Environment Current Affairs 2017

Enter Your Email Address To Subscribe Current Affairs Daily Digest, Daily Quiz and other updates on Current Affairs:

Madhya Pradesh bans Sand Excavation in Narmada River

The State Government of Madhya Pradesh has put an indefinite ban on the sand excavation in the Narmada River. This announcement has been made by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal. The government has also set up a committee to suggest the scientific ways of mining the rivers. This committee will submit the report to state government after exploring ways for sand excavation without harming rivers. The government will also promote manufactured sand (made by mixing stones).

Background

Illegal sand mining is one of the serious law & order and environmental issues in several states of India including Madhya Pradesh. The business has flourished mainly because of nexus between sand mafia, officers and politicians. Many people including police officers and activists have lost their lives while making attempts to check this illegal activity. The Chief Minister was has been travelling along side Narmada River to make “Save Narmada” a people’s movement through his “Namami Narmada Yatra”. However, in February 2017, his government had faced embarrassment when a company belonging to nephew of chief minister was alleged to be engaged in illegal mining.

The issue of illegal mining in Narmada was sub-judice in state High Court but in July 2015, it was transferred to National Green Tribunal. On the basis of a complaint by Medha Patkar (of Narmada Bachao Aandolan), the NGT had sent a team to investigate the matter. After investigation, NGT had directed state government to take strong measures and report the progress.

About Narmada River

Narmada (giver of pleasure), is one of the largest rivers of India, originating in Amarkantak Hills and flowing through Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is third largest river after Ganga and Godavari to flow within political boundaries of India. It flows in a rift valley between the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges; and serves as lifeline of Madhya Pradesh.  Its basin covers large areas in the states of Madhya Pradesh (86%), Gujarat (14%) and a smaller area (2%) in Maharashtra. In the river course of 1,312 km, there are 41 tributaries, out of which 22 are from the Satpuda range and the rest on the right bank are from the Vindhya Range. Geologically, Narmada River is older than the river Ganges. In Puranas, it has been mentioned as Rewa. In Indian history, the river has played role to divide North India (Uttarpatha) from South India (Dakshinpatha). The Chalukya emperor Pulakeshin-II had defeated emperor Harshavardhana on the banks of Narmada River, thus forcing him to agree this river as his southern border after this war.

Tags:

22 May: World Biological Diversity Day

Every year, May 22 is observed as International Day for Biodiversity or World Biodiversity Day. This date commemorates the date of Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity at UNEP Headquarters, Nairobi on 22 May 1992. In 2000, UN General Assembly via resolution 55/201 decided to celebrate World Biodiversity Day on May 22 instead of December 29, which was previously designated as International Biodiversity Day.

Theme

The theme for 2017 for World Biodiversity Day is “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism”. The theme is in sync with the observance of 2017 as “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. UN has already declared 2011-20 as United Nations Decade on Biodiversity to support and promote reducing the loss of biodiversity.

About Global Biodiversity

The term Biological Diversity was first coined by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in 1968. This term became widespread in use during 1980s. Biodiversity refers to the “totality of genes, species and ecosystems of a region”. There are three levels of biodiversity viz. species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity.  The term biodiveristy is used to address several problems in conservation of environment including loss of species, destruction of habitats, invasive species, genetic pollution, over exploitation and effects of climate change on biodiversity.

The spatial distribution of organisms, species and ecosystems is called Biogeography.  Biodiversity is unequally distributed on Earth and it varies across regions on the basis of climatic and geographical factors. On earth, highest biodiversity is found in tropics. In comparison to Oceans, terrestrial biodiversity is much greater. It is estimated that there are 8.7 million species on earth of which 2.1 million live in Oceans while rest are terrestrial. The terrestrial biodiversity is greater at equator in comparison to poles. Around 90% of world’s biodiversity is found n tropical rainforests which occupy less than 10 percent of Earth’s surface. The marine biodiversity is highest along the coasts in the Western Pacific which is known for highest sea temperature. Around 70% of World species are found in 12 countries viz.  Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico and Peru.

Tags:

Climate Change: Antarctica is Turning Green

According to a new study conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK, plant life on Antarctica is growing rapidly due to climate change. The scientists have observed  a sharp increase in biological activity in Antarctica in the last 50 years. For ascertaining the growth, the scientists conducted tests at five cores from three sites and has observed the occurrence of major biological changes across the Antarctic Peninsula. The scientists made use of 150 years’ worth of data to arrive at the conclusion. The study has been published in the journal Current Biology.

According to the scientists, Antarctica will be much greener in the future and the continent’s plants and soils will change substantially even with only modest further warming. The continuous retreat of glaciers will make Antarctica much greener in the future. As per the study, the growth of moss in the continent is a signifier that the region is already undergoing change. At present, the plant life exists only in 0.3% of Antarctica. With increase in land cover occurs decrease in snow and ice cover. The thinner ice cover permits the penetration of sunlight into the previously dark areas allowing the planktons to grow. This would bring ecosystem shift to Antarctica similar to what has happened in Arctic.

Background

In March 2017, the US and European scientists had observed that the extent of sea ice at both poles has hit new record lows in this year’s season. The disappearing sea ice comes as the Earth marks three consecutive years of record-breaking heat and temperature rise, raising fresh concerns about the accelerating pace of global warming.  Also, for the past two years, Antarctica saw record high sea ice extents and decades of moderate sea ice growth.

Recently, the researchers have also found that the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. But after 2009, multiple glaciers along a vast coastal expanse suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean. These glaciers measure around 750 km in length and are shrinking nearly at a constant rate of 60 cubic km and adding about 55 trillion litres of water each year. With this level of shrinking, the region has become the second largest contributor to sea level rise in Antarctica causing small changes in the gravity field of the Earth.

Bharti is the name of third Research station commissioned by India at Antarctica. It will be the third and second active research station along with Maitri (active) and Dakshin Gangotri(abandoned, but used as supply base) for the nation.

Tags:

Advertisement

1...23456...102030...185