Environment - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   Which observatory’s environment clearance has NGT suspended?
- Published on 21 Mar 17

a. Neutrino observatory, Theni
b. Radio Observatory, Thrissur
c. Neutrino Observatory, Thrissur
d. Radio Observatory, Theni
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Neutrino observatory, Theni

Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal on 20th March 2017 suspended the environmental clearance granted to the India based Neutrino Observatory to come up in Theni and asked a fresh application for the project proponent.

Madhikettan Shola National Park in Idukki, Kerala is just 4.9 lm from the proposed site.

The TN-Kerala border was just a km away,making this, a category A project.

MoEF had called it a Category B project for which EIA is not necessary, but the department processed it as an additional measure.

Any project falling 5 km from the interstate boundary or within a notified national park or sanctuary to be considered a Category A project.

This requires numerous processes before EC is granted.

The INO promises to bring scientific advancement, according to Sekhar Basu, Chairman of DAE.

2)   Which river has been recognised as the first living entity of India?
- Published on 21 Mar 17

a. River Ganga
b. River Mahanadi
c. River Godavari
d. River Krishna
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: River Ganga

The Uttarakhand High Court has recognised river Ganga as the first living entity of India.

This is a move that grants it the same legal rights as a human being.

The new status means that if someone pollutes the Ganga - considered to be the holiest river in the country - the law will see it equal to harming a human being.

The court also ruled that the government form a Ganga Administration Board for better maintenance and cleaning of the river.

River Ganga: Know More

  • Length: 2,525 km
  • Basin area: 1.08 million km²
  • Mouth: Ganges Delta
  • Sources: Gangotri Glacier, Nanda Kot, Satopanth Glacier, Kedarnath, Nanda Devi, Kamet, Trisul
  • Cities: Varanasi, Haridwar, Allahabad, Kolkata, Patna, Kanpur, Ghazipur

3)   Centre will come out with the national silt policy to _______
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Enlist measures to scientifically desist rivers
b. Prevent floods in Bihar
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

To handle the threat of floods in many parts of the nation during Monsoon, the Union Government has aimed to come out with a national silt policy.

It will enlist measures to scientifically de-silt rivers that over the years, have lost the ability to hold water due to deposition of excessive silt.

The need for a national policy was flagged by Bihar CM Nitish Kumar after many districts in the state faced floods at the time of the monsoon.

Experts have blamed siltation of the Ganga river and its tributaries for this situation.

Many committees have been constituted in the past to look into the silting problems in Indian rivers and suggest remedial measures.

Admitting the silting of rivers has assumed serious dimensions across the year.

The general assumption is flood prone rivers are undergoing a change in carrying capacity, leading to rising flood levels.

Deposition of silt in the Ganga on account of slow discharge of water from West Bengal's Farraka Dam has led to flooding of 12 districts of the state.

A committee has been set up by the water resources ministry to formulate guidelines for desiltation of river Ganga from Bhimgauda in Uttarakhand to Farraka in West Bengal.

4)   Where has National Physical Laboratory established an atmospheric monitoring station?
- Published on 20 Mar 17

a. Palampur
b. Shimla
c. Dalhousie
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Palampur

National Physical Laboratory has established an atmospheric monitoring station in the campus of the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh at 1391m for generating the base data for atmospheric trace species and properties to serve as reference.

The aim is comparison of polluted atmosphere in India. At this station, NPL has installed state-of-the-art air monitoring system, GHG measurement system and Raman Lidar.

Numerous parameters like CO, NO, NO2, ammonia, sulphur dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, HC and BC besides carbon dioxide and methane are being monitored at the station.

On account of Palampur’s pristine air, and the capability of the new monitoring station for detection of small amounts of pollutants, the impact of faraway pollution sources can be measured precisely.

The data taken at this station during past one year shows that the pollution levels are far below the limits of National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

A new station has the experimental facilities to investigate the aerosol/cloud interactions, and such investigations would be helpful in generating a better understanding of the Earth’s climate system.

The data generated by pristine CAAQMS station at Palampur will act as background data for the measured pollution at various cities in the country.

The generated background data will be shared with different pollution control boards and agencies in the country so that the more precise pollution mapping traceable to standard values can be done.

This would assist policy decisions for the abatement of air pollutants.

About the CAAQMS Station

  • In India, air quality parameters are mostly measured in industrial and residential areas.
  • The NPL’s station will also serve as a base station for inter-comparison of air quality monitoring equipment.
  • The pristine CAAQMS station houses calibrated state-of-the-art-equipment for the continuous measurements of ambient and greenhouse gases (CO, NO, NO2, NH3, SO2, O3, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, hydrocarbons, black-carbon, CO2 & CH4), and weather parameters.

5)   NTPC has installed India's largest floating solar photo voltaic plant at _________
- Published on 16 Mar 17

a. Kayamkulam, Kerala
b. Medak, Andhra Pradesh
c. Thrissur, Kerala
d. Salem, TN
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Kayamkulam, Kerala

The NTPC Ltd in the second week of March 2017 installed India’s largest floating solar photo voltaic plant.

This was at the Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) Kayamkulam in Kerala.

The 100 kWp floating solar photo voltaic plant is the largest of its kind in India as on date.

This floating platform has been indigenously developed by the NETRA (NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance) in partnership with Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET), Chennai.

The system was installed by Swelect Energy Systems Ltd, Chennai with the help from NETRA and NTPC Kayamkulam station in a short span of 22 days.

Floating solar photo voltaic plant systems are fast emerging as an alternative to conventional ground mounted photo voltaic systems, which are land intensive.

These have various benefits like conserving water through the reduction of evaporation, increased generation due to cooling effect on the panels and reduced installation time.

Installation potential of such type of systems in India is huge due to the abundance of water bodies.

The potential is approximately 800 MWp in various reservoirs in existing stations.

Due to availability of abundant water bodies, this type of system has a great potential in RGCCPP, Kerala.

NTPC: Know More

  • NTPC is India’s largest energy conglomerate with origins planted way back in 1975.
  • It aims to accelerate power development in India.
  • Since then, it has established itself as the dominant power major with the presence in the entire value chain of the power generation business.
  • From fossil fuels, it has forayed into generating electricity via hydro, nuclear and renewable energy sources.
  • This foray will play a major role in lowering its carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

6)   Where was the first fluorescent frog in the world discovered?
- Published on 15 Mar 17

a. Santa Monica
b. Santa Ana
c. Santa Barbara
d. Santa Fe
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Santa Fe

The world’s first fluorescent frog has been discovered near Santa Fe in Argentina.

Scientists at the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum in Buenos Aires made the discovery by accident.

They studying the pigment of polka-dot tree frogs, a species common across the continent.

In normal light the frog appears to have a dull, mottled browny-green skin with red dots, but under UV light it glows a bright fluorescent green.

Fluorescence – the ability to absorb light at short wavelengths and re-emit it at longer wavelengths – is uncommon in creatures that are land dwellers.

The translucent frog was found to use a blend of lymph and glandular emissions to fluoresce.

The researchers, who published their discovery on 13 March in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the trait enhanced the brightness of the frog by 19-29%.

This is depending on the level of ambient light in its surroundings.

The compound causing the blue–green glow of the polka-dot tree frog was not previously thought to exist in vertebrates.

The discovery opens up the possibility that other amphibians may be able to fluoresce, particularly those with translucent skin similar to that of the tree frog.

7)   Ice free Arctic could be the result of?
- Published on 14 Mar 17

a. Manmade global warming
b. Natural swings
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Natural swings in the Arctic climate have caused up to half the precipitous losses of sea ice around the North Pole in recent decades.

However the rest was driven by man-made global warming as per a study.

The study indicates that an ice-free Arctic Ocean, often feared to be just years away, in one of the starkest signs of man-made global warming, could be delayed if nature swings back to a cooler mode.

Natural variations in the Arctic climate may be responsible for about 30-50 percent of the overall decline in September sea ice since 1979.

Sea ice has shrunk steadily and hit a record low in September 2012– late summer in the Arctic–in satellite records dating back to 1979.

The ice is now around the smallest for mid-March, rivalling winter lows set in 2016 and 2015.

The study, separating man-made from natural influences in the Arctic atmospheric circulation, said that a decades-long natural warming of the Arctic climate might be tied to shifts as far away as the tropical Pacific Ocean.

The findings could help narrow down huge uncertainties about when the ice will vanish.

8)   4 states have decided to conduct a synchronised elephant census in May 2017 namely?
- Published on 14 Mar 17

a. West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha
b. West Bengal, Odisha, MP, Chattisgarh
c. West Bengal, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand
d. Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: West Bengal, Odisha, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand

For the first time in India, 4 states have conducted a synchronised elephant census in May 2017.

These 4 states are Odisha, West Bengal, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.

These 4 states have a maximum number of human-elephant conflict prone regions in India.

These states will conduct the census based on an identical set of rules using the direct and indirect counting methods.

The direct counting method is based on sighting of elephants while the indirect method uses the elephant ‘dung decay’ formula, in which the analysis of dung is used to estimate the population.

The indirect method has already been used by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Direct method can be used alone because it is not possible to cover entire area during the census.

As per the 2015 census, Odisha has 1,954 elephants while Jharkhand has 700, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal had approximately 275 and 130 elephants, respectively.

Odisha: Know More

  • Area: 155,820 km²
  • Founded: 1 April 1936
  • Capital: Bhubaneswar
  • Population: 43.73 million (2014)

9)   Great Barrier Reef in Australia for the first time has suffered?
- Published on 14 Mar 17

a. Coral bleaching two years in a row
b. Coral bleaching three years in a row
c. Coral bleaching four times in a row
d. Coral bleaching five times in a row
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Coral bleaching two years in a row

Great Barrier Reef in Australia's eastern coast has experienced an unprecedented second straight year of massive coral bleaching.

This marks the first time Great Barrier Reef has bleached two years in a row.

In March and April 2016, the 2,300 km reef had its most severe bleaching on record due to rising sea temperatures.

Coral Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions, such as warmer sea temperatures, cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

The 2016 bleaching was more severe in the northern areas of the bio-diverse site.

But now more bleaching was being observed in the central part of the reef, which earlier had escaped widespread severe bleaching.

The back-to-back occurrence of widespread bleaching is resulting in decrease in stress tolerance of these corals, which means that they may not fully recover.

Know More: Great Barrier Reef

  • It is the biggest coral reef system in the world composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 600 types of hard and soft corals.
  • It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981.
  • The reef is located in the Coral Sea, north east of Australia and covers an area of around 348,000 sq km.
  • It is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms and is seen from the outer space.
  • Area: 344,400 km²
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription: 1981

10)   How is arsenic caused in ground water?
- Published on 08 Mar 17

a. Natural geological processes
b. Human contamination
c. Both of the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Natural geological processes

The Centre will prepare an exhaustive plan to meet the challenges of arsenic contamination in groundwater in the Ganga-Brahmaputra fluvial plains.

This has severely affected many districts of UP, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam and Manipur.

There is an urgent need to start a nationwide movement to make people aware of arsenic contamination and urged individual and NGOs to join the government in this task.

Arsenic in groundwater is caused by natural geological processes. Long-term exposure to arsenic in drinking water can cause skin cancer and other diseases.

Though numerous measures, including alternate arrangement for supply of arsenic-free water and planting arsenic removal plants, have been taken in the last three decades, the entire population of the affected districts could not be covered.

Another aim is tapping alternate safe aquifers (water bearing permeable rock) for supply of arsenic-free groundwater.

Water wells have also been constructed tapping arsenic-free aquifers using state-of-the-art technology in parts of Ballia and Ghazipur districts of UP.

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