Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- State Energy and Climate Index
1 . State Energy and Climate Index
Context : Gujarat has topped the list for larger States in the NITI Aayog’s State Energy and Climate Index–Round 1 that has ranked States and Union Territories (UTs) on six parameters including discoms’ performance, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.
About the index
- The State Energy and Climate Index (SECI) is the first index that aims to track the efforts made by States and UTs in the climate and energy sector
- Parameters have been devised keeping in mind India’s goals for climate change and clean energy transition,” the report said.
- SECI is the first step in this journey where States can explore and benchmark themselves on various parameters.
- The States have been categorised based on size and geographical differences as larger and smaller States and UTs. The index is based on 2019-20 data.
- Parameters of Ranking – Discom’s Performance, Access affordability and reliability, Clean energy initiatives, Energy efficiency, Env Sustainability, New initiatives
- Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab have been ranked as the top three performers in the category of larger States, while Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were the bottom three States. Goa emerged as the top performer in the smaller States category followed by Tripura and Manipur. Among UTs, Chandigarh, Delhi and Daman & Diu/Dadra & Nagar Haveli are the top performers.
- Punjab was the best performer in discom performance, while Kerala topped in access, affordability and reliability category.
- Haryana was the best performer in clean energy initiative among larger States and Tamil Nadu in the energy efficiency category.
2 . Microplastics
Context : A new study led by Prof. Nongthomba, published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, reveals that pollutants like microplastics may be causing growth defects in fish, including skeletal deformities, in the Cauvery river.
Details of the Research
- “Water is essential for everyone, including animals and plants. When it is polluted, it is capable of causing diseases, including cancer
- A comprehensive study of pollution at the KRS dam and its potential effects on fish. They collected water samples from three different locations with varying speeds of water flow – fast-flowing, slow-flowing, and stagnant – since water speed is known to affect the concentration of pollutants.
- In the first part of the study, the team analysed the physical and chemical parameters of the water samples. All but one parameter were within the prescribed limits. The exception was dissolved oxygen (DO), whose levels were much lower than they needed to be in samples collected from the slow-flowing and stagnant sites. Water from these sites also had microbes such as Cyclops, Daphnia, Spirogyra, Spirochaeta and E. coli, well-known bio-indicators of water contamination.
- Using a technique called Raman spectroscopy, the team detected microplastics – minute pieces of plastic often invisible to the naked eye – and toxic chemicals containing the cyclohexyl functional group (atoms in a compound that determine its chemical properties).
- In the second part of the study, they investigated whether pollutants in water could account for the developmental abnormalities seen in wild fish. They treated embryos of the well-known model organism Zebrafish with water samples collected from the three sites, and found that those exposed to water from the slow-flowing and stagnant sites experienced skeletal deformities, DNA damage, early cell death, heart damage, and increased mortality. These defects were seen even after microbes were filtered out, suggesting that microplastics and the cyclohexyl functional groups are responsible for the ailments in the fish.
- The researchers also found unstable molecules called ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) in the cells of the fish that developed abnormally.
What are microplastics?
- Microplastics are tiny bits of various types of plastic found in the environment. The name is used to differentiate them from “macroplastics” such as bottles and bags made of plastic. There is no universal agreement on the size that fits this bill — the U.S. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and the European Chemical Agency define microplastic as less than 5mm in length.
- Microplastics are found in several household and industrial products, and chemicals containing the cyclohexyl group, such as cyclohexyl isocyanate, are commonly used in agriculture and the pharmaceutical industry.
- A recent study from the Netherlands also has shown that microplastics can enter the bloodstream of humans
3 . Facts for Prelims
- Central Adoption Resource Authority is an autonomous and statutory body of Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Government of India.
- It was set up in 2015. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.