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Beijing to spend $2.6 billion this year to fight pollution

  1. What? Beijing aims to spend $2.6 billion to fight pollution and cap the capital city’s population to 22 million this year
  2. It also aims to control the annual average density of PM 2.5 to around 60 micrograms this year
  3. Why? The announcement came as Beijing along with 20 other cities suffered prolonged smog for over two weeks during which officials were criticised for not enforcing the red alert
  4. Actions: In 2017, 700 villages will switch from coal to clean energy. Total coal use will be cut by 30% to seven million tonnes and 300,000 outdated vehicles will be phased out

Back2basics:

About PM 2.5:

  1. It refers to atmospheric particulates with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometres
  2. These are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere
  3. Sources: All types of combustion activities, crushing or grinding operations, and dust from paved or unpaved roads, from the chemical change of gases
  4. Risk: Affects everyone but most harmful to children and senior citizens
  5. Effects: Premature death from heart and lung disease, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma

[pib] What is Saksham Programme?

Context:

  1. A month long awareness programme
  2. The programme is being organized by PCRA (Petroleum Conservation Research Association) and other Oil & Gas PSUs under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas

Aim of Saksham 2017:

  1. Saksham – 2017 is aimed to create awareness amongst masses towards judicious utilization and conservation of petroleum products
  2. It will spread awareness about use of energy efficient appliances and switching to cleaner fuels

Initiatives taken:

  1. During one-month long drive, workshops will be held for drivers of commercial vehicles and housewives, cooks on adopting simple fuel saving measures
  2. It aims to educate on various steps for fuel conservation through activities like Quiz Show, Saksham Asian Cycling Championship, Walkathons, concerts and other activities across the country

Note4Students:

UPSC can ask about this programme in your Prelims exam. You may also use it, wherever relevant, as a part of Mains answer.

PIB

Urbanisation has not led to hotter summer days for many Indian cities

  1. Common notion: Cities with heavily built-up areas and concrete structures are supposed to have higher temperature than non-urban regions due to urban heat island effect
  2. Latest study: Contrary to this notion, a “majority” of 84 cities across India, particularly those in central India and Gangetic Basin, have lower daytime temperature from March to May compared with the surrounding non-urban areas (taken as 1 km radius of the city)
  3. The results once again highlight the importance of increasing the vegetation cover in cities to effectively mitigate the urban heat island effect
  4. Mechanism: While cities have lower daytime temperature than surrounding non-urban areas from March to May, it is the reverse during nights
  5. During night time, the cities, particularly those in the Gangetic Basin, were hotter than non-urban areas. This is prominent in cities that are located in the arid region
  6. Reason: The relatively high vegetation cover leading to higher evapo-transpiration compared with nearby non-urban areas is the main reason why cities are relatively cooler than the adjacent non-urban areas during the day in summer
  7. While the cities have more trees, the non-urban areas are mostly crop lands and are barren during the summer months
  8. The absence of evapo-transpiration during night and the heat contained in the concrete structures increases the night time temperature in the cities during March to May
  9. Relation to heat waves: Since cities tend to have lower daytime temperature during March to May, the intensity of heat-waves will be lower in the cities compared with non-urban areas. This is prominent in cities that are located in the arid region.
  10. During winter: (December to February) Crops that grow in the non-urban areas result in increased vegetation cover and more evaporative cooling leading lower temperature than in the cities
  11. Also, there is increased biomass burning for cooking and heating in the cities during winter leading to increased emission of black carbon
  12. The black carbon emission increases the air temperature which may have a feedback to land surface temperature

Note4students:

Mains 2013 had a question on urban heat island effect. So understand this new mechanism. Tree plantation as a solution to the urban heat island effect is key here. Also, make note of all the bold keywords for prelims.

[pib] Know about World’s largest Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)

Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP):

  1. Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) is currently running in the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) area
  2. It is the World’s Largest Street Light Replacement Programme
  3. Implemented by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture under the Ministry of Power, Government of India

Progress so far:

  1. A total of 15.36 lakh street lights have already been replaced in the country with LED bulbs
  2. This results in energy savings of 20.35 crore kWh, avoiding capacity of 50.71 MW
  3. Reducing 1.68 lakh tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum

Role of EESL:

  1. In the SDMC Project, EESL is addressing complaints from various sources
  2. EESL is putting stringent complaint redressal mechanism and Centralized Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) to enable remote operation and monitoring of the street lights
  3. CCMS provides real time information on energy consumption and remote monitoring of the street lights

Note4Students:

This is a good government initiative to cut down on harmful emissions. Make a note of the points for both Prelims and Mains. Take note of ‘what is EESL?’ for prelims.

PIB

[op-ed snap] Looking towards a greener future

Green Bonds:

  1. Finance environmentally friendly businesses and assets
  2. They have emerged as one of the key financing mechanisms driving the global economy’s transition to a greener future

When and by whom was it issued?

  1. First green bond was issued in 2007
  2. By two multilateral development banks (World Bank and European Investment Bank)

Rising trend:

  1. Green bonds have seen extensive participation from corporates and financial institutions, including sovereign and municipal bodies
  2. Global markets witnessed currency green bonds and innovative structuring along with maiden green bond issuance in a number of countries
  3. Supported by market-driven state policies and marked by a rapid growth in green bond issuance in India and China, the Asian market has emerged as a frontrunner in the green bonds space

Contributing to sustainable growth:

  1. India’s green bond market has witnessed a number of critical milestones following Yes Bank’s and India’s first green infrastructure bonds issued in February 2015
  2. A growing number of corporates and financial institutions have leveraged this innovative mechanism to raise capital, attracting foreign investments and inducing momentum in the market

India’s contribution:

  1. India has witnessed its award-winning first green masala bond (rupee-denominated bond)
  2. The International Financial Corporation raising an off-shore rupee bond on London Stock Exchange for investing in Yes Bank’s green bond
  3. India is demonstrating how innovations in emerging markets have the potential to capture global attention
  4. These green bonds have been crucial in increasing financing to sunrise sectors like renewable energy, thus contributing to India’s sustainable growth
  5. The Climate Bond Initiative, in its India update, indicated that about 62% of the green bond proceeds have been allocated to renewable energy projects
  6. Followed by the low carbon transport sector and low carbon buildings

Guidelines:

  1. In January 2016, the Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) of India published its official green bond guidelines and requirements for Indian issuers,
  2. Placing India amongst a select set of pioneering countries who have developed national level guidelines
  3. India the seventh largest green bond market globally
  4. In addition to SEBI’s guidance on green bonds, the Reserve Bank of India passed regulatory reforms aimed at strengthening and expanding India’s corporate bond market

Expectations from 2017 and beyond:

  1. Full potential of India’s green bond market remains untapped, with only a limited number of issuers so far
  2. With increasing interest from the government and market regulators, 2017 is expected to see further developments in terms of innovations and supporting policy and regulatory frameworks aimed at bringing more clarity and impetus to the space
  3. A more descriptive and exhaustive classification from Indian regulators and policymakers in the coming years would be crucial in expanding the green bond market further
  4. The upcoming year is poised to witness the first ‘blue bond’ issuance (bonds used to specifically finance water infrastructure) in India

Way ahead:

  1. Developed countries have reaffirmed their $100 billion mobilisation goal per year by 2020 in CoP. To support climate action in emerging nations, utilisation of green bonds is an effective vehicle to tap into climate funds
  2. Collective participation of regulators, policymakers, corporate and financial institutions is going to be crucial in pushing frontiers of green bonds further, unleashing new opportunities in addressing climate change

Note4students:

Keep important facts in mind about green bonds like- who issued it first etc. This can also be a part of solution for environmental issues in essay and GS answers.

Indonesia to resume work on ‘Giant Sea Wall’ to save sinking Jakarta

  1. What’s the issue? Greater Jakarta, one of the world’s most densely populated cities, sits on a swampy plain and is sinking at a faster rate than any other city in the world
  2. The solution: Jakarta has focused its attention on bolstering its defences with a 15-mile ‘Giant Sea Wall’ and refurbishing the crumbling flood canal system
  3. However, the reclamation work was suspended due to regulatory and environmental concerns
  4. Now, Govt has decided to allow work to continue on a key phase of the wall, which aims to shore up northern Jakarta while revamping the capital’s image into a Singapore-like waterfront city

Indian representation at IUCN Congress

  1. Three Indian conservationists will be felicitated for their work on nature conservation
  2. Kolkata-based ecologist Dhrubajyoti Ghosh will be awarded the prestigious Luc Hoffmann Award
  3. He is being recognized for his pioneering work on the East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), which have been designated a Ramsar Site (Wetland of International Importance)
  4. Bibhuti Lahkar from Assam is one of the three persons to be receive the IUCN Heritage Heroes Award
  5. Lahkar, a grassland specialist working in Manas National Park, is the only Asian to get nominated
  6. The International Brandwein Medal will be awarded to Kartikeya V. Sarabhai, for his lifetime work in creating an exemplary education movement focused on nature, the environment, and sustainability across India
  7. Sarabhai is the founder director of Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad

10-day IUCN World Conservation Congress begins

  1. News: The opening ceremony of the 25th World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) took place at the Neal Blaisdell Center in Hawaii
  2. Theme: Planet at the crossroads
  3. Hawaii is the endangered species capital of the world. Islands are the frontlines of biodiversity loss and most vulnerable to climate change

Six rivers flowing above danger mark in Bihar

  1. News: The Falgu river inundated a vast area in Nalanda district
  2. While the Ganga and Five other rivers are flowing above the danger mark in Bihar
  3. At least 10,000 people in nine panchayats in Nalanda district were affected by the swollen Falgu river

49 rhinos died in Assam since May

  1. News: 49 rhinos have died since May in Assam and the horns of only 19 were recovered by the Forest Department
  2. Poachers: Killed five rhinos in Kaziranga National Park and one in Orang National Park in little over two months
  3. Natural: 22 rhinos were killed in natural calamity (flood) and 21 had natural deaths across Kaziranga, Manas and Pobitora forest areas

Centre lets microbeads off the hook

  1. News: Key arms of the Indian government have side-stepped the microbeads issue either passing the responsibility or saying that no studies have been conducted to ascertain the harm posed
  2. Microbeads: Small pellets of plastic, extensively used in personal care products such as shampoo, baby lotion and face cream and considered toxic to marine life, are being banned internationally
  3. Context: A petition filed before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) requesting a ban on microbeads was referred to Ministries of Health, Environment and Water Resources
  4. Petition argued that microbeads are too small to be caught by sewage treatment and water filtration techniques and they pass unchecked into rivers and seas and contaminated them
  5. They take centuries to degrade and worse, are sometimes eaten by fish and other aquatic animals and could even make their way into human diets

De-register 10-year-old diesel vehicles in Delhi, says NGT

  1. News: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered Road Transport Offices (RTO) to de-register all diesel vehicles that are over 10 years old
  2. The NGT also directed RTO to share data of the vehicles that will be de-registered
  3. In April 2015, the NGT had ordered a ban on diesel vehicles over 10 years old
  4. The order was challenged, but the NGT dismissed the appeal

Government supports big diesel cars

  1. News: The Centre backed the plea of makers of big cars for lifting the ban on fresh registrations of large cars in the National Capital Region
  2. Background: The Supreme Court had banned fresh registration of diesel luxury cars and SUVs with over 2000 CC engine capacity
  3. Centre: Big diesel cars and SUVs have better emission norms than smaller cars
  4. The Centre also warned that if the ban is continued, global car makers would opt to leave India for greener pastures, increasing unemployment and reducing FDI
  5. Alternative: The Centre suggested that instead of the ban, car makers should be allowed to deposit with the government 1% of the price of every 2000 CC diesel vehicle bought

Volkswagen US settlement

  1. News: German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) has reached a US$ 15 billion settlement with US car owners after admitting it cheated emission tests
  2. The deal would offer to repair or buy back the affected diesel vehicles and pay owners compensation
  3. The deal would be the largest car scandal settlement in the history of US
  4. Background: In 2015, US regulators discovered that VW cars were fitted with software that could distort emissions tests
  5. VW had subsequently said that 11 million cars were affected worldwide
BBC

Significance of Russian poplars

  1. Central to rural economy in Kashmir
  2. Source of livelihood for many because fruit boxes are made of it
  3. Given its height, poplars stand distinctly in Kashmir landscape and are present in most highways, forming a canopy and forms a tourist attraction
  4. The Russian variety grows faster than the local variety

Campaign to protect poplar trees in Kashmir

  1. News: A mass awareness campaign has started in Kashmir to protect the poplar trees from being cut down
  2. Background: In 2014, the J&K High Court first banned the sale, purchase and plantation of female Russian poplars, post which lakhs of trees were cut down
  3. Allergy: The ban was due to a public outcry and medical warnings that their cotton shedding laden with pollen, during late spring was the main cause of allergies
  4. Campaigners: Poplar-induced allergy stands at number six as a cause of allergy, with dust being the leading source
  5. Also, the size of its cotton is big enough to enter human body
  6. Alternative: Pruning poplar trees during autumn could cut down cotton circulation by 80% in spring

Work on eco-tourism project by September

  1. Context: Wagamon-Thekkady-Idukki-Gavi Eco-tourism Circuit project
  2. Aim: To give a boost to the tourism sector in the Area
  3. A walkway will be built in the pine valley forest
  4. Development: Eco Friendly infrastructure and facilities

HC stays curbs on new diesel vehicles

  1. Context: HC of Kerala stayed, partially, a directive of NGT for two months
  2. HC allowed registration of new vehicles of 2000 cc engine but continued the decision of NGT not to permit diesel vehicles older than 10 years
  3. Earlier: NGT had given order to follow the above decisions
  4. HC: There was absolutely no data available before the tribunal to pass such an order
  5. NGT didn’t pass an order on the basis of a detailed study of the quality and standard of pollution in the State

China to adopt world’s strictest vehicle emission standards

  1. Context: Chinese capital Beijing will implement the world’s strictest vehicle emission standards by next year, called Beijing VI
  2. Target: To reduce hazardous hydrocarbon emissions by 5%
    By 2022, overall vehicle emissions pollution in Beijing will be reduced by 20 to 30%
  3. Background: Gasoline standards in Beijing are always one or two stages ahead of other Chinese cities
  4. Beijing took the lead in China in using unleaded gasoline 2007 and worked out Beijing II gasoline standard in 2014
  5. Later in 2005, 2008 and 2012, Beijing issued and implemented Beijing III, Beijing IV and Beijing V gasoline standards

Nature lovers launch localised birding app

  1. A group of nature enthusiasts launched an application to provide info on birds
  2. Aim: To create awareness among people about ecological conservation
  3. It will provide information about 250 birds found in the city suburb of Vasai
  4. The application also gives a status of the bird as per the IUCN list

Two Kerala trees facing extinction- II

  1. Gluta travancorica (nick name- chengkurinji) found only at particular elevation of western ghats in Kollam district
  2. It is a protected species & grows only in the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in Kollam
  3. Sizygium travancoricum is a mangrove found mostly in the southern parts of Kerala
  4. It is felled for medical purpose
  5. Reason for extinction: Uprooting of plants for different application, no re-plantation, no visible programme to propagate and survival of trees

Two Kerala trees facing extinction

  1. Context: The report on plant species named as State of the World’s Plants, noted that two Kerala trees are facing extinction
  2. The two trees are Gluta travancorica and Sizygium travancoricum- they are with the ‘Travancore tag
  3. The report is given by Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG), the IUCN, and the Natural History Museum
  4. The report will be presented in the UN Biodiversity Summit at Nagoya, Japan, in October

Disclosure in public interest

  1. CIC finds the issue of disclosure of report of Shailesh Nayak Committee is very vital and of greater public interest
  2. If the report discussed the errors and inconsistencies of the CRZ notification, they should be made known to the public in general and appellants in particular
  3. Why? So that there can be a fair chance of analysing scientific, administrative or legal basis of these amendments, that might have been identified by the Committee

Conservation suffers as roadkills in Chinnar sanctuary shoot up

  1. Context: A study conducted by the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI)
  2. Finding: 85 roadkills in the past six months within the Chinnar sanctuary limits
  3. This is one of the highest number of roadkills during the period compared to sanctuaries in other States
  4. Reason: Lack of strict measures to enforce speed limits on vehicles on the Chinnar-Udumalpet road

‘Plant kingdom faces increasing threats’

  1. Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens warned on threats faced by plants through its report
  2. State of the World’s Plant: First global report on plant drawn up by botanists at the Kew Gardens research centre
  3. Kew Gardens research centre: Has one of the world’s largest collections of plants in its greenhouse and sprawling gardens
  4. Report: The threats to the plant kingdom come from farming, house construction, diseases and pesticides are also responsible
  5. Climate change is playing a marginal role only

China to name and shame polluters of Mt Everest

  1. China will introduce black list system for the tourist who pollute historic places and Mt Everest
  2. Aim: To preserve the beauty of scenic places and also to protect ecology of Mt Everest

SC amends order, diesel cabs to be phased out gradually

  1. Supreme Court made it clear that its final objective is a gradual phase out of diesel taxis
  2. SC changed its blanket ban to allow diesel-run All India Travel Permit taxis to operate till the expiry of their existing permits
  3. Background: The SC ban on diesel taxis in Delhi from May 1 had led to widespread protests
  4. State and the Centre urgently approached SC for modification of its order
  5. Reason: There are around 64,000 diesel cabs with All India Travel Permits (AITP)
  6. Ban on them would have severely affected the growing BPO businesses located mostly in NCR

Himalayan varieties help scientists develop blight-resistant pomegranate

  1. Context: Scientists have developed a new variety of pomegranate
  2. Developed with the use of wild Himalayan pomegranate
  3. It has the ability to resist disease of bacterial blight
  4. Benefits: To contribute to the environment-friendly cultivation
  5. Reduce use of pesticides
  6. Bacterial blight: Major destroyer of this fruit crop specially in South India
  7. 60% of the fruit crop is being lost every year in the country
  8. It also accounts for high use of hazardous pesticides

Illicit timber trade thrives in Uttarakhand forests

  1. Context: Uttarakhand forest facing threat from illicit traders
  2. The state has 65% of forest area
  3. Issue: No inventory made by the State
  4. This encouraged a flourishing and organized trade in illicit timber
  5. Illicit traders kill the roots by making deep marks using a sharp instrument
  6. Uses acid to make tree die and to extract Resins
  7. Reason: Pine trees have high commercial value in market

Relief for wetlands

  1. Context: NGT has stopped the construction near Bellandur-Agara wetlands
  2. Reason: On the basis of environmental clearances
  3. Rules: No construction is allowed in a buffer zone of 75 metres around the lake and 50 metres from the edge

Tourism a hindrance to marine ecology: study

  1. Context: Mangroves for the Future (MFF) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India’s gap analysis study
  2. Aim: To assess the impact of marine tourism activities on the Grande island (Goa) archipelago
  3. Also, identify and assess the key threats from unsustainable marine tourism activities
  4. Finding: Various marine activities off the Goan coast are threatening the rich bio-diversity and marine life in the State
  5. Reason: Failure of State’s multiple agencies dealing with eco-system conservation, tourism and fisheries to have a coordinated initiative to regulate such activities
  6. Redressal: local community engagement and support, science-based management and monitoring were essential components of successful marine conservation initiatives

Centre steps in with special aid

  1. Context: Central govt has approved a special assistance of Rs 35,000 crore to help Maharashtra
  2. Why? To tide over the mess in its irrigation sector
  3. Criticisms: Successive governments have performed poorly in irrigation sector amidst allegations of misuse of funds and authority
  4. Plan: Funds will be diverted over three years towards completion of 199 ongoing projects in the drought-affected areas of Marathwada and Vidarbha
  5. Aim: To double the state’s irrigated area to 126 lakh hectares from the existing 48 lakh ha

A people’s movement in Uttar Pradesh to revive a river

  1. Context: An effort to give new life to dead river Katha is underway in UP
  2. The river had dried in 1830
  3. Effort to turn barren riverbed into a lake
  4. Plan to tap nearby water sources to feed it
  5. Also, to put up check dams to harvest monsoon water along the river bed
  6. One House One Pot: Water movement launched by villagers

NGT halts Tawang hydro power project

  1. Context: NGT has suspended the clearance for Tawang hydro power project, Arunachal Pradesh, granted in 2012
  2. Why? The clearance didn’t consider the impact of the hydro project on the habitat of the black-necked crane
  3. Other species found in the region- the red panda, the snow leopard and the Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala)
  4. Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala) is a recently-described primate species in the area

Tweaked Bill sees greater role for States in forest fund management

  1. Context: The Union Cabinet has amended a Bill on environmental laws
  2. Aim: To ensure a greater role for States in deciding how they will use funds to replenish forests affected by development projects
  3. The Bill is part of modifications proposed to expedite the creation of a central body, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA)
  4. Advantages: Utilisation of these amounts will result in mitigating the impact of diversion of forest land, creation of productive assets
  5. It will also generate huge employment opportunities in rural areas, especially in backward tribal areas

2016 already shows record temperatures

  1. Context: Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  2. What? 2016 is off to a record-breaking start for global temperatures
  3. It has been the hottest year to date, with January, February and March each passing marks set in 2015
  4. March was also the 11th consecutive month to set a record high for temperatures, which agencies started tracking in the 1800s
  5. Urgency: NOAA is the third independent agency, along with NASA and the Japan Meteorological Association, to reach similar findings

About El Hierro island

  1. It is a remote Spanish island nestled deep in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa
  2. It has rugged coastline of great black volcanic cliffs, badland moonscapes and ancient forests, the island
  3. It is a UNESCO biosphere reserve

Spanish island vying for 100% clean energy


 

  1. Context: El Hierro, a tiny rugged Canary island, has gone all out to produce all its electricity from renewables
  2. On February 15, for first time, its hydro-wind plant produced enough electricity for the 7,000 inhabitants for more than 24 hours
  3. Limitations: It still needs to be convinced that it can rely 100% on renewable energy for long periods of time
  4. The two water reservoirs are not big enough to produce clean electricity all year round

Coral bleaching hits 93% of Great Barrier Reef

  1. Context: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is suffering with 93 per cent of the reef affected by bleaching
  2. It is the worst coral bleaching in its recorded history
  3. Bleaching has also spread south to Sydney Harbour for the first time and across to the west
  4. Reason: Whitening triggered by warmer water temperatures

Drought hits production of sugar

  1. Context: Data by Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA)
  2. Data: The country produced 24.34 million tonnes of sugar in the current crushing season against 26.47 million tonnes last season
  3. Reduction: This implies that sugar production in the country has decreased by 8%
  4. Reason: Over two-thirds of the sugar mills in Maharashtra and Karnataka have closed down due to drought

Learn about Sacred Groves

  1. Sacred means something considered to be holy and Grove means a small area of land with trees of particular types grown on it
  2. Concept: Sacred Groves is an area with particular types of trees dedicated to local deities that are protected by local communities through social traditions and taboos
  3. Significance: They are rich repositories of valuable medicinal plants including rare, endangered, and threatened species
  4. They are valuable gene pools of immense ecological significance

The circle of economy, the cycle of drought

  1. Context: Daily struggles of lakhs facing the most immediate consequences of an extended drought and acute water scarcity in Latur district
  2. Effects: Poor farm yield, low income and diminishing spending power of the farmers
  3. The weddings lack the pomp, while festivities are curtailed both in urban and rural areas
  4. Geographically, too, the impact of the current crisis varies across regions
  5. The shifting rainfall pattern is the biggest cause of crop failure, which has hit both kharif and rabi sowing this year

Rapid urbanisation, exploitation big threats

  1. Damage: Over the years, several sacred groves in Kerala have disappeared
  2. Reasons: Urbanisation, encroachments, and reckless exploitation of biological resources
  3. The breakdown of the joint family system and fragmentation of landholdings have also led to the destruction
  4. Cattle grazing, poaching of birds and animals, and the shift to cash crops are the other threats
  5. Encroachments have resulted in the shrinkage of some of the largest ‘kavus’ in Ernakulam and Kannur districts.

Kerala on a mission to conserve sacred groves


 

  1. Context: State Medicinal Plants Board (SMPB) is embarking on a project for conservation of sacred groves in Kerala
  2. Aim: To arrest the depletion of the rich gene pool and protect the hotspots of local biodiversity
  3. Funds: 1.34 crore project by by the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB)
  4. Involves conservation and resource augmentation of sacred groves with medicinal plants in over 100 hectares
  5. Activities: Bio-fencing, inventorisation of plant wealth and cleaning up of water bodies.

Ultra-thin graphene sensor to detect air pollution in homes

  1. Context: Scientists have developed a graphene-based sensor and switch that can detect air pollution inside homes
  2. The sensor detects individual CO2 molecules and volatile organic compound gas molecules found in buildings, furniture and even household goods
  3. These gases are measured in parts per billion and are extremely difficult to detect with current environmental sensor technology, which can only detect in parts per million (ppm)
  4. Sick building syndrome: An increase in health problems due to air pollution in personal living spaces, in recent years
  5. There are also other conditions such as sick car and sick school syndromes

Rising heat linked to more reef bleaching

  1. What? Some corals in the Great Barrier Reef are known to be resilient when subjected to rises in temperature but a study warned that this protective mechanism could soon disappear
  2. If sea surface temperatures (SST) rise by as little as 0.5 degrees C over present, present coral bleaching could spread dramatically
  3. Reason: Innate response to the stress of warming waters that corals have shown in the past
  4. How? When corals are exposed to a pre-stress period in the weeks before bleaching, this acts like a practice run & corals become more tolerant & less vulnerable to bleaching
  5. However, if SST rise more than 2 degrees C above monthly average temperature, this protective mechanism could be lost and more corals may be damaged

Melting of Greenland ice sheet reaches new low

  1. Context: Acc to Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) data, the seasonal melting of Greenland’s vast ice sheet reached record levels in 3rd week of April
  2. Why? It coincides with unusually warm weather in the Arctic, with temperatures at some weather stations on the ice reaching 10 degrees Celsius
  3. Imbalance: Rain and meltwater at this time of the year typically runs back into the snow and freezes again
  4. But by warming the snow further, it reduces the amount of heating needed to prompt the melting to start again later in the season

NGT stays appraisal of Bhadradri thermal power project

  1. What? NGT has directed Environment Ministry not to proceed with the project appraisal of the Bhadradri Thermal Power Plant at Manuguru until further orders
  2. Why? Alleged violation of the Environment Act, Water Act and Air Act
  3. Also, the work for the project had commenced even before the Environmental Clearance was obtained
  4. Who? NGT had been approached in December last by the Human Rights Forum for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (HRF)

HC wants IPL matches shifted from Maharashtra

  1. What? Bombay High Court directed BCCI to shift IPL matches (scheduled after April 30) outside Maharashtra
  2. Time: A Division Bench has granted 15 days to make all arrangements to shift the matches
  3. Issues: People continue to be without water in Latur and even ground water is not available
  4. Even cities around Mumbai like Thane, Kalyan and Pune are reeling under severe scarcity of water and
  5. HC: Therefore the court cannot act as mere spectator
  6. Shifting of IPL matches alone won’t solve the problem, but it can be a beginning so that water used for pitches can be diverted to affected areas

Heat waves claim lives in AP

  1. Context: Heat wave sweeping Andhra Pradesh has claimed 45 lives till date
  2. Preparations: Hospitals and health centres have to gear up to treat the people
  3. Govt has urged philanthropists to come forward and set up water kiosks to help passersby
  4. Govt: Would extend all possible assistance to the victim’s families

Let’s know more about Nautilus pompilinus


 

  1. What? It is a pelagic marine mollusc
  2. It has one of the oldest animal lineages on the planet
  3. It is a palm-sized adult animal & can live up to 20 years in ocean depths
  4. Commonly known as pearly nautilus considering the pearly nacre on its external shell

Ballast water bringing invasive species to coasts

  1. News: Scientists fear that ballast water carried by ships is providing a vehicle to bring in exotic species
  2. The expansion of seaports and minor ports could pave the way for the arrival of invasive species in coastal areas
  3. Evidence: 10 invasive species in the biodiversity-rich intertidal habitats of the Kerala coast are found
  4. Species: It includes seaweed, bryozoan, mollusc and ascidian
  5. Ballast: It is a compartment in a ship which provides it stability. It holds water which moves in and out to balance the ship

Hundreds of fish found dead in Bengaluru’s Ulsoor Lake

  1. News: A large fish kill was reported in the Ulsoor Lake on Monday morning
  2. Officials said: This was almost an annual occurrence with rising temperatures
  3. Important Reasons: Fish kill is usually a direct result of reduced dissolved oxygen level in the water
  4. Algae in the lake release oxygen into the water, it uses up dissolved oxygen during night time along with the fish, creating a big drop in the dissolved oxygen levels

Learn more about Falcated duck

  1. IUCN listed: Classified as near threatened in terms of its conservation prioritization
  2. Recent estimates: World population of this species to be just about 89,000 individuals
  3. Greatest threat: Loss of habitat and hunting
  4. Cause for concern : Loss of habitat in their winter migratory region
  5. With this new sighting, the checklist of Birds of Goa stands at 461 species

Falcated Duck sighted in Goa

Falcatedduck


  1. News: A new bird Falcated Duck, a very rare vagrant species to the south of India, which became the latest addition to the checklist of ‘Birds of Goa’
  2. Significance: Falcated duck is a regular winter migrant to the northern States of India.
  3. In World: They breed in Russia and north China in summers and migrates towards north of India in winter
  4. Some individuals though are known to move further south.
  5. 2 reports from south: First was reported from Tamil Nadu in 2012
  6. In Jan 2015, a single individual was reported from Akola in Maharashtra and this sighting by the birding trio is only the third from south India

Learn about Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)

  1. What? a tradable certificate of proof that 1 MWh of electricity has been injected (or deemed to have been injected)
    Issued by: Renewable Energy generators injecting power to the grid
  2. Why? to address the mismatch between availability of renewable energy sources and the requirements of obligated entities to meet their RPO

Learn about Renewable purchase obligation (RPO)

  1. What? the minimum share of total power that electricity distribution companies and some large power consumers need to purchase from renewable energy sources
  2. Roadmap by: The Electricity Act and National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC); for increasing the renewable energy in total generation
  3. Mandated by: Central/State Regulatory Commission
  4. Present scenario: many of the states are not fulfilling RPOs, which has led to large inventory of unsold Renewable Energy Certificates (REC)

Centre has asked states to prepare green energy action plans

  1. Aim: To introduce renewable energy technologies and install solar rooftop panels with year-wise targets
  2. RPO: to set annual targets for renewable purchase obligation (RPO) till 2022
  3. To identify locations to set up renewable energy plants

Learn about Himalayan griffon vulture?

  1. Family: The Himalayan vulture or Himalayan griffon vulture is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae
  2. Characteristics: Himalayan griffons do not breed in the first 3 years, and hence juvenile birds of the species do not remain in breeding grounds to avoid competition
  3. IUCN Listed: Near Threatened
  4. Where? Found in Kazakhstan, China, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Thailand, Burma, Singapore and Cambodia

Himalayan griffon spotted in Goa

  1. Context: Birdwatchers in Goa have reported spotting the rare Himalayan griffon, also known as Himalayan vulture
  2. Background: The Himalayan griffon was previously believed to belong to the upper Himalayas and was presumed to stray till the Gangetic plains at the most
  3. Spotted Places: In recent years, spotted even in southern states including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

What is geocement?

  1. Geocement is made out of industrial wastes.
  2. It comes in two-part packing – 35 kg Geocement powder and 15 kg Geobinder liquid.
  3. Both can be mixed at construction sites like normal cement.
  4. It comprises a range of products including geo-binder, geo-powder and geo-concrete (geocrete), is aimed at cutting down carbon emissions by over 80%.

Kiran Global Chems unveils ‘green’ cement

  1. Kiran Global Chems Ltd. has introduced its indigenously-developed eco-friendly Geocement.
  2. This cement will play a role in cutting carbon emission levels while being stronger than Portland cement.
  3. For every tonne of cement production, there will be about 800 kg of CO2 emission. But Geocement will help cut emissions.
  4. The anti-bacterial properties of the cement can be used for construction of underground seweage pipes and toilets as well.
  5. This company is the first one to come out with green cement for commercial use.

Cabinet approves policy on Promotion of City Compost

  1. The Union Cabinet has given its approval for a Policy on Promotion of City Compost.
  2. Market development assistance of Rs. 1500/tonne of city compost for scaling up production and consumption of the product.
  3. Market development assistance would lower MRP of city compost for farmers.
  4. Eco-Mark standard for City Compost would ensure that environment friendly quality product reaches the farmers.
  5. Fertilizer companies and marketing entities will also co-market City Compost with chemical fertilizers through their dealers’ network.
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What is the benefit of promoting of City Compost?

  1. Composting can reduce the volume of waste to landfill/dumpsite by converting the waste into useful by-products.
  2. Compost from city garbage would not only provide carbon and primary/secondary nutrients to soil but also help in keeping the city clean.
  3. It will also prevent production of harmful greenhouse gases (especially methane) and toxic material that pollutes groundwater apart from polluting the environment.
  4. City Waste composting would also generate employment in urban areas.
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Whales fatally disoriented by sound, magnetism?

More than one hypothesis on stranding of whales point to hearing sensitivity of these toothed mammals implicated in such events.

  1. Episodes of mass stranding of whales across the world show pilot whales to be the most commonly involved in the phenomenon.
  2. More than one hypothesis on stranding of whales, including short-finned pilot whales that died in large numbers on the Thoothukudi coast in Tamil Nadu.
  3. Point to hearing sensitivity of these toothed mammals implicated in such events.
  4. Sensitivity to low frequency sound is key for whales, as they use echolocation for orientation.
  5. An undersea earthquake of 4.7 Richter magnitude that could have sent out magnetic waves and disoriented them, causing them to change their navigational path.

Chennai prepares to welcome the Olive Ridleys

Volunteers are clearing city beaches of garbage from the recent floods, ahead of the turtles’ nesting season.

  1. The Turtle Talks, one of the organisations involved in clean up activities for over a month now.
  2. They found over 6 tonnes of garbage during clean-ups at the seashore near Pattinambakkam and the Broken Bridge over the weekend.
  3. The Student’s Sea Turtle Conservation Network (SSTCN), Chennai Trekking Club and many volunteers were also a part of the clean-up activity.
  4. If there is so much garbage on the sands, it will become impossible for the turtles to come and lay their eggs.
  5. Another issue is the bright lights along the beach, which might result in the baby turtles moving towards the source of illumination on the road.

Let’s know Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) ?

  1. The CMS (also known as Bonn Convention) under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  2. It aims to conserve migratory species throughout their range.
  3. India had become a party to the CMS since 1st November 1983.
  4. Pakistan and Nepal are the Indian neighbours who are signatories to this MoU.

Ashtamudi, a lake in distress

  1. There is a massive scale encroachments continuing along Ashtamudi lake.
  2. It is the estuarine islands of the lake that are expanding in size due to encroachments.
  3. The lake is a Ramsar wetland of international importance and second largest estuarine system in Kerala.

Olive Ridleys find new haven in East Godavari

A recent study has revealed that Olive Ridley Turtles are finding the islands in East Godavari district safe abodes for nesting.

  1. There has been a steady increase in the number of these seasonable visitors arriving at the Hope Island, Sacemento Island, Yellaiahpeta and Surasani Yanam.
  2. Every December, thousands of Olive Ridley turtles come all the way from the Indian Ocean to the shores of Bay of Bengal in search of suitable places for nesting.
  3. The seashores in Odisha are the most sought after sites for these turtle varieties to lay eggs before swimming back to the Indian Ocean.

The gap in environmental crime statistics

Rajasthan alone accounts for half of all environmental crimes committed in India in 2014. In six states and four Union territories, no environmental crimes were recorded.

  1. In 2014, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) began compiling data on environment-related offences.
  2. Ironically, Delhi, which rivals Beijing in poor air quality and where the Yamuna is choking under the weight of industrial and household waste, records no crimes under 2 laws.
  3. Most of the offences relate to just two Acts, the Forest Act and the Wildlife Protection Act, with the bulk recorded under the former.

How does the NCRB define an environment-related offence?

It includes violations under only 5 laws:

  • Forest Act, 1927
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  • Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (as amended in 1988).

Union Government notifies stricter standards for Coal Based Thermal Power Plants

Government has notified the revised standards for coal-based Thermal Power Plants in the country with the primary aim of minimising pollution.

  1. Government has notified the revised standards for coal-based Thermal Power Plants with the primary aim of minimising pollution.
  2. The new standards are aimed at reducing emission of sulphur dioxide, PM10 and Oxide of nitrogen.
  3. It would in turn help in bringing about an improvement in the Nation Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) index around and in thermal power plants.
  4. The technology employed for controlling of proposed emission limit of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) will also help in reducing mercury emission at about 70-90%.
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Climate change warming world’s lakes at alarming rate

For the study spanning six continents, a total of 236 lakes, representing more than half of the world’s freshwater supply, were monitored for at least 25 years.

  1. Climate change is warming lakes around the world at an alarming rate, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems.
  2. Lakes are warming at an average of 0.34 degrees Celsius each decade all around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems.
  3. At the current rate, algal blooms, which can ultimately rob water of oxygen, will increase 20 per cent in lakes over the next century.
  4. These rates also imply that emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, will increase 4 per cent over the next decade.
  5. The ice-covered lakes, including Canadian lakes, are warming twice as fast as air temperatures and the North American Great Lakes are among the fastest warming lakes in the world.

What is the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE)?

RCEs are acknowledged based on recommendations of the Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs, which consists of signatories of the Ubuntu Declaration signed in 2002.

  1. RCEs aspire to achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) by translating its global objectives into the context of the local communities in which they operate.
  2. RCEs also develop regional knowledge bases to support ESD and promote its goals in a resource effective manner.
  3. The RCE-Tirupati will work on a mix of features like Eastern Ghats, coastal communities, marine ecosystem and biodiversity.

Other 5 RCEs in India –

  • RCE-Srinagar, working on western Himalayas
  • RCE-Guwahati on Eastern Himalayas
  • RCE-Chandigarh on wetland ecosystems
  • RCE-TERI (Goa) on Youth empowerment and energy
  • RCE-Kodagu on traditional knowledge and tribal communities of Western Ghats.

RCE-Tirupati to focus on Eastern Ghats

With special focus on fragile environment and sustainable development of Eastern Ghats, the United Nations University has sanctioned a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) to Tirupati.

  1. The RCE-Tirupati will be part of the Foundation for Environmentally Sustainable Development with Focus on health, education, awareness and livelihoods.
  2. The region initially selected for operation is the stretch comprising Chittoor, Kadapa, Nellore and Prakasam districts.
  3. The centre aims at capacity building in target groups.
  4. Such as schools and colleges and creating awareness among tribal and coastal communities on importance of bio-resources, their judicious use and conservation.

Did you know about Inle Lake ?

  1. Inle Lake is located in Taunggyi district in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state.
  2. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 116 km.
  3. The wetland ecosystem of this freshwater Inle Lake is home to diverse flora and fauna.
  4. The Inle Lake is nesting place for globally endangered Sarus crane.

India to have 8 new observatories

  1. India announced a programme to open 8 more long-term ecological observatories to study the effects of climate change.
  2. The new facilities under Indian Long Term Ecological Observatories(ILTEO) will assess the health of 8 different biomes.
  3. It will scientifically monitor flora and fauna to assess how climate change is affecting natural and closely associated human systems in agriculture and pastoralism.
  4. It will cover the Western Himalayas to Western Ghats, Eastern Himalayas to Andaman and Nicobar islands, central India to the Sundarbans, and from J&K to Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Gangotri glacier getting less snowfall, higher temperatures

A team of climate scientists recorded and analysed snow and meteorological parameters for a period of 13 years from 2000 to 2012 and found a warming trend.

  1. The health of majestic Gangotri glacier that feeds the river Ganges has been affected.
  2. As maximum temperature in region has shot up by 0.9 degree Celsius and snowfall reduced by 37 cm annually.
  3. Scientists from institute, part of the DRDO, were based at ‘Bhojbasa’ observation station, nearly 5 km south from Gangotri glacier snout named ‘Gaumukh’, to record the findings.
  4. Situated in Uttarakhand district, the 30.2 km-long Gangotri glacier is the second largest in India.
  5. One of the primary sources of fresh water supply to the river Ganges, Gangotri has been found to have retreated more than 1,500 metres in the last 70 years.

Centre to amend 2 laws to meet climate goals

  1. India will amend the Electricity Act and the Energy Conservation Act in order to achieve the efficiencies that it has pledged to the UNFCCC meeting.
  2. India’s official spokesperson said that ambitious targets on energy efficiency would have to be accompanied by rules and implementation.
  3. Indian companies have achieved global energy efficiencies in many sectors.

Let’s dive into Him-Parivarthan project?

  1. The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) institute, initiated Him-Parivarthan project to assess the extent of the glacier melt.
  2. Under this project four sites have been identified on the glacier based on the data of the last twenty years.
  3. It will be monitored over the next two years to understand the climate change on the glacier.

What you need to know about SASE?

  1. Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) was set up under DRDO in 1969 near Manali.
  2. To combat the hazards of snow and avalanches to help the Armed Forces to fight and live in the mountains.
  3. Also to accelerate the pace of socio-economic growth of the inaccessible snowbound hill regions.

SASE was initially assigned the task of studying snow and avalanche problems along certain mountain highways in snowbound belt of Indian Himalayas.

‘Climate change is changing landscape of Ladakh’

“The snowfall has come down significantly in the last couple of decades and the glacier is melting at a higher rate putting the lives of farmers at risk,” says ‘glacier man’ Chewang Norphel.

  1. The excessive glacier melt is resulting in floods putting the lives of 80 per cent of farmers in the region at risk as glaciers are the primary source of water.
  2. This has affected agriculture in Leh and affected crop pattern.
  3. The effects of climate change are also very much evident on the Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield.
  4. The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), an institute under the DRDO has recently initiated “Him-Parivarthan”, a project to assess the extent of the glacier melt.

Chewang Norphel called the glacier man for creating artificial glaciers in Ladakh to tide over the water shortage for irrigation.

Govt. bats for revising RPO target to 10% by 2022

The government is looking at increasing renewable purchase obligation (RPO) targets from 3 per cent to 10 per cent so as to meet the 1 lakh MW solar capacity by 2022.

  1. Under the RPO, distribution companies (discoms) are mandated to purchase a certain amount of their power from renewable sources.
  2. The current tariff policy mentions separate percentages of RPO for solar and non-solar sources.
  3. If we have to achieve the target of 1,00,000 MW of green power, we will have to increase the RPO targets to 8-10 per cent by 2022.
  4. Right now some states have given RPO target (solar, non-solar combine) of 5-7 per cent, so that they need to increase to 15 per cent by 2022.
  5. The recently announced UDAY package that aims to alleviate the discoms’ debts also includes a rule that they will now have to comply with the RPO.

The draft notification for BS-V and BS-VI norms for automobile sector issued

  1. The Ministry of Road Transport & highways (MoRT&H) has decided to advance the date for implementation of the higher level emission standards.
  2. The govt. is keen that the road transport sector should take a lead role in reducing the harmful effects of emissions on environment and climate change.
  3. Accordingly, the ministry has now decided to implement BS –V norms from 2019.
  4. BS-VI norms, which aim at substantial reduction in NOx/4C levels will be implemented from 2021.
  5. This reflects a firm commitment to play a major role in reducing vehicular emissions.
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Weather-related disasters becoming more frequent: UN report

An average of 335 weather-related disasters were recorded per year between 2005 and 2014, an increase of 14 % from 1995-2004.

  1. The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters report, also found the 5 countries hit by the highest number of disasters were the US, China, India, the Philippines and Indonesia.
  2. Asia accounts for the “lion’s share of disaster impacts” including 332,000 deaths and 3.7 billion people affected.
  3. Flooding alone accounted for almost half of all weather related disasters between 1995 and 2015, affecting 2.3 billion people, out of which 95% live in Asia.
  4. Weather and climate are major drivers of disaster risk.

Let’s have a jaunt to Famous lakes.

  1. Sasthamkotta Lake, the largest freshwater lake of Kerala, named after ancient Sastha temple (a pilgrimage centre) located on its bank.
  2. The purity of the lake water for drinking use is attributed to the presence of large population of larva called cavaborus that consumes bacteria in the lake water.
  3. Vembanad Lake holds rich fish diversity and has identified under National Wetlands Conservation Programme.
  4. Ashtamudi Estuary, a large palm-shaped waterbody which is fed by the Kallada River, a tropical brackish water habitat.
  5. Ashtamudi means ‘eight coned’ in the local Malayalam language.

Let’s dive into Ramsar Sites Convention, 1971?

  1. Ramsar Convention (formally, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat).
  2. It is an intergovernmental treaty that provides framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  3. The Ramsar Convention has listed 2,122 wetlands of international importance spreading over 20.53 crore hectare across the world.
  4. In India, there are 26 Ramsar sites, covers 6.89 lakh hectare.

Genetic cataloguing of aquatic germplasm

A genetic catalogue of the aquatic germplasm of the Ramsar sites of Kerala using molecular tools will soon be created.

  1. A project to prepare the document of the shell and fin fish varieties of the fish diversities of the Ramsar sites of Ashtamudi estuary, Sasthamkotta Lake and Vembanad-Kol Wetland in Kerala.
  2. The current project envisages generating DNA barcodes of the fish and shellfish species.
  3. It will serve as specific markers to facilitate accuracy in documenting the valuable fish resources of the study area.
  4. The study would help in developing species-specific molecular signature through DNA barcoding of the fish diversity.
  5. The DNA-based approaches could resolve the taxonomic ambiguities and may even lead to the possible identification of new species hoped the scientists.

Wetlands of India are considered as the most threatened of all ecosystems in India due to habitat degradation, salinity, excessive inundation, water pollution, excessive development like road building.

State’s stand will feature in the final notification on Kasturirangan Report

Eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) identified by State government & regulation on sand extraction & stone quarrying will feature on Kasturirangan Committee report.

  1. Following extensive survey and public consultation, State government submitted report on the recommendations of the Kasturirangan Committee.
  2. It had considered as ESZ areas not only the wildlife areas but also eco-sensitive zones in 40 taluks of the State.
  3. As per directions of SC, the Forest Department has started the process of taking possession of forest land that has been encroached upon.
  4. At present, acquisition was in cases where encroachment has been more than three acres.
  5. In cases where encroachment was less than three acres, leaving it to the State government to decide.

To Make India Brighter and Smarter Launches iLEDtheway

  1. Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy launched the microsite www.iledtheway.in .
  2. It is a great initiative, to take the pledge to switch to LED bulbs, to protect the environment and make country more energy efficient.
  3. Switching to LED bulbs will not only bring down carbon footprint, but ensure savings.
  4. Under the DELP scheme, EESL has distributed over 2.4 crore LED bulbs to consumers.
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More Indian birds enter list of threatened species

Destruction of grasslands, wetlands and forests takes its toll on birds

  1. According to Red List of birds released by the IUCN for 2015, total of 180 bird species in India are now threatened, as against 173 last year.
  2. Five have been uplisted from the Least Concerned to the Near Threatened category, a sign of increased threat.
  3. It includes Northern Lapwing (a grassland bird) and four wetland birds, namely Red Knot, Curlew Sandpiper, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Bar-Tailed Godwit.
  4. Two other wetland birds, Horned Grebe and Common Pochard have been uplisted from Least Concerned to Vulnerable.
  5. Steppe Eagle (a raptor from grasslands), which is a regular winter visitor to the Indian subcontinent, uplisted from Least Concerned to Endangered.

Three vulture species, namely White-backed, Slender-billed and Long-billed have also been severely affected by diclofenac.

India, China seen leading growth in green bond market: Moody’s report

The global green bond market is expected to exceed $40 billion, with countries such as India and China offering sizeable growth potential.

  1. India is looking to raise these low-cost, long-term funds to finance its plan to quadruple its renewable energy production and to make it economically viable.
  2. Seeking to minimize India’s dependence on the coal-fuelled electricity, government has pushed renewable energy to the top of its energy security agenda.
  3. India has established itself as an early leader in Asia’s nascent green bond market.
  4. India plans to set up a green energy capacity of 175,000 megawatt (MW) by 2022.
  5. Solar, wind, biomass and small hydro power plants will contribute 100,000MW, 60,000MW, 10,000MW and 5,000MW respectively.

A Green bond is a debt instrument with which an entity raises money from investors. The bond issuer gets capital while the investors receive fixed income in the form of interest. When the bond matures, the money is repaid.

Union Government flagged off Climate Special Science Express

The Science Express aims to create awareness among various sections of the society especially the students about various challenges and issues associated with Climate Change

  1. It is an innovative science exhibition mounted on a 16 coach AC train and has been custom-built for Department of Science and Technology (DoS&T) by Indian Railway.
  2. It is collaborative initiative of DoS&T and Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and Union Ministry of Railways.
  3. For the first time, solar panels have been installed on the roof top of coaches.
  4. Broad themes covered in each exhibition coach on Climate change, Adaptation, Mitigation etc.
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Ministry of H&FW bans sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial

  1. Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has banned the sale of Diclofenac in multidose vial. Henceforth, it will be sold only in single-dose vial packaging for human use.
  2. This ban was imposed on recommendation of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in order to save and protect vultures from brink of extinction.
  3. Diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) is administered as painkiller to cattle, is the chief cause of mass extinction of vultures.
  4. Vultures have a robust digestive system which can even digest disease-causing pathogens found in rotting meat of dead. But,do not have a critical enzyme that breaks down diclofenac and die of renal failure after eating carcasses of cattle administered the drug.
  5. In 2006, India had banned the use of veterinary drug Diclofenac for treating cattle. But the multi-dose vials available in the market for human use were widely misused for veterinary purpose.

Ocean fish numbers on ‘brink of collapse’: WWF report

  1. The report said populations of fish, marine mammals, birds and reptiles had fallen 49% between 1970 and 2012. For fish alone, the decline was 50%.
  2. Damage to coral reefs and mangroves, which are nurseries for many fish, add to problems led by over-fishing.
  3. Other threats include coastal development, pollution and climate change, which is raising temperatures and making waters more acidic.
  4. New UN sustainable development goals, including ending over-fishing and destructive fishing practices by 2020 and restoring stocks “in the shortest time feasible” is needed.
  5. Safeguarding the oceans can help economic growth, curb poverty and raise food security, it says.


:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.







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