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Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Historic Handshake

Mahendra Guru
Title: Historic handshake 

(Trump and Kim have traversed a remarkable distance; they must build on it) 

Context:- The historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore is an affirmation of the power of diplomacy. Until a few months ago, the two countries had been trading nuclear threats, as the North raced along with its nuclear weapons programme. 

Now, as Mr. Trump shook hands with Mr. Kim, who had once said the U.S. President was “mentally deranged”, it was a reminder of Richard Nixon’s ground-breaking 1972 visit to Beijing. 

It all began with the new South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s expansive outreach to the North. Mr. Kim reciprocated by sending athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. As the relationship between the Koreas improved rapidly, Mr. Kim invited the U.S. President for a meeting. Mr. Trump accepted at once, surprising America’s allies and rivals. 

However, it was not certain whether the meet would take place. Mr. Trump once called it off after threats and counter-threats escalated. But the appetite for rapprochement was clearly greater on both sides, and the rendezvous was back on track. 

In the brief joint statement after their meeting, Mr. Kim iterated his “firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula, while Mr. Trump offered security guarantees to the North. 

Mr. Trump also announced that he would end the regular American “war games” with South Korea, a concession to the North. While the summit itself was a big success given the distance both countries covered in a relatively short span of time, it is too early to say whether Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim can pull off a Nixon-Mao type breakthrough. 

Final Words 

The joint statement provided few specifics on how denuclearisation can take place or how North Korea’s steps to dismantle its arsenal will be monitored. There are no deadlines mentioned. There is no reference to China, North Korea’s only ally. There has been no word on whether the two will establish formal diplomatic ties.

Title: A plastic charter 

(Mandatory segregation and recycling of plastic waste must be implemented before it is eventually phased out) 

Context:- Every piece of plastic ever disposed of (this includes the toothbrush your great-grandfather used) is damaging the earth. It’s lying somewhere in the earth, floating in the ocean, or been broken down into micro-particles and in the food chain. 

Although a fraction of the plastic disposed of is recycled, most of it eventually ends up in the ocean or in dump sites outside city limits. 

The best way to reduce plastic pollution is to reduce and phase out its consumption. Solutions range from carrying your own reusable steel glass, box, spoon and cloth bag while eating out or shopping for groceries to using alternatives to plastic for household items. 

Rules and results 

India’s Plastic Waste Management Rules (published in March 2016) called for a ban on plastic bags below 50 micron thickness and a phasing out, within two years, of the manufacture and sale of non-recyclable, multi-layered plastic (plastic that snacks come in). More than 20 Indian States have announced a ban on plastic bags. 

Cities such as Bengaluru announced a complete ban (gazette notification), in 2016, on the manufacture, supply, sale and use of thermocol and plastic items irrespective of thickness. 

These include carry bags, banners, buntings, flex, flags, plates, clips, spoons, cling films and plastic sheets used while dining. The exceptions are plastic for export, packaging material for use in forestry, milk packets and hospitals. There are stiff fines that cover manufacturing and disposal. 

However, a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report has said that this ban is barely effective Citizens need to be aware of these rules, governments need to work with citizens to collect fines and companies need to be held accountable in terms of their environmental and social responsibilities. 

We also need strategies to deal with the plastic that has already been disposed of. The same report says that India generates an estimated 16 lakh tonnes of plastic waste annually. If sold at the global average rate of 50 cents a kg, it can generate a revenue of ₹5,600 crore a year. 

The primary responsibility for collection of used plastic and multi-layered plastic sachets (branded chips, biscuit and snack packets) lies with their producers, importers and brand owners. 

From pollution to solutions 

Admittedly, the complexity of dealing with plastic waste is because of its ubiquity(सर्वत्र होना) and distributed market. Several companies produce the same type of packaging so it is impossible for a given company to collect and recycle only its own packaging. 

Final Words 

It is time we rethink, reduce, segregate and recycle every time we encounter a piece of plastic so that it stops damaging our environment and our lives. 

Vocabulary words: 

Traverse (verb) = Negotiate 

Whimsical (adj) = Unstable, freak (सनकी) 

Brink (noun) = A point at which something unwelcome is about to happen, verge 

Reciprocate (verb) = Respond to action by making a corresponding one (परस्पर लेन-देन करना) 

Appetite (noun) = A strong desire or liking for something, hunger 

Rendezvous (noun) = A meeting at an agreed time and place (मुलाकात) 

Iterate (verb) = Perform or utter repeatedly (पुनरावृति करना) 

Unwavering (adj) = Steady, unhesitating 

Pull off (phrasal verb) = To win, succeed 

Phase out (phrasal verb) = To discontinue the practice and production 

Onus (noun) = Something that is one's duty or responsibility (दायित्व) 

Ubiquity (noun) = The fact of appearing everywhere or of being very common (सर्वत्र होना) 

Swathes (noun) = Restriction (बंधन) 

Ostensibly (adv) = Apparently, seemingly (जाहिर तौर पर) 

Perpetual (adj) = Never ending or changing (लगातार) 

Insinuate (verb) = Suggest or hint in an indirect way (संकेत करना) 

Gaffe (noun) = An unintentional act, blunder (ग़लती) 

Aspersion (noun) = An attack on the reputation of someone 

Remunerative (adj) = Financially rewarding, lucrative (लाभप्रद)

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