Environment - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

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Learn and prepare with these daily current affairs quiz and practice test questions on Environment to crack current affairs section of any competitive exam.

1)   What is NTPC going to buy to mitigate concern on air pollution?
- Published on 20 Nov 17

a. Farm Stubble
b. Cow Manure
c. Sugarcane Molasses
d. Dried Wheat
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Farm Stubble

To help mitigate concern on air pollution, state-owned thermal power giant NTPC would procure farm stubble for burning in its thermal units, blending close to 10 per cent in the fuel mix, power ministry officials said.

This comes in wake on worsening air conditions across North India, attributed in large measure to burning of crop stubble by farmers in Punjab and Haryana (and western UP) at the onset of winter.

2)   The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has announced a 2-year advancement of the introduction of which fuel norms?
- Published on 16 Nov 17

a. BS-IV
b. BS-V
c. BS-VI
Answer  Explanation 


The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) has announced a 2-year advancement of the introduction of Bharat Stage (BS)-VI fuel norms from April 1, 2018 in Delhi, currently suffering from its worst smog crisis in years.

Bharat Stage emission standards, introduced in 2000, are emission standards that have been set up the Central government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The different norms are brought into force in accordance with the timeline and standards set up by the Central Pollution Control Board which comes under the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.

The Bharat Stage norms are based on European regulations. In 13 major cities,

Bharat Stage IV emission standards were put in place in April 2010.

BS-IV norms were supposed to come into effect nationwide from April 2017.

Difference in BS-IV and BS-VI standards

The BS norms have been similar to Euro norms till now, and with norms after BS-IV not defined yet, we compare the existing BS-III and BS-IV norms in India with the Euro 6 norms on which India's emission norms have been set.

Petrol Emission Norms (All figures in g/km)

Emission NormCOHCNOxHC+NOxPM

Diesel Emission Norms (All figures in g/km)

Emission NormCOHCNOxHC+NOxPM
BS-III0.64 - 0.500.560.05
BS-IV0.50 - 0.250.300.025
Euro 60.50 -

Source - Indian Emissions Regulations/ARAI

3)   India is the largest emitter of which poisonous gas in 2017?
- Published on 15 Nov 17

a. Sulphur dioxide
b. Sulphur trioxide
c. Nitrous oxide
d. Carbon monoxide
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Sulphur dioxide

India's emissions of the air pollutant sulphur dioxide increased by 50 per cent since 2007, while China's fell by 75 per cent, claims a study which found that India is yet to implement emission controls like its neighbour.

The study led by researchers at University of Maryland in the US suggests that India is becoming, if it is not already, the world's top sulphur dioxide emitter.

Sulphur dioxide is an air pollutant that causes acid rain, haze and many health-related problems. It is produced predominantly when coal is burned to generate electricity.

The rapid decrease of sulphur dioxide emissions in China far exceeds expectations and projections.

This suggests that China is implementing sulphur dioxide controls beyond what climate modellers have taken into account.

China and India are the world's top consumers of coal, which typically contains up to three per cent sulphur, researchers said.

Most of the two countries' sulphur dioxide emissions come from coal-fired power plants and coal-burning factories.

In particular, Beijing suffers from severe haze problems because of the many coal-burning factories and power plants located nearby and upwind.

Starting in the early 2000s, China began implementing policies such as fining polluters, setting emission reduction goals and lowering emissions limits.

According to the results of the current study, these efforts are paying off.

Despite China's 75 per cent drop in sulphur dioxide emissions, recent work by other scientists has shown that the country's air quality remains poor and continues to cause significant health problems.

This may be because sulphur dioxide contributes to only about 10 to 20 per cent of the air particles that cause haze, according to Li.

By contrast, India's sulphur dioxide emissions increased by 50 per cent over the past decade.

The country opened its largest coal-fired power plant in 2012 and has yet to implement emission controls like China.

4)   Musa paramjitiana is a species of which fruit?
- Published on 09 Nov 17

a. Wild banana
b. Wild Apple
c. Wild Papaya
d. Wild Guava
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Wild banana

Andaman and Nicobar islands is a biodiversity hotspot that hosts seven different species of wild banana that we know of, not to mention numerous, as yet undocumented, others.

The latest discovery, published in the Nordic Journal of Botany, is of a species of wild banana named Musa paramjitiana, in honour of Paramjit Singh, who happens to be the director of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).

The species was found in North Andaman's Krishnapuri forest, 6 kilometres from any human habitation.

The plant grows to a height of nine metres and bears an edible, sweet-and-sour tasting fruit that is boat-shaped and has numerous bulb-shaped seeds.

Its conservation status has been declared as 'Critically Endangered' as it has so far been spotted in only two locations on the islands, each with 6 to 18 plants in a clump.

The fruit is part of the diet of local tribes.

The fruits and seeds have ethno-medicinal importance. Pseudo-stem and leaves of these species are also used during religious and cultural ceremonies.

The germplasm of all the wild banana species needs to be conserved on an urgent basis, since most of these are found in very small habitats and at risk of extinction.

In 2014, Musa indandamanensis, another wild banana, was discovered in a remote tropical rain forest on the Little Andaman island. It has dark green cylindrical flower buds.

5)   How many orangutan species are there in the world?
- Published on 07 Nov 17

a. 2
b. 4
c. 6
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Scientists had thought that there were two orangutan species: the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii) and the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).

However, the physical and genetic data now show that an isolated population of orangutans in Batang Toru, a region within the three Tapanuli districts in the province of North Sumatra, represents a distinct species.

Tapanuli orangutans were morphologically different from all other orangutans.

The researchers also reconstructed the history of the Tapanuli population.

Their calculations show that the population appears to have been isolated from all other Sumatran populations for at least 10,000 to 20,000 years.

The oldest evolutionary line in the genus Pongo is actually found in Tapanuli orangutans, which appear to be direct descendants of the first Sumatran population in the Sunda archipelago.

6)   Which states in the Western Ghats have the highest number of rattan or cane hotspots?
- Published on 06 Nov 17

a. Karnataka
b. Kerala
c. Tamil Nadu
d. Both a and b
e. Both b and c
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Both b and c

Scientists have discovered that non-protected areas near the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Silent Valley-Mukurthi National Parks and Coorg-Wayanad in the Western Ghats are hotspots of rattan or cane (light, flexible climbing palms) species.

Urgent conservation attention in the face of threats including habitat loss and excessive harvesting would be critical here.

More than half a million people are directly employed in harvesting and processing rattan in Southeast Asia, including India.

Though unsustainable harvests driven by rising demands are decimating rattan stands (clumps) worldwide, how are the rattans of the Western Ghats faring, was a the question studied.

Using location records from field studies and literature, scientists at Bengaluru's Asoka Trust for Ecology and Environment (ATREE) and Pune's Indian Institute for Science Education and Research (IISER) first mapped the distribution of all 21 endemic rattan species across the Western Ghats.

At 19, the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have the highest number of species.

The team then designated 'conservation values' (CV) for each species based on aspects such as the area it is found in and the commercial harvesting pressure it faces.

Three species (including Calamus neelagiricus which is found only in Kerala's Silent Valley National Park) showed very high CV; the authors suggest that these be classified as endangered (based on categories developed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature) while three others be categorised as near-threatened and 15 as vulnerable for prioritising conservation action.

The scientists also identified three rattan hotspots in the Western Ghats. - near the Agastyamalai Biosphere Reserve, Silent Valley-Mukurthi National Parks and Coorg-Wayanad regions.

All these areas fall outside existing protected area networks, where excessive unsustainable harvests could be a problem. Loss of tropical forest tracts to coffee and tea plantations - as is common in the Coorg-Wayanad complex - is also an issue.

7)   The Paris agreement was approved by how many countries in December 2015?
- Published on 03 Nov 17

a. 192
b. 194
c. 195
d. 197
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


National pledges on emission reduction, made by countries from across the globe under the Paris Agreement, will only bring a third of what is needed to avoid worst impact of climate change, says a report of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Released in Geneva in Nov 2017, the report notes that even full implementation of current unconditional and conditional national climate actions makes a temperature increase of at least 3 degree Celsius by 2100.

This is meaning that the governments need to deliver much stronger pledges when they are revised in 2020.

The Paris Agreement, approved by 195 countries in December, 2015, aims to limit global warming to under 2 degree Celsius, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5 degree Celsius also on table.

The countries had, therefore, pledged to take their voluntary climate actions including emission reduction through multiple measures to meet the target.

It is expected that meeting these targets would reduce the likelihood of severe climate impacts that could damage human health, livelihoods and economies across the globe.

The UNEP report has, however, found that these pledges would only bring a third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets.

It, therefore, pitched for an urgent need to increase the ambition by both governments and non-state actors.

UNEP Emission Gap Report: Know More

  • The report - UNEP's Emission Gap Report - was released just days ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn where the member countries including India will during November 6-17 Conference discuss guidelines to implement actions under the Paris Agreement which had come into force in November last year.
  • The Emission Gap Report finds that current Paris pledges make 2030 emissions likely to reach 11 to 13.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) above the level needed to stay on the least-cost path to meeting the 2 degree Celsius target.
  • One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to one year of transport emissions in the European Union (including aviation).
  • The emission gap in the case of the 1.5 degree Celsius target is 16 to 19 GtCO2e.
    The report claims that the carbon dioxide emissions have remained stable since 2014, driven in part by renewable energy, notably in China and India.
  • However, it warns that other greenhouse gases, such as methane, are still rising and a global economic growth spurt could easily put CO2 emissions back on an upward trajectory.

8)   Amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere in 2016 has the potential to do which of the following?
- Published on 31 Oct 17

a. 20 metre rise in sea levels
b. 3 degrees rise in temperature
c. 2 degrees rise in temperature
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Carbon dioxide grows at record rate in 2016!

The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere grew at record rate in 2016 to a level not seen for millions of years.

This potentially fuelling a 20-metre rise in sea levels and adding 3 degrees to temperatures according to the UN.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main man-made greenhouse gas, hit 403.3 parts per million (ppm), up from 400.0 in 2015, the UN World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin indicated.

That growth rate was 50 per cent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 per cent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.

Today's CO2 concentration of ~400 ppm exceeds the natural variability seen over hundreds of thousands of years.

The latest data adds to the urgency of a meeting in Bonn next month, when environment ministers from around the world will work on guidelines for the Paris climate accord backed by 195 countries in 2015.

The agreement is already under pressure because US President Donald Trump has said he plans to pull the United States out of the deal, which seeks to limit the rise in temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Human CO2 emissions from sources such as coal, oil, cement and deforestation reached a record in 2016, and the El Nino weather pattern gave CO2 levels a further boost, the WMO said.

As far as scientists can tell, the world has never experienced a rise in carbon dioxide like that of recent decades, which has happened 100 times faster than when the world was emerging from the last ice age.

Scientists know prehistoric levels from tiny air bubbles found in ancient Antarctic ice cores, and they can derive even older data from fossils and chemicals trapped in sediment.

CO2: Record Levels

  • The last time carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm was 3-5 million years ago, in the mid-Pliocene era.
  • During that period, global mean surface temperatures were 2-3°C warmer than today, ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica melted and even parts of East Antarctica's ice retreated, causing the sea level to rise 10-20 m higher than that today.
  • Since 1990, the global warming effect of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases has risen by 40 percent.
  • The two other main gases - methane and nitrous oxide - also grew to record concentrations last year, although at a slower rate of increase than carbon dioxide.

9)   Clean Ganga mission saw which move to clean the river implemented?
- Published on 31 Oct 17

a. Sewage treatment plans
b. Bacterial bioremediation techniques
c. No plastic policy
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

As urgency grows to show results for its Clean Ganga mission, the Centre is turning to bacterial bioremediation techniques to cut down the time lag in commissioning of Sewage Treatment Plants (STP).

While STPs typically take two to three years to come up, large-scale application of bioremediation using 'sewage-eating microbes' quickens the process of improvement in the quality of river water, though only to an extent.

Under bioremediation technique, the activated microbes eat up contaminants such as oil and organic matter.

The bacteria play a vital role in treatment of sewage without causing any release of foul odour.

The process thus also reduces stench from raw sewage.

During the process of treatment, pollutants like heavy metals and toxic chemicals are reduced.

The microbial dosing under the technique is done as per requirement assessed in terms of organic pollutants (microbial food) content in sewage.

Referring to the long gestation period of STPs, bioremediation techniques are significantly less costly and require much shorter time duration of 6-8 months for commissioning and showing results. Implementing these techniques prevent degraded quality of water from flowing directly into river Ganga and its tributaries.

The cost of the NMCG's identified projects ranges from INR 7 lakh to 17 crore, depending on sewage flow into the drain.

Drains for Bioremediation

  • Some of the drains identified by the NMCG for application of bioremediation techniques include Golaghat, Ranighat and Budhiyaghat drains in Kanpur;
  • Sasurkhaderi and Mavaiya drains in Allahabad; Nagwa and Rajghat drains in Varanasi;
  • Saklichand drain in Bhagalpur and
  • Ramkrishna Mullick Ghat and Telkal Ghat drains in Howrah among others.

10)   Several species of vultures have been awarded the highest protection in Oct 2017 including which of the following?
- Published on 30 Oct 17

a. Indian vulture
b. Red headed vulture
c. Brown humped vulture
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Several species of vultures, including four that have India on their migratory routes, were awarded the highest protection by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals also known as Bonn Convention.

The whale shark, which inhabits the Indian Ocean, got global protection too. However, the proposal to extend additional protection to the chinkara or Indian gazelle was withdrawn, the summit's organisers said.

Delegates from 91 countries had attended the summit, the next edition of which will be held in India in 2020.

The Asian vultures that are set to get collaborative international protection are the red-headed vulture, white-rumped vulture, Indian vulture and slender-billed vulture.

They are faced with threats such as poisoning, hunting, collision with electricity cables and habitat degradation.

A subspecies of the black noddy, the yellow bunting and the lesser and great grey shrike are the other avians on the protected list.

The Caspian seal has also been identified for conservation. It is the only marine mammal found in the world's largest inland sea, where its migration is prompted by ice formation and foraging.

Governments also agreed to cooperate on reducing the negative impact of marine debris, noise pollution, renewable energy and climate change on the lives of migratory species.

Lions, chimpanzees, giraffes and leopards were marked out as species that needed additional protection.

More than 120 states are party to the Convention, but this does not include China and many other Asian countries.

The summit held in Manila has been the largest in the 38-year history of the Convention, which is also known as the Bonn Convention after the German city in which it was signed

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