1) Transgenic Crops: Recently, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana, have deferred a proposal, approved by the Centre’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), to test a new kind of Transgenic Cotton Seed that contains a gene, Cry2Ai.
- Transgenic crops are plants that have been modified through genetic engineering techniques. These crops have had specific genes inserted into their DNAto give them new characteristics or traits that are not naturally found in the species through traditional breeding methods.
- There is a slight differencebetween GMO and transgenic organism. Although both have altered genomes, a transgenic organism is a GMO containing a DNA sequence or a gene from a different species. While a GMO is an animal, plant, or microbe whose DNA has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
- In India, only Cotton is currently commercially cultivated as a GM crop. Trials are underway for other crops like brinjal, tomato, maize, and chickpea using transgenic technology.
- The GEAC approved the environmental release of GM mustard hybrid DMH-11, bringing it closer to full commercial cultivation.
2) Lingering Health Effects of Bhopal Gas Tragedy: The 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy, one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, continues to cast a long shadow on the health of future generations, even those who were not directly exposed to the toxic gas.
- The Bhopal gas tragedy was one of the worst industrial accidents in history that occurred on the night of 2-3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal, MP.
- The exact cause of the gas leak is still disputed between corporate negligence or employee sabotage. However, some of the factors that contributed to the disaster are:
- The UCIL plant was storing large quantities of MIC, a highly reactive and volatile chemical, in poorly maintained tanks.
- The plant was operating with reduced staff and safety standards due to financial losses and market competition.
- On the night of the disaster, a large amount of water entered one of the MIC storage tanks (E610),either due to a faulty valve or a deliberate act of sabotage by a disgruntled worker.
- A 2019 report by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) said at least 30 tonnes of the poisonous gas affected more than 600,000 workers and nearby inhabitants.
- Laws Passed:
- Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985.
- Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991.
- Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010.
3) Daitari Greenstone Belt: A recent research has unveiled remarkably well-preserved volcanic and sedimentary rocks in Singhbhum craton, eastern India, dating back 3.5 billion years.
- The study focused on volcanic and sedimentary rocks that formed approximately 3.5 billion years ago in the Daitari greenstone belt in the Singhbhum Craton in east India.
- The researchers discovered that the Daitari greenstone belt shares similar geological characteristics with the greenstones found in South Africa’s Barberton and Nondweni areas, as well as those in Australia’s Pilbara Craton.
- The study revealed that sub-marine volcanic eruptions were prevalent between 5 and 3.3 billion years ago. These eruptions left behind pillow lava formations within the greenstone rocks of the Singhbhum, Kaapvaal, and Pilbara cratons.
- These sedimentary rocks provide valuable insights into sub-marine environments and were dated to approximately 3.5 billion years ago using precise detrital U-Pb zircon data.