3 days ago
Scientists from Delhi University and Wildlife Institute of India in collaboration with researchers from Indonesia and the USA has discovered a new frog species in the Northeast.
The frog is reddish brown in colour. It has prominent dark streaks and ash grey mottling on the lateral sides. Web is absent on its feet.
The frog has been named Micryletta aishani. It belongs to the Microhylid genus. The first known species of the genus was found in Sumatra, Indonesia. At present, the Microhylid genus has only four recognised species that are commonly known as paddy frogs.
But the new frog species that was found on the Northeast India was confirmed as a new species after detailed comparison of both DNA and morphology with all previously known species across Southeast and East Asia. The study also revealed that this kind of paddy frog might be found in Southeast regions such as Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
3 days ago
Researchers said that the people could be ingesting 5g of microscopic plastic particles every week. Microplastics are tiny plasstics pieces ranging from 5 millimetres down to 100 nanometres in diameter.
Microplastics in food:
Microplastics enter our body through marine source, non-marine source and sometimes indoor dust.
The consumption happens mostly from tap and bottled water, nearly invisible bits of polymer were also found in canned fish, shellfish, beer and salt.
The result was drawn from studying 52 peer-reviewed studies. These are the first to estimate the sheer weight of plastics consumed by individual humans. The result showed that about 250 g over the course of a year is consumed by individual human.
Grand View Research reported that in the last two decades, the world has produced as much plastic as during the rest of history, and the industry is set to grow by 4% a year until 2025.
11 June 2019
Mount Sinabung volcano erupted in Sumatra Island of western Indonesia. A huge column of ash was blasted and spread 7 km high to southeast and south of crater.
Mount Sinabung blew for nine minutes. It caused panic among the island’s residents. The volcanic activity was accompanied by multiple earthquakes felt in nearby villages. No casualties have been reported due to the eruption.
Indonesia has nearly 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country.
Sinabung was inactive for around 400 years before it erupted in 2010, 2014 and February 2018. Since then it has become one of south east Asian nation's most active volcanoes.
Mount Sinabung is a Pleistocene-to-Holocene stratovolcano located in North Sumatra. It is particularly prone to seismic activity due to its location on the Ring of Fire.
Ring of Fire: It an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.
7 June 2019
The Bihar State government has announced to waive off 50% of the total taxes levied on the purchase and running of battery-propelled e-rickshawas. The announcement was made by the deputy chief minister of state Sushil Kumar Modi.
The move is to combat air pollution. 3 cities of Bihar namely Patna, Gaya and Muzaffarpur are placed among the most 20 polluted cities of the world in a report by the World Health Organization (WHO). Seven departments of the state government have collectively prepared an integrated action plan to tackle the menace of pollution in the polluted cities of Bihar.
Also, the State has made arrangements, in 45 fuel-refilling centres in Patna alone, to check the pollution emission from vehicles at over 500 fuel refilling centres in addition to run eco-friendly electric buses.
Formed on: 22 March 1912
Governor: Lal Ji Tandon
Chief Minister: Nitish Kumar
Deputy Chief Minister: Sushil Kumar Modi
Official Language: Hindi
Bihar is bordered by Nepal in the north, Uttar Pradesh in the west , Jharkhand in the south, West Bengal in the east
4 June 2019
Indian Army commissioned a Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) at Fort William Military Station, Kolkata, West Bengal. It is a part of the countrywide Go Green' initiative.
The Air Quality Monitoring System was commissioned by Lt Gen M M Naravane, General Officer Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Command. It will be overall sixth CAAQMS in Kolkata.
Along with measuring air pollution, the CAAQMS will display the wind speed, direction, ambient temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, barometric pressure, and rain gauge.
The CAAQMS at the Eastern Command headquarters, Fort William in Kolkata, will measure air pollution, including SO2, NO, NO2, NH3, CO, O3, VOC and particulate matters (PM 10 and PM 2.5) continuously throughout the year.
West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) or any other local or international weather monitoring bodies can also use CAAQMS.
The data can be remotely monitored on the internet and collated into various desired formats. Its readings will be considered a benchmark of quality.
The data will be published via the Internet for public awareness.
Army's previous efforts:
Apart from this, initiatives have already been taken to reduce the consumption of electricity as well as conserve water and segregate waste at Fort William.
It has reduced electricity bills and distributed nearly 100 sets of dustbins in the garrison for segregation of waste.
Eastern Command of Indian Army:
It is one of the seven operational commands of the army.
It is headquartered in Fort William in the city of Kolkata, West Bengal.
Current commander: Lt Gen M M Naravane, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM
4 June 2019
Mount Etnaa, Europe's Highest Volcano and one of the world’s most active volcanoes, erupted spitting molten lava high into the sky. It is located on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, in the Metropolitan City of Catania. This is 2019's first eruption as the volcano on the island of Sicily as the Mount last erupted on 24 December 2018.
The eruption did not affect the nearby residential areas or for flights at the closest airport at Catania.
About Mount Etna:
Etna is an active stratovolcano on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. A stratovolcano is a conical volcano built up by many layers of hardened lava, tephra, pumice, and ash. The stratovolcano is also known as a composite volcano,
It is the highest active volcano in Europe outside the Caucasus. The Mount is elevated to 3,326 m (10,912 ft). It is the highest peak in Italy south of the Alps. It is located above the convergent plate margin, which is between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
It is also the largest of the three active volcanoes in Italy. The other largest volcanoes are Mount Vesuvius and Mount Stromboli.
The United Nations has designated Mt. Etna as a Decade Volcano. In June 2013, it was added to the list of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites.
1 June 2019
The invasive Kappaphycus alvarezii seaweed, which smothers and kills coral reefs, has spread its wings to coral reef areas in Valai island in the Gulf of Mannar (GoM) and set to invade new coral colonies in the marine national park. Macrofaunal and fish density decreased when Kappaphycus cover increased.
After invading Shingle, Kurusadai and Mulli islands in Mandapam cluster of the GoM, the red algae invaded Valai island along Kilakarai coast following its cultivation in south Palk Bay.
In the report submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFC) by the Reef Research Team (RRT) of Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI), Thoothukudi, said that the destructive algae had invaded the reef areas of Valai Island, Palk Bay Gulf of Munnar. The research team counted 32 coral colonies of Acropora nobilis affected by Kappaphycus algae. The team said that the algae was firmly attached to the coral colonies and started forming a mat over them. It would eventually smother and kill corals.
A 2005 Government Order had restricted cultivation of the exotic seaweed only to the seawaters north of the Palk Bay and South of Thoothukudi coast.
The Forest department is to take up the issue with agencies, which promoted the cultivation of the seaweed. The department had been carrying out manual removal of the seaweed every year since 2014 to protect coral reefs.
1 June 2019
Scientists have recently identified a new species of wasp from the genus Kudakrumia in Goa. The wasp, Kudakrumia rangnekari, has been named after Goa-based researcher Parag Rangnekar. It belongs to genus Kudakrumia. The Kudakrumia is a genus of primitive wasps that is described and previously known only from Sri Lanka.
The new species was collected Cotigao Wildlife sanctuary. The Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary is located in South Goa district, of Goa. The sanctuary was established in 1968.
A wasp is any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. Wasps are adept at controlling pest populations and are regularly deployed to protect crops. For example, in Brazil, farmers control sugarcane borers with a kind of parasitic wasp.
Mr.Rangnekar’s quest to document the butterflies of this unique region resulted in a record of 220 species, of which 13 species had not been spotted before.
Mr. Rangnekar, who is the founder-president of the Goa Bird Conservation Network (GBCN), has now taken up the documentation of the dragonflies in the State. He wrote ‘Butterflies of Goa’, a first field guide with photographs of the species found in Goa region.
29 May 2019
The Malaysian government said that hundreds of tonnes of imported plastic waste will be shipped back to where it came from insisting that the country did not want to be a global dumping ground. The announcement was made by the Malaysian Minister for Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin.
The Ministry said 450 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste in 10 containers from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States will be shipped back. Plastic imports to Malaysia have tripled since 2016, to 8,70,000 tonnes in 2018. The Malaysian government also urged the developed countries to review their management of plastic waste and stop shipping garbage to developing countries.
Processing such materials produce toxic fumes. Villagers near the recycle plant are suffering from asthma and itchiness.
Steps taken by the Malaysian government:
Malaysia sent back five containers filled with plastic waste to Spain in April.
150 illegal waste recycling plants had been shut down.
As little as nine percent of plastic produced between 1950 and 2015 has been recycled.
Pictures of coral reefs smothered in plastic bags and river systems choked with PET bottles are produced to create awareness of the need to deal with the problem.
The country is able to do this through the Basel Convention, an international waste treaty meant to prevent developed countries from dumping their rubbish in the Global South. World leaders came together last year to add plastic, but the U.S. didn’t sign off on that.
China had previously taken a large amount of waste for recycling but abruptly stopped in 2018, saying it wanted to improve its own environment.
Southeast Asian countries that stepped in to plug this gap say they have had enough.
26 May 2019
Microfossils of a globular spore connected to a T-shaped filament excavated in an Arctic region of northwestern Canada represent the oldest-known fungus. This discovery sheds light on the origins of an important branch in earth’s tree of life.
Scientists said that the multicellular fungus that they named Ourasphaira Giralda, a forerunner to an immensely diverse group that today includes the likes of mushrooms, yeasts, and molds, lived in an estuary environment about 900 million to 1 billion years ago. Until now, the oldest-known fungus fossil was one about 410 million years old from Scotland.
The microscopic fossils, contained in shale rock from the Northwest Territories of Canada, date back to the Proterozoic era, before the advent of complex life forms. The study was published in Nature.
Fungi belong to a broad group of organisms, called eukaryotes, that possesses a clearly defined nucleus and also includes animals and plants. A fundamental difference between fungi and plants is that fungi are incapable of photosynthesis, harnessing sunlight to synthesize nutrients.
Fungi play a key role in global ecosystems such as in the organic decomposition process.
26 May 2019
Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for protecting Ongole cattle breed on May 20, 2019. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu released a compendium on Ongole breed of cattle at Vijayawada recently. He also stressed that cattle wealth was national wealth.
Mr.Naidu highlighted that Brazil has imported these cattle breeds and produced hybrid Ongoles to earn huge revenue through export. While in India this cattle is neglected.
Ongole cattle is an indigenous cattle breed that originates from Prakasam District in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The breed derives its name from the place the breed originates from, Ongole.
The Ongole breed of cattle, Bos Indicus, has a great demand as it is said to possess resistance to both foot and mouth disease and mad cow disease.
The Ongole is one of the heaviest breeds. They weigh approximately half a ton, are 1.7 meters in height and have a body length of 1.6 meters and girth measuring 2 meters.
These cattle are commonly used in bull fights in Mexico and some parts of East Africa due to their strength and aggressiveness. They also participate in traditional bull fights in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The Ongole is one of the heaviest breeds. They weigh approximately half a ton, are 1.7 meters in height and have a body length of 1.6 meters and girth measuring 2 meters.
25 May 2019
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that around 1 crore trees have been planted across the country along highways in the past three years to maintain ecology and environmental balance.
NGT Bench's decision:
A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was not satisfied with the report furnished by NHAI. It directed the NHAI officials to be present before the Tribunal. It further directed the NHAI to furnish details on why encroachments are taking place along the highways and details of steps taken to ensure removal of the same.
The directions came on a plea filed by NGO Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions, and Promotion of National Awareness, seeking execution of a 2017 NGT order where the NHAI had informed NGT that it would rule mentioned in the Green Highways Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance Policy will be followed.
23 May 2019
United Nation (UN) Environment India and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India, for the International Day of Biological Diversity, which was celebrated on 22 May, initiated an awareness campaign by the name of 'Not all animals migrate by choice' to be displayed at major airports across India. The campaign was inaugurated by Dia Mirza, the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador (and also UN Secretary-General's SDG Advocate), in presence of officials from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India (WCCB), UN Environment, UN agencies, and GMR Group.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
The aim is to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade, to garner public support for conservation and protection of wildlife, prevention from smuggling and for the reduction in demand for wildlife products. It also complements worldwide action taken on illegal trade in wildlife via UN Environment's global campaign called Wild for Life.
WCCB and UN Environment started a comprehensive approach with a focus on awareness building towards the issue of prevention of illegal trade, smuggling of wildlife (and wildlife products) through exit points.
Phases of the initiative:
In the first phase of the campaign, Tiger, Pangolin, Star Tortoise and Tokay Gecko have been chosen as they are highly endangered due to illegal trading in International markets.
- Tiger is traded for its skin, bones and body parts
- Pangolin, the most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet is trafficked for its meat and its scales are used in traditional medicines
- Star Tortoise for meat and pet trade
- Tokay Gecko in traditional medicine mostly into South East Asia and particularly Chinese Markets.
Phase two will see more threatened species and explore other routes of trafficking.
Need for the initiative:
Illegal wildlife trade drives a species to the brink of extinction. India is also seeing a sharp rise in its illegal trade in wildlife. There is an urgent need for awareness, action and stringent law enforcement to curb illegal wildlife trade which is threatening biodiversity and conservation in wild.
Conservation is natural to India's ethos. Although, while wildlife faces global threat and India's flora and fauna's demand continues to rise in illegal global markets, India's stringent provisions for protection of wildlife under its Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972, and efforts towards creating awareness among public at large would still have to go a long way to help protect our wildlife.
16 May 2019
Palaeontologists from Ludwig-Maximilians University (LMU) in Munich and the University of Fribourg have unearthed a new species of flying dinosaur that flapped its wings like a raven and could hold vital clues as to how modern-day birds evolved from their reptilian ancestors.
The scientists came across a petrified wing, which the team initially assumed to be the same species while examining rock formations in the German region of Bavaria which is home to nearly all known Archaeopteryx specimens. The new bird-like dinosaur was named Alcmonavis poeschli after Roland Poeschl, the scientist who discovered the fossil.
As well as being significantly larger than Archaeopteryx, the new specimen had more notches in its wing bones that pointed to muscles which would have allowed it to actively flap its wings. Significantly, this "flapping" trait found in Alcmonavis poeschli is present in more recent birds, but not in Archaeopteryx. The discovery is likely to fuel debate among dinosaur experts over whether birds and dinosaurs developed the ability to flap their wings from earlier gliding species.
16 May 2019
Scientists have found traces of radioactive carbon in marine organisms that inhabit the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on Earth. The radioactive carbon was released into the atmosphere from 20th-century nuclear bomb tests. Organisms at the ocean surface have incorporated the bomb carbon into the molecules that make up their bodies since the late 1950s.
The crustaceans in deep ocean trenches are feeding on organic matter from these organisms when it falls to the ocean floor. The results also help scientists to understand how creatures have adapted to living in the nutrient-poor environment of the deep ocean.
The studied the crustaceans live for an unexpectedly long time by having extremely slow metabolisms, which they suspect may be an adaptation to living in this impoverished and harsh environment.
How did Radioactive particles mix in the ocean?
Carbon-14 is a radioactive carbon that is created naturally when cosmic rays interact with nitrogen in the atmosphere. Carbon-14 is much less abundant than non-radioactive carbon, but scientists can detect it in nearly all living organisms and use it to determine the ages of archeological and geological samples.
Thermonuclear weapons tests conducted during the 1950s and 1960s doubled the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere when neutrons released from the bombs reacted with nitrogen in the air. Levels of this bomb carbon peaked in the mid-1960s and then dropped when atmospheric nuclear tests stopped. By the 1990s, carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere had dropped to about 20% above their pre-test levels.
This bomb carbon quickly fell out of the atmosphere and mixed into the ocean surface. Marine organisms that have lived in the decades since this time have used bomb carbon to build molecules within their cells, and scientists have seen elevated levels of carbon-14 in marine organisms since shortly after the bomb tests began.
15 May 2019
Lecanorchis taiwaniana (The parasitic bloom), a type of orchid was accidentally discovered in Assam. This is the first time it is discovered in India. But the orchid species is already known in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos.
The orchid was accidentally discovered in Assam by Jatindra Sarma, Assam's forest officer named. He is also the Member Secretary of State Medicinal Plants Board.
The discovery adds to the orchid wealth of northeast India (NEI). India has about 1,300 species of orchids out of which 800 are found in NEI, about 300 species are found in the Western Ghats and 200 in the northwestern Himalayas.
Lecanorchis taiwaniana is a mycoheterotroph, which means it is one of two known types of parasitic plants which have abandoned photosynthesis. It derives nutrients and its energy from fungus, it may be of herbal importance.
The orchid was found to have a maximum height of 40 cm and a blossoming period of five-six days. It is a variant of a Japanese orchid. It is India's one of smallest botanically recorded orchids in terms of size and duration of bloom.
14 May 2019
For the first time, the entire genome of the Asiatic lion, an endangered species, has been sequenced by scientists from CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. As the population of the endangered Asiatic lion is very low, only 523 animals are present in the Gir forests, the genome sequencing would enable scientists to develop specific markers to study population genetics and get newer insights into its population status and subsequent management.
Comparative analysis with other fields and mammalian genomes unraveled the evolutionary history of the Asiatic lion and its position among other felids. The study noted that the evaluation of genetic diversity placed the Asiatic lion in the lowest bracket of genomic diversity index highlighting the gravity of its conservation status. The genome is estimated to be 2.3 Gb (Gigabase) long and is found to have 20,543 protein-coding genes.
The genome sequencing of Asiatic lions would enable scientists to better understand their evolution. Until now only partial genomic information of African lion is available. Therefore comparative genomics between both African lion and Asiatic lions can only be undertaken once a complete genome of the African lion is sequenced. Therefore, once a complete genome of African Cheetah, Royal Bengal tiger, and Jaguar will be available, the comparative studies of all these big cats would be possible.
This signifies that the final objective of scientists is to understand species at the DNA level and study that if there are any specific problems with regard to the adaptability of Asiatic Lion to environment or behaviour.
About Asiatic Lion:
Scientific Name - Panthera Leo Persica
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
They are also known as Indian Lion. At present, the only home of Asiatic lion is Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat.
Threats: Asiatic lion presently exists as a single subpopulation. They are vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events, like an epidemic or large forest fire and in recent years poaching incidents were also indicated.
12 May 2019
Recent UN report said that Climate change and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out The Sundarbans, which is one of the world's last and largest tiger strongholds. The report rely on climate change scenarios was developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its simulation models.
Observations listed in the report:
If greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued at the current rate, the atmosphere would warm as much as 1.5C (above preindustrial levels) by 2040. This climate change would lead to rising sea level and existential threat to the Sundarbans.
In 2010, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN), a Non-governmental organization estimated that sea level rise of 11 inches could reduce the number of tigers in Sundarbans by 96% within a few decades. By 2070, there will not be any suitable habitats of tiger remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.
70% of Sundarbans is just a few feet above sea level, thus faces grave threat due to climate changes. It is one of the prime habitats of Bengal tigers, who are among 500,000 land species whose survival is in question because of threats to their natural habitats due to climate change.
Conservation efforts and fight against habitat loss in Sunderbans needs to begin immediately, as it could take about 20 years for these efforts to even start showing any results, but if action isn't taken soon there won't be any forest or tigers to save in 50 years.
10 May 2019
Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Florida, have identified a violent collision of two neutron stars 4.6 billion years ago as the likely source of some of the most coveted matter on Earth.
The study says this single cosmic event, close to our solar system, gave birth to 0.3 percent of the Earth's heaviest elements, including gold, platinum, and uranium.
The researchers compared the composition of meteorites to numerical simulations of the Milky Way. They found that a single neutron-star collision could have occurred about 100 million years before the formation of Earth, in our own neighborhood, about 1000 light years from the gas cloud that eventually formed the Solar System. It is believed that the study provides insight into a uniquely consequential event in the history.
10 May 2019
The 21st-century alchemists are transforming carbon dioxide into the rock for eternity in Iceland’s volcano country, cleaning the air of harmful emissions that cause global warming.
The technology mimics, in an accelerated format, a natural process that can take thousands of years, injecting CO2 into porous basalt rock where it mineralizes, capturing it forever. In Iceland, at least half of the energy produced comes from geothermal sources.
The plant, located on the Hengill volcano in southwestern Iceland, sits on a layer of basalt rock formed from cooled lava and has access to virtually unlimited amounts of water.
The geothermal plant pumps up the water underneath the volcano to run six turbines providing electricity and heat to the capital, Reykjavik, about 30 km away.
The CO2 from the plant is meanwhile captured from the steam, liquified into condensate, then dissolved in large amounts of water. The fizzy water is piped several kilometres to an area where grey, igloo-shaped domes dot a lunar-like landscape. Here the fizzy water is injected under high pressure into the rock 1,000 metres under the ground.
The solution fills the rock’s cavities and begins the solidification process, a chemical reaction that occurs when the gas comes in contact with the calcium, magnesium and iron in the basalt. Almost all of the injected CO2 was mineralised within two years in the pilot injection.
9 May 2019
A team of herpetologists has described a new species of reddish-brown pit viper, a venomous snake with a unique heat-sensing system, from a forest in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. India now has a fifth brown pit viper but with a reddish tinge.
The new species also make Arunachal Pradesh the only Indian state to have a pit viper named after it.
The other four pit viper in India are:
Malabar pit viper
Horseshoe pit viper
Hump-nosed pit viper
Himalayan pit viper
They were discovered 70 years ago.
Comparative analyses of DNA sequences and examination of morphological features suggested that the snake belonged to a species not described before.
The single known specimen of this species makes it currently the rarest pit viper in the world. The specimen was donated to the museum of the State Forest Research Institute in Itanagar.
6 May 2019
Bajirao, the last captive white tiger, died recently at Sanjay Gandhi National Park, in Borivali, Mumbai. He was 18 years and died due to old age related issues. He suffered from chronic ankyloses and chronic senile generalised arthritis from the past four years. chronic ankyloses are the fusion of bones leads to abnormal stiffening and immobility of joint on the left shoulder. Bajirao was born at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in 2001. There are six remaining Royal Bengal tigers at the park, four female and two male, all above 10 years of age.
White tigers and its characteristics:
They are not a separate sub-species of tiger. They are basically a pigmentation variant of the Bengal Tiger. Their white colour is due to lack of red or yellow pheomelanin pigment, and the presence of unique recessive genes. They are also called Bleached Tiger.
They have white to almost cream colored fur, pink nose, black/grey/chocolate colored stripes and blue (looks like green or amber).
Distribution in India:
White tigers were found in Madhya Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and in Sunderbans region. Now there are no white tigers in the wild as their entire population in the world lives in captivity. The last white tiger reported in wild was captured in Rewa forest in Madhya Pradesh.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park It is a protected area in Borivali suburb in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was earlier known as Borivali National Park. It encloses two lakes namely Vihar Lake and Tulsi Lake and has a protected archaeological site, called Kanheri Caves in its centre.
2 May 2019
The scaly anteater, or Indian Pangolin, is a rare secretive mammal that lives on a diet of ants and termites, thus playing a vital role in the ecosystem. Pangolins are highly trafficked creatures. The Pangolin is currently under threat in Pakistan because of extensive illegal hunting for its scales, which are illegally exported to China to be used for traditional medicine.
There are eight species of pangolins, and they are all protected by national and international laws. But despite the laws, there is a lot of illegal international trade in them. The Pangolins are now under the threat of extinction.
Pangolins look like reptiles, but they are mammals with a unique feature. Pangolins have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin; they are the only known mammals with this feature. They use these scales for protection. If an enemy comes near it, the pangolin will immediately curl into a tight ball. Only the scales will be visible to the enemy.
8 species of Pangolins:
Asian pangolin species:
Chinese or Formosan pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) – Critically Endangered
Malayan or Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) – Critically Endangered
Indian or thick-tailed pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) – Endangered
Palawan or Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) – Endangered
African pangolin species:
Tree or African white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) – Vulnerable
Giant ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) – Vulnerable
Cape or Temminck’s ground pangolin (Manis temminckii) – Vulnerable
Long-tailed or black-bellied pangolin (Uromanis tetradactyla) – Vulnerable
The black-bellied pangolin is the smallest species, about 80 cm long, including the tail and the giant ground pangolin is the largest reaching up to 1.8 meters.
1 May 2019
A total of 3,000 kg of solid waste has been collected from the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, since April 14 when Nepal launched an ambitious clean-up campaign aimed at bringing back tonnes of trash left behind by climbers. The campaign seeks to bring back and safely dispose of a total of 10,000 kg of waste.
The 45-day Everest Cleaning Campaign:
The 45-day 'Everest Cleaning Campaign', led by Solukhumbu district's Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality began on April 14 with the Nepali new year. The campaign aims to collect nearly 10,000 kilogrammes of garbage from Mt Everest.
The month-and-a-half clean-up campaign is supported by a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies. The campaign will conclude on May 29, the day marked every year to commemorate the first summit of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
The collected waste will then be showcased in Namche town, before being ferried down to Kathmandu, where it will once again be showcased on World Environment Day on June 5. After that, it will finally be sent out for recycling.
World's highest garbage dump:
Every year, hundreds of climbers, Sherpas, and high altitude porters make their way to Everest, leaving behind tonnes of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes including empty oxygen canisters, kitchen waste, beer bottles, and fecal matter, on the highest peak, which has lately acquired notoriety as the world's highest garbage dump.
29 April 2019
Researchers from Rutgers University, the US found that the marine ecosystem and sea creatures are most affected by global warming. The first research compared the cold-blooded marine and land species sensitivity to global warming and their ability to find refuge from heat even while staying in their normal habitats. It studied worldwide research on nearly 400 species from lizards and fish to spiders. Researchers calculated safe conditions for 88 marine and 294 land species and coolest temperatures are needed to each species during hottest parts of the year.
According to the study, global warming can wipe out two times more ocean-dwelling species than land and dwelling species from their habitats. Vulnerability faced by sea creatures might impact human communities relying on fish and shellfish for food and economic activity. Loss of marine population can deplete species genetic diversity, cascade impacts on their predators and prey and can alter ecosystems that benefit human society.
28 April 2019
Alberta University paleontologists have discovered coin-sized cartoon-eyed crab species Callichimaera perplexa, a small and pocket-size crab, through 90-95 million-year-old fossilized remains. They had what looked like the eyes of a larva, the mouth of a shrimp, claws of a frog crab, and the carapace of a lobster. The crab fossils were discovered in 2005 in the Andes Mountains in Colombia.
This crab sported a tiny lobster-esque shell, with legs flattened like oars, and huge Pound Puppies-style peepers that protruded from its head, a trait that indicates the creature used its eyes actively for whatever it did.
26 April 2019
The UAE's flag carrier Etihad Airways has become the first airline in the Gulf region to operate a flight EY484 without any single-use plastics on board, in a bid to raise awareness about pollution on Earth Day (April 22).
Etihad identified that over 95 single-use plastic products are used across its aircraft cabins.
As a result of planning the Earth Day flight EY484, Etihad additionally committed to remove up to 20% of the single-use plastic items on board by June 1.
The airline also announced that by the end of this year, Etihad will have removed 100 tonnes of single-use plastics from its inflight service.
About Etihad Airways:
It is the second-largest airline in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Head office: Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
Commenced operations in: November 2003
Subsidiary: Jet Airways
24 April 2019
The active volcano of Indonesia Mount Agung has erupted again to a height of 2km. Two other volcanoes popular with tourists Mount Bromo in East Java and Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta also continues to erupt.
Mount Agung is an active volcano in Bali of Indonesia. Mount Agung stratovolcano is the highest point on Bali; it dominates the surrounding area, influencing the climate, especially rainfall patterns. It begun erupting in 2017. Agung remained on the boil until late June 2018 when it again erupted with 2 km high plumes interrupting air traffic. This indicated that magma continued to be forced up to the summit. This volcano's latest eruption is ongoing as of 2019
Classification of Volcanoes:
A popular way of classifying magmatic volcanoes is by their frequency of eruption,
Those that erupt regularly called active
Those that have erupted in historical times but are now quiet called dormant or inactive
Those that have not erupted in historical times called extinct
The lifespan of a volcano can vary from months to several million years, making such a distinction sometimes meaningless when compared to the lifespans of humans or even civilizations. For example, many of Earth's volcanoes have erupted dozens of times in the past few thousand years but are not currently showing signs of eruption. Given the long lifespan of such volcanoes, they are very active. By human lifespans, however, they are not.
18 April 2019
Mount Everest is to get an “eco-friendly” toilet at a Chinese campsite 7,028 metres (23,058 feet) above sea level in an ongoing campaign to deal with the peak’s waste problem.
Decades of commercial mountaineering have turned Mount Everest into the world’s highest rubbish dump. Fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters, and even human excrement pollute the well-trodden route to the summit of the 8,848-metre peak.
The toilet will make it easy to collect the human waste produced by the climbers as there is a barrel with rubbish bags underneath the toilet. The waste will be collected and brought down the mountain. Similar facilities have been installed at lower camps, including at the 5,200-metre north base camp.
The waste from the base camp is taken away daily and is provided to local farmers to use as fertiliser. The temporary toilets will be removed at the end of the climbing season. Governments on both sides of the mountain have been battling the human waste and trash left by an increasing number of climbers. In February, China banned non-climbers from accessing its Everest base camp in Tibet in an attempt to clean up its side of the mountain.
17 April 2019
The Supreme Court has banned all mining activities along the Kaziranga National Park and catchment area of rivers originating in Karbi Anglong Hills in Assam.
The ban was ordered as per the recommendations of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).
Mining was continuing in the Karbi Anlong hills despite the Supreme Court ban in 1996 and in violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, resulting in environment degradation and habitat destruction in an important elephant and tiger habitat.
Supreme court has also banned new construction activities on private lands which form part of the nine identified animal corridors.
About Kaziranga National Park:
Located in: Golaghat and Nagaon district of Assam
Established in: 1908
It is being declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 1985.
It is home to world's largest population of Indian one-horned Rhinoceros.
It is also a tiger reserve and has a very high density of population of tigers.
It is spread across the floodplains of the Brahmaputra River.
14 April 2019
Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai, Mumbai, Maharashtra. The first-of-its-kind rainforest-themed park spread across 1.4 acres is home to over 500 exotic birds from more than 60 species.
The main motive is to set up a bird park that meets international standards and let the city dwellers peep into the birds’ world. The park is carefully designed to ensure appropriate living conditions for the birds. It is meant not only for entertainment but also to spread awareness of different types of birds.
The park is equipped with small ponds for aquatic birds, dense cover of trees for birds to incubate their eggs and a water stream that offers drinking water to birds. It also houses a special bird’s kitchen and healthcare centre.
12 April 2019
According to the 'Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019' report, released by Climate Trends, the air quality in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 Lok Sabha constituency, is ranked third on the WHO's (World Health Organisation) list of 15 most polluted cities in the world.
Fourteen of the 15 most polluted cities in the world, listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) are in India, of which four are in Uttar Pradesh.
Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh is the most polluted city in the world and is ranked one on the list.
Faridabad in Haryana has been ranked second.
Delhi is ranked sixth on the list.
Gaya and Patna in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, Cities of Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur are also on the WHO list of most polluted cities.
The air quality index (AQI) in Varanasi reached an alarming 490 in 2017 and 384 (very poor category) in December 2018.
Air Quality Index (AQI) in India:
As per pollution control authorities, An AQI between
♦ 0 and 50 is considered "good",
♦ 51 and 100 "satisfactory",
♦ 101 and 200 "moderate",
♦ 201 and 300 "poor",
♦ 301 and 400 "very poor", and
♦ 401 and 500 "severe".
11 April 2019
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a Central Monitoring Committee to ensure the implementation of the action plan meant for reducing pollution stretched across the country.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel considered the seriousness of the issue and inadequacy of success achieved so far, it concluded that it is necessary to constitute a Central Monitoring Committee to undertake a national initiative by way of preparation and enforcement of a national plan to make river stretches pollution-free.
The panel will constitute members from Senior representatives of NITI Aayog, Secretaries of the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, apart from the Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board, and Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga. The panel will coordinate with States to oversee the action plans and ensure execution of the same.
National Green Tribunal (NGT):
♦ NGT was established on October 18, 2010, under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. NGT is Headquartered at Delhi
♦ The first Chairman of NGT is Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta and the current incumbent is Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
♦ It has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act
♦ It draws inspiration from India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment
10 April 2019
The River Periyar in Kerala is again witnessing the decolourisation. The pollution control Board (PCB) has attributed the change in colour to the poor quality of water as a result of eutrophication. PCB has stated that huge quantities of organic load in the form of sewage from nearby townships are regularly reaching the river system. The decolourisation of River Periyar which provides drinking water to Kochi city and adjoining areas. The water turned pitch black in one stream, it was milky near the Pathalam regulator-cum-bridge.
♦ River Periyar is an artificial reservoir created by Mullaperiyar Dam across the river
♦ Periyar is the longest river and the river with the largest discharge potential in the Indian state of Kerala. The Periyar is of utmost significance to the economy of Kerala
♦ It generates a significant proportion of Kerala's electrical power via the Idukki Dam and flows along a region of industrial and commercial activity. The river also provides water for irrigation and domestic use throughout its course besides supporting a rich fishery. The river has been named as the "Lifeline of Kerala". 25% of Kerala's industries are along the banks of river Periyar
♦ Eutrophication is when a body of water becomes overly enriched with minerals and nutrients which induce excessive growth of plants and algae
♦ This process may result in oxygen depletion of the water body. One example is an "algal bloom" or a great increase of phytoplankton in a water body as a response to increased levels of nutrients
♦ Eutrophication is often induced by the discharge of nitrate or phosphate-containing detergents, fertilizers, or sewage into an aquatic system
♦ Governor: P. Sathasivam
♦ Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ Capital: Thiruvananthapuram
♦ Districts: 14
♦ Official: Malayalam
10 April 2019
London became the first city in the world to implement a special Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that would charge an entry fee for older vehicles if they do not meet the emission standards.
This move aims to reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health.
The ULEZ will be operational for 24 hours and seven days a week.
Polluting vehicles account for around 50 per cent of London's harmful Nitrogen Oxide air emissions.
London's famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020.
9 April 2019
The Meteorological Department issued a yellow weather warning for rain in Himachal Pradesh.
The weather department forecast thunderstorm with hail in isolated places of mid hills, including Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Solan and Sirmaur.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issues colour-coded warnings to alert the public ahead of severe or hazardous weather conditions that can cause disruption or damage.
IMD uses four colour codes to indicate various categories of alerts. These colour codes are a) green, b) yellow, c) amber and d) red. These colour codes signify the levels of caution to be taken
Green indicates “no warning” and therefore no actions to be taken. No advisory is issued in such cases.
Yellow indicates “be updated” i.e. keeping a watch on the weather situation as it may deteriorate. Yellow is the least dangerous of the weather warnings.
Amber indicates “be prepared”. It implies there is an increased likelihood of extremely bad weather.
Red indicates “Take action”. Red warning demands necessary actions to be taken by different agencies.
9 April 2019
The Guwahati Railway Station has become the first ever railway station in the Indian Railways to get an ISO certification from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for ‘providing passenger amenities in a clean and green environment.’
ISO certification received by Guwahati Railway Station is ISO-14001, which is for Environment Management System as per international norms which were upgraded in 2015. Thus, the station’s certificate reads ISO 14001: 2015.
♦ ISO - International Organization for Standardization
♦ It is responsible for establishing the standard in the different area of activities.
♦ Founded: 23 February 1947, London, United Kingdom
♦ Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
♦ Membership: 164 members; (40 correspondent, 4 subscriber)
7 April 2019
Arachnologists from Kochi’s Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kerala spotted a group of jumping spiders that mostly occur in Eurasia and Africa for the first time in Ernakulam’s Illithodu forests. The team also found that the spider belonging to the genus (a taxonomic classification above species) Habrocestum is a species new to science.
The team came across six different-looking spiders, predominantly brownish-black in colour with white and creamy-yellow patches, while conducting a routine survey (funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Engineering Research Board) for ground-dwelling spiders in the Illithodu reserve forests of the Malayatoor forest division.
They examined the physical features of males and females under a microscope and photographed them. They also compared these to similar-looking spider specimens collected earlier from the Thattekkad Bird Sanctuary, Ernakulam district, Kerala.
6 April 2019
A village is given the Carbon-Positive Tag if it sequesters more carbon than it emits, slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases and mitigating the effects of climate change.
As part of the carbon-positive village project, Phayeng will receive a grant of Rs10 crore in phases to facilitate afforestation in the catchment of river Maklang that flows along the village.
Phayeng is a scheduled caste village of the Chakpa community in Imphal West district and its conservation efforts are mainly linked to the belief that the forest is a sacred grove.
It is surrounded by three densely forested hillocks with fruit trees at centre and a stream flowing through it.
4 April 2019
The 19th edition of the bird survey in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary spotted two new species of birds - Woolly-necked Stork (Karuvarakkuru) and White-bellied Drongo (Kakkarajan) - both dry land species.
A total of 152 species were spotted in the three-day survey.
♦ Chief Minister:Pinarayi Vijayan.
♦ National Parks: Eravikulam National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Mathikettan Shola National Park, Anamudi Shola National Park.
♦ Famous Dances: Kathakali and Mohiniyattam.
4 April 2019
According to the ‘State of Global Air Report 2019’, released by the Boston-headquartered Health Effects Institute, Air pollution in India contributed to over 1.2 million deaths in 2017.
Of the total 49 lakh deaths due to diseases caused by exposure to air pollution in 2017, India and China accounted for the most with 12 lakh deaths each.
The report further stated that a child born today will die 20 months sooner, on average, than would be expected without pollution.
Overall long-term exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution contributed to nearly 5 million deaths across the world from stroke, diabetes, heart attack, lung cancer, and chronic lung disease in 2017.
In India, air pollution is the third-highest cause of death among all health risks, ranking just above smoking.
At the same time, India has initiated major steps to address pollution sources:
♦ the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana Household LPG program,
♦ accelerated Bharat Stage 6/VI clean vehicle standards, and
♦ the new National Clean Air Programme.
2 April 2019
Hump-backed Mahseer, also called the tiger of the water and found only in the Cauvery river basin (including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers) - is now “Critically Endangered”, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
There are about 16 species of mahseer in India.
Maximum length of fish will be 150 cm and a weight of 90 kg.
The fish is considered as one of the 229 species from recent Red List which updated in November 2018.
The threat status of 12 other Indian species, including great hornbills, has increased.
1 April 2019
The Supreme Court has suspended the environmental clearance granted for an international airport at Mopa in Goa as it has observed that the health of the environment is key to preserving the right to life.
It also said that every branch of governance and institutions across the country should strive to enforce the need to strengthen the ‘environmental rule of law’ for both intra and inter-generational equity.
♦ Capital: Panaji
♦ Governor: Mridula Sinha
♦ Chief Minister: Pramod Sawant
31 March 2019
The European Parliament approved ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world's oceans. The law on single-use plastic ban sets a target to gather 90% of plastic for recycling by 2029 and mandates the production of plastic bottles with 25% recycled material by 2025 and 30% by 2030. The law also insists on polluters pay principle insisting polluters to pay the costs of a clean-up.
Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. They are not usually biodegradable and goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. They degrade into tiny particles after many years. In this process of degradation, they release toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply.
31 March 2019
A study by Indian Institute of Technology- Kharagpur said over sustaining food production and productivity of major crops like wheat, paddy, and maize due to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Studies have shown that even though increased carbon dioxide levels stimulate wheat productivity, the consequent rise in temperatures would have a negative impact.
There has been optimism in tropical countries like Greenland, Canada, Northern China and Europe where annual temperatures are currently well below the optimum range for the growth of wheat and an increase in temperature would be beneficial to them with a possibility of a hike in wheat productivity. Whereas in tropical countries like India there is heightened concern as it is already hot enough and further rises in temperature could prove disastrous.
29 March 2019
Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest railway junctions in India, has received Gold Rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for Green Measures.
The IGBC-CII, with the support of the Environment Directorate of Indian Railways, developed the Green Railway Stations Rating System to facilitate adoption of green concepts, thereby reduce the adverse environmental impact due to station operation and maintenance and also enhance the overall commuter experience.
The Vijayawada station has installed 100 per cent LED lighting, the fans are five-star rated, and solar power is already being used for water heating systems.
27 March 2019
The Indo-German Development Corporation, GIZ, has been tied to help the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to carry out waste segregation activities. The tie-up, which has been facilitated through the Swachh Bharath Mission, is for a five-year period during which time the development corporation will provide technical assistance such as training.
In order to ensure implementation of the solid waste management bylaws in the North Corporation, ward level committees were being formed, involving Resident Welfare Associations, market associations, NGOs and Ragpickers organisations to look into specific local requirements. In addition, three ‘model wards’ have been selected where waste segregation will be ensured within six months.
27 March 2019
Located at the Dubai Industrial Park, the 2,80,000 square feet plant will process Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), IT asset disposition (ITAD), refrigerant gas and specialised waste.
It is established by ‘Enviroserve’ company with a total cost of $5 million.
It has a processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes of total integrated waste per year, of which 39,000 tonnes is e-waste.
The 120 million dirhams ($5 million) project is backed by the Swiss Government Export Finance Agency.
24 March 2019
Bumphead parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum, is an important component of coral reef ecosystem, but is highly endangered globally.
It is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
A group of researchers recently studied the distribution, abundance and dangers to this species in the waters of Andaman and Nicobar islands.
23 March 2019
Forty animals, including five lions, are to be rescued from squalid conditions in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian. The animals would be taken out of a zoo in the Palestinian enclave and relocated to sanctuaries in Jordan next week.
Among the other animals to be taken out were hyena, monkeys, wolves, and porcupines. The organisation condemned the declawing, with almost 1,50,000 people signing a petition against the treatment.
The animal welfare group had previously evacuated two other zoos in Gaza, where desperate poverty means owners are often unable to provide adequate conditions.