Current News National Defence
Night trials of Ballistic Missile Agni V
On December 15, 2022, India has successfully conducted night trials of nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni V.
- The missile is capable of striking targets at ranges up to 5,000 kilometers with very high degree of accuracy.
- The missile test firing was conducted from APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast at around 5.30 pm.
About Agni Missiles
- The Agni missile class is the backbone of India's nuclear launch capability, as are Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and fighter aircraft.
- Agni-1 to 5 missiles are designed & developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
- Other Ranges of Agni Missiles:
- Agni I: Range of 700-800 km.
- Agni II: Range more than 2000 km.
- Agni III: Range of more than 2,500 Km
- Agni IV: Range is more than 3,500 km and can fire from a road mobile launcher.
- Agni-V: The longest of the Agni series, an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a range of over 5,000 km.
- Agni-5 is an ingeniously built advanced surface-to-surface ballistic missile developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
- It is a fire-and-forget missile, which cannot be stopped without an interceptor missile.
- The missile has the capability of hitting targets beyond the range of 5000 km and is crucial for India's self-defense systems.
The Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) was launched in 1982-83 by the Indian Government which saw the projects of:
Current News Ecology & Environment Pollution
World Bank Report on Air Pollution
On December 14, 2022, the World Bank released a report titled 'Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia'.
- Persistently hazardous levels of air pollution have caused public health crises in South Asia demanding urgent action.
- Using a modelling approach over South Asia as a whole, the WB report lays out multiple scenarios and costs involved in reducing the region’s exposure to particulate matter (PM).
Key Highlights of the Report
- Over 60% of South Asians are exposed to an average of 35 µg/m3 of PM2.5.
- In some parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) it spiked to as much as 100 µg/m3 – nearly 20 times the upper limit of 5 µg/m3 recommended by the WHO.
- According to a World Bank report, India has six large Airsheds, some of them shared with Pakistan, between which air pollutants move. They are:
- West/Central Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) that included Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab (India), Haryana, part of Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.
- Central/Eastern IGP: Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bangladesh
- Middle India: Odisha/Chhattisgarh
- Middle India: Eastern Gujarat/Western Maharashtra
- Northern/Central Indus River Plain: Pakistan, part of Afghanistan; and
- Southern Indus Plain and further west: South Pakistan, Western Afghanistan extending into Eastern Iran.
- When the wind direction was predominantly northwest to the southeast, 30% of the air pollution in Indian Punjab came from the Punjab Province in Pakistan and, on average, 30% of the air pollution in the largest cities of Bangladesh (Dhaka, Chittagong, and Khulna) originated in India.
What are Airsheds?
Major sources of Air Pollution in South Asia
- Large industries, power plants and vehicles are dominant sources of air pollution around the world;
- But in South Asia, other sources make substantial additional contributions.
- These include combustion of solid fuels for cooking and heating, emissions from small industries such as brick kilns, burning of municipal and agricultural waste, and cremation.
- Air pollution travels long distances— crossing municipal, state, and national boundaries—and gets trapped in large “airsheds” that are shaped by climatology and geography.
Indian Efforts to curb Air Pollution
- The National Clean Air Campaign (NCAP) (2019) aims to reduce (40% over 2017 levels by 2025-26) air pollution in 131 of India’s most polluted cities.
- The government of India has set aside $1.7 billion to fight air pollution over the next five years, as per the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission.
- (SAFAR) Portal: SAFAR is a national initiative introduced by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) to measure the air quality of a metropolitan city.
- Air Quality Index: AQI has been developed for eight pollutants viz. PM2.5, PM10, Ammonia, Lead, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.
- Parliament has approved to the establishment of the Commission of Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas.
- The clean air action plan is implemented across the states with guidelines from WB.