India Current Affairs - 2020

India to become world’s largest Sulphur Dioxide emitter: Study

As per study published by researchers at University of Maryland, US, India is overtaking China to become world’s largest emitter of anthropogenic Sulphur Dioxide (SO2).

SO2 is an air pollutant that causes acid rain, haze and many health-related problems. It is produced predominantly during burning of coal to generate electricity and vehicular emissions.

Key Highlights of study

Researchers had combined emissions data generated by using two different methods in order to generate an accurate profile of emissions over India and China. The first method is based on collection of estimated emission amounts from inventories of number of factories, power plants, automobiles and other contributors to SO2 emissions. The second method is based on data obtained from Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA’s Aura satellite, which detects a variety of atmospheric pollutants including sulphur dioxide.

India’s emissions of SO2 has increased by 50% since 2007 India opened its largest coal-fired power plant in 2012 and has yet to implement emission controls, while China’s fell by 75%. The rapid decrease of emissions in China far exceeds expectations and projections. It can be attributed to emission control measures undertaken by China. While, India is yet to implement emission control measures.

China and India are world’s top consumers of coal, which typically contains up to 3% sulphur. The SO2 emissions are generally product of coal-fired power plants and coal-burning factories. Beijing, China’s capital suffers severe haze problems due to coal-burning factories and power plants.

India’s increased SO2 emissions are not causing as health or haze problems as in China because largest emission sources are not in most densely populated area of India. However, with growing demand for electricity in India, impact may worsen.

India re-elected member of UNESCO’s executive board

India was re-elected as member of executive board of United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO). Executive board is UNESCO’s top decision-making body. The election was held at 39th session of General Conference of UNESCO in Paris, France.

General Conference

UNESCO’s General Conference consists of representatives of States Members of organisation. It meets every two years. It is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The General Conference determines policies and main lines of work of organisation. Its duty is to set programmes and budget of UNESCO. It also elects members of executive board and appoints, every four years, director-general. Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or extent of its contribution to budget.

United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

UNESCO is UN organization that helps preserve historical and cultural sites worldwide. It is special multi-country agency, formed in 1945 and based in France. It promotes literacy and sex education as well as improving gender equality in countries around world. It is also known for recognising world heritage sites and work to preserve cultural and heritage sites such as ancient ruins, villages and temples, and historic sites.