Environment Current Affairs 2018 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Aussie same sex penguin couple incubate egg

    Two Aussie male penguins, gentoo penguins Sphen and Magic, who have paired up as a same-sex couple have become so good at nesting that they have been given a real egg to look after.  Such an incident has happened in 2009. Two male penguins, Z and Vielpunkt, successfully hatched and reared a chick that was rejected by its heterosexual parents at a zoo in Berlin. Penguin: ♦ Kingdom: Animalia ♦ Phylum: Chordata ♦ Class: Aves ♦ Order: Sphenisciformes ♦ Family: Spheniscidae ♦ Penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds ♦ Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sea life ♦ They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galapagos penguin, found north of the equator  

    R.R.Sonde recommended hydrogen based technology for green energy production

    R.R.Sonde, Fellow of National Academy of Engineers (FNAE) and Executive Vice-President of THERMAX Ltd. said that the development of methanol and hydrogen-based technology for green energy production could turn energy-importing India into the energy-exporting country at the Dr.Abdul Kalam Memorial Lecture at Central University of Karnataka.  The biggest challenge the world is facing today is the global warming and energy crisis. He also said that an innovative and multidisciplinary approach could help in addressing them. The meeting was held to mark former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s birth anniversary.

    Centre launched Pollution forecast system

    The Centre launched a Pollution forecast system that can alert about the likelihood of extreme pollution events and dust storms three days in advance. The system was unveiled by the Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan. It will be made available to the public via the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)  and the Environment Pollution Control Authority in the next two days.  The National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, the IMD and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, are involved with developing the application.  Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB):  ♦ Formed: 22 September 1974  ♦ Head Office: New Delhi ♦ Chairman: Sh. S.P. Singh Parihar  ♦ Member Secretary: Dr.Prashant Gagawa ♦ CPCB of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) ♦ The board conducts environmental assessments and research ♦ It is responsible for maintaining national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with zonal offices, tribal, and local governments

    Elephant successfully radio collared in Chhattisgarh

    Forest Department of Chhattisgarh in collaboration with Wildlife SOS has radio-collared a wild elephant. This is to help create rapidly growing human-elephant conflict in areas of Chhattisgarh.  A team of elephant trackers form Wildlife SOS and the Chhattisgarh Forest Department tracked a herd of elephants, which were causing troubles to the local area people in Chhattisgarh, every single day for several months to understand their movement patterns. After several repeated attempts, the team of veterinarians and biologists successful in tranquilised and radio-collared the matriarch of the herd.

    ED sends orders to Switzerland in Nirav Modi scam

    The Enforcement Directorate is to send a judicial request to Switzerland seeking confirmation of attachment of assets in connection with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case against diamond merchant Nirav Modi and others. It issued orders under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.  The agency zeroed in on the properties while probing the financial trail pertaining to three companies allegedly linked to them. The agency had recently provisionally attached four luxury flats, including two in the United States and one in the United Kingdom, and jewellery and bank accounts worth Rs. 637 crore in the case. The total value of attachments so far in the cases against Nirav Modi and others is pegged around Rs.4,300 crore.

    TN government intensifies vehicle check at the Kalakkad tiger reserve

    Tamil Nadu government is to intensify the Vehicle checks at the Kalakkad tiger reserve. This is after the felling of 11 teak trees by a gang with the assistance of an anti-poaching watcher inside the Kalakkad–Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.  Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve:  Location: Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu  Established: 1988  IUCN Category: IV  Governing body: Tamil Nadu Forest Department

    Nilgiris district administration proposed a 10 km road through tiger reserve

    The Nilgiris district administration has proposed a 10 km road that would cut through the core area of the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Erode and the buffer zone of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in Udhagamandalam. Sathyamangalam Wildlife Sanctuary: Country: India State: Tamil Nadu Region: Kongu Nadu District: Erode Established: 3 November 2008 IUCN Category: IV Governing body: Tamil Nadu Forest Department

    NITI Aayog approved APL project on cooking stove fuelled with methanol

    Ritu Bordoloi of Namrup, Assam became India’s first owner and user of a cooking stove fuelled by methanol. This success is a part of a pilot project by the Namrup-based Assam Petrochemicals Limited (APL). In the project, APL handed over a stove with two 1.2-litre canisters of methanol to 500 people. Among them, Ms.Bordoloi, a 50-year-old homemaker, successfully cooked in a stove fuelled by Methanol.  APL is India’s first public sector producer of methanol and formalin from natural gas as the feedstock. Considering the 30 years of experience of APL and the success in the cooking stove project, NITI Aayog approved the project. In Africa, around 5.5 lakh people and 8 million in China use methanol as cooking fuel. But India is the first country where the focus is on replacing LPG.

    CDV is responsible for the death of Gir lions said ICMR

    The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) confirmed that the reason for the death of lions, that happened in between the month of September and October 2018, in the Gir forest of Gujarat is the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV). It also recommended that the remaining Gir lions should be vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks. The wildlife biologists are against the lions being vaccinated. The Pune-based ICMR-NIV compared the available CDV sequences with the East African strains and found that the genetic sequence of the virus is related. Thus it made sure that CDV is responsible for the death of the Gir lions.

    Karnataka is to organise the annual Organics and Millets International Trade Fair

    The Karnataka State Department of Agriculture is set to organise the annual Organics and Millets International Trade Fair in Bengaluru from January 18 to 20. The theme for this event is ‘K-Source, celebrating the State of Karnataka as the source for Next Gen Smart Foods’. The International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (ICCOA) will be the knowledge partner for the event.  The event is mainly conducted for farmers, buyers, sellers and exporters of organic produce and millets. It is expected that around 250 exhibitors will participate. The exhibition occupies a space of 10,000 square metres, including stalls from other States, countries, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and several farmer federations from Karnataka.

    Experts says mutated virus might have killed Gujarat lions

    Wildlife experts say that the death of 21 lions in the last month maybe because of a mutation in a virus. In 1994, the Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) was responsible for an epidemic in the Serengeti region of Africa, where 1,000 lions died in 3 weeks. While the virus abounds in local tiger populations in Gujarat and is linked to deaths every year.  An expert on lions at the Wildlife Institute of India said that this is the first time in years, that so many deaths have been attributed to the virus. However, every year 80-90 lions died due to various causes. The 2015 lion census recorded 523 lions. There was a 3% growth and now the number of lions are around 600. But every year 80-90 lions died due to various causes. Last year there were 100 deaths and before that, the death count of lions were 80.

    India to introduce help line number for tobacco users

    India has introduced a quit-line number, 1800-11-2356, on tobacco products. The Union Health Ministry has already been creating awareness among people by making mandate display of pictorial health warning on both sides of packets containing cigarettes, bidis, and chewing tobacco. The quit-line number is to be printed on all tobacco products that will be manufactured after September 1, 2018.  India is the first country among the SAARC countries to have introduced such a helpline. India is the fourth country in Asia after Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to have this government helpline for those looking at quitting tobacco.

    Lions died in Gir forest

    Around 11 lions died within a week in Dalkhania range of Gir forest in Amreli district of Gujarat. It has been eight lions died owing to infections, one due to food poisoning and three due to infighting. Upon seeing the carcasses of the 11 dead lions in Gujarat’s Gir forest, the state government has ordered to conduct an inquiry. The probe is on. According to the 2015 census, Gir is home to 520 lions.

    Philippines hit by world's strongest storm this year

    Super Typhoon Mangkhut, the world's strongest storm this year, hit the northern coast of the Philippines, brought winds of up to 200 kmph and heavy rains. The name 'Mangkhut' means mangosteen fruit in Thai language. The deadliest storm on record in the Philippines was Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

    Mahindra & Mahindra to become a carbon neutral company by 2040

    Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) announced that it aims to become a carbon neutral company by 2040 with focus on energy efficiency and usage of renewable power. This decision was stated by chairman Anand Mahindra at the Global Climate Action Summit at San Francisco. The goal of carbon neutrality is to achieve a zero carbon footprint.  M&M is to work along with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an international non-profit organization, to fulfil the carbon neutrality commitment. EDF works with leading companies to raise the bar for corporate sustainability leadership.

    IWC defeated the proposal to create Whale Sanctuary

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) defeated a proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic at a meeting in Brazil. The proposal received support from 39 countries but was opposed by 25. Brazil first introduced the proposal in 2001.  Japan and few other nations argued that there is no need for sanctuary because countries are not currently doing commercial whaling in the South Atlantic. Other environmental groups and conservationists argued that the sanctuary would protect whales from being hunted, trapped in fishing gear or struck by ships.

    UN alarms the rise of global hunger due to climate change

    The United Nations said that the number of hungry people in the world is growing again. In much of the developing world, it is due to climate change that causes havoc on crop production. South America and Africa face acute food insecurity and malnutrition.  UN agencies said in an annual report that the number of hungry people facing chronic food deprivation increased to 821 million in 2017 from 804 million in 2016. The analysis in the report found that climate variability, extreme drought and floods are the reasons that affect the production of wheat, rice and maize in tropical and temperate regions. UN is to target groups that are most vulnerable to malnutrition, including infants, children, adolescent girls and women. It called for greater efforts to promote policies that help communities build resilience.

    Haryana govt signs MoU with Indian Oil to set up Ethanol plant

    An ethanol plant will be set up in Bohali village, Panipat with an outlay of over Rs 900 crore. The MoU will be valid for one year. The proposed capacity of this ethanol plant will be of producing 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day. Paddy and Sugarcane crop residues will be supplied as raw material for this plant in cyclic manner. Purpose:- Bioethanol can be easily blended with petrol or diesel, thus making it sustainable transport fuel. It also reduces air pollution.

    SC orders to demolish structures that threatens the Aravallis

    The Supreme Court ordered to demolish the structures built illegally by a prominent builder in the protected forests of the Aravallis. The order said that the colonizers have caused irreversible ecological damage to the ancient hills.  A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta ordered to demolish all the structures that were built after August 18, 1992, in the area known as ‘Kant Enclave’ at Anangpur in Faridabad district of Haryana. The Court instructed to raze down the structures by December 31, 2018. The Bench accused the State town and country planning department for supporting the illegalities and completely vitiating the efforts of the forest department as well as the orders of the Supreme Court. Aravallis Range: ♦ The Aravalli Range is the oldest range of fold mountains in India ♦ It was formed when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean ♦ It is a range of mountains that runs approximately 692 km in the in a southwest direction ♦ It passes through Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat

    Nagaland Government declared Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary as an elephant reserve

    The Singphan Elephant Reserve which is the 30th elephant reserve in India, is located in Mon district of Nagaland and spreads over an area of 5825 acres (2357 hac). As per recent census report (2017) Nagaland has around 446 elephants. The creation of new Elephant Reserve will result in protection and conservation of the elephants.  

    Typhoon Jebi: Japan hit by strongest storm of 25 years

    Jebi, Japan's most powerful storm in 25 years, has killed at least 10 people. It recorded winds of up to 216km/h (135mph). In a separate incident, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake caused a landslide on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. ♦ Japan Prime Minister - Shinzo Abe.

    Supreme Court banned all construction activities in 4 states

    The Supreme Court has banned all construction activities in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh till October 9. A bench, led by Justice Madan Lokur, announced the ban citing the failure of these States and the UT to implement a solid waste management policy. 

    Arunachal Pradesh is threatened by high water discharge from China

    Arunachal Pradesh is threatened by the high water discharge from China. This is the highest discharge of water in the last 50 years. The unusually high discharge might submerge at least 12 villages along the river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. It is expected that the sudden release of water may be from man-made barriers or a natural dam that was formed due to landslides caused by major earthquakes in the Tibetan region of China in November 2017.  The authorities of Arunachal Pradesh’s East Siang district have issued advisory warnings to the people of 12 villages to be in high alert. The government has been asked to take immediate measures to prevent yet another state from flooding post the devastating Kerala floods.  River Siang: ♦ The Brahmaputra enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang. ♦ It makes a very rapid descent from its original height in Tibet and finally appears in the plains, where it is called Dihang. ♦ It flows for about 35 km (22 miles) and is joined by the Dibang River and the Lohit River at the head of the Assam Valley.

    Kerala Health Department issued warning about the spread of leptospirosis

    In Kerala, the Health Department has announced warning about the spread of leptospirosis with pulmonary hemorrhagic syndrome disease in the post-flood period. People have been asked to approach a hospital in case of any symptom of fever or myalgia (pain in the muscles).  So far, there have been 15 leptospirosis deaths in the State since August 24. The Health Department has suggested that people who have been exposed to flood waters should take 200 mg of Doxycycline drug as prophylaxis every week. Current measures by the department were adequate, given the fact that even when lakhs were exposed to flood waters. It also suggested early penicillin therapy to prevent the patient progressing to pulmonary haemorrhage and subsequent death.

    Scientist warns that the trapped heat below Arctic surface could melt ice in the entire region

    Scientists warned that the Archived heat trapped below the surface of the Arctic has the potential to melt the entire region’s sea ice. They found that the warmer water that originated hundreds of miles away has penetrated deep into the interior of the Arctic. This heat is trapped below the surface layer presently. If it gets mixed up to the surface then the heat produced can melt the sea-ice pack that covers this region.  Arctic: ♦ Location: Northernmost part of Earth ♦ Life in the Arctic: Includes organisms living in the ice, zooplankton and phytoplankton, fish and marine mammals, birds, land animals, plants and human societies ♦ The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Northern Canada (Canada), Finland, Greenland(Kingdom of Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden ♦ Arctic Polar desert is the second-largest desert in the world by area (13,985,000 km²)  ♦ The Arctic land is bordered by the subarctic ♦ Arctic sea ice decline has been caused by global warming

    Arunachal Pradesh is threatened by high water discharge from China

    Arunachal Pradesh is threatened by the high water discharge from China. This is the highest discharge of water in the last 50 years. The unusually high discharge might submerge at least 12 villages along the river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh. It is expected that the sudden release of water may be from man-made barriers or a natural dam that was formed due to landslides caused by major earthquakes in the Tibetan region of China in November 2017.  The authorities of Arunachal Pradesh’s East Siang district have issued advisory warnings to the people of 12 villages to be in high alert. The government has been asked to take immediate measures to prevent yet another state from flooding post the devastating Kerala floods.  River Siang: ♦ The Brahmaputra enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang. ♦ It makes a very rapid descent from its original height in Tibet and finally appears in the plains, where it is called Dihang. ♦ It flows for about 35 km (22 miles) and is joined by the Dibang River and the Lohit River at the head of the Assam Valley.

    Census revealed that the population of Nilgiri tahr has increased

    A recent census has revealed that the population of the Nilgiri tahr, an endangered mountain goat, at the Mukurthi National Park has grown by 18% from 480 to 568 in the last two years. The population estimation exercise was conducted by the Forest Department and the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Biology, Government Arts College, Udhagamandalam.  Nilgiri tahr also faces several threats. The continuing spread of invasive species of flora, such as wattle and pine, and exotic weeds like the scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) and gorse diminish the grazing land for the tahrs. The Forest Department is stepping up efforts to eliminate those weeds in over 125 hectares of Shola grasslands.

    Mahabaleshwar beats Cherrapunji to become India's wettest place this year

    Maharashtra's Mahabaleshwar has become the wettest place in India this year, leaving behind Meghalaya's Cherrapunji. India Meteorological Department (IMD) data revealed that the hill station in the state of Maharashtra received a staggering 5661.6 mm rainfall this season till now, much more than Cherrapunji's 4735 mm. Cherrapunji holds two Guinness world records for receiving the maximum amount of rainfall in a single year, 26,471mm (1,042.2 in) of rainfall between August 1860 and July 1861 and the maximum amount of rainfall in a single month (9,300mm) in July 1861.

    SBM-U added elimination of public urination in its agenda

    Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) has officially included the elimination of public urination in its agenda. Under new norms, if any city or town wants to be declared Open Defecation Free Plus (ODF+), then it must be free of public urination, not just open defecation.  The original ODF protocol which was issued in March 2016 said a city/ward can be declared as ODF city/ward if no person is found defecating in the open at any point of the day. So far, 2,741 cities have been certified as ODF, based mostly on third-party verification of toilet construction.  As per the new ODF+ protocol, which was issued last week, a city could be declared ODF+ if no person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open and also all community and public toilets are functional and well-maintained. It also added that faecal sludge/septage and sewage must be safely managed and treated, with no discharging and/or dumping of untreated faecal sludge/septage and sewage in drains, water bodies or open areas.

    NGT directed UP government to submit an action plan on e-waste management

    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Board to submit an action plan on e-waste management within three months. NGT stated that as a measure to combat pollution and protect the environment the scientific disposal of e-waste is an important factor.  NGT, while disposing of a plea against unauthorised recycling, collection, dismantling, burning, selling of e-waste and other solid waste on roadsides directed the State and riverbanks in violation of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and  E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016. NGT said that electronic waste accounted for 40% of lead and 70% of all heavy metal found in landfills. It also states that burning and selling of e-waste and other solid waste has resulted in groundwater contamination and air pollution.

    Centre ruled out the ban on fire crackers on Diwali

    The Centre announced a national ban on firecrackers in order to combat pollution during Diwali. It also suggested an alternative measure as the production of green crackers community fireworks events in major cities and to freeze the production of series crackers or laris.  The Supreme Court announced the blanket ban on fireworks in its reply to the plea sought by the people for a complete nationwide ban on the use, manufacture, licensing, sale, resale or distribution of firecrackers and sparklers to fight pollution on an emergency basis. The Tamil Nadu government asked for the restrained use of firecrackers but not a total ban on the firecrackers for Diwali.

    India banned petroleum coke import for use as fuel

    Among polluting fuels, petroleum coke (Petcoke) remains one of the most polluting ones as it emits 11% more greenhouse gas compared to coal. India is the world's biggest consumer of Petcoke. Industries use pet coal because it's much cheaper than coal and is easier to handle as fuel. Import of Petcoke is allowed for only cement, lime kiln, calcium carbide and gasification industries, when used as the feedstock or in the manufacturing process on actual user condition. This is in an effort to tackle India’s severe air pollution.

    SC asked NCMC to find ways to reduce the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam

    The Supreme Court suggested the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the Disaster Management Sub-committee, and the supervisory panel who monitors the Mullaperiyar dam to find ways to reduce the water level in the reservoir to 139 feet as it hit 141.5 feet. The court directed that Kerala should follow any instructions given by the NCMC on rescue and rehabilitation and Tamil Nadu must comply with any instructions to bring down the level of the dam without disturbing the people nearby. It also recommended the Kerala government to provide it sincere efforts in the rescue mission for the people trapped in floods.

    India's first Humboldt penguin was born at Mumbai's Byculla zoo

    After an incubation of 40 days, India's first Humboldt penguin was born on 15th August at Mumbai's Byculla zoo. As it was born on Independence Day, it was named as “The Freedom Baby”. The zoo authorities will be conducting DNA test to find out its gender. The chick weighed 75 gm and was reported to be healthy.  Humboldt penguin: ♦ The Humboldt penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) is a South American penguin that breeds in coastal Chile and Peru. ♦ The penguin is named after the cold water current it swims in, which is itself named after Alexander von Humboldt, an explorer. ♦ The species is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

    Novak Djokovic qualifies for Cincinnati Masters 2018

    Novak Djokovic beat Adrian Mannarino and reached the third round in Cincinnati Masters 2018. Novak Djokovic won Adrian Mannarino by a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. In women’s Singles, Seventh-seeded Muguruza was defeated by Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine. Lesia Tsurenko won the title by 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

    NGT asked UP government to pay the price for contaminating the underground water

    In Uttar Pradesh, the survey reports indicated that the groundwater is highly contaminated. It has been alleged that consumption of polluted water from rivers Kalinadi, Krishna and Hindon has developed several diseases including liver damage, cancer and kidney failure to the residents.  The National Green Tribunal (NGT) said that the State government and the polluting industries should bear the cost to treat the people who have been affected because of the contamination. NGT also suggested that the State government and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) formulate appropriate schemes. It also said that the State may consider giving employment to a dependent of the affected victims.

    Delhi vehicles to get blue sticker for petrol and orange for diesel

    For better tackling of air pollution related issues in the Delhi, Supreme Court has approved the central government's proposal to use hologram-based colour-coded stickers for vehicles in Delhi based on the fuel used. The vehicles that run on petrol and CNG will have light blue stickers, while the diesel vehicles will have orange stickers. The scheme is based on a model used in Paris.

    Karnataka government to launch Green Mysuru drive on 15th August

    The Forest Department of Karnataka is to launch a Green Mysuru drive on 15th August 2018 under Hasiru Karnataka programme. The aim is to increase the tree cover of the city and the district. The program involves planting saplings in vacant spaces of government offices and schools, available space on the roadside, embankment abutting farmland and agricultural fields, courtyards etc.  The drive considers the participation public as its key success of the programme. A total of 100,000 saplings have been prepared in various nurseries of the Forest Department.  In the year 2018-19, the Forest Department has distributed around 22.21 lakh saplings and 17.18 lakh tree guards to the public. As per the National Forest Policy, at least 33% of the land area should be under green cover wherein Karnataka has the green cover of 22.56%.

    Scientists found that marine reefs could survive global warming

    Scientists found that the marine reefs could survive global warming as the combination of coral reefs and the mutualistic micro-algae withstood various climate change events since the Mesozoic era. The micro-algae, commonly called zooxanthellae, lives inside the cells of coral reefs. It allows them to acquire energy from sunlight and to build the massive, economically valuable reef formations upon which countless marine organisms rely for habitat. After conducting genetic tests and classical morphological techniques they observed that the algae family is far more diverse and comprises of 15 genera. The fossil record shows that the corals are 160 million years old.

    WSO alleged against the fencing that poses threat to wildlife

    Forest department has installed barbed wire fencing for its plantation projects causing a threat to movement of wildlife, especially elephants. The Wildlife Society of Orissa (WSO), an environmental pressure group, has expressed its concern by suggesting the Forest department to use green fences comprising bamboo and Amari (Ipomoea Carnea) instead of the artificial barricades like barbed wire fence or stone rubble walls.  The barbed wire fence remains a threat to wild animals as there is a high chance of the animals to get stuck or seriously injured if they run into them while being chased by predators or hunters. WSO activists protested against the proposed rubble wall of over several kilometres for around 100 hectares of plantation project site near Pangatira village, Mahabirod range, Dhenkanal as this area is an ideal elephant habitat. This long and high stone wall shall block elephant movement lead to increase conflict between man and elephant.

    Fall Armyworm spreads at a rapid pace in Karnataka

    The Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), an invasive agricultural pest, which was found in Shivamogga district is now spreading at a rapid pace in Karnataka. This has alarmed the State, as its presence has been reported in more than nine agro-climatic zones in Karnataka. Also, few incidents have been reported from Tirupati and a village in Chandragiri Mandal of Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.  The lifespan of the Fall Armyworm is 30 to 60 days. Each generation can migrate to a distance of more than 400 km. The fertility rate of this pest is high. Immediately after noticing the infestation, the farmers have been directed to use Lambda-Cyhalothrin or Carbofuran pesticide spraying to control the pest. After this measures, the plants have been known to recover and their growth is normal.

    Government urged Citizens to stop using plastic national flags

    The government has urged all citizens not to use the national flag made of plastic. During important events, the national flag made of plastic is used in place of paper flags. These plastic flags are not biodegradable and do not get decomposed for a long time and appropriate disposal of plastic national flag commensurate with the dignity of the flag.  The Home Ministry has asked states and Union Territories to comply strictly with the flag code ‘Flag Code of India, 2002’ and ‘The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971'. The national flag represents hopes and aspirations of the people of India. And it must occupy a position of honour.

    NMCG asked SBI to make arrangements to donate to the CGF from ATMs

    The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) asked the State Bank of India (SBI) to make it possible to donate to the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF) from ATMs. It is aimed at making the donation easier for the public to participate in the efforts. NMCG, an affiliate of the Union Water Resources Ministry, government’s Rs.20,000 crore and CGF, a separate corpus made up corporates and individuals donations, holds Rs.250 crore for the commitment to clean the Ganga.  Corporations such as the Shipping Corporation of India, Indorama Corporation, IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, the Hinduja Group, Arcelor Mittal, Bajaj Electricals, Amer Maritime, HCL, and Reliance Industries are part of the project.

    An invasive agriculture pest Fall Armyworm is found in Karnataka

    The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) discovered an invasive agricultural pest Fall Armyworm ( Spodoptera frugiperda ) in Karnataka. Shivamogga’s University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences Entomologists C.M. Kalleshwara Swamy and Sharanabasappa suspected the unusual happening in maize crops in Shivamogga this year. A major maize pest in North America, the Fall Armyworm arrived in Africa in 2016. It has threatened the continent’s maize crop, a staple which feeds 300 million people. The pest feeds on around 100 different crops, such as vegetables, rice, and sugarcane and it spreads in no time. The Karnataka finding is the first report of the pest in Asia.

    Magnitude 7 Earthquake struck Indonesia

    Powerful earthquake hit the popular Indonesian resort island of Lombok and Bali. The National Disaster Management Board reported that the death toll had risen to 37, then to 82. Earlier on July 29, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake hit Lombok and killed 16 people. Important Notes: Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 2,30,000 people in many countries.

    U.S. and Mexico border wall endangers more than 1000 species at risk

    Scientists said that more than 1,000 species of animals are severely endangered due to the construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The wall reduces the available area and quality of land. The construction would severely hinder movement, thus fragmenting populations, and affecting food cycles and mating patterns. The Peninsular Bighorn sheep, Mexican gray wolf and the Sonoran pronghorn antelope would be among the species most at risk. Sixty-two of the 1000 species are already listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    Waste bins to be installed in fishing boats

    Department of Fisheries has asked the fishermen to install waste bins in fishing boats. The aim to prevent the fishermen engaged at the sea from disposing the wastes into the deep sea. The department observed that the trawl boats dispose the wastes like plastic carry bags, sachets of masala, Old plastic fishing nets and other waste into the sea. Also, the government urged the fishermen to use square cod-end nets which have a mesh size of 35 mm. The government has allocated Rs.7 lakh for the purpose.

    Animal species in Peru are facing extinction

    Among Peru's total of 389 threatened species around 186 species of animals are facing extinction and 203 animal species are made vulnerable due to their declined population numbers. According to the Red Book of the Endangered Wildlife of Peru, 64 species among the 186 species are critically endangered species.  Birds and amphibians are among the most threatened wildlife as they have restricted distribution ranges; in the case of amphibians, they directly suffer from the impacts of climate change, environmental pollution, and some fungi.  Other factors like habitat loss and degradation, illegal wildlife trade and the presence of invasive alien species remain as threats to the animals.

    Air pollution increased the rate of Chronic cough and Asthma among the children

    In Bengaluru, the increase in air pollution has increased the rate of the prevalence of a chronic cough and asthma among children under 18 years.  Studies have proved that the poor air quality affects lungs and overall health and causes allergic airway disease, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic cough. It is also causing a major psycho-socio-economic health burden to the country.  According to the April issue of the Indian Journal of Pediatrics, the number of children affected with a chronic cough has risen from 8% in 1999 to 21.25% in 2017.  Almost 23% of all global deaths are linked to environmental pollution. These findings were announced at the inaugural meeting of C40 Air Quality Network, a global initiative to tackle air pollution.

    Dindigul district administration has proposed to conduct Kodai festival in the month of August

    The Dindigul district administration has proposed to conduct Kurinji flower, Kodai festival in the month of August. The Kurinji flower, which blossoms once in 12 years in Kodaikanal, Yercaud and Nilgiris would be showcased. The Department of Tourism, in association with the Horticulture team and NGOs, conducts this fest by taking the visiting tourists to these spots. It aims to make the people understand the significance of Kurinji flowers through innovative means. 

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