Environment - General awareness questions on current affairs

1)   By when is Sweden committing to become a net zero carbon emission emitter?
- Published on 22 Jun 17

a. 2019
b. 2035
c. 2064
d. 2045
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 2045

Sweden in the second week of June 2017 committed to become a net-zero carbon emission emitter by 2045.

On 15 June 2017, Swedish lawmakers bound the country to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2045.

Only one out of country’s eight political parties did not support the Climate Act in parliament.

Lawmakers voted 254 to 41 in favour of the proposal, accelerating the nation’s previous target to become carbon neutral by 2050.

The vote makes Sweden the first country to significantly strengthen its climate targets since the Paris Agreement in 2015.

The legislation will come into force from the 1 January 2018, and will also see the establishment of an independent Climate Policy Council in addition to a four-yearly cycle for updating the nation’s climate action plan.

The government’s climate policy must be based on the climate goals.

The government is required to present a climate report every year in its budget bill.

Every four years, the government will draw up a climate policy action plan for how its climate goals will be achieved.

The first climate report will be presented in the second half of 2018, and the first action plan will be presented in 2019.

Sweden: Know More

  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Dialling code: +46
  • Currency: Swedish krona
  • Largest city: Stockholm
  • Official language: Swedish

2)   Which of the below is one of 4 new species of burrowing frogs from Western Ghats?
- Published on 20 Jun 17

a. Manoharan frogs
b. Damodaran frogs
c. Narayanan frogs
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Manoharan frogs

A Delhi University student has found four new species of burrowing frogs from the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot.

A student of professor SD Biju, who is known as the frogman of India, Sonali Garg, made the discovery after five years of research.

Unlike other members of the genus, the new frogs have burrowing skills.

The new findings will help in saving these frogs as now it is clear that five different species with different conservation requirements exist.

The frogs were confirmed as new species in a DU lab by using an integrated taxonomic approach that included DNA studies, detailed morphological comparisons and bioacoustics.

The study highlights a fairly common group of frogs that is usually found closer to human habitations but still not documented properly .

More extensive studies are required to scientifically identify and describe the Western Ghats frogs that are already facing extinction threats," said Garg.

The four species are:

  • Manoharan's burrowing frog, found in Agasthyamala Hills of Kerala and named after T M Manoharan, the former principal chief conservator of forests of Krala for his service and conservation efforts;
  • Kadar burrowing frog from Vazachal forest of Kerala, which is named after the Kadar tribe that lives in the region;
  • CEPF burrowing frog discovered in the Maharashtra's Amboli and named after the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (USA) to recognise its role in protecting global biodiversity hotspots;
  • Neil Cox's burrowing frog found in Parambikulam Tiger Reserve and named after Dr Neil Cox in recognition of his role in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List assessment of global amphibian species.
Exponential Increase in Species
  • The past decade has witnessed an exponential increase in the number of amphibian species found in the Western Ghats region.
  • A total new species of amphibians (1,581) described globally between 2006 and 2015 has been discovered.
  • The highest number of species (182) was found in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.

3)   Which was the second hottest month in 137 years?
- Published on 19 Jun 17

a. May 2016
b. May 2017
c. April 2017
d. March 2017
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: May 2017

According to NASA, May 2017 was the second hottest month in a span of 137 years when modern record-keeping of average global temperatures had commenced.

The temperature of May 2017 was 0.88 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean May temperature from 1951-1980.

May 2016 is the hottest on record with 0.93 degrees Celsius warmer than the May mean temperature. May 2017 temperature was 0.05 degrees Celsius cooler than the temperature recorded in May 2016.

It was only 0.01 degrees Celsius warmer than the third warmest May, which occurred in 2014.

NASA Space Studies: Know More

  • NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) does the monthly analysis of global temperature.
  • This is by analysing the publicly available data acquired by about 6,300 meteorological stations around the world, ship- and buoy-based instruments measuring sea-surface temperature.
  • It also includes the Antarctic research stations.
  • The modern global temperature record commenced around the year 1880.

4)   What is India-Aussie bilateral maritime exercise called?
- Published on 14 Jun 17

d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 


In pursuance of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, Eastern Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, YSM, VSM, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet are on an overseas deployment to the South East Asia and Southern Indian Ocean.

Indian Naval Ships Jyoti, Shivalik and Kamorta are on a port visit to Freemantle, Australia from 13 June to 17 June 2017. Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command is also visiting Freemantle during the period.

The visit of the Indian Naval Ships seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly and harmonious countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and Australia.

The two countries share a rich history and a strategic relationship. A number of bilateral agreements exist between the two countries in a various spheres.

AUSINDEX-17, a bilateral maritime exercise between the two navies would also be held as part of the visit. This would be the second edition of the exercise with the maiden edition having been conducted at Visakhapatnam in 2015.

The exercises aim to increase interoperability and are in consonance with the growing cooperation between the two countries.

Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region.

In addition, as part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue, and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities.

The current deployment will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the Seas.

2 Over the past few decades, India has made substantial advances in terms of designing and building warships indigenously and the visiting ships bear testimony to these capabilities.

INS Shivalik, a muIti-role stealth frigate is commanded by Captain R Vinod Kumar while INS Kamorta, an Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvette is commanded by Commander Vipin Gupta and INS Jyoti, the fleet replenishment tanker is commanded by Captain S Shyam Sundar.

Minister of Food Processing Industries Smt Harsimrat Kaur Badal today addressed a Joint Press Conference with the organizers of ANUGA - an international business platform for Food Industry to be held in Cologne, Germany. She also signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Participation in the ANUGA Exhibition with Ms Katharina C Hamma, Chief Operating Officer, Koelnmesse GmBH (Organizers of ANUGA).

5)   Which company has partnered ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship to source labour from Bihar?
- Published on 14 Jun 17

a. GE
b. GM
c. L&T
d. AT&T
Answer  Explanation 


General Electric (GE) in partnership with Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) is planning to source workers and skilled technicians from Bihar itself, in line with its Greenfield manufacturing base being set up in Marhaura (Bihar), service facilities in Roza (UP) and Gandhidham (Gujarat).

This project was launched as a part of Prime Minister ’s ‘Make in India’ scheme in which GE agreed to invest close to $200 million and will certainly boost employment opportunities for the local people.

Under this project, GE even plans to set up state of the art Skilling Centres with support from the Ministry.

As part of the project, the production of first railway coaches will start from mid-next year from Saran. GE, in collaboration with India Railways, is nearing completion of a Diesel Locomotive Manufacturing Plant in Marhaura, Saran district in Bihar.

A new transmission line to Marhaura is being created to provide electricity to this factory. GE is also coming up with a state of the art maintenance shed for diesel locomotives in railway’s land in Roza near Shahjahanpur.

The nearing ITIs can be leveraged to offer skilled resources. GE can also set up and additional infrastructure for training.

GE delegation indicated they are working on extending support for ancillary industries in that region.

GE Healthcare, an arm of General Electric is working in line with the Skill India Mission and aim at creating 1, 00,000 strong skilled healthcare workforce in India by partnering with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and has now set up skilling centres in 15 cities where they are training individuals to be lab technicians, X-Ray machine operators and Radiology equipment operators.

GE Power India, part of the General Electric Company was the first corporate donor to contribute to the National Skill Development Fund, a special fund setup under the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. GE Power has allocated INR 50 lacs in CSR contributions towards this effort covering the current financial year.

6)   What is the water conservation model adopted in Bihar’s Nalanda called?
- Published on 13 Jun 17

a. Project Jal
b. Project Jal Shakti
c. Project Jal Sinchay
d. Project Jal Sanchay
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Project Jal Sanchay

‘Project Jal Sanchay’, a water conservation model which is successfully adopted in Nalanda district of south-central Bihar, has been chosen for the national award for excellence .

This is with respect the Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee programme (MGNREGP) by the Ministry of Rural Development.

The award will be conferred on June 19 at a function held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.

Nalanda being an agriculture-oriented district remained affected by drought-like conditions that hampered the farming activities in the district.

Though the district receives flash floods during the monsoon, the water runoff in the district was very high so much so that the entire water got washed away in a span of 15 days.

Under these circumstances, ‘project jal sanchay’ was launched under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP) to offset the water crisis in the district.

Under the project, check dams and traditional Aahar-Pyne irrigation systems were created. In addition, traditional water bodies were desilted and renovated.

Campaigns about the usefulness of rainwater harvesting were also carried out.

The project was a mix of modern day techniques and technologies with traditional knowledge and got evolved into a holistic program to conserve water.

As a result of the implementation of the project, availability of water got improved drastically which positively impacted the farm production in the district.

7)   What is another name for the Humboldt’s Flying Squirrel?
- Published on 09 Jun 17

a. Glaucomys Oregonensis
b. Cryptic species
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

Scientists have recently discovered a new species of flying squirrel named Glaucomys Oregonensis in North America that had been hiding in plain sight for over hundreds of years.

The study was published in the Journal of Mammalogy on 30 May 2017.

Known as Humboldt’s flying squirrel, this new species resides in the Pacific Coast region of North America.

The Humboldt’s flying squirrel is known as a cryptic species, a species that was previously thought to be another as the two look similar.

These creatures do not actually fly like bats or birds.

Rather, they glide from tree to tree by extending furred membranes of skin that stretch from the wrist of the forearm to the ankle on the hind leg.

Their feather-like tail provides extra lift and also helps them in steering.

The gliding ability of flying squirrels is remarkable as they are capable of gliding for up to 100 meters and can make sharp midair turns by using their tail as a rudder and by moving their limbs to manipulate the shape and tautness of their gliding membranes.

Glaucomys Oregonensis were thought to be the already-known species.

For over 200 years, scientists thought that there had only been one species of flying squirrel in the Northwest, until they looked at the nuclear genome in addition to mitochondrial DNA of this new squirrel for the first time.

Flying Squirrel: Know More

  • This new discovery of the Humboldt’s flying squirrel is the 45th known species of flying squirrel in the world.
  • There are now three species of flying squirrels in North and Central America.
  • These are all small, nocturnally-active, gliding squirrels that live in woodland habitats.

8)   Which was the first cyclone of 2017?
- Published on 30 May 17

a. Maruti
b. Maarutha
c. Mora
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Maarutha

The cyclonic storm ‘MORA’ over east-central Bay of Bengal moved northward during past 06 hours with a speed of 11 kmph and lay centred at 0830 hrs IST, 29th May, 2017 over east-central Bay of Bengal near Latitude 17.3ºN and Longitude 91.3ºE, about 660 km south-southeast of Kolkata and 550 km south-southwest of Chittagong.

The system is likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during next 12 hours. It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross Bangladesh coast between longitude 91.0ºE and 92.0ºE near Chittagong around 30th May 2017 forenoon.

Every year, the North Indian Ocean cyclone season extends roughly between April to December with two peaks in May and November.

This season includes cyclones in Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea, apart from Indian Ocean in northern hemisphere.

The first cyclone of 2017 season was Cyclone Maarutha which was formed in April, 2017 triggering heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Apart from other damages, three people were killed in Myanmar by Cyclone Maarutha. Cyclone Mora is second such cyclone in the Indian Ocean.

Naming of Tropical Cyclone Tropical cyclones are classified into three main groups, based on intensity: tropical depressions, tropical storms, and a third group of more intense storms, whose name depends on the region. If a tropical storm in the North-western Pacific reaches hurricane-strength winds on the Beaufort scale, it is referred to as a typhoon.

If a tropical storm passes the same benchmark in the Northeast Pacific Basin, or in the Atlantic, it is called a hurricane. Neither “hurricane” nor “typhoon” is used in either the Southern Hemisphere or the Indian Ocean.

In these basins, storms of tropical nature are referred to simply as “cyclones”.

9)   Which is the world's smallest republic?
- Published on 24 May 17

a. Congo
b. Cote d'Ivoire
c. Somalia
d. Nauru
Answer  Explanation 


The tiny island of Nauru which is the world’s smallest republic has become the sixth country to ratify the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework pact.

Another five more nations namely the Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Ghana and Djibouti have committed to ink the International Solar Alliance Framework Pact in the ongoing annual meeting of the African Development bank in Gandhinagar.

This is the first time that India is hosting the annual meetings of the AfDB and its sister institutions. India had joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1983.

Nauru is a tiny island republic in Micronesia located in the northeast of Australia. Nauru has a population of 10,200-odd individuals.

The highest point in the island measures only 65 metres above sea level.

Hence, the island remains vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Nauru has a hot and humid climate and normally don’t experience cyclones.

Around 30% of the country’s power needs are met through solar power installations.

The tiny republic has set a target for attaining 50% of energy production from renewable sources by 2020.

ISA: Know More

  • On the first day of the COP-21 summit, the International Solar Alliance was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
  • It is a union of countries with abundant sunlight.
  • Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics {i.e. between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn} have been invited to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity.
  • Most of these countries are from Asia, Africa and South America.
  • There are three objectives behind the International Solar Alliance.
  • First is to force down prices by driving demand; second is to bring standardization in solar technologies and third is to foster research and development.

10)   Which state government has put an indefinite ban on sand excavation in Narmada river?
- Published on 23 May 17

a. UP
b. MP
c. HP
d. AP
Answer  Explanation 


The State Government of Madhya Pradesh has put an indefinite ban on the sand excavation in the Narmada River.

This announcement has been made by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. The government has also set up a committee to suggest the scientific ways of mining the rivers.

This committee will submit the report to state government after exploring ways for sand excavation without harming rivers. The government will also promote manufactured sand (made by mixing stones).

Illegal sand mining is one of the serious law & order and environmental issues in several states of India including Madhya Pradesh.

The business has flourished mainly because of nexus between sand mafia, officers and politicians.

Many people including police officers and activists have lost their lives while making attempts to check this illegal activity.

The Chief Minister was has been travelling along side Narmada River to make “Save Narmada” a people’s movement through his “Namami Narmada Yatra”.

The issue of illegal mining in Narmada was sub-judice in state High Court but in July 2015, it was transferred to National Green Tribunal. On the basis of a complaint by Medha Patkar (of Narmada Bachao Aandolan), the NGT had sent a team to investigate the matter.

After investigation, NGT had directed state government to take strong measures and report the progress.

Narmada River: Know More

  • Narmada (bringer of pleasure), is one of the largest rivers of India, originating in Amarkantak Hills and flowing through Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • It is third biggest river after Ganga and Godavari to flow within political boundaries of India.
  • It flows in a rift valley between the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges; and serves as lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Its basin covers large areas in the 3 states of Madhya Pradesh (86%), Gujarat (14%) and a smaller area (2%) in Maharashtra.

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