Environment Current Affairs 2017

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No resolution achieved during Antarctic Ocean sanctuary talks at CCAMLR

No resolution could be reached during the talks at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), at Hobart in Australia. The commission is made up of 24 countries and the European Union.

What is CCAMLR?

  • imageCommission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was established in 1982. 
  • The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, also Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and CCAMLR, is part of the Antarctic Treaty System.
  • Its aim is to conserve marine life in the face of rising demands to exploit krill, a shrimp-like creature which is an important source of food for species in the Antarctic.
  • The commission permits fishing carried out in a sustainable manner and takes account of the effects of fishing on other components of the ecosystem.
  • Headquartered in Tasmania, Australia.
  • CCAMLR is an international commission with 25 Members, and a further 10 countries have acceded to the Convention.
  • Based on the best available scientific information, the Commission agrees a set of conservation measures that determine the use of marine living resources in the Antarctic.

The key institutional components of CCAMLR are:

  • the CAMLR Convention which entered into force on 7 April 1982
  • a decision-making body, the Commission
  • a Scientific Committee which advises the
  • Commission using the best available science
  • Conservation measures and resolutions
  • CCAMLR’s Membership and provisions for international cooperation and collaboration
  • a Secretariat based in Hobart, Tasmania, that supports the work of the Commission.

What was the objective of the conference?

  • The conference was held to reach agreement on creating new marine sanctuaries to protect thousands of polar species across Antarctica. CCAMLR had been considering proposals for two critical areas in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean.
  • They included 1.6 million square km of protection for the Ross Sea, the world’s most intact marine ecosystem, and 1.9 million square km of coastal area in the East Antarctic, backed by Australia and the EU.

Who opposed the move?

  • Blocking countries included major fishing countries, with China, Japan, South Korea and Russia among them.

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Orissa slaps a penalty of Rs 23,904 crore on ‘errant miners’

The Orissa steel and mines department has imposed a penalty of Rs 23,904 crore on 27 miners in the mining circle of the mineral-rich Keonjhar district for extraction of ore beyond the permissible limits.

Companies which have been slapped with penalties include Tata Steel, Aditya Birla-owned Essel Mining and the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation.

Tata Steel has been asked to pay Rs 6,265 crore. Others who have been charged are Essel Mining (Rs 4,530 crore), RP Sao (Rs 3,872 crore), Sarada Mines (Rs 2,845 crore), KJS Ahluwalia (Rs 2,022 crore), Serajuddin & Co (Rs 1,983 crore).

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Uttarakhand tops in “Environmental Performance Index (EPI)”

Uttarakhand (scored 0.8123) topped the list of best-performing States and Union territories in terms of environmental performance. As per the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) released by Planning Commission:

· Uttarakhand is followed by Himachal Pradesh (0.7316), Chandigarh (0.7270), Sikkim (0.7149), and Andhra Pradesh (0.7147).

· Best states in terms of air quality: Mizoram, Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Tripura, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar (all with average score of 1)

· Paradoxically, except for Uttarakhand, all the States meet the prescribed national ambient air quality standard in respect of the sulphur dioxide of 20 micrograms per cubic metre.

· More than 10 States do not meet the national standard of 30 microgram per cubic metre for Nitrogen dioxide.

· Except for Goa, Kerala, and Mizoram, no State meets the 60 microgram per cubic metre national standard for particulate matter.

· Himachal Pradesh is the only state with 100 % sewage treatment capacity, in the remaining States it ranges from 0 (13 States) to less than 20 % (8 States) and more than 50 per cent in 4 States.

· Total fecal coliform count is as much as 92 % in most of the States.

· States leading in forest conservation and expansion of green cover are Chandigarh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh.

Environmental well-being is one of the considerations for transfer of funds to the States under the Gadgil formula.

Indicators taken under consideration to arrive at water quality:

· Sewage disposal

· water quality of rivers

· dissolved oxygen

· total coliform count

· percentage of water exploitation

The indicators considered for measuring the ambient air quality performance:

· sulphur dioxide

· nitrogen oxide

· particulate matter

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