The 2021 World Air Quality Report was recently released, and it provided an overview of the state of global air quality in 2021.
IQAir is a Swiss organisation that assesses air quality based on the concentration of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5.
IQAir seeks to engage, educate, and inspire governments, researchers, non-governmental organisations, businesses, and citizens to collaborate in order to improve air quality and create healthier communities and cities.
Air pollution is now regarded as the world’s most serious environmental health threat, responsible for seven million deaths worldwide each year.
Many diseases, ranging from asthma to cancer, lung illnesses, and heart disease, are caused or exacerbated by air pollution.
The estimated daily economic cost of air pollution is USD 8 billion, or 3 to 4% of the Gross World Product (GWP)
The Gross World Product (GWP) is the sum of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of all countries in the world, which equals the total global GDP.
Those who are most vulnerable are the most affected by air pollution. It is estimated that by 2021, 40,000 children under the age of five will have died as a result of PM2.5 air pollution.
Furthermore, in this age of Covid-19, researchers have discovered that exposure to PM2.5 increases both the risk of contracting the virus and the risk of experiencing more severe symptoms, including death, if infected.
The report is based on data on PM2.5 air quality from 6,475 cities in 117 countries, regions, and territories worldwide.
PM2.5, or particulate matter consisting of fine aerosol particles 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter, is one of six routinely measured criteria air pollutants and is widely regarded as the most dangerous to human health due to its prevalence in the environment and wide range of health effects.
PM2.5 is produced by a variety of sources and can vary in chemical composition and physical properties.
Sulphates, nitrates, black carbon, and ammonium are common chemical constituents of PM2.5.
Internal combustion engines, power generation, industrial processes, agricultural processes, construction, and residential wood and coal burning are the most common man-made sources.
Dust storms, sandstorms, and wildfires are the most common natural sources of PM2.5.
The annual average PM2.5 level in India reached 58.1 g/m3 in 2021, bringing an end to a three-year trend of improving air quality. Annual PM2.5 averages in India have now returned to pre-quarantine levels measured in 2019.
In 2021, India had 11 of the 15 most polluted cities in Central and South Asia.
In 2021, Mumbai had a Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 annual average of 46.4 micrograms/cubic metre, which was nearly nine times higher than the World Health Organization (WHO) limit.
In India, air pollution has a significant impact on human health.
It is the second leading cause of disease, and the economic cost of air pollution is estimated to be more than USD 150 billion per year.
Vehicle emissions, power generation, industrial waste, biomass combustion for cooking, the construction sector, and episodic events such as crop burning are major sources of air pollution in India.
The National Clean Air Program was established by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in 2019. (NCAP)
The plan aims to reduce PM concentrations by 20% to 30% in all identified non-attainment cities by 2024, increase air quality monitoring, implement a city, regional, and state-specific clean air action plan, and conduct research.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic’s lockdowns, restrictions, and resulting economic downturn have made determining the plan’s impact based solely on air pollution levels difficult.
What initiatives has India taken to combat air pollution?
Air Quality Index: SAFAR Portal Air Quality Index: SAFAR Portal Air Quality Index: SAFAR Portal Air Quality Index: SAFAR Portal Air Quality Index: SAFAR Portal Air Quality Index: SAFAR PM2.5, PM10, ammonia, lead, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide are the eight pollutants for which an AQI has been developed.
Vehicles that meet BS-VI standards, the push for electric vehicles (EVs), and the odd-even policy as an emergency measure
A new Commission for Air Quality Management has been established.
Farmers will receive a subsidy for purchasing a Turbo Happy Seeder (THS) machine.
Following the WHO’s Four Pillar Strategy: The World Health Organization (WHO) passed a resolution (2015) to address the negative health effects of air pollution. There is a requirement to follow the roadmap outlined in this section.
This four-pillar strategy calls for a more aggressive global response to the negative health effects of air pollution. These four pillars are as follows:
Every year on March 23rd, the world celebrates World Meteorological Day.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released the State of Climate Services report 2021 earlier in October 2021.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is an intergovernmental organisation with 192 member countries and territories.
India is a member of the World Meteorological Organization.
The International Meteorological Organization (IMO) was founded following the 1873 Vienna International Meteorological Congress.
With the ratification of the WMO Convention on March 23, 1950, WMO became the United Nations’ specialised agency for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.’
The World Meteorological Organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
What are the Main Attractions of World Meteorological Day?
The day commemorates the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which was founded in 1950.
Since 1961, the day has also been observed to make people aware of their role in protecting the Earth’s atmosphere.
The theme for 2022 is:
It emphasises the critical importance of hydrometeorological and climate information for disaster risk reduction.
World Disasters: Every day, on average, a disaster related to a weather, climate, or water hazard occurred, killing 115 people and causing USD 202 million in losses.
According to the World Meteorological Organization’s Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate, and Water Extremes (1970–2019), there were over 11, 000 reported disasters attributed to these hazards worldwide.
Over the last 50 years, the number of disasters has increased by a factor of five, owing to climate change, more extreme weather, and improved reporting.
The frequency and severity of extreme weather events are expected to increase as more greenhouse gases are added to the atmosphere each year, causing warming.
Since 1901, the number of severe cyclones over the Arabian Sea has increased by one per decade, and the maximum temperature has increased by 0.99 degrees Celsius – small numbers that mean a lot when it comes to weather.
Heavy rainfall events are also on the rise across India.
What Disaster-Response Initiatives Are Being Launched on World Meteorological Organization Day?
WMO will present an action plan on early warning systems at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 27th Conference of Parties (CoP) in November 2022 in Egypt.
An early warning system for floods, droughts, heatwaves, or storms is a comprehensive system that alerts people to potentially hazardous weather. It also explains how governments, communities, and individuals can take action to mitigate the effects of the weather event.
The goal is to understand what risks the foreseeable storms may bring to an affected area, which may differ depending on whether it is a city or a rural area, polar, coastal, or mountainous regions.
Need: Early warning systems are still unavailable to one-third of the world’s population, primarily in Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
In Africa, the situation is even worse: 60% of the population is uninsured.
About: In recent years, early warning systems in India, such as the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) regular cyclone alerts, combined with quick action by state and district administrations, have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.
However, more work remains to be done in this area, particularly in the areas of district and even village-level weather prediction and early warning.
Initiatives for Early Warning: In June 2020, the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai’s disaster management department, launched the Integrated Flood Warning System for Mumbai, known as iFLOWS-MUMBAI.
To provide early warning of earthquakes in the state, Uttarakhand launched the ‘Uttarakhand Earthquake Alert’ app.
INCOIS, Hyderabad, established and operates the Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) in 2007.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR-NGRI) has formed a “Environmental Seismology” group to create a “Landslide and Flood Early Warning System” for the Himalayan region. ‘Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources, and Technology (O-SMART)’ is an abbreviation for ‘Ocean Services, Modelling, Application, Resources, and Technology’. Scheme is a government initiative aimed at promoting ocean research and establishing research facilities.
Coordination between national meteorological and hydrological services, disaster management authorities, and development agencies is critical for improved prevention, preparedness, and response.
Increased investment is required over the next five years to improve the quality of services and related infrastructure, particularly in LDC and SIDS countries.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently rolled out its Artemis I moon mission to the launchpad for testing at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.
NASA’s Artemis mission, named after Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, is billed as the next generation of lunar exploration.
Artemis is also the moon goddess.
It is the first of a series of increasingly complex missions that will allow humans to explore the Moon and Mars.
NASA’s Artemis programme aims to land humans on the moon by 2024, as well as to land the first woman and person of colour on the moon.
NASA will build an Artemis Base Camp on the Moon’s surface and a gateway (a lunar outpost around the Moon) in lunar orbit to aid robot and astronaut exploration.
The gateway is a critical component of NASA’s long-term lunar operations, serving as a multi-purpose outpost in lunar orbit.
Other space agencies are also participating in the Artemis programme.
The Canadian Space Agency has agreed to provide advanced robotics for the gateway, while the European Space Agency will provide the International Habitat and the ESPRIT module, which will provide additional communications capabilities, among other things.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency intends to provide habitation components as well as logistical resupply.
Artemis I, formerly Exploration Mission-1, will be NASA’s Deep Space Exploration Systems’ first integrated flight test.
Orion spacecraft: The Orion spacecraft will spend more time in space without docking with a space station than any other ship for astronauts has ever done.
The Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is the most powerful rocket in the world, travelling 2,80,000 miles from Earth over the course of four to six weeks.
Exploration Ground Systems have been upgraded at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
It is an unmanned space mission that will be launched on an SLS rocket.
The mission’s primary operational goal is to ensure the safe entry, descent, splashdown, and recovery of the crew module.
SLS and Orion will be launched from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in the summer of 2022 as part of Artemis I.
The mission will conclude when the Orion spacecraft can safely return to Earth.
The second flight in the programme will include a crew and will test Orion’s critical systems with humans on board.
The Artemis programme’s findings will eventually be used to send the first astronauts to Mars.
NASA intends to use lunar orbit to gain the experience needed to expand human space exploration further into the solar system.
The Soviet Union’s unmanned Luna 1 and 2 became the first rovers to visit the Moon in 1959.
The United States began attempting to put people in space as early as 1961.
On July 20, 1969, eight years later, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
Between 1961 and 1968, the United States launched three classes of robotic missions before sending the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon.
From July 1969 to 1972, 12 American astronauts walked on the Moon’s surface.
The United States resumed lunar exploration in the 1990s with the robotic missions Clementine and Lunar Prospector.
With the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite in 2009, it began a new series of robotic lunar missions (LCROSS).
NASA launched the ARTEMIS mission in 2011.
The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft studied the gravity of the Moon in 2012.
Aside from the United States, missions to the Moon have been sent by the European Space Agency, Japan, China, and India.
In 2019, China landed two rovers on the Moon’s surface, including the first-ever landing on the Moon’s far side.
Chandrayaan 1: The Chandrayaan project began in 2007 with a mutual cooperation agreement between India’s space agency ISRO and Russia’s ROSCOSMOS.
However, due to Russia’s inability to develop the lander on time, the mission was postponed in January 2013 and rescheduled for 2016.
Findings: The presence of lunar water has been confirmed.
Evidence of ancient lunar lava flows forming caves on the moon.
On the lunar surface, tectonic activity from the past has been discovered.
The discovered faults and fractures could be the result of past interior tectonic activity combined with meteorite impacts.
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar mission, and it includes a fully indigenous Orbiter, Lander (Vikram), and Rover (Pragyan).
The Vikram lander houses the Rover Pragyan.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) recently announced Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission, which will include a lander and a rover.
According to a Ukrainian official, the Russian offensive on Mariupol has reduced the city to “ashes of a dead land.”
Mariupol serves as a land bridge between Crimea (annexed by Russia in 2014) and Dobass (the separatist-held regions of Ukraine).
Mariupol has been a key battleground as Russia attempts to avenge its 2014 defeat when Russia-backed separatists failed to take the city in the Donetsk oblast region.
Currently, the Sea of Azov separates the Donetsk-Luhansk region from Crimea.
After Donetsk fell to rebel forces in 2014, the then-Ukrainian President declared Mariupol the oblast’s regional capital.
It also became a ‘city of solidarity,’ as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees dubbed it, in 2016, welcoming internally displaced people from the contested territories.
Advantage – Capturing Mariupol not only gives Russia a land advantage, but also a maritime and economic advantage.
During a press conference in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin invoked the term “Novorossiya” (New Russia).
Novorossiya is a historical term for territories that were considered to be part of Russia during the tsarist era.
Large parts of southern and eastern Ukraine were under Tsarist rule, including Odessa, Kharkiv, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk.
The region’s history as a part of Russia obligated Moscow to protect its current inhabitants.
Controlling Mariupol effectively brings Putin closer to the imagined Novorossiya.
‘Students’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement through Quality Education (SARTHAQ)’ is a preliminary and suggestive National Education Policy (NEP) Implementation Plan for School Education.
This is an implementation plan created to help states and UTs achieve the goals and objectives of the NEP 2020, which was released in 2020.
SARTHAQ was created by the Ministry of Education’s Department of School Education and Literacy.
It has been developed as an evolving and working document as a result of extensive and intensive consultation with States and UTs, Autonomous bodies, and suggestions from all stakeholders.
The primary goal of SARTHAQ is to define activities in such a way that they link recommendations with 297 Tasks, as well as responsible agencies, timelines, and 304 Task outputs.
The plan considers the concurrent nature of education and follows the spirit of federalism.
States and UTs are given the flexibility to adapt this plan with local contextualization and to modify it as needed.
This plan lays out the road map and strategy for implementing the NEP, 2020 over the next ten years.