Environment Current Affairs 2018 - Current Affairs Today

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  • Scientists create bee vaccine to fight off microbial disease

    22 hours ago
    Researchers at Helsinki University in Finland have developed the world’s first vaccine to protect bees against disease to fight off severe microbial diseases that can be fatal for pollinator communities. This vaccine raises hopes for tackling the drastic decline in insect numbers which could cause a global food crisis. The treatment is administered to the queen bee via a sugar lump, similar to the way many children are given polio vaccines. The queen then passes the immunity to her offspring, spreading it through the bee community. Bees are vital for growing the world’s food as they help fertilize three out of four crops around the globe, by transferring pollen from male to female flowers. But in recent years bee populations around the world have been dying off from colony collapse disorder, a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or some combination of these factors.

    Migratory birds at Chilika faces flu threat

    2 days ago
    The migratory birds at the Chilika lake, Odisha are facing a threat to their lives due to the detection of avian influenza virus. Some crows and chickens were found dead inside poultry farms in Krushnaprasad block last week. When sent for testing to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, it was found that the birds were tested positive for H5N1 virus. The State government has planned for a massive culling operation inside private poultry farms in the affected villages. The Puri district administration would cull birds within one km radius of the place where the carcasses were found. Besides, officers of the animal husbandry department have been asked to intensify surveillance in 10 km-radius area. It should be noted that around seven lakh migratory birds have arrived at the Chilika lake this year.

    NGT appointed committee to look into hazardous units in Sarita Vihar

    3 days ago
    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed a joint committee to look into a plea alleging operation of hazardous industries in south-east Delhi’s Sarita Vihar.  The instructions came after a plea moved by the Aali Vihar Vikas Manch, which alleged that hazardous dyeing units were operating in Bhim Colony, Aali Vihar, and Sarita Vihar.  A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel appointed a joint committee comprising representatives from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Sub-Divisional Magistrate of South-East district, to take action. The Bench made this decision as it observed at least 50 factories are causing air, water, and noise pollution in the area and also choking the water-flow systems. If the drains get choked, the water spills out onto the roads. The hazardous chemicals are highly affecting the water quality.

    Study says Bioplastics may not be a viable alternative to plastic

    10 December 2018
    Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany found that Bioplastics, often promoted as a climate-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastics, may lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. But shifting to plant-based plastics could have less positive effects than expected. An increased consumption of bioplastics in the following years is likely to generate increased greenhouse gas emissions from cropland expansion on a global scale. Plastics cause fossil fuel depletion and climate change. It is estimated that by 2050, plastics could already be responsible for 15% of the global CO2 emissions. On the other hand, bioplastics are in principle climate-neutral since they are based on renewable raw materials such as maize, wheat, and sugarcane. These plants get the CO2 that they need from the air through their leaves. The study found that it takes a lot of time for the switch to bioplastics to pay off.

    COSEWIC warned that the polar bear are at the risk of disappearing

    9 December 2018
    Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) experts warned that the polar bear, Canada’s largest land predator, is at the risk of disappearing from its vast Arctic landscape. The reason has been cited as the melting Arctic sea ice makes hunting prey a challenge to the polar bear. However, the Inuit are cautiously optimistic the bears will adapt. In its latest assessment, COSEWIC incorporated both science and Inuit knowledge.

    China plans to increase green coverage rate to 30 percent

    7 December 2018
    China is planning to increase its green cover by building 20,000 national forest villages by 2020 in the country. As the country has been facing the problem of severe pollution, it has spent over $100 billion on trees and its total forest cover area is almost 22%. Liu Dongsheng, Deputy Director of China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration said that the country will continue to enhance the ecological environment in villages across the country. It also plans to bring the green coverage rate in rural areas to 30%.  

    TN government approved Rs.7.60 crore for clearing fallen trees

    7 December 2018
    The Tamil Nadu State government has approved Rs.7.60 crore for procuring heavy duty chainsaws, winch machines, shredders, and wood splitter machines to clear trees that were felled by Cyclone Gaja in delta districts. The government would be procuring 500 chainsaws and 20 winches, 20 wood splitters, 20 shredder-cum-pulverizers and 20 wood chipper machines with trolley and rent them to farmers at nominal rates or lent to them to clear their farmlands. The proposal is to pulverize leaves and small branches and convert them into organic manure, drag trunks out of fields and place them on the boundary so that they can be chopped later. Used the wood chipper machine, the trunks can be pulverized.

    Researchers found that the CO2 levels has been increased

    6 December 2018
    Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project said that Global carbon emissions are set to hit an all-time high of 37.1 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2018. Among all the countries India is the third-highest contributor of CO2. India has projected to see emissions rise by 6.3% from 2017. Representatives from more than 190 countries have begun discussions at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland. The discussion is to set ways to equitably cut carbon emissions. Limiting global warming to the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature increase this century to well below 2°C, would need carbon dioxide emissions to decline by 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by about 2050.

    Researchers found Microplastics in all sea turtle species

    6 December 2018
    Researchers from the University of Exeter and Plymouth Marine Laboratory, London working with the Greenpeace Research Laboratories conducted tests on over 100 sea turtles, spanning 3 oceans and all 7 species. The test revealed microplastics in the guts of every single turtle. Synthetic particles were found, the most common being fibres, which can come from clothing, tyres and cigarette filters, and equipment such as ropes and nets. Out of the studied 102 turtles, more than 800 synthetic particles were found. As the researchers only tested part of each animal’s gut, the total number of particles is estimated to be about 20 times higher. It is not known how synthetic particles are ingested by turtles, but the likely sources are polluted seawater and sediments and eating via prey or plants.

    Electric vehicles launched at Nandi Hills

    5 December 2018
    Three electric vehicles have been launched at the hilltop of Nandi Hills, Karnataka. These electric vehicles are being maintained by a private company in association with the State government. It will take visitors on a 2 km tour of the historic sites as well as sight-seeing of flora and fauna of the area. Currently, the department runs four electric vehicles in Lalbagh Botanical gardens. The response has encouraged the department to attempt this in other tourist spots.

    IMD announced that winter will be warmer than normal this year

    5 December 2018
    India Meteorological Department (IMD) announced that winter is likely to be warmer than average, with fewer ‘cold wave’ days between December and February. The forecast suggested that ‘above normal’ seasonal minimum temperatures (>0.5° C) are most likely over most of the subdivisions of the country.  However, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, sub-Himalayan West Bengal, and Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh in central India, would most likely see ‘normal’ (between 0.5°C and -0.5°C) seasonal minimum temperatures prevailing. The forecast report was delivered by K.J. Ramesh, Director-General, IMD.

    NGT instructed Delhi government to pay a fine of Rs.25 crore

    4 December 2018
    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) instructed the Delhi government to deposit an environmental compensation of Rs.25 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for failing to curb air pollution in the Capital. A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said in case the State government failed to comply with the orders, a sum of Rs.10 crore per month will be levied. The tribunal further, said that a performance guarantee of Rs.25 crore has to be provided by the State government and in case of non-compliance of orders, the amount will be forfeited. The Chief Secretary has been directed to file a compliance affidavit by March 31, 2019.

    Electric cars set to replace diesel, petrol vehicles in Telangana State offices

    29 November 2018
    The Telangana government offices are soon to make way for electric cars as the State aims at promoting non-polluting vehicles. The government has brought in the Electric Mobility Policy 2018-2023 to encourage the use of carbon-free cars. It has followed it up by signing with the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). The EESL in principle has agreed to invest a whopping Rs.10,250 crore in the State to procure 1,00,000 cars. The State has sought support from two automobile companies, the Mahindra and the Tata and Sons, to provide 100 cars before the end of December. The two signature electric cars, the Mahindra Verito, and the Tata Tigor, can be charged for six hours with AC charger and 90 minutes with DC charger and can travel for 100-110 km. It is expected that the introduction of electric cars could provide smart solutions to the concerns over increasing carbon emissions and pave way for cleaner cities, apart from rising in fuel prices. It is estimated that 2.5 kg of carbon and 60 grams of nitrogen are emitted for every litre of diesel. There is a rise in the incidence of lung cancer and respiratory diseases.

    FAO report says climate change puts food security at risk

    29 November 2018
    The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said that climate change and depletion of land and other resources that undermine food systems increase the risk of feeding the hungry planet. UNFAO renewed its appeals for better policies and technologies to reach zero hunger. The report also said that the population growth requires supplies of more nutritious food at affordable prices, but increasing farm output is hard given the fragility of the natural resource base as the humans have outstripped Earth’s carrying capacity in terms of land, water, and climate change. About 820 million people are malnourished. The FAO and International Food Policy Research Institute released the report at the outset of a global conference aimed at speeding up efforts to achieve zero hunger around the world.

    Brazil lost forests equal to 1 mn football pitches due to deforestation

    29 November 2018
    In Brazil, the deforestation has reached its height that an area equivalent to one million football pitches was lost in just one year. According to the governmental institution of special investigations said that between August 2017 and July 2018, deforestation increased by almost 14%, with an area of 7, 900 sq km, it’s more or less one million football fields, of forest cleared. Between 2004 and 2012, deforestation in Brazil was slowed through controls imposed at a government level as well as by the private sector. Brazil: ♦ Capital: Brasília ♦ President: Michel Temer ♦ Official language: Portuguese ♦ Currency : Real (R$) (BRL)

    NGT imposed Rs.5 crore fine on West Bengal government

    29 November 2018
    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs.5 crore on the West Bengal government as it failed to take steps to improve the air quality of Kolkata and Howrah. Subhas Datta, the petitioner, said that the cost has been imposed for failing to comply with an earlier order of the NGT in August 2016. The NGT directed that the cost should be paid within two weeks to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). If the government failed to do so, it would have to pay an additional Rs.1 crore as fine for every month’s delay. The 2016 order included taking steps like augmentation of air monitoring network, traffic management, streamlining of efficiency auto emission training centres, and phasing out of commercial vehicles more than 15-years-old.

    Delhis AQI improved to poor category

    26 November 2018
    The National Capital Region's air quality showed an unusual improvement on 25th November. The change is due to the increased wind speed, favorable for dispersion of pollutants, but settled in the “poor” category. The overall air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 262, which falls in the “poor” category.

    Despite rain the migratory birds arrived in Chennai, Tamil Nadu

    26 November 2018
    Despite the rain, migratory birds have started arriving this year in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. With water levels low in many lakes and reservoirs, their numbers have been low in some places, but nevertheless, the birds have kept their date with the city.  The arrival of the birds indicates that the migratory season has already begun. From Pulicat to Pallikaranai marshland, all the migratory birds that arrive at a particular date have arrived. About 400-500 pelicans are also there and nesting has started. At Pulicat, Oyster Catchers, Plovers and Flamingoes were seen this year.

    Jammu and Kashmirs civil secretariat to become plastic free

    22 November 2018
    Jammu & Kashmir’s Civil Secretariat would soon be made plastic-free and its use would be discarded absolutely in the secretariat premises. The Chief Secretary of J&K assured that Secretariat would soon be made free from plastic and a notification to that effect will be issued soon. The announcement was made by the Secretary during the celebrations of World Toilet Day, 2018. He also assured that Estates, Hospitality, and JKTDC shall be directed not to use plastic bottles, cups etc. in meetings or otherwise in the Secretariat.   The move of the J&K’s secretariat appeals to all the government departments to shun the use of plastic in their respective meeting halls so that an example is set for the public to emulate.

    Environment Ministry approved to induce artificial rain via cloud seeding to clear smog in Delhi

    21 November 2018
    The Environment Ministry approved a project led by scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur to induce artificial rain via cloud seeding in Delhi. The objective is to clear smog in Delhi. The success of the project depends on the presence of a minimum quantity of rain-bearing clouds over Delhi. In the project, an aircraft has been planned to fly into the clouds and inject silver iodide, which will lead to the formation of ice crystals that will make the clouds denser, cause them to condense into rain and settle atmospheric dust enough to clear the sky. Researchers at IIT-Kanpur will use an aircraft of the National Remote Sensing Agency, an ISRO-affiliated body for the exercise. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) will provide forecasts on the likelihood of conducive clouds. Delhi’s Air Quality Index (AQI) on 20 November was in the very poor category.

    Odisha CM cancelled brewery project in Dhenkanal

    20 November 2018
    Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik cancelled the setting up of a brewery plant in Dhenkanal district. The cancellation is due to the protests made by the villagers. Mr. Patnaik took the decision based on the recommendations of Revenue Divisional Commissioner D.V. Swamy, who probed the felling of trees in Jhinkargadi forest. The government went back on its decision following a massive public outcry. The brewery plant was to come up on 12 acres of forestland in Jhinkargadi.

    Tamil Nadu government is to release Rs.1,000 crore to the cyclone Gaja affected areas

    20 November 2018
    Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami ordered the State government to release Rs.1,000 crore towards relief operations in cyclone Gaja-affected areas. The death toll due to the cyclone rose to 46. As per official estimates, 270 cattle and 1,181 goats died in the disaster. About 88,102 hectares of agricultural and horticultural crops were affected and over 4,800 fishing boats damaged, as per the initial estimates. Relief operations by various government agencies were in full swing in these districts, where 2,51,674 people were being accommodated in 514 relief camps.

    Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System for an entire city

    19 November 2018
    Indian cities are finding it difficult to monitor the air pollution for the entire city using a single monitoring system. Nowadays real-time monitoring of air quality has become absolutely necessary for the timely intervention to check pollution levels. Most Indian cities do not have more than one continuous monitoring system. Experts say that a single Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System would make a solution to this problem. But such a device cannot represent an accurate picture of air pollution for the entire city. And this, according to them, becomes a problem when emergency measures need to be taken.

    IKEA to launch Better Air Now initiative

    16 November 2018
    IKEA, the Swedish home furnishing company, announced its ‘Better Air Now’ plan to turn rice straw into a new renewable material source for its products. The initiative aims at reducing global air pollution. This project of IKEA will begin from India and is focussed on New Delhi, Gurugram and Faridabad, which are among the world’s most air-polluted cities. Earlier IKEA was developing air purifying curtains and air purifiers.

    NGT imposed Rs.50 crore fine on Odisha government

    15 November 2018
    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered the Punjab government to submit a penalty of Rs.50 crore as environmental compensation for polluting rivers Sutlej and Beas due to industrial discharge. The bench, headed by Justice AK Goyal, has asked the Punjab government to recover the fine from industries in two weeks.  The bench considered several similar cases, including the one dealing with the death of fish due to untreated discharge from sugar Industries and passed the penalty to the State government.

    Rise in Indian AC units increases risks in Climate change

    13 November 2018
    A report says, by 2022, India is expected to have a fourth of the world’s air conditioning units. This could immensely affect the climate change and increase the risk rate. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) are a family of gases that are largely used in refrigerants at home and in car air-conditioners. This greenhouse gas substantially worsen global warming. India, China, the United States and Europe have committed themselves to reducing the use of HFC by 85% by 2045. An estimation says, that about 4.5 billion room air-conditioners are to be installed by 2050, under a business growth trajectory.

    SC scans the ecological damage caused in Nainital

    12 November 2018
    Jilling Estate of Nainital district in Uttarakhand has come under the scanner of the Supreme Court for ecological damage. Jilling estate is a home to the threatened species of leopards. It had recently shaken under the heavy thuds of an earth mover. Birendra Singh, a resident, filed an appeal in the apex court saying the earth mover was laying the ground for the construction of at least 44 massive villas and other huge structures, including a helipad, resort cottages and hospitality zone.  On October 1, a bench of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman and Indu Malhotra acknowledged the seriousness of the issue. The Bench issued a notice to the respondents, including the Ministry of Environment and Forests. It ordered status quo. The case is now due to come on November 16 for hearing.

    World leaders marked the centenary of the Great War Armistice

    12 November 2018
    World leaders gathered to lead global commemorations marking 100 years since the end of First World War in Paris. Around 70 leaders, including U.S. and Russian Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, marked the centenary of the 1918 Armistice in the French capital at 11 a.m. local time (10:00 GMT).  The leaders paid homage to the fallen soldiers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe. The memorial ceremony included classical music and the reading aloud of letters by the First World War soldiers.

    Adeeb quit KSMDFC

    12 November 2018
    K.T.Adeeb, a relative of Kerala’s Minister for Minority Welfare K.T.Jaleel, has resigned from the post of General Manager, Kerala State Minorities Development Finance Corporation (KSMDFC). This is after the Muslim Youth League (MYL) accused the Minister of nepotism in Mr. Adeeb’s appointment. The opposition alleged that Adeeb was posted without giving any advertisement and qualifications diluted to favour him. Mr. Adeeb, a senior manager with South Indian Bank, has expressed his wish to return to his parent organisation.

    IMD alerted Tamil Nadu that the Cyclone Gaja will bring rain for 2 days

    12 November 2018
    India Meteorological Department (IMD), Under the Ministry of Earth Sciences Government of India, officials said that the deep depression over the Bay of Bengal has intensified into Cyclone. It has been named ‘Gaja’ by Sri Lanka. The cyclone lay 840 km east of Chennai and 880 km east of Nagapattinam. North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are likely to get good rain on November 14 and 15.

    Scientists found microplastics in marine life

    6 November 2018
    Scientists at the Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project Directorate at Chennai’s National Institute of Ocean Technology recorded fluorescent blue and green microplastic particles and fibres are found in species of marine worms. Research says that Microplastics are practically everywhere. Microplastics are an issue because once inside the bodies of marine life forms, they can cause internal lesions. Apart from accumulating toxins, microplastics can threaten microfauna such as plankton (tiny, single-celled creatures that fish and even whales feed on) that thrive in oceans. Now, scientists have recorded these tiny plastic particles, less than one millimetre in length, closer home, in the marine life off the Kochi coast. Invertebrates dwelling on the ocean floor as well as fish now house microplastics.  Species found with microplastics are:  ♦ Marine worms (Sternaspls scutata & Magelona cinta)  ♦ Bivalve (Tellina)  ♦ Sardines (Mathi) (All fished off Kochi coast) ♦ Anchovies (Natholi) - Punnapra

    Bengalurus Mestripalya lake faces a threat again

    6 November 2018
    A Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Regional (BBMP) engineer filed a complaint with the Koramangala police against the “illegal layout” that is being built on the lake land. Residents and civic body officials scrambled to stop construction of concrete houses on the lake bund of the encroachment-prone Mestripalya lake in Koramangala, Bengaluru.   

    Plans for Antarctic sanctuary was shot down

    5 November 2018
    The plan to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in Antarctic waters was shot down as the environmentalists denounced a lack of scientific foresight and hence the key conservation summit failed to reach a consensus. Member states of the organisation tasked with overseeing the sustainable exploitation of the Southern Ocean failed at an annual meeting to agree over the 1.8 million sq km maritime protection zone. The proposed sanctuary is around five times the size of Germany.  The proposed sanctuary would ban fishing in a vast area in the Weddell sea, protecting key species including seals, penguins and whales. A consensus is needed from all 24 members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the European Union.

    Delhi AQI falls to moderate level

    5 November 2018
    The National Capital Region’s air quality improved significantly and fell to moderate levels. The Delhi Police seized over 800 kg of banned firecrackers during raids in the north and west Delhi. This move is after the order by Supreme Court which said only ‘green crackers’ will be sold in Delhi-NCR during Diwali.  According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) on 4th November was 171. This range falls in the moderate category. Earlier, the AQI ranged 336 on 3rd November. 

    Vision 2030 plan of Forest Dept. runs into trouble

    4 November 2018
    Many environmentalists and groups oppose the decision to outsource the process to map a long-term vision for the Forest Department of the government. Because of the opposition, the long-term vision is facing trouble. The department is undertaking a Vision Document 2030 which would set a governance strategy for the management of forests and wildlife in the State for the next 20 years in a sustainable manner.

    Scientists said that the oceans are heating up 60 percent faster

    2 November 2018
    Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that the world’s oceans have absorbed 60% more heat than previously thought over the last quarter of a century leaving Earth more sensitive still to the effects of climate change.  The Scientists also said that the world’s oceans have absorbed 90% of the temperature rise caused by man-made carbon emissions. But new research found that for each of the last 25 years, oceans had absorbed heat energy equivalent to 150 times the amount of electricity mankind produces annually. That is 60% higher than what previous studies showed. The IPCC warned that drastic measures need taking in order to limit global warming to 1.5 Celsius by the end of the century but the world produced a record amount of carbon emissions in 2017.

    AQI of Delhi remains very poor

    2 November 2018
    National Capital Region has been tested with air quality still at very poor range. The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) recorded the Capital’s Air Quality Index at 368, which denotes a very poor range. It also said if it is maintained so, then there are chances that the next three days will see little improvement.  It stated that about 12% of pollution by PM 2.5 (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of fewer than 2.5 micrometres) was caused due to stubble burning.  System of Air Quality Forecasting and Research (SAFAR): ♦ SAFAR functions under the planning scheme “Metropolitan Advisories for Cities for Sports, Tourism (Metropolitan Air Quality and Weather Services), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India ♦ The SAFAR system is developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, along with ESSO partner institutions namely India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) ♦ The objective of the project is to increase awareness among the general public regarding the air quality in their cities well in advance so that appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action can be taken up for the betterment of air quality and related health issues.

    Cattle feed distribution for the flood hit areas in Kerala

    1 November 2018
    Kerala Feeds, a public sector undertaking under the State government,  along with Ernakulam Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla inaugurated the district-level Snehasparsham project that provides 100 bags of cattle feed for free to dairy farmers. Kerala Feeds Managing Director B.Sreekumar said that in eligible cases, more cattle feed will be provided. It has been reported that the flood and landslips have left Ernakulam district with a property loss of Rs. 8,000 crore. 

    CSIR developed Less Polluting Firecrackers named SWAS, SAFAL and STAR

    1 November 2018
    These crackers developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are 15-20 percent cheaper than the conventional ones and free from harmful chemicals. ♦ SWAS stands for Safe Water releaser, ♦ SAFAL stands for Safe minimal Aluminum and ♦ STAR stands for Safe Thermite cracker. The crackers will come in the market after the approval from Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO), which is the nodal agency for safety requirements in manufacture, storage, transport of all types of explosives.

    Delhi observes 'Clean Air Week' from November 1-5 to fight against the worsening air quality

    1 November 2018
    Centre in collaboration with the Delhi, UP and Haryana governments organise 'Clean Air Week' between November 1-5 in Delhi and four other National Capital Region (NCR) cities - Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida. This decision was taken in a meeting held in Delhi under the Chairmanship of Union Environment Secretary CK Mishra to discuss the urgent steps for air pollution reduction and regulating fire crackers in the light of the Supreme Court's Order. On October 23, 2018, the Supreme Court had allowed the sale of "green firecrackers." On Diwali, citizens would be allowed to burst crackers only between 8 pm to 10 pm.

    ZSI scientists says Moths are key pollinators in Himalayan ecosystem

    29 October 2018
    The scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has revealed that Moths (Lepidoptera), which is widely considered as pests, are pollinators to a number of flowering plants in the Himalayan ecosystem. The scientists collected moth samples from states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal. The analysis of proboscis, a long and thread-like organ used to suck flower sap, of a dozen moth species’ revealed the presence of pollen grains.  Researchers have pointed out that almost two-thirds of common large moth species have declined over the last 40 years in some parts of the world. One of the main reasons for the decline is light pollution.

    KAU initiated a mission to rejuvenate hill garlic

    29 October 2018
    The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has initiated a study on the farming practices of garlic followed in the hills of Kanthalloor and Vattavada areas of Idukki district of Kerala. This move is to promote the variety Malai poondu or hill garlic that is on the verge of extinction.  Malai poondu or hill garlic are known for its unique flavour, pungency, taste, medicinal properties and longer shelf life, that is 180 days. Due to long duration of cultivation the tribal farmers of the area started to cultivate hybrid varieties or short duration, 90 to 120 days, varieties. The study by KAU said that the major problems faced by the hill garlic cultivation are the small size of the bulb, lack of awareness on scientific cultivation practices and wild animal attack. KAU also suggested that by following scientific practices, the crop duration can be reduced.

    SC announced ban on toxic and loud firecrackers

    24 October 2018
    Supreme Court judgment declared a ban on toxic and loud crackers during Deepavali. The ban has been declared to avoid the air pollution caused due to the burning of firecrackers which in turn deterioration of air quality. The Bench acknowledges that there is a necessity to tackle the other contributory factors for air pollution. Unregulated construction activity which generates a lot of dust and crop burning in the neighbouring States are the two other major reasons. Vehicular pollution is also another cause.

    Air purifier makers expects huge sales as pollution levels worsen in NCR and adjoining areas

    22 October 2018
    As the air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR)  and adjoining areas are likely to deteriorate further in the coming weeks, the Air purifier makers are looking at a big spike in their sales. There is a rise in demand for air purifiers from smaller and tier-II cities, other than metros.  Although the air purifier industry is small in size and limited to metro cities, makers are witnessing a high double-digit growth in the segment due to increased awareness among the people who are willing to spend money to improve the quality of air around them.  The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was recorded at 337 last week, which falls in the very poor category and is the highest for this season, creating hazy conditions, said data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).  Below given is the Air Quality Index (AQI) range:

    Save Bandipur activists protested against the elevated highways through national parks

    22 October 2018
    Activists protested against the proposed elevated highways through national parks. Around 150 activists protested at Melkamanahalli gate, Karnataka. The Save Bandipur drive gained traction against the proposed elevated highways through national parks. Earlier, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Government of India, proposed that it wanted to develop five stretches of 1 km each, of elevated roads, through the national park to ensure that there was the 24x7 movement of vehicles along the National Highway 212 (renamed as NH 766).  The activists of Bandipur Ulisi or Save Bandipur campaign submitted a memorandum to the authorities registering their opposition to the infrastructure project.

    Seven snake eggs were incubated and released into the wild

    21 October 2018
    A clutch of seven tiny snakes was released into the wild after spending nearly 80 days in an incubator at the civic body’s Wildlife Paramedical Centre, Karnataka. While incubating the snakes resembled no more than little worms. A BBMP wildlife rescue volunteer rescued the clutch of seven snake eggs from a sump in Hegde Nagar. The mother, a common Kukri species, was also rescued. While common Kukri is found widespread across the sub-continent, it's sighting in the city has become rare owing to habitat loss. The mother was rescued and released in a nearby garden, while the eggs were taken to BBMP Forest Cell’s wildlife centre. When snakes lay their eggs, they choose a variety of factors including predators and temperature (25 to 26 degrees Celsius). It is difficult to replicate this process in gardens. Hence the eggs were artificially incubated. After all seven eggs hatched, it was released into gardens of the city. 

    Climate warming threatens Pacific Walrus

    19 October 2018
    Center for Biological Diversity petitioned U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list Pacific Walrus as a threatened species because of diminished sea ice brought on by climate warming. Pacific walrus prefers sea ice for moulting, mating, nursing and resting between dives for food. Pacific walrus males grow to 12 feet long and up to 1,815 kg. Females reach half that weight. Walruses dive and use sensitive whiskers to find clams and snails in dim light on the seafloor.  Fish and Wildlife Service said that inaccessibility protected walruses for decades, but a rapid decline in summer sea ice has made them vulnerable. In the Chukchi Sea between Alaska and Russia, where Pacific walrus females and juveniles spend their summer, ice could be absent during that season by 2060 or sooner.

    Study says climate change threatens World Heritage sites

    19 October 2018
    A study published in the journal Nature presented a risk index that ranks the sites according to the threat they face from today until the end of the century. It stated that the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Mediterranean such as Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Medieval City of Rhodes are under severe threat of coastal erosion and flooding due to rising sea levels within the next 100 years. It also included Venice and its Lagoon, Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia. Heritage sites face many challenges to adapt to the effects of sea-level rise as it changes the value and spirit of place for each site.

    Ocean Cleanup Foundation launched floating pipe to gather ocean plastic

    17 October 2018
    The Ocean Cleanup Foundation has launched a project to collect the plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Wilson, a 2,000-foot-long floating pipe has begun its mission to collect the plastic in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The pipe is constructed in U shape. It features a three-metre-deep net to trap floating plastic under the water’s surface. A boat will visit the spot every few months to remove the debris.

    Aussie same sex penguin couple incubate egg

    16 October 2018
    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  

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