Environment Current Affairs 2018

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

Habitat loss may have triggered Nipah outbreak: WHO report

According to report by World Health Organisation (WHO), human-triggered factors like habitat loss due to deforestation and climate change set off infectious outbreaks such as recent Nipah cases in Kerala. Due to habitat destruction by human activity, flying fox (fruit bat), a natural host of Nipah virus get stressed and hungry, which weakens its immune system, increasing virus load. It results in lot of virus spilling from urine and saliva of bats.

Findings of Study

There is strong evidence that emergence of bat-related viral infections can be attributed to loss of animal’s natural habitats. Reproductive and nutritional stress are potential role players in Nipah and Hendra (Nipah equivalent in Australia) viruses spillover. Nutritional stress is mainly due to loss of food resources which is direct consequence of habitat loss and climate change brings bats closer to urban areas.

Forest fragmentation and hunting bats for food also bring them closer to humans and is often an important cause of disease transmission. It can be seen from rapid urbanisation of bat-rich rainforests contributed to the emergence of Nipah virus in Malaysia.

Nipah virus

Nipah virus (NiV) infection is zoonotic disease (disease transmitted to humans from animals) that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.

Fruit bats or flying foxes of Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus are natural host of Nipah virus. The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids. It was first identified in 1999 during outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore. It gets its name from Sungai Nipah, a Malaysian village, where pig farmers became ill with encephalitis.

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22 May: International Bio-diversity Day

The International Bio-diversity Day is observed every year on 22 May to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme this year is ‘Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity’. It marks 25th anniversary of entry into force of Convention on Biological Diversity (at United Nations Environment Progamme Headquarters, Nairobi on 22 May 1992) and to highlight progress made in achievement of its objectives at national and global levels. The day was proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly in 2000 via resolution 55/201

Celebrations

On the occasion, National Mission for Clean Ganga and World Wildlife Federation (WWF)-India jointly organised workshop Ganga and its Bio-diversity: Developing a Road Map for Habitat and Species Conservation in New Delhi. The workshop was aimed at forming integrated approach for conservation of Ganga’s ecology, environment and bio-diversity by restoring Ganga’s ecological integrity.

Biodiversity

The term Biological Diversity (or Biodiversity) was first coined by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in 1968. This term became widespread in use during 1980s. Biodiversity refers to 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.

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. The terrestrial biodiversity is greater at equator in comparison to poles. Around 90% of world’s biodiversity is found in tropical rainforests which occupy less than 10% of Earth’s surface. The marine biodiversity is highest along coasts in Western Pacific which is known for highest sea temperature.

Convention on Biological Diversity

CBD (commonly known as Biodiversity Convention) is legally binding document, which came asoutcome of Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 and entered into force in December 1993. Its objectives are conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. The idea is to develop national strategies for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. 198 countries/territories including India are parties to CBD. United States has signed but not ratified convention.

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