Environment Current Affairs 2017

Latest Environment Current Affairs 2017 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2017 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2017

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April 22: Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. It was first celebrated in 1970, and since then it is celebrated in more than 193 countries by over a billion people every year. Earth Day celebrations are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Earth Day 2017’s Campaign is Environmental & Climate Literacy. Environmental and climate literacy was chosen as it is important for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies across the globe as well as to accelerate green technologies and jobs.

Earth Day

Every year Earth Day is being observed on the 22nd April to build support for environmental protection around the world. It aims to encourage people to carry out activities that will benefit the Earth, such as recycling more, using solar power or plant trees.

Earth Day celebrations are a way to remind humans of environmental deterioration caused by them and advise them to turn off the electronic devices that are not in use or taking public transport to reduce the emission levels. It recognises that Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also aims to raise awareness that humans have a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature and to balance the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.

The concept of observing Earth Day was formally proposed by John McConnell at a UNESCO conference on Environment in 1969. Later in 1971, a proclamation was signed to observe international Earth Day annually on the Vernal Equinox by UN Secretary-General U Thant.

On Earth Day 2016, historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed. The agreement is legally binding on signatory countries to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

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Depression in Bay of Bengal named “Tropical Cyclone Maarutha”

A deep depression in Bay of Bengal has intensified into a tropical cyclone named Maarutha. This cyclone is expected to hit Myanmar on 17 April 2017 and bring heavy rains in parts of that country. Tropical Cyclone Maarutha is the first named storm of 2017 Northern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season.

About Tropical Cyclones

A Cyclone represents a rotating, organized system of clouds and thunderstorms that originates over tropical or subtropical waters and has closed low-level circulation. Most large scale cyclonic circulations are centered on areas of low atmospheric pressure.  Based on their latitude, the cyclones may be tropical cyclones or temperate cyclones (extra-tropical cyclones).

The tropical cyclones rotate anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and are classified into three types viz. Tropical Depression  maximum sustained winds of 38 mph or less); Tropical Storm (maximum sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph); hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 74 mph) and major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 111 mph). Hurricanes are called typhoons in western North Pacific, while similar storms in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean are called cyclones.

Tropical Cyclones in Indian Ocean

Tropical cyclones between east of the Horn of Africa and west of the Malay Peninsula are most common from April to December, with peaks in May and November in the Indian Ocean. Vardah was the strongest cyclone of the 2016 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. The other cyclones in 2016 season included Cyclonic Storm Roanu, Cyclonic Storm Kyant and Cyclonic Storm Nada. Cyclone Maarutha is the first tropical cyclone of 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season. It started forming under the influence of a persistent area of convection in South Bay of Bengal on April 13, 2017 and has been recently classified as a Cyclonic storm. After giving heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, it is expected to make a landfall in Myanmar in next two three days.

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Government launches BS-IV grade fuels

Government has formally launched Bharat Stage-IV (BS-IV) grade transportation fuel across the country to keep carbon emission in check.

The launch came days after the Supreme Court banned sale and registration of BS-III vehicles from 1 April, 2017. It sets target of ushering in BS-VI fuel by April 2020 by skipping BS-V fuel. 

All state-run oil marketing companies will provide BS-IV-compliant fuel at their 53,500 retail fuel stations across the country.

BS-IV fuels
  • BS-IV fuels contain far less sulphur than BS-III fuel. Sulphur in fuel makes it dirtier and lowers the efficiency of catalytic converters, which control emissions.
  • The BS-IV complaint vehicles release less pollutants Carbon Mono-oxide (CO), Hydrocarbon (HC), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Sulphur (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) compared to BS III complaint vehicles.

About Bharat stage emission standards

  • BS emission standards are emission standards instituted by the Union Government to regulate output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and spark ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Union Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change (MoEFCC).
  • The standards, based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000. Since then, various stages Bharat Stage compatible fuel and ungraded and modified vehicles were introduced throughout the country.
  • Each stage specifies a certain limit on the pollutants released, Higher the Bharat Stage goes lesser it emits pollutants. BS-I, BS-II and BS-III stages were launched in  2000, 2005 and 2010 respectively
  • The harmful emissions that are identified for regulations in different Bharat Stages (BS) are carbon monoxide (CO), unburnt hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Particulate matter (PM).

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