Prelim Snippets- 23.01.2020


  • The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) was held recently at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
  • Theme, “Access for all: Leveraging Innovations, Investments and Partnerships for Health”.
  • It laid emphasis on accessibility of health to all with innovative technologies and solutions and also on bridging economic inequalities.
  • It has a vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, and a principle of leaving no one behind.
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
  • It is leading the global effort to end Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. It was started in 1996.
  • The UN Political declaration on ending AIDS was adopted in 2016 which seeks to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

2. Wollemi Pines (Wollemia Nobilis)

  • The prehistoric Wollemi Pine grove, which exists in the Wollemi National Park northwest of Sydney, has been saved from bushfires in Australia.
About Wollemi Pines:
  • It has been existed even during the Jurassic period. The oldest fossil of the rare pine species dates back 90 million years.
  • It is listed as critically endangered in the IUCN Red List.
  • The pines, which prior to 1994 were thought to be extinct. Their location was kept secret to prevent contamination. They have benefited from an unprecedented environmental Protection Mission.
  • Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild. Approximately, less than 200 trees are left.
  • It is a part of the Greater Blue Mountains Area which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Biodegradable Plastics

Why in News?
  • As people are searching for alternatives to plastics, many are trying out a new version known as biodegradable plastic. The question arises, whether it is as safe as presumed.
  • Plastic, in the form of bottles, bags, packaging materials, furniture and more, has become an integral part of our present-day lives. However, there are rising problems due to over-use of plastic which has caused a worldwide alarm.
  • Theoretically speaking, biodegradable means the material should break down into water, carbon dioxide and minerals. However, this is not the case with all plastics.
  • Also, many of the plastics that are bio-degradable, only degrade at very specific temperatures and also need optimal levels of light, water and oxygen for the same.
  • And even then, they leave behind residues which are toxic for the environment. Many of the plastics will not Biodegrade Naturally.
  • Owing to the conditions required for their biodegradation, a lot of plastics will only get biodegraded at industrial facilities.
  • Many Bio-based plastics are known to not be biodegradable. However, they can be recycled, albeit partially. They have known to have similar structure to that of fossil fuel-based plastics.
  • Every bio-based plastic does not deliver the same amount of pure recycle streams. These streams are the amount of product that can be recycled to produce something new.
  • Bio-based plastic and even biodegradable plastic while having their virtues, also come with their own set of flaws. As such, they cannot really be substitutes to plastic due to a lot of reasons.

4. Vyom Mitra

Why in News?
  • A “young woman” (half humanoid) named Vyom Mitra will ride to space in the first test flight of the human space mission, Gaganyaan.
  • The prototype of the humanoid, scheduled to ride into space ahead of the Indian crew as part of ‘Gaganyaan’ programme.
  • ‘Vyom’ (Sky, heaven in Sanskrit) Mitra (friend) was designed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram.
  • ‘Vyom Mitra’ will mimic all activities of ‘Gaganauts’ (Indian crew), including some simple experiments during the journey into space and back to terra firma while keeping in constant touch with ISRO’s command & control facility.
  • ‘Gaganyaan’ not only aims at India’s maiden human flight to the space but also setting up a new space station for ‘continuous space human presence’

5. 1t. org

Why in News?
  • President of the United States has recently announced that the United States will join the 1 Trillion Trees initiative which was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020.
  • org is a World Economic Forum (WEF) initiative, designed to support the Trillion Tree Community.
  • It is being set up with the initial financial support of Marc and Lynne Benioff.
  • org is a platform for leading governments, businesses, civil society and ecopreneurs committed to restoring and reforesting the planet.
  • It will provide a global platform for any reforestation commitment, initiative or campaign, from the grassroots level to large, Multi-Country Efforts.
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