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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Indian Institute of Petroleum sets up plant to turn plastic waste into diesel

Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) has set up a waste plastic to diesel plant in Dehradun (capital of Uttarakhand) as a step towards ensuring freedom from plastic. It was inaugurated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.

Key Highlights

Process: In the waste plastic to diesel plant set up in IIP, scientists will process waste plastics into fuel.

The plant has a capacity to produce 800-litre diesel from 1 tonne of plastic. The plastic used will be collected with the help of NGOs.

Benefits: By producing diesel out of plastic waste on a large scale, the plant beside being a good step towards freedom from plastic also reduces India’s dependence on other countries for petroleum products.

Significance: The plant has been set up at a time various countries are working towards a plastic-free world. This is yet another achievement of IIP after successfully producing biofuel for aircraft.

About Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP)

It is one of the constituent laboratories of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), dedicated to Research & Developmet (R&D) in hydrocarbon sector.

It was established in 1960.

Function: It develops processes and products for petrochemical industries and petroleum refining, training of personnel in oil and petrochemical industries, as well as assisting in formulation of standards for petroleum products.

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CoP18 of CITES held in Geneva

The 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was recently held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Highlights of COP18 CITES

Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) was moved from CITES Appendix II to CITES Appendix I, giving it highest level of international protection from commercial trade. Indian star tortoise was also moved to CITES Appendix I. Tokay gecko (Gekko gecko) will be included in CITES Appendix II.

The proposal to prohibit commercial international trade in species of otter native to the subcontinent and some other parts of Asia was put by India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Smooth-coated otter: It is considered to be facing high risk of extinction and is detrimentally affected by international trade, as well as habitat loss and degradation and persecution associated with conflict with people (and fisheries). Its numbers in wild has fallen by at least 30% over the past 30 years.

About Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

It is as international agreement aimed at ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Its text was agreed in Washington, DC, in 1973 (So it is also referred to as Washington Convention) and entered into force in 1975.  It now has 183 parties. It is legally binding on Parties i.e. they are committed to implementing it. However, it does not take place of national laws of parties, but obliges them to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals. It is administered through United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its secretariat is located in Geneva, capital of Switzerland.

CITES Appendix: It classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on level of threats faced by them. CITES also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as food, medicine, clothing, and souvenirs etc.

Appendix I: It includes species threatened with extinction. CITES completely bans commercial trade in specimens of these species. But is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

Appendix II: It provides a lower level of protection.

Appendix III: It contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.

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