Environment Current Affairs

Sawfish more threatened than tigers: Scientists

Scientists on World Sawfish Day (observed on October 17th) announced that sawfish, sighted off Indian coast less than 10 times in over a decade appears to be more threatened than tigers and elephants

Anecdotal evidence suggested that sawfish was once common along the Indian coast but today it may be the most endangered fish species in India.

Key Facts

Sawfish also known as carpenter sharks are a family of rays. They are characterized by long, narrow, flattened rostrum or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth resembling saw.Sawfish are closely related to sharks and have shark-shaped bodies, hence, they are also called flat sharks.

They are elasmobranchs meaning their skeleton is made of cartilage. There are only five species of sawfish ever identified —knifetooth sawfish, smalltooth sawfish, dwarf sawfish largetooth sawfish and green sawfish.

Protection Status: In the International Union for Conservation of Nature Global Red List, sawfish family has been assessed either ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ considering their threatened status, high extinction risk and observed population decline. The sawfish has been given high degree of protection as it is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 enacted to save them from exploitation.

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NMCG approves Eight Projects under Namami Gange Programme

The Executive Committee of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved eight projects worth Rs. 700 crore under Namami Gange Programme

The four projects pertain to sewage management in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, three are related to treatment of drains through bio-remediation and one related to inventorization and surveillance of Ganga River.

Approved projects

Pollution abatement works: Projects like interception, diversion and treatment of sewage in Bithoor have been approved.

Sewage management: The project has been approved in Ganga River at Bally in West Bengal for construction of 40 MLD STP under Hybrid Annuity based PPP model among other works.

Similarly, construction of 65 MLD STP under Hybrid Annuity model has been approved for Bhagalpur in Bihar. In Uttar Pradesh, the project is approved for construction of two STPs (28 MLD + 05 MLD) in Farrukabad and one 2 MLD STP at Bargadiya drain in Fatehpur.

Treatment of drains using bio-remediation technology: Three projects were approved at ajapur drain and Digha drain in Patna and Laksar drain in Haridwar.

Pollution inventorization, assessment and surveillance Project: It aims to strengthen environmental regulation and water quality monitoring vis-à-vis river Ganga.

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)

NMCG is implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (also referred as National Ganga Council). It was established in 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.

It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. Both of them are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG. Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 crore.

Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees. This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.

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