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The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020


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3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 10th November 2020


    • News: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed that there would be a total ban on sale or use of all kinds of firecrackers between November 10 and 30 in all cities and towns across the country, where the average ambient air quality in November fell under the ‘poor’ and above category.
    • About Air Quality Index:
      • National Air Quality Index (AQI) transforms complex air quality data of eight pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour.
      • National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched on 17 October 2014 to disseminate information on air quality in an easily understandable form for the general public. The measurement of air quality is based on eight pollutants, namely,
        • Particulate Matter (size less than 10 µm) or (PM10),
        • Particulate Matter (size less than 2.5 µm) or (PM2.5),
        • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2),
        • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2),
        • Carbon Monoxide (CO),
        • Ozone (O3),
        • Ammonia (NH3), and
        • Lead (Pb)
      • for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed. It may be noted that ambient air quality standards are specified separately in India for around 12 pollutants including the 8 that constitute the Air Quality Index.
      • AQI has six categories of air quality. These are: Good, Satisfactory, Moderately Polluted, Poor, Very Poor and Severe. The AQI values and corresponding ambient concentrations (health breakpoints) for the identified eight pollutants are as follows:
    AQI Category, Pollutants and Health Breakpoints
    AQI Category (Range)↓ → Categories for the various readings of the pollutant based on the health breakpoints or health impacts
    8-hr (mg/m3)
    Good (0-50) 0-50 0-30 0-40 0-50 0-1.0 0-40 0-200 0-0.5
    Satisfactory (51-100) 51-100 31-60 41-80 51-100 1.1-2.0 41-80 201-400 0.5 –1.0
    Moderately polluted (101-200) 101-250 61-90 81-180 101-168 2.1- 10 81-380 401-800 1.1-2.0
    Poor (201-300) 251-350 91-120 181-280 169-208 10-17 381-800 801-1200 2.1-3.0
    Very poor (301-400) 351-430 121-250 281-400 209-748* 17-34 801-1600 1200-1800 3.1-3.5
    Severe (401-500) 430 + 250+ 400+ 748+* 34+ 1600+ 1800+ 3.5+


    • The AQI Index values and their associated health impacts are as follows:
     AQI Associated Health Impacts
    Good (0–50) Minimal Impact
    Satisfactory (51–100) May cause minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people.
    Moderately polluted (101–200) May cause breathing discomfort to people with lung disease such as asthma, and discomfort to people with heart disease, children and older adults.
    Poor (201–300) May cause breathing discomfort to people on prolonged exposure, and discomfort to people with heart disease
    Very Poor (301–400) May cause respiratory illness to the people on prolonged exposure. Effect may be more pronounced in people with lung and heart diseases.
    Severe (401-500) May cause respiratory impact even on healthy people, and serious health impacts on people with lung/heart disease. The health impacts may be experienced even during light physical activity.


    • AQI is considered as ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ for the common man to judge the air quality within his vicinity. The formulation of the index was an initiative under Swachh Bharat Mission (Cleanliness Mission), based on the recommendations of IIT Kanpur and the Expert Group formed in this regard.
    • WHO also measures air quality across major cities of the globe. The WHO database contains results of ambient (outdoor) air pollution monitoring from almost 1600 cities in 91 countries. Air quality is represented by annual mean concentration of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5, i.e. particles smaller than 10 or 2.5 microns). The world’s average PM10 levels by region range from 26 to 208 μg/m3, with a world’s average of 71 μg/m3.
      • Guideline values prescribed by WHO are
        10 μg/m3annual mean
        25 μg/m3 24-hour mean
        20 μg/m3 annual mean
        50 μg/m3 24-hour mean
        100 μg/m8-hour mean
        40 μg/mannual mean
        200 μg/m1-hour mean
        20 μg/m3 24-hour mean
        500 μg/m3 10-minute mean
    • The WHO Guidelines indicate that by reducing particulate matter (PM10) pollution from 70 to 20 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m), air pollution-related deaths can be cut by around 15%. Indian Standards are slightly less stringent as compared to WHO guidelines.
    • About Firecrackers:
      • A firecracker (cracker, noise maker, banger,) is a small explosive device primarily designed to produce a large amount of noise, especially in the form of a loud bang, usually for celebration or entertainment; any visual effect is incidental to this goal. They have fuses, and are wrapped in a heavy paper casing to contain the explosive compound. Firecrackers, along with fireworks, originated in China.
      • The predecessor of the firecracker was a type of heated bamboo, used as early as 200 BC, that exploded when heated continuously.
      • Firecrackers are generally made of cardboard or plastic, with flash powder, cordite, smokeless powder, or black powder as the propellant. This is not always the case, however. Anything from match heads to kerosene and lighter fluid has been used successfully in making firecrackers.
      • The key to loud firecrackers, however, although in part lying in the propellant substance, is pressure. The entire firecracker must be very tightly packed in order for it to work best. Flash powder, however, does not need to be packed tightly, and should not be.





    • About National Green Tribunal:
      • The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
      • It draws inspiration from the India’s constitutional provision of (Constitution of India/Part III) Article 21 Protection of life and personal liberty, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
      • Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) is a department to control pollution in Delhi.
      • The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
      • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
      • The tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
      • Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible; New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other place of sitting of the Tribunal.


    • News: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered a detailed probe against Google for ‘abuse’ of its dominant position, primarily with regard to its digital payments application GPay.
    • About Competition Commission of India:
      • Competition Commission of India is a statutory body of the Government of India responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India and to prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India. It was established on 14 October 2003.
      • An Act to provide, keeping in view of the economic development of the country, for the establishment of a Commission to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets, in India, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
      • To achieve its objectives, the Competition Commission of India endeavours to do the following:
        • Make the markets work for the benefit and welfare of consumers.
        • Ensure fair and healthy competition in economic activities in the country for faster and inclusive growth and development of the economy.
        • Implement competition policies with an aim to effectuate the most efficient utilization of economic resources.
        • Develop and nurture effective relations and interactions with sectoral regulators to ensure smooth alignment of sectoral regulatory laws in tandem with the competition law.
        • Effectively carry out competition advocacy and spread the information on benefits of competition among all stakeholders to establish and nurture competition culture in Indian economy.
      • The Commission comprises a Chairperson and not less than 2 and not more than 6 other members appointed by the Central Government. Ashok Kumar Gupta is the current Chairperson of the CCI.