International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2016


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has marked June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
In 2016, the campaign theme is ‘Listen First.’ The theme aims to raise awareness around listening to children and youths as the first step to help them grow healthy and safe. The campaign targets parents, teachers, policy makers, health workers and prevention workers and highlights how to recognise and prevent risky behaviours and drug use.
The aim of the day is to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science and is thus an effective investment in the well-being of children and youths, their families and their communities. The day serves as a reminder of the need to combat the problems illicit drugs pose to society.
Odisha apparently has a growing number of drug addicts. In the State, 40 per cent kids use inhalants and less than 15 per cent children use heroin. For treatment and rehabilitation, there are 22 de-addiction centres, two counselling centres and two de-addiction and counselling centres in Odisha. Several NGOs are working towards de-addiction. In Bhubaneswar, children involved in rag picking, shoe shining, working as coolies, working in shops and restaurants, road side vending, cleaning and washing utensils in hotels for their survival are often found as drug addicts. These children work for long hours in these occupations.  When there are no means for   living, they sometimes engage in petty theft, drug trafficking or criminal activities. Most of the children start using substance to satisfy their curiosity or to have fun without knowing its future consequences. They mostly use dendrite, tobacco and alcohol. Many children and adults are drug addicted, which gives the city a wrong image. Proper steps should be taken to check this practice to make the city smart and safe.
 Globally, it is estimated that between 153 million and 300 million people aged 15-64 use an illicit substance.  It is also estimated that, there are between 99,000 to 253,000 deaths globally as a result of illicit drug use. In India there are about 3 million estimated victims of different kinds of drug usages. According to a UN report, one million heroin addicts are registered in India, and unofficially there are as many as five millions.
 A National Master Plan for substance abuse was evolved in 1994 which focuses on the establishment of treatment and rehabilitation centres, training of primary care and other personnel in substance abuse. There are around 430 drug dependence treatment centres throughout the country, which are being run by NGOs, supported by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India (MSJE). The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOH&FW), Government of India, has also established about 122 drug dependence treatment centres (DACs) in the country. Most of these Government centres are associated with either general hospitals at the district level or with departments of psychiatry at certain medical colleges.
The most successful approaches in drug use prevention involve the critical role of families, schools, and communities to build on protective factors to ensure safe and healthy childhood and adolescent years and to provide viable and legitimate livelihoods for adults. Families, schools and civil societies can do their part to rid their communities of drugs.
The media can also raise awareness about the dangers of drugs. This will foster communities free of drug-related crime and violence, individuals free of drug dependence who can contribute to our common future. Without treatment and rehabilitation, the matter will further put enormous pressure on the individual family and community.  It is vital to provide treatments and develop design guidelines for rehabilitation of the drug addicted people.
There is a need to organise awareness programme in educational institutions.  Protecting children from drug abuse has to be considered the most essential and urgent need for creating a ‘World fit for Children’ and for a meaningful achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2016


The United Nations General Assembly, designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It represents the day in the year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of our elderly people.
Elder abuse is a global social issue which affects the health and human rights of millions of old persons around the world. As per an estimate, the global population of people aged 60 years and more will be more than double, from 542 million in 1995 to about 1.2 billion in 2025. Around 4 to 6 per cent of elderly people have experienced some form of maltreatment at home. Elder maltreatment can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences.
Population ageing is an inevitable consequence of the demographic transition experienced by all countries in different degrees. India has around 104 million elderly persons which is 8.6 per cent of the population as per Census 2011. The number is expected to increase to 315 million, constituting 20 per cent of the total population by 2050. A large majority of the elderly lives in rural areas and there is an increasing proportion of the oldest age of 80 years and above. India ranks 73 out of 91 countries in quality of life for the aged as per the ‘global age watch index’ by Health Age International. According to the 2011 Census, 9.5 per cent of Odisha’s population consists of the elderly, which is higher than the national average.
Over the past 10-15 years in India, many schemes for care and welfare have been initiated by both the Central and State Governments especially for the elderly. The Government has enacted a law in 2007 called the ‘Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007’ that aims to empower the elderly to receive maintenance and care from children or their legal heirs. The act also provides for establishment of old age homes both by public or private institutions. At the same time, the Act discourages relatives from sending senior citizens to old age homes.
In Odisha where poverty and vulnerability are often exacerbated by frequent natural calamities, coping with the increasing need for social security and support is a considerable challenge both for policy makers and implementing agencies, and more particularly for the elderly. The present old age support schemes and programmes
implemented in the State are as per provisions of the National Policy for Older Persons (NPOP), 1999 and the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007. The Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAP), Indira Gandhi Widow Pension (IGNWP), Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension (IGNDP) and National Family Benefit (NFB) provide financial support for the elderly in the State.
The national programme for healthcare of the elderly (NPHCE) was initiated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The NPHCE provides preventive, curative, rehabilitative and promotional healthcare for the elderly through primary healthcare institutions by creating additional special infrastructure and medical and paramedical human resources, including referral services. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) has recently initiated day care centres for the elderly under the Integrated Programme for Older Persons with 90 per cent financial support from the Government of India. Around 65 day care centres have been established by NGOs operating across the districts of Angul, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Kendrapada, Nabarangpur, Nayagarh and Puri. In order to provide safety and security for the elderly, Senior Citizens’ Security Cells (SCSC) have been created since 2012 in certain police station areas.
Under the eleventh Five-Year plan, India has taken many a step. Well-being of old persons has been mandated in the Constitution of India. Article 41, a Directive Principle of State Policy, has directed that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right of public assistance in cases of old age. There are other provisions, too, which direct the State to improve the quality of life of its citizens. Right to equality has been guaranteed by the Constitution as a Fundamental Right. These provisions apply equally to old persons. Social security has been made the concurrent responsibility of the Central and State Governments.
The elderly in Odisha are more vulnerable, and in this context, the issue of social security assumes greater significance. As per the extensive survey, The Status of Elderly in Odisha-2011, conducted by United Nations Populations Fund-India, one out of ten people above 60 years experience abuse in Odisha. As high as 80 per cent of the elderly in Odisha work due to economic and other compulsions, clearly indicating that poverty and lack of resources compel a majority of them to continue to work well in their senior years for subsistence. Furthermore, the elderly working due to economic compulsion in rural areas (81.2 per cent) is higher than in urban areas (65.5 per cent).
In Odisha, elder abuse and neglect has only recently been a subject of discussion. Most of the elders did not report abuse to maintain confidentiality of the family matter. In fact, to a large extent it is hidden by old people, their families and communities as people do not want to acknowledge or talk about this sort of behaviour.
Old persons play a crucial role in their communities, but their contributions can only be ensured if they enjoy good health and if societies address their needs.
In Bhubaneswar there are about 37,825 old persons, of whom 17,151 are women and 5,122 persons above eighty years of age. Some of them face common form of abuse and neglect. However, most of the elders remain silent to protect family honour. The Smart City should provide more inclusive environment for the elders to live in a smart environment

World Day against Child Labour 2016


The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day against Child Labour on June 12 to attract attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. The theme for this year is ‘Child Labour and Supply Chains.’ 
Supply chains are the sequence of activities/processes involved in the production and distribution of a product. With globalisation, supply chains have become increasingly complex, involving workers, small producers, and enterprises around the world. While most child labour occurs in production for domestic markets, children can also be found working in the production of goods and services for export.
Today, throughout the world, around 215 million children work, many full-time. There are 168 million child labourers aged 5-17 years worldwide, which is 11 per cent of the world’s child population, according to an ILO report. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour.
In India there are 11.7 million child labourers and 4.35 million working children in the age group of 5-14, according to the 2011 census. According 2001census, there were 12.26 million working children in the age group of 5-14 years. Child labour has been decreasing at an abysmal rate from 2001 to 2011. Poverty, lack of good schools and growth of informal economy are considered as the important causes of child labour in India. 
In Odisha, there are a number of child labourers working in different districts.  The State/national level leading child rights networks like Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Forum Against Child Exploitation (FACE) and the State Institute of Labour, Government of Odisha put the figure of 30 lakhs working children in the age group of 6-14 years. Children work in different occupations such as agriculture and allied works, domestic work, hotels and roadside dhabas, motor garage, rag picking, building and construction works, cycle and automobiles repair etc. In Bhubaneswar, children are working in railway stations, hotels, and garages and many in hazardous industries. There are approximately 30,000 child workers in Bhubaneswar.
In 2010 the international community adopted a roadmap for achieving the elimination of the worst forms of child labour by 2016, which stressed that child labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to development. There are many provisions added in the Constitution of India for child welfare to overcome child labour and to avoid the situations that comes as a consequence of the child labour.
In order to stop child labour, the Government of Odisha has passed some rules. One of the important rules is Orissa Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1994.
Besides, the Government of India adopted various programmes for the eradication of child labour in India. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has implemented the national policy through the establishment of National Child Labour Projects (NCLPs) for the rehabilitation of child workers since 1988. Initially, these projects were industry specific and aimed at rehabilitating children working in traditional child labour endemic industries. A renewed commitment to fulfil the constitutional mandate resulted in enlarging the ambit of the NCLPs in 1994 to rehabilitate children working in hazardous occupations. The Government of India is stepping up its fight against child labour. Under new laws, all labour involving children under fourteen years old is illegal. Children under 18 years old are also protected from any type of hazardous work.
There are many solutions to stop child labour. Income of the families should be increased and education for all children irrespective of their economic and social background should be ensured, that helps children learn skills and earn a livelihood.  According to the Economic Survey 2013-2014 conducted by Planning and Coordination Department, 34,409 child labourers (between 5 and 14) were admitted to 812 special schools under National Child Labour Projects (NCLP). Similarly, the Orissa Economic Survey 2014-2015 conducted by Planning and Coordination Department reveals that 32,715 child labourers were admitted to 700 special schools under NCLP. 
Children’s development and the overall eradication of child labour problem depend on active public private partnership, proper Government policies and programmes for eliminating poverty and unemployment and provision of free basic facilities and education to poor people in the society.
A number of cities and metropolitan areas around the world are implementing the “Smart City” concept. The smart city mission in India is to improve the quality of life in 100 fast growing urban centres, including Bhubaneswar. The aim is to increase all citizens quality of life and to improve the efficiency and quality of the services provided by city planning authorities. Besides, the Smart City should provide more inclusive environment for the children to study in a smart environment. Bhubaneswar leads in the Smart City race and topped the list. However, we cannot dream of a Smart City where children are not safe. Therefore, children right should be the top priority for smart cities. Authorities should emphasize and motivate the children and their parents towards mainstream education to abolish child labour in the city.

World Oceans Day 2016


The World Oceans Day, held every June 8, is the United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration and action. The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the plight of oceans and the marine ecosystems they contain. This year, the theme is ‘Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.’
The ocean is absorbing too much heat and carbon dioxide, making it warmer and more acidic. Scientific evidence shows that the impact of human activities, including industrial and agricultural waste, Green House Gas emissions (GMG), and coastal development are seriously affecting the health of our ocean.
Forty per cent of our global oceans are heavily affected by human activities. The trend of biodiversity loss is accelerating on a global scale. Coastal habitats are under pressure, with approximately 20 per cent of the world’s coral reefs lost and another 20 per cent degraded. Mangroves have been reduced from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of their historical cover, impacting biodiversity, habitat for inshore fisheries, and carbon sequestration potential. 29 per cent of sea grass habitats are estimated to have disappeared. Ocean acidification is one of the most serious threats being faced by marine ecosystems today.
These changes are impairing the ocean’s capacity to provide food, protect livelihoods, maintain clean water, recover from environmental stresses like severe storms and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. These factors endanger the survival of hundreds of millions of people and impede the efforts of the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Sea-level rise from climate change is projected to lead to coastal erosion and flooding, resulting in the loss of habitat and livelihood for millions of people. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many millions more people are projected to be affected by floods every year due to sea-level rise by the 2080s.
20 years ago at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the scientific community recognised the need for international coordination of this vast enterprise to improve the quality of services, increase efficiency and provide international access to the global treasure trove of ocean information. The Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), co-sponsored by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), served this role for 20 years, acting on behalf of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the ocean component of the Global Climate Observing System and providing the foundation of data for the future UN Global Marine Assessments.
Ocean health and benefits can be accessed by the ocean health index (OHI). The OHI was developed with the contributions of more than 65 ocean experts. It is the first assessment tool that scientifically compares and combines key elements from all dimensions of the ocean’s health. As per OHI 2014, the overall score of the Oceans of the World stands at 67 out of 100.  In India the ocean health index overall score is 64 and the country ranks 139 among 221 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).
India has a coastline of 7,500 km and 2,000 km wide exclusive economic zone.  The coastline supports almost 30 per cent of its human population. The Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are rich fishing grounds.
Successful management of the sea coast and its ecological development depends upon scientific exploration and exploitation of the living and non-living resources in coastal waters. In order to conserve resources by controlling their depletion and regulate development activities, the Government of India had enacted the Environmental (protection) Act 1986. Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification 1991 was issued under section-3(i) and section 3(ii) (v) of the Environment (Protection) Act. Under this notification, the coastal stretches from High Tide Line to 500m towards land and from High Tide Line to Low Tide Line towards sea are identified as coastal regulation zone (CRZ). Through this notification, the coastline of the country has been declared as ecologically sensitive area, requiring regulation of development activities. The Coastal Regulation Zone Rules, 1991 has led to setting of a number of standards for discharge of effluents in the coastal water and controlling activities within 500 m of High Tide Line.
Odisha has a coastline of 480 km. Uses of the coastline are generally considered under four categories such as resource exploitation; tourism and recreation; and the conservation and protection of biodiversity. The coastal ecosystems are now highly disturbed and very much threatened, encountering problems like pollution, siltation, erosion, flooding, storm surges, uncontrolled coastal development and other activities due to ever expanding human settlements. The major issues related to the coastal and marine resource management in the State are coastal pollution, encroachment coastal lands and over exploitation of coastal resources. Coastal pollution is gradually emerging as an important issue in the State. Domestic wastes, industrial wastes, fertilizers and pesticide residues reach coastal waters through rivers, creeks etc. This, in turn, leads to coastal pollution.
The Government of India has constituted the National Coastal Zone Management Authority. The authority has the responsibility for taking measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment and preventing, abating and controlling environmental pollution in coastal areas. At the State level, Odisha Coastal Zone Management Authority has been constituted. The primary responsibility of the authority is to take adequate measures for protecting and improving the quality of the coastal environment. 
Despite the huge challenges facing the world’s ocean, we can achieve a healthy ocean by our collective effort.  Effective ocean stewardship requires the participation of all members of society in defining a common ocean future and in promoting behavioural change towards the ocean. To survive and prosper, we all need healthy oceans. Therefore it is important to raise awareness about the problems our ocean is facing today and protect our ocean for future.

World Environment Day 2016


The World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5. People of all age groups actively involve during the celebration to save their planet in original form as gifted by the nature. This encourages people to make their nearby surroundings safe and clean to enjoy safer, cleaner and more prosperous future. Many awareness campaigns are also run at schools, colleges and other educational institutions to motivate students towards their environmental safety. ‘Join the race to make the world a better place’ is the theme and slogan for the day in 2016.This slogan carries a clear message and asks everyone to get involved in making the world a better place to live in.
Human population generates more waste and pollution than any other living organism on the earth. More demands for day-to-day basic needs deplete natural resources. The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in its report popularly known as the ‘Brundtland Report’ named after the Chairman of the Commission GH Brundtland.
According to the report, sustainable developments mean development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Two decades ago, the Brundtland Commission report – Our Common Future – addressed the links between development and environment, and challenged policy-makers to consider the interrelationships among environment, economic and social issues when it comes to solving global problems. The report examined emerging global challenges in population and human resources, food security, species and ecosystems, energy, industry and urbanisation.
Odisha is prone to tropical cyclones, storm surges and heat waves. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of the State’s population depends on natural resources to survive. This makes Odisha further vulnerable to climate change impacts. Food security is both directly and indirectly inked with climate change. Any alteration in the climatic parameters such as temperature and humidity which govern crop growth will have a direct impact on quantity of food produced. The consequences of global warming on the coastal zones are one of the major concerns among scientists. Rise in sea levels, a direct impact of global warming and climate change, is the key factor threatening the coastal areas.
It is well known that urbanisation changes the climate of a place. Urban macro-effects are effects that are created by the urban pattern itself. They include Albedo effect, which is the tendency of buildings and paved surfaces to convert solar energy to heat energy and increases the greenhouse effect. This adds to the heating of cities. Heat island effect has the tendency of air to become trapped between buildings, especially tall ones, and heated above ambient levels. Again, this increases the heating of cities and can exacerbate heat wave effects. Throughout the world, cities are summer heat islands. They are hotter than their rural surroundings. The temperature in urban area could be 5 to 10 degree celsius warmer compared to rural areas. The effect is known as the Urban Heat Island (UHI) and is seen almost at all the big cities.
Currently cities suffer from severe environmental problems. Paying attention to the environmental impacts of growth is critical for the provision of adequate housing, energy, water, sanitation and mobility. They have to be ensured in a manner that does not cause major depletion of natural resources or endanger future generations.
Bhubaneswar is currently witnessing several modern buildings and high-rise apartments to accommodate its growing population. Today, the city’s growth is so fast that it is spreading towards Khordha and Jatni. The development activities in the city have led to large-scale deforestation, an increasing volume of traffic, pollution and temperature rise. The city’s expansion and lots of concrete structures are also the reason for microclimatic change over the years. The effects of climate change have been observed since last few years in Bhubaneswar.
It has been found to be excessive heat in summer both during day and night. Bhubaneswar recorded highest temperature in the State compared to Bhawanipatna, Bolangir, Titlagarh and Malkangiri. The tempeeature in Bhubanesware is steadily rising and this year the city created many records in temperature rise. In addition to this, loo prevailed in many parts of Odisha. Dry hot wind creates problem for the commuters. The number of rainy days has been decreased. The ground water level has been decreased by one meter in major areas of the city. The different sources of air pollution in Bhubaneswar are small scale industries, motor vehicles etc.
The choices of food, housing, entertainment, work and mobility all directly or indirectly affect the environment. Building resilience and adapting to climate change is increasingly a high priority for cities.
There is a need to integrate town and regional planning, climate change mitigation and adaptation and emergency management for sustainable human settlement planning. To protect the environment, communities should develop sustainable solutions to meet the basic needs in every sphere of their life. Developing climate-responsible master plan will protect the environmental hazards. Master Plans and Comprehensive Development Plans (CDPs) need to incorporate climate change considerations.  The plan should contain proper green space for plantation with suitable tree species. Components of land-use plan including zoning, FAR, setback etc. should be implemented properly for sustainable development. If planned well, developments can make our lives and the lives of future generations better.
Numerous agencies in India along with Government are trying to make cities more climate-responsive. After the Government of India’s initiative to strengthen municipal governance by the enactment of the Constitution (74th Amendment) Act in 1992, cities today are quite well-placed to make decisions and to initiate innovative responses to climate change. Besides, every individual has a key role for protection of the earth.  To protect the earth, communities should develop sustainable solutions to meet the basic needs in every sphere of their life.
The environment can play a significant role in contributing to development and human well-being. But non-sustainable use of natural resources can threaten individual livelihoods as well as local, national and international economies. A holistic approach is required to mitigate climate change effects by all agencies and stakeholders through initiatives of awareness, training, capacity building and adopting more scientific approach towards development. Every person has to make his or her own choices about protecting the environment. Citizen involvement is crucial to the implementation of an effective environmental protection regime.