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Monthly DNA

29 Sep, 2022

23 Min Read

Buddhist Caves found at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

GS-I : Art and Culture Historical sites

Buddhist Caves found at Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

  • Following an exploration exercise this year, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) reported 26 Buddhist caves in Madhya Pradesh's Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.


  • The caves date from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century BC and are associated with the Mahayana sect of Buddhism.
  • For the first time since 1938, the exploration was held in the region.
  • These discoveries would be roughly contemporaneous with the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Other discoveries: In addition to the caves, other Mahayana sect remains, such as chaitya-shaped doors and cells with stone beds, have been reported.
  • A Buddhist pillar fragment with miniature stupa carvings from the 2nd-3rd centuries AD.
  • Brahmi Inscriptions: A total of 24 Brahmi inscriptions dating from the second to fifth centuries AD were discovered.
  • Inscriptions discovered mention Kaushami, Mathura, Pavata (Parvata), Vejabharada, and Sapatanaairikaa.
  • Shri Bhimsena, Maharaja Pothasiri, and Bhattadeva are among the important kings mentioned in the inscriptions.
  • Gupta period remains were also discovered: The exploration project discovered door jambs as well as 26 ancient Kalachuri period temples/remains (9th-11th century AD).
  • Excavations have also revealed 46 sculptures and 19 waterbodies dating from the 2nd to the 15th centuries.

The Ajanta Caves

  • Ajanta is home to some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, cave paintings, and sculptures.
  • It is in the north-central Maharashtra state, near Ajanta village.
  • Ajanta has 29 caves, the majority of which are Viharas (Buddhist monastery halls of residence), with some Chaitya-grihas (stupa halls)
  • The first Buddhist cave monuments at Ajanta were built during the Gupta period in the second and first centuries B.C. (5th and 6th centuries A.D.).
  • In 1983, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Ellora Caves

  • Ellora, also spelled Elura, is a collection of 34 magnificent rock-cut temples in Maharashtra's Charanandri hills.
  • Display a spirit of coexistence and religious tolerance through the outstanding architectural activities of three major religions: Buddhism, Brahmanism, and Jainism.
  • Ellora's magnificent rock-cut monolithic Kailasa temple, also known as Kailash Leni, was built by Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna I.
  • In 1983, the Ellora complex was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Elephanta Caves

  • Elephanta Island (also known as the Island of Gharapuri) is located in Western India. The small island is dotted with numerous ancient archaeological remains that are the only testimonies to its rich cultural past.
  • The main cave is spread out on Gun Hill and contains incredible sculptures of Lord Shiva in various postures and forms. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve

  • History: In 1968, it was designated as a national park.
  • In 1993, a tiger reserve was established.
  • Location: In the Satpura hill range to the east (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Known for: a healthy tiger population and a diverse range of herbivores.
  • It has a unique biodiversity because it has hills, valleys, rivers, marshes, and meadows that give rise to diverse vegetation.
  • Bandhavgarh is well-known for its Evergreen Sal forest and Mixed forest.
  • There are approximately 515 plant species found there.
  • Fauna: Home to 242 bird species and numerous reptile and insect species.
  • Major Mammals: Tiger, Leopard, Wild dog, Wild cat, Hyena, Wolf, Chital, Sambar, Black Buck, Rojda, and others.
  • Bandhav means "brother," and garh means "fort" in Hindu mythology.
  • It is believed Lord Rama built this fort and gave it to his brother Lakshman.

Read also: Bojjannakonda Buddhist Site

Source: The Hindu

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)

GS-II : Governance Health

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)

World Heart Day is celebrated on 29th September every year.

  • It was first observed in the year 2000, following a collaboration between the World Heart Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • It is a global campaign in which the federation unites people in the fight against the CVD burden and inspires and drives international action to promote heart-healthy living.

Theme: "Use Heart For Every Heart" is the theme for World Heart Day 2022.

What are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs)?

  • CVDs are a group of heart and blood vessel disorders that include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease, and other conditions.
  • Global Scenario: According to WHO, CVDs are the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming an estimated 17.9 million lives in 2019.
  • Heart attacks and strokes account for more than four out of every five CVD deaths, and one-third of these deaths occur in people under the age of 70.
  • Indian Scenario: According to WHO, NCDs accounted for 63% of total deaths in India in 2016, with CVDs accounting for 27%.
  • CVDs are also responsible for 45% of deaths in the 40-69 age group.
  • Risk Factors: The most important behavioural risk factors for heart disease and stroke are an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
  • Individuals may experience the effects of behavioural risk factors as intermediate risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood glucose, high blood lipids, and obesity.

Initiative for Indians:

  • Under the National Health Mission (NHM), the National Programme for the Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke (NPCDCS) is being implemented .
  • Affordable Medicines and Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) Deendayal outlets have opened in 159 institutions/hospitals with the goal of providing cancer and cardiovascular disease patients with discounted drugs and implants.
  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals established Jan Aushadhi stores to provide generic medicines at reasonable prices.
  • Project on ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI): In 2021, the Maharashtra government launched the STEMI programme, which is recognised by NHM, to enable rapid diagnosis of heart disease.

(ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) is a heart condition in which one of the major arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle becomes completely blocked.)

The Way Forward

  • Tobacco cessation, salt reduction in the diet, eating more fruits and vegetables, regular physical activity, and abstaining from alcohol consumption have all been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Health policies that foster environments that make healthy choices affordable and accessible are critical for motivating people to adopt and maintain healthy behaviours.
  • Identifying those at highest risk of CVDs and ensuring they receive appropriate treatment can save lives.
  • Noncommunicable disease medicines and basic health technologies must be available in all primary health care facilities to ensure that those in need receive treatment and counselling.

Read also: DNA

Source: The hindu

Taj Mahal & Pollution Warning     

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Air Pollution

Taj Mahal & Pollution Warning

  • The Supreme Court recently ordered a halt to all commercial activities within a 500-meter radius of the Taj Mahal.

More on the news:

  • The Supreme Court recently ordered the Agra Development Authority to halt all commercial activity within 500 metres of the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasised the Taj Mahal's failure to protect it from various forms of pollution.


  • Previously, the court expressed concern about the Taj Mahal's marble changing colour from white to yellowish, then brownish-green.
  • Illegal businesses are flourishing near the monument's western gate, in flagrant violation of court orders.
  • Toxic gases such as sulphur dioxide were released by industries, foundries, vehicles, and the nearby Mathura petroleum refinery, endangering both the monument and the people in its vicinity.
  • The Supreme Court blamed the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) for the monument's inability to be protected, saying that the ASI "will have to be thrown out of the picture" if the Taj Mahal was to be saved.

Timeline of government and court orders issued to safeguard the Taj Mahal


  • In order to protect the Taj from pollution, the Central Government established the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), which encompassed an area of 10,400 square kilometres around the monument.


  • The Supreme Court ruled that nearby coke/coal-consuming industries were causing harm to the monument and the people who lived in the TTZ.
  • It also ordered the 292 industries in the zone to convert to natural gas as an industrial fuel or relocate.
  • National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Report: A report submitted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in 2010 discovered that, despite various government schemes to reduce pollution in the TTZ area, the iconic Taj Mahal remained under threat from water and air pollution.
  • Furthermore, the NEERI report discovered that the Yamuna water, which was contaminated with industrial discharge, sewage, and solid waste, was causing damage to the monument.
  • While the creation of a bypass, improvements to power supply, and the reduction of diesel generators had a positive impact, the study discovered that nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions had reached higher levels than a decade prior.

The causes of Taj Mahal discoloration

Polluted gases

  • It includes high levels of noxious gases, suspended dust particles, vehicle emissions, and the destruction of green cover in order to build roads and houses.
  • The Taj's beautiful white façade has been corroded and damaged by sulfur dioxide, NOx emissions, and primarily carbon-based particles, leaving it with a yellow sheen.

Polluted Yamuna:

  • According to activists, a dry and the polluted Yamuna is a constant threat to the Taj Mahal's safety.
  • The National Green Tribunal has been battling encroachments on the Yamuna floodplains with its orders.
  • Even the flood plains' boundaries have not been clearly demarcated after years of dithering, the campaigners claim.

Attacks by insects:

  • Insects from the city's sewage-dumping river, the Yamuna, infiltrate the Taj Mahal, staining the marble with their excrement.
  • According to Archaeological Survey of India research, these insects breed in the contaminated debris of the river before attacking the Taj Mahal in the evening.
  • There used to be fish in the river that ate the insects and their larvae, but due to severe water pollution, there are no signs of any aquatic species in the river.
  • Other monuments on the Yamuna River's banks, including the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, the Mehtab Bagh, and portions of the Agra Fort, have also been affected by these insect attacks.

Solutions and the way forward

  • Mud packs: One of the ASI's preferred methods for removing the yellow stains that have appeared over the years on the Taj Mahal's white marble facade is to use mud packs.
  • It is hoped that the treatment, which has traditionally been used to clean marble surfaces, will help restore the monument's natural shine and colour.

How does mud pack help?

  • The clay is applied as a thick paste to the marble, where it absorbs the grime, grease, and bird droppings before being washed away with distilled water.
  • The process is tedious and time-consuming, but it is thought to leave the marble cleaner and shinier.
  • Massive Fund proposed a $30 million project under the Alliance to End Plastic to eliminate more than 90 percent of Agra's plastic waste to help deal with the city's mounting plastic waste.

The Agra Air Action Plan

  • It is a significant step forward in the systematic combat of air pollution.
  • Preventive actions and local-scale compliance enforcement tools, uniquely designed as an agreement between local government and the private sector, could significantly contribute to the plan's successful implementation and long-term sustainability.

National Clean Air Initiative:

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change launched the National Clean Air Programme with the goal of meeting the prescribed annual average ambient air quality standards in 102 non-attainment Indian cities by 2025, with Agra being one of them.

Read Also: World Heritage Day

Source: Livemint

Global Methane Pledge

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Air Pollution

Global Methane Pledge

  • Methane emissions will likely increase by 13 percent by 2030 without the Global Methane Pledge.

About Global Methane Pledge:

  • It was launched in 2021, aims to keep alive the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.
  • Over 100 countries have committed to reducing global methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030 from 2020 levels.
  • This reduction could eliminate over 0.2C warming by 2050
  • India, which is not a part of the Global Methane Pledge, is among the top five methane emitters globally, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Most emissions can be traced back to agriculture.

Aims and objectives

  • It aims to catalyse global action and strengthen support for existing international methane emission reduction initiatives to advance technical and policy work that will serve to underpin Participants’ domestic actions.
  • It also recognizes the essential roles that private sector, development banks, financial institutions and philanthropy play to support implementation of the Pledge and welcomes their efforts and engagement.

About Methane

  • Methane (CH4) is a hydrocarbon that is a primary component of natural gas.
  • It is also a greenhouse gas (GHG), so its presence in the atmosphere affects the earth’s temperature and climate system.
  • It is emitted from a variety of anthropogenic (human-influenced) and natural sources.
  • Anthropogenic emission sources include landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes.

ReadAlso : Methane Emissions- Global Methane Assessment & Climate Change

Source: Down To Earth

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