Malaria, Plastic Waste, and Sarna Adivasi Dharam (DTE 16-31 December 2020) (Download PDF)

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India՚s Worst Malaria
  • Malkangiri is one of the most backward districts in the country. According to the 2011 Census, it has a population of over 0.61 million, of which 57.8 % people belong to tribal communities. Over 61 % of the population lives below the poverty line. The district՚s IMR of 50 per 1,000 is higher than Odisha՚s 41 and India՚s 32. Many experts cite malaria as one of the contributors to high IMR, along with malnutrition.
  • Reasons: hilly areas, stagnated water, high humid temperature, and an annual rainfall of 1,700 mm
  • In 2016, over 27,000 cases were recorded in the district
  • Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakarana (DAMAN) — meaning malaria control in inaccessible areas — in Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Kandhamal and Gajapati districts. The programme aimed for mass malaria screening, treatment of positive cases, mosquito control measures, intensified surveillance and health awareness activities.
  • Medicated mosquito nets called LLINs (long-lasting insecticidal nets) to the people.
  • Regular meetings organized by Gaon Kalyan Samitis (village welfare committees) alerts to put up nets, DDT spraying, extensive RDT (rapid diagnostic test) and bush cutting have become the new normal.

Plastic Waste

Plastic Waste
  • There is no mention of shortage of waste pickers to collect personal protective equipment (PPE) and mixed waste discarded by households containing hazardous biowaste — used masks, gloves and other cleaning materials being used by people at home.
  • In India, however, waste workers are not provided with any type of PPE by civic authorities or contractors. Many waste workers have not even received their wages for the past few months. However, since there is no grievance redressal system available to them
  • Conventional disposable sanitary/pads are 90 % plastic. The upper layer, commonly referred to as the “fabric” upper layer, is a plastic woven sheet. Each sanitary pad contains equivalent of nearly four plastic bags (about 2 g of non-biodegradable plastic) . It is estimated that sanitary napkins and diapers take between 500 - 800 years to break down or degrade. On an average, a woman uses 10,000 sanitary pads during her reproductive age.
  • A lacuna in the SWM Rules, 2016, categorizes sanitary waste as domestic hazardous waste, and not biomedical waste, which means that such items can be discarded along with household waste. Sanitary waste such as pads and diapers contain human blood and body fluids.

Sarna Adivasi Dharam

  • Jharkhand asking for separate religion code for the tribal population in the upcoming Census 2021.
  • Followers of “Sarna” are usually nature worshippers.
  • At present, under the census, there are codes for only six religions: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.
  • A tribal resident must identify himself or herself as one of these or as “others,” but cannot specify his/her religion as a different one.
  • In census surveys during 1871 - 1951, there was a separate category for tribal population. But later this was dropped
  • In 2016, the Union government decided that the Scheduled Tribes can be recorded under any of the six religions recognized by the census
  • Scheduled Tribes communities can be divided into three categories — those who have adopted Christianity; those who have converted to Hinduism; and those who do not identify as either of these, but are recorded as Hindus in the census.

- Published/Last Modified on: April 13, 2021

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