Environment Current Affairs

MoEFCC declares Wild pig as vermin for year in Uttarakhand

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has declared Wild Pig (sus scrofa) as vermin in Uttarakhand for a year.

In this regard, MoEFCC has used its powers enshrined to it by section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA), 1972. For this purpose, ministry has shifted protected wild pig (listed in schedule III to the Act) in the vermin category to Schedule V of the Act for period of 1 year.

Background

Earlier, Uttarakhand forest department had forwarded proposal to the MoEFCC to declare both wild pig and Neel Gai (blue bull) vermin. In its proposal, authorities had mentioned that due to overpopulation of these animals in the areas outside the forest, they have created havoc by harming life and property including large scale destruction of agriculture produce.

Note: MoEFCC has rejected  forest department’s proposal to declare Neel Gai (blue bull) vermin.

What does it mean?

  • This decision will allow state forest authorities and people to carry out an extermination (hunting/poaching) of wild pigs outside the reserve forest on a large scale.
  • To do so, they will no longer require permission from the forest or wildlife officials and thus their actions cannot attract penal provisions of the WPA.
  • It will seek to balance local population of the wild pigs to mitigate the damage to human life, crops and other properties in the state for ensuring conservation of wildlife in forests.

What is Vermin?

  • Vermin means wild mammals and birds which are harmful to crops, farm animals or which carry disease.
  • In India, wild animals can be declared as vermin if they have become (i) dangerous to human life or property (including standing crops on any land). (ii) become disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery.
  • Using these provisions, any animal listed in Schedule I to IV of WPA can be declared vermin by listing it in Schedule V for a specific period.
  • Currently, some animals like the common crow, fruit bats, mice and rats have been listed as vermin in Schedule V of WPA.

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CPCB releases National Air Quality Indices for 24 cities

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has released National Air Quality Indices (AQI) for 24 cities across India in the month of January 2016.

In the list Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Muzzafarpur (Bihar) were on the top with an AQI value of 409 points each and were coded as ‘severe’ in terms of air pollution in January 2016.

Key facts

  • Faridabad (Haryana), Patna (Bihar) and Agra (Uttar Pradesh) were placed at 3rd, 4th and 5th position with 399, 388 and 372 points respectively.
  • The national capital Delhi was placed at the 6th position with 362 points and was coded as ‘very poor’ in terms of air pollution. Earlier in December 2015, it was coded as ‘Poor’ in with 293 points.

Earlier in September 2015 and October 2015, Delhi was at the top in the AQI i.e. in terms of air pollution chart. The World Health Organization (WHO) also had earlier termed Delhi as one of the most polluted city in the world in terms of air pollution.

About National Air Quality Index

  • The National AQI is published for every month by CPCB along with a numerical value and a colour code which helps in comparing air pollution levels in cities.
  • It is determined on the basis of concentration of 8 pollutants, including Particulate Matter (PM 2.5, PM 10), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), ammonia (NH3) and lead (Pb).
  • The colour categories are classified into 6 categories depending upon numerical value as Good (0-50), Satisfactory (51-100), Moderately polluted (101-200), Poor (201-300), Very poor (301-400) and Severe (401-500).

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2 February: World Wetland Day

Every year World Wetland Day (WWD) is observed on 2 February. The theme for the world wetland day for year 2016 is “Wetlands for our Future – Sustainable Livelihoods”.

It highlights the value of wetlands in securing local livelihoods through activities as rice farming, tourism, fishing and water provision.

Significance of Day: This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands also called as Ramsar Convention on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.

Each year on this day government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and groups of citizens at all levels to raise public awareness of wetland values and their benefits. They also spread awareness about Ramsar Convention in particular for conservation of Wetlands.

Background

For first time, WWD was celebrated in year 1997 and since then it is observed every year. The theme for the world wetland day 2014 was Wetlands and Agriculture.

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