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31st August 2022

  • Published
    31 August 2022

Zombie ice, threatening to raise global sea levels by over 10 inches

Context

A new study finds that Greenland has more than 120 trillion tons of ice that can be thought of as zombie ice that's going to raise sea level globally by at least 10 inches.

About
  • The melting of the Greenland ice sheet will unavoidably raise the global sea levels by at least 10.6 inches or 27 centimetres, no matter what climate action the world decides to take right now.
  • This is because of ‘zombie ice’, which is certain to melt away from the ice cap and blend into the ocean.

Zombie Ice:

  • Zombie Ice referred to as dead or doomed ice.
  • It is one that is not accumulating fresh snow even while continuing to be part of the parent ice sheet.
  • Such ice is “committed” to melting away and increasing sea levels.
  • It's dead ice. It's just going to melt and disappear from the ice sheet.
  • This ice has been consigned to the ocean, regardless of what climate (emissions) scenario we take now.

Key findings of the study:

  • The unavoidable ten inches in the study is more than twice as much sea level rise as scientists had previously expected from the melting of Greenland's ice sheet.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2021 projected a range of 2 to 5 inches (6 to 13 centimeters) for likely sea level rise from Greenland ice melt by the year 2100.
  • 3% of Greenland's total ice volume will melt no matter what happens with the world cutting carbon pollution.
  • The study says it could reach as much as 30 inches (78 centimetres) if Greenland’s record melt year (2012) becomes a routine phenomenon.

Consequences:

  • According to the UN Atlas of the Oceans, 8 of the world’s 10 largest cities are near a coast. Rising sea levels will make flooding, high tides and storms more frequent and worse as their impact will reach more inland.
  • This, in turn, means a threat to local economies and infrastructure.
  • Also, low lying coastal areas will take a harder hit.
  • The World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Risks Report noted that “already an estimated 800 million people in more than 570 coastal cities are vulnerable to a sea-level rise of 0.5 metres by 2050”.

Possible emerging processes that the models don’t account for increasing ice sheet’s vulnerability:

  • Increased rain is accelerating surface melt and ice flow.
  • In August 2021, rain fell at the Greenland ice sheet summit for the first time on record. Weather stations across Greenland captured rapid ice melt.
  • Large tracts of the ice surface are undergoing bio-albedo darkening, which accelerates surface melt, as well as the impact of snow melting and refreezing at the surface.
  • These darker surfaces absorb more solar radiation, driving yet more melt.
  • Warm, subtropical-originating ocean currents are intruding into Greenland’s fjords and rapidly eroding outlet glaciers, undercutting and destabilizing their calving fronts.
  • Supraglacial lakes and river networks are draining into fractures and moulins, bringing with them vast quantities of latent heat.
  • This “cryo-hydraulic warming” within and at the base of the ice sheet softens and thaws the bed, thereby accelerating interior ice flow down to the margins.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Context

There has been a spike in cases of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Mumbai.

  • As per data provided by the state’s public health department, till August 28, Maharashtra has reported 250 cases of hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
About

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease:

  • Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease is common in children under the age of 5, but anyone can get it.
  • It is most commonly caused by a coxsackievirus, which belongs to a group of viruses called nonpolio enteroviruses.
  • The illness is usually not serious, but is very contagious.
  • It spreads quickly at schools and daycare centers.
  • HFMD is a self-limiting disease and most patients recover within a week.

Not the Same as Foot-and-Mouth Disease

  • Hand, foot, and mouth disease is often confused with foot-and-mouth disease (also called hoof-and-mouth disease), which affects cows, sheep, and pigs.
  • Humans do not get the animal disease, and animals do not get the human disease.

Symptoms:

The first signs of hand, foot and mouth disease can be:

  • a sore throat
  • a high temperature
  • not wanting to eat
  • Ulcers appear in the mouth and on the tongue. These can be painful and make it difficult to eat or drink.
  • Raised spots usually appear on the hands and feet, and sometimes on the thighs and bottom as well.
  • The spots can look pink, red, or darker than surrounding skin, depending on your skin tone.
  • The spots become blisters which appear grey or lighter than surrounding skin and can be painful.

How it spreads?

  • It spreads through person-to-person contact when an infected person’s nose secretions or throat discharge, saliva, fluid from blisters, stool or respiratory droplets are sprayed into the air after a cough or sneeze.

Treatment:

  • There's no cure for HFMD or no vaccine to prevent it.
  • Those children with HFMD will have to drink enough water to stay hydrated.
  • The disease will go away without treatment.
  • But, many children will need medication for painful blisters as prescribed by the doctor. It requires symptomatic treatment.

International Whale Shark Day

Context

Delhi-based non-profit, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) launched ‘Save the Whale Shark Campaign’ along Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep in Mangaluru on International Whale Shark Day (August 30).

About

International Whale Shark Day

  • International Whale Shark Day is a day to let people know about the importance of whale sharks and their conservation.
  • On this day, people can learn about the amazing creatures and work to protect them.
  • History: During the International Whale Shark Conference in 2008 in Isla Holbox, over 40 whale experts and ocean activists declared August 30th International Whale Day.
  • Since then the day continues to educate the world about the whale’s declining numbers.
  • In fact, in 2016, the whale shark was reclassified by the IUCN, moving from a vulnerable species to an endangered one, which is incredibly worrying.
  • According to some estimates, it is believed that there are only tens of thousands of these sharks life across the globe. 
  • This year’s theme is “The Future of Sharks: Guardians of Our Seas.” 

Whale sharks

  • The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish on Earth and a keystone species in marine ecosystems.
  • They can live for up to 70 years and reach a height of over 12 feet. They are also one of the most endangered species
  • The whale shark’s habitat is found in the tropical seas around the world.
  • Whale sharks are carnivores, but their teeth are only 6 mm long.
  • Like human fingerprints, whale sharks each have a unique skin pattern.
  • Declining Population: The main reasons why whale sharks are endangered are due to fishing and meat consumption. Whale sharks are especially targeted by fishermen because they are valuable prey. This hunting has led to a decline in their population size over the years.

India and Whale Sharks:

  • The whale shark is distributed all along the Indian coast.
  • The largest whale shark aggregation is along the Gujarat coast.
  • The fish is listed as a Schedule I animal under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.


Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) Project:

  • WTI has been running a project in Gujarat for the last 20 years which has resulted in fisher folk releasing 852 whale sharks in the Arabian Sea.
  • WTI with the support of IUCN had conducted a survey along the west coast (excluding Gujarat) during 2012-13 and found that the highest number of Whale Shark sightings (after Gujarat coast) were near the waters of Lakshadweep.
  • Whale shark landings and stranding are largely reported from Kerala.
  • Goal: The main goal of this project is to reduce and eradicate whale shark death in the incidental catch in fishing nets by the voluntary release of the whale shark.
  • This initiative targets the marine fishers along these two states and the island of Lakshadweep.

Freshwater crab species found in Western Ghats

Context

A distinctively coloured crab species has been discovered in the Western Ghats by a forest guard and a group of researchers.

About the new species:

  • The crab has been named Ghatiana dvivarna sp nov.
  • The freshwater species was first spotted in Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.
  • The crab’s name is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘dvivarna’, which means bicolour, as the crustacean has a white body and claws and “red-violet” legs.
  • The species was first sighted in June, 2021 in Anshi wildlife range, Kali Tiger Reserve in Karnataka.
  • These crabs usually inhabit the holes in laterite rocks on the elevated mountains of central Western Ghats (south of Goa-Nilgiris) region.
  • They feed on mosses growing on laterite rocks and play a key role in ensuring ecological balance.
  • In India, there are about 125 species of crabs and 13 have been recorded so far under Ghatiana genus.
  • Ghatiana dvivarna is the 14th freshwater crab to have been discovered.

Hyper-lapse consumerism

Context

Consumption is an important element of human civilisation. The notion of consumption has changed and today, several streams of thoughts co-exist. The COVID-19 pandemic brought shifts in consumer behaviour.

About

Consumerism:

  • Consumerism is the idea that increasing the consumption of goods and services purchased in the market is always a desirable goal and that a person's wellbeing and happiness depend fundamentally on obtaining consumer goods and material possessions.
  • In an economic sense, it is related to the predominantly Keynesian idea that consumer spending is the key driver of the economy and that encouraging consumers to spend is a major policy goal.
  • From this point of view, consumerism is a positive phenomenon that fuels economic growth.

Changes in consumerism:

  • Lockdowns brought more people into the e-commerce fold.
  • Due to the economic impact of the pandemic, the world witnessed shrinkage of demand.
  • But post-pandemic recovery and suppressed consumerism is now leading to ‘revenge shopping’.
  • Modern-day consumerism is not only about wanting more but also wanting it fast.
  • According to a study by Invesp, 56% of online consumers between the age of 18 and 34 years expect the goods they have ordered to be delivered on the same day, whereas 61% want their packages even faster — within 1-3 hours of placing an order.

Hyper Lapse Consumerism

  • Hyper Lapse Consumerism refers not only to the kinds of products being sold but also to the ease with which consumers order them and the speed at which such products are delivered.

Hyper Lapse Consumerism in India:

  • India we saw food and grocery delivery companies announcing 10-minute deliveries for consumers in select cities.
  • This is being done by strengthening the hyper-local logistical network, leveraging predictive algorithms, process optimisation and, in some cases, providing incentives and disincentives for delivery partners.
  • Such Indiscriminate work pressure can lead to fatigue, mental health issues and other health issues among delivery professionals.
  • A NITI Aayog report, ‘India’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy’, suggests extending social security for gig and platform workers, including paid sick leave, health access and insurance, and occupational disease and work accident insurance.

Delhi Police first force to make forensic probe mandatory

Context

Delhi Police has become the first police force in the country to make collection of forensic evidence mandatory in crimes punishable by more than six years.

About

About the new order:

Delhi Police Commissioner issued a “standard order” to all police units:

  • In order to take conviction rate higher and integrate the criminal justice system with forensic science investigation, it has been decided to use forensic tools mandatorily in all cases where punishment provided is more than six years.
  • The Delhi police force has its own ‘mobile crime team van’ in each district and in addition to that, one ‘forensic mobile van' shall be allotted to each district to provide scientific and forensic assistance on the spot whenever any need arises.
  • These forensic mobile vans shall not be under the administrative control of the police but shall be an independent entity responsible to the court of law.
  • However, they shall visit the scene of crime whenever called by the Station House Officer or any other investigating agency of Delhi Police.

Forensic evidence is evidence obtained by scientific methods such as ballistics, blood test, and DNA test and used in court.

Editorial

Drop the phone checking, draft surveillance curbing orders

Context:

The setting up of the committee to look into the Pegasus case appears to be a futile exercise as nothing substantial came out of it. Rather a worrying trend has come to the surface of centers and states operating like a police state.

What is the scenario in other countries?

  • In 1986, the Wiretap Act in the United States, the law prohibited private agencies from engaging in surveillance and it made it mandatory for the government to seek the permission of the federal court, that too when there is “no other option”.
  • In 1997, in Ireland, the Report on Privacy highlighted the legal vacuum created by new technology outpacing laws and said that this was a classic case for law reform.
  • The Patriot Act 2001, in the US, enacted to counter international terrorism also required court approval. The court was a reaction to political spying.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 31st August 2022

Mains Question:

Q1. Do you think that India is becoming a strong consumerist society? Discuss the major negative impact of consumerism.  (150 words)

Approach

 Introduction- brief about consumerism and its increasing trend

  • Discuss the negative impact 
    • devastating effects on the environment
    • resource depletion
    • creation of low quality goods
    • low working standards and pay for workers
    • constantly unsatisfied state of mind
  • Required measures 
    • Need of radical change
    • educating people on unsustainable consumption 
    • measures to protect and conserve resources for generations to come
  • Conclude accordingly 

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