The perils of follow the leader syndrome
By, Dushyant Dave is Senior Advocate and President, Supreme Court Bar Association of India. The views expressed are personal
# André Gide, the French writer, once said, “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and begin all over again.”
Listen to the inner voice
# The reason for its most painful blow by the Corona virus is its handling or mishandling by the government of the day, affecting not only the economy but also the very livelihoods of lakhs of Indians.
# We need to stir up our collective conscience, the inner voice that warns us that things are not normal. But how do we do it?
# We must remind ourselves of what B.R. Ambedkar said on November 25, 1949: “‘The second thing we must do as to observe the caution which John Stuart Mill has given to all who are interested in the maintenance of democracy, namely, not ‘to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with power which enable him to subvert their institutions.’
# For in India, Bhakti or what may be called the path of devotion or hero-worship, plays a part in its politics unequalled in magnitude by the part it plays in the politics of any other country in the world.
# Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship’.
# COVID-19 has posed a grave threat to India right from the the time of the national lockdown. And yet, even now, the planners in the country do not have a national plan to combat the disease.
# The Disaster Management Act, 2005 expressly defines “Disaster” as “a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man made causes, or by accident or negligence which results in substantial loss of life or human suffering or damage to, and destruction of, property, or damage to, or degradation of, environment, and is of such a nature or magnitude as to be beyond the coping capacity of the community of the affected area”.
# The Act is comprehensive and provides for, inter alia, the constitution of a National Authority, a National Executive committee, the constitution of an advisory committee of experts in the field to make recommendations and to prepare a national plan.
# This plan must provide for measures for prevention or mitigation.
# The Act lays down “guidelines for minimum standards of relief, including “ex gratia assistance on account of loss of life... and for restoration of means of livelihood”.
# It enables the creation of a National Disaster Response Fund in which the central government must make due contribution and requires “any grants that may be made by any person or institution for the purpose of disaster management” to be credited into the same Fund.
# It also provides for a National Disaster Mitigation Fund, exclusively for mitigation.
# The Act also provides for State and local-level plans and for creating State Disaster Response Fund among others.
# The Act was not enforced for a long time even by the United Progressive Alliance/Congress government which enacted it.
# The Supreme Court of India intervened at the instance of Swaraj Abhiyan (Swaraj Abhiyan vs Union Of India And Ors) and Prashant Bhushan. Justices Madan Lokur and N.V. Ramanna directed, in 2016, that the Act be implemented, and in particular the preparation of a National Plan, a National Disaster Response Fund, or NDRF, and a National Disaster Mitigation Fund, or NDMF.
# So, for the first time, the government came out with a National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP), 2016, which dealt with various kinds of disasters; it was amended in 2019.
# So why is this National Plan not even in place? Without it, the fight against COVID-19 is ad hoc, and has resulted in thousands of government orders, confusing those who are to enforce them as well as the public.
# Worse still, the NDRF is inactive. On April 3, 2020, the government of India agreed to contribute its share to the NDRF.
# But curiously, “keeping in mind the need for a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like [that] posed by COVID-19”, a public charitable trust under the name of Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was set up to receive grants made by persons and institutions out of the NDRF, in violation of Section 46 of the Act.
# The crores being sent to this fund are not even audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
# It is a totally opaque exercise. Curiously on May 22, the government of India issued a notification to fight the locust menace by extending relief under the NDRF as also the SDRF.
# So, according to the government, the threat of locusts is more severe than the novel coronavirus. Clearly, the government of the day has not only ignored the binding law but also circumvented it.
# The government has decided to fight the crisis in an ad hoc and arbitrary manner instead of the organised steps as mandated by the Act.
# Unilateral decisions without the advice of others only cause problems, two classic examples being demonetisation that was forced on the nation in November 2016, and the national lockdown of March 25 that was thrust upon a one billion-plus people at four hours notice.
# With Parliament not in session and the judiciary virtually silent, despite its suo motu intervention in the migrants’ crisis, no one is even demanding the implementation of an immediate National Plan for COVID-19.
# The media and civil society have to step in to guard the nation as they are the last bastions of a vibrant democracy. One can only think of the poem by Josiah Gilbert Holland, with the line, “...A time like this demands, Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands.”
# As Albert Einstein once said, “The strength of the Constitution lies entirely in the determination of each Citizen to defend it.”
Recently, a rare biological phenomenon i.e. Gynandromorphism has been spotted in a dragonfly, the Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia), which is found in the Kole wetlands, Kerala. The dragonfly had both male and female characteristics.
Reason: Gynandromorphs are usually born due genetic aberration. Genetic aberrations are chromosomal disorder or mutation which is due to a missing, extra, or irregular portion of chromosomal DNA.
Importance of the Study of gynandromorphism:
National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research- Coccolithophores
Recently, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) has carried out the study of Coccolithophores (microscopic ancient marine algae) and found that there is a decrease in the concentration of oceanic calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in the southern Indian ocean.
**Diatoms are single-celled algae which occur after sea ice breakdown with climate change and ocean acidification.
**Diatoms increase the silicate concentration in the waters and which in turn decreases CaCO3 and reduces coccolithophores diversity.
**It will affect the growth and skeleton structure of coccolithophores, with potential significance for the world ocean ecosystem.
Part of: GS-III- Envi-Pollution (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has observed an increase in ozone (a harmful pollutant) levels in the several cities of the country. The analysis is based on Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data from 22 cities in 15 States. It has also observed that the particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown to control Covid-19 outbreak.
Concept of Summer Pollution
The government needs to take active steps to mitigate primary pollutants, which lead to ground ozone formation. These steps involved curbing private vehicle usage, increasing electric mobility, scaling up public transport and pedestrian infrastructure, deploying citywide parking management, and aggressively controlling industrial emissions.
Rare biological phenomenon in dragonflies sighted at Kole wetlands
Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary
Why Eco Sensitive zone tag to Asola Wildlife sanctuary?
Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 32.7 square kilometers, and is at the end of important wildlife corridor that starts from Sariska National Park in Alwar, Rajasthan and passes through Mewat,Faridabad and Gurugram districts of Haryana.
The four freshwater dolphins in the world are:
Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
It is India's chief anti-smuggling intelligence, investigations and operations agency. It is headed by a Director General of the rank of Special Secretary to the Government of India. It works to secure India's national and economic security by preventing the outright smuggling of contraband such as firearms, gold, narcotics, Fake Indian Currency notes, antiques, wildlife and environmental products.
It is also a part of the following –
Recently, DRI has busted a wildlife smuggling syndicate that smuggled different varieties of macaws. Those exotic and highly endangered birds had been smuggled via the Indo-Bangladesh border without any licit documents. The joint operation was carried out in coordination with the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Customs Department at the Kolkata airport.
WCCB – Wild life crime control Board
It a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to combat organized wildlife crime. The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2006 provisions came operational in the year 2008. UNEP has also awarded WCCB with Asia Environment Enforcement Award, 2018. WCCB is also partnering with United Nations University and CIESIN-Earth Institute at Columbia University through the Wildlife Enforcement Monitoring System Initiative.
Macaws are long-tailed, often colorful, New World parrots. They are popular in aviculture or as companion parrots, although there are conservation concerns about several species in the wild.
They are native to Central America and North America (only Mexico), South America, and formerly the Caribbean. Most species are associated with forests, especially rainforests, but others prefer woodland or savannah-like habitats. A macaw's facial feather pattern is as unique as a fingerprint. The largest macaws are the hyacinth, Buffon's (great green) and green-winged macaws. Many of the Macaw species lies between Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered under IUCN.
Horse Shoe Crab
Horse Shoe Crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottom and spawns (release or deposit eggs) mostly on intertidal beaches at summer spring high tides. They have existed since the time of the dinosaurs and are important ecosystem engineers and predators of small organisms.
Their ecological function is to lay millions of eggs on beaches to feed shorebirds, fish and other wildlife. Their large hard shell serves as a microhabitat for many other species such as sponges, mud crabs, mussels and snails. It is regarded as a marine ‘living fossil’.
It is in the Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, under which the catching and killing of a horseshoe crab is an offence.
Recently, IUCN has decided to observe the first-ever International Horseshoe Crab Day on 20th June 2020.
There are four extant horseshoe crab species:
The last three are Indo-pacific species found in the coastal waters of India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. Odisha is their largest habitat in India.
Gee’s Golden Langur
Golden langurs can be most easily recognized by the colour of their fur, after which they are named. It has been noted that their fur changes colours according to the seasons as well as geography. The colour of the young also differs from adults in that they are almost pure white.
They are highly dependent on trees, living in the upper canopy of forests, they are also known as leaf monkeys. It is endemic to western Assam, India, and southern Bhutan.
Their habitat is restricted to the region surrounded by four geographical landmarks, such as
The Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi entrusted the state zoo with the project for the conservation breeding of golden langur in Assam in 2011. IUCN Status– Endangered. Listed in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - Appendix I and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 - Schedule I.
Minks are small semi-aquatic mammals raised for their fur. Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, as well as to treat, preserve and waterproof leather.
There are two extant species referred to as "mink" - the American mink and the European mink. All European mink have a large white patch on their upper lip, whereas only some American mink have this marking, therefore, any mink without the patch is certainly of the American species.
The NDRF was set up in accordance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation. Although Section 46 includes a clause regarding grants made by any person or institution, provisions for such donations had not been made.
Contribution to NDRF
ULV sprayer through drones
To overcome the limitation of importing equipment, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), under Make in India initiative, has taken up the challenge to indigenously develop a vehicle mounted ULV sprayer for locust control.
What is ULV(Ultra-Low volume) sprayer?
Ultra-low volume application of pesticides has been defined as spraying at a Volume Application Rate (VAR) of less than 5 L/ha for field crops or less than 50 L/ha for tree/bush crops. VARs of 0.25 – 2 l/ha are typical for aerial ULV application to forest or migratory pests.
ULV spraying is a well-established spraying technique and remains the standard method of locust control with pesticides and is also widely used by cotton farmers in central-southern and western Africa. It has also been used in massive aerial spraying campaigns against disease vectors such as the tse-tse fly.
A major benefit of ULV application is high work rate (i.e. many hectares can be treated in one day). It is a good option if all (or some) of these conditions apply:
Importance of drones to control locusts
Sustainable Developmental Goals Index 2019
GS-Paper-3 Environment SDG PT-MAINS
The SDG India Index (NITI AAYOG) dashboard displays overall & detailed info on the progress made by States & UTs on Global Goals of the United Nations including their incremental progress from 2018, using interactive visualizations.
The SDG index shows that Kerala is on the first rank for 2019 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The report attributes the improvement in India's performance to several welfare programs including Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Ujjwala Yojana.
NITI Aayog has released the second edition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index (SDG Index 2.0).
State/UT Wise Analysis
How will the Index will be useful to States/UTs?
Significance and analysis:
Decarbonising Transport in India project
GS- PAPER-3 Pollution PT-MAINS
NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum will launch the 'Decarbonising Transport in India' project on with the intention to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India.
It is part of the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions. India, Argentina, Azerbaijan, and Morocco are current participants. The DTEE is a collaboration between the ITF and the Wuppertal Institute, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
About International Transport Forum
Malabar Gliding Frog
Recently, a rare amphibian, Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus) was spotted in Pullad, Kerala. In the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List it is placed in the Least Concern category. The amphibian is endemic to the rainforest of western ghats.
Endemic species are those plants and animals that exist only in one geographical region. It is a green frog with slender body, webbed feet, unusual body positions and very well camouflaged.
Camouflage, also called cryptic coloration, is a defense mechanism or tactic that organisms use to disguise their appearance, usually to blend in with their surroundings. It has a body length of 10 cm, making it one of the largest mossy frogs.
Mossy Frogs, have the skin which is green in colour and resembles moss growing on the rock. As their body is so soft, they can live only in moist forests with streams.
The Indian Gaur or Bison (Bos gaurus) is the largest and the tallest in the family of wild cattle and is a grazing animal. It is categorized as vulnerable under IUCN Red List, and protected under Wild Life Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.
It is kept well and protected in some of the famous national parks of India like Nagarhole, Bandipur, Kabini and Masinagudi (Mudumalai). The destruction in the grasslands has led to the decline in availability of food for these animals.
The illegal hunting of the Indian bison is done for their commercial value as well as due to the high demand of gaur meat in the illegal market of India-Nepal border. Recently, the first population estimation exercise of the Indian Gaur (Bison) was carried out in the Nilgiris Forest Division, Tamil Nadu.
World Wide Fund for Nature India assisted the exercise and highlighted that there are estimated 2,000 Indian gaurs across the division.
Sharavathi Monkey Park
Karnataka government has decided to develop a monkey park in Shivamogga district. The monkey park will be established on the uninhabited islands in the Sharavathi backwaters region. The park will be the first such in the state and will be set up on 100 acres of land at the Nagavalli forest in Hosanagara taluk, Shivamogga district.
The proposed 100-acre monkey park will have fruit-bearing trees, water sources, and solar fence will be put up around the area to avoid monkeys venturing outside the park premises. The idea came up following a spike in the cases of monkeys raiding agricultural and plantation crops in Malnad region in recent times and several protests by farmers. As a solution to the menace, the State government took a decision to establish the park and in the 2020-21 budget, ?6.25 crore was allocated for the purpose.
In Himachal Pradesh, there are state-of-the-art monkey sterilization and rehabilitation centers to address the monkey menace, however it has failed to attain its objective.
Decarbonising Transport: International Project to Develop Pathway to Low-CO2 Mobility for India
About International Transport Forum
World Crocodile Day
World Crocodile Day is celebrated on 17th June. The day is a global awareness campaign to highlight the plight of endangered crocodiles and alligators around the world.
Crocodile spices found in India includes
Human-crocodile conflict Hotspots in India includes
Indian Crocodile Conservation Project
The Crocodile Conservation Project was launched in 1975 in different States. The Gharial and Saltwater crocodile conservation programme was first implemented in Odisha in early 1975 and subsequently the Mugger conservation programme was initiated.
CrocBITE is an online database of crocodile attacks reported on humans. The non-profit online research tool helps to scientifically analyze crocodile behavior via complex models.
It is located mostly in the Arctic North Polar Region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, besides its surrounding waters the Arctic Ocean is surrounded by Eurasia and North America. It is partly covered by sea ice throughout the year and almost completely in winter.
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans and it is also known as the coldest of all the oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Sea.
It is sometimes classified as an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, and it is also seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes. Its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy fresh water inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities.
Decline in Artic Sea Ice
National Centre of Polar and Ocean Research
For arctic council read: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/Arctic-Council
National Auto Fuel Policy,2015
A struggle to co-exist with humans
Himalaya and Andes
Wild animals in urban clusters
Wild land to Civilised land
Five reasons for increase in wild life along urban clusters
Carbon emissions sharply rebound as countries lift coronavirus restrictions
Changing attitude of the world countries to control climate change
Assessment of OIL well blowout impact on environment begins
Wetlands International coordinates the International Water bird census of which Asian Water bird census is an integral part. It is a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of wetlands.
It is one of the International Partner Organizations of the Ramsar Convention. It was formerly known as International Waterfowl & Wetlands Research Bureau (IWRB) and their scope included the protection of wetland areas.
Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
China and Pangolin Protection
Paper-3 Wild life protection
Why in news?
China accorded pangolin the highest level of protection and removed its scales from its list of approved traditional medicines.
What does Covid-19 have to do with China’s decision?
What makes pangolins the most trafficked animals in the world?
Are the animals trafficked from India as well?
How will China’s decision impact pangolin trafficking?
Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region
GS- PAPER-3 Climate change (PT-MAINS-INTERVIEW)
Recently, the first Assessment of Climate Change over the Indian Region has been published by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). It is India’s first-ever national forecast on the impact of global warming on the subcontinent in the coming century.
The report highlights are as follows
Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)
Guwahati - Urban Jungle
Assam State Zoo occupies 30 hectares of the 620-hectare Hengerabari Reserve Forest referred to as the city’s lungs. It has diverse fauna like Chinese pangolin, Nepal cricket frog, Bengal monitor lizard, Assamese cat snake, Eurasian moorhen, Asian elephant, Terai cricket frog and Ganges river dolphin. By this Guwahati redefines the term “urban jungle” with 334 and counting free-ranging faunal species living in the green spaces within concrete structures.
India State of Forest Report, 2019
Part of: GS-III- State forest report (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The Total Forest and Tree cover is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.
As compared to ISFR 2017 the current assessment shows an increase of
The top five States (UT) in terms of increase in forest cover: Karnataka>Andhra Pradesh>Kerala>Jammu & Kashmir>Himachal Pradesh.
Chapter 2- Forest Cover
Chapter 3- Mangrove Cover
Forest Types & Biodiversity (DR Khullar)
States and UTs with maximum species diversity of;
State with maximum species richness for Maximum richness of species taking all the three types of plants: Arunachal Pradesh > Tamil Nadu > Karnataka
Forest Fire & Monitoring
National Action Plan on Forest Fires, 2018
National Forest Inventory (NFI)
Chapter 8- Bamboo Resources of the Country
Chapter 9- Carbon Stock in India’s Forest
Chapter 10- People & Forests
Chapter 1- Forest and tree resources in States and UTs
Physiographically the State can be divided into three distinct regions:
India State of Forest Report (ISFR)
Part of: GS-I- Geography and Forest (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
State of Forest Report (SFR 2017)
India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2019
The Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2019.
Note: Recorded Forest Area: The area recorded as forest in the Government records. Green Wash: The extent of wooded areas generally shown in light green colour on the Survey of India toposheets.
Mangrove cover in the country has increased by 54 sq km (1.10%) as compared to the previous assessment.
The total carbon stock of the country was estimated at 7124 million tons, which is an increase of 42.6 million tons from the last assessment. It implies that India is on the right track to achieve its Paris Agreement commitment of 2.5 -3 billion carbon sinks.
The total number of wetlands located within the RFA/GW is 8.13%. Amongst the States, Gujarat has the largest area of wetlands within RFA in the country followed by West Bengal.
Dependence of fuelwood on forests is the highest in the State of Maharashtra, whereas, for fodder, small timber and bamboo, dependence is highest in Madhya Pradesh. The analysis reveals that 21.40% of the forest cover of the country is highly to extremely fire prone.
National Forest Policy, 1988
It is extremely rare fish species, recently discovered by a team of experienced divers and diving instructors near vizag. It is recognised as a critically endangered species by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
It is considered to be the keystone species of an ecosystem and is entirely protected from harvest in the U.S. It is usually found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is regionally abundant near Vishakapatnam in the Bay of Bengal region. It is found from inshore to about 100 m in reef, mangrove, seagrass, and estuarine habitats.
Minmata Convention on mercury
The Union Cabinet approved the proposal for ratification of Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2018. The Convention protects the most vulnerable from the harmful effects of mercury and also protects the developmental space of developing countries. The objective of the convention’s implementation to protect human health and environment from the anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds. The Convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata, as the city went through a devastating incident of mercury poisoning.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research and advocacy organization based in New Delhi. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been ranked the top environment policy think tanks in India and 16th at the global level. The rank was given by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. CSE publishes the fortnightly Magazine ‘Down to Earth’.
The CSE’s efforts are built around five broad programs
A convergence of crises
Part of: GS-III- Climate change (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Policy ideas should marry employment and industrial priorities with green outcomes
There is a growing debate about what the scarcity and privation wrought by the COVID-19 crisis will mean for our response to climate change. The very language used to describe the effects of climate change is now being deployed, correctly, to shape our understanding of a disease-ravaged near future: poverty, the failure of markets, uncertainty, and an overwhelmed government. In less than a month, we have been given a glimpse of how the climate crisis can yank at the seams of a state already undone.
Dealing with twin challenges
Crafting a response that carefully balances present and future will take a great deal of collective effort. Foremost, it will require policy ideas that deliberately marry employment and industrial priorities with green outcomes. Ideas such as pushing to manufacture solar equipment or electric vehicles in India should, at some point, coalesce into something that looks like a climate plan for the country. This task will fall to universities, NGOs, think tanks and individuals working together in disciplined debate. This process is our only hope for being creative about the twin challenges battering the country. We should be careful not to drag ourselves through one crisis only to emerge into another longer, less predictable, and unstoppable one.
India’s tiger census has been commissioned by the union environment ministry’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The census will see coordination with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh in estimating the territorial spread of the animal in the subcontinent.
The Wildlife Institute of India, a Union Environment Ministry-funded body, has been tasked with coordinating the tiger estimation exercise. Along with tigers, the survey also collects information on the prey population of deer and other animals. The techniques used to estimate tiger population are Pugmark Technique, camera trapping and DNA finger-printing and eStripes.
The Prime Minister of India has released the results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation - 2018 on the occasion of Global Tiger Day-2019.
Need for Tiger Conservation
Tigers in India
Global Tiger Day
During the 4th cycle, in sync with Government of India’s “Digital India” initiative, data was collected using an Android based application- M-STrIPES ( Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) and analyzed on the applications’ desktop module.
The, application greatly eased out analysis of a large quantum of data that was collected over nearly 15 months involving survey of 381,400 sq.km. of forested habitats, 522,996 km of walk by State Forest officials, laying of 317,958 habitat plots, totaling a human investment of 5, 93,882 man days.
Besides cameras were placed in 26760 locations which gave a total of 35 million images of wildlife including 76523 images of tigers. Segregation of these images was possible in a short time because of use of artificial intelligence software.
The intensity with which the exercise was conducted resulted in 83 % of the tiger population being captured wherein 2461 individual tiger photographs were obtained and only 17 % of the tiger population was estimated using robust spatially explicit capture recapture statistical models.
The Prime Minister also released report of the 4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR) with Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh scoring the highest and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu showing the highest increment in management since the last cycle for which the latter was awarded. 42% of the tiger reserves fell in the Very Good management category, 34% in the Good category, 24% in the Fair category while no tiger reserve was rated Poor.
Projecting tiger reserve as engines of growth was highlighted in the report released on Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves which was jointly published by the NTCA and the Indian Institute of Forest Management Bhopal. The Prime Minister also released trailer of the documentary titled “Counting Tigers” to be aired worldwide on August 7.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister called for even greater efforts, towards Tiger Conservation.
National Adaptation fund for climate change
The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) is a Central Sector Scheme setup in 2015-16. The overall aim of NAFCC is to support concrete adaptation activities which mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the National Implementing Entity (NIE). The Scheme has been designed to fulfill objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and operationalize State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC).
The activities under this scheme are implemented in a project mode. The projects related to adaptation in sectors such as agriculture, animal husbandry, water, forestry, tourism etc. are eligible for funding under NAFCC.
Fund level outcome parameters will consist of the following :
World Wetlands Day
Feburary 2nd of every year is celebrated as world wetlands day, marking the adoption of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. The MoEF&CC in collaboration with Department of Forests, Assam government is organizing the national-level celebration of World Wetlands Day (WWD) at DeeporBeel, a Ramsar Site in Guwahati,Assam. The theme ‘Wetlands for a sustainable urban future’ marks the role of healthy wetlands play in making cities and towns liveable.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
National River Conservation Plan
Under the National River Conservation Plan the river Sal project in Goa was sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. The aim of the plan is to prevent pollution of rivers and improving water quality.
The activities under National River Conservation Plan include following
Serotonin triggers desert locust swarms
Part of: GS-III- Natural Hazard (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
During the last 10 days, there has been a host of analytical articles in the press about the latest locust swarming from the Rajasthan/Gujarat desert region, all the way into Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, causing extensive damage to the crops. These articles have also pointed out how India (and indeed Pakistan as well) has been handling this plague since centuries, indeed even since the Mahabharata times (recall how Karna challenged the Pandava’s army: “we will pounce on you, as — shalabasana — a swarm of locusts).
How locusts form swarms
Now, here is a potential way of stopping swarms from forming! Can we work with the LWOs in Jodhpur and other places, spray serotonin inhibitor molecules as the swarm begins to form Rogers had indeed hinted this in his Science paper. Is this possible or a quixotic idea. Let the experts tell us. It is well worth a try.
Finally, the insecticides (mainly malathion (PT)) sprayed on the swarms need to be looked at for side-effects. Though many studies have cleared it as not very harmful, we need to work on biopesticides which would be environmentally and animal/human health-friendly, using natural and animal products of India.
It is a vulnerable and little known carnivorous animal which is endemic to the Western Ghats. Nilgiri Marten looks like a civet or a mongoose and it most prefers higher altitudes. The present global population of the Nilgiri Marten is estimated below 1000.
The animal is placed in schedule 2 of the part 2 of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Recent studies shows that Nilgiri marten is thriving in the Pampadum Shola National Park located on the southern portion of Western Ghats.
Wajre Urban Forest model
World Environment Day
World Environment Day 2020 theme
World Environment Day history
Steps taken by Navy to protect ocean ecology
Indian Navy has voluntarily implemented all six schedules of International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) regulations.
All Naval ships have been fitted with MARPOL compliant pollution control equipment such as :
Further, to ensure upkeep of harbour waters, accelerated bioremediation technology has also been developed through Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL), Mumbai.
Overall, Indian Navy has maintained a steadfast focus towards sustainable future while integrating energy efficiency and environment conservation within its operational and strategic roles.
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Treaty)
International Maritime Organization
Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) is established by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), under ministry of earth sciences. The ITEWS comprises a real-time network of seismic stations, tsunami buoys and tide gauges to detect tsunami genic earthquakes and to monitor tsunamis.
It detects globally occurring earthquakes of 5 magnitude and above within 5-10 minutes of the event. The system is capable of displaying ticket messages related to tsunami events and triggering of a built-in siren alert system audible for up to 1 km.
The initiative was launched in the Cop21 UNFCCC in 2015. India is member nation of the global initiative
The objectives of initiative are,
It will help in achieving India’s INDC of increasing the share of clean and renewable energy in the energy basket
Sea Turtles in India
There are five species of seas turtles in Indian waters — Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley.
IUCN Status of these turtles are
Mostly these turtles are found in the eastern coast of the Country. Often turtle are confused with tortoises. The major difference between the tortoise and sea turtles is that tortoises dwell on land, while turtles live in the water for some or nearly all of the time.
Scientists have identified a type of moss that can efficiently absorb a large amount of lead, providing a green alternative for decontaminating polluted water and soil. Funaria hygrometrica is the moss which uses phytoremediation, it is known to grow well in sites contaminated with metals like copper, zinc, and lead.
Phytoremediation is a method that uses photosynthesising organisms to clean up soil or water contamination. The Moss cells can absorb lead up to 74 per cent of their dry weight.
UN Environment Management Group (EMG)
The EMG is a UN system-wide coordination body on environment and human settlements. Its members include the secretariats of the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and other specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the UN.
Representatives of intergovernmental bodies, civil society and international non-governmental organizations can be invited to contribute. The EMG works through technical meetings, Issue Management Groups and task forces.
Automated ocean pollution observation system
Union government has planned to setup an automated ocean pollution observation system. These systems will be installed in coastal areas of West Bengal, Goa, Mumbai, Kochi, Vishakhapatnam and Chennai.
It will help keep a tab on ocean pollution levels apart and provides insights on how the marine system is changing. It is an initiative under National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Nilgiri Pipit (Anthus nilghiriensis) is a bird endemic to the Western Ghats of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, southern India.
The Sholas are a mosaic of mountane evergreen forests and grasslands. They are found only in high altitude (>1500 metres above sea level) regions within the tropics, and are limited to the southern part of the Western Ghats.
They are characterised by undulating grassland patches, interspersed with thickets of stunted evergreen tree species. Recent study has indicated that timber plantations, expanding agriculture and the spread of invasive species reduced two thirds of the shoals in palani hill ranges of Western Ghats. There is a marked 67% decline in grassland area compared to 1973 level.
The natural march of invasive species such as prolific-seed-producer, acacia and the policy push for plantations in 1990s seems to be the main cause for decline. Fragmented grasslands also displaced endemic species Nilgiri Pipit.
Chiru goat is also known as the Tibetrean antelope. It is native of China (Tibet, Xinjiang region) and India (North Eastern Ladakh region) and regionally extinct in Nepal. Its numbers and distribution have decreased sharply as a result of commercial hunting for the underfur for making of shawls.
In India, it is killed for making of the famous Shahtoosh shawls, which is renowned for its quality from Srinagar.
In 2017, it has been included in “Near Threatened” category by IUCN. The parliamentary standing committee on science & technology, environment & forests had recommended to the ministry of environment, to conserve and breed the Chiru goat, which can then be given to the shawl makers.
The motive behind such recommendation is to provide a sustainable livelihood opportunity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. However, Ministry of Environment has ruled out the possibility of conservation breeding citing that it may lead to decline in its population due to commercial poaching.
No Development Zone
The River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016 provides that the bank of River Ganga, its tributaries or the active flood area of them shall be construction free zone. It also prohibits construction of any structure for residential or commercial or industrial or any other purposes.
The National Green Tribunal has directed to identity and demarcate the flood plains of river Ganga from Haridwar to Unnao. Once the demarcation of flood plain is completed, 100 metres from the edge of the river would be designated as no development/construction zone. Further, Ministry of Environment Forests & Climate Change also circulated draft notification on “River Conservation Zones” in 2015 to all States.
The scientists have observed for the first time that levels of ozone-destroying chlorine are declining, resulting in less ozone depletion. There has been an international ban on chlorine-containing human made chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Measurement show that this has resulted in about 20% less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005.
Stratospheric ozone protects life on the planet by absorbing potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, CFCs are long-lived chemical compounds that eventually rise into the stratosphere.
In the long months of polar winter, chemical reactions take place in Polar Stratospheric Clouds that could not take place anywhere else in the atmosphere. These reactions convert the inactive chlorine in CFCs into more active forms, especially chlorine gas (Cl2). When the sunlight returns to the South Pole in October, UV light rapidly breaks the bond between the two chlorine atoms, releasing free chlorine.
Chlorine atoms go on to destroy ozone molecules, resulting in Antarctic ozone hole. The measurements are made by Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) aboard the Aura satellite, which has been monitoring continuously since 2004.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The IPCC is an international body for the assessment of climate change, it was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.
Keoladeo National Park
It is Located in Bharatpur district, the eastern part of Rajasthan. The park is spread over nearly 30 sq.km which comprises many artificial and seasonal lagoons. Keoladeo attracts several migratory birds that make the region their breeding and wintering grounds.
The Convention on Wetlands called the Ramsar Convention is the intergovernmental treaty. It provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states, from all the world’s geographic regions, have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.
The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands, It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, Peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)
Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities
A total of six cities have been certified as 5-Star (Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai), 65 cities as 3-Star and 70 cities as 1-Star. While announcing the results of the Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
About Star Rating Protocol of Garbage Free cities
Colour- Coded Weather Warning-IMD
It is issued by the IMD whose objective is to alert people ahead of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause damage, widespread disruption or danger to life.
Warnings are updated daily.
4 colour codes are:
1. Green (All is well): No advisory is issued.
2. Yellow (Be Aware): Yellow indicates severely bad weather spanning across several days. It also suggests that the weather could change for the worse, causing disruption in day-to-day activities.
3. Orange/Amber (Be prepared): The orange alert is issued as a warning of extremely bad weather with the potential of disruption in commute with road and rail closures, and interruption of power supply.
4. Red (Take Action): When the extremely bad weather conditions are certainly going to disrupt travel and power and have significant risk to life, the red alert is issued.
These alerts are universal in nature and are also issued during floods, depending on the amount of water rising above land/in a river as a result of torrential rainfall.
For instance, when the water in a river is ‘above normal’ level, or between the ‘warning’ and ‘danger’ levels, a yellow alert is issued.
India Meteorological Department
He is the Green Nobel Prize winner and environmental activist.
Green Nobel Prize
Founders of the Green Nobel
Ant Species in Andaman
Scientists have discovered the new species Tetramoriumkrishnani and Tetramoriumjarawa in Havelock Island, a part of the Andaman archipelago.
The ant species are endemic to the Andaman Islands. They dwell in leaf litter in the evergreen forests of the Island.
Frogs belongs to the genus Nyctibatrachus are commonly known as night frogs. They are found only in the Western Ghats mountain range. Scientists have recently discovered new night frog “Mewasinghi”, belonging to Nyctibatrachus from Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kozhikode. It is found in a small stream running along the Peruvannamuzhi dam.
It is closely relative to Athirappilly night frog (found south of the Palakkad Gap in Thrissur and Idukki) and the Kempholey night frog (found in the northern Western Ghats of Kerala and Karnataka).
Lockdown 4.0 guidelines
Lockdown measures in place since March 24, 2020 have helped considerably in containing the spread of COVID-19. It has therefore been decided to further extend the lockdown till May 31, 2020. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an order, today, under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, in this regard.
Salient features of the new guidelines are as follows:
States to decide various Zones
Activities Prohibited throughout the Country
A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country. These include
However, online/ distance learning shall be permitted and encouraged; and, restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.
Opening up of Sports Activities
Activities permitted with restrictions
Stipulations regarding Shops and Markets
Protection for Vulnerable Persons
States to decide on activities within various Zones
Use of Aarogya Setu
State/ UT Governments shall continue to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.
New Ginger Species
Scientists have discovered two new species of Ginger in Manipur and Nagaland. They were found in easternmost districts bordering Myanmar. Both the plants are from the family of Zingiberaceae, to which the commonly found Ginger (Zingiberofficinale) belongs. The species discovered in Nagaland, is an epiphytic plant and grows on tall trees. The species from Manipur was found growing in rock crevices, boulders and humus rich soil in the Shirui Hills.
National Migrant Information System (NMIS)
New Green Building Code
The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) launched a code for new commercial buildings in the country. Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017 was developed by Ministry of Power and BEE.
Steps to control Climate Change – Analysis by Dr.Anil Kakodkar
On the occasion of National Technology Day, a day which marks the anniversary of Pokhran Nuclear Tests of 1998, Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission, Padma Vibhushan Dr. Anil Kakodkar, has conveyed a message to the people of India, about Dealing with energy needs in the Context of Climate Crisis.
Relation between HDI and Per Capita Energy Consumption
In his presentation, he explained about the correlation between Human Development Index (HDI) and Per Capita Energy Consumption all over the world. As per the statistics, countries with higher HDI where citizens enjoy high quality of life have higher per capita consumption of energy.
However with the rising climate issues, a developing country like India faces the challenge where we are caught between energy security on one side and climate security on the other. “The need of the hour is to strike a balance between enhancing the quality of human life as well as keeping a control over the climate crisis.”
Researchers across the globe are studying about climate change on how to control CO2 emissions, which is a serious threat to the environment. As per the report of Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, “staying below 1.5 degree increase in 2,100 will require cuts in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and to net zero by 2050”; which means we have only 10 years left to realise deep CO2 emission cuts while ensuring development aspirations of many countries across the world.
To achieve this, the world has to act now by leveraging available/rapidly deployable technologies. This is where the requirement of nuclear energy, which can easily meet the ‘zero emission’ target, arises. With the contribution of nuclear energy, the cost of deep decarbonisation can be reduced. Decarbonising means reducing carbon intensity, i.e. reducing the emissions per unit of electricity generated (often given in grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour).
Decarbonisation of energy production in the country is essential since the demand for electric power from industries/commercial sector is high. Decarbonisation is possible by increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources, particularly renewables like solar, hydro and biomass together with nuclear which can greatly contribute in achieving zero emissions to a great extent.
Even when many countries are making active efforts in the field of energy efficiency the CO2 emission is still high when compared to preceding years. This shows we need better plans to control the same.
Global strategies to be adopted
In order to control CO2 emission, different levels of consumption strategy need to be observed by different countries based on their HDI. For example, those countries with high Human Development Index, should reduce their energy consumption since it may not affect their HDI, much. In addition to this they should also decarbonise their electricity generation. And the countries with moderate HDI should focus on non-fossil electricity consumption while countries with low HDI should be able to provide subsidised source of cleaner energy to their citizens. This way every country can actively contribute towards low / zero emission.
Role of Japan
Japan is a country which has seen the brunt of the negatives of nuclear energy – the cruellest nuclear bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki that raised the global sensitivity of nuclear energy. But still the country has drafted an energy plan, to generate 20% to 22% of their total energy consumption as nuclear energy, to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030. Countries like Germany and Japan are already planning to cut GHG emission by 2020 and 2030 respectively which has allotted huge amount on production of renewable energy.
Role of India
For a country like India, in order to decarbonise the energy consumption, we need a 30-fold increase in renewable energy, 30-fold increase in nuclear energy and doubling of thermal energy which would make 70% of energy carbon free.
Indian nuclear power at a glance:
To meet the energy requirements of the country, currently there are 66 units with the capacity of 49180 MWe (including projects that are operating, under planning, under construction and those that are approved).
The major concern that pops up now is of how to manage the nuclear wastes, that is produced during energy generation.
Dr. Kakodkar said, India adopts the policy of ‘Nuclear Recycle Technology’ - where the nuclear fuel - Uranium, Plutonium etc, once used for generation of energy, is reused as a resource material by the commercial industries to be recycled.
More than 99% of Nuclear waste is reused as the waste management program in India prioritises recycling.
Sal forest tortoise
The sal forest tortoise is widely distributed over eastern and northern India and Southeast Asia.
However, it is not common in any of this terrain. In fact, 23 of the 29 species of freshwater turtle and tortoise species found in India come under the threatened category in the IUCN red list and are under severe existential threat due to human activities.
Also known as the elongated tortoise (Indotestudo elongata), the sal forest tortoise, recently assessed as critically endangered
Threats of Sal forest tortoise
Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia)-Murder Hornet
The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) has arrived in North America. This insect has attacked honeybees: it crawls into hives and rips off the heads of bees in large numbers—making its supervillain nickname, “murder hornet,” feel disturbingly apt. Government agencies and local beekeepers have sprung into action, hoping to eradicate the hornet before it can consolidate a foothold in the continent. Success may lie in how predator and prey interact naturally.
V. mandarinia is the largest hornet in the world. A female worker may grow to a length of nearly four centimeters (an inch and a half), and the insect has large biting mouthparts that enable it to decapitate its victims. Hornets are usually solitary hunters. But between late summer and fall, V. mandarinia workers may band together to conduct mass attacks on nests of other social insects, notably honeybees. This behavior even has a name: the slaughter and occupation phase. U.S. beekeepers supply billions of honeybees each year to help pollinate at least 90 agricultural crops. And they are worried that this new raider could further worsen already deep losses in important pollinator populations.
The hornet is native to Asia, ranging from Japan and Russia down to Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma).
Turtle – Threats
Disaster Management in India
Part of: GS-III- Disaster Management (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Disruption on a massive scale, either natural or man-made, occurring in short or long periods of time is termed as Disaster. Disaster management in India has been an important point of discussion owing to frequent natural disasters ranging from earthquakes, floods, drought etc.
What is a Disaster?
A disaster is defined as a disruption on a massive scale, either natural or man-made, occurring in short or long periods of time. Disasters can lead to human, material, economic or environmental hardships, which can be beyond the bearable capacity of the affected society. As per statistics, India as a whole is vulnerable to 30 different types of disasters that will affect the economic, social and human development potential to such an extent that it will have long-term effects on productivity and macro-economic performance.
Disasters can be classified into the following categories:
What is Disaster Management?
Per the Disaster Management Act of 2005 defines Disaster Management as an integrated process of planning, organizing, coordinating and implementing measures which are necessary for-
Agencies involved in Disaster Management
Causes for Occurrence of Disaster
Impacts of Disaster
Vulnerability Profile of India
Worst Disasters in India
Stages in Disaster Management
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
Disaster Risk Reduction in Sustainable Development Goals
Challenges in Disaster Risk Reduction
Organisations related to Disaster Management Framework at Global level
Organisations an Policies related to Disaster Management Framework at National level
National Disaster Management Authority of India (NDMA)
National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP)
State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)
District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA)
**No Planning comission today
Disaster Management in India: Success stories
Environment Impact Assessment Notification(EIA), 2020 extended till 30th June.
The Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 published the draft notification namely, Environment Impact Assessment Notification extending the EIA assessment by 2 months till 30th June due to COVID-19 pandemic.
About Environmental Impact Assessment
The EIA Process
Screening: The project plan is screened for scale of investment, location and type of development and if the project needs statutory clearance.
Scoping: The project’s potential impacts, zone of impacts, mitigation possibilities and need for monitoring.
Collection of baseline data: Baseline data is the environmental status of study area.
Impact prediction: Positive and negative, reversible and irreversible and temporary and permanent impacts need to be predicted which presupposes a good understanding of the project by the assessment agency.
Mitigation measures and EIA report: The EIA report should include the actions and steps for preventing, minimizing or by passing the impacts or else the level of compensation for probable environmental damage or loss.
Public hearing: On completion of the EIA report, public and environmental groups living close to project site may be informed and consulted.
Decision making: Impact Assessment Authority along with the experts consult the project-in-charge along with consultant to take the final decision, keeping in mind EIA and EMP (Environment Management Plan).
Monitoring and implementation of environmental management plan: The various phases of implementation of the project are monitored.
Assessment of Alternatives, Delineation of Mitigation Measures and Environmental Impact Assessment Report: For every project, possible alternatives should be identified, and environmental attributes compared. Alternatives should cover both project location and process technologies.
Once alternatives have been reviewed, a mitigation plan should be drawn up for the selected option and is supplemented with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the proponent towards environmental improvements.
Risk assessment: Inventory analysis and hazard probability and index also form part of EIA procedures.
Salient Features of 2006 Amendments to EIA Notification
Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 has decentralized the environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories, i.e., Category A (national level appraisal) and Category B (state level appraisal).
Category A projects are appraised at national level by Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and Category B projects are apprised at state level.
State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) are constituted to provide clearance to Category B process.
After 2006 Amendment the EIA cycle comprises of four stages:
Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
Category B projects undergoes screening process and they are classified into two types.
Thus, Category A projects and Category B, projects undergo the complete EIA process whereas Category B2 projects are excluded from complete EIA process.
Stakeholders in the EIA Process
PM reviews Vishakhapatnam Gas Leak Incident
The incident of Styrene gas leakage occurred in a chemical plant in the early hours today at 3 am in RR Venkatapuram village, Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhpatnam District.
Early morning leakage from LG Polymers, which manufactures general purpose polystyrene, high impact polystyrene and coloured polystyrene caused panic in several areas of the city.
It was decided that a team from CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) unit of NDRF from Pune,along with an expert team of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur would be rushed to Vishakhapatnam immediately to support the State Government in the management of the crisis on the ground, and also to take measures for resolving the short term as also long term medical impact of the leak.
Styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH=CH2. This derivative of benzene is a colorless oily liquid although aged samples can appear yellowish. The compound evaporates easily and has a sweet smell, although high concentrations have a less pleasant odor. Styrene is the precursor to polystyrene and several copolymers.
Styrene, the chemical involved in the disaster-struck plant that produces polystyrene products, is included in the schedule of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.
Styrene gas is a poisonous, inflammable gas used in plastic engineering industry, and could have triggered a series of explosions.
Styrene gas, which is toxic in nature, may cause irritation to the skin, eyes and causes respiratory problems and other medical conditions.
The Styrene gas can cause nausea and dizziness when inhaled, and experts say that person exposed to the gas should be given medical treatment immediately.
The Styrene gas affects the central nervous system, throat, skin, eyes and some other parts of the body.
Styrene is used to make insulation, pipes, automobile parts, printing cartridges and copy machine toner, food containers, packaging material, carpet backing, luggage, shoes, toys, floor waxes and polishes.
Impact and Symptoms
The exposure of styrene is through ingestion, inhalation or contact (skin). Common symptoms of styrene exposure include irritation to eyes, nose and skin; gastrointestinal and respiratory effects.
Its long term exposure may cause central nervous system and kidney related problems, depression, headache etc. The department of health and human services USA has listed styrene as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen.
Detection of Gas in Air
For ascertaining the level of styrene in a contaminated air, samples of air may be taken from different places of suspected exposure and be subjected to detailed analysis using a special styrene detection device. Gas chromatography may also be used for its qualitative and quantitative estimation
Hazards related to Environment
When released into the soil or water, styrene is expected to readily biodegrade and evaporate quickly. While released into the air, styrene is expected to be readily degraded by reaction with photo-chemically produced hydroxyl radicals and is expected to have a half-life of less than 1 day.
No improvement in Ganga water quality
Part of: GS-III- Environment (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The lockdown in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may have dramatically reduced air pollution across the country but it hasn’t significantly reduced pollution in the Ganga, according to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
Highest in U.P
The pollution in the river is highest in Uttar Pradesh. The bulk of the sewage treatment plants commissioned under Ganga are in Uttar Pradesh towns and though projects worth ?23,000 crore have been commissioned (across 11 Ganga basin States), a noticeable increase in the cleanliness of the river isn't yet apparent.
The CPCB, however, said that there was notable improvement in water quality in the Yamuna. “Analysis results indicate there is considerable improvement in the water quality of river Yamuna with respect to DO, BOD and COD when compared with pre-lockdown and lockdown period,” the CPCB notes. However, this was done basis an assessment at only three locations in Delhi and the gains were significantly due to reduced industrial activity.
What is CPCB?
CPCB Organisational Structure
CPCB is led by its Chairman followed by the Member Secretary, and other members. The CPCB performs its various functions through the following nine major project budget heads.
Powers and Functions of CPCB
Coronavirus plastic waste polluting the environment
Gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) are critical for those fighting the pandemic but are also widely used by the public. Still, because they're not always disposed of properly, environmentalists fear negative consequences for wildlife and the fight against plastic pollution.
As in the rest of Greece, residents of the coastal city are allowed out only in strict circumstances, including for short exercise and grocery shopping, but discarded gloves, wipes and bottles of sanitizer are strewn across parks, sidewalks and roads, as people try to protect themselves and others from infection.
The problem isn't confined to the small Greek city. Similar waste is causing problems in bigger metropolises such as New York and London.
And it has even hit the uninhabited Soko Islands. A few nautical miles from Hong Kong, Gary Stokes from the conservation group OceansAsia, found some 100 masks washed up over the course of three visits to the beach.
Precautionary Measures to protect tigers in Zoo:
Central Zoo Authority
Recognition of Zoo Rules, 1992:
Roles & Functions:
Some major initiatives:
National Board for Wild Life
Indian Initiative on Earth BioGenome Sequencing (IIEBS)
About Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute:
Lessons learnt during COVID19 for sustainable environmental and livelihood practices: (Solutions for Sustainable development-Mains)
Earth Day Network
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services-IPBES
History of Earth Day:
Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.
Earth Day Network:
To build the world’s largest environmental movement to drive transformative change for people and planet.
Earth Day Network’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 75,000 partners in over 190 countries to drive positive action for our planet.
Theme of Earth Day 2020:
The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.
Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
World Earth Day
Vice President greets people on the occasion of World Earth Day.
About the World Earth Day:
Water Quality Report - Draft notification on RO systems
Part of: GS-III- Environment-Pollution (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has released Water Quality Report for State capitals & Delhi as analysed by the Bureau of India Standards (BIS).
The study focused on the quality of piped drinking water and also ranked the States, smart cities and districts accordingly. This study was in line with Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to provide tap water to all households by 2024.
It should be legally binding on agencies to achieve standards and empowering consumers. State governments should take an integrated view of housing, water supply, sanitation and waste management.
A scientific approach for water management should be adopted. A separate agency in each state should be entrusted for regular testing rather than relying on the same agency.
Data on water should be made public on the same lines as air quality which would put pressure on governments to act.
Jal Jeevan Mission
Recently, Union Ministry for Jal Shakti, conducted a conference of State Ministers on Jal Jeevan Mission in New Delhi.
Purifying water: On draft notification on RO systems
The Environment Ministry’s draft notification to regulate the use of membrane-based water purification systems primarily concerns the manufacturers of reverse osmosis (RO) water filters but effectively bars domestic users from installing RO systems.
The Central government has drawn up plans to ban the use of membrane-based water purification systems (MWPS) – primarily reverse osmosis (RO) systems – in areas where the source of water meets the Bureau of Indian Standards’ drinking water norms.
Draft notification that effectively prohibits home users to install MPWS:
The notification is the culmination of a legal dispute before the National Green Tribunal, which had banned RO water filter use in Delhi as the purification process wastes water.
The notification mainly deals with rules for commercial suppliers and for integration of systems that inform consumers about TDS levels, a major determinant of water quality.
This is envisaged both before water enters filtration systems a