Antarctica, a vast expanse of ice and land, harbours one of the most intriguing features under its ice—the subglacial lakes. These isolated lakes form a part of the basal hydrological system and conceal unique biological ecosystems and climate records,thus prompting more scientific missions along with numerous challenges.
Studies show that ozone pollution is harmful for crop production while ozone depletion is damaging for aquatic ecosystems. Emission of ozone depleting CFC-11 is on the rise in Eastern Asia.
Ozone is life threatening if found to be increasing near the earth’s surface as it is toxic to life when inhaled. Ozone not only damages airways, but also reduces crop yields as well if it increases beyond the threshold levels. Worries are mounting as India marks a rate of increase of around 1 per cent each year. Anthropogenic sources of emissions are responsible for increase in surface ozone, which needs urgent control in the near future.
Penetration of airconditioning in the growing economy of India is low whereas the rising cooling requirements are both a challenge and an opportunity.
The global community adopted the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer and to phase out ozone depleting substances. India became party to both and complied with all control measures as per the 1993 Country Programme. India, as a follow up to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, launched the India Cooling Plan to enhance energy efficiency while addressing cooling demand.
The Montreal Protocol and its amendments have played an important role in restricting the depletion of stratospheric ozone caused by anthropogenic ozone-depleting substances. The India Meteorological Department is monitoring the total column ozone, which shows that photochemistry is the dominant factor controlling its concentration. Research has also revealed that stratospheric ozone concentrations over different regions along the same latitude have varying recovery rates.
Trapped by the inversion of temperature, a characteristic feature of winter, along with burning of stubble and fire crackers, pollution exacerbates in Delhi, calling for urgent and effective countermeasures for abatement.
One of the oldest mountains of the subcontinent, the Aravalli play a significant role in arresting the onslaught of the deserts from western Rajasthan and beyond, apart from preserving the rich cultural heritage. Critically, the ranges also recharge the depleting aquifers of the region.
The strongest feature of Indian democracy is the high rate of participation of citizens in elections. Voter turnout, political awareness and participation of women are in elections constantly changing and are affected by various factors like literacy, economic development and influence of the media.
While public funding of elections would cost the exchequer a bomb, public interest demands that the state earmarks subsidies to clean up its democratic polity.