Thursday, 27 August 2020

UNICEF Publishes Report on Health Crisis: 1 in 3 Children Poisoned By Lead


On 30th July 2020, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Pure Earth, international non-profit organization authored and published the first of kind report on the health crisis titled “The Toxic Truth: Children’s Exposure to Lead Pollution Undermines a Generation of Future Potential” states that lead poisoning affects large number of children all across the globe.

The report states that around 1 in every 3 that is around 800 million children across the world has the blood lead level above or at 5 micrograms per deciliter, the amount at which action is required and almost 50% of these children live in South Africa.

The Toxic Truth is an analysis of childhood exposure to lead conducted by the Institute of Health Metrics Evaluation.

It was verified with the study approved for publication in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The report identifies lead as a potent neurotoxin which harms the brains of the children particularly in children under the age of 5 resulting in neurological, cognitive and physical impairments. The report states that the exposure of lead in childhood is linked to the mental health and behavioural problems which increase the rate of crime and violence. To the lower and middle income countries, it is estimated to cost around USD 1 trillion, in lost economic potential of these children over their lifetimes.

Situation in India: The report states that India has over 275 million children with blood lead levels higher than considered safe. This is also the highest number of lead poisoning cases in children of any country. An analysis of data from different studies on blood lead levels in Indian children found that they could lose four IQ points each simply from lead exposure.

Reasons for Childhood Exposure:  The leading contributor to lead poisoning in children is the informal and substandard recycling of lead acid batteries in the informal economy. The other factors of childhood exposure to lead are water from the leaded pipes, lead form mining, lead based paints and pigments, leaded gasoline, lead exposure in certain food industries and other active industries. The lead solder in food containers, spices, cosmetics and other products also results in childhood exposure.

Recommendations: Governments should take steps to build monitoring and reporting systems and to install prevention and control measures. They should equip health systems to detect, monitor and treat lead exposure. Besides they should impose environment, health and safety standards to manufacture and recycle the lead acid batteries.

Note:The World Health Organization (WHO), launched the International Lead Poisoning Week of Action from 20-26th October 2019 to enforce standards to stop the manufacture and sale of paints that contain lead. In 2020 the International Lead Poisoning Week of Action falls on 25-31 October 2020.


1.)    Firstpost News(August 4 2020)

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Spike in Viewership of Child Pornography in India in Lockdown

Inspite of repeated efforts by the Government and the passing of several legal jurisdictions, India still continues to be one of the biggest contributor and consumer of child abuse contents. But latest data published by India Child Protection Fund (ICPF) has revealed an even more disturbing trend, especially as the nation continues battling the pandemic COVID-19 amidst a tight lockdown since March 23.
According to the India Child Protection Fund (ICPF), the online data monitoring websites are showing an increase in demand for searches like ‘Child Porn’, ‘Sexy Child’ and ‘Teen Sex Videos’. Data from Pornhub, the world’s largest pornography website in the world, also reveals that traffic from India has increased by 95% between March 24 & March 26 2020, as compared to their average traffic, pre-corona virus, the ICPF claimed.
The report reveals a 200% spike in demand for content which displays children ‘choking’, ‘bleeding’ and ‘tortured’. Metro cities like New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, besides many Tier II and capital cities, which are seeing a sharp increase in corona virus cases, have been red-flagged by the study as hotspots for child pornography, the ICPF said. ICPF has warned that millions of paedophiles have reverted to online consumption, making the internet unsafe for children. It added that without stringent action, this could result in a drastic rise in sexual crimes against children. The report cites Europol, United Nations, ECPAT reports which say that children are now more prone to online grooming and sexual coercion, and also refers to recent news of the ‘Childline India’ helpline reporting more than 92000 SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence in 11 days of the lockdown.
A crackdown has already been initiated in India, most of which involves using technology to track unlawful content, especially on social media platforms. At the same time, organizations like ICPF are stepping up to warn authorities of such dangerous trends at a time like this.


Saturday, 21 March 2020

The Carbon Market

Global Warming is the biggest threat to humanity. Melting glaciers, freak storms, Australian bushfire, rising temperature shows how quickly and drastically green house emissions (GHG) are changing our planet. Besides the rising price of energy, compel people to reduce the consumption and lower their personal shares of global emissions. But there is a developing framework of economic solutions to the problem. The world leaders have accepted carbon trading over its rival, carbon tax as a novel way to reduce the GHG emissions.
Carbon trading often referred as emissions trading. It is a market based tool to limit the greenhouse gas emissions. The carbon market mainly trades emissions under cap-and-trade schemes or with credits that pay for or offset GHG reductions. Under cap-and-trade schemes the governing body fixes a cap on allowable emissions and then distributes or auctions off emissions allowances that total the cap. Member firms that do not have enough allowances to cover their emissions must either make reductions or buy another firm’s spare. Members with extra allowances can sell them or bank them for future use. A successful cap-and-trade scheme relies on a strict but feasible cap that decreases emissions over time. A too high or low cap will not serve the purpose. The governing body stabilizes the high price of allowances by releasing additional credits. The price of allowances is usually a function of supply and demand. 
Credits are similar to carbon offsets and they are used in conjunction with cap-and-trade schemes. Firms that wishes to reduce below target may fund pre approved emissions reduction projects at other sites and also in other countries. Following points to be noted in this context:
         A carbon market allows countries or industries to earn carbon credits for emission reductions they make in excess of what are required of them.
         These credits can be traded to the highest bidder in exchange for money.
         The buyers of carbon credits can show the emission reductions as their own and use them to meet their own emission reduction targets.
         A carbon market already existed under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol but several countries walked out of the Kyoto Protocol and thus the demand for carbon credits had waned.
         As a result, developing countries like India, China and Brazil had accumulated huge amounts of carbon credits. These credits are now in danger of getting redundant.
Thus carbon market can be a way for the reduction of green house emission to the atmosphere. It is thereby a feasible method for the protection of environment. But a plan is as good as its implementation. Therefore this should be taken into consideration by the environmentalist, scientist and other such person working for the protection and preservation of environment.

Dr. Sumitra Mohanty,
Coordinator, Research Documentation and Communication, PECUC

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Showing my gear off

Travelling & working in children issues is something which I love the MOST and it is one of my favourite hobbies. But just a few days before through travelling I got a chance to experience something even more interesting. Life is full of various events and experiences. But not all are memorable, enjoyable and important. In my opinion everyone has their occasion which is special to them, mine was when I attended the Asian Children’s Summit. And it was one of those incidents that happened in my life, which was so memorable that it almost kept on lingering in my mind.
This summit took place in the mid November. I was excited but at the same time my heart was throbbing. This was my first time I ever attended a summit. I was a bit scared as I already knew there would be many talented representatives representing their own nation. I felt honoured to represent my country too in such a tender age and my joy knew no bounds. After a short journey we reached Bangkak, Thailand. There were 4 child delegates including me from India along with Anuradha Mohanty, PECUC accompanied us as our adult facilitator. I was nominated by PECUC to represent National Action and Coordination Group for Ending Violence Against Children NACG EVAC India, through a national level nomination process. I am from PECUC, Priti from Open Learning System & Other two children from IJM Kolkata are in children from India. There were approx 46 children from 23 countries of Asia. I had decided to actively participate in each and every activity assigned and was successful too. Every country had their own market booths showing off their culture and values. We got to learn so many things and more ever to add the staffs and the elders over there were so cooperative friendly that certainly one couldn’t be uncomfortable sharing any types of problems with them. By this time I had made a number of friends of various countries and each one was too loveable. We had 4 groups/sessions and I was a part of digital era. We had our own group presentations. We got a chance to be heard by national and international leaders like Dr. Rinchen Chophel, Grace Ageaoili, Mr. Rajeev Kumar and many more. And at the last day the closing session or the cultural night was held. We got a chance to show off our talent & everyone was mesmerized. I too had performed an Odishi classical dance, everyone liked and it was praiseworthy. This Summit was so impressive that it offered me lessons that cannot be erased by any other experience. This was really admirable as this was a platform, which took a step for children’s voices to be heard. Hear our suggestions were taken, our questions were answered and our feedbacks were listened. At last I would thank everyone who helped me to be a part of such a beautiful event. I would be honored to be part of it again. 

Miloni Mishra
Sisusava ,Children Group Representative ,PECUC
Delegate to Asia Children Summit

Saturday, 7 March 2020


The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks 153 countries on their progress towards gender parity in 4 dimensions:
·  Economic Participation And Opportunity
·  Educational Attainment
·  Health And Survival
·  Political Empowerment
Over the index, the highest possible score is 1(equality) and the lowest possible score is 0(inequality).
India Specific Findings:
·         India has been ranked 112th among 153 countries in the annual Global Gender Gap Index for 2020.
·         India has slipped to the 112th spot from the 108th position in the last edition.
·         India has been ranked below countries like China (106th), Sri Lanka (102nd), Nepal (101st), Brazil (92nd), Indonesia (85th) and Bangladesh (50th).
·         India has improved to 18th place on political empowerment but it has slipped to 150th on health and survival, to 149th in terms of economic participation and opportunity and to 112th place for educational attainment.
·         Among the 153 countries studied, India is the only country where the economic gender gap (0.354) is larger than the political gender gap (0.411).
·         India is among the countries with very low women representation on company boards (13.8%).
·         On health & survival, four large countries (Pakistan, India, Vietnam and China) fare badly with millions of women there not getting the same access to health as men.
 Mr Agni Dash
Content Writer, PECUC


ISFR is a biennial publication of Forest Survey Of India ( FSI ), an organization under the Ministry Of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. The ISFR assesses the forest and tree cover, carbon stock, bamboo resources and forest fires. The 2019 report for the first time has assessed the qualitative nature of the forest cover and created a national forest inventory for the first time on produce from forests.
According to this report, the forest area in the country has increased by 5188 square km in the last 2 years. This green area covers about 25% of the total geographic area of the country.
The top 5 states to have shown an increase in forest cover include-
1.    Karnataka (1025 sq. Km)
2.    Andhra Pradesh (990 sq. Km)
3.    Kerala  (823 sq. Km)
4.    J & K (371 sq. Km)
5.    Himachal Pradesh (334 sq. Km)
The report has also recorded the total mangrove area in the country to be 4975 square kilometres. Finally it has recorded the total carbon stock of the country to be equivalent to 71.24 million tonnes.

Agni Dash
Content Writer, PECUC


The Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 aims to immunize children less than 2 years of age and pregnant women against 8 vaccine-preventable diseases. The immunization drive covers vaccines for Tuberculosis, Meningitis, Measles, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Poliomyelitis and Diphtheria. The vaccines for 2 other diseases- Hemophilus Influenza and Japanese Encephalitis will also be provided under the programme in certain select areas.
Key Highlights
·         The IMI 2.0 has been launched to focus on 272 districts of 27 states and 652 blocks of Uttar Pradesh & Bihar among hard-to-reach and tribal populations.
·         The program aims to escalate efforts to achieve the goal of attaining 90% national immunization coverage across India.
·         The IMI 2.0 immunization drive will consist of 4 rounds of immunization. The program will be completed by March 2020.
·         IMI 2.0 will be an enhanced immunization session with flexible timing, mobile sessions & will be mobilized by other government departments.
·         IMI 2.0 will have enhanced focus on left-outs, dropouts, resistant families and hard to reach areas.
·         It will have focus on urban, underserved population and tribal areas.
·         It will be conducted till March 2020.

Agni Dash
Content Writer, Pecuc