Environment, Ecology and Biodiversity Current Affairs in November 2020

Environment, Ecology and Biodiversity Current Affairs in November 2020

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-30th November 2020

India’s climate change knowledge portal launched.

The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has virtually launched the ‘India Climate Change Knowledge Portal’.

Key Points:

  • The portal will be a single point information source. 
  • The web portal will capture sector-wise mitigation and adaptation actions that are taken by different line ministries in one place.
  •  It shall enable the users to access the updated status on these initiatives.
  • The portal shall contain a description of all the major steps that the government has been taking at both national and international levels.  

Eight major components in Knowledge portal:

  • National Policy Framework
  • India’s climate profile
  • Adaptation Action
  • India’s NDC goals
  • Bilateral and Multilateral cooperation
  • Mitigation actions
  • Reports and Publication
  • International Climate Negotiations

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology- 29th November 2020

‘Raimona National Park’ has been unveiled

Map for Assam’s 6th National Park has been proposed 

Key Point:

  • Assam forest and environment minister Parimal Suklabaidya unveiled the map for the state’s sixth proposed national Park – Raimona National Park.
  •  Currently, Assam has five national parks:
  •  Kaziranga, 
  • Manas, 
  • Nameri, 
  • Orang,
  • Dibru-Saikhowa.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-28th November 2020

Meghalaya’s glowing mushrooms

A bioluminescent (light-emitting) variety of mushroom was found in Meghalaya.

Species :

  • Roridomyces Phyllostachydis, 
  • It was named after the host bamboo tree, Phyllostachys, where it was first found

Key Point:

  • The research results were published in the botany journal “Phytotaxa”.
  • In 2018, Assam-based conservation NGO Balipara Foundation collaborated with scientists from the Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences to assess the fungal biodiversity of four states in Northeast India.
  • The research has discovered 600 varieties of Fungi so far.
  • It is important because it is the first mushroom in the Roridomyces genus to be found in India
  • This is the only member in its genus to have light emitting from its stipe or stalk

Blue Tide phenomenon observed in Maharashtra

Maharashtra has witnessed the fluorescent bluish glow when the waves hit the shoreline.

Key Points:

  • The phenomenon is called ‘blue tide’.
  • It appears when luminescent marine life makes the sea appear a deep shade of blue.
  • The phenomenon occurs when phytoplankton, commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins. 
  • Waves disturb these unicellular microorganisms and make them release blue light.

CBG plant in Bagalkot district of Karnataka

The compressed Bio-Gas plant has recently been launched.

The foundation stone was laid by:

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Key Point:

  • This plant will utilize 200 TPD of press mud and will be commissioned at the estimated cost of about 42 crores. 
  • This will generate about 10.2 TPD of CBG and also bio-manure.
  •  Praj Industries and DVO Inc. have provided the technology for the proposed plant.
  • The 1st Plant in North India was set up in Punjab

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-27th November 2020

India has emerged as the fourth-largest producer of renewable energy in the world

In the 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo, RE-Invest 2020 the said announcement was made by the Prime Minister.

Key Points:

  • India's annual renewable energy capacity addition has been exceeding that of coal-based thermal power since 2017
  • India’s renewable power capacity is the 4th largest in the world
  • It is growing at the fastest speed among all major countries. 
  • The renewable energy capacity in India is currently 136 Giga Watts
  • This is about 36 percent of the country's total capacity
  • Germany is the largest producer of renewable energy in the world

 

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-25th November 2020

Cyclonic storm “Nivar'

Indian coast is at risk from cyclonic storm ‘Nirvar’

Key Point:

  • The cyclonic storm “Nivar,” has hit the South West Bay of Bengal 
  • It has caused widespread rain in Tamil Nadu. 
  • According to the World Meteorological Organisation’s panel, the name suggested by Iran.
  • WMO has its HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1950

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-24th November 2020

India’s 1st moss garden 

India’s 1st moss garden has been developed

Location:

 Khurpatal, Nainital, Uttarakhand

Key Point:

  • India’s 1st moss garden has been developed at Khurpatal, Nainital 
  • This is to conserve various species of moss & bryophytes 
  • It is to make people aware of its significance. 
  • 2 moss species found here 
  • Cement Moss, and 
  •  Brachythecium Buchanani

They figure in IUCN’s red list.

  • Moss is the first plant to grow on rocky land.

 

23 medicinal plants of Karnataka on IUCN endangered list

 

The study was commissioned by:

  •  The Karnataka Biodiversity Board, and
  •  National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) 

Key Points:

  • 23 rare medicinal plants in various forests of the state are on the verge of extinction
  • They have been listed as 'endangered' on the IUCN list.

The red-listed rare medicinal plants include:

  •  Sandalwood, 
  • Wild clove, 
  • Red sanders, 
  • Wild Jamun, 
  • Wild cinnamon,
  • Other species are endemic to the Western Ghats. 
  • Destruction of forests for projects, damage caused while extracting forest produce, increasing demand for herbal products, smuggling of these plants, and wildfire in the summer season 
  • The study spanning five years by forest officials, botanists, and field experts helped document more than 4,800 flowering plant species in various circles of the forests.
  •  Out of these, 60 rare species are medically prominent, including the 23 endangered species.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-22nd November 2020

Karnataka Bio-Economy Report

The Karnataka Bio-Economy Report has been released

Key Points:

  • Karnataka has set the target of raising the Bio-Economy share to 50% of the national Bio-economy revenue target.
  • The national Bio-Economy target stands at $100bn by 2025.
  • Currently, Karnataka’s share in this is ⅓ of the national bio-economy revenues at $22.6 bn
  • At present, the national Bio-economy is estimated at $62.5bn

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-21st November 2020

Deemed forests

Karnataka government is aiming to declassify 6.64 lakh hectares of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forests within the state (nearly 67%) and hand it over to Revenue authorities.

Deemed forests

An expert committee constituted by the Karnataka government after the Supreme writ (in T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) Case) identified ‘deemed forests’ as “land having the characteristic of forests irrespective of the ownership’”. 

This includes:

  • Thickly wooded areas of the Revenue Department not handed over to the Forest Department.
  • Thickly wooded areas recommended being handed over to the Forest Department.
  • Thickly wooded land distributed to grantees but not cultivated.
  • Thickly wooded plantations of the Forest Department.

Background:

The issue of deemed forests may be a contentious one in Karnataka, with legislators across party lines often alleging that enormous amounts of agriculture and non-forest land are “unscientifically” classified intrinsically.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-20th November 2020

Willow warbler:

It has been sighted for the first time in India.

Location:

Thiruvananthapuram

Key Points:

  • It is one of the longest migrating small birds
  • The willow warbler breeds throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic.
  • 7 species of warblers have been recorded from Kerala
  • The willow warbler forms the 18th warbler and 533rd species of bird to be recorded from the State.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concern.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-19th November 2020

GPS Tracker attached to world’s last surviving White Giraffe 

Conservationists attached a GPS tracker on the world’s last surviving white giraffe

Location:

In Garissa County, north-east Kenya 

Aim:

To protect it from poachers. 

Highlight:

  • The GPS device will give real-time information on the movement of the giraffe to the Conservation Group. 
  • The device has been attached to one of the giraffe’s ossicones, the horn-like protuberances on its head.
  • The white giraffe was first discovered in 2017 along with its calf and in August last year
  •  However, Two of these family members were killed by  poachers in March this year, 
  • This leaves behind only one giraffe
  • This is a step towards the protection of this rare animal

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-18th November 2020

New species of vine snakes discovered

A team of researchers after extensive sampling across peninsular India, have discovered new species of vine snakes in the region.

Discovered by:

    •  Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), 
    • Indian Institute of Science (IISc)

The study was published in :

The journal Zootaxa

The study carried out in collaboration with:
Researcher S.R. Ganesh from the Chennai Snake Park,
 Saunak Pal from the Bombay Natural History Society, and 
 Princia D’souza from IISc.

 

Key Points:

  • They are among the most common snakes in peninsular India, found even in peri-urban areas.
  • Field visits across India were made to collect morphological data, tissue samples, and specimens to understand the patterns of distribution and diversification of vine snakes. 
  • Vine snakes are known to be among the most common snakes in peninsular India,
  • They are even found in many peri-urban areas wherever there exists some greenery and in the Western Ghats.
  • Asian vine snakes are distributed throughout the continent
  • They belong to the genus Ahaetulla and the recently described Proahaetulla.
  • It was also discovered by the team that the common green vine snake (Ahaetulla nasuta)found in India was a complex of several species.
  • Four distinct small-bodied and short-nosed species was also found in the Western Ghats :

-  Northern Western Ghats vine snake (Ahaetulla borealis), 

- Farnsworth’s vine snake (Ahaetulla farnsworth), 

- Malabar vine snake (Ahaetulla malabarica), and 

- Wall’s vine snake (Ahaetulla isabellina) 

  • These species that were discovered were morphological but were separated by their geographic or ecological barriers.
  • The team also delineated the Travancore vine snake (Ahaetulla travancorica), separated by morphology and a geographic barrier from the Gunther’s vine snake (Ahaetulla dispar).
  • The vine snakes were named based on the locality or on a morphological character
  • The species Ahaetulla farnsworthi was named after scientist, Dr. Hubert Farnsworth from the cartoon Futurama
  • Morphological distinctions between the brown vine snake in the Western Ghats and the one found in Sri Lanka was established.
  • The snake discovered in the Western Ghats form a new name (Ahaetulla sahyadrensis). 
  • There now exists six species of vine snakes endemic to the Western Ghats.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-17th November 2020

Hurricane Iota:

Hurricane Iota has arrived in Nicaragua in Central America and has developed into a category five storm.

Occurrence 

The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June to November and covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico

  • Hurricanes are categorized on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed.
  • Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are called ‘major hurricanes’ because of their potential to cause devastating damage to life and property.

Formation of Hurricanes:

Tropical cyclones or hurricanes use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form over warm ocean waters near the equator,

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-16th November 2020

Keetham lake gets  Ramsar site recognition

  • The Keetham lake, also known as Sur Sarovar, in Agra of Uttar Pradesh has been added to the list of Ramsar sites.

Location:

  • This canal originates from the Okhla barrage on River Yamuna in Delhi
  •  Agra – Delhi highway (NH 2) in Uttar Pradesh

Highlight:

  • The Sur Sagar lake is a scenic lake
  • It is an existing bird sanctuary
  • More than 165 species of migratory birds and resident birds call this their home.
  • Agra Canal supplies water to this lake.
  • This place is historically significant s it is the same place that inspired the famed poet Soordas to compose the “Bhakti Kavya”

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-14th November 2020

The largest fully protected marine reserves in the Atlantic Ocean 

The UK Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha has been declared the largest fully protected marine reserves in the Atlantic Ocean at 687,000 square kilometers.

Key Points’

  • Tristan da Cunha is the world’s most remote human settlement, inhabited by less than 300 humans in a small chain of islands.

  •  The water around the islands is considered to be the richest in the world.

  • This archipelago with mountainous terrain is home to tens of millions of seabirds and several unique land birds.
  • The diversity of birds here is comparable to the Galapagos island finches.
  • World Heritage Site of Gough and Inaccessible Islands, are also a part of this archipelago which is one of the most important seabird islands in the entire world.

Lonar Lake selected under ‘Ramsar site’

Lonar Lake in Maharashtra has been selected under ‘Ramsar site’

Key Point:

  • The Lonar Lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra 
  • This is a saltwater lake.
  • The lake is the only crater lake present in India.
  • Lake Lonar is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in ballistic rock found on the Earth.

India flags projects under GCF

 India has kicked-off a USD 43 million projects to boost climate resilience in three coastal states in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme this move may positively impact over 10 million people living on the coastline,

Funded by :

Green Climate Fund.

Key Points:

  • The six-year project aims to build climate-resilient livelihoods for 1.7 million people.
  • This project will be implemented in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
  • It seeks to offset 3.5 million tonnes of carbon
  • It aims to protect vulnerable ecosystems
  • This will benefit another 10 million people with improved shoreline protection.
  • The project shall work closely in association with the communities in restoring ecosystems and promoting climate-resilient livelihood options, such as the sustainable farming of mud crabs.

About GCF:

  • The GCF was set up in 2010
  • It falls under the UNFCCC’s financial mechanism to channel funding from developed countries to developing countries
  • This lets them mitigate climate change and also adapt to disruptions arising from a changing climate.

New Species of Frog discovered in Andaman

A new genus of treefrog has recently been discovered from the Andaman Islands called Striped Bubble-nest frog.

Key Points:

Striped Bubble-nest frog

  • Biological name: Rohanixalus vittatus
  • Genus: Rhacophoridae,  of the Old World treefrog family 
  • This is the first time a tree frog species has been reported from the Andaman Islands.
  • This species is also known as the Asian Glass Frog or see-through frogs
  • The female of the species attends the egg.
  • She clutches onto them until hatching and assists in the release of the tadpoles into the water.
  • A large number of egg clutches, over 50 different developmental stages may be found on a single leaf or plant. 
  • Multiple females usually attend such clutches in a behavior termed as ‘community’ egg attendance.
  • Male-male combats are frequent,  involving pushing, kicking, and dislodging to mate with a female were also reported.

Also stay updated with :

November latest Government Schemes, Policies and Governance

October 2020 Government Schemes, Policies and Governance

 India and Its International Relations in November 2020

India and Its International Relations in October 2020

 

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-13th November 2020

Operation Thunder 2020 

The India Customs intercepted an 18-tonne shipment of red sandalwood to be shipped to the United Arab Emirates, during a month-long “Operation Thunder 2020”, 

Coordinated by:

  •  The Interpol and 

  • World Customs Organisation, which involved law enforcement agencies in 103 countries.

Background:

  • Thunder 2020 is the fourth in a series of ‘Thunder’ operations carried out annually since 2017.
  • It has resulted in significant arrests and seizures and the arrest of thousands of suspects engaged in the illegal trade of wildlife and timber species.
  • Such coordinated global operations render a virtuous cycle or a positive feedback loop.
  • Customs can continuously update and refine their risk indicators for improved profiling while police cooperate with other agencies
  • The species protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are the main focus under this.

Key Points:

  • The fourth edition of the operation against environmental crime was held from September 14 to October 11. 
  • It resulted in seizures of a large number of protected wildlife and forestry specimens and products
  • This has triggered arrests and investigations worldwide
  • Operation Thunder 2020, aims at Focusing on pre-identified routes and hotspots

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-12th November 2020

Haiderpur wetland

Uttar Pradesh forest department is working along with conservation organizations to eventually make the Haiderpur wetland in Muzaffarnagar district a Ramsar site.

Key Points:

  • The wetland came into existence in 1984 
  • This happened after the construction of the Madhya Ganga Barrage on the Ganga
  • It is fed by the Ganga and Solani rivers
  • It is spread over an area of  1,214 hectares.
  • It is situated within the borders of the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • It is a crucial stopover destination for the winter migratory birds like the Greylag goose and the Bar-headed goose
  • The Haidepur wetland has also been identified as a model wetland along the Ganga under the flagship Namami Gange program.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-11th November 2020

Ultra Mega Renewal Energy Power Park

Rajasthan government signs an MoU with National Thermal Power Corporation and Solar Energy Corporation of India

Aim:

  • To establish Ultra Mega Renewal Energy Power Park.

Key Points:

  • The park is to be set up near borders areas 
  • It will be of 8,000 megawatts (MW) capacity
  • The said park will comprise3,760 MW of solar energy, 4,310 MW of wind energy,  and 120 MW of power from biomass.
  • As of now, Rajasthan’s solar generation capacity is 4,883 MW.
  • The Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited would be signing a separate MoU with the NTPC and the SECI to materialize the GoI Mega Power Park project.
  • Rajasthan has over 1000 kilometer-long international border
  • This is currently supplied power through traditional methods.
  • A proposal for setting up solar power parks to generate 10,000 MW green energy with an investment of Rs 50,000 crore, has been approved by The Rajasthan government.
  • The state has agreed to the proposal of Adani Green Energy Limited to set up solar power parks at five locations and a solar panel manufacturing unit which will generate around 7,500 direct and indirect jobs.

Wildlife Institute of India: High Biodiversity in 49% of Ganga

The Wildlife Institute of India recently released the first phase of the survey on the Ganges river according to which 49% of the river is high on biodiversity. 

The study was conducted by:

  • The WII 
  • It does it on behalf of the National Mission for Clean Ganga 
  • This is undertaken by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • The first phase of this survey took place in  2017-19.

Key Highlights

  • The Gangetic Dolphins population has shown an increase.
  • Otters in the river have increased in numbers.
  •  This is an indication of the fact that the pollution level in the river has decreased and the river is in a healthy state.
  • The study is the first of its kind that is conducted on the entire river and also first of all its biodiversity.

Key findings

  • There used to be beliefs and findings that certain areas of Ganga had no biodiversity. 
  • However, this has been proved wrong in the study. 
  • This suggests that the entire river has some biodiversity, 10% of these high biodiversity areas are Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary in Bihar, Hastinapur wildlife sanctuary.
  • The study has found key semi-aquatic and aquatic species such as Gharials, Gangetic Dolphins, Otters, Turtles, and several species of water birds.
  •  Also nesting colonies of Indian Skimmer. 
  • Several species that had disappeared 80 years ago have now resurfaced.

High Biodiversity Zones

The high Biodiversity zones have been divided into six zones:

  •  Makdumpur to Narora, 
  • Devprayag to Rishikesh, 
  • Bhitaura to Ghazipur, 
  • Sahibganj to Rajmahal, 
  • Chhapra to Kahalgaon, and 
  • Baharampur to Barackpore.

Major threats

  • According to the study, the major threats to the biodiversity of the river Ganges are sand mining, construction of dams and barrages, bank alteration loss of suitable habitat conditions.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme says that the decline of biodiversity of freshwater species is the highest of all the other species. 
  • The Indian subcontinent was reported to have the highest loss of biodiversity.



International Bird Festival in February 2021

The international bird festival will be organized in Gorakhpur in the month of February

Key Points:

  •  It is supposed to attract international tourists to Ramgarhtal Lake for bird watching.
  • This bird festival mainly focuses on eco-tourism.
  • There exists a great potential for eco-tourism in Gorakhpur and the surrounding Terai region.
  • The region is set to have a zoological park as well.
  • The Bird Festival is organized by the government

Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP):

The air quality of Delhi and Noida is in the ‘severe’ category

Key Points:

  • The newly formed Commission on Air Quality Management is an interim measure.
  • This has given the CPCB the powers to operationalize measures under the GRAP on air pollution.

 GRAP:

  • The GRAP is a set of emergency measures to be implemented to control air pollution depending upon the air quality.
  • The Supreme Court approved it in 2016.
  •  Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority made the plan.
  • GARP works only as an emergency measure.
  • The measures listed have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature when the air quality shifts from poor to very poor,

 Overview of the GARP plan:

  • The plan requires action and coordination among 13 different agencies in Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan (NCR areas).
  • As mandated by the Supreme Court the table is headed by the EPCA,
  • EPCA holds a meeting before the imposition of any measures, with representatives from all NCR states, and a call is taken on which actions have to be made applicable in which town

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-10th November 2020

Four More Biodiversity Heritage Sites Declared For Karnataka

The Karnataka Biodiversity Board has identified four additional zones within the State as biodiversity legacy locales.

Highlights:

  • The State Governments can inform about the Biodiversity Heritage Sites in the conference with neighborhood+ overseeing bodies under Section 37 of the Biological Diversity Act of 2002.
  • Under sub-segment (2) of Section 37, the government within the conference with the Central Government may outline rules for BHS's administration and protection.
  • Advertising a neighborhood as a biodiversity legacy site will help secure the rich and novel biological system during a specific territory from additional destruction.
  • This is able to enable not just assistance to preserve the district's biodiversity yet, also, guarantee biological security and feasible improvement for people too, as long as such regions also regularly speak to interfaces between nature, culture, and society.
  • Considering that BHS also underscores a participatory method for the preservation efforts, the notice would help ingrain and support protection morals altogether general public areas.

 The proposed biodiversity heritage sites include:

 

- Antaragange Betta in Kolar–This zone has an exceptional and perpetual water source streaming all year long

- Aadi Narayana Swamy Betta in Chickballapur–It fits in as an environment to several dry-belt species secured by local people.

- Mahima Ranga Betta in Nelamangala, Bengaluru–It may be a lung space making due in Bengaluru.

- Urumbi territory on the Kumaradhara stream bowl in Dakshina Kannada–This zone features a delicate natural framework, and there was a proposition to set up a bit scope hydro plant in this district.

Additional Information:

Biodiversity Heritage Sites:

Are territories with interesting, environmentally delicate biological systems – earthly, seaside, and inland waters or marine having a rich biodiversity.

Action Plan For Vulture Conservation 2020 To 2025 NBWL

National Board for Wildlife has cleared an action plan to be specific 'Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025'. 

Highlights:

  • A Vulture Conservation Breeding Centers in Tripura, Maharashtra,  Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. 
  • Red Headed vulture and Egyptian vulture will be bred here
  • Setting up of Vulture Safe Zone in each State for the preservation of the remaining population has been suggested
  • They will be set up in Bhopal in central India,  Pinjore in north India, Guwahati in upper east India Hyderabad in south India

Key Points:

  • Vultures tidy up cadavers and other natural waste in the climate, give basically significant biological system benefits that likewise straightforwardly advantage people
  •  India has 9 vulture species, and the majority of their population are declining. 
  •  Three of India's vulture types of the family 'Gyps’ are under serious danger. 

- The long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) (Critically Endangered)

- The slender-billed Vulture (G. tenuirostris) (Critically Endangered)

- The white-rumped vulture (G. bengalensis) (Critically Endangered)

- The first two had declined by 97%, while the third had declined almost 99% somewhere in the range of 1992 and 2007. 

Significance:

  • The decrease in the population of the vultures is related to the utilization of medications, like diclofenac for cattle treatment.
  • The medicines at that point end up in their stomach related framework causing kidney failure in the vultures that feed on the remains of the cattle treated with diclofenac.

Minks:

Denmark has recorded over 200 human cases infected with SARS-CoV-2 variants that are associated with farmed minks, and the government has ordered mass elimination of minks to stop the spread of the COVID pandemic.

 Key Point:

  • Minks are known to be susceptible to coronavirus.
  • They, like humans, can show a range of Covid-19 symptoms, from being asymptomatic to severe problems, such as pneumonia.

Minks:

  • Mink are dark-colored, carnivorous mammals
  • They belong to the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels, otters, and ferrets.
  • Minks are bred for their fur, mainly in China, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Poland.
  • Mink oil is used in some medical products and cosmetics, to treat, preserve, and waterproof leather.
  • There are two species of extant referred to as “mink”: 

    The American mink and 

    The European mink.

  • IUCN lists The European mink as Critically Endangered 

 

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-9th November 2020

 NGT bans sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR 

A total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed from 9 November to 30 November.

Key Points:

  • The ban will be applicable in the cities and towns where the air quality is in the poor” category.
  • In the towns where the air quality is “moderate” or below, only green firecrackers will be sold
  • The time duration of bursting them will be restricted to two hours during festivals such as Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas Eve as may have been specified by the state.
  • The state governments currently have their own set of guidelines with regard to permitting/banning the sale and use of firecrackers during the festive season.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-8th November 2020

500 meter tall Coral Reef discovered in Great Barrier Reef

A massive detached coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia has been discovered recently.

 Discovered by:

 Australian Scientists from the Schmidt Ocean Institute. 

The vessel used:

 Falkor vessel 

Key Highlights

  •  This is the first such reef to be discovered in the last  120 years.
  •  The said reef is much taller than the Empire State Building of the United States.

The reef

  • The base of the reef is blade-like.
  • This reef is 1.5 km wide.
  • Of this reef, only as little as 40 meters of the reef is under the sea surface.
  •  The newly discovered reef adds to the seven other tall detached reefs in the world. 
  • This includes Raine Island which is the most important Green Sea Turtle nesting area in the world. 
  • The marine ecosystem found on the top of this newly discovered detached reefs is more vibrant than the rest.

 Detached Reefs:

  • These reefs that are bedded to the ocean floor
  • But are not a part of the main body of the Great Barrier Reef.
  •  With the newly discovered reef, there is a total of eight detached reefs

Significance

  • Because of the deep waters isolating this reef from the others, the newly found detached reef has great potential for the new species to evolve. 
  •  A 45-meter long Siphonophore, a colonial organism has been found already.
  • Deepwater corals are very rare to find.

SuBastian

SuBastian is an underwater remotely controlled robot that is being deployed by the team in the newly discovered reef to collect samples.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-7th November 2020

Kottoor Elephant Rehabilitation Centre 

The Elephant Rehabilitation Centre at Kottoor in Thiruvananthapuram is to become the largest care and cure center for elephants in the world. 

The very first phase of this Elephant Rehabilitation Centre will be commissioned in February 2021.

Highlights:

  • The cost of this project is around Rs 108 crore with funding from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).
  •  The center has facilities to accommodate 50 elephants including the existing 16 elephants.
  • This project will constitute the construction of reservoirs and check dams at the Neyyar Dam and also special facilities for the care of elephant calves

Coastal Regulation Zone Norms

The Supreme Court of India  has extended the mandate of retired Kerala High Court judge Justice K Balakrishnan Iyer, a one-member committee

CRZ rules are made by :

The Union Environment Ministry

Implementation:

State governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

Constituted to :

  • Compute the compensation paid to flat owners of Maradu municipality of Kochi district
  • These were the people whose houses were demolished for being in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in the state

Background:

  • Last year the SC had observed that illegal construction in coastal areas of the state of Kerala is a “colossal loss” to the environment 
  • The court was displeased with the spate of unauthorized structures coming up at Kochi’s Maradu and ordered to demolish four apartment complexes built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)

CRZ norms:

  • Coastal Regulation Zone notification was issued under Section 3 of Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India  in February 1991
  • In 2018-19, new guidelines were issued, which were aimed at removing certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and encouraging tourism in coastal areas.

COVID-19 INSURANCE FOR “GREEN SOLDIERS”

The Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh has become the first in the eight-State northeast to provide insurance cover against COVID-19 for “green soldiers”.

Details

  • The green soldiers are the 57 frontline workers,  of the Park, have been insured for nine months against health issues due to the infection by the Covid-19.
  • The onus of wildlife conservation pretty much falls on the green soldiers.
  • The insurance amount will be paid by  Wildlife Trust of India NGO with support from Foundation Serge.
  • The NGO has been supporting India’s frontline forest staff with accident cover for the last 20 years.
  • The insurance coverage is Rs. 1 lakh each. The few who would be retiring soon has been insured for Rs. 50,000.

Pakke Tiger Reserve

  • PTR  lies in the foothills of the eastern Himalayas in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and is also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve.
  • It is a part of the Eastern Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot.
  • This Tiger Reserve houses over 2000 species of plants, 300 species of birds, 40 species of mammals, 
  • PTR is one of the last remaining strongholds left for the species who are globally threatened.
  • It is popular for sightings of four resident hornbill species.
  • Of these, the great hornbill is the state bird of Arunachal Pradesh and it is ‘vulnerable’ under the IUCN Red List.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology-6th November 2020

Brown carbon ‘tarballs’ found in the Himalayan atmosphere

A study has found Tarballs found in the Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau.

The percentage of the tarballs increased on days of upper levels of pollution and will contribute to the hastening of glacial melt and global warming.

Tarballs:

  • Tarballs are small light-absorbing, carbonaceous particles formed because of the burning of biomass or fossil fuels that deposit on snow and ice.
  • They hasten glacial melt.
  • They are formed from brown carbon, emitted during the burning of fossil fuel
  • Tarballs were emitted from biomass burning in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

Concerns:

Tarballs from long-range transport are often a crucial component affecting the climatic effect and would correspond to a considerable influence on the glacial melting of the Himalayas region.

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology- 5th November 2020 

Bio-decomposer technique

The bio-decomposer technique also known as Pusa Decomposer has shown success in converting stubble into manure.

Developed under:

The guidance of the PUSA Institute  

Highlights:

  • Pusa Decomposer is a mix of seven fungi that produce enzymes to digest cellulose, lignin, and pectin in paddy straw.
  • The fungi thrive at 30-32 degrees Celsius, this is also the temperature when paddy is harvested and wheat is sown.

Highlights:

  • A liquid formulation is formed using decomposer capsules and fermenting it over 8-10 days 
  • The mixture is then sprayed on fields with crop stubble to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble.
  • For 25 liter of the liquid mixture is mixed with 4 capsules, jaggery, and chickpea flour is to be mixed, and the mixture is sufficient to cover 1 hectare of land.
  • The process completes in about 20 days. 

Significance:

  • Improves the fertility of soil and productivity of the soil as the stubble works as manure and compost for the crops and lesser fertilizer consumption is required in the future.
  • It is practical, efficient, and effective, cheaper, doable, and to stop stubble burning.
  • This is an eco-friendly and environmentally relevant technology.

SMOG levels witness an unprecedented rise

The national capital experienced unprecedented levels of smog due to increased pollution levels. 

 Smog

  • Smog is an extremely harmful mixture of fog, dust, and air pollutants
  • These air pollutants may be volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and PM10s, etc.
  • Smog can be caused by:
  1. Large amounts of coal-burning in an area
  2. Slash-and-burning of crops (a major source in Delhi)
  3. Pollutants that form smog arise and generate from power plants, automobile exhausts, fireworks, even paint, hairspray, charcoal starter fluid, and plastic popcorn packaging.
    • They combine with sunlight to form a dense layer of ground-level ozone.
    • Smog formation depends on is also closely linked with temperature, sunshine, and calm winds. 
    • Smog formation is faster on warmer days than other days.

  • Smog causes lung damage 

Additional Information:

  • Ozone present high in the atmosphere is beneficial, but when nearer the surface, it can cause irritating health effects.

 Types;

  • Sulfurous smog, or the London smog, develops due to the high concentration of sulfur oxides in the air.
  • Photochemical smog can be found when sunlight reacts with oxides of nitrogen and at least one volatile organic compound (VOC) in the atmosphere.

Health impacts:

  1. Long time inhalation of the smog  of time can inflame your breathing passage
  2. Smog causes inflamed lungs which leads to the secretion of interleukin-6 which can cause blood clots in people, cardiac and respiratory disorders, leading to heart attacks or strokes.
  3. Smog can dry out the mucous membrane 
  4. It affects the body’s ability to resist infection, hence, increasing susceptibility to illness.
  5. It can decrease the level of UV radiation, leading to low production of important elements like Vitamin D.

Char-Chaporis

Recently, a museum has been announced, which reflects the culture and heritage of the people living in char-chaporis, the ‘Miyas’ 

Char-chaporis

  • A char is a floating island 
  • Chaporis are low-lying flood-prone riverbanks.
  • Depending on the push and pull of the Brahmaputra, a char can become a chapori or vice versa, thus they are used interchangeably as they keep changing shapes
  •  These areas are marked by low development indices as they are prone to floods and erosion,
  • These areas are primarily occupied with  Bengali-origin Muslims, other communities like  Misings, Deoris, Kocharis, Nepalis also live here.

Additional Information:

Miyas

  • The ‘Miya’  often used with a   derogatory connotation is used for the community comprising of the descendants of Muslim migrants from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) to Assam and form the Bengali speaking Muslim community, often also referred to as ‘char’ because of their habitat, ie., char-chapori.

Phumdis 

  • Are a series of floating islands
  • Exclusive to the Loktak Lake in Manipur.
  • They are spread over a substantial part of the lake 
  • They are heterogeneous masses of soil, vegetation, and organic matter, in different stages of decay

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology- 4th November 2020 

Upwards of 100 beached whales saved off near the Sri Lankan coast 

More than 100 beached pilot whales saved off Sri Lanka

Highlight:

The rescue operation was conducted by the navy and received help from environmental protection officers, police, and local residents.

Additional Information:

Cetacean stranding, popularly known as beaching, refers to the phenomenon of dolphins and whales stranding themselves on beaches.

The reason is often unknown but there exist  a range of theories, including:

  • Changes in water temperature.
  • Irregularities in whales’ echolocation.
  • Geomagnetic disturbances.
  • Errors made in navigation.
  • Hunting too close to shore.
  • Sonar interference.
  • Inclement weather.
  • cetaceans to live in large groups with intricate social systems where communication plays an important role., The members of a group can respond to distress calls of members in distress and follow them to the beach, causing mass stranding.

Other  instances:

  • Tasmania in Australia - In September, one of the largest in the world.
  • The Chatham Islands, a New Zealand in 1918 The largest mass stranding in modern record 

Pilot Whales:

There are two species of pilot whales: 

  • Short-finned in tropical and warm-temperate regions, 
  • and long-finned pilot whales, inhabit colder waters.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Data Deficient 

 

6 relocation sites identified under Project Lion.

Apart from the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary, 6 new sites have been identified under Project Lion.

Background:

  •  The Project Lion was announced on August 15, 2020.
  • Lion relocation has been in talks since 1995 
  • In 2013 the  Supreme Court gave directives to  Gujarat to relocate lions to the Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary.

Highlights:

The six new sites are:

  1. Madhav National Park, Madhya Pradesh.
  2. Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan.
  3. Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan.
  4. Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Madhya Pradesh.
  5. Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary, Rajasthan.
  6. Jessore-Balaram Ambaji WLS and adjoining landscape, Gujarat.

Additional Information:

  • The lion population in Gir has low genetic diversity, thus makes it vulnerable to threats of extension from epidemics.
  • Lions are found in Gujarat across an area of 30,000 sq km called the Asiatic Lion Landscape (ALL).

Asiatic Lions:

  • IUCN Red List: Endangered 
  • The population is restricted to the Gir National Park

 WWF identified 30 cities in India, facing,  'Severe Water Risk'  by 2050:

According to a recent report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) a hundred cities worldwide, including 30 in India, face the risk of ‘severe water scarcity’ by 2050

Details:

 The cities :

Global hubs: 

  • Beijing, 
  • Jakarta, 
  • Johannesburg, 
  • Istanbul, 
  • Hong Kong,
  •  Mecca and 
  • Rio de Janeiro.

Indian Cities include:

  •  Jaipur,
  •  Indore, 
  • Thane, 
  • Srinagar, 
  • Rajkot,
  •  Bengaluru etc.

 More than 50%  of the identified cities are from China and India.

Additional Information:

Existing Challenges:

Grave water risk by 2050 due to a drastic increase in the population percentage to 51% by 2050, from 17% in 2020.

Way Forward:

  • Increased investment in nature-based solutions and improve the health of river basins, watersheds, and wetlands to build resilience to water risks.
  • A public funding pool is required to create collaboration with the private sector to invest, reduce risk, and generate returns, and improve sustainable economic growth.
  • Greater global efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are required to avoid these scenarios.

Ganga Utsav 2020

Recently, the Ganga Utsav 2020 has been initiated it celebrates the glory of the National River Ganga.

Key Points: 

  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga organizes the festival every year.
  • To promote stakeholder engagement and ensure public participation.
  • It celebrates the river through storytelling by eminent personalities, displaying traditional art forms, dance and music performance, etc. 
  • Ganga Task Force (GTF) conducted an afforestation drive with National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets
  • They conduct educational tours for youth.
  • Mini Ganga Quest was also held which was designed to make youth and students aware of environmental issues and explain their role in conservation.

Luhri Hydro Power Project approved 

The Union Cabinet on November 4, 2020, chaired by PM Modi approved the Rs 1810 crore investment proposal of 210 MW of Luhri Stage I Hydro Power Project. 

Implemented by:  Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited

Highlight:

  • The hydropower project is to be constructed on River Sutlej.
  •  The project will generate 758.2 million units of electricity annually.

Key Highlights

  • Implemented in Build-Own-Operate-Maintain mode. 
  • An MoU was signed between the Government of Himachal Pradesh and Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited during the event “Rising Himachal to implement this.
  •  The GoI is to provide a grant of Rs 66.19 crores.

Sutlej River

  • It is the longest of the five rivers flowing through Punjab and is a tributary of Indus.
  • The river has several major hydroelectric power plants like Bhakra Dam (1,325 MW), Nathpa Jhakri Dam (1,500 MW), and Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant (1,000 MW).

 Sutlej-Yamuna Link

  • Proposal to build a 214 km long canal linking Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. 
  • It was for the purpose of irrigation and freight navigation. 
  • The link will enable inland shipping between the East and West coast.

 Hydroelectric Power in India

  • India has a hydropower potential of 1,45,320 MW.
  • Of this only 45,400 MW is being utilized. 

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology- 3rd  November 2020

New shrimp species found in Indian coral reef

Four species of shrimps hitherto not found in Indian waters were recently discovered during exploratory surveys in the reefs, two of which have been discovered for the very first time.

Discovered by: National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources 

Area of discovery: The species were found in the coral reef in the Lakshadweep islands

New Species: Two shrimp species there are new to science:

  • Periclimenella agatti after the Agatti island
  •  Urocaridella arabianesis after the Arabian Sea

Additional Information:

The Department of Biotechnology has funded the development of a germplasm resource center for marine ornamental invertebrate,  for conserving biodiversity.


 

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology- 2nd  November 2020 

MoU to develop biomass gasification-based Hydrogen Generation Technology

An MoU has been signed between the IISc and the Indian Oil Corporation Research and Development Centre to develop biomass gasification-based Hydrogen Generation Technology to produce Fuel Cell Grade Hydrogen at an affordable price.

Developed by: IISc.

 Highlights

  • The technology will provide a clean energy option to address the challenge of biomass waste. 
  • The technology is to be demonstrated at the Indian Oil Research and Development Centre at Faridabad.
  •  The hydrogen thus generated is to be used to power fuel cell buses of bigger projects of Indian Oil.

 Biomass Gasification:- 

  • Converts biomass to hydrogen and other products without combustion with the help of steam, heat, and oxygen.
  • The technology first produces hydrogen-rich synthetic gas from biomass.
  •  It then separates hydrogen from the synthetic gas.

Hydrogen Fuel

  • It is a zero-emission fuel. 
  • It is used as fuel for spacecraft propulsion. 
  • The only by-product of hydrogen fuel is water thus making it 100% clean. 
  • The fuel cells coupled with an electric motor are two to three times more efficient than the internal combustion engine running on gasoline.

Storage of Hydrogen

Hydrogen can be stored either as gas or as a liquid under high-pressure tanks and liquid form requires cryogenic temperatures.

 

Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone is tectonically active.

A group of scientists has recently found that the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone (ITSZ) of Himalaya is tectonically active.

Discovered by :

Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun

Key Points

  •  Conventionally, the suture zone of Himalaya was thought to be locked.
  • The ITSZ is a suture zone in the Ladakh region.

Highlights:

  • Sedimentary beds were tilted and thrust broken.
  • Rivers were associated with uplifted terraces.
  • Bedrock shows brittle deformation at much shallower depths.
  •  Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) was used to date these deformed geological features 
  • Seismicity and denudation rate data were reviewed.
  • Since the last 78000-58000 years, the region of the ITSZ has been neo-tectonically active

 Significance:

  • Major implications in terms of understanding the seismic structure of the mountain chains, earthquake study, prediction

Additional Information:

  • Optically-Stimulated Luminescence: It is a dating technique of the late quaternary used to date the last time quartz sediment was exposed to light.

Mansar Lake

The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region inaugurated the Mansar Lake Development Plan in Jammu and Kashmir.

Key Points:

  • The project is expected to attract almost 20 lakh tourists every year. 
  • It is expected to improve employment opportunities 
  • Mansar Lake is situated 62 km away from Jammu. 
  • The lake has a natural border of forest-covered hills. 
  • Surinsar-Mansar Lakes is a Ramsar Convention site
  • Mansar is of importance from a pilgrimage point of view 

Current Affairs on Environment and Ecology- 1st November 2020 

Typhoon Rolly or Goni hit the Philippines

Recently, the Philippines was hit by a cyclone recently.

Hurricanes, typhoons, and cyclones are all forms of tropical storms, they are just known by different names in different locations.

  1. In the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific,- hurricanes.
  2. Northwest Pacific Ocean - typhoon.
  3. South Pacific and the Indian Ocean-  cyclone        

Parts of a cyclone’s structure

The eye: 

  • The eye of the storm is the center.
  •  It’s a relatively calm space.

The eyewall: 

  • The most effective part of a cyclone rests. 
  • Houses extremely high wind speeds, that may cause damage to both lives and property.

Rainbands:

  •  These are the outer parts of a cyclone where sudden bursts of rain happen. 

Also stay updated with :

Latest State Current Affairs for the month of November 2020

Latest State Current Affairs for the month of October 2020

Defense and Security Current Affairs for the month of November 2020

International Current Affairs November 2020