AGA one in seven people in the world face

 

AGA KHAN ACADEMY, NAIROBI

 

 

 

“REFLECTING
ON THE IMPACT OF SCIENCE”

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ANDREW
KARANU

GRADE
9S

 

2018

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

1.0     INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………….                              03

 

2.0     USING
NUCLEAR SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY TO

          ADDRESS
HUNGER……………………………………………….                              15

 

3.0     ADVANTAGES
OF USE OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE &

          TECHNOLOGY
IN ADDRESSING HUNGER…………                        20

 

4.0     DISADVANTAGES
OF USE OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE &

          TECHNOLOGY
IN ADDRESSING HUNGER…………                        22

 

5.0     CONCLUSION…………………………………………………………..                 24

 

6.0     REFERENCES…………………………………………………………….                25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.0         
INTRODUCTION

 

According
to the World Food Program (WFP), 2017 one in seven people in the world face
hunger on a day to day basis. Statistics from the WFP indicate that some 795
million people in the world (one in nine people on earth) do not have enough
food to lead a healthy active life. The vast majority of the world’s hungry people
live in developing countries, where 12.9% of the population is undernourished. Asia
is the continent with the most hungry people – two thirds of the total. The
percentage in southern Asia has fallen in recent years but in western Asia it
has increased slightly. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest
prevalence (percentage of population) of hunger. One person in four there is
undernourished. From these statistics, it is evident that hunger is a major
global issue of concern and hence the reason the United Nations picked hunger
as a major issue to address in the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

The
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by
the United Nations. The broad goals are interrelated though each has its own
targets to achieve. The total number of targets is 169. The SDGs cover a broad
range of social and economic development issues. These include poverty, hunger,
health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy,
environment and social justice. The SDGs are also known as “Transforming
our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” or Agenda 2030 in
short. The goals were developed to replace the Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs) which ended in 2015. Unlike the MDGs, the SDG framework does not
distinguish between “developed” and “developing” nations.
Instead, the goals apply to all countries  (Wikipedia, 2018)

 

Millions
live with hunger and malnourishment because they simply cannot afford to buy
enough food, cannot afford nutritious foods or cannot afford the farming
supplies they need to grow enough good food of their own. Hunger can be viewed
as a dimension of extreme poverty.

 

 

 

 

3.0     USING NUCLEAR SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY TO

          ADDRESS
HUNGER

 

Some of the most innovative ways being used to improve
agricultural practices involve nuclear technology. Nuclear applications in
agriculture rely on the use of isotopes and radiation techniques to combat
pests and diseases, increase crop production, protect land and water resources,
ensure food safety and authenticity, and increase livestock production.

FAO and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been expanding
knowledge and enhancing capacity in this area for over 50 years. And the
results have led to some major success stories around the world.

The
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is known for its inspections of
nuclear facilities around the world. But they are also collaborating with the
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to apply nuclear
science to food security. IAEA scientists are using radiation to produce
improved high-yielding plants that adapt to harsh climate conditions such as
drought or flood. They are also making species  that are resistant to certain diseases and
insect pests. These mutation induction techniques has been used for a number of
years on small scale but are now being applied to large scale farming today.
More than 3,000 crop varieties of some 170 different plant species have been
successfully released through the direct intervention of the IAEA, from rice to
barley and bananas to grapefruits. (IAEA.ORG,
2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.0     ADVANTAGES
OF USE OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE &

          TECHNOLOGY
IN ADDRESSING HUNGER

 

According
to Farm Press, nuclear power is considered cheap in as far as agriculture
development is concerned because of the increasing price of gasoline,
electricity, diesel fuel and natural gas which is passed onto farmers, for
example: when used in the production of fertilizers. This is evident in the
fact that nuclear energy instead of natural gas can be used in production of
nitrogen fertilizer, thus bringing the cost of fertilizers down. Research carried
out on the use of nuclear techniques for optimizing nitrogen fertilizer
application under irrigated wheat has shown that that this technique increases
the efficiency of nitrogen fertilizer while reduces environmental pollution.

 

Secondly, according to Khanal and Munankarmy
(2009), it is possible to improve health, feeding and fertility of livestock through
the use of nucleic acid hybridization (nuclear related technique), which has
proven to be a promising technique for livestock disease diagnosis. The
conventional approaches of disease diagnosis which direct detection and
isolation consume a lot of time compared to nucleic acid hybridization, which
is said to be very effective in terms of time and sensitivity. Besides, this
technique is also unique because it focuses on the genome of organism instead
of its products. According to the study conducted by Khanal and Munankarmy
(2009), ionizing irradiation is another nuclear technique which plays a vital
role in animal health. Some parasites can be eliminated using this technique
which also helps to produce safer and cost effective vaccines. These methods
have increased the rates of growth and milk and meat production.

 

Thirdly, there are some non-isotopic nuclear
techniques that are being used in agriculture, especially in livestock
production (Makkar, 2008). Gamma irradiation is one of the non-isotopic nuclear
techniques. This gamma irradiation is an effective technique which enhances
nutrient availability in plants that are fed to livestock.

 

Fourthly,
nuclear related techniques help to improve the food production system in terms
of stability, resilience and productivity. Biodiversity of crop plants can be
increased by radiation induced mutations which change the genetic make-up. For
instance, mutation breeding has given more than 3,000 crop varieties of some
170 different plant species in more than 100 countries. This includes rice that
grows successfully in saline soil and barley that grows at 5,000 meters.

 

Nuclear technology also plays a vital role in
soil and water management systems. It is used to improve soil moisture
conservation and reduce wastage of irrigation water which leads to the
improvement of water management in agriculture. One of the nuclear techniques
that help in soil and water management is Soil Moisture Neutron Probe (SMNP).
SMNP is a portable device that is used to measure soil water content at
different depths through access tubes installed in the soil profile. Data
obtained from SMNP are used to calculate the soil water balance and estimate
the total amount of soil water removed from soil evaporation and plant
transpiration (Joint FAO/IAEA, 2004).

 

Furthermore, nuclear techniques are also used
to identify sources of soil pollutant. This helps farmers or environmental
planners to know the specific sources of pollutant sand design most appropriate
management strategies, so that the impact of pollutants can be reduced. For
example, fertilizers and pesticides that are used to improve the agricultural
activities can become pollutants if they reach the rivers, streams and lakes.
To overcome this problem, fallout radionuclides are attached to soil particles
which can track the movement of soil particles from where they originate (Nuclear
Technology Review, 2007).

 

5.0     DISADVANTAGES OF USE OF NUCLEAR SCIENCE
&

          TECHNOLOGY
IN ADDRESSING HUNGER

 

In
the process of using nuclear energy to irradiate seeds and fertilizers, nuclear
waste is generated. Even if recycling efforts of this waste product in recent
years, storing the by product can lead to contamination through various
containment failures. (green and growing
, 2015)

1.    IS
VERY CAPITAL INTENSIVE

Although
it is cheap to maintain the equipment that is used to irradiate seeds and
fertilizers they are very expensive to manufacture or buy. Apart from buying
the equipment a lot of money is also needed to do research.

2.    SCARCITY
OF RAW MATERIAL

Uranium
is currently the sole raw material for generating nuclear energy. As we said
before, this is a scarce resource and in limited supply. Most countries which
use nuclear energy rely on other countries for the constant fuel supply. Since
it’s mined like any other metal, uranium’s availability is limited. Once we
extract it all, nuclear plants will be rendered useless. Uranium cannot be
called a renewable source due to its limited supply and hazardous effects.

3.   
DIFFICULT TO MINE
URANIUM

The uranium used in the process of
fission is a naturally unstable element. This means the people working in
mining, transporting, and storing of uranium must take special precautions. The
same goes for the storing of any waste product resulting from the fission
process; extra safety measures are meant to prevent uranium from emitting
harmful levels of radiation.

           5. WATER POLLUTANT

The chambers where nuclear fission takes
place need to be cooled down by water. Then, this water is turned into steam,
which powers the massive turbines. After the water cools down and changes back
into liquid form, the plant pumps it outside into nearby wetlands. While
measures ensure radiation does not leak into the environment, other heavy
metals and pollutants often escape the chambers. The hot water also gives off
immense heat those damages to ecosystems nearby the reactor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.0     CONCLUSION

 

In conclusion, it is important to note that
despite the disadvantages of using nuclear energy in addressing the challenges
facing the world in general and in enhancing food production to combat hunger
in particular, its use should be encouraged as its advantages far outweigh its
disadvantages. This is because with the increasing world population and adverse
effects of climate change hunger will become an even bigger problem in future
if we do not find techniques that can ensure large scale crop and animal
production to meet the food requirements of the world. It is evident that this
can only be achieved by investing in 

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