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Current Affairs 22nd April 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Earth Day

May be an image of plastic bag, plant and text that says "Planet PlanetVs.Plastics Vs. Plastics WORLD EARTH DAY 22 APRIL, 2024"

Context: Earth Day is an annual event observed across the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

Earth Day: An Overview

  • Celebrated: Annually on April 22nd,
  • History of Earth Day:
    • Earth Day has its roots in 1970, marking the rise of the modern environmental movement.
    • Public awareness grew due to concerns about industrial pollution and Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” (1962).
    • Senator Gaylord Nelson, inspired by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, proposed Earth Day.
    • The first Earth Day in 1970 saw 20 million Americans demonstrate for environmental protection.
  • Significance of Earth Day
    • Earth Day serves as a yearly reminder of our environmental responsibility.
    • It celebrates our planet’s beauty and encourages action against environmental threats.
    • The day unites people from all backgrounds to promote environmental protection and sustainability.

Earth Day 2024: A Call to Action

  • Earth Day 2024’s campaign urges action to end plastic pollution and safeguard the well-being of all living beings.
  • 2024 Theme: Planet vs. Plastics
    • Earth Day 2024 focuses on plastic pollution, a major environmental concern.
    • Earth Day Org aims for a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040 to create a plastic-free future.

The Threat of Plastic Pollution

  • Plastic pollution is a significant threat to human health and the environment.
  • The world produces 350 million tons of plastic waste annually, with 1-2 million tons entering oceans.
  • Microplastics, tiny plastic fragments, contaminate our oceans, harming marine life and potentially affecting human health.
  • Plastic pollution is estimated to kill over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, and 1 million seabirds each year.

Climate Litigation

Context: The Supreme Court of India recently recognized a fundamental right to be free from the adverse effects of climate change. This landmark decision is expected to energise climate litigation in the country.


  • The ruling emerged from a case that primarily focused on the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard, an endangered bird species.
  • The central government sought modification of a 2021 order from the Supreme Court, which it found impractical due to its potential interference with India’s renewable energy initiatives and international climate commitments.
  • The Supreme Court modified its previous order as requested but expanded the scope to address broader climate change implications.

Global Surge in Climate Litigation

  • Increase in Cases:
    • The 2023 Global Climate Litigation Report by the UN Environment Programme highlights a significant rise in climate litigation worldwide.
    • It reported 2,180 cases in 65 countries, up from 1,550 cases in 39 countries in 2020, and 884 cases in 24 countries in 2017.
    • Most of these cases have originated in developed countries, particularly the U.S., which accounts for about 70% of these cases.
    • However, there is a growing number of cases in developing countries, with India ranking 14th with 11 cases.
  • Rights-Based Litigation:
    • Many of these cases employ a rights-based framework, invoking rights to life, health, food, water, or family life to demand stronger climate action.
    • Notably, elderly Swiss women recently won a case at the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that their family life rights were compromised by health impacts from heatwaves, leading to a verdict that the Swiss government violated their human rights.

Climate Litigation’s Impact

  • Courts’ Evolving Role: The increase in climate cases has sensitised courts to these issues, improving the likelihood of favourable judgments.
    • Such verdicts aim to enhance accountability in government and corporate actions on climate change.

Limitations of Judicial Intervention

  • While courts in India, like the National Green Tribunal, have long handled environmental issues indirectly related to climate change, direct climate litigation has been less frequent.
  • The effectiveness of court rulings specifically targeting climate change remains uncertain, as the multifaceted nature of the problem makes it difficult to address through singular judicial interventions.

Future Judicial Stance

  • Experts suggest that while courts may push governments to consider appropriate climate actions, they are unlikely to strictly enforce these measures due to the complexity of climate issues and their interconnection with socio-economic policies.
  • Courts might maintain a deferential stance toward executive decisions on climate policy, limiting their role to occasional reprimands rather than stringent enforcement.

Strait of Hormuz

Context: Oil and LNG prices are likely to shoot up if Iran is to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which countries like India import crude oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and UAE, leading to a spike in inflation.

Mapping– Strait of Hormuz

May be an image of map and text that says "SYRIA IRAQ IRAN IRAN AFGHANISTAN Strait of Hormuz PAKISTAN KUWAIT Paфη Persian Gulf Gulf QATAR SAUDI ARABIA Gulf of GulfofOman Oman U.A.E. OMAN © www.freeworldmaps.net"

  • Location:
    • Connects the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
    • Borders Iran to the north and the Arabian Peninsula to the south.
  • Geography:
    • Narrow channel with a width varying between 35 and 60 miles (55 to 95 kilometres).
    • Contains islands like Qeshm, Hormuz, and Hengām.
  • Significance:
    • Critical for global energy supplies: Roughly one-fifth of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes through this strait.
    • Major oil chokepoint, making it strategically important for international trade and energy security.


What Are Antihistamines?

  • Function: Antihistamines are widely used, over-the-counter medications for treating temporary allergic reactions like sneezing or itching.
  • Mechanism: Block histamine receptors, which are proteins that bind to histamine, a compound composed of ethylamine and an imidazole ring.
  • Histamine Receptors (Types and Functions): Histamine has diverse roles in the body, mediated by four types of receptors: H1, H2, H3, and H4, each found in different tissues and performing distinct functions:
    • H1: Found in blood vessels, neurons, muscle cells. Blocked by H1 antihistamines for minor allergies.
    • H2: Found in gastric glands. Stimulates acid release for digestion.
    • H3: Found in the central nervous system. Regulates dopamine and serotonin release.
    • H4: Regulates inflammatory response, including allergic reactions.
  • Ongoing Research: Develop specialised drugs targeting H3 and H4 receptors for neurological and immunological disorders.

Examples, Data, Case Studies for Value Addition

  • Cloud Seeding (GS 3): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently experienced its heaviest rainfall in 75 years, exceeding any recorded precipitation since data collection began in 1949.
    • Speculations exist regarding whether cloud seeding, a weather modification technique to increase rainfall, might have contributed to the UAE’s downpour.

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About the Author

Greetings! I'm Piyush, a content writer at StudyIQ. I specialize in creating enlightening content focused on UPSC and State PSC exams. Let's embark on a journey of discovery, where we unravel the intricacies of these exams and transform aspirations into triumphant achievements together!

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