The HINDU Notes – 24th May 2019 - VISION

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Friday, May 24, 2019

The HINDU Notes – 24th May 2019






πŸ“° Study pinpoints source of ozone-depleting gas

Emissions of banned chemical CFC-11 traced to eastern China

•Rogue emissions of a gas that harms the ozone layer are coming from eastern China, primarily from two heavily industrialised provinces, an international team of researchers said on Wednesday.

•The findings confirm what many scientists, environmental groups and policymakers had suspected after an initial study a year ago reported new global emissions of the gas, CFC-11, but could only locate the source generally as East Asia.

Mounting pressure

•The new research will add to international pressure on the Chinese government to curtail the illegal use of CFC-11. It also confirms the results of several investigations, including one by The New York Times , which found evidence that factories in Shandong, one of the provinces specified in the study, were still making or using the gas to manufacture foam insulation.

•CFC-11 is one of a class of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons that destroy atmospheric ozone. They are also potent greenhouse gases that contribute to atmospheric warming.

•Chlorofluorocarbons were outlawed for almost all uses by the Montreal Protocol, an international pact negotiated decades ago to preserve the layer of ozone that blocks ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Excessive amounts of some types of UV radiation can cause skin cancer and eye damage in people and are harmful to crops and other vegetation.

•After the initial study last year, China denied that there were serious violations of the ban on the chemical, but also promised to eradicate any illegal production.

•The Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment said on Wednesday that it was preparing answers to questions about the new findings.

•In a statement, Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme, which administers the Montreal Protocol, said that action on CFC-11 “is being taken by all parties at the international level and by China domestically.”

•“All parties appreciate the urgency to ensure the ongoing protection of the ozone layer,” she added.

πŸ“° WHO unveils plan to tackle snakebite




•The World Health Organization on Thursday unveiled a new strategy to dramatically cut deaths and injuries from snakebites, warning a dearth of antivenoms could soon spark a “public health emergency”.

•Each year, nearly three million people are bitten by poisonous snakes, with an estimated 81,000-138,000 deaths.

•Another 4,00,000 survivors suffer permanent disabilities and other after-effects, according to WHO figures.

•WHO, which two years ago categorised “snakebite envenoming” as a Neglected Tropical Disease, presented a strategy aimed at cutting snakebite-related deaths and disabilities in half by 2030.

•An important part of the strategy is to significantly boost production of quality antivenoms, WHO said.

•The UN agency called for “the restoration of a sustainable market for snakebite treatment”, insisting on the need for a 25% increase in the number of manufacturers. It plans a pilot project to create a global antivenom stockpile.

πŸ“° ‘Women still under-represented in science, tech’

Most assume these subjects won’t align with their desire to be creative: UNESCO

•Women remain considerably under-represented across STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies and careers, says UNESCO. That’s because most young women do not identify with STEM and assume these subjects won’t align with their desire to be creative and make an impact in the world.

•Experts call it a detrimental trend as it would further widen the gender gap in the technology world. Also, by shying away from STEM studies or careers, women will only be miss contributing to the next generation of technologies and innovations.

•According to the UNESCO, 29% of those in science research and development are women, with a low 19% in south and west Asia and a high 48% in central Asia.

•Microsoft has an initiative to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM and the technology major has been working to get students and young women excited about STEM subjects.

Improving awareness

•Daiana Beitler, philanthropies director for Microsoft Asia, said, “Our movement helps raise awareness of the issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in STEM and aims to pique their excitement in how they can change the world if they stay engaged.”

•Teachers and technologists have a responsibility to break the misperception among women that STEM does not relate to the world at large.

•“By designing computer science curricula around societal challenges and giving young women more exposure to female role models, the academia can make a huge difference in building a passion for STEM subjects among students,” Dr. Beitler added.



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