Environment - Current Affairs for May, 2016

Environment Current Affairs for May, 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   
▼ Ramanagara district in Karnataka to see launch of household biogas project   [05-31-16]

Ramanagara district in Karnataka would soon see the launch of a household biogas project wherein 7,620 household biogas units would be built, providing an equal number of biogas stoves to as many families in the district.

  • An initiative of Infosys, 22 crore would be spent on the project and over a period of ten years, the project is expected to generate biogas equivalent to about one million cylinders of domestic LPG. Infosys would be training the beneficiaries to maintain the biogas digesters and monitor their performance in partnership with SKG Sangha, a Karnataka-based NGO with experience in implementing biogas projects.

▼ Mass bleaching kill more than a third of the coral in northern & central Great Barrier Reef   [05-31-16]

Mass bleaching has killed more than a third of the coral in the northern and central parts of the Australia Great Barrier Reef.

  • Corals to the south have escaped damage.
  • Researchers found that 35 percent of the 1400 mile reef’s coral reef are dead or dying.
  • Some parts of the reef have lost more than half of the coral to bleaching.
  • The extent of the damage have serious implications.

▼ Global energy renewable project on Galapagos boosts sustainable development : GSEP   [05-31-16]

Success of global renewable energy project on Ecuador’s Galapagos archipelago has provided a major boost to sustainable development as per a report. Meeting 30 percent of local energy needs, the US $10 million San Cristobal Wind Project reduced the GHG emissions and preserved critically endangered species according to a report released by Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership.

  • GSEP is a NPO with 11 of the world’s foremost electricity firms.
  • Initiative has displaced 8.7 million litres of diesel fuel and avoided 21,000 tonnes of CO2.
  • Project’s three 51 metre tall wind turbines and two set of solar panels have been supplied on an average , 30 percent of electricity consumed on San Cristobal- the archipelago’s second largest island in size and population and went into operation in October 2007.
  • GSEP has recommended the project’s expansion to further boost the renewable energy share to 70 percent.
  • The Galapagos is an archipelago of 19 islands in the Pacific Ocean 1000 km off the coast of Ecuador has exotic plants and animal species and famed as a site of Charles Darwin’s research of the evolution of species by natural selection.
  • Some of the islands have a growing population economically supported by thriving tourism.

▼ Gurgaon district set to have a reserved forest zone for black bucks   [05-30-16]

An area of 140 ha has been allowed by the forest department to be reserved forest zone for endangered species

  • Area has been sanctioned in Sarbasirpur
  • NCR is already home to a Sultanpur national park and bird sanctuary which provides habitats for migratory birds
  • Reserve area will be developed over a period of four years and will provide a natural habitat for the black bucks

▼ Water level dips across major reservoirs across the nation   [05-30-16]

Water level in 91 major reservoirs of the country has dipped to 18 percent of their total capacity

  • As per Union Water Resources Ministry, 26.816 billion cubic metre of water is available in reservoirs for week ending May 26.
  • Total capacity of the reservoirs is 157.799 BCM and is 45 percent short of the stock there in the corresponding period last year and 21 percent less than 10 year average storage level fr the same spam
  • The states which have reported lower levels of water in major reservoirs include the following: HP, Telangana, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP, Uttarakhand, MP, Chhattisgarh, TN, Kerala and Karnataka.
  • States with better storage as against last year include AP, Tripura and Rajasthan

▼ India 5th largest producer of e-waste in the world: ASSOCHAM-KPMG study   [05-27-16]

India emerged as the fifth largest producer of e-waste in the world, but the second largest mobile market with 1.03 billion subscribers as per the ASSOCHAM-KPMG joint study that was published on 25 May 2016. India discards roughly 18.5 lakh metric tonnes of electronic waste each year with telecom equipment alone accounting for 12 percent of the e-waste. Over 100 million handsets have been manufactured last year. The unorganised sector in India is estimated to handle around 95 percent of the e-waste produced in the country.

  • In the last 15 months alone, operators have invested over 30 percent of the cumulative investment made in 20 years prior.
  • With more than 100 crore mobile phones in circulation, nearly 25 percent of mobiles end up in e-waste annually.
  • Report recommends the phased manner for implementation of e-waste collection targets needs to be introduced.
  • The steps should be taken to rationalize the various audits being conducted by various authorities, to ensure that same areas are not audited on a repeated basis.

▼ 3 Islands off Phuket closed to coral reefs   [05-27-16]

Three islands off Phuket in south Thailand were closed to tourists to protect endangered coral reefs.

  • The tiny islands off Phuket's east coast, namely Koh Khai Nai, Khai Nok and Khai Nui, were shut down with all facilities and structures used for tourist activities since about 80 per cent of coral reefs in the area have been destroyed

▼ Report titled Actions on Air Quality released by UNEP   [05-26-16]

United National Environment Programme on 24th may 2016 released the Actions on Air Quality report.

  • The report was released during the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).
  • As per the report, with the decline of the global air quality, action in some air quality areas points to political will to tackle this global public health emergency although current efforts still fall short
  • Report said global urban air pollution levels increased by 8 percent between 2008 and 2013.

▼ Chinese capital Beijing to implement strict vehicle emission standards   [05-26-16]

Chinese capital city Beijing will implement the new strictest vehicle emission standards to reduce hazardous hydrocarbon emissions by 5 percent. Beijing took the lead in China in using unleaded gasoline 2007 and worked out the Beijing II gasoline standard in 2014

  • Beijing also issued and implemented Beijing III, IV and V in 2005, 2008, and 2012
  • Gasoline standards in Beijing are always one to two stages ahead of other Chinese cities
  • Newest standards in Beijing were two or there stages ahead of other Chinese cities
  • The newest standard Beijing VI will reduce vehicle hydrocarbon emissions by 5 percent.
  • Beijing is expected to implement the new standard in December next year- the new strictest standard will lower emissions by 40 to 50 percent

▼ Centre for Environment Health launched by PHF, TISS   [05-23-16]

The ‘Centre for Environmental Health‘ to assess the impact of environment-related problems like air pollution, climate change, pesticide use and sanitation on health, was launched by Union Minister JP Nadda.

  • A joint initiative of the Public Health Foundation of India and the Tata Institute of Social Science, the centre will conduct research across a range of environmental health issues, including chemical exposure, water and hygiene.
  • Its mandate also includes capacity-building, advocacy, outreach and remedial issues.
  • With a million species facing extinction and Arctic region experiencing ice free summer by 2040, environment health has become increasingly important

▼ UNSC Ban Ki-moon announces appointment of special envoys on El Nino and Climate   [05-23-16]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of Mary Robinson of Ireland and Macharia Kamau of Kenya as his Special Envoys on El Niño and Climate. The El Nino this year is taking place in a world dramatically affected by climate change. Extreme weather events are expected in the future and those least responsible for climate change will be hit the most and hardest.

  • Ms. Robinson is currently President of the Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice. She was the Presiden
  • Mr. Kamau is the Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations.

▼ Close to 40 million Indians at risk from rising sea level by 2050: UN   [05-23-16]

Close to 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels by 2050 with people in Mumbai and Kolkata having maximal exposure to coastal flooding on account of rapid urbanisation and economic growth, according to a UN report

  • The UN report entitled Global Environmental Outlook GEO-6 indicates worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and South and SE Asia
  • Focusing on the population at risk from sea level rise by 2050, seven of the 10 most vulnerable countries worldwide are in the Asia Pacific region.
  • India tops the chart with nearly 40 million people in the country projected to be at risk from rising sea levels followed by 25 million in Bangladesh, 20 million in China and 15 million in Philippines.
  • Changes in settlement patterns, urbanisation and SES in Asia have influenced observed trends in vulnerability and exposure to climate extremes
  • The UN report has listed Mumbai and Kolkata in India, Guangzhou and Shanghai in China, Yangon in Myanmar, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong in Vietnam to have the largest population exposure to coastal flooding in 2070

▼ Tropical storm Roanu to hit AP coast   [05-20-16]

The cyclonic storm ‘Roanu’ over west central Bay of Bengal remained practically stationary and lay centred about 80 km south southeast of Machilipatnam, about 290 km south-southwest of Visakhapatnam and 160 km south-southwest of Kakinada.

  • The system is likely to move initially north-northeastowards along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 12 hours, thereafter north eastwards.
  • It is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by tonight, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • Heavy to very heavy rain at a few places with isolated extremely heavy rain is very likely to occur in the districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore till Friday morning.
  • The Cyclone Warning Centre (CWC), Visakhapatnam, has issued a warning to fishermen against venturing into the sea along and off AP coast during the next 48 hours.

▼ Artificial propagation programme for Mahseer conservation initiated    [05-20-16]

Population of the golden mahseer, hunted for sport and food is falling in HP rivers leading to the formation of an artificial conservation programme for the rehab and conservation of this fish species also called the tiger of the Indian rivers.

  • Hatchery-reared juveniles would be released into the rivers and reservoi.
  • Studies conducted by the fisheries department say the population of the golden mahseer is declining in the state due to various reasons, including:
  • 1. construction of dams, barrages,
    2. pollution,
    3. indiscriminate fishing of brood and juvenile fish,
    4. introduction of exotic species and habitat deterioration.

▼ Scientists find remains of giant prehistoric bird living 50 million years ago   [05-20-16]

Scientists on May 18 found the remains of a giant prehistoric bird that lived 50 million years ago in Antarctica and had the largest wingspan ever recorded.

  • Palaeontologists at a natural history museum in Argentina said they had identified the pelagornithid, or bony-toothed bird, nearly three years after its fossilised bones were first found at an Argentine research base on the Antarctic island of Marambio.
  • The bird's wings, fully extended, spanned more than 6.4 meters (21 feet), she said. Antarctica specialists say there were two kinds of pelagornithid on the continent, one that reached up to five meters tall, with a similar wingspan, and another that stood more than seven meters.
  • The birds likely developed to their monstrous size some 50 million years ago, when warming ocean temperatures would have given them an abundance of food to thrive, the researchers said.

▼ East Antarctica glacier reaches tipping point, to increase sea level   [05-20-16]

A rapidly melting glacier a top East Antarctica is on track to lift oceans at least two metres, and could soon pass a "tipping point" of no return, researchers said on 18th May

  • To date, scientists have mostly worried about the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets as dangerous drivers of sea level rise.
  • But the new study, following up on earlier work by the same team, has identified a third major threat to hundreds of millions of people living in coastal areas around the world.
  • From the air, the contours of Totten Glacier roughly the size of France are invisible because the entire Antarctic continent is covered by a seamless, kilometres-thick blanket of snow and ice.It’s underbelly is eroded with warm sea water and is rapidly melting.
  • Sea levels during the Pliocene peaked at levels more than 20 metres (65 feet) higher than today. This could happen again.

▼ India to publish air pollution data of UK, US cities   [05-20-16]

The current WHO report on air pollution has been called “misleading” by the MoEF which plans to come out with pollution data of major cities across the EU and US.

  • The WHO report has listed 30 Indian cities among 100 most polluted cites in the world. Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said WHO had not factored in various key pollutants like benzene, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide while analysing air quality.
  • To categorise cities as polluted based on PM 2.5 was misleading as there were 8 other major pollutants which have adverse impact on health.
  • There is ozone, benzene and SO2 as well as NO2 pollution with adverse impact on health.

▼ Sangai deer found in Manipur to be accommodated to second home   [05-17-16]

Scientists at Wildlife Institute of India, have been assigned the task to provide a second home to 110 Sangai or dancing deer which are brow antlered and one of the most endangered species in the world

  • Once found in all of NE India and Indo China, the dancing deer are now confined to small pockets of Manipur, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Lao, and Vietnam.
  • Sangai are now restricted to the Keibul Lamjao National Park in the SE fringe of Loktak Lake in Manpur
  • The Sangai are called dancing deer because they dance on the green grassland or phumdis which are floating vegetarian occupying a large surface area of the lake. On this floating biomass, the Sangai are often found. They feed on the Phumdis.

▼ Mexico’s vaquita marina, world’s smallest porpoise on verge of extinction   [05-16-16]

Environmentalists have warned that the world’s smallest porpoise vaquita marina, was close to extinction as the government reported only 60 found last year

  • Population has fallen despite a ban on fishing gill-nets causing the vaquitas death
  • The porpoise population has fallen to lower than 100 in 2014 from 200 in 2012, according to CIRVA or International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita
  • The fate of this porpoise has been linked to critically endangered sea creature, totoaba

▼ Dehradun ranks 31st on list of most polluted cities in the world:WHO   [05-16-16]

Dehradun has ranked 31st in a recently released list of most polluted cities of the world.

  • It was 29th last year
  • List released by WHO on May 12 is based on how much fine particulate matter they have in the air in terms of PM 2.5
  • Dehradun’s count is beyond 100

▼ No More 50 campaign on animal rights launched   [05-13-16]

Several Parliamentarians and celebrities on May 12 launched the `No More 50' campaign in order to press for stronger animal rights law so that the culprits do not get away by merely paying Rs 50 for their unlawful action under the prevailing Act.

  • The campaign includes a series of videos from Indian celebrities, including Usha Uthup, Sudesh Bhosle, Anup Jalota, Tara Sharma, Arman Mallik and others.
  • They are urging the Ministry of Environment to increase punishment for animal cruelty in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • #NoMore50 is a campaign from Humane Society International/India and People for Animals.
  • Film stars Nagarjuna and his wife Amala also joined the movement along with others.

▼ 36 animal and plant species in Gujarat endangered   [05-11-16]

Close to 36 animal and plant species in Gujarat have been categorised as endangered by the IUCN, according to the Ministry of Environment and Forest.

  • 20 species of animals and 16 of plants are endangered in the state
  • Animal species include the following : Black Mahseer, Golden Mahaseer, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Indian White-backed Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Red-headed Vulture, Steppe Eagle, Greater Adjutant-Stork, Great Indian Bustard, Lesser Florican, Sociable Lapwing, Spotted Greenshank, Forest Spotted Owlet, Dhole, Caracal, Blue Whale, Fin Whale and Indian Wild Ass.
  • Number of endangered fauna species in India has risen from 648 in 2013 to 665 in 2015
  • The number of endangered mammals had risen from 95 to 98, birds from 80 to 88, reptiles from 52 to 53, amphibians from 74 to 75, fishes from 213 to 216 and molluses from six to seven in the last two years.

▼ Chan’s Megastick breaks record for longest insect in the world   [05-10-16]

Chan’s megastick or Phaebeticus Chani was discovered two years in southern Chinese province of Guangxi. The Insect Museum of China announced the stick insect measuring 62.4 cm has broken the record for the world’s longest insect among the 807625 known insects.

  • The previous record-holder was a Malaysian 56.7-centimeter-long stick insect discovered in 2008. One of its specimen is on display in London’s Natural History Museum.

▼ 5 islands disappear in Pacific Solomon Islands   [05-10-16]

5 islands have disappeared in the Pacific Solomon Islands due to rising sea level and coastal erosion as per an Australian study scientists said could provide insights for future research

  • A further six reef islands have been severely eroded in the remote area of the Solomons, the study said, with one experiencing some 10 houses being swept into the sea between 2011 and 2014.
  • Total of 11 islands across the northern Solomon Islands have either totally disappeared over recent decades or are currently experiencing severe erosion
  • It is feared that the rise in sea levels will cause widespread erosion and inundation of low-lying atolls in the Pacific.

▼ NGRBA provides approval for projects   [05-6-16]

Providing a major boost to Ganga rejuvenation efforts, National Ganga River Basin Authority has approved projects worth Rs 2446 crore for development of 'ghats' and crematoriums at various places along the river in four states and along its tributary Yamuna in Delhi.

  • The projects will be implemented along the river stretch from Haridwar to Uttarakhand border, Garhmukteshwar in Uttar Pradesh, Buxar, Hajipur and Sonepur in Bihar, Sahibganj, Rajmahal and Kanhaiya 'ghat' in Jharkhand.
  • The project is also meant for afforestation along the banks of river Ganga. However, additional fund of Rs 2294 crore for afforestation under 'Forestry Intervention in River Ganga' scheme of the Centre will be approved later.