Environment & Biodiversity Current Affairs - 2019
Latest Environment Current Affairs 2019 for UPSC Exams, Bank Exams, Civil Services, SSC and other Competitive Exams. Latest developments in Environment and Climate Change 2019 all important national updates in Environment events for the year 2019.
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Over 25 State governments missed the deadline for submitting their action plans on systematic disposal of plastic waste to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The April 30 deadline set by National Green Tribunal has expired and thus states may have to pay a fine as environment compensation of ₹1 crore each.
Background: In early 2019, National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed all States and Union Territories (except Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Puducherry) to submit an action plan for compliance of PWM (Plastic Waste Mnagement) Rules and submit the same to CPCB by 30 April 2019. Moreover, NGT ordered that if any state fails to submit action plans within designated deadline it will have to pay the pollution body compensation at the rate of ₹1 crore per month after 1 May 2019.
Arguments by CPCB
- The conditions of waste management in country are poor as states do not prioritise plastic and solid waste management rules. Waste management is considered last in the list of priorities of state’s municipal corporations.
- Initially the States did not comply with CPCB orders, so it moved the NGT. Now the states are violating NGT orders, so they have to pay price for their laxity.
- The CPCB will now inform NGT about non-compliance and make states pay heavy amount for default. In some cases punishment not just includes compensation but imprisonment too.
Cause of Non-Compliance
- The main reason for non-compliance of plastic waste management rules is the lack of knowledge and updates among concerned State authorities such as state pollution control boards.
- There is also a communication gap between Ministry of environment, central government officials and state level government officials responsible for waste management compliance.
The Ministry of Environment thus needs to conduct regular awareness programmes in states to educate state-level officials to carry out necessary measures to segregate plastic and dispose it.
According to a recent research published in journal Nature, China continues to use the banned ozone depleting chemical called CFC-11 in violation of Montreal Protocol.
Key Findings of Report
- Despite being a signatory to Montreal Protocol, and agreeing to phase out the production of harmful CFC-11 in 2010, China continues to emit ozone depleting CFC-11 in violation of Montreal Protocol.
- Suspicion: An initial study about a year ago reported new global emissions of CFC-11 gas, which many scientists, environmental groups and policymakers had suspected but were only able to locate source generally as East Asia.
- Confirmation: New findings by international team of researchers confirmed about suspected region and claimed that emissions of ozone layer harming gas are coming from eastern China, primarily from its two heavily industrialised provinces namely Shandong province and Hebei province. These two provinces originate between 40% and 60 % of total global CFC-11 emissions from Eastern China.
- Highlights: In years between 2008 and 2012, eastern China emitted an average of about 6,400 metric tonnes (MT) of CFC-11 per year, the emissions increased by 25% in 2012 and since 2013 CFC-11 emissions were on rise. This number then increased to an average of about 13,400 metric tonnes (MT) of CFC-11 per year in years between 2014 and 2017.
- Reasons: China has world’s largest polyurethane foam market which accounts for about 40 % of world’s total consumption. The Chinese foam manufacturers have been using CFC-11 illegally to save on higher cost of alternatives like hydrochloro-fluorocarbons named HCFC-141b, which is supposed to be phased out in China by 2026. The research also found evidence that factories in Shandong province were still making and using gas to manufacture foam insulation.
- Significance: The new research findings will add to international pressure on Chinese government to curtail the illegal use of CFC-11.
- It is also called as freon-11, Trichlorofluoromethane or R-11.
- It is one of a class of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons that is responsible for destroying atmospheric ozone.
- It is also a potent greenhouse gases (GHG) that contributes to atmospheric warming.
- Before being included in production moratorium agreed in the Montreal Protocol of 1987 it was widely being used as a refrigerant.
About Montreal Protocol
- It is a legally binding international pact signed in 1987 to preserve degradation of atmospheric ozone layer that blocks harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun. Excessive amounts of some types of UV radiation can cause eye damage and skin cancer in people and are also harmful to crops and vegetation.
- The protocol prescribe that consumption and production of compounds that deplete ozone (03) such as halons, carbon tetrachloride, stratosphere-chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and methyl chloroform-are to be phased out by 2000 (2005 for methyl chloroform).
- According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO), hole in ozone layer is on path of recovery and reduction in atmospheric concentration of CFC-11 has made second-largest contribution to its decline since 1990s.