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3rd June Current Affairs

Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT)

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

India and Sweden recently hosted the Industry Transition Dialogue in Stockholm, as a part of their joint initiative i.e. Leadership for Industry Transition (LeadIT).

About LeadIT:

The Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) gathers countries and companies that are committed to action to achieve the Paris Agreement.

It was launched by the governments of Sweden and India at the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 and is supported by the World Economic Forum.

Purpose: LeadIT members subscribe to the notion that energy-intensive industry can and must progress on low-carbon pathways, aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The Management Board is made up of representatives from Sweden, India, and the World Economic Forum.

The Secretariat is responsible for managing the work of the Leadership Group and is hosted by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

Members:

Currently, the Group has a membership of 16 countries and 19 companies including Dalmia Cement, Mahindra Group and SpiceJet from India.

What is the significance of the LeadIT Initiative?

Industry sectors together contribute about 30% of the total CO2 emissions. Hence, initiatives like LeadIT to drive low carbon development pathways in the industry sector are critical for achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.

World No Tobacco Day

(GS-III: Environment and Conservation related issues)

In News:

31st May is observed as ‘World No Tobacco Day’ every year to spread awareness around the deadly effects of tobacco consumption.

Details:

The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.

In 1988, Resolution WHA 42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.

Theme for 2022: “Tobacco: Threat to our environment.” This drive aims to create awareness among the public on the detrimental impact of tobacco cultivation, production, distribution, and waste on the environment, besides human health.

The WHO has selected Jharkhand for the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Award-2022.

Impact of tobacco on environment:

About 3.5 million hectares of land are cleared for growing tobacco each year.

It causes deforestation mainly in the developing nations.

Tobacco cultivation results in soil degradation, making it infertile to support the growth of other crops or vegetation.

Tobacco contributes 84 megatons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.

Around twenty-two billion litres of water is consumed in the production of cigarettes every year.

Tobacco is a very nutrient-hungry crop, and it depletes soil nutrients more rapidly.

Tobacco cultivation in India:

It is one of the important cash crops.

Today, India is the second-largest crop producer in the world after China.

Around 760 million kg of Tobacco is grown in India on about 40 lakh hectares of land.

The sector provides jobs to millions of people and contributes as much as Rs.22,737 crore as excise duty and Rs.5,969 crore in foreign exchange to the national treasury.

Impact on health:

It is estimated that about 29% of the adult Indian population consumes Tobacco. Most commonly, it is consumed as Smokeless Tobacco Products like khaini, gutkha, and zarda.

The smokeless forms pose high risks of oral and oesophageal cancer.

Their consumption by pregnant women can also lead to stillbirth and low birth weight in infants.

People addicted to smoking are at very high risk of uterine cervix, and bone marrow cancers.

Tobacco kills more people than tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria combined worldwide.

Tobacco farmers are prone to suffer from a work-related ailment known as “Green Tobacco Sickness” (GTS), which is caused mainly by nicotine absorption via the skin.

Efforts by Government in this regard:

The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act 2003 (COTPA 2003): This Act includes the prohibition of smoking in public places, advertisement of cigarettes and other tobacco products, sale of cigarettes or other tobacco products to anyone below the age of 18 years, and prohibition of selling areas like schools, colleges, etc.

To make India addiction-free, the Government has launched programmes like National Tobacco Control Programme and Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan.

Crop diversification programme: Farmers are encouraged to replace tobacco crops with less water-consuming alternatives to conserve water and soil.

50 years since Stockholm conference

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

The 50th anniversary of the Stockholm conference is being observed.

About the Stockholm conference:

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm between June 5 to June 16, 1972.

It was the first such worldwide convergence on planetary environment, with the theme ‘Only One Earth’.

It resulted in the Stockholm Declaration which contained principles and an Action Plan containing recommendations for environmental policy.

The three dimensions of this conference were:

Countries agreeing not to “harm each other’s environment or the areas beyond national jurisdiction”.

An action plan to study the threat to Earth’s environment.

Establishment of an international body called the UN Environment programme (UNEP) to bring in cooperation among countries.

Significance and outcomes of the Stockholm Conference:

Until 1972, no country had an environment ministry.

Norwegian delegates returned from the conference to set up a ministry for the environment.

India set up its ministry of environment and forest in 1985.

India’s first liquid-mirror telescope

(GS-III: Awareness in space)

In News:

India’s first liquid-mirror telescope- International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) has now entered the commissioning phase and will start scientific observations some time in October this year.

About the International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT):

It is located at an altitude of 2,450 metres on the Devasthal Observatory campus of the Aryabhata Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in Nainital district, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

It is the only liquid-mirror telescope operational anywhere in the world.

It will also hold the unique tag of being the maiden liquid-telescope globally to be designed exclusively for astronomical purposes.

This international telescope facility is the result of collaborative work between astronomers from Canada, Belgium and India.

Features of the Telescope:

Unlike the conventional telescopes that can be steered to track specific stellar source objects, the ILMT will be stationary.

It will basically carry out observations and imaging at the zenith, that is, of the overhead sky.

This is a survey telescope having high potential for discovering newer objects.