Contents

  1. ‘Sea snot’ outbreak in Turkey
  2. OPCW on Syria & Chemical Weapons Convention
  3. Rengma Nagas demand ADC

‘Sea snot’ outbreak in Turkey

Context:

  • There has been growing environmental concern in Turkey over the accumulation of ‘sea snot’, a slimy layer of grey or green sludge in the country’s seas, which can cause considerable damage to the marine ecosystem.
  • Turkey’s Sea of Marmara, that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, has witnessed the largest outbreak of ‘sea snot’ and this sludge has also been spotted in the adjoining Black and Aegean seas.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Issues regarding Environmental Pollution, Conservation of Ecology), GS-I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Sea Snot?
  2. What is causing ‘sea snot’ in the seas of Turkey?
  3. How badly can the crisis affect the marine ecosystem?
  4. Sea of Marmara

What is Sea Snot?

  • Sea snot, sea saliva or marine mucilage is a collection of mucus-like organic matter found in the sea.
  • The creamy, gelatinous substance is generally not harmful, but can attract viruses and bacteria, including E. coli, and it can become a blanket that suffocates the marine life below.
  • It is frequently seen in the Mediterranean Sea and has been spreading into farther-flung waters.

What is causing ‘sea snot’ in the seas of Turkey?

  • ‘Sea snot’ is formed when algae are overloaded with nutrients as a result of water pollution combined with the effects of climate change.
  • The nutrient overload occurs when algae feast on warm weather caused by global warming. Water pollution adds to the problem.
  • Environmental experts have said that overproduction of phytoplankton caused by climate change and the uncontrolled dumping of household and industrial waste into the seas has led to the present crisis.
  • Turkey’s President has said dumping of sewage in the sea along with rising temperatures is causing the crisis. He has blamed the outbreak on discharge of untreated water from cities like Istanbul, into the seas.
  • A ‘sea snot’ outbreak was first recorded in the country in 2007. Back then, it was also spotted in the Aegean Sea near Greece. But the current outbreak in the Sea of Marmara is by far the biggest in the country’s history.

How badly can the crisis affect the marine ecosystem?

  • The growth of the mucilage, which floats up on the surface of the sea like a brown phlegm, is posing a severe threat to the marine ecosystem of the country.
  • Divers have said that it has caused mass deaths among the fish population, and also killed other aquatic organisms such as corals and sponges.
  • The mucilage is now covering the surface of the sea and has also spread to 80-100 feet below the surface. If unchecked, this can collapse to the bottom and cover the sea floor, causing major damage to the marine ecosystem.
  • Over a period of time, it could end up poisoning all aquatic life, including fishes, crabs, oysters, mussels and sea stars.
  • Besides aquatic life, the ‘sea snot’ outbreak has also affected the livelihoods of fishermen as the sludge gets collected in their nets, making them so heavy that they break or get lost and the mucilage coating the strings make the nets visible to fish and keep them away.
  • Some experts have also warned that the ‘sea snot’ can cause an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera in cities like Istanbul.

What steps are being taken by Turkey to solve the crisis?

  • Turkish President has said steps will be taken to “save our seas from this mucilage calamity, leading with the Marmara Sea”.
  • He also said Turkey’s biggest maritime clean-up operation is being launched.

Sea of Marmara

  • The Sea of Marmara is the inland sea, entirely within the borders of Turkey, that connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea, thus separating Turkey’s Asian and European lands.
  • The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Black Sea and the Dardanelles strait to the Aegean Sea. The Bosphorus strait also separates Istanbul into its Asian and European sides.
  • The surface salinity of the sea averages about 22 parts per thousand, which is slightly greater than that of the Black Sea, but only about two-thirds that of most oceans.

-Source: Indian Express


OPCW on Syria & Chemical Weapons Convention

Context:

The head of the international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the U.N. Security Council that its experts have investigated 77 allegations against Syria, and concluded that in 17 cases chemical weapons were likely or definitely used.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Organizations, Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), 1997
  2. Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
  3. India’s Initiative – Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000

Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), 1997

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), officially the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, is an arms control treaty administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands.
  • The treaty entered into force in 1997, and prohibits the large-scale use, development, production, stockpiling and transfer of chemical weapons and their precursors, except for very limited purposes (research, medical, pharmaceutical or protective).
  • The main obligation of member states under the convention is to affect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. All destruction activities must take place under OPCW verification.
  • As of March 2021, 193 states have become parties to the CWC and accept its obligations. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement, while three other UN member states (Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan) have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.
  • As of 2021, 98.39% of the world’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles had been destroyed.
  • The convention has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties.
  • Most recently, the State of Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the CWC in 2018 and in 2013, Syria acceded to the convention as part of an agreement for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force in 1997.
  • The OPCW, with its 193 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.
  • The organisation promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. Verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and onsite inspections.
  • The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
  • The OPCW has the power to report on whether chemical weapons were used in an attack it has investigated.
  • While the OPCW is not a specialised agency of the United Nations, it cooperates both on policy and practical issues as a related organisation.

India’s Initiative – Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000

  • The Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 was passed to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), 1997.
  • Chemical Weapons Convention Act, 2000 gives effect to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • It provided for the establishment of a National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention or NACWC.
  • NACWC, formed in 2005, is the chief liaison between the government of India and the OPCW. NACWC is an office in the Cabinet Secretariat of the GoI.

-Source: The Hindu


Rengma Nagas demand ADC

Context:

The Rengma Nagas in Assam have written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah demanding an autonomous district council amid a decision by the Central and the State governments to upgrade the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) into a territorial council.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional Provisions, Constitutional Bodies), GS-I: Indian Society

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Rengma Naga
  2. About Autonomous District Councils (ADCs)
  3. Connection between the 6th Schedule and ADCs
  4. About the recent demand of Rengma Nagas

Rengma Naga

  • Rengma is a Naga tribe found in Nagaland and Assam states of India. According to the 2011 Population Census of India, Rengma population stands at just over 60 thousand.
  • The headquarter of the Rengmas in Nagaland is at Tseminyu, and the headquarter of the Rengmas in Assam is located at Phentsero/Karenga Village.
  • Like other Naga tribes, there are few written historical records of Rengmas.
  • The Rengmas are experts in terrace cultivation. The harvest festival of the Rengmas is called Ngada.
  • In Assam, the Rengma tribals are found in the Karbi-Anglong, the then Mikir Hills. The Rengmas migrated to the then Mikir Hills in the early part of 1800.

About Autonomous District Councils (ADCs)

  • The Autonomous districts and regional councils (ADCs) are empowered with civil and judicial powers can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear the trial of cases involving the tribes.
  • Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specify the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
  • Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
  • In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
  • These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
  • Each autonomous district and regional council consist of not more than 30 members, of which four are nominated by the governor and the rest via elections, all of whom remain in power for a term of five years.

Connection between the 6th Schedule and ADCs

  • The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution deals with the administration of the tribal areas in the four northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram as per Article 244.
  • The Governor is empowered to increase or decrease the areas or change the names of the autonomous districts. While executive powers of the Union extend in Scheduled areas with respect to their administration in Vth schedule, the VIth schedule areas remain within executive authority of the state.
  • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
  • The Councils have also been endowed with wide civil and criminal judicial powers, for example establishing village courts etc. However, the jurisdiction of these councils is subject to the jurisdiction of the concerned High Court.
  • The sixth schedule to the Constitution includes 10 autonomous district councils in 4 states. These are:
  • Assam: Bodoland Territorial Council, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council.
  • Meghalaya:Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council and Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council.
  • Tripura: Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.
  • Mizoram: Chakma Autonomous District Council, Lai Autonomous District Council, Mara Autonomous District Council.

About the recent demand of Rengma Nagas

The History

  • The Rengma Naga Peoples’ Council (RNPC), a registered body, said in the memorandum that the Rengmas were the first tribal people in Assam to have encountered the British in 1839, but the existing Rengma Hills was eliminated from the political map of the State and replaced with that of Mikir Hills (now Karbi Anglong) in 1951.
  • Narrating its history, the council said that during the Burmese invasions of Assam in 1816 and 1819, it was the Rengmas who gave shelter to the Ahom refugees.
  • The petition said that the Rengma Hills was partitioned in 1963 between Assam and Nagaland at the time of creation of Nagaland State and the Karbis, who were known as Mikirs till 1976, were the indigeneous tribal people of Mikir Hills.
  • RNPC president said that the government was on the verge of taking a decision without taking them on board and thus they had written to the MHA and the Chief Minister.

NSCN (I-M) stand

  • The National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN (Isak-Muivah), which is in talks with the Centre for a peace deal, said that the Rengma issue was one of the important agendas of the “Indo-Naga political talks” and no authority should go far enough to override their interests.
  • More than 3,000 Rengma Nagas were forced to relocate to relief camps in 2013 after several people were killed in a series of attacks following a call given by a Karbi insurgent group.
  • The Centre is likely to finalise a peace pact with the six Karbi insurgent groups and one of them- the KLNLF signed a suspension of operation in 2009 with the Assam government.

-Source: The Hindu

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