Why in news? According to Global Urban Air Pollution database released by World Health Organisation (WHO), 14 Indian cities have figured in list of world’s 15 most polluted cities.
Global urban air pollution database:
The WHO global air pollution database was released in Geneva this May.
According to the data, India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations.
The worst amongst Indian city is Kanpur.
These 14 cities include:
They are followed by Ali Subah Al-Salem (Kuwait) and few cities in China and Mongolia.
In terms of PM10 levels, 13 cities in India figured among the 20 most-polluted cities.
Pollution levels in Delhi:
WHO’s database of more than 4,000 cities in 100 countries shows that Delhi’s pollution levels improved only marginally between 2010 and 2014 but started deteriorating again in 2015.
In 2016, the latest year in WHO’s database, Delhi was in sixth spot, having recorded its highest pollution levels in six years.
The city’s PM 2.5 annual average was 143 micrograms per cubic metre, more than three times the national safe standard.
Also, the PM 10 average was 292 micrograms per cubic metre, more than 4.5 times the national standard.
Problems caused due to high pollution levels:
WHO said that 9 out of 10 people in the world breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.
Updated estimations reveal an alarming death toll of 7 million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.
Ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, while household air pollution from cooking with polluting fuels and technologies caused an estimated 3.8 million deaths.
WHO also highlighted that air pollution is mainly responsible for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
It is causing an estimated one-quarter (24%) of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer.
FACT # 2
Why in news? NASA has launched mission to study Mars closely.
InSightis a robotic lander designed to study the interior of the planet Mars.
The mission was launched on 5 May 2018 and is expected to land on the surface of Mars on 26 November 2018.
Its landing site is Elysium Planitia on Mars.
It will deploy a seismometerand burrow a heat probe.
It will also perform a radio science experiment to study the internal structure of Mars.
InSight is stationary lander that will be first NASA mission since Apollo moon landings to place seismometer (a device that measures quakes on soil of another planet).
It has been envisaged as part of NASA’s Discovery Program mission to study red planet’s early geological evolution.
InSight is terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science.
It will help in understanding processes that shaped rocky planets of inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.
Its instruments include seismometer to detect mars quakes and probe that will monitor flow of heat in planet’s subsurface.
It will measure Mar’s vital signs such as pulse (seismology), temperature (heat flow probe) and reflexes (precision tracking).
It will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.
FACT # 3
DRAFT NATIONAL DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS POLICY 2018
Why in news? The draft of National Telecom Policy (NTP) 2018 aka National Digital Communications Policy 2018 has been made open for public consultations.
Draft National Digital Communications Policy 2018:
Spectrum availability and pricing:
To make adequate spectrum available to be equipped for the new broadband era.
There should be optimal pricing of spectrum to ensure sustainable and affordable access to digital communications.
To simplify the process of obtaining permissions from various agencies in order to promote efficiency.
It proposes identifying and making available new spectrum bands for access and backhaul segments for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks.
Transparent and fair mode of spectrum allocation by developing a fair, flexible, simple and transparent method for spectrum assignments and allocations.
The draft said the Policy aims to accomplish some of the strategic objectives by 2022 including:
Provisioning of Broadband for all
creating four million additional jobs in the digital communications sector
enhancing the contribution of the digital communications sector to eight per cent of India’s GDP from around six per cent in 2017
enhancing India’s contribution to global value chains
ensuring digital sovereignty
USOF will be redesigned and with broader objectives to enable universal broadband access.
Strengthening institutional capacity of USOF to ensure effective rollout of services in uncovered, remote and rural areas.
Quality of services:
To establish effective institutional mechanisms to protect consumers’ interests including a Telecom Ombudsman and a centralised web based complaint redressal system.
The Telecom Commission has already approved setting up of the Telecom Ombudsman and has asked TRAI to take care of it.
To incentivize the use of renewable energy technologies in the communications sector, including utilisation of small cell fuel batteries, lithium-ion batteries or other similar technologies.
To promote research and development of green telecom through active participation of stakeholders across government, industry and academia.
To rationalise taxes and levies on the manufacture, production and import of such equipment for digital communication technologies.
National Broadband Mission
The draft talks of establishing a ‘National Broadband Mission – Rashtriya Broadband Abhiyan’.
It will work to secure universal broadband access for implementation of broadband initiatives.
These will be funded through USOF and Public Private Partnerships.
BharatNet for providing 1Gbps to Gram Panchayats upgradeable to 10 Gbps
GramNet for connecting all key rural development institutions with 10Mbps upgradeable to 100 Mbps
NagarNet for establishing one- million public Wi-Fi Hotspots in urban areas
JanWiFi for establishing two-million Wi-Fi Hotspots in rural areas
‘Fibre First Initiative’ to take fibre to the home, to enterprises and to key development institutions in tier I, II and III towns and to rural clusters
The Policy also speaks about strengthening Satellite Communication Technologies in India.
It will review of the regulatory regime for satellite communication technologies such as revising licensing and regulatory conditions that limit the use of satellite communications, such as speed barriers, band allocation.
The government would develop an ecosystem for satellite communications in India.