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Last Updated: January 20, 2020 2 days ago

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  • APEDA sets up 186 Agri products testing laboratories

    2 days ago
    Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has added 135 laboratories to existing 51 recognized laboratories. With this addition of laboratories, APEDA recognition of laboratories has reached 186 laboratories in India.  Added labs: The move is significant as the Laboratory testing requirements are crucial in the Agri export supply chain. The number of laboratories added includes 35 in Maharashtra, 23 in Gujarat, 10 in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, 23 in Tamil Nadu 17 in and Karnataka.  New Policy: ♦ APEDA introduced a policy decision for the simplification of APEDA recognition of laboratories to increase the laboratory network further. It has been decided that the laboratories which are National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited will be recognized by APEDA. These laboratories will be added in the network of APEDA recognition laboratories. ♦ It is expected that this will enable APEDA to continuously expand its recognition network of laboratories in India ♦ The policy will enable the exporters to have easy access to the laboratories for testing of APEDA scheduled products for exports.

    Amazon India to induct 10,000 EVs into its delivery fleet

    2 days ago
    Amazon India has announced that it is to induct 10,000 electric vehicles (EV) into its delivery fleet by 2025. It is a part of the company's measures to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of its operations in the country. Amazon's EV delivery fleet: ♦ Amazon India's commitment to electric mobility comes after running successful pilots in several cities in 2019.  ♦ The company is to have its electric fleet operating in 20 cities across India including Delhi NCR, Bangalore, and Hyderabad within 2020. ♦ The company aims to build a supply chain that will minimize the environmental impact of our operations ♦ It will continue to invest in the electrification of the delivery fleet in order to reduce the company's dependence on non-renewable resources. ♦ The move is the company's 5-year plan that includes creating 1 million new direct and indirect jobs, export goods worth $10 billion from small and medium businesses and manufacturers in India.

    Arunachal Pradesh signs MoU with IUCN to red List Orchids

    7 days ago
    Arunachal Pradesh has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IUCN on 13 January in Arunachal Pradesh. The MoU was signed by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Manmohan Singh Negi and the IUCN’s country representative Dr. Vivek Saxena. The environment & forests department is the nodal department for executing the project. MoU Highlights: ♦ According to the MoU, the Arunachal Pradesh state government will collaborate with the IUCN and carry out a red-list assessment of the orchids in the state. ♦ The state has become the first state to initiate the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) red listing at the state level.   ♦ The project will be spread across the state in 12 months ♦ Many workshops on red list assessment will be conducted by experts from the IUCN. IUCN: Founded on: 5 October 1948 Located at: Gland, Switzerland Director-General: Grethel Aguilar President: Zhang Xinsheng  IUCN aims to conserve nature and work for the sustainable use of natural resources. It collects data and conducts research, analysis, field projects, advocacy, and education. IUCN Red List: The IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species is a critical indicator of the health of the world's biodiversity. The list has been acting as a powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change. IUCN has projected that it is complexities to protect natural resources.  Arunachal Pradesh: Governor: Brig. (Dr.) B.D. Mishra (Retd.) Chief Minister: Pema Khandu Capital: Itanagar Literacy rate: 66.95%

    Australian Koalas become endangered in bushfires

    9 days ago
    The Australian government is to declare koalas as an endangered species after the bushfire crisis. It destroyed 30% of the habitat of koalas across the country.  Australian bushfire: Since September 2019 the Australian bushfires have been raging. It is one of the worst in its history. The bushfire has killed 26 people, burned over 10 million hectares of land, destroyed over 2,000 homes and pushed many species towards extinction. It has been recorded that over 1.25 billion animals were dead in the wake of bushfires. Also, the experts believe that hundreds of billions of insects may have been wiped out.

    Second wetland bird count of Kaziranga recorded 96 species of wetland birds

    9 days ago
    The officials of the Kaziranga National Park, Assam, and Avian specialists conducted the Second wetland bird count on 9-10 January 2020. The survey said that Kaziranga has 96 species of wetland birds. The survey covered four ranges of the park namely Agoratoli, Kohora, Bagori, and Burapahar. Survey: ♦ As per the report, a total of 19,225 birds belonging to 96 species under 80 families are present in the National park. ♦ The first waterfowl census was taken in 2018. It yielded 10,412 birds covering 80 families from 21 families. ♦ Goose count topped the list With 6,181 individuals. It was followed by the common teal at 1,557 and northern pintail at 1,359. All the 3 species belong to the family anatidae. ♦ The other species with notable numbers in the list include gadwall, common coot, Indian spot-billed duck, lesser whistling duck, little cormorant, tufted duck, ferruginous duck, Asian openbill, Eurasian wigeon, northern lapwing, spot-billed pelican, and ruddy shelduck. ♦ The national park has more than 250 seasonal water bodies. ♦ More than half the birds, around 9,924, and 85 of the 96 species were recorded in Agoratoli Range. The reason is that Sohola wetland is in this range. Sohola is the largest of Kaziranga's 92 perennial wetlands. More than 34% of the birds counted were found in Sohola. Kaziranga National Park: Kaziranga National Park is one of the highest for wildlife preserves in India. It was established in 1908. It is located about 220 km east of Guwahati, Assam. It is a World Heritage Site since 1985. The park is governed by the Government of Assam and Government of India. The park is home to two-thirds of the world's great one-horned rhinoceroses. It has a total area of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.  Note: The first wetland bird survey in Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was conducted in 2018 since 1985.

    GAIC launched imported water-soluble fertilizers in Gujarat

    12 days ago
    Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation (GAIC) launched imported water-soluble fertilizers in Ahmedabad. The move aims to encourage the use of high-grade agri-inputs in the state.  GAIC: ♦ GAIC promotes agro-based industries in Gujarat. ♦ It imported 300 tonnes of water-soluble fertilizers from China. ♦ In this move, the role of GAIC will be to import, pack and sell the imported water-soluble fertilizers to the farmers through its network of dealers across the State.  ♦ The new-generation fertilizers/water-soluble fertilizers will be sold in the market under its brand 'AGRO'.  ♦ The water-soluble fertilizers that were launched include, AGRO NPK, AGRO CN, AGRO MKP, AGRO MAP, AGRO SOP, AGRO NOP.

    Ten new songbirds have been found in the Wallacea Island

    12 days ago
    Scientists found ten songbirds, five new species and five new subspecies, near Sulawesi, have officially joined the scientific record. One among them is a Togian jungle-flycatcher was found in the Wallacean islands off Indonesia's east coast. It is one of the several new bird species. The finding suggested that humans' understanding of biogeographically complex regions such as Wallacea remains incomplete. Wallacea Island: Wallacea is a group of mainly Indonesian islands separated by deep-water straits from the Asian and Australian continental shelves. Wallacea includes Sulawesi, Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Halmahera, Buru, Seram, and many smaller islands. Among them, Sulawesi is the largest island in the group. Note: It should be noted that around 160 new species have been discovered in the last 30 years.

    GoI notified new set of rules to conserve wetlands

    12 days ago
    The government of India has notified a new set of rules to conserve wetlands across the country. The rule set by the Ministry of Environment was issued on 6 January 2020.  New set of rules: ♦ The new rules prohibit setting up or expansion of industries, and disposal of construction and demolition waste within the wetlands.  ♦ The rules ensure to set up authority in each state and Union Territory (UT).  ♦ The authority has been directed to prepare a list of all wetlands of the state/UT within 3 months and make strategies for conservation and wise use of wetlands within their jurisdiction. ♦ The official should recommend mechanisms to maintain ecological character through promotional activities for land within the boundary of notified wetlands. ♦ The authority will include one expert each in the fields of wetland ecology, fisheries, hydrology, landscape planning, and socio-economics. ♦ The experts will be nominated by the state government.  Wetlands in India: In September 2019, the government has identified 130 wetlands for priority restoration in the next 5 years. It has also directed the States to submit their respective integrated management plan. The highest number of such identified wetlands are Uttar Pradesh with 16, Madhya Pradesh with 13, Jammu & Kashmir with 12, Gujarat with 8, Karnataka with 7 and West Bengal with 6. According to the data by ISRO provided national wetlands atlas on the basis of satellite imagery and mapping over 2 lakh wetlands that cover around 4.63% of the total geographic area of India.

    Scientists developed a viable scientific method to cultivate Indian Pompano fish in ponds

    13 days ago
    For the first time in India, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) has developed a viable scientific method to cultivate Indian Pompano fish in ponds. Pompanos are marine fishes. The Indian government began the scientific study on Pompano in 2014.  Research highlights: ♦ The method will be of an alternative to shrimp. The funding was provided by the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB). With this, it will now be officially cultivated in ponds of Vishakhapatnam.  ♦ The experiment recorded 750 grams of meat per fish in open ponds and 1 kg in cages. The new scientific invention by CMFRI recorded 95% of the survival of the fishes. The method provided 3 tonnes per acre yield and a profit of 25% to 30% of input cost per acre.  ♦ The scientists also said that growing Pompano along with shrimp will increase the survival rate of the shrimp as the Pompanos breaks the life cycle of viruses that attack shrimps. ♦ The government is currently planning to implement inter-cropping of Shrimp and Pompanos.

    EU records 2019 as the 2nd hottest year

    13 days ago
    Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported that 2019 was the second hottest year on record and ended the hottest decade in history.  Report Highlights: ♦ C3S's data showed that worldwide temperatures in 2019 were second only to 2016.  ♦ It also stated that the temperatures were boosted by an exceptionally strong El Nino natural weather event to 0.12 degrees Celsius. ♦ It said that the average temperature in 2019 was only a few hundredths of a degree below 2016. ♦ The report recorded that five last years of the last decade (2010-2019) were the hottest period. ♦ It stated that the global temperatures in 2019 were 0.6 Celsius warmer than the 1981-2010 average.  ♦ Earth's temperature over the last five years was 1.1 deg C-1.2 deg C warmer than pre-industrial times. ♦ Global concentrations of CO2, the potent heat-trapping gas, also continued to increase in 2019. It increases by approximately 2.3 parts per million (ppm). What is El Nino? El Nino is a climate cycle that happens in the Pacific Ocean. It causes a global impact on weather patterns. The cycle begins as the warm water in the western tropical Pacific Ocean shifts eastward along the equator toward the coast of South America. Generally, this warm water pools near Indonesia and the Philippines. Copernicus Climate Change Service: Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is the European Union's climate monitoring service. C3S are vital to climate change adaptation. It provides climate and climate change information and knowledge by means of accessible, timely, reliable, and user-oriented products.  Note: Copernicus is the EU's Earth Observation Programme. It consists of a complex set of systems that collect data from multiple sources. The collected information will be processed and provides users with information through a set of services that address the atmosphere, climate change, land, marine, emergency management, and security. 

    IMD reported that 2019 is recorded as the seventh warmest year

    14 days ago
    The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the year 2019 was recorded as the seventh warmest year since 1901. It also said that the heating was substantially lower than the highest warming observed in 2016.  Report Highlights: ♦ The reports stated that 1,562 people died due to extreme weather events including heatwave, avalanches floods, and thunderstorms.  ♦ It highlighted that the average temperature over India during the year 2019 was above normal. ♦ The average annual mean surface air temperature in India during 2019 was 0.36 degree Celsius above average recorded between 1981 and 2010 period.  ♦ It records the warming during 2019 was substantially lower than the highest warming which was observed over India with 0.71 degree Celsius during 2016. ♦ The five warmest years recorded by IMD are 2016 with 0.71 degree Celsius, 2009 with 0.541 degree Celsius, 2017 with 0.539 degree Celsius, 2010 with 0.54 degree Celsius and 2015 with 0.42 degree Celsius.

    Punjab approves Rs.650 crore for the rejuvenation of Budah Nallah

    15 days ago
    Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has approved Rs.650 crore for the rejuvenation of highly polluting Budah Nallah at Ludhiana. The state government has directed the local government department to ensure the timely completion of the project, within two years. Out of the total approved amount Rs.342 crore will be contributed by the state government, Rs.208 crore will be contributed by the government of India and Rs.100 crore by the private operator.  Project Implementation: In the first phase of the mission, augmentation and refurbishment of dairy effluent treatment, sewage treatment facility, survey to find out missing links for industrial effluent and laying of dedicated conveyance system for industrial wastewater to carry the same to Common Effluent Treatment Plant would be executed. The second phase will involve Rs.150 crore. It will include reuse of treated effluent, and landscaping. Beautification along the Buddha Nallah will be undertaken at a cost of Rs.283 crore.  Budah Nallah pollution: Budah Nallah has a total length of 47.55 km, of which 14 km passes through Ludhiana city. Ludhiana has been heavily polluted by the industrial and domestic waste thrown into the Nallah. It caused a major threat to public health and the environment. The State government has called for the participation of the local industry, NGOs, religious and social organizations to carry out the mission. The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) reported that the actual waste discharge being generated in the city is 711 million litres per day (MLD) including 610 MLD of domestic sewage discharge, 86 MLD discharge from  industrial effluent and 15 MLD discharge from the dairy complex.

    Bihar to inaugurate rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles

    16 days ago
    Bihar's Bhagalpur forest division is to inaugurate a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles in January 2020.  Rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles: ♦ The rehab centre is spread over half a hectare. It will be able to shelter 500 turtles at a time.  ♦ The aim of the state government is because several turtles were found severely wounded and sick when rescued from smuggles by rescue teams. It is expected that this centre will play a significant role in treating these animals and their proper upkeep before being returned to their natural habitat. ♦ It is necessary as the eastern Bihar has been an ideal breeding ground for turtles.

    WHO asked India to take urgent measures to combat air pollution

    34 days ago
    A study by the World Health Organization (WHO), Centre for Science and Environment and others said that India should take urgent action to tackle air pollution.  Survey highlights: ♦ The survey stated that the levels of toxic air in many cities in India are much higher than the recommended guidelines.  ♦ It suggested the Indian government to take measures to reduce pollution as it might cause a major impact on people's health. ♦ It showed that India has a higher proportion of global health loss due to air pollution than its proportion of the global population. ♦ It stated that around 12.4 lakh deaths in India in 2017 can be attributed to air pollution. It also termed toxic air as a leading risk factor for deaths in the country. ♦ It mentioned that the average life expectancy would have been increased by 1.7 years higher if the pollution levels were less than the minimal level that is responsible for causing health loss. WHO's guidelines: WHO air quality guidelines estimated that reducing the annual average of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations from levels of 35 microgrammes per cubic metre (g/m3) to 10 g/m3 will reduce air pollution-related deaths by around 15%.

    Researchers found intense sunshine may be melting ice on Mount Everest

    39 days ago
    The newly installed weather stations atop Mount Everest data were presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco on 13 December 2019. The data is among the first scientific results to emerge from the National Geographic Society's and Rolex's Perpetual Planet Extreme Expedition to Everest. Report highlights: ♦ The data reported that the mountain experiences some of the most intense sunlight on the planet.  ♦ It is suspected that it might hasten ice melt atop the world's highest mountains and impacting glaciers in ways that are not fully understood.  ♦ The data helps the researchers to understand the amount of energy available to melt snow and ice in high alpine environments. 5 weather stations: In June 2019, the researchers installed a network of five automatic weather stations at elevations of up to 27,600 feet. It includes the two highest weather stations on the planet. All stations are collecting data on air, pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed. Every station, except for the highest one, is outfitted with a net radiometer and the lower stations also carry rain gauges and present weather sensors. Note: Radiometer is an instrument that measures incoming and outgoing radiation.

    Poland was left out of European Union's 2050 climate neutrality agreement

    40 days ago
    The European Union (EU) left Poland out of a 2050 climate neutrality agreement. The agreement is part of a plan to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. Poland was left out as it demanded more funds for economic transition and support for nuclear power. 2050 goal: The 2050 goal is a key commitment under the 2015 Paris Agreement of the Europe Union on climate change. To achieve the goal, the EU countries will have to slash carbon emissions generated by fossil fuels and find ways to offset remaining emissions. Poland: Poland gets 80% of its power from coal. The country resisted the plan during hours of intense debate and was left out of the new commitment. Poland is expected to reach climate neutrality at its own pace. The country asked for an extension of the period to 2070. The other countries said that Poland's position would not deter the commission from moving ahead with the next steps of the green deal.

    IREDA plans to set up Green Window

    42 days ago
    Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is planning to set up a dedicated Green Window with an aim to serve the unserved segments of renewable energy. It was announced by Shri Anand Kumar, Secretary for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). IREDA Green Window: ♦ IREDA Green Window aims to provide a significant boost to the renewable energy market. ♦ As India is currently moving towards becoming a $5 trillion economy, it aims to install 450 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity ♦ It is expected to be one of the major drivers of economic growth  ♦ Centre is planning to allocate approximately $20 million for the Green window. It also plans to leverage $80 million from other agencies to establish a facility of $100 million.  ♦ The Green Window will support underserved clean energy markets  ♦ It will also support the scaling up of new clean energy technologies ♦ It will be used to leverage additional sources of capital from both private domestic banks and international sources. ♦ An estimate of Rs.21,45,000 crore is needed for India to accomplish the commitments, between 2018 and 2030, under the Paris Agreement. Green windows: These are the public entities that are created to work with the private sector to increase investment in green energy. It will bring clean energy financing into the mainstream. Green windows are innovative and new tools that were proved successful in countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and the United States. IREDA: Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) is a Mini Ratna (Category–I) Enterprise. It functions under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). It was established in 1987. It aims to promote, develop and extend financial assistance to set up projects that are related to new and renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency.

    Ganga has become one of 10 cleanest rivers in the world

    44 days ago
    Minister of Jalshakti said that Ganga has become one of 10 cleanest rivers in the world among the major rivers category. The announcement was made by the Jalshakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat at the 4th India Water Impact Summit, 2019 in New Delhi.  Centre's measure: ♦ The Centre is committed to ensuring the cleanliness and uninterrupted flow of the Ganga. ♦ India has only 4% of the world's drinking water while 18% of the world's human and equivalent livestock population. ♦ The Integrated water management is need of the hour and people's participation is also required to make it successful. ♦ Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan, a massive river rafting expedition, was launched on 10 October 2019. ♦ Centre approved the establishment of the Clean Ganga Fund (CGF).  ♦ Centre launched the NamamiGange Mission as an integrated mission. The mission aimed at the conservation and rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries with a comprehensive basin based approach. SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas, SabkaVishwas is the motto of the mission.

    Rajnath Singh flagged off massive campaign against single-use plastic

    45 days ago
    Ministry of Defence (MoD) organized a special plogging awareness drive rally in Delhi Cantt as part of Swachhta Pakhwada. The massive campaign against single-use plastic was flagged off by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 7 December 2019.  Aim: The campaign was conducted to spread awareness against the ill-effect of plastic on the environment, bring about behavioural change with respect to sanitation. The drive sent a message to give up the use of plastic including carry bags, plastic cutlery, plastic water bottles, etc. to the people of India. Massive plogging programme: ♦ The massive plogging programme was organized at more than 400 locations throughout the country by MoD. Along with MoD, Indian Army, Navy, Indian Air force, Indian Coast Guard, Border Road Organisation (BRO), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Defence Public Sector Undertakings, and various other defence establishments organized similar campaigns in various location of the country.  ♦ The massive exercise intended to raise awareness in the society to collect plastic waste and make the surroundings clean.  ♦ The slogan for the event was Plastic Se Raksha–Swachhata Hi Suraksha. ♦ Swachhta anthem was played in all the events across the country.  ♦ Community awareness programmes such as debates, quizzes, nukkad nataks, painting competitions were held among students. ♦ During the event, India Army cleaned up waste at 17 locations across the country right from Siachen to Jaisalmer and Bhuj to Bairengte, Mizoram.  ♦ The Indian Navy cleaned up waste at 30 locations from Mumbai to Karwar and Kolkata to Vishakapatnam.  ♦ Indian Air Force cleaned up waste at 150 locations from Hindon to Upper Shillong and Nagpur to Trivandrum.  ♦ ICG conducted the programme in its 47 locations, Cantonment Boards in 62 locations, BRO in 18 locations, Sainik Schools in 31 locations,  NCC in 18 locations, Comptroller General of Defence Accounts in 20 locations across the country. Participants: More than 3,000 people, including schoolchildren, participated in the Massive plogging programme and collected sizeable single-use plastic waste.

    Scientists identified the metallophilic archaeon thrives on eating meteorites

    46 days ago
    Astrobiologist Tetyana Milojevic from the University of Vienna found that the Metallosphaera Sedula feeds on meteorites.  Metallosphaera Sedula: ♦ Metallosphaera Sedula, the metallophilic archaeon is known to thrive on the minerals. These Chemolithotrophic microorganisms derive their energy from inorganic sources ♦ The team selected a rocky type of meteorite called Northwest Africa 1172, a 120-kilogram mineral chunk uncovered back in 2000.  ♦ The microorganism seemed to be benefitted from the meteorite than a diet on terrestrial mineral sources. ♦ It is expected that the meteorites may have delivered a variety of essential compounds the facilitated the evolution of life. ♦ They assessed the biogenicity based on extraterrestrial materials. It is also expected that the extraterrestrial bioinorganic chemistry might have occurred in the Solar System. This has lead one step more in the field of meteorite biogeochemistry.

    Government launched the Operation Clean Art

    49 days ago
    Government launched the Operation Clean Art across India. The operation aimed to crackdown illegal trade in the mongoose hair. This is the first time such an operation is happening in India. It was initiated by the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB). Mongoose: The mongoose is a small carnivoran found in southern Eurasia and mainland Africa. It is listed in Schedule II (Part II) ​​​​​​of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. As per the act, smuggling Mongoose or possession of its body part is a non-bailable offence. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed Mongoose on the Least Concern category in the Red List. Operation Clean Art: ♦ The operation included raid and check on organized factories that make paintbrushes with mongoose hair. ♦ Raids were carried in Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Rajasthan, Mumbai, and Pune in Maharashtra, and in Kerala.  ♦ Under the operation, 54,352 brushes and 113 kg of raw hair. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB): Formed on: 2006 Headquarters: New Delhi, India WCCB was established by the Government of India. It functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). It combats against the organized wildlife crime.

    Saudi Arabia elected to UNESCOs World Heritage Committee

    55 days ago
    Saudi Arabia was elected to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee for the first time on 27 November 2019. The Kingdom was elected to the UN heritage body's executive board for the term 2019-2023. The approval confirms Saudi Arabia's international status and its role in building peace and contributing effectively to the establishment of the principles of culture and science. Saudi Arabia's UNESCO sites: Currently, there are five sites in Saudi Arabia that are on UNESCO's World Heritage List. The sites are: ♦ Al-Ahsa Oasis ♦ Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Madain Saleh) in AlUla ♦ Al-Turaif district in Diriyah ♦ Historic Jeddah ♦ Rock art in the Hail region World Heritage Committee: The World Heritage Committee meets once every year. The committee consists of representatives from 21 member states to the convention elected by the United Nations General Assembly. The committee decides and approves of whether a property can be added to the World Heritage List.  The committee examines the state of conservation at listed sites. It then asks the respective member states to take action when they are not being properly managed. 

    Sumatran rhinoceros are extinct in Malaysia

    57 days ago
    The last Sumatran female rhinoceros, named Iman, in Malaysia died. With this, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Environment announced that Sumatran rhinoceros is now extinct in Malaysia.  Iman: Iman was captured in March 2014. Iman was given the very best care and attention after the capture.  In 2008, the officials captured Tam, a Sumatran male rhinoceros. It was transferred to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in the state of Sabah. He was left with female rhinoceros Puntung, captured in 2011 and Iman. Puntung, the female rhinoceros, was euthanized in 2017 due to cancer. Tam, the last male Sumatran rhinoceros in Malaysia died in April 2019. Efforts to breed proved unsuccessful. Sumatran rhinoceros: Sumatran rhinoceros also known as hairy rhinoceros, Asian two-horned rhinoceros is the smallest rhinoceros. The weight ranges from 500 to 1,000 kg. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has placed it in the critically endangered category of its red list. This species is inhabited in rainforests and cloud forests in India, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia,  Bhutan, Bangladesh, and China.

    Etawah lion safari opened for public

    58 days ago
    The lion breeding center, the facility is equipped with hospital staff quarters backed by assured water and electric supply and is operated by trained staff.  The wildlife entrusted with this project visited Longleat Safari Park, England, for inspiration.  A lion safari, a deer safari, an elephant safari, bear safari, and a leopard safari.  The 4D theatre, which gives you real closeups with wildlife, as per information available on an official website. The forest minister praised former Chief Ministers Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav for their efforts to bring the project on the ground. The safari will attract tourists and make Etawah an important tourist center in the country.

    Government add 6 states selected to promote pulses and oilseeds cultivation

    63 days ago
    The Government is to implement the National Food Security Mission (NFSM)–Oilseeds and Oil Palm (OS&OP) in six more States, namely Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare has been included to bring additional area and production of pulses and oilseeds. Aim: The Centre aims to increase the production of oilseeds and the domestic availability of edible oils. The also aims to expand the area under oil palm and TBOs cultivation.  Implementation: ♦ Currently, the implementation of NFSM–(OS&OP) is being done in 29 States. It has three subcomponents, namely, Oilseeds, Oil palm, and Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs).  ♦ The oilseeds production, which was 27.72 million tonnes in 2008-09, has been increased to 32.26 million tonnes in 2018-19. During the same period, productivity also increased from 1006 to 1265 kg/ha.  ♦ The edible oil production, which was 6.34 million tonnes in 2008-09, increased to 10.44 million tonnes in 2018-19.  ♦ The government has covered an area of 3.30 lakh ha under oil palm up to 2018-19. ♦ To reduce import dependency, the government is promoting pulses and oilseeds cultivation majorly in the six eastern states, namely Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal, since 2016-17.

    Ministry of AYUSH adds Medicinal Plants to the NAM Scheme

    63 days ago
    Ministry of AYUSH has implemented a new component named Medicinal Plants under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM) since 2015-16 across India. The move by the Ministry aims to promote the cultivation of medicinal plants.  AYUSH's move in cultivating medicinal plants: Ministry of AYUSH has provided its support in cultivating the medicinal plants in the states of Bihar, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal through which the river Ganga flows. According to the NAM scheme guidelines, the medicinal plants are cultivated in different states based on the State Annual Action Plan (SAAP) that are submitted by the concerned State and approved by the NAM Directorate of Ministry of AYUSH.  Other supporters for the move: ♦ Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) from Lucknow has worked a project titled Dissemination of Vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) agrotechnology in flood-prone contaminated area of Ganga river of Uttar Pradesh. Under the project, Vetiver plantation has been done in the catchment area of river Ganga in different locations of Kanpur and Varanasi districts. The project was supported by the AYUSH ministry under the Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development, and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants. ♦ National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti has also supported a project titled Promotion of cultivation of medicinal plants on Ganga basin in Uttar Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh Forest Department covering 10 districts of the state viz. Prayag Raj, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Kaushambi, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Mirzapur, Bhadohi, Chandauli, and Ballia.

    Goa to ban plastics and pet bottles from 2020 January

    69 days ago
    In 2020, Goa has decided to impose a complete ban on the use of all plastics below 50 microns. The state government will also ban all items that are sold in small quantities in plastic packaging. The ban will include sachets, soft drinks, water, and other drinks sold in pet bottles of volumes below 500ml. Aim: The move aims to eliminate the practice of smaller packaging. The first move of the policy will ban smaller packaging and pet bottles.  Implementation: It said that the products that are sold in small packets and pet bottles below 500ml are designed as a marketing strategy by companies, where you can finish a 200ml drink bottle in one go, and then discard it. It is expected that the citizens would be roped in, including retired teachers and government officials, to implement the ban at the village-level. The draft rules to implement the ban in November. The ban will be implemented, and the first phase will begin in January.

    India's first elephant memorial in Mathura unveiled

    71 days ago
    Wildlife SOS, India-based conservation charity, unveiled India's first elephant memorial in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The memorial is a unique way to honour elephants that lost their lives to illegal trafficking, abuse, and cruelty.  Most elephants used in tourist rides and circuses suffer intense torture all through their lives. The memorial has stone boulders and black granite plaques with the names of some elephants, who suffered this fate, engraved on them. The memorial will be a constant reminder that elephants belong in the wild, and they must be protected and conserved there. No wild animal deserves a life of brutality, such as that suffered by captive elephants in India. Wildlife SOS: Established in: 1995 Founder: Kartick Satyanarayan and Geeta Seshamani  The main objective of Wildlife SOS is to protect and preserve India's wildlife. The non-profit organization runs rehabilitation and rescue centres for wildlife, conserve habitats for the animals.

    Suranga Bawadi entered the World Monuments Watch List

    71 days ago
    Suranga Bawadi has entered the World Monuments Watch List under the Ancient Water System of the Deccan Plateau of the World Monument Funds. It is situated in Bijapur, Karnataka. It is an integral part of the ancient Karez System by which water was supplied through subterranean tunnels.  Suranga Bawadi: Suranga Bawadi was built in the 16th century by Adil Shah-I of the Adilshahi dynasty of Bijapur. The system was aimed to supply water to Vijaypura in Karnataka. Karez System: Karez System is a method to harness water in which groundwater is brought to the surface by a tunnel. No mechanical pump or lift is used in the system. The water from the underground source was brought by gravity alone. The technology originated in Persia and Iran. This technology was widely used during the medieval period.

    Vietnamese mouse deer sighted after 30 years

    71 days ago
    Global Wildlife Conservation said that Vietnamese mouse deer, a tiny deer-like species, which was not seen by scientists for nearly 30 years, had been photographed in a forest in southern Vietnam. It was captured in the wild by trap cameras.  Vietnamese mouse deer is the rabbit-sized animal that is not a deer or a mouse but is the world's smallest hoofed mammal. These animals are shy and solitary. They have two tiny fangs and appear to walk on the tips of their hooves, and have a silver sheen. Vietnam mouse-deer: Vietnam mouse-deer is also known as the silver-backed chevrotain. It is treated as a subspecies of the greater mouse-deer. The animal is present only in Vietnam. Vietnam mouse-deer is among the 25 most wanted lost species that are focused on the Global Wildlife Conservation's Search for Lost Species initiative.

    MoEFCC to conduct mass cleaning drive at 10 Indian beaches

    72 days ago
    The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) plans to organize a mass cleanliness-cum-awareness drive in 50 identified beaches under the Swachh-Nirmal Tat Abhiyaan. The Ministry will award the best three beaches along with a Certificate of Appreciation for all the participating Eco-clubs. Aim: The campaign will be held from 11-17 November 2019. The aim is to clean the beaches and creates awareness amongst citizens about the importance of coastal ecosystems. Beaches: MOEFCC has identified a few beaches that are in 10 coastal States/Union Territories (UTs) for the cleaning. The beaches are from Gujarat, Daman & Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. The beaches were selected after the consultation with the States/UTs. The campaign will be undertaken by involving district administration, institutions, volunteers, school/college students of Eco-clubs, local communities, and other stakeholders. The drive will be facilitated by the State Nodal Agencies for the Eco-clubs in all 10 States/UTs. MoEFCC officials have also been deputed to monitor the implementation of the drive.

    Scientists declared a climate emergency

    76 days ago
    Scientists have declared a climate emergency across the world. 11,258 signatories from more than 153 countries, including 69 from India, presented the trends in climate change. They also provided a set of effective mitigating actions.  Climate emergency: The declaration was based on the scientific analysis of more than 40 years of publicly available data. The data covered a broad range of measures, including surface temperature, energy use, deforestation, population growth, polar ice mass, land clearing, fertility rates, gross domestic product, and carbon emissions.  The researchers said that climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected. The coalition of scientists across the world led by Ripple and Christopher Wolf from the Ohio State University (OSU) of the US pointed to six areas in which humanity should take immediate steps to slow down the effects of a warming planet. The six suggested steps are energy, short-lived pollutants, nature, food, economy, and population.

    Bihar to ban govt vehicles older than 15 years from checking pollution

    77 days ago
    Bihar State government is to ban all state-owned vehicles that are older than 15 years across the state. The proposal aims to combat air pollution. The Andhra Pradesh State cabinet is expected to approve the proposal. The restriction will be extended to commercial vehicles, but only for the Patna metropolitan area, which would make it the first non-metro city to come under such a ban. Aim: It aims to create opportunities for the government to buy electric vehicles as well as those that meet Bharat Stage VI standards. According to the data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Patna crossed the severe category at 414. Ban in other States: The metros of Delhi and Kolkata are in force. Kolkata restricted movement of commercial vehicles older than 15 years in 2008. And the petrol vehicles older than 15 years and diesel vehicles older than ten years were ordered off the streets of the national capital region in 2015.

    By 2022, Gujarat to have over 30 GW of renewable energy

    78 days ago
    Gujarat state government has announced that the State will have over 30 GW of renewable energy by 2022. The State has also prepared the roadmap for the generation of renewable energy.  Gujarat renewable energy: Currently, Gujarat has a total production of 9,670 MW renewable energy. It includes 2,654 MW solar energy and 6,880 MW wind energy.  In the industrial production section, Gujarat has overtaken Maharashtra as its contribution increased to 16.81% as compared to 14.21% of Maharashtra.  Growth of Gujarat: ♦ The Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) rate of Gujarat grew at an average of 10.01% between 2013-14 to 2017-18. It is the highest rate in the country. ♦ The Diamond Research and Mercantile (Dream) City is being built in Surat. It is expected to have 66 lakh square feet of office space, which will be the highest in one building. Currently, the Pentagon in the US has a 65 lakh square feet area, which is the highest available space in one building.  ♦ In the last five years, the tourism sector of the State has also witnessed an average increase of 14.5% in tourist inflows. The average increase in foreign tourists was 16%. Gujarat: Formed on: 1 May 1960 Governor: Acharya Dev Vrat Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani Capital: Gandhinagar Official language: Gujarati

    Narendra Singh Tomar released 2019 Wastelands Atlas

    78 days ago
    Narendra Singh Tomar, the Union Minister for Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and Panchayati Raj released the Wastelands Atlas 2019. The Atlas aims to show the importance of the availability of a reliable database on the wastelands of the country. Prepared by: The Atlas was prepared by the Department of Land Resources in collaboration with the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC). Previously, the Department of Space has published Wastelands Atlases of India in the year 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2011 editions.  The new wastelands mapping exercise using the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite data is the fifth edition of Wastelands Atlas 2019.  Wastelands Atlas 2019: ♦ The Wastelands Atlas 2019 provides district and state-wise distribution of different categories of wastelands area. It includes mapping of about 12.08 Mha (Million-hectare meter) so far, in the unmapped area of Jammu & Kashmir. The Atlas presents the changes in wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16. ♦ India holds 2.4% of the total land area of the World and is supporting 18% of the World's population. The per capita availability ofthe agricultural land in India is 0.12 ha, and among the world countries, the per capita agriculture land is 0.29 ha. The pressure on the land beyond its carrying capacity results in the degradation of the lands in the country.  ♦ The robust geospatial information on wastelands assumes the importance of the land and helps effectively to roll back the wastelands for productive use through various land development programmes/ schemes.

    Assam pacts with AFD to restore its forest

    78 days ago
    Assam State government signed an agreement worth 50 million euros (Rs.400 crore) with the French Development Agency (AFD). The agreement aims to help restore the state's forests and preserve its biodiversity. The project reaffirmed the commitment of the two countries towards the restoration and preservation of rich and diverse natural ecosystems. The budget allocated for the second phase by the state for the project is Rs.500 crore. Agreement: ♦ The partnership marked the launch of the second phase of the Assam Project for Forest and Biodiversity Conservation (APFBC).  ♦ APFBC will reforest an additional 12,000 hectares, scale-up efforts in biodiversity conservation, and skill the members of 135 more communities in different trades. ♦ The agreement will strive to build capacities of the state's forest department, particularity the state's frontline staff. ♦ The finance allocated for the second phase will continue for five years, with the aim of increasing the project's coverage area and corresponding impacts.  ♦ In the first phase of the project, 21,000 hectares were reforested. It began in the year 2013. The state built 33 flood refuge sites for wildlife, and train over 6,000 members of the local communities in alternative livelihoods with the support from AFD.

    IFFCO introduced India's first Nanotechnology based fertilizers for on field trials

    79 days ago
    The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) introduced its Nano-technology based product range for on-field trials on 3 November 2019. It was launched at a function held in Kalol, Gujarat. The Nano-tech product includes Nano Nitrogen, Nano Zinc, Nano Copper. The nano products were researched and developed at the IFFCO Nano Biotechnology Research Centre (NBRC) at Kalol Unit. It has been identified that these nanostructured formulations effectively deliver nutrients to the plants.  Aim: The products aim to improve soil health, reduce emission greenhouse gases. It will also ensure up to a 15-30% increase in crop production and reduce the requirement of conventional chemical fertilizer by 50%. The move is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for doubling the farmer’s income by 2022. Implementation: IFFCO is to test the first phase of the launch on farms under controlled conditions with support from Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO): Founded on: 3 November 1967 Headquarters: New Delhi, India Chairman: B.S Nakai MD & CEO: Dr. U.S Awasth IFFCO is India's largest fertilizer manufacturer. 

    Centre to set up Bamboo Technology Parks in JK and Ladakh UTs

    82 days ago
    Centre has announced that it is to set up Bamboo Technology Parks would be set up in the two new Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The decision was drawn in a meeting chaired by Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) with officials of the Ministry and the North Eastern Council (NEC).  Officials reviewed J&K: High-level officials of the MDoNER recently visited the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir. The commercial exploitation of bamboo that is grown in the region was discussed with the State officials during the review. The review team decided that the model for bamboo cultivation, harvesting, and utilization currently existing in the North Eastern Region shall be replicated in the two new Union Territories. It is aimed at the setting up of the CBTC Centre will give a boost to the sector.  Project implementation: The Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) project will be implemented under NEC. The project to set up three new Bamboo Technology Parks in Jammu, Srinagar and Leh will be in association with the National Bamboo Mission (NBM).  Apart from the planned CBTC project in J&K, Centre has already approved a Bamboo Industrial Park to be set up in the Dima Hasao district of Assam.

    CPCB to launch CPCB EInspection App

    90 days ago
    The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has designed and developed the CPCB E-Inspection App, a mobile application, to inspect industries through live streaming videos. The app will be launched soon. The move aims to keep a tab on polluting industries. Developed by: The CPCB E-Inspection App was developed by the IT Division of CPCB. The app is for internal use only. It has not been launched yet. CPCB E-Inspection App: ♦ The purpose of the application is to reduce the number of follow-up inspections that take place after the initial visit of the officials ♦ The app will provide a facility for remote inspection of industries through live streaming of videos and images. ♦ Industries who are willing to use this facility may download the app and request an inspection by choosing three dates convenient to them. The request will then be forwarded to the concerned CPCB Regional Directorate automatically. ♦ Upon confirmation of the date, the industry will be notified through e-mail.

    White bellbird is the world's loudest bird

    90 days ago
    Researchers from the University of Massachusetts in the U.S. have found that the White Bellbirds are the loudest bird in the world. They also found that the mating songs by the white male bellbird cause sound of thrice the decibels (dB) than the Screaming Piha during the mating period. The screaming Piha held the record by making the loudest call of around 125 dB.  White bellbird: The white bellbird or Procnia albus is a bird species in the family Cotingidae. The bird is found in Guianas forest, Venezeula, Pará of Brazil. The male bird is white in colour, and the female is olive with yellowish streaks in colour.

    Russian navy discovered five new islands in the Arctic

    91 days ago
    Russian navy discovered five new islands revealed by melting glaciers in Vize Bay off Novaya Zemlya, the remote Arctic. The expedition undertook by the Russian Navy in August and September charted the islands which were previously hidden under glaciers. The islands are yet to be named. These islands were glaciers previously. Melting, collapse, and change in temperature uncovered the islands. Glacier loss: The United Nations report on global warming said that from 2015 to 2019, Glacier's loss in the Arctic was more than in any other five-year period on record. Russia in the Arctic: In recent years, Russia has opened a series of military and scientific bases in the Arctic. The mission aims to check if the rising temperatures open up shipping routes and make hitherto inaccessible mineral resources easier to exploit.

    Scientists discovered the world's fastest ant

    96 days ago
    A team of German researchers discovered the world’s fastest ant, the Saharan silver ant. The researchers analyzed insects found near the remote Douz area of Tunisia. Saharan silver ant: ♦ The desert-living creature gallops over the scorching sand faster, relative to its body size than a cheetah. The ant hits speeds approaching one meter per second. It comes out at the height of the midday heat to scavenge on corpses. ♦ The ant clocked in at about 2.8 feet per second or 108 times its own body length per second. It puts the species among the world’s most nimble animals. ♦ The length of the ant lies between 4.3 and 6.8mm. ♦ It moves 1,300 mm per second. It moves with all six feet off the ground most of the time which is similar to the movement of a horse’s gallop. Before initiating the next stride, each foot contacted the ground for as little as seven milliseconds.

    Glaciers in Switzerland shrinks 10 percent in five years

    98 days ago
    An annual study on the state of the glaciers by the Cryospheric Commission at the Swiss Academy of Sciences said that Switzerland’s glaciers had lost one-tenth of their volume in the past five years alone.  Report highlights: ♦ Despite the growing global alarm over climate change, the intense heatwaves over the summer in Switzerland will cause a snow-filled winter is expected to limit the glacier melt in 2019. ♦ The commission also said that in April-May 2019, the snow cover on the glaciers was between 20 and 40% higher than usual. Depths of up to six meters measured in some places as late as June. ♦ The volume of snow and ice that are melting on Swiss glaciers was equivalent to the country’s total annual consumption of drinking water. ♦ Over the past 12 months, around 2% of Switzerland’s total glacier volume has been lost. The rate of loss over the past 5 years exceeds 10%.

    NGT directed Faizabad railway station to curb pollution

    98 days ago
    National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Railways to evolve appropriate mechanisms to curb pollution caused in Faizabad Railway station, Uttar Pradesh. A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, directed the Uttar Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to take steps for the assessment and recovery of environmental compensation. The move comes after a plea that sought remedial action against air pollution caused due to the loading and unloading of Cement and fertilizers at the Faizabad railway station. NGT also suggested the railway administration at Faizabad to make sure that it does not violate air quality norms. It has also asked the administration for an appropriate mechanism to be evolved by the Railway Board. National Green Tribunal (NGT): NGT was established on 18 October 2010. It is formed under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.  It is headquartered in Delhi. The Chairperson of NGT is Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel. NGT has been set up to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. NGT is given the power to hear all civil cases related to environmental issues and cases related to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act.

    Indian Railways to become net zero carbon emitter

    99 days ago
    Indian Railways (IR) has announced that it will become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. The move will be a part of India's strategy to combat climate change. The announcement was made by railways and commerce minister Piyush Goyal at the India Energy Forum by CERAWEEK in New Delhi. India stands third as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. Also, India is among countries most vulnerable to climate change. Indian Railways: Indian railways is the world's largest railway network. It has a rail network of around 1,25,000km under single management. IR is to go green by setting up solar power generation capacities in its large tracts of land along its network. India's move towards climate change: India is moving to curb pollution and cut its dependence on foreign oil. The country has become one of the top renewable energy producers globally with ambitious capacity expansion plans. India is running the world's largest renewable energy program. The installed renewable energy capacity of the country is about 80 gigawatts (GW). As a part of its climate commitments, it also plans to achieve 175GW by 2022 and 500GW by 2030.

    Scientists to conduct the largest DNA barcoding of spiders in India

    103 days ago
    Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) undertook a barcode of at least 100 species of spiders based on their DNA. It is the largest exercise on DNA barcoding of spiders from India Species of Spiders: The study includes various species such as the spitting spiders-Scytodes thoracica, Thwaitesia species-spiders with natural mirrors in their abdomen and those that steal others’ food-Argyrodes flavescens. The barcoding also included species that are found only in India. A minimum of 101 species, with at least 5 endemic species, have been DNA barcoded.  DNA barcoding: DNA barcoding is a method used to quickly identify any species based on extracting a DNA sequence from a tiny tissue sample of any organism. In other words, it is the molecular signature of a species based on its genes.

    Indian scientists discovered Plastic eating Bacteria

    104 days ago
    Researchers at Shiv Nadar University have discovered two strains of plastic-eating bacteria from the wetlands of Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that this eco-friendly alternative might be used as a clean-up method for plastic waste worldwide.  Plastic-eating bacteria: The bacteria have the potential to decompose polystyrene, a key component in Single-Use Plastic (SUP) items such as disposable cups, cutlery, toys, packaging materials etc. Polystyrene, a type of plastic, is quite resistant to degrade due to its high molecular weight and long-chain polymer structure. The bacterial species are isolated from the unexplored wetlands adjoining the university. The name of the species are ♦ Exiguobacterium sibiricum strain DR11  ♦ Exiguobacterium undae strain DR14

    Government to create a 1400km long and 5km wide green belt

    104 days ago
    The government has announced its plan to create a 1400km-long and 5km wide green belt from Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border. The massive afforestation drive in northwest India is similar to the Great Green Wall that runs from Dakar in Senegal to Djibouti.  Environmentalists fought against authorities for cutting down hundreds of trees in Mumbai. Farmers and other private landholders would play the most crucial part of the afforestation program. Aim: The move aims to boost India’s action against climate change. The wall will help combat the growing challenge of land degradation across the Thar desert and the Aravalis.  Benefits: ♦ The green wall will protect the people from the dust storms that are caused due to the desert in western India and Pakistan. ♦ Over 50% of the land area is degraded in Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Delhi. The land is prone to desertification.  ♦ Over 30% of the land is estimated to be degraded in India. The reason cited is human activities and extreme weather events. The degrading lands have affected millions of livelihoods as well as the biodiversity as a whole.  ♦ India aims to restore 13 million hectares (Mha) of land by 2020 and an additional 8 Mha by 2030. Great Green Wall: The Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel is led by the African Union (AU). The creation of the green wall aimed to combat the impacts of climate change and desertification. The African Great green wall is 7,600 km long and 15 km wide. Around 15% of the wall is completed with millions of trees planted in Senegal, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, so far.

    Centre launched Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan

    106 days ago
    Centre introduced Ganga Aamantran Abhiyan, a unique initiative to connect with Ganga’s Stakeholders. It was launched by Jal Shakti Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. Under this initiative, an open-water rafting and kayaking expedition on the Ganga River will be held between 10th October to 11th November 2019. Ganga Aamantran Campaign: ♦ The campaign is a unique social awareness initiative to connect with the people and its various stakeholders. ♦ The expedition will start at Devprayag and end at Ganga Sagar. The rafting expedition covers over 2500 Km. ♦ The initiative aims to spread the message of River Rejuvenation and Water Conservation on a massive scale.  ♦ It will also attend to the ecological challenges being faced by Ganga. ♦ It will encompass the five Ganga basin states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and West Bengal. The expedition will have stops at Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Sonepur and Kolkata. ♦ Under this initiative, a team from CSIR–Indian Institute of Toxicology Research will collect water samples from across diverse ranges of the river. It will test the water. ♦ Also, members of the Wildlife Institute of India will conduct flora and fauna census for the year 2019. ♦ The Expedition would comprise of 9-member team of swimmers and rafters primarily from the three Services of the Indian Armed Forces and 3 from NDRF, 2 members each from WII and CSIR-IITR. ♦ The expedition will be led by Wing Commander Paramvir Singh from Indian Air Force (IAF).

    Government launched green firecrackers

    108 days ago
    The Government launched green firecrackers with an aim to curb air pollution. The green firecrackers was launched by the Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan.  Developed by: The green firecrackers were developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs. It has successfully developed various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound-emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar, and sparklers. Along with CSIR 8 labs participated. The labs are CSIR-NEERI, Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CEERI), IITR, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI), National Botanical Research Institute  (NBRI) and Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI). The entire process was co-ordinated by CSIR NEERI. The green fireworks that have been manufactured by CSIR are available in the Indian market for consumers and sellers. For the manufacture of green crackers around 165 fireworks manufactures have been roped in and around 65 more manufacturers are in the process of coming on board. Green Firecrackers: The emissions testing facilities for the green firecrackers are set up at CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). The green firecrackers will reduce a 30% reduction in particulate matter. For immediate improvement CSIR-NEERI developed improvements in conventional formulations based on Barium Nitrate to meet the stipulated norms of green crackers.

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