1. Integrated Aroma Dairy Entrepreneurship
- The government proposed an Integrated Aroma Dairy Entrepreneurship to augment the income of farmers.
- It is now being expanded as Aroma Mission Phase II and a floriculture mission has been recently launched.
- It is been launched in Jammu & Kashmir
- It is launched by the Council Of Scientific And Industrial Research (CSIR) under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
- This will pave the way for integrated aroma dairy entrepreneurship, ensuring sustainable growth, increased income, and fresh avenues of livelihood for farmers.
- The Aroma Mission, also popularly referred to as “Lavender or Purple Revolution”, has started from Jammu & Kashmir and transformed the lives of farmers who are able to grow lavender, make a lucrative profit and improve their lives.
- Apart from providing planting material, distillation units are also given, and farmers are trained in extraction and many of them have become entrepreneurs as lavender oil is quite sought after.
- Many high-value aromatic and medicinal cash crops have been introduced by CSIR in J&K.
2. Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission
- Central Government will announce the nationwide roll-out of the Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission
- Under this, a unique digital health ID will be provided to the people, which will contain all the health records of the person.
- This was announced during his Independence Day speech last year which stated a launch of NDHM.
- Under this mission every Indian will get a Health ID card every time a person visits a doctor or a pharmacy, everything will be logged in this card.
- From the doctor’s appointment to the medication, everything will be available in a person’s health profile.
- The mission is being rolled out on a pilot basis in six union territories including Puducherry, Chandigarh, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Daman, Diu, Dadra, and Nagar Haveli.
- Post-COVID Sequelae Modules have been launched that aim at capacity-building of doctors, nurses, paramedics, and community healthcare workers across India, to deal with the long-term effects of COVID-19.
- The modules have been prepared to provide guidance to doctors and healthcare workers to deal with the issue of the long-term effects of COVID-19.
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3. Cuneiform clay tablet
- A $1.7 million cuneiform clay tablet was found in 1853 as part of a 12-tablet collection in the rubble of the library of Assyrian King Assur Banipal.
- The 3,500-year-old clay tablet discovered in the ruins of the library of an ancient Middle Eastern king then looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago, is finally headed back to Iraq.
- It was believed that it was illegally imported into the United States in 2003, then sold to Hobby Lobby and eventually put on display in its Museum of the Bible in the nation’s capital.
- Federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations seized the tablet – known as the Gilgamesh Dream tablet – from the museum in September 2019.
- It’s part of an increasing effort by authorities in the U.S. and around the world to return antiquities pilfered from their home countries.
4. Blue Flag Certification
- Blue Flag Certification was given for 2 new beaches this year –Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry beaches.
- Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark (FEE) accords the globally recognized eco-label – Blue Flag certification.
- It has also given re-certification for 8 nominated beaches Shivrajpur-Gujarat, Ghoghla-Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri-Karnataka, Kappad-Kerala, Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh, Golden-Odisha and Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar, which were awarded the Blue Flag certificate last year.
- India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services (BEAMS)
- which is one of the initiatives under the ICZM approach that the MoEF&CC has undertaken for the sustainable development of coastal regions of India.
- The prime objective is to protect and conserve the pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic management of the resources.
- This was aimed at achieving the globally recognized and coveted International eco-label “Blue Flag”, accorded by the International Jury comprising of members from IUCN, UNWTO, UNEP, UNESCO, etc.
- FEE Denmark conducts regular monitoring & audits for strict compliance with the 33 criteria at all times.
- A waving “Blue Flag” is an indication of 100% compliance to these 33 stringent criteria and sound health of the beach.
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6. Substitute for single-use plastic
- Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (IISc) have found a way to make a substitute for single-use plastic (SUP)
- Mechanism Non-edible Castor oil was used in this process of making the polymer which involves allowing them to react with the cellulose (from agriculture stubble) and di-isocyanate compound
- These polymers can be molded into sheets having properties suitable for making bags, cutlery, or containers.
- The material so made is biodegradable, leak-proof, and non-toxic.
7. Hydrophobic Cotton
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, has developed a new class of super-hydrophobic cotton composite with Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) that promise marine oil-spill clean-up in near future.
- Hydrophobic Cotton is a highly porous and water-repellent super-hydrophobic cotton composite material containing MOF, which can absorb oil selectively from an oil-water mixture.
- The MOF composite has great capability for selective separation of the oils from oil/water mixtures and the separation efficiency lies between 95 percent and 98 percent, irrespective of the chemical composition and density of the oils.
- MOF composite is also able to absorb large volumes of oils and can be reused a minimum of 10 times so that the sorbents can provide more recovery of the spilled oil.
- MOFs are a class of compounds containing metal ions coordinated to organic ligands to form 3D structures, with the special feature that they are often highly porous materials that act like a sponge.
- The team initially developed a super-hydrophobic MOF which can repel the water and float on the water surface. Then, they grew the same MOF on the surface of medical cotton.
- It was observed that the medical cotton changes from hydrophilic to super-hydrophobic material and can float on the water surface.
- The MOF-coated cotton fiber composite showed water repellence with a water contact angle of 163°.
- The flexible super-hydrophobic MOF composite showed an oil absorption capacity of more than 2500 wt percent.
- Motor oil, kerosene, and gasoline were used by the team in this study to investigate the real-life potential of the material for oil-spill clean-up.
- The practical applications of this research include cleaning the spilled oil from environmental water (river, sea, or ocean water) during oil transportation
- It has high efficiency and a large absorption capacity
- It helps in reducing environmental water pollution.
- Both heavy and light oils can be effectively absorbed by the material
- It is easy to prepare, cost-effective, and recyclable.
8. India and Renewable Energy
- India has added 521 MW of rooftop solar capacity in April-June this year, which is the highest capacity installed in a quarter, according to Mercom India report.
- India added 521 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar capacity in the second quarter (Q2) of the calendar year (CY) 2021, a 53% increase quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) compared to 341 MW installed in Q1 2021 (January-March).
- Rooftop solar installations were up 517% year-over-year (YoY) compared to the 85 MW installed in Q2 2020 (April-June 2020).
- Rooftop solar capacity additions in India in Q2 2021 (April-June) were the highest in a quarter.
- The lockdowns were very targeted, and the industry was well prepared this time around, which minimized the effect on installation activity.
- This quarter’s installation numbers were skewed due to a large amount of residential rooftop solar capacity commissioned in Gujarat.
9. WHO and Global Air Standards
- The World Health Organisation has updated the global air pollution standards which is the first-ever update since 2005
- It has tightened standards in a recognition of the emerging science in the last decade that the impact of air pollution on health is much more serious than earlier envisaged.
- The move doesn’t immediately impact India as the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) don’t meet the WHO’s existing standards.
- The government has a dedicated National Clean Air Programme that aims for a 20% to 30% reduction in particulate matter concentrations by 2024 in 122 cities, keeping 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
- These are cities that don’t meet the NAAQS when calculated from 2011-2015
- The upper limit of annual PM2.5 as per the 2005 standards, which is what countries now follow, is 10 micrograms per cubic meter. That has now been revised to five micrograms per cubic meter.
- The 24-hour ceiling used to be 25 micrograms but has now dropped to 15.
- The PM10, or particulate matter of size exceeding 10 micrograms, the upper limit is 20 micrograms and has now been revised to 15 whereas the 24-hour value has been revised from 50 to 45 micrograms.
Standards for a host of chemical pollutants
- India’s NAAQs was last revised in 2009
- It specifies an annual limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter for PM 10 and 100 for a 24-hour period.
- It is 40 for PM 2.5 annually and 60 on a 24-hour period.
- There are also standards for a host of chemical pollutants including sulfur dioxide, lead, and nitrogen dioxide.
- The environmental organization Greenpeace in a statement said the new guidelines meant that among100 global cities.
- Delhi’s annual PM2.5 trends in 2020 were 16.8 times more than WHO’s revised air quality guidelines
- Mumbai’s exceeded 8-fold, Kolkata 9.4, Chennai 5.4, Hyderabad 7 and Ahmedabad exceeded 9.8 fold.
Severe health crisis
- There is a body of scientific evidence to prove that air pollution is leading to severe health impacts and 90% of the entire global population is breathing polluted air.
- Both PM2.5 and PM10 are capable of penetrating deep into the lungs but PM2.5 can even enter the bloodstream, primarily resulting in cardiovascular and respiratory impacts, and also affecting other organs.
- PM is primarily generated by fuel combustion in different sectors including transport, energy, households, industry, and agriculture.
- In 2013, outdoor air pollution and particulate matter were classified as carcinogenic by WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
- Air pollution is a severe health crisis and WHO’s revised air quality guidelines bring back the focus to the issue
10. EU drops a gene-sequencing project
- A European Union-funded project to build a genomic map of Poland plans to drop gene-sequencing technology from China’s BGI Group over concerns about data security.
- The Genomic Map of Poland’s concerns stems from questions over how Polish genomic data may be used that relate to national security
- The report has recommended the United States and its allies double down on techniques to better protect patient privacy.
- Since 2015, Beijing has restricted foreign researchers from accessing gene data on Chinese people.
- Genomic Map, which is expected to cost over 100 million zlotys ($25.35 million) and is about halfway through its program of sequencing 5,000 Polish genomes, has outsourced the work to a third party since 2019.
- Whole-genome sequencing (WGS), also known as full genome sequencing, complete genome sequencing, or entire genome sequencing
- It is the process of determining the entirety, or nearly the entirety, of the DNA sequence of an organism’s genome at a single time.
- This entails sequencing all of an organism’s chromosomal DNA as well as DNA contained in the mitochondria and, for plants, in the chloroplast.
- In the future of personalized medicine, whole-genome sequence data may be an important tool to guide therapeutic intervention.
- Whole-genome sequencing should not be confused with DNA profiling, which only determines the likelihood that genetic material came from a particular individual or group, and does not contain additional information on genetic relationships, origin, or susceptibility to specific diseases.
- As of 2017, there were no complete genomes for any mammals, including humans.
- Between 4% to 9% of the human genome, mostly satellite DNA, had not been sequenced