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.
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.
♦ 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The tenth critically endangered black rhino died after a transfer from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East in southern Kenya. The cause of death is believed to be multiple stress syndrome intensified by salt poisoning and dehydration.
The one surviving animal from last month's attempt to transfer 11 rhinos from Nairobi and Lake Nakuru national parks to Tsavo East is in a critical condition as it has been attacked by lions.
During the ongoing monsoon season, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has set a target of planting nearly 10 lakh saplings across various green spaces in Delhi including parks and the Yamuna flood plains.
Some of the DDA parks having rich green cover include ♦ Japanese Park in Rohini, ♦ Coronation Park in Burari and ♦ Astha Kunj Park in south Delhi.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy met Wipro Chairman Azim Premji to propose a partnership to combat issues like air pollution in the state, especially Bengaluru.
Plans to implement zero budget natural farming in Karnataka were also discussed.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami released the State’s forest policy. He said that the State government will progressively increase the budget allotment for the Forest Department every year to fulfil the goals of the policy. The policy document stated the following goals:
♦To conserve the biodiversity and protect the ecology and environment of the State
♦To increase forest and tree cover to at least 30% by 2025
♦To enhance participation of women in village forest committees (VFCs)
♦To strictly enforce the norms given by the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 in order to preserve the existing forest cover
♦To prohibit anti-poaching Special forces will be engaged
The State expects the willing participation of the local people living near open forest land in re-afforestation and protection initiatives through the village committees.
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar imposed a 15-day ban on import of fish on July 18 due to the issue of the presence of formalin in fish. The ban is scheduled to end on July 31. Tests made on more than 116 samples drawn from various fish markets across the State since July 14, indicated that no added formaldehyde was used.
Citing laboratory tests, Mr.Parrikar ruled out the use of formalin by traders to preserve fish in the coastal State. He claimed that formaldehyde is inherently present in fish, fruits, vegetables and even mushrooms. He also urged legislators to stop “politicising” the issue.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) granted more time to all states and Union Territories (UT) to submit a Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMP) to the Ministry of Environment and Forests by August 31.
CZMP involves managing coastal areas to balance environmental, economic, human health and related activities.
Chairperson: Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, retired Supreme Court Judge
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables the creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It draws inspiration from India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
A team of wildlife scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have collared a dhole, the Indian wild dog, with a satellite transmitter. It is a measure taken to study and track the habits of the endangered species.
It took over 10 days for the scientists to track down a pack of 14 dholes in Bishanpura meadow in the Mukki range of the Kanha National Park. An adult female was tranquilised and tested for its health. The scientists then fixed a tracking collar around its neck. Conservation ecologists believe such efforts can help protect dholes.
Harrier birds, a migratory raptor species that regularly visits vast swathes of India, are declining. India has one of the largest roosting sites in the world for Pallid Harriers and Montagu’s Harriers. The researchers focused on six of the 15 major roosting sites in six States, where consistent observations had been made for over five years.
The study observed that there is a general decline in all the monitored sites and researchers noted the most dramatic changes at the Rollapadu Bustard Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district, one of the largest.
The gravest concern is the loss of grasslands, either to urbanization or to agriculture. Of the 15 roosting sites surveyed, eight no longer exist as grasslands, and only five are protected.
An unknown epidemic caused mass death of tortoises in areas like Kanjikuzhi, Mararikulam South, Cherthala, Mannancherry, Thakazhi, Edathua, and Mararikulam.
The sudden mass turtle deaths have sparked fears of a disease outbreak. The dead turtles include Softshell turtle and Indian black turtle.
The Animal Husbandry Department has collected the carcass of a turtle and sent it to a laboratory at Thiruvalla for examination. The cause of death could not be examined as the carcass was in a decayed condition.
1.1 billion-year-old bright pink pigments extracted from rocks deep beneath the Sahara desert in Africa.
The pigments taken from marine black shales of the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa, were more than half a billion years older than previous pigment discoveries.
The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted.
A new report says that Industrial fishing for krill in the pristine waters around Antarctica is threatening the future of one of the world’s last great wildernesses.
A study by Greenpeace found industrial fishing taking place in the feeding grounds of whales and penguins, with vessels involved in oil spills and accidents. It also highlights incidents of fishing boats being involved in groundings, oil spills and accidents pose a serious threat to the Antarctic ecosystem.
A global campaign has been launched to create a network of ocean sanctuaries to protect the seas in the region. The commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources who manages the seas around Antarctica will decide on the sanctuary proposal at a conference in Australia in October.
A colony of monk seals, the most endangered mammals in the Mediterranean, has found refuge in a string of caves along the coast of Cyprus. But villas on top of the caves are now posing a threat to their habitat.
Their numbers diminished through centuries of being disturbed by fishermen, the mammals abandoned beaches over-exploited by humans. Urbanisation and tourism have been the key drivers of the seals' decline.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit launched the distribution of surplus vermicompost produced on the Raj Bhavan campus to about 70 schools in the city free of cost. The aim is to create awareness about solid waste management among students.
In his speech, the Governor laid emphasis on the salient features of vermicompost and said the event was intended to demonstrate the method of its production in schools. He also said that more trees and plants should be grown to protect the environment from pollution.
The sure-footed Nilgiri tahr, the endangered species that are found only in high altitudes in India’s Western Ghats, could be losing their footing with increasing climate change.
Scientists have predicted that even under moderate scenarios of future climate change, tahrs could lose approximately 60% of their habitats from the 2030s.
As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature, their population shows a decreasing trend as there are only around 2,500 tahrs left in the wild.
The ban will be imposed in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Berhampur and Sambalpur municipal corporations and Puri town in the first phase.
The entire state will be covered in separate phases over the span of two years.
♦ Odisha Chief Minister - Naveen Patnaik.
♦ The Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra governments have also announced a ban on plastic.
♦ In Maharashtra, the plastic ban came into effect on June 23 with the state government imposing fines of Rs 5,000 for a first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second, and up to Rs 25,000 and a three-month jail term for repeated violations.
♦ The plastic ban in Uttar Pradesh is set to be implemented from July 15.
Nineteen-year-old sloth bear Rangila which was smuggled into Nepal in December 2017 is being sent back to India.
The Indian and Nepalese governments, Nepal’s Jane Goodall Institute, and the Indian non-profit, Wildlife SOS, facilitated the repatriation.
Wildlife SOS also launched a campaign requesting Nepalese authorities to help the bear. Eventually, a Cabinet decision by the government of Nepal approved the bear’s repatriation to India.
A team of excavators in Argentina discovered the remains of a 200-million-year old giant dinosaurs species.
The species, Ingentia prima, was about three times the size of the largest Triassic dinosaurs from its era. It was discovered in the Balde de Leyes dig site in San Juan province, 1,100 km west of the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.
Excavators found several vertebrae from the neck and tail as well as fore and hind leg bones. It’s believed that the species grew to eight to 10 meters tall and weighed around 10 tonnes.
From Peru, Venezuela and Colombia in the Amazon forests, 7 new wasp species of the genus Clistopyga were discovered.
The new wasp species are:
♦ Clistopyga crassicaudata
♦ Clistopyga kalima
♦ Clistopyga panchei
♦ Clistopyga taironae
♦ Clistopyga nigriventri
♦ Clistopyga splendida
♦ Clistopyga isayae
Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami announced in the Assembly that a sum of Rs.150 crores would be allocated for preventing pollution of Noyyal river within Tirupur Corporation limits.
The river was polluted primarily due to effluents discharged by industrial units and residential houses in Tirupur Corporation.
‘Scientific Reports’ revealed that the chytrid fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes the infectious and fatal skin disease chytridiomycosis, is present in frogs across the Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, Himalaya, northeastern hill ranges, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Seven years ago, Indian scientists discovered a dreaded chytrid fungus, which is notorious for causing frog declines and extinctions worldwide, in the Western Ghats. Now, a team has detected that the pathogen is spread in all major biodiversity hotspots in India.
In Maharashtra, scientists studied 21 of the frog species and 14 species of them are tested positive for the pathogen, these included the critically endangered endemic Amboli toad and four species of caecilians.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) declared 438 sq.km. of the area around the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in the Nilgiris as an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). This is to prohibit construction and commercial mining activities and restrict hotels and resorts near the reserve.
The reserve, comprising the wildlife sanctuary and the national park, extending over an area of 321 sq.km, was declared a tiger habitat in 2007. Besides the tiger habitat, 367 sq. km. is the buffer area for a total of 688 sq. km. reserve area. The reserve is a critical part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve spread over 5,500 sq. km.
During a programme in Barabanki district, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced ban on plastic bags, cups and glasses across the state from July 15 onwards.
Maharashtra had banned the use of plastic from June 23.
The latest announcemnt came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing a plan to completely end the use of single-use plastic in India by 2022.
Scientists have grown hybrid embryos from the sperm of near-extinct northern white rhinoceroses in the laboratory, hoping to save the species.
The northern white rhino is the world's most endangered mammal. The last male northern white rhino, Sudan is dead and 2 infertile females live in Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
Scientists did manage to collect around 300 milliliters of semen from the last four bull rhinos. They hope to reestablish the species population by In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique. It is also hoped that this method will lead to a northern white rhino calf being born in 3 years.
National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has recently added four critically endangered species. The species are Northern River Terrapin, Clouded Leopard, Arabian Sea Humpback Whale and Red Panda.
They were added into the center’s recovery Programme on the recommendation by Wildlife Division of Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
The programme is one of the three components of the centrally funded scheme, Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats (IDWH). It was started in 2008-09. So far, 17 species were identified under this recovery programme.
The state lawmakers of Hawaii has passed a bill to put an end to the sale of sunscreen containing two chemicals believed to harm coral reefs.
Scientists have found that chemical substances oxybenzone and octinoxate that are contained in sunscreen can be toxic to coral reefs. A 2015 paper said, between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sunscreen are released onto coral reefs every year.
This ban on sunscreen makes Hawaii the first U.S. state to enact a ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate.
As per the bill, the sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate will only be available to those with a prescription from a physician. Others will have to buy sunscreens without these chemicals or bring their own sunscreen with them to Hawaii.
Sterling Biotech Limited, a pharmaceutical company, has been accused of defying environment norms and discharging untreated effluent into the Pykara Dam and the nearby reservoirs. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has served the notice on manufacturing unit after it failed to meet the deadline to set up the treatment facility. It had also not responded to an ultimatum issued by the board.
Conservationists had said that it has a far-reaching impact on the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve as the water from the Pykara is used by the people and animals living in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.
TNPCB has now issued a closure notice to the Sterling Biotech Limited.
Scientists have recently found orange colored crocodiles in the Omboue region, West African State of Gabon.
The reason for the change in color is because of their food. In the total darkness, the animals survive on a diet of bats and crickets, unlike above-ground crocodiles of the same species which feed on fish and crustaceans. This has caused a specific ‘genetic signature’ in the cave-dwelling crocodiles.
U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to consider Endangered Species Act protection for a rare toad in northern Nevada.
The toad was discovered in 2007 in the Dixie Valley. It is 2-inch-long with flecks of gold on its olive-colored body.
Conservationist produced scientific shreds of evidence that the Dixie valley toads could be at a risk of extinction.
The Mesoamerican Reef was marked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1960. It was placed on endangered status in 2009 because of Belize’s plans to allow oil exploration.
To protect the site a number of measures were taken by the Belizean government and the activists.
Now, UN body is considering to remove the reef from the UNESCO’s list of threatened World Heritage sites.
Air pollution is affecting trees by causing malnutrition in the form of discolored leaves and excessive falling of leaves in European countries. This research is done by lead researcher Martin Bidartondo from Imperial College London.
Essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium from the soil in exchange for carbon from the tree is provided by Mycorrhizal fungi which are hosted by the tree in its roots.
High level of nutrition elements like nitrogen and phosphorus in the mycorrhizae changes them to act as pollutants rather than nutrients.
Recently, India hosted the World Environment Day on June 5, 2018. The theme was ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’.
On that occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a high-profile pledge that India would do away with all the single-use plastics by 2022.
The ban on plastics Maharashtra, after 3 months of notice, is an extreme measure as it supports the goal.
The Ministry of Mines organized the 3rd National Conclave on Mines & Minerals in New Delhi.
The event was inaugurated by the Minister of Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar.
Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) has agreed to partner in the event.
A portal on Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna (PMKKKY) scheme was also launched on the occasion.