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January 2017 Environment


Environment

New Projects approved under Namami Gange for Haridwar and Varanasi
Many new projects under Namami Gange Programme in Haridwar and Varanasi have been approved by National Mission for Clean Ganga(NMCG)

Namami Gange 
Namami Gange Programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.

The programme envisages River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.

About NMCG

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).
  • It is a registered society originally formed by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change(MoEFCC) on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. 
  • As per the 306th amendment in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, both NGRBA and NMCG are allocated to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation(MoWR,RD &GR).
  •  At national level NMCG is the coordinating body and is being supported by States Level Program Management Groups (SPMGs) of UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
  •  The area of operation of NMCG shall be the Ganga River Basin, including the states through which Ganga flows, as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. 
  • The area of operation may be extended, varied or altered in future, by the Governing Council to such other states through which major tributaries of the river Ganga flow, and as the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) may decide for the purpose of effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga. 

Jallikattu: Tamil Nadu CM to meet PM Modi to request promulgation of ordinance
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneer selvam has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider passing an ordinance to ensure that Jallikattu (bull taming) sport is held as a part of the Pongal festivities across Tamil Nadu this year. 

CM said that the ban on Jallikattu has caused widespread resentment and general disappointment among the people of Tamil Nadu, particularly in the rural areas, since Jallikattu is intertwined with the religious and social cultural ethos of Tamil society.

Jallikattu debate

Argument of Jallikattu supporters

  • Banning jallikattu will decimate India’s indigenous cattle breeds. If the sport is banned, farmers will be forced to abandon the raising of native livestock, which already stands threatened due to the extensive use of motor pumps, tractors and mechanised agriculture.
  • Organisers of Jallikattu and bullock-cart races argue that these are traditional practices closely associated with village life, especially in the southern districts of TN.
  •  The bulls are specifically identified, trained and nourished for these sporting events, and their owners spend considerable sums on their upkeep. No tickets are sold for Jallikattu or bullock-cart races, and not much pain or suffering is caused to the animal.

SC ruling

  •  In May 2014, the court said “bulls cannot be allowed as performing animals, either for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in the state of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra or elsewhere in the country.
  •  The SC order also identified “the five freedoms” of animals, including freedom from hunger, thirst and malnutrition, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from physical and thermal discomfort, freedom from pain, injury and disease, and freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour. 
  •  It asked Parliament to “elevate rights of animals to that of constitutional rights, as done by many of the countries around the world, so as to protect their dignity and honour”.
  •  It extended Right to life under Article 21 and included right to life with dignity for “any species”.
  • Back in 1991, the Environment Ministry had banned the training and exhibition of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and dogs.

What AWBI has to say

  •   The AWBI has argued that Jallikattu bulls are physically and mentally tortured for the pleasure and enjoyment of human beings. 
  •  According to AWBI, Jallikattu or bullock-cart races conducted in this way have no historical, cultural or religious significance in Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra, and that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, must supersede any such practice.

About AWBI

  •   The Animal Welfare Board of India was established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960.
  •  Well-known humanitarian Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale was instrumental in setting up the board and was its first chair.
  •  The Board consists of 28 Members, who serve for a period of 3 years. 
  • The Board was initially within the jurisdiction of the Government of India's Ministry of Food and Agriculture. In 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, where it now resides.

Effects of Endosulfan devastating: SC
Describing the effects of Endosulfan as “devastating,” the Supreme Court directed the Kerala government to release the entire compensation to over 5,000 victims, mostly newborns, and their families in three months.

Background

  • Kerala has earmarked over 180 crore for the payment of compensation to victims, some of whom are terminally ill from the effects of the pesticide which was aerially sprayed on cashew plantations adjoining habitats where the victims are located.
  • The State has paid cash compensation ranging from  2 lakh to  5 lakh to the victims.
  • In 2011, the Supreme Court ordered the immediate ban of Endosulfan while disregarding pleas of over 150 private export companies.

About Endosulfan

  • Endosulfan is an organ chlorine insecticide. This colorless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity, endocrine effects, and potential for bioaccumulation.
  • Endosulfan is used as an insecticide on a variety of crops, including many food crops such as teas, grains, fruit, vegetables, and also on nonfood crops such as tobacco and cotton. It is also used as a wood preservative
  • Endosulfan can enter the body through inhalation by breathing air contaminated with endosulfan, from eating and drinking contaminated products, or through skin.
  •  Once endosulfan is in the body, it is broken down in the liver and kidneys into mainly water-soluble products and leaves the body through urine and feces within a few days or a few weeks.
  •  Exposure to very large amounts of endosulfan for short periods of time can cause adverse nervous system effects (such as hyper excitability, tremors, and convulsions) and death. 

Green tribunal orders test of cosmetics containing microbeads
The National Green Tribunal(NGT) has directed the Centre to test cosmetic products containing microbeads after a plea sought a ban on their use on the ground they are extremely dangerous for aquatic life and environment.

The order came on a petition seeking a complete ban on the use of microbeads in the manufacture, import and sale of various cosmetics or personal care products.

About Microbeads

  • Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than five millimeters in their largest dimension. They are most frequently made of polyethylene but can be of other petrochemical plastics such as polypropylene and polystyrene.
  • They are used in exfoliating personal care products, toothpastes and in biomedical and health-science research. 
  • Microbeads can cause plastic particle water pollution and pose an environmental hazard for aquatic animals in freshwater and ocean water.

NGT

  • The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment
  • Origin is related to  Rio de Janeiro summit of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June 1992, India vowed the participating states to provide judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of the pollutants and other environmental damage.
  • The tribunal shall consist of a full time chairperson, judicial members and expert members. The minimum number of judicial and expert member prescribed is ten in each category and maximum number is twenty in each category.
  • The Tribunal has Original Jurisdiction on matters of "substantial question relating to environment" (i.e. a community at large is affected, damage to public health at broader level) & "damage to environment due to specific activity" (such as pollution).

Graded Response Plan Notified by Centre to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR
A graded response action plan has been notified by the union environment ministry to deal with air pollution in the National Capital Region.

  • Terming air pollution in Delhi and NCR as a "matter of serious concern", which requires "urgent action", the Environment Ministry in its notification assigned the task to implement the plan to Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • In pursuance of sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (29 of 1986), the Central government hereby assigns the task of implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan to the EPCA.
  •  The comprehensive plan, prepared by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), that focuses on Delhi, was submitted to the Supreme Court . The apex court had accepted and asked the Centre to notify it.
  • Once the plan is notified, emergency measures like odd-even car rationing scheme and ban on construction activities will be automatically enforced in the city if level of PM 2.5 breaches 300 micrograms per cubic metre and PM 10 levels stay above 500 micrograms per cubic metre for two consecutive days.
  •  The plan also recommends that during 'very poor' air quality, diesel generators must be banned and parking free increased by 3-4 times.
  • The plan has enumerated a number of other measures which include closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers, intensifying public transport services besides increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads.

Central Pollution Control Board

  •  The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974. CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them. 
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEF. The board is led by its chairman, who is nominated by the Central Government

Cabinet approves ratification of the Second Commitment Period of Kyoto Protocol 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to ratify the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol on containing the emission of Green House Gases (GHGs). 

  • The second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 2012. So far, 75 countries have ratified the Second Commitment Period.
  • In view of the critical role played by India in securing international consensus on climate change issues, this decision further underlines India's leadership in the comity of nations committed to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice.
  •  Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by India will encourage other developing countries also to undertake this exercise.
  •  Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with Sustainable Development priorities will attract some investments in India as well.

Background

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) seeks to stabilise Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would minimize interference with the climate system.
  • Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of Greenhouse Gas (GHGs) in the atmosphere, the Kyoto Protocol places commitments on developed nations to undertake mitigation targets and to provide financial resources and transfer of technology to the developing nations. 
  • Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and the 1st commitment period was from 2008-2012.
  • At Doha in 2012, the amendments to Kyoto Protocol for the 2nd commitment period (the Doha Amendment) were successfully adopted for the period 2013- 2020. 
  • Developed countries have already started implementing their commitments under the 'opt-in' provisions of the Doha Amendment.

Yettinahole project: MP, activists threaten to go on hunger strike
MP, and activists opposing the Yettinahole diversion project have threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike here from February 11 if the State government did not take a decision to stop the project during .

About the project

  •  Yettinahole River Project is  River Netravathi  Diversion project initiated by Karantaka.
  • Karnataka Govt is planning to divert waters from west-flowing river  Netravathi to some  districts i.e Kolar, Bangalore,  Ramanagara,  Chikkaballapur, etc .
  • The project involves construction of 8 dams . All These dams are constructed near Yettinahole .
  • From these dams continues 85 cusec water is collected from June to November 24*7   to Delivery chambers interconnected to many Delivery chambers.(Large pipelines that transport water under pressure) 
  • But this project affects the people of Mangalore District who solely depends upon this River for Everything.
  • Apart from this there is danger for Western Ghats and  might Change the Monsoon  pattern . Deforestation, Problem to Wildlife , Problems to  Marine and aquatic animals.

BNHS launches climate change programme in Central Himalayas
The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched climate change programme under which the first study funded by Oracle and facilitated by CAF-India, will assess the status, distribution and conservation of peasants and finches in the Central Himalayas.

About the project

  • The major aim of this project is to assess the status of phasinidaes and fringillidaes, particularly globally threatened species found in Himalayan region and evaluate their distribution.
  • This long-term monitoring project also aims to assess the socio-economic activities of local communities and involve them in conservation efforts and sensitize the local forest department staff.
  •  This project is part of a long-term programme of BNHS which intends to understand the impact of climate change on biodiversity of the Himalayan region.
  • The project will contribute in making an inventory of pheasants and finches, documentation of local specific conservation issues, and designing local as well as species specific conservation action plan with the community participation.

Background

  • The Himalayas hold a rich natural heritage with diverse flora and fauna enhancing the beauty of the region. The Indian subcontinent is home to nearly 50 species of pheasants and 62 species of finches, with several species listed in 'Globally Threatened' category by IUCN.
  • Both these groups are spread across the Himalayas. Shrinking habitats combined with several biotic factors, along with trapping and poaching pressures in many areas have pushed several of them to near extinction.

About BNHS

  • The Bombay Natural History Society, founded in September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
  • It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
  • BNHS is the partner of Bird Life International in India. 
  • It has been designated as a 'Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation' by the Department of Science and Technology.

Sample Questions
Q1.Who is the chairman of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA)
a)    President
b)    Prime Minister
c)    Environment Minister
d)    Water Minister


Q2.Consider the following statement regarding Animal Welfare Board of India
1.    Animal Welfare Board of India was established in 1962 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960.
2.    Since from establishment it was under the aegis of Environment Ministry
Choose the correct option
a)Only 1                b)Only 2
c)Both                    d)None


Q3.Consider the following statements regarding microbeads
1.    Recently National Green Tribunal(NGT) has directed the Centre to test cosmetic products containing microbeads.
2.    Microbeads are manufactured solid plastic particles of less than ten millimeters in their largest dimension
3.    They are used in exfoliating personal care products, toothpastes and in biomedical and health-science research
Choose the correct
a)Only 1              b)Only 1,2
c)Only1,3            d)All


Q4.Which of the following is 2nd commitment period under Kyoto Protocol
a)    2010-2015
b)    2012-2020
c)    2015-2020
d)    2015-2025


Q5.Consider the following statements regarding Endosulfan
1.    This colourless solid has emerged as a highly controversial agrichemical due to its acute toxicity.
2.    Recently due to large protest from farmers SC ordered to remove the ban on use of endosulfan
Choose the correct option
a)Only 1                 b)Only2
c)Both                    d)None

Answers
Q1.b     Q2. a      Q3. c     Q4.  b      Q5.a