Mains Q & A 07 JUNE 2023
Q1. Discuss the significance that Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) play in the protection of threatened floral and animal species in their native habitats while highlighting the numerous threats to ESZ. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS III à Environmental Conservation related issues
The MoEF&CC alerts people to Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) in the vicinity of Protected Areas, National Parks, and Wildlife Sanctuaries. Declaring ESZs has the goal of controlling and regulating activity surrounding protected areas in order to act as “shock absorbers” for those places. They serve as a crossing point between regions with high levels of protection and those with lower levels of protection. The term “Eco-Sensitive Zones” is not mentioned in the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986.
A draught announcement to establish an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around the Thiruvananthapuram wildlife sanctuaries of Neyyar and Peppara was recently released by the MoEF&CC. This ESZ will cover a sizable portion of human-populated land.
Role of the ESZ in protecting threatened plant and animal species in their native habitat:
Areas adjacent to protected areas have been designated as Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) to lessen the effects of urbanisation and other developmental activities.
Declaring eco-sensitive zones around protected places has the effect of providing the protected area with a “Shock Absorber” of sorts.
They serve as a transitional zone between places with strong protection and those with less protection.
The preservation of an endangered species in its natural environment, such as the one-horned rhinoceros of Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, is accomplished with the aid of ESZs.
Eco-sensitive zones reduce forest loss and animal-human conflict.
The core and buffer style of management serves as the foundation for the protected areas, which also benefits and protects the surrounding communities.
Threats to ESZs include:
Development of infrastructure activities:
In the ESZ, projects like building roads, dams, and other urban and rural infrastructure cause interference, have a negative effect on the ecosystem, and upset the natural system.
For instance, building a road would result in the removal of trees, which would worsen soil erosion and ultimately damage the habitats of the species protected by the ESZ.
Legislation like the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 undermine the ESZs in favour of development activities by failing to recognise the rights of forest communities and reducing animal hunting.
The revised draught announcement, for instance, will reduce the ESZs around Bannerghatta National Park.
The government is creating new locations and entrances to the ESZ as tourism pressure increases.
Land around parks and sanctuaries is being removed through deforestation, eviction of locals, etc. to meet the growing demand for eco-tourism.
Tourists pollute the ecosystem by dumping trash such plastic bags, bottles, and other items.
Species from alien invaders:
Natural forests are under pressure by plantations of exotic species like Eucalyptus and Acacia auriculiformis, among others, and these species’ plantations.
Climate change and biodiversity are related; for instance, the increase in world temperature has caused ecological, water, and land stress in the ESZs.
For instance, the Assam floods and forest fires both significantly impacted the wildlife and Kaziranga National Park.
Regional communities’ pressure
The protected areas are under strain from agricultural practises like slash and burn, the pressure of a growing population, the increased demand for firewood and other forest products, etc.
It is necessary to reforest degraded areas, regenerate lost habitats, and lessen the effects of climate change through encouraging low carbon footprints and via education.
Techniques for conservation and education on resource overuse and its negative effects should be spread throughout the general public.
Collaboration between the government, civic society, and other stakeholders is crucial for striking a balance between sustainable development and economic growth.
Q2. Non-communicable diseases (NCD) place a significant strain on the country's health care system. Examine AYUSH's potential contribution to the fight against the spread of NCDs. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II à Health related issues
Chronic diseases, commonly referred to as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), are characterised by a protracted course and are brought on by a confluence of genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioural variables. The four primary categories of NCDs are diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and cardiovascular disorders (such heart attacks and stroke).
Cost of NCDs:
An increase in mortality between 30 and 70 years of age.
demographic dividend lost.
Malnutrition is not always the biggest problem; NCDs sometimes are.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains a goal of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by one-third by 2030, yet NCDs pose a danger to this goal.
NCDs and poverty are tightly related. It is anticipated that the rapid increase in NCDs will hinder efforts to reduce poverty in low-income countries, particularly by raising family health care expenses.
People who are vulnerable and socially marginalised are sicker and pass away earlier than those who are more affluent, in part because they are more likely to be exposed to dangerous items like tobacco or unhealthful eating habits and have less access to healthcare services.
Healthcare expenses for NCDs can deplete household funds in low-resource environments. Millions of individuals fall into poverty each year as a result of NCDs’ high costs, which include frequently time-consuming and expensive treatment and the loss of breadwinners. This stunts development.
What part AYUSH can play in tackling the problem of escalating NCDs:
AYUSH, in contrast to modern medicine, has a more holistic approach with the goal of fostering complete wellness rather than concentrating just on treating illness.
In the case of non-communicable diseases, which are challenging to treat once they have progressed to chronic disorders, such an approach gains more significance.
More scientific information, particularly with relation to Yoga, is becoming available on a global scale addressing the effects of alternative medical systems on health.
Without a shadow of a doubt, prompt use of alternative medications to treat pre-diabetic and pre-hypertensive disorders can cause diseases to regress and restore health.
Yoga is useful for treating illnesses as well as for disease prevention and control. Yoga is now being practised all around the world to lead better lives.
It is crucial to acquire scientific proof of the effectiveness and safety of AYUSH treatments and medications.
Through high-quality education and training at the national and international levels, work towards increasing capacity and creating a critical mass of qualified professionals in the AYUSH sector.
It is imperative that traditional and new systems are truly integrated. This would necessitate the development of a deliberate approach to enable genuine cross-learning and collaboration between the conventional and new systems on an equal footing.
A notable example is how Traditional Chinese treatment has been combined with Western treatment in China.
An Indian counterpart may see the practise, research, and education of both systems being integrated at all levels. This may involve changing the curriculum to teach AYUSH practitioners in modern medicine and vice versa.
It is necessary to lay a solid foundation for the requirements of a successful integration.
building a solid body of data in traditional medicine.
controlling and standardising AYUSH practises and credentials.
identifying the relative advantages, disadvantages, and function of each system within a comprehensive framework.
negotiating the differences between systems’ philosophies and concepts.
addressing the particular problems involved in AYUSH technique research.
An integrated framework should forge a middle ground, combining the two systems while still allowing for some degree of individuality in each.
In light of the enormous effort for establishing universal health care that is already under way in the nation and taking into account the immense potential of AYUSH to contribute to this cause, a medium- and long-term plan for seamless integration should be devised promptly.
The approaches used to combat the covid epidemic and the burden of non-communicable diseases must change. To increase testing and tracking capabilities and lighten the burden on the healthcare system, each of us must contribute and make efforts both on an individual and a collective level.
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