Answered: Mains Marathon – UPSC Mains Current Affairs Questions – May 23

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1. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials. Discuss(GS 1)

The Hindu | WHO


  • In recent decades, population growth, accelerated urbanisation and economic development have resulted in an increase in the quantity of wastewater and the overall pollution load being generated.
  • With  this year’s world water day theme as “wastewater”, the importance regarding this   issue has grown further .
  • Waste water is defined as any water that has been adversely affected in quality by anthropogenic influences and as a result of domestic, industrial, commercial and agricultural activities.


  • Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated goes back to the ecosystem without being treated or reused. Another fact is that 1.8 billion people use drinking water contaminated with faeces which increases their risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Also, 663 million people still lack access to improved drinking water sources.

Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials  because:

  • Treating your wastewater to recycle/reuse it can be especially helpful in areas with low water resources.
  • Because failing to treat your wastewater can potentially harm the environment, human health, and your process.
  • One of the impacts on the environment is agricultural impacts.
    • The sewage water contains salts which is soluble that may accumulate in the root zone with possible harmful effect on soil health and crop yield.
    • The physical and mechanical properties of the soil, such as dispersion of particle, stability of aggregates, soil structure and permeability are very sensitive to the types of exchangeable ions present in irrigation water.
    • Thus, when effluent use is being planned, several factors related to the soil properties must be taken into consideration.
    • On the other hand the effect of dissolved solids in the irrigation water on the growth of plants is also another aspect of agriculture which one has to be concerned.
    • Dissolved salts increase the osmotic potential of soil water and increase the osmotic pressure of the soil solution which increases the growth and the yield of most plants decline progressively as osmotic pressure increases.
  • In addition the one of the environment impact is ecological impact where the drainage water from waste water irrigation schemes drains particularly into small confined lakes and water bodies and surface water.. Here the overloading organic materials resulting in decrease in dissolved oxygen may lead to changes in the composition of a aquatic life such as fish deaths and reduced fishery.
  • The eutrophication potential of waste water irrigation can be assessed using biological indices, which in turn can be qualified in monitory units using economic valuation techniques.
  • The hidden impact on the environment is the increase on the production of green house emissions.
  • The large agriculture reuse project might cause to the environmental externalities associated with pumping water uphill which emits greenhouse gas. Another impact is on the health.
  • The sewage water contains pathogenic microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, protozoan’s and parasitic worms, the diseases and signs related with such infection are also diverse including typhoid,dysentry and cholera, diarrhea and vomiting.
  • the concentration of the pathogens in waste water is dependent on the source population and the susceptibility to infection varies from one population to another.
  • So basically the waste water is actually harm for the nature even though its treated and release to the environment so as a human being we should not dispose the waste into the water thus our water will be clean and the cost of the treatment can be reduced.

What can be done?

  • At the national and regional levels, water pollution prevention policies should be integrated into non-water policies that have implications on water quality such as agriculture and land use management, trade, industry, energy, and urban development. Water pollution should be made a punishable offence. The effectiveness and power of the “polluter pay principle” should be considered.
  • Various policies, plans and strategies to protect water resources should be participatory, allowing for consultation between government, industry and the public. At the local level, capacity building enables the community to make decisions and disseminate them to the appropriate authorities, thus influencing political processes
  • . Market-based strategies such as environmental taxes, pollution levies and tradable permit systems should be implemented, and can be used to fight against or abate water pollution. Incentive mechanisms such as subsidies, soft loans, tax relaxation should be included in installing pollution management devices.

2. What do you know by Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)? Suggest some measures to tackle the same by the government.(GS 1)


Neglected tropical diseases:-

  • Around the world, nearly 1.6 billion people are affected by a group of diseases so ignored that the term used to refer to them is called neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
  • A diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries – affect more than one billion people and cost developing economies billions of dollars every year.
  • Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected.
  • These are a cluster of 17 diseasesaffecting the poorest people living in the least developed pockets.
  • While some of these diseases may be unfamiliar, leprosy, kala-azar and filariasis are better known in India .

What can the government do?

  • Continued surveillanceand epidemiologic data collection is necessary to ensure that the disease continues to be under control.
  • Besides basic research, the discovery of new facts about a disease, vaccines and drugs along with new strategies and sustained research are needed to make an impact.
  • Partnerships with diverse stakeholdersare useful in creating awareness, improving case detection, treatment completion and, most importantly, managing stigma.
  • Timely diagnosis and treatment access in unreached areas, focussing on the fundamentals of preventive interventions, nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are essential in fast-tracking the goal of elimination.
  • The Indian government has set itself the target of eliminating kala-azar and filariasis by 2017, and leprosy by 2018. With such ambitious targets, sustained research must remain an integral component of disease elimination programmes. Besides basic research the discovery of new facts about a disease, vaccines and drugs  new strategies are needed to make an impact.
  • For programmes to succeed, it is important to maintain constant vigilance through robust surveillance and reporting mechanisms.
    • Partnerships with diverse stakeholders including the private sector, community-based organisations, and community leaders are specifically useful in creating awareness, improving case detection, treatment completion and, most importantly, managing stigma associated with these diseases.
  • While tackling NTDs, it will be important to remember that along with timely diagnosis and treatment access in unreached areas, focussing on the fundamentals of preventive interventions, nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are essential in fast-tracking the ultimate goal of elimination.

3. “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” Critically comment. (GS 4)


  • The law is a set of rules for society, designed to protect basic rights and freedoms, and to treat everyone fairly.
  • Laws are generally accepted as addressing fundamental purposes including:
    • Universality
    • Consistency
    • Regulation
    • Changeability and responsiveness
    • Protective of individual and collective rights
  • According to Bentham it might be opined that a “good” law:
    • Protects individual freedom
    • Ensures collective security (including through the individual’s responsibility to not infringe that security through the prudent exercise of his/her freedom by reference to the freedom of others); and,
    • Acknowledges and protects fundamental rights.
  • It is because of proper law and order a sense of peace reveals in the world despite extensive threats of violent behaviour visible.
  • Yet clearly there are examples where laws have not met these purposes and yet have been laws enacted by elected governments like:
    • “Jim Crow” segregation laws in various of the United States of America (whereby segregation was legally imposed or protected by “separate but equal” laws) and enduring until the 1960’s6
    • Similar Australian laws establishing the various officers of the Protector of Aborigines7
    • Apartheid and Pass laws in pre 1994 South Africa8
    • Russia and Zimbabwe’s recent anti gay laws
    • The suggested “Illegality” of recent Crimean succession motions.
    • Women were not legally recognised as equal nor permitted to vote
    • The First Nations Peoples of the then United States were not treated with such unanimity of equality
    • Slavery flourished
  • Laws are the means by which political will is given expression. Thus if the political will is not just then nor will be the expression of that will.
  • In this sense the absence of justice constitutes injustice and injustice oppresses. Similarly, a law passed for an unjust purpose will oppress.
  • Anarchists and libertarian  socialists argue that police and law themselves are oppression. The term oppression, in such instances, refers to the subordination of a given group  or social category by unjust use of force or authority in order to achieve the effects of oppression.

So ensuring law and order for its prescribed goals is very necessary otherwise it could only lead to chaos.


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