[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 30 May 2024 – Insights IAS

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 3:

  1. Rising Heat Stress and its Mitigation

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Major Radhika Sen

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

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  1. Volcanoes on Venus: Fresh Lava Flows Detected
  2. Health For All Mandate of WHO
  3. Golden Rice
  4. Stellaria mcclintockiae
  5. Astronomical Transients (2024 Shaw Prize for Astronomy)
  6. Cybercrimes from Southeast Asia
  7. Indian Naval Ships Conclude South China Sea Deployment

 

Mapping

  1. Campi Flegrei (Italy)

Rising Heat Stress and its Mitigation

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Diaster management/ Geography

  

Source: IE

 Context: Rising temperatures in urban India are not solely due to climate change but also a result of increased concretization and urban sprawl, contributing to severe heat stress.

India’s major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, are facing worsening heat stress due to rising relative humidity over the past two decades and increasing Urban Heat Island Effect, according to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment.

What is Heat stress?

It occurs when the body cannot effectively release excess heat, leading to a rise in core temperature and increased heart rate. It’s a physiological strain experienced in high-temperature environments. Causes include high ambient temperatures, humidity, physical exertion, inadequate hydration, and poor ventilation. Symptoms include difficulty concentrating, irritability, sickness, and loss of thirst, progressing to fainting and potentially death if not cooled down.

What other factors exacerbate Heat Stress?

In major Indian cities, heat stress is exacerbated by factors such as air and land surface temperature, relative humidity, and rapid urbanization with increased concretization. Climate change has worsened heat waves by raising temperatures and humidity levels. Additionally, changes in land use and urban sprawl contribute to the “urban heat island effect,” trapping heat in city centres. This poses a significant risk to vulnerable groups like the elderly, infants, pregnant women, slum dwellers, and outdoor workers.

According to the World Health Organisation heat stress linked to climate change is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.

What is the Urban Heat Island Effect?

The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect describes urban areas experiencing higher temperatures than rural surroundings due to human activities and urban characteristics. Causes include surface materials like asphalt and concrete, heat from industrial processes and vehicles, reduced vegetation, building density, and waste heat.

Impact of heat stress/heat waves:

  • On Human Health:
  1. Heat-related illnesses: Heat waves can cause heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heatstroke, which can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and even death.
  2. Exacerbation of existing conditions: People with existing health conditions such as respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases are more vulnerable during heat waves.
  3. Mental health: Heat waves can also impact mental health, causing stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
  4. Affected Regions: Southern Asia and western Africa are expected to be the hardest hit, with approximately 5% of working hours lost by 2030. India could lose 5.8% of its working hours, affecting 34 million jobs, mainly in agriculture and construction.
  5. Social Consequences: Heat stress may deepen inequality between low and high-income countries, worsen conditions for vulnerable workers, and lead to increased migration as people seek better opportunities, impacting both men and women in agriculture and construction.
  • On Environment:
  1. Water resources: Heat waves can lead to droughts, reducing the availability of water resources for agriculture and domestic use.
  2. Wildlife: Heat waves can impact wildlife, leading to habitat loss and increased mortality rates.
  3. Air quality: Heat waves can worsen air quality, leading to respiratory issues and other health problems.
  • On Economy:
  1. Economic Loss: Heat stress may cost the global economy $2.4 trillion annually, with a projected 2% loss in total working hours worldwide.
  2. Affected Sectors: Agriculture, particularly for women, and construction will suffer the most, with an estimated 60% and 19% loss in working hours by 2030, respectively.
  3. Agriculture: Heat waves can impact crop yields and agricultural productivity, leading to economic losses for farmers and the agricultural industry.
  4. Energy consumption: Heat waves can lead to increased energy consumption as people use more air conditioning and other cooling systems.
  5. Tourism: Heat waves can impact the tourism industry, leading to decreased revenues for businesses that rely on tourism.

  

Measures Already Taken:

  1. National Level: The Indian government has launched a National Action Plan on Climate Change, which includes measures to address heat waves and other climate-related issues.
    1. National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC): Includes 8 national missions focusing on various aspects of climate change mitigation and adaptation.
    2. India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP): Aims to reduce cooling demand by 20-25% and refrigeration demand by 25-30% by 2037.
    3. NDMA Guidelines: Comprehensive guidelines issued in 2016 by the National Disaster Management Authority for mitigating the impact of heatwaves.
  2. State and City Level: Many state governments and city administrations have taken measures such as opening cooling shelters, distributing free drinking water, and implementing heat wave warning systems.
  3. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs): Several CSOs are working to raise awareness about the impacts of heat waves and provide support to vulnerable communities.

  

Measures that Need to be Taken:

  1. Heatwave preparedness: There is a need for increased heat-wave preparedness, including the development of early warning systems and emergency response plans. g. Heatwave early warning systems
  2. Urban planning: Urban planning should focus on designing cities that are more resilient to heat waves, such as increasing green cover and promoting the use of reflective materials. e.g. urban heat wave preparedness plans
  3. Sustainable agriculture: There is a need for sustainable agricultural practices that are more resilient to heat waves, such as crop diversification and better water management.
  4. Community engagement: There is a need for community engagement and awareness-raising activities to ensure that vulnerable populations are aware of the risks of heat waves and can take necessary precautions.
  5. Green infrastructure: India can promote the use of green infrastructure, such as green roofs and urban green spaces, green transport which can help to reduce the heat island effect in cities and lower temperatures.
  6. Climate resilient infrastructure: E.g. heat-resistant buildings and water conservation measures
  7. Policies and Guidelines: Develop weather variability and urban heat management policies.
  8. Public Awareness: Educate people about heatwave risks and reducing carbon footprint.
  9. Agricultural Adaptation: Support farmers with resilient farming practices
  10. Disaster Management: Develop emergency response plans and cool shelters.
  11. Short-term Measures: Establish an early warning system and integrate it with public health services.
  12. Long-term Measures: Implement structural infrastructure changes for heat adaptation.

 

 Conclusion:

Heat waves are a serious threat to human health, the environment, and the economy. While some measures have already been taken to mitigate their impacts, more needs to be done to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected and that the country is better prepared for future heat waves.

What is a Heatwave?

The IMD says a heatwave is considered when the maximum temperature of a station touches at least 40 degrees Celsius or more for plains, 37 degrees Celsius or more for coastal regions and at least 30 degrees Celsius or more for hilly regions. A ‘Heatwave’ is declared when the departure from normal temperature is by 4.5 to 6.4 degrees Celsius and a ‘severe heatwave’ is when the departure from normal is more than 6.4 degrees Celsius.

Insta Links:

 Heat stroke

Mains Links:

Q: Bring out the causes for the formation of heat islands in the urban habitat of the world.


Major Radhika Sen

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: UN

 Context: Major Radhika Sen, an Indian military peacekeeper serving with the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will receive the 2023 United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award.

Her Contributions:

She led efforts to engage with conflict-affected communities, particularly women and girls, in North Kivu. Her dedication and leadership exemplify the principles of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security. Major Sen facilitated community alert networks, provided education and vocational training, and advocated for women’s rights. She becomes the second Indian peacekeeper to receive this prestigious award.

About the Award:

The UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award, established by the Office of Military Affairs in the Department for Peace Operations, honours a military peacekeeper who has effectively integrated a gender perspective into peacekeeping activities. Awardees are selected from nominees recommended by Force Commanders and Heads of Mission across all peace operations. The award acknowledges individuals’ commitment to promoting the principles of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.


Volcanoes on Venus: Fresh Lava Flows Detected

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: ET

 Context: Radar footage has revealed fresh lava flows on Venus, indicating active volcanoes.

Researchers from Italy’s International Research School of Planetary Sciences compared recent images with those from the 1990-1992 Magellan spacecraft, confirming new rock formations. These findings suggest Venus is more volcanic than previously thought, with active flows identified in the regions of Sif Mons and Niobe Planitia.

About Magellan Mission

Launched by NASA in 1989, the Magellan mission was the first spacecraft to image the entire surface of Venus. It used Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to create high-resolution maps, revealing signs of volcanism, tectonic activity, and turbulent surface winds on Venus.


Health For All Mandate of WHO

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: WHO

 Context:  The World Health Organization (WHO) launched its inaugural Investment Round to revamp its funding model in the face of global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and geopolitical instability.

What is Health For All?

The concept of “Health for All” originated from the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978 by WHO, emphasizing Primary Health Care. The Investment Round, targeting the next four years (2025-2028), aims to raise $7 billion to bolster countries’ capacity to address health challenges.

The initiative, introduced ahead of the Seventy-Seventh World Health Assembly, aims to secure flexible, predictable, and resilient funding for WHO’s strategy from 2025 to 2028. Brazil, France, Germany, Norway, and Qatar have pledged their support, with Brazil set to host a major pledging event in November.

Funding for WHO: 

WHO’s funding primarily comes from two sources: assessed contributions, which are dues paid by member countries based on a percentage of their GDP, and voluntary contributions from members or other partners. These voluntary contributions include core and specified funds. However, challenges persist as assessed contributions cover less than 20% of the total budget, and there are instances of funding withdrawal, such as the temporary suspension by the US.

About WHO:

The World Health Organization (WHO), established in 1948, is the specialized health agency of the United Nations. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, it operates with 194 Member States, 150 country offices, and six regional offices. Working closely with member states, typically through Ministries of Health, WHO leads global health initiatives, sets standards, conducts research, and offers technical support. Its responsibilities include shaping health policy, advocating evidence-based practices, and monitoring health trends. World Health Day, celebrated annually on April 7th, marks the organization’s founding date.


Golden Rice

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: DTE

 Context: The Philippine Court of Appeals recently revoked biosafety permits for the commercial production of genetically modified golden rice and Bt eggplant. The court cited the government’s failure to establish safety monitoring mechanisms.

About Golden Rice: 

Golden Rice (approved for commercial production in 2021) is genetically engineered to contain beta carotene, giving it a yellow-orange colour. Unlike ordinary rice, which does not have beta carotene in its grain, Golden Rice’s beta carotene is identical to that found in vegetables and fruits. It does not require special cultivation practices and has the same yield and taste as regular rice. This rice is a valuable tool in combating Vitamin A deficiency, which is crucial for growth, immune health, and vision.


Stellaria mcclintockiae

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: A new plant species, Stellaria mcclintockiae, was discovered in Kerala’s Nelliyampathy hills and named after Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock (e for her discovery of Jumping Genes. This is the first Stellaria species reported from South India. The annual herb, found at elevations of 1,250-1,400 meters, has unique petals, pollen, bracts, sepals, and seeds.

 

About Jumping Genes

Jumping genes, or transposable elements, are DNA sequences that move within the genome, activating or deactivating nearby genes. They can replicate and insert copies at new locations, causing genetic mutations and contributing to genome evolution.


Astronomical Transients (2024 Shaw Prize for Astronomy)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: Th

 Context: Shrinivas Kulkarni has won the 2024 Shaw Prize for Astronomy for his studies of astronomical transients.

 

His contributions:

Recognized for pioneering research on millisecond pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, and other transient astronomical objects. He led the development of the Palomar Transient Factory and Zwicky Transient Facility, transforming our comprehension of the time-variable optical sky.

  

About Astronomical Transients

Astronomical transients are celestial objects that undergo rapid changes in brightness, often associated with violent space events. Astronomers study them to understand their origins and mechanisms, providing insights into stable astronomical phenomena.

Examples:

  1. Supernovae: Explosions resulting from large stars exhausting fusionable elements, sometimes outshining entire galaxies due to their intense brightness.
  2. Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN): Supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies actively consume matter, causing fluctuations in brightness.
  3. Fast Radio Burst (FRB): Discovered in 2007, emitting energy exceeding ten times that of the sun in milliseconds.

About the Prize:

Founded by Mr. Run Run Shaw in 2002, the Shaw Prize celebrates outstanding achievements in astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences. Each year, the Prize honours individuals who have made significant contributions to their fields, promoting excellence and societal progress.


Cybercrimes from Southeast Asia

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

Context: Criminals based in Southeast Asia, particularly in Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia, are orchestrating online scams that have caught a significant number of Indians.

According to the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C), 46% of reported frauds from January to April, amounting to a staggering Rs 1,776 crore in losses, originated in these countries.

Types of Crimes:

Types Description
Trading Scam Scammers use social media to advertise free trading tips, falsely using well-known stock market experts to lure victims into exclusive groups.
Digital Arrest Victims receive misleading calls claiming their involvement with illegal packages, with impersonators posing as law enforcement officials demanding money to resolve these fabricated issues.
Investment Scam Individuals are promised easy money for completing simple online tasks aimed at boosting social media ratings.
Romance/Dating Scam Scammers create fake online dating profiles to establish romantic relationships, then concoct emergencies that supposedly require financial assistance.

 


Indian Naval Ships Conclude South China Sea Deployment

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: Th

 Context: Indian Navy ships INS Delhi, INS Shakti, and INS Kiltan completed their operational deployment to the South China Sea, visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei.

This deployment underscores India’s expanding maritime engagement in Southeast Asia, focusing on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. The visit included exchanges, exercises, and community outreach programs aimed at enhancing naval cooperation and interoperability.

  

About INS Kiltan:

INS Kiltan, a state-of-the-art indigenous warship, is on the brink of being commissioned into the Indian Navy. It represents the third vessel in the Kamorta-class corvettes constructed under Project 28. It is named after an island in the strategically significant Lakshadweep and Minicoy group.


Campi Flegrei (Italy)

Mapping

Source: Yahoo News

Context: Recently, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake struck Italy’s Campi Flegrei supervolcano region, causing mild damage in Pozzuoli and Naples. This quake, part of a recent “seismic storm,” occurred at a depth of three kilometres.

What is Campi Flegrei? 

Campi Flegrei (Phlegrean Fields) is an active volcanic area near Naples, Italy, known for its complex volcanic system rather than a single volcano. The region’s caldera, formed 39,000 years ago, spans 12-15 km in diameter, with one-third under the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the largest active caldera in Europe and more active than nearby Mount Vesuvius. Campi Flegrei has been restless since 1950 due to bradyseism, a phenomenon involving surface movement from underground magma chamber activity. Its last eruption in 1538 created Monte Nuovo.

 

About Italy:

Italy, a European country with a long Mediterranean coastline, has its capital, Rome, and is home to the Vatican as well as landmark art and ancient ruins.

Italy has many volcanoes because it is located on a tectonic plate boundary where the African Plate is subducting beneath the Eurasian Plate. This geological activity creates conditions favourable for volcanic activity, leading to the formation of several active and dormant volcanoes.


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