Environment 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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According to recently released Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas prepared by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), India among nations that face grave danger to soil biodiversity. The atlas was released as part of WWF’s biennial Living Planet Report (LPR) 2018. The key aspect of this year’s report was threat to soil biodiversity and pollinators, the two key drivers of biodiversity. These two key drivers loss were due to over exploitation of natural resources and agriculture.
Highlights of report
- Soil Biodiversity: It encompasses presence of micro-organisms, micro-fauna (nematodes and tardigrades for example), and macro-fauna (ants, termites and earthworms).
- Millions of microbial and animal species live and make up soils, from bacteria and fungi to mites, beetles and earthworms. Soil biodiversity, thus is total community from genes to species, and varies depending on environment.
- The immense diversity in soil allows for great variety of ecosystem services that benefit species that inhabit it, the species that use it and its surrounding environment.
- WWF’s ‘risk index’ for globe: It indicated threats from loss of above-ground diversity, pollution and nutrient over-loading, over-grazing, intensive agriculture, fire, soil erosion, desertification and climate change.
- India was coloured red on atlas and is among countries whose soil biodiversity faces the highest level of risk. Other countries in this category include Pakistan, China, several countries in Africa and Europe, and most of North America.
- India’s per capita ecological footprint: It was less than 1.75 hectares/person (it is in lowest band among countries surveyed). India’s high population made it vulnerable to ecological crisis, even if per-capita consumption remained at current levels.
- Pollinators: 150 million bee colonies were needed to meet the pollination requirements of about 50 million hectares of agricultural land in India, only 1.2 million colonies were present.
- Ecological loss: Population of fish, mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles has dwindled by average of 60% from 1970 to 2014 and fresh-water species have declined by 83% in same period. Globally, extent of wetlands os estimated to have declined by 87% since 1970.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
It is international non-governmental organization working field of the wilderness preservation and reduction of human impact on the environment. It was formerly named World Wildlife Fund. It is world’s largest conservation organization with over five million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects. It founded in 1961 and is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland. WWF aims to stop degradation of planet’s natural environment and build future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Currently, its work is organized around these six areas: food, climate, freshwater, wildlife, forests, and oceans. It publishes Living Planet Report every two years since 1998 and it is based on Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculation.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scientists has developed less polluting green firecrackers named SWAS,SAFAL,STAR. Green crackers are so named because they do not contain harmful chemicals that would cause air pollution.
- SWAS stands for safe water releaser, SAFAL stands for safe minimal aluminum and STAR stands for safe thermite cracker.
- These crackers are 15-20 percent cheaper than the conventional ones.
- STAR eliminates usage of Potassium nitrate and sulphur.
- SAFAL has less usage of aluminum as compared to commercial crackers.
- The new crackers have been developed by Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) based in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute in Nagpur.
- The firecrackers have a unique property of releasing water vapour.
- The researchers at CECRI have developed green crackers by modifying the chemical formulations for flower pots, ‘jiljil’ and used flower pots as a substitution for barium nitrate .
- The crackers will come in the market after the approval from Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO), which is the nodal agency for safety requirements in manufacture, storage, transport of all types of explosives.
- It matches the sound intensity of commercial crackers in the range of 105-110 decibels.
About CSIR –NEERI
The CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute is a research institute created and funded by Government of India under the Ministry of Science and Technology. It works in the field of environmental science and engineering and is a part of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. It was established in Nagpur in 1958.
The Indian fireworks industry has an annual turnover of over Rs 6000 crore .It provides employment opportunities to about 5 lakh families annually. CSIR tried to address pollution level and at the same time protecting the livelihoods of those involved in this industry.