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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Sep 22, 2021

Current Affair 1:
India’s sewage treatment Plants (STP) report

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Sewage treatment plants (STPs) in India are able to treat a little more than a third of the sewage generated per day, according to the latest report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The released recently CPCB report has been compiled on the basis of information received from the state pollution control boards about STPs.

Since 1971, the urban population of India increased 3 times thereby impacting sewage generation which also increased at a rapid pace. However, rate of development of treatment facilities happened to be much slower as compared to sewage generation and urban growth.

 

See below chart and read each point.

  1. India generated 72,368 MLD (million litres per day) whereas the installed capacity of STPs was 31,841 MLD (43.9 per cent), according to the report.
  2. Of this installed capacity, developed and operationalized capacity was 26,869 MLD (84 per cent). Of the total operationalised capacity, 20,235 MLD (75 per cent) was the actual utilised capacity.
  3. In other words, out of total 72,368 MLD sewage generated every day, only 20,235 MLD is treated.
  4. Five states and Union Territories (UT) — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka — account for 60 per cent of the total installed treatment capacity of the country.
  5. Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland have not installed sewage treatment plants.
  6. There are states like Bihar which do have a small installed capacity of STPs. But on the operational front, they score a zero.
  7. Chandigarh ranks first in terms of total sewage generated to what is actually treated.

For mains, you will initiate as:

The growth of cities into metropolitan cities exerts pressure on water resources in two ways.

  1. The increasing need for water to meet the domestic requirements and
  2. impact of resultant wastewater discharge on the receiving waters have cumulative effect in deteriorating quality of receiving water.

Water Supply and Sanitation are the basic necessities of urban centres and various schemes are devised by Government of India to provide these basic amenities.

Over the last few decades, rapid urbanization essentially led to rise in water demand and adequate sanitation.

Current Affair 2:
Bauxite mining on Mali Hill

 

There is a huge protest against bauxite mines at Mali Hills

So, see a bit about Mali Hills.

Mali Hills is in Odisha’s Koraput district. The Mali and forest area are home to large numbers of Kondha, Paraja and Gadaba tribespeople, who are spread across 44 villages.

First see what NCERT say about Bauxite:

India Bureau of Mines say the same thing:

Current Affair 3:
WHO Announces Revised Air Quality Limits?

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The WHO published its first version of Air Quality Guidelines (AQG) for Europe in 1987, with a global update in 2005.

The much-awaited 2021 guidelines reduce the ‘acceptable’ annual mean concentration of PM2.5 in ambient air from 10 μg/m3 to 5 μg/m3.

This is particularly concerning given that the WHO’s own webpage on ambient air pollution makes the following observation:

 

“Small particulate pollution has health impacts even at very low concentrations – indeed no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed. Therefore, the WHO 2005 guideline limits aimed to achieve the lowest concentrations of PM possible.”

 

While the new guideline values are based on a systematic review of the latest research, the guidelines themselves offer no basis for pausing at the 5 µg/m3 threshold. Even low concentrations of particulate pollution are harmful to human health, so it’s not clear why the WHO has shied away from adopting a stricter limit.

If we look at India,

Standards in India are four-times lower than the WHO guideline value and in fact among the poorest in Asia. (Annual mean standards in Indonesia, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia and Bangladesh are 15µg/m3, compared to India’s 40µg/m3.) Despite this reality, cities across the region have consistently failed even at achieving these lax standards: 42 of the 50 most polluted cities in the world are now in South Asia, and 35 of these are in India.

Few examples:

In view of these ground realities, it would augur for the WHO to take a bolder outlook and propose guideline values lower than the new 5 µg/m3. Such a position is likely to be politically unpopular but will go a long way towards empowering the cause of public health everywhere.

Current Affair 4:
Shankhalipi' inscription discovered on stairs of Gupta-period temple

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The Archaeological Survey of India has found Shankhalipi inscription on the stairs of a Gupta-period temple in a village in Uttar Pradesh's Etah district.

Shankhalipi is a script with conch-shaped characters and it is assumed to be a derivative of Brahmi script.

The inscription possibly reading Sri Mahendraditya was identified from the time of Kumaragupta of the Gupta dynasty. Sri Mahendraditya was the title of Kumaragupta.

A similar Shankhalipi inscription was found on the back of a stone horse sculpture from that period that is presently placed at the State Museum at Lucknow. When matched the inscription found on the stairs with that on the horse and came to the conclusion that it was from the time of Emperor Kumaragupta.

 

Current Affair 5:
International Blue Flag Certification

 

News: In yet another recognition of India’s commitment to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources the globally recognized and the coveted International eco-label "Blue Flag”, has accorded the Blue Flag Certification for 2 new beaches this year –Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.

 

About Certification:

Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by “Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria.

The Blue Flag Programme for beaches and marinas is run by the international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation the ‘Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

Total Number of sites for India:

8 nominated beaches in India were awarded the Blue Flag certificate last year.

These are:

  • Shivrajpur-Gujarat.
  • Ghoghla-Diu.
  • Kasarkod -Karnataka.
  • Padubidri-Karnataka.
  • Kappad-Kerala.
  • Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh.
  • Golden-Odisha.
  • Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar.

So, including two more, we have total 10 sites now.

The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label.

Also see Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS)

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India  embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS) which is one of the initiatives under ICZM approach  that the MoEFCC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal  regions of India,  with a  prime objective:

“to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations”

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