India Current Affairs - 2020

WADA suspends accreditation of India’s National Dope Testing Laboratory for 6 months

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suspended accreditation of National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) for six months. This suspension was imposed due to non-conformities with International Standard for Laboratories (ISL) by NDTL as identified during WADA site visit.

Reasons for Suspension

WADA had given repeated warnings to NDTL to upgrade its testing methods. Since 2011, lot of positive doping reports were reported out of NDTL in cases where Indian athletes were actually tested negative earlier by it. With rising trust issues, WADA had warned NDTL to improve its testing methods and types of equipment in September 2018.

But NDTL subsequently failed to meet standards, forcing WADA to recommend its suspension following its visit to the lab in May 2019. One of the key areas of concern for WADA was the ‘Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry’, which differentiates the presence of a natural and synthetic substance in the body.

Impact of Suspension

This suspension (effective from 20 August 2019) prohibits NDTL from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including all analyses of urine and blood samples Despite six-month suspension, NADA can still carry on sample collection but tests will have to be conducted at WADA-accredited labs outside India during this period. Moreover, samples collected previously by NDTL will have to be moved safely to an accredited lab.

About World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

It is global Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that aims at harmonizing anti-doping regulations in all sports and countries. It is collective initiative led by the International Olympic Committee.

It was established in 1999 in Lausanne Switzerland under so called Declaration of Lausanne. Its headquarters is in Montreal, Canada.

It is mandated to coordinate, promote and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.

India biggest emitter of sulphur dioxide: Report

According to recently released report by Greenpeace India, India is the largest emitter of sulphur dioxide (SO2) in the world. The findings of report were based on data obtained from NASA’s Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) satellite.

Findings of Report

Indian Scenario: It is largest emitter of SO2 in the world, with more than 15% of all anthropogenic SO2 hotspots detected by NASA OMI satellite. Most all of these anthropogenic emissions in India are because of coal-burning. This is because majority of coal-based power plants in India lack flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) technology to reduce air pollution. Singrauli, Neyveli, Jharsuguda, Talcher, Korba, Chennai, Kutch, Ramagundam, Chandrapur and Koradi thermal power plants/clusters are major emission hotspots in India

Government Measures: Union Environment Ministry for the first time had SO2 emission limits for coal-fired power plants in December 2015 to combat pollution levels. But the deadline for installation of flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) in power plants was extended from 2017 to 2022.

Global scenario: Largest SO2 emission hotspots have been found in Russia, South Africa, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Serbia. Of world’s major emitters, China and United States (US) have been able to reduce emissions rapidly by switching to clean energy sources and enforcement for SO2 control. Emissions of air pollutants from power plants and other industries continue to increase in India, Iran and Saudi Arabia. In Russia, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey, emissions are currently not increasing — however, there is not lot of progress in tackling them either.