Environment - Current Affairs for September, 2015

Environment Current Affairs for September, 2015

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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▼ NGT seeks government repossess on multipurpose Lakhwar project   [09-30-15]

NGT sought Union Government response on plea challenging the construction of the 300 MW Lakhwar multi-purpose project being built by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL).

NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar headed the bench which issued a notice to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Ministry of Water Resources and UJVNL. The notice was issued on a plea of members of the Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan. As per the plea, the Lakhwar project, which was part of the composite Lakhwar-Vyasi project, did not get any Environment Clearance (EC) from the Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC). It was further argued that no evaluation of the project in terms of its environmental costs and impacts, as required under the EIA Notification.

This HEP was developed as part of the composite project known as Lakhwar Vyasi project. The two projects were separated in 2007. Lakhwar Project was not given any EC by the EAC as it did not satisfied the EIA notification. Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh will benefit from the drinking water and water for irrigation produced by the Lakhwar project.

▼ Typhoon Dujuan strikes China   [09-30-15]

Typhoon Dujuan passed through Taiwan on 28th September bringing high winds and rain. Typhoon had left two people dead, 324 injured and six mountain climbers missing besides which a total of 710,000 households were without electricity and 370,000 without water. It made landfall in SE Fujian province on 29th September attaining maximum wind speeds of 119 kms per hour at its centre before turning into a tropical storm.

Moving at the speed of 12 mph, this is due to reach neighbouring Jiangxi province. This is the 21st typhoon in 2015 and arrived at the coastal city of Putian packing winds of up to 33 meters per second, according to the Fujian Meteorological Service.

▼ Brazil to slash GHG emissions by 43% by 2030   [09-28-15]

Brazil pledged to slash GHG emissions by 43% by 2030 as part of contribution to United Nations Climate Agreement and reduction from past efforts combating deforestation will help in the attainment of the target. Brazil President Dilma Rousseff presented the pledge at the UNGA in NYC noting the targets are more ambitious than that of developed nation and the country will need no external help to meet them. Leading researchers have estimated legal deforestation could be carried out in a massive area of 100 MHA in Brazil even then.

▼ Union Minister of MoEF emphasises need for green credit at UNFCC meet   [09-28-15]

Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has spoken about the need to promote green credit rather than carbon credit at the Second Meeting of the Business Dialogue for COP21 under UNFCC. Aim is to ensure polluters do not get away with it through payment for carbon emissions. World should incentivise green growth activities as Green Credit rather than Carbon Credit Mechanism which provides a way out for emitters to get away with having polluted the environment. Demand supply mismatch and low admission for emission reduction will lead to slowdown of Clean Development Mechanism market.

▼ According to a WWF study Alpine glaciers have lost 40%   [09-28-15]

Alpine glaciers have lost 40% of their area over the past 30 years according to a WWF study, Hot Ice report. This is ahead of the UNCCC to be held in Paris in November- December. Report indicates that measures need to be taken to prevent further deterioration of the glaciers. Regarding the Italian Alps, report indicated glaciers currently cover a total area of 368 sq km compared to 609 sq km in 1980s. New Italian Glacier Inventory presented at the 19th Alpine Glaciology meeting in Milan as against 1989 World Glacier Inventory based on data collected during the 80s. Melting process is affecting Arctic, Antarctic and other glaciers across the world such as Alaska, Ural Mountains and the Alps. Global CO2 emissions, a main GHG produces for global warming has risen to 35.3 billion tonnes per year in 2013 from 22.6 billion tonnes in 1990 according to EDGAR/EU Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research. Alpine glaciers are a source for Po, Italy’s longest river.

▼ BNHS Biologists spot 70 new avian species in Sultanpur National Park   [09-28-15]

Biologists from BNHS have spotted 70 new species of birds in Sultanpur National Park in a study conducted between October 2014 and March 2015. The absolute count method was used for getting an estimate of the avian population of the park. Total number of bird species in the park has risen to 320 from 250 over 4 years. Of 320, 180 were resident species of which 57% were resident, 31% were wintering and 10% were local migratory to the park. 4 vulnerable and 8 non-threatened species have also been discovered at Sultanpur National Park. Vulnerable species include Greater Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Indian Spotted Eagle and the Sarus Crane. Close to 20,000 migratory birds along the park in winter form part of its population. 21 fish eating birds have also been found in the park.

▼ Giant herbivore dinosaur fossil found in Australia   [09-28-15]

A giant herbivore dinosaur fossil dating back to more than 100 million years has been found in Australia and is believed to be from the Austrosaurus mckillopi found at Clutha Station in Queensland, Australia. This species was a herbivorous dinosaur that dwelt on land. It grew up 15 m in length with barrel like body and 4 pillar like legs. Bones found are approximately 104 million years old.

▼ US and China work jointly for elephant conservation   [09-28-15]

Both China and the US have taken swift action to prevent elephants from poaching crisis and placed a near complete ban on ivory imports and exports. China has announced a ban on domestic ivory trade. It is estimated 35,000 elephants are killed every year which equals 1 in every 15 minutes for ivory trade. Steps will be taken by both nations to halt commercial trade of ivory. China is currently the largest market in the world for both legal and illegal ivory. US is one of the world’s top markets for ivory.

▼ Remains of new dinosaur reveals lost world of arctic dinosaur   [09-25-15]

The skeleton belongs to a newly-discovered species of duck-billed dinosaur, which was 30-feet long and lived through months of winter darkness and probably snow. It is the dinosaur with the most northernmost habitat ever found known as Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis. Discovery indicates a new world of dinosaurs that could live in snowy conditions and contended with months of darkness.The researchers estimate that there could be at least 13 different dinosaur present in the area — and will now continue to research to find out how they lived in regions that scientists had previously thought to be uninhabitable for reptilian dinosaurs.The new dinosaur is closely related to Edmontosaurus, another duck-billed dinosaur that lived about 70 million years ago.

▼ India, US sign MOU on energy security, climate change and clean energy   [09-24-15]

India and US have signed an MoU on energy security, climate change and clean energy, Secretary of State John Kerry announced in a news conference with Indian ministers. India’s commitment to reach 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022 is the world’s most ambitious target in the sector of renewable energy. Fulbright Climate Fellowship programme is also being launched to ensure key exchange of research information.

▼ VW caught in diesel emissions scam   [09-24-15]

Volkswagen has indicated it will set aside 6.5 billion euros for covering diesel emissions scandal cost and winning back trust of customers. Close to 11 million cars may be impacted by the admission of VW that it has falsified reports of diesel emissions. Company is recalling half a million cars in the United States.It also faces USD 18 billion in fines for pollution in the US.

▼ Arctic Melting to cost global economy USD 43 trillion   [09-23-15]

Melting of Arctic permafrost and consequent release of CO2 and CH4 will add USD 43 trillion to the cost of climate change to the international economy according to the scientists. This represents a 13% rise in predicted economic impact of climate change by 2200. Arctic region is one of the fastest warming in the world. The permanent ice of land and under seabeds prevent GHG emissions to exacerbate greenhouse effect.

▼ Nesting Sites of Dinosaurs Found in MP   [09-20-15]

Researchers have found 2 nesting sites of 6.5 crore old fossilised dinosaur eggs in Dhar District, MP, around 125 km from Indore. Nests formed got buried under rocks during turbulence that occurred 6.5 crore years ago. Nesting sites are located at Baag, Dhar district 8 km from each other. There are a total of 15 fossils in each site, according to researchers. The rare sites of fossils in the district has now reached 4 with this fresh discovery. The Mangal Panchayatan Parishad discovered 25 nests of dinosaurs way back in 2007. State government is also working for developing 108 ha in Dhar District as National Dinosaur Fossil Park. The eggs of dinosaurs belong to the Sauropod family in the most recent discovery. The dinosaurs were around 20 to 30 feet tall.

▼ 50% of world’s marine population disappeared between 1970 - 2012 : WWF   [09-18-15]

As per the WWF Living Blue Planet report, half of the world's marine population (49%) has disappeared between 1970 and 2012, a plunge to the “brink of collapse“ caused by over-fishing and other threats. 29% of world’s oceans are classified as overfished and a further 61% as fully exploited. Global population sizes of the Scombridae family of food fish has decreased by 74%. Declining stocks of blue fin and yellowfin have pushed them to near extinction.There has been a 50% reduction in population numbers globally of fish during the period from 1970s to early 2000s.Almost 75% of the world's coral reefs are threatened with their cover having decreased by more than 50% in the last 3 decades. With over 25% of all marine species living in coral reefs and about 850 million people directly benefiting from them economically , the loss of these reefs would is considered dangerous. 20% loss in mangrove cover between 1980 and 2005 equal to as much as 3.6 million hectares indicates rate of loss is 3-5 times greater than average global forest loss. Global catches of sharks have increased by 300%. This means that 25% of shark, rays and skates are now threatened with local extinction.5,829 populations of 1,234 species were studied as part of this report.

▼ Saikia resigns as member of ICC at TERI   [09-18-15]

R. Saikia headed the 3 member internal complaints committee panel at TERI which found former director general R. K. Pachauri guilty of sexual harassment. However, the TERI ICC committee which also upheld charges of intimidation and stalking against him has been reconstituted following Saikia’s resignation. The reconstituted committee now comprises the following members:

- D. Vibha Dhawan – Presiding Officer
- Ms Mili Majumdar – Member
- Dr Ibrahim H Rehman – Member
- Dr Suneel Pandey – Member
- Ms Vagisha Kochar (Adv.) – Member.

▼ AP released the water to mark their formal linking on 16, Sept 15   [09-17-15]

The linking of the two rivers Krishna and Goavadari will be held near Vijayawada. State of AP has created history through completion of the river linking project for diversion of 80 TMC of water from Godavari to Krishna. Pattieseema lift irrigation scheme on Godavari river in West Godavari district has made it possible to link Krishna basin with Godavari river. Init has 18% of the world’s population and 4% of its water resources. 1869 BCM average annual water availability has been issued by Central Water Commission. 1123 BCM average annual potential of utilisable quantity of water includes 690 BCM of surface water and 433 BCM of ground water. 1180 BCM assessed annual water requirement is stressed by 2050. While annual per capital availability was 6042 cubic meter in 1947, it has fallen to 1816 in 2001 and 1545 by 2011. Annual per capital availability of water is projected to lower to 1340 cubic meter by 2025 and 1140 cubic meter by 2050, according to Ministry of Water Resources.

▼ 2014, 2015, 2016 - Warmest years ever recorded as per the British Met Office   [09-16-15]

It looks likely that globally 2014, 2015 and 2016 will all be amongst the very warmest years ever recorded, National Centre for Atmospheric Science, which contributed to the report, announced. The rate at which global temperatures are increasing is also on track to pick up in the coming years, ending a period of more than a decade in which the pace of warming worldwide had appeared to slow down.

An El Nino weather pattern centred in the tropical Pacific Ocean is "well underway", the report says and this is likely to result in dry conditions in parts of Asia and Australia, as well as southern and sub-Saharan North Africa. By contrast, the southwestern US has a strong chance of seeing greater than-average rainfall. El Ninos also affect tropical storms, making them less likely in the North Atlantic and more intense in the West Pacific.

▼ World’s longest chain of continental volcanoes in Eastern Australia   [09-16-15]

World’s longest chain of continental volcanoes put together in the past 33 million years stretch over 2000 km in eastern Australia. Active volcanic chain is running from central Queensland coast’s Cape Hillsborough to New South Wales and Cosgrove in Victoria. This volcanic chain ws created as Australia moved north-northeast over a mantle plume hotspot now located in Bass Strait.

This kind of volcanic activity occurs away from tectonic plate boundaries where most volcanoes are located. Newly discovered volcanic chain is westerly of 3 volcanic chains running across eastern Australia. The fastest moving continent on Earth is Australia currently.

▼ Government bans manufacturing, import and export of polychlorinated biphenyls   [09-16-15]

Government has taken the decision to ban manufacturing, import as well as export of polychlorinated biphenyls and equipment containing this toxic chemical. PCBs are banned under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants otherwise known as the POPS Treaty. This was ratified in 2006 to ban use of PCBs by 2025 and adopt measures to lower or remove releases from stock piles and waste by 2028.

Government proposes to regulate manufacture, trade, use, import or export of PCBs equipment with these and contaminated with this chemical and dispose of PCB waste. Import as well as export of PCB-contaminated equipment will be regulated as per the provisions of the Hazardous Wastes Rules, 2008.

▼ Centre issues order to declare 56825 square km area over 6 states as ESA    [09-15-15]

ESA has been declared in the six states with Karnataka having the largest share of 20,668 sq km under the zone. This comes after entire western ghats was suggested to be declared ESA by the Madhav Gadgil led Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. This was followed by a recommendation by the K Kasturirangan High Level Working Group which recommended 60,000 sq km of the Western Ghats be declared as ESA. Only 56,825 sq km was declared however and a monitoring centre has also been set up in the Western Ghats for this.

▼ China to open first express highway made of Construction Waste.   [09-14-15]

China will open its first express highway created from construction waste which will open in Shaanxi Province in China. This expressway is 122 km long and has a designed speed of 120 kmph. Total of 5.7 million tonne of construction waste was used for constructing the expressway. An average of 46,700 tonnes was used in each km. Use of recycled waste helped the project to avoid 3.4 million cubic meters of sand and combustion of 32,000 tonnes of coal. Land saved has created USD 47.07 million in benefits for the economy.

▼ Jal Kranti Abhiyan Launched   [09-13-15]

The Jal Kranti Abhiyan has been launched as part of which National Dialogue on Clean and Sustainable Groundwater entitled Bhujal Manthan at Haryana. This scheme aims to turn one water scarce village in each district of the country into water surplus through an integrated approach of conservation and management. Local water professionals called Jal Mitra will be trained as part of the scheme and they will create mass awareness. This campaign is to be implemented in 672 districts of the country.

▼ National Offshore Wind Energy Policy Approved   [09-11-15]

Government has approved a policy for establishing wind power projects alongside the Indian coastline. National Offshore Wind Energy Policy cleared by the Union Cabinet allows development of wind power projects in the exclusive economic zone of India. Research initiatives are also part of the policy. It aims at allocation of onshore wind energy block for installing turbines to generate electricity from Wind. Offshore wind represents 2% of global installed capacity currently. 1713 megawatts of new offshore capacity was added in 2014 bringing the total to 8759 megawatts. Close to 91% of offshore wind installations are in European waters. From a total of 8045 MW of new offshore wind installations, North Sea has around 5094.2 MW, Atlantic Ocean has 1808.6 MW and Baltic Sea has 1142.5 MW. India has join nations such as S. Korea, China and Japan as well as the US for looking at offshore wind. There is a potential for generation of 106000 MW power through offshore wind projects in Gujarat and 60,000 MW on TN coastline. Offshore wind energy policy will provide a level playing field for domestic as well as global investors and beneficiaries. Processes will be carried out by NIWE which will implement the policy.

▼ 5 cities face the most severe problem of suspended particulate pollution in India.   [09-11-15]

Of close to 13 cities in the nation whose AQI/ Air Quality Index was measured on a daily basis by CPCB, the 5 top cities were Ahmedabad, Pune, Kanpur, Varanasi and Hyderabad. These cities are facing severe problem of suspended particulate pollution or prevalence of particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less in city air. Breathing this air can lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma. The recorded AQI on 8 pm, 9th September 2015 indicated particulate levels of Hyderabad and Kanpur were as high as Ahmedabad which topped the list. High density of factories and burning Piraana dump are reasons why Ahmedabad has higher than PM2.5 levels. AQI index is released every day by the CPCB at 5 pm. QI is from 0 to 500. The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the more prevalent the health concern. AQI value of 100 generally corresponds to the national air quality standard for the pollutant, which is the level EPA has established to protect public health. AQI values below 100 are generally thought of as satisfactory. When AQI values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy for sensitive persons at first and everyone when certain levels are attained.

▼ 41.8 MT e-waste generated in 2014 - Global Waste Management Outlook report   [09-10-15]

Global Waste Management Outlook is the first report of waste management on international level. It was jointly prepared by UNEP/United Nations Environment Programme and ISWA/International Solid Waste Association and released in Antwerp, Belgium. UNEP has estimated that 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste is generated each year in its Global Waste Management Outlook. It estimates a generation of 7-10 billion tonnes per annum of urban waste. 100% of urban population must have access to controlled waste disposal as close to 3 billion people lack access to waste disposal facilities, as per the outlook. e-Waste generated rose from 33.8 MT in 2010 by 25% to 41.8 MT.

▼ India’s first leopard census.   [09-9-15]

The first leopard census was conducted in 2015 along with last year’s tiger census and it estimates the total population of the spotted cat in India to be around 12,000 to 14,000. The earlier estimate varied from 10,000 to as high as 45,000. Study also found India’s leopard population is healthy because it survives in shrubs as well as forests impacted by human activity. For the first leopard census, 3,50,000 square km of forested habitat across Shivalik and Gangetic Plains, C. India and Western Ghats was covered, with as high as 17,143 pictures of 1647 leopards taken during the exercise.