Conservation Current Affairs - 2019

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Dal Lake, J&K to be declared Eco-Sensitive Zone

The Jammu and Kashmir Government will set up a 10-member committee that will declare Dal Lake, an Eco-sensitive Zone. The decision is being taken based on the study conducted by the DCI-Dredging Corporation of India

Findings of DCI

  • The Encroachments and pollution has shrunk the lake from its original size of 22 square kilometers to about 10 square kilo meters (according to DCI-Dredging Corporation of India).
  • The capacity of the lake has shrunk to 40%
  • The water quality has deteriorated due to untreated sewage water and solid waste flowing into the lake
  • Clogging in the lake has diminished circulation and has led to extensive growth of water hyacinth that has emerged as a health hazard
  • Night Soil discharge from 800 to 900 houseboats is polluting the water body
  • The depth of the lake has reduced in many places due to the absence of desilting.

Eco-Sensitive Zones

The ESZs are called Ecologically Fragile Areas. A region or territory is notified as ESZ by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change. In General, the regions are around wild life sanctuaries, protected areas and National Parks.

ESZ Legislations

  • There is no provision in the Constitution that talks about ESZ. Besides, no laws speak about ESZ.
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 mentions the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.
    • Section3(2)(V): The act says that the GoI can restrict areas where industrial operations shall not be carried out.
  • Environment (Protection) rules, 1986
    • Rule 5(1): It says that GoI can prohibit or restrict industries and other operations based on
      • Considerations of Biological Diversity
      • Maximum allowable limits of concentration of pollutants in the area is exceeded
      • Land Use is not environmentally compatible
      • Proximity to protected areas
    • According to the rules, the provisions can be changed by the committee set up by the Ministry of EFoCC.

Union Territory of Ladakh gets Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development

Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar approved the proposal of New Regional Centre of the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development at Ladakh.

Objectives

  • To promote alternative and innovative livelihoods for climate change vulnerable cold-desert communities
  • To strengthen and establish the solutions and approaches towards addressing water scarcity.
  • To facilitate conservation of important cold desert habitats and biodiversity
  • To foster climate smart communities in the Himalayan landscape

About the Institute

The GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development has its headquarters located at Kosi-Katarmal, Uttarkhand. The regional Centres of the institute are located in

  • Kullu-to cover the Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh regions
  • Srinagar-To cover Uttarkhand region
  • Gangtok-To cover Sikkim and West Bengal hills
  • Itanagar-to cover North Eastern Region

The institute caters to environment management, policies for sustainable development of communities and conservation of natural resources in the Indian Himalayan Region.

Significance

The Trans Himalayan landscape lies above 3,000 Mean Sea Level and is characterized by extreme cold climate. It has very sparse vegetation. The annual rainfall in these regions is 9-10 cm with more than 300 sunny days.

The Institute helps in understanding the landscape and its components in a better way. This will aid in developing strategies and implementation plans for addressing the issued of environmental conservation and sustainable development.