From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : About the atlas
Mains level : Its significance
For the first time, ‘Geochemical Baseline Atlas of India’ developed by CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) for use by policymakers to assess environmental damage was released.
Geochemical Baseline Atlas of India
- The atlas consisting 45 maps of metals, oxides and elements present in top and bottom soils across India.
- It will serve as a reference against which future generations of the country would be able to assess the chemical compositional changes on Earth’s surface.
- These maps help in finding out future contamination caused by industries or other bodies which cause pollution.
Part of a Global Map
- It will be given to International Union of Global Sciences (IUGS), which is preparing global maps.
- To develop the maps, the globe was divided into 5,000 cells of 160 km by 160 km each. Of it, India has 122 cells.
- CSIR started this work in 2007 from cell number 1 which is in Kanyakumari. The last cell is in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Earlier, there was no way to prove if polluters denied causing damage to the environment. Now, the baseline maps atlas helps show evidence of it.
- With a glance at it, policymakers will get to know regions with high and low concentrations of metal.
- For instance, tanneries release chromium. By going through the map of chromium, policymakers will get to know regions with a high concentration of it.