UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 26-June-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Role of ancient algae in building a healthy global marine ecosystem

  2. Ozone pollution sees a spike: report

  3. North, South Koreas mark 70 years of war 

  4. App launched for easy access to blood



ROLE OF ANCIENT ALGAE IN BUILDING A HEALTHY GLOBAL MARINE ECOSYSTEM

Why in news?

  • A study of a microscopic ancient marine algae (Coccolithophores) led by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) has found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the Southern Indian ocean. 


Highlights:

  • This decrease in CaCO3 is attributed to the increase in the concentration of another single-celled algae known as diatoms.

  • This, in turn, will affect the growth and skeleton structure of coccolithophores, with potential significance for the world ocean ecosystem.

  • Coccolithophores are single-celled algae living in the upper layers of the world's oceans.

  • They have been playing a key role in marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle for millions of years.

  • Coccolithophores calcify marine phytoplankton that produces up to 40% of open ocean calcium carbonate and responsible for 20% of the global net marine primary productivity.

  • Coccolithophores build exoskeletons from individual CaCO3 plates consisting of chalk and seashells building the tiny plates on their exterior. Though carbon dioxide is produced during the formation of these plates, coccolithophores help in removing it from the atmosphere and ocean by consuming it during photosynthesis.

  • At equilibrium, coccolithophores absorb more carbon dioxide than they produce, which is beneficial for the ocean ecosystem.

  • The research team's analysis revealed that the reduction of coccolithophore diversity in the early summer and late summer periods is due to an increase in the presence of diatom algae, which occurs after sea ice breakdown with climate change and ocean acidification, and increases the silicate concentration in the waters of the Southern Ocean. 


Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1634231 )


OZONE POLLUTION SEES A SPIKE: REPORT

Why in news?

  • While particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown, ozone — also a harmful pollutant — increased in several cities, according to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).


Highlights:

  • Ozone is primarily a “sunny weather problem” in India, said CSE researchers, that otherwise remains highly variable during the year.

  • It is a highly reactive gas; even short-term exposure of an hour is dangerous for those with respiratory conditions and asthma and that’s why an eight-hour average is considered for ozone instead of the 24-hour average for other pollutants.

  • Ozone is not directly emitted by any source but is formed by photochemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases in the air under the influence of sunlight and heat.

  • It can be curtailed only if gases from all sources are controlled. 


Source : Hindu (Page 11, June 26, 2020 )


NORTH, SOUTH KOREAS MARK 70 YEARS OF WAR

Why in news?

  • North and South Korea on Thursday separately marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, a conflict that killed millions of people and has technically yet to end.


Highlights:

  • Communist North Korea invaded the U.S.-backed South on June 25, 1950, as it sought to reunify by force the peninsula Moscow and Washington had divided at the end of the Second World War.

  • The fighting ended with an armistice that was never replaced by a peace treaty.

  • In the South, the remains of nearly 150 soldiers repatriated from Hawaii after being excavated in the North were to be formally received at a government ceremony on Thursday evening.


Source : Hindu ( Page 14, June 26, 2020 )


APP LAUNCHED FOR EASY ACCESS TO BLOOD

Why in news?

  • Union health minister Harsh Vardhan Thursday launched the ‘ebloodservices’ app, in partnership with the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), to ease access to blood for those who need transfusions.


Highlights:

  • This app shall bring transparency in the blood donation programme and minimise the worries of those in dire need of blood.

  • To start with, the app will cater to all of Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), and a user can place an order for up to four units in one go.

  • Through this app, the availability of blood will be visible right in your phone. Once an order has been placed then the blood bank will keep the request active for 12 hours. The order will be diverted to the next patient only after the original recipient fails to collect it within 12 hours

  • The Red Cross blood bank had started conducting blood donation camps by sending mobile blood collection units to various localities. 


Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/app-launched-for-easy-access-to-blood/story-vKhgaTOgFDuLrrDMv3QQGO.html )


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