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Important Environmental Current Affairs from Down To Earth Magazine – June 2022, Part 2

Six unusual ways to harness water

In News

  • With 87 countries set to face severe water scarcity by 2050, the world needs to build a diverse water portfolio.
  • To highlight some unusual and underutilised water sources, UN agencies, led by the UN University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health, have published Unconventional Water Resources.
  • The book identifies six broad categories of unconventional water sources.

Six broad categories of unconventional water sources

  • The first category is by ”HARVESTING WATER FROM THE AIR” through cloud seeding and fog harvesting. Global research indicates seeding can increase rainfall by up to 15 per cent.
  • The Second category is ”TAPPING FRESH AND BRACKISH GROUNDWATER” offshore and onshore through desalination.
  • The third category is ”REUSING MUNICIPAL WASTEWATER” and agricultural drainage water as suitable alternatives to extracting high-quality freshwater and groundwater.
  • The fourth category is ”MICRO-SCALE CAPTURE OF RAINWATER”, which has been recommended in dry regions where almost 90 per cent of rainwater gets evaporated.
  • The fifth category is ”MOVING WATER PHYSICALLY” by either towing polar ice caps to water-scarce countries or reusing 10 billion tonnes of ballast water used by cargo ships for balance at sea every year. International norms dictate that all ships of 400 gross tonnage must desalinate ballast water and remove invasive aquatic organisms and unhealthy chemical compounds. It could be used in arid regions.
  • The book finally recommends ”DESALINATION”, which today supports 5 per cent of the world’s population.


Global wealth inequality

In News

  • Global wealth inequality widened in the past 2 years.
  • IN THE 24 months since the pandemic struck in 2020, the wealth of the world’s billionaires has increased more than the combined growth of nearly two preceding years, according to an Oxfam report.

Key Observation on Rising Global Wealth Inequality

  • According to Oxfam, some 573 new billionaires have been added in the last two years.
  • Corporations in the energy, food and pharmaceutical sectors—the three sectors in which the world faces crises—have recorded the maximum profits in their lifetimes.
  • There are 62 new billionaires in the food sector.
  • The top five energy companies—BP, Shell, Total Energies, Exxon and Chevron—made a daily profit of $2,600 every second as the world remained under lockdown and extreme economic stress.
  • The pandemic has also created 40 new “pharma” billionaires. Wages in the three sectors, though, have not increased during the period.
  • The report adds that high food prices, health costs, loss of livelihood and the overall dip in earnings will push at least 263 million people into poverty in 2022.

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