution control solutions and strategies.

Causes of Air Pollution

1. Agricultural waste burning

The burning of agricultural waste in three neighbouring states is responsible for the rise in Air Pollution levels in Delhi.
Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are claiming to have taken several measures to discourage straw and stubble burning, but farmers say they have not received any assistance from their respective governments on an alternate method to clear the fields after the harvest

2. Industrial chimney wastes:

There are a number of industries which are source of pollution.
The chief gases are SO2and NO2.
There are many food and fertilizers industries which emit acid vapors in air.

3. Thermal power stations:

There are number of power stations and super thermal power stations in the country.
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is setting up four mammoth coal- powered power stations to augment the energy generation.
The chief pollutants are fly ash, SO2 and other gases and hydrocarbons.

4. Automobiles:

The Toxic vehicular exhausts are a source of considerable air pollution
In all the major cities of the country about 800 to 1000 tonnes of pollutants are being emitted into the air daily, of which 50% come from automobile exhausts.
The exhaust produces many air pollutants including un-burnt hydrocarbons, CO, NOx and lead oxides

What are the recent steps taken by government to reduce pollution in India?

  • The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • Namami Gange Project: Under the project, the Government is planning to make the areas around the river Open Defecation Free and to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge into the river.
  • Smart Cities Mission and AMRUT project: Under these, the Government is planning to achieve 100 per cent sewage collection and its treatment before being discharged in river.
  • Promotion of renewable energy, enforcement of Renewable Purchase Obligations and Renewable Generation Obligations to increase the share of renewable energy in total generation capacity.
  • The Government has decided to enforce Bharat Stage VI norms from 2020.
  • Furthermore, the Ministry of Roadways has undertaken the project to plant trees along the all major highways.

What are measures to be taken?

  • This Lancet Commission should inform policy makers and serve as a timely call to action.
  • The country must prioritize pollution as an issue that affects all.
  • Integrating pollution into health planning, and increasing funding to allow more research into pollution, such as monitoring pollution and its effects, and developing are some of the other ways to control pollution.
  • Human activities, including industrialisation, urbanisation, and globalisation, are all drivers of pollution. Thus, strict legal initiatives actions are to be taken.
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