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

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STAPCOR 2018: International Conference on Status and Protection of Coral Reefs held at Bangaram Island, Lakshadweep

International Conference on Status and Protection of Coral Reefs (STAPCOR – 2018) was held at Bangaram Island, Union Territory of Lakshadweep from 22nd to 24th October, 2018. The theme of the conference was “Reef for Life”. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

STAPCOR – 2018

It was jointly organized by Department of Environment and Forest, Union Territory of Lakshadweep Administration with the technical support of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and in association with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Environmental Information System (ENVIS) in consonance with declaration of year 2018 as 3rd decadal International year of Reefs. About 150 delegates both international and national had participated in this mega event. The delegates and keynote speakers for technical deliberations in this conference were from United State of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), Kuwait, Italy, France, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

International Year of the Reef

International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) has declared year 2018 as International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2018). It is designed to raise awareness about the threats to coral reefs and the associated ecosystem.

Coral reef

It is underwater marine ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons that support and protect them. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups. Coral belongs to class Anthozoa in animal phylum Cnidaria, which includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Corals are often called “rainforests of the sea” as they form some of Earth’s most diverse ecosystems. They occupy less than 0.1% of world’s ocean area, but provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species.

Coral reefs flourish in ocean waters that provide few nutrients. They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water coral reefs exist on smaller scales in other areas. Great Barrier Reef, located in Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia is largest Coral reef in the world. The major reef formations in India are restricted to Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Kachchh, Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands. Coral reefs are fragile, partly because they are sensitive to water conditions.

Conditions required for their growth: Warm tropical oceans located between 30 degree north and 25 degree south latitudes where a minimum temperature of 20 degree is found and this temperature favour the growth of coral organisms, oceanic water free of sedimentation, transparent parts of ocean bodies, relatively low salinity ocean bodies.

Threats: They are under threat from excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), rising temperatures due to global warming, oceanic acidification, sunscreen use overuse, overfishing (eg. from blast fishing, cyanide fishing, spearfishing on scuba),and harmful land-use practices, including runoff and seeps (e.g., from injection wells and cesspools).

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Ministry of Environment launches Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign

Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign aimed to reduce adverse environmental conditions especially pollution in the country after post Diwali celebrations due to excessive bursting of crackers which contributes significantly to air and noise pollution.

Harit Diwali-Swasth Diwali campaign

This campaign was initiated in 2017-18 to enlighten children about harmful fire crackers and motivate them to celebrate Diwali in environment-friendly manner and not to buy fire crackers, instead buy gift, food items, or sweets for poor and underprivileged children living in their locality.

Under this campaign, the MoEFCC will undertake various activities for creating awareness among various stakeholders and encourage people to participate in combating air pollution. This campaign was extremely successful and the air quality had not deteriorated post Diwali in 2017 unlike what was experienced in 2016.

2018 Campaign: Following its earlier precedence, MOEFCC has initiated similar campaign, but has extended pan-India. It also merged this year’s campaign with “Green Good Deed” movement that has been initiated as social mobilization for conservation and protection of environment. All schools and colleges have been encouraged to be part of this campaign.

Background

Air pollution is serious health issue in the country especially in northern parts during winter seasons. The air pollution in northern region is mainly due to dust, burning of kharif crop residue on large scale in certain states, burning of garbage, construction activities and prevailing climatic conditions. This air pollution has serious impacts on health of children aged people and people suffering from respiratory ailments.  Diwali festival also falls during same period and as matter of traditional practice people have been celebrating this festival by bursting crackers. Crackers contains combustible chemicals that include potassium chlorate powdered magnesium, aluminum, salts of barium, copper, sodium, lithium, strontium etc. and emits hazardous smoke of these chemicals along with sound.  This smoke and sound has health impacts on children, aged people and also animal and birds. Apart from hazardous smoke, large amount of waste is also generated after bursting of crackers. Thus, keeping in view the above detrimental effects and and importance of the festival, MoEFCC had initiated a Harit–Diwali campaign.

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