News: Smooth sail A barge ferrying ammonia passes through the National Waterway 3 in Kochi.
About National Waterways:
India has a vast network of inland waterways that include river bodies, canals, backwaters and creeks.
However, these inland waterways have been unutilised, as compared to other countries in the world.
The National Waterways Act proposed 106 additional national waterways to the five national waterways declared earlier.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is responsible for the timely execution of national waterways projects and to ensure improved water transportation in India.
Under the National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 inland waterways (including five national waterways in India declared earlier) have been declared as ‘national waterways’.
National Waterway 1: Ganga-Bhagirathi – Hooghly River System (Haldia – Allahabad)
National Waterway 2: Brahmaputra River (Dhubri – Sadiya)
National Waterway 3: West Coast Canal (Kottapuram – Kollam), Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals
National Waterway 4: Phase – 1 development of the stretch Muktiyala to Vijayawada of river Krishna
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is responsible for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula NH3.
A stable binary hydride, and the simplest pnictogen hydride, ammonia is a colourless gas with a distinct pungent smell.
Biologically, it is a common nitrogenous waste, particularly among aquatic organisms, and it contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to 45 percent of the world’s food and fertilizers.
Ammonia, either directly or indirectly, is also a building block for the synthesis of many pharmaceutical products and is used in many commercial cleaning products.
It is mainly collected by downward displacement of both air and water.
News: Professor in the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics (MRDG) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), would cherish going to the backwaters of the Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) dam and having fried fish on the bank of Cauvery river.
Microplastics are small plastic particles in the environment that are generally smaller than 1 mm to the 1 micrometer range.
Microplastics can be formed by fragmentation of large plastic waste material.
Danger of Microplastics to humanity and overall biodiversity:
Microplastics pass the filtration and treatment processes for waste water due to small size and end up in sites of nature endangering food chain.
This results in significant global impacts on wildlife from marine environment pollution.
Microplastics kill biodiversity and other organisms fish before they reach reproductive age.
It lead to stunted growth and behaviour change in some organisms.
Microplastics are found in the viscera of dead sea birds, reptiles like turtles, whales etc.
A large quantities of plastic are not recycled and enter landfill. Thus endanger human health.
The durable properties of plastics make them persistent and slow to degrade in the environment entering the food chains. It holds the potential for both bioaccumulation and biomagnification.
They carry toxic chemical compounds which are carcinogenic in nature.
3. WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION ACT
News: On April 6, 2022, the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 was passed in the Lok Sabha.
About Weapons of Mass Destruction Act:
The WMD and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act came into being in July 2005.
Its primary objective was to provide an integrated and overarching legislation on prohibiting unlawful activities in relation to all three types of WMD, their delivery systems and related materials, equipment and technologies.
It instituted penalties for contravention of these provisions such as imprisonment for a term not less than five years (extendable for life) as well as fines.
The Act was passed to meet an international obligation enforced by the UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 of 2004.
In April 2004 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1540 to address the growing threat of non-state actors gaining access to WMD material, equipment or technology to undertake acts of terrorism.
In order to address this challenge to international peace and security, UNSCR 1540 established binding obligations on all UN member states under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
Nations were mandated to take and enforce effective measures against proliferation of WMD, their means of delivery and related materials to non-state actors.
UNSCR 1540 enforced three primary obligations upon nation states — to not provide any form of support to non-state actors seeking to acquire WMD, related materials, or their means of delivery; to adopt and enforce laws criminalising the possession and acquisition of such items by non-state actors; to adopt and enforce domestic controls over relevant materials, in order to prevent their proliferation.
It was to meet these obligations that enactment and enforcement of legislations to punish the unlawful and unauthorised manufacture, acquisition, possession, development and transport of WMD became necessary.
The Amendment expands the scope to include prohibition of financing of any activity related to WMD and their delivery systems.
To prevent such financing, the Central government shall have the power to freeze, seize or attach funds, financial assets, or economic resources of suspected individuals (whether owned, held, or controlled directly or indirectly).
It also prohibits persons from making finances or related services available for other persons indulging in such activity.
4. NITI’S ENERGY AND CLIMATE LIST
News: 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.
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.
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.
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.
These parameters have been devised keeping in mind India’s goals for climate change and clean energy transition.