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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Environment Ministry official to chair Animal Welfare Board of India

Government has notified that Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) will now be permanently chaired by a senior MoEF official.

Recently, new Board of 18 members, chaired by Sharad Singh Negi, Special Secretary and Director-General (Forests), MoEF came into effect for three years term.

Background

Previously in AWBI’s 55-year history, it was always chaired by somebody outside government, such as veterinarians, animal welfare activists or retired judges. But in recent times due to differences between AWBI and MoEFCC, especially on the conduct of the Jallikattu, Central Government exerted its primacy in the management of the organisation.

About Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)

  • The AWBI is a statutory advisory body established in 1962 under Section 4 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • It frames a range of rules on how animals ought to be humanely treated everywhere. It has also frequently litigated to have stricter laws to ensure animals were not unduly harassed or tortured.
  • Initially it was within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Later in 1990, the subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred to the MoEFCC.
  • Well-known humanitarian and former parliamentarian (late) 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. Its headquaters is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
  • Several government organisations, along with animal rights activists and parliamentarians, are represented on the Board.
  • Some Functions of AWBI: Recognition of Animal Welfare Organisations: It oversees Animal Welfare Organisations (AWOs) by granting them recognition if they meet its guidelines.
  • It also appoints key people to the positions of (Hon) Animal Welfare Officers, who serve as the key point of contact between the people, the government and law enforcement agencies.
  • Financial assistance: It provides financial assistance to recognised AWOs, who submit applications to the Board.
  • Categories of grants include Regular Grant, Cattle Rescue Grant, Provision of Shelter House for Animals, Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme, Ambulance for animals in distress and Natural Calamity grant.
  • Animal welfare Laws and Rules: It suggests changes to laws and rules about animal welfare issues. It also offers guidance to organisations and officials such as police to help them interpret and apply the laws.
  • Raising awareness: It issues publications to raise awareness of various animal welfare issues. Its education team gives talks on animal welfare subjects, and trains members of the community to be Certified Animal Welfare Educators

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Sea ice hits record winter low at both poles: Scientists

According to US and European scientists, the extent of sea ice at both poles has hit new record lows for this time of the year.

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. 

Key Findings 
  • Artic region: The ice floating in the Arctic Ocean grows and shrinks on a seasonal cycle every year, reaching its largest size in March and smallest at the end of the summer melt in September.
  • But this year’s Arctic maximum spanned 14.42 million sq.km i.e. 95,829 sq.km below the previous record low in 2015. This year’s ice cover is 12,19,884 sq.km smaller compared to average sea ice extent for 1981-2010.
  • The Arctic sea ice maximum has dropped by an average of 2.8% per decade since 1979. There was a lot of open ocean water and very slow ice growth because the water had a lot of accumulated.
  • Antartic region: The ice in the Antarctic also follows a seasonal cycle but its maximum comes in September and its minimum around February (summer in Southern Hemisphere).
  • In the Antarctic, this year’s annual sea ice was 21,10,840 sq.km, about 1,83,889 sq.km below the previous lowest minimum extent in the satellite record, which occurred in 1997.
  • For the past two years, Antarctica saw record high sea ice extents and decades of moderate sea ice growth.

Ice level

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NGT suspends Green nod for Neutrino project

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) suspended the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO). It has asked the project proponent to make a fresh application.

NGT suspended the EC after petitioner submitted that the INO project was just 4.5 km away from Mathikettan Shola National Park in Idukki district (Kerala) and one kilometre from Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and falls under category ‘A’ project in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). 

What is the issue?
  • The Union Environment Ministry had categorised INO project as a Category ‘B’ project, for which an EIA is not necessary.
  • But, as per EIA Notification, 2006, any project specified in category ‘B’ will be treated as category A, if it is located in whole or in part within 10 km from the boundary of protected areas notified under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and inter-State boundaries.
What NGT says?

INO is a category ‘A’ project, which meant EIA study has to be done by an accredited agency. Since the project was near a national park, INO needs to get a clearance from the National Board for Wildlife. It also needs to get necessary clearance from the Kerala government as well.

About India-Based Neutrino Observatory (INO)

  • It country’s most ambitious basic science project proposed to come up in Bodi west hills of Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
  • It aims at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approximately 1200 meter. Its mandate is to conduct basic research on the elementary particle called neutrino.
  • It is jointly supported by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science & Technology (DST), with DAE acting as the nodal agency.
  • The observatory will be located underground in order to provide adequate shielding to the neutrino detector from cosmic background radiation.
  • It will comprise a complex of caverns which will house detector which is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high.

INO

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