Environment - Current Affairs for August, 2016

Environment Current Affairs for August, 2016

Month wise coverage of Environment Current Affairs helps you improve your general knowledge and prepare for all competitive exams like IBPS, Bank PO, SBI PO, RRB, RBI, LIC, Specialist Officer, Clerk, SSC, UPSC, Railway etc. This section is updated daily with the most important events.

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  • Month & Year   
▼ Endangered state fish atlas to be prepared by MP   [08-22-16]

Atlas for endangered state fish of MP- Narmada Mahseer( tor tor) is being prepared.

  • This is the first of its kind experiment in India.
  • Forest department has begun identifying the occurrence of Narmada Masher and is mapping them in protected areas with Global Information System Technology.
  • GIS helps in capturing, checking, storing and displaying data on the surface of the earth and can show different kinds of data on one map.
  • For studying the different types of data on one map, the aspects that will be studied include the whereabouts, the quantity in which they are found and the places suitable for breeding
  • Naddwari and Sonbhadra tributaries are being explored
  • Officials said many juvenile fishes are found in these regions and they are being mapped.
  • An INR 5 lakh budget has been allowed for facilitating the survey.
  • Additional principal chief conservator of forest (wildlife) Indore, Pankaj Srivastava said a scientific protocol would be made with the aid of collected data as well as experts of communities to ensure conservation.
  • The survey officials have also started with Satpura and Devas tiger reserves and will explore other wildlife sanctuaries in the future.
  • The biggest hurdle faced is that official have to have the expertise to recognise the species- they will be conducting training programmes for forest officials including forest guards, deputy rangers and rangers to ensure mapping is effective.
  • Forest department has also constructed an artificial flowing water respository in Barwah to conserve the Narmada Mahseer.

▼ Greenland shark identified as the world’s longest living vertebrate   [08-16-16]

Greenland shark is the world’s longest living vertebrate with scientists estimating life expectancy at 272 years.

  • The Greenland shark is among the largest carnivore sharks in the world with adults reaching more than 5 metres in length.
  • The longevity of this shark has intrigued marine biologists for decades now.
  • Typically, the age of sharks and rays are determined by counting deposited layers in harder calcified structures such as fin spines.
  • Because the Greenland shark is among the biggest carnivorous sharks in the planet which lacks hard structure, this method cannot be used.
  • Greenland sharks are the apex predator in the Arctic ecosystem; the researchers analysed the eye lens nucleus of 28 female sharks sampled as accidental by catch during fish and shrimp surveys.
  • Researchers measured the radiocarbon content of the lenses from which they could assess age by measuring the data against calibration curves and chronologies indicative of temporal radiocarbon changes in the marine food web in the Northern Atlantic over the past 5 centuries.

▼ Delhi Development Authority to create SPV for green projects called Biodiversity Missions and DDA Greens   [08-16-16]

DDA will create an SPV for green projects for the operation and maintenance of green projects including those pertaining to parks, nature reserves and eco-friendly corridors.

  • The aim is to make them socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
  • SPV will be called Biodiversity Mission and DDA Greens.
  • The different categories which will be part of the PSV are urban parks (city parks, district parks and community parks), biodiversity parks (wetlands, biotic communities, conservatories and ecologically functional ecosystems).
  • SPV will also include nature reserves, spanning ridge area, protected forest, city forest, river front, lakes and green circuits like green corridors, belts and parks.
  • SPV will be managed by a Board of Directors totalling 15 with the Lt. Governor as chairman.
  • Board of Directors shall be representative from diverse professional backgrounds.
  • CEO will be appointed and will manage the strategic vision set by the Board of Directors.
  • The Biodiversity Mission and DDA Greens is an autonomous, non profit entity.

▼ NITI Aayog signs agreement with US EIA to set up web portal on energy data   [08-12-16]

National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has on 10th August 2016 signed an agreement with US Energy Information Administration to set up a web portal on energy data

  • The portal will host data pertaining to energy sectors including oil and gas, solar and much more
  • The NITI Aayog will be working to map India’s energy data needs as well as agency for meeting the same
  • NITI Aayog has signed a Statement of Principle with US Agency for International Development and Department of Energy and Climate Change of the UK as well for the collaboration of energy research
  • Aayog aims to host data related to energy sector in India

▼ Mohan Chandra Malakar heads Rhino Horn Verification Committee   [08-12-16]

Assam Government on 11th August 2016 commenced the verification of rhino horns stored in numerous treasuries since 1980 for which purpose it instituted the Rhino Horn Verification Committee

  • 12 member committee is headed by former Assam State Information Commissioner and ex forest service officer Mohan Chandra Malakar who will verify the genuineness of the horns stored in numerous treasuries
  • Other members of the committee include 4 wildlife experts, two representatives from media- one RTI activist and one forensic scientist and 4 high officials of the State Forest Department
  • According to the directive, committee will assess horns in 12 treasuries of Assam including Golaghat followed by NE states like Nagaon, Guwahati and Tezpur.
  • Rhino horns at Golaghat were of the highest number and almost all are from the Kaziranga National Park

▼ 16 frog species, 3 snake species spotted in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary for first time   [08-11-16]

16 frog species and 3 snake species were spotted in Chinnar Wildlife Sanitary during the first phase of the reptile amphibian survey carried out from August 5-8

  • Survey conducted in Idukki under Mummer Wildlife Warden was carried out 24/7 on 11 differing habitats including rain shadow areas, high altitude grasslands and thorny shrubberies
  • 31 species of amphibians and 29 reptiles were spotted during the survey including ghat tree go, Gunther’s vine snake and Anamali gecko.
  • Due to its varying climatic conditions, the sanctuary reportedly has one of the richest biodiversities in Kerala

▼ Minister of Urban Development launches Swachh Suvekshan 2017   [08-8-16]

The initiative has been launched to assess and rank 500 cities and towns based on levels of sanitation and efforts made by respective urban local bodies and also to capture progress towards achieving ‘Open Defecation Free’ status

  • The Minister also released in New Delhi today various publications and mobile applications to help the 500 cities and towns prepare for the survey to be conducted in January next year.
  • Jan Andolan will achieve Swacch Bharat by 2019, according to the ministry.
  • Citizens can post photos of unhygienic places in urban areas on Swachh App and they will be informed of action taken by respective urban local bodies in specific time period.
  • Using toll free Helpline Number 1969, citizens can seek information about the ways of participating in cleanliness mission
    They can also enquire the status of their applications for construction of toilets.

▼ Study shows tree cover in agricultural land on the rise   [08-5-16]

While deforestation continues in tropical forests, new study has found that tree cover on agricultural land is rising across the world, capturing 0.75 gigatonnes CO2 every year.

  • Remote sensing data has shown that in 2010 43 percent of the land had 10 percent tree cover, up from 8 percent in the preceding decade.
  • Provided that a large percentage of land is under agriculture, agroforestry may contribute considerably to global carbon budgets.
  • Trees on agricultural lands known as agroforestry systems will contribute to reduce the impact of climate change while improving livelihoods and incomes and providing invaluable ecosystem services at the same time.

▼ Country’s first tiger cell to be set up in Dehradun   [08-5-16]

The first tiger cell of the country will soon be formed with Wildlife Institute of India at the helm in Dehradun.

  • MoU for this has been signed between NTCA and WII
  • Cell will house a database of tigers and DNA as well as striped samples of big cats from over 50 tiger reserves.
  • This will aid conservation efforts by preventing poaching and providing an update on tiger numbers.

▼ Himalayas will have to contend with flooding. Andes will have long dry spells: Scientists    [08-3-16]

Different regions of the planet will react to global warming differently according to scientists. Researchers have shown that people in the Himalayas will have to contend with flooding while those in Andes will have longer dry spells and less water.

  • Swiss researchers measured data and climate models to examine water balances in mountain ranges of upper Langtang valley in Nepal and Juncal region of central Andes.
  • While in the upper Langtang valley, water discharge will increase in the first half of this century by as much as 70 percent, Juncal region will become drier in the future.

▼ Bengal tiger to be extinct by end of century: Researchers   [08-2-16]

According to research conducted by Panthera, researchers catalogued the species in peril across six continents- all the species across the globe that IUCN has listed as threatened with extinction.

  • World’s biggest and iconic animals such as Royal Bengal tiger could be extinct towards the close of the century if drastic conservation measures are not taken.
  • Rapid loss of biodiversity and megafauna is an issue more pressing than climate change.

▼ IIT researchers find decrease in spatial variability of mean monsoon rainfall over major river basins in India   [08-1-16]

A study conducted by IIT-M and IIT-B researchers has found decrease in spatial variability of mean monsoon rainfall over major river basins in the country.

  • Though there is a statistically significant decrease in monsoon rainfall over major water surplus basins, there is no such increase in monsoon rainfall over major water deficit river basins.
  • Major surplus basins like Godavari and Mahanadi are witnessing significant decrease in rainfall.
  • Decrease has been within 10 percent.
  • Water yields in major deficit river basins such as Ganga and Indus have increased during 1976-2000 as against 25 years (1951-1975), the trend is not statistically significant according to Prof Gunthe from IIT-M
  • Ganga which is a major water deficit basin has seen considerable increase in rainfall, while Yamuna, Krishna and Cauvery river basins exhibit a decrease.
  • There has been increase in extreme rainfall events in India yet this is not significant for water availability as surplus water gets wasted.
  • Latest study found that amount of summer monsoon rainfall over Indian river basins does not support the rule that “wet gets wetter and dry gets drier.”
  • Changes in rainfall pattern over major river basins in India raises concerns with respect to suitability and viability of interlinking major river water basins.
  • Water demand in the surplus basin needs to be assessed and matched under falling water availability scenario before transferring water from surplus to deficit river basins indicating the need for a systematic approach.

▼ Discovery of three butterfly species in Uttarakhand takes total number to 453   [08-1-16]

With the discovery in Uttarakhand of three varieties of butterflies, total number of varieties of butterflies found in the hill state is 453

  • Of the three new varieties, two were discovered and photographed in Nainital and third was found in Haldwani.
  • Of 1300 varieties of butterflies found in India, Uttarakhand was home to 450 till three more species were added to the list.
  • Spotted three species are the following:
    1. Ciliate Blue- Anthene emolus
    2. Newar three ring (Ypthima newer)
    3. Western Five Ring (Ypthima indecora)
  • Forest department held that this is the first time the Ciliate Blue (28-35 mm) is recorded from Western Himalaya in Uttarakhand
  • Species is previously found in southern parts of India, Nepal to NE India.
  • In India it is found in Bihar, Sikkim, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal and NE states.
  • Newar three ring (35-40 mm) is also recorded first time in the hill state Uttarakhand and is found in areas from Kashmir to Kumaon and in Arunachal Pradesh as well.
  • Single specimen of the butterfly species were found in FRI Dehradun
  • Third one, Western Five Ring (45 to 50 mm) was identified by IUCN member Krushnamegh Kunte who founded the Indian Foundation for Butterflies.

▼ BSI: Close to 8000 species of medicinal herbs and plants found in India   [08-1-16]

Botanical Survey of India, an organisation under Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, GoI have carried out survey and documentation of plant resources of the country including medicinal and aromatic plants and herbs.

  • According to the BSI estimate, close to 8000 species of medicinal herbs and plants have been found in the country.
  • National Medicinal Plants Board, AYUSH Ministry has been implementing the following schemes in 2008-2009:
  • Central Sector Scheme on Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants.
  • Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Mission on Medicinal Plants.
  • According to BSI, an organisation under Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change about 70 medicinal and aromatic plant species are threatened on account of anthropogenic activities.