Environment Current Affairs - 2020

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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Scientists find World’s oldest Fossil forest

Scientists have discovered the remnants of world’s oldest fossil forest- an extensive network of trees around 386 million years old in a sandstone quarry in United States (US). According to the researchers from Binghamton University, and New York State Museum in U.S., the fossil forest in Cairo would have spread from New York all the way into Pennsylvania and beyond. The finding were published in journal Current Biology.

About World’s oldest Fossil forest

The researchers team, mapped over 3,000 square metres of forest at abandoned quarry in the foothills of Catskill Mountains in Hudson Valley, New York.  The forest is nearly 2 or 3 million years older than what was until now believed to be world’s oldest forest at Gilboa (or Gilboa Fossil Forest, also located in New York State). As per the researchers, the Cairo forest is older than the one at Gilboa because fossils were lower down in sequence of rocks that occur in the Catskill mountains.

Key Findings:

The findings throw a new light on evolution of trees and transformative role they played in shaping the world we live in.

The forest is being assumed to have been looked like a fairly open forest with small to moderate sized coniferous-looking trees with individual and clumped tree-fern like plants of possibly smaller size growing between them.

The research shows that the forest was home to at least two types of trees:- (1) Cladoxylopsids, a primitive tree-fern-like plants, lacked flat green leaves, and grew in vast numbers at Gilboa; while (2) Archaeopteris, had a conifer-like woody trunk and frond-like branches which had green flattened leaves.

A single example of a third type of tree was also uncovered, which remained unidentified but could possibly have been a lycopod. All these trees reproduced using only spores rather than seeds.

Researchers also reported an extensive network of roots which was more than 11 metres in length in some places and belonged to Archaeopteris trees.  It is these long-lived woody roots that transformed interactions of plants and soils and were pivotal to co-evolution of forests and atmosphere.

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SC issues order on completion of “Smog Tower Project” within 3 months

On December 16, 2019, the Supreme Court of India ordered the Centre and the Delhi Governments to hasten the pilot project of setting up smog towers at Connaught place.

Smog Towers

Smog Towers are air purification structures that are designed to work as air purifiers. They are fitted with multiple air purifiers. These purifiers cleanses air as it passes through them. It is a successful project and China has fitted two smog towers in the city of Beijing and Xi’an. The tower is being developed in Delhi by Kurin systems called the “Kurin Cleaners”

About the towers

The purifiers will be 20-feet wide and 40-feet tall. They will have the capacity to clean 32 million cubic metres of air in a day. A single tower will cover 3-km radius and is said have impacts on 75,000 lives of Delhiites.

The Kurin cleaner will remove PM 10 and PM 2.5 upto 99.99%. It will run on solar energy. As many as 48 fans will be fitted to these towers to maintain air flow. The towers will also be attached with solar heating and cooling techniques.

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