Environment Current Affairs

Environment Ministry launches Regional Project to Tackle Stubble Burning

The Environment Ministry has approved regional project on ‘Climate Resilience Building among Farmers through Crop Residue Management’ under National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC).

The project was approved at meeting of National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Secretary, Environment Ministry.

Key Facts

The project aims to mitigate climate change impacts and enhance adaptive capacity and counter adverse environmental impacts arising from stubble burning. It will be implemented following a phased approach. Based upon performance in first phase, its scope will be enhanced and more activities will be supported subsequently.

The first phase of the project was approved for Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan at cost of approximately Rs. 100 crore. It will leverage approximately three times the approved amount with contribution from States as well as farmers.

Initially, awareness generation and capacity building activities will be undertaken to encourage farmers to adopt alternate practices which will help them to diversify livelihood options and enhance income. Moreover, slew of technological interventions will be also undertaken for timely management of crop residue in addition to effective utilisation of existing machineries.

Under this project, implementable and sustainable entrepreneurship models will be created in rural areas through upscaling successful initiatives and innovative ideas.

Background

The straw burning is age-old agricultural practice followed by farmers biannually by setting fire to their fields to clear the land of residue (straw) of one harvest and sow the next. The problem has intensifying over the years, with Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh being the major burning hotspots.

The problem of open burning of agriculture has resulted in serious issues contributing towards global warming and environmental pollution. It also has an adverse impact on air quality, soil health and human health. The open field burning emits Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon monoxide (CO) and Nitrous Oxide (NO) along with particulate matter.

National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC)

NAFCC is a flagship Scheme of Union Government launched in 2015 to provide 100% central grant to the State Governments for implementing climate change adaptation projects. The Scheme has been designed to fulfill objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and operationalize State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs).

The objective of NAFCC is to assist states/UTs that are particularly vulnerable to adverse effects of climate change in meeting the cost of adaptation. Under it, Union Government encourages States to come up with innovative and scalable projects to develop resilience against climate change and mainstream it in the planning processes. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is National Implementing Entity (NIE) responsible for implementation of adaptation projects under NAFCC

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 Blue Flag pilot project launched for beach clean-up and development

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched pilot project ‘Blue Flag’ to develop and enhance standards of cleanliness on beaches.

This information was given by Minister of State (MoS) in MoEFCC, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, in reply to a written question in Lok Sabha.

Key Facts

The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, Marina or sustainable boating tourism operator, meets its stringent standards. Its purpose is to enhance standards of cleanliness, upkeep and basic amenities at beaches.

Under the pilot project, each of coastal state/UT was requested to identify and nominate a beach, which is to be funded through ongoing Integrated Coastal Management Programme (ICMP).

Till date, all the coastal states have nominated pilot beaches in their receptive territories including Goa. However, formal nominations are awaited from coastal UTs viz., Daman & Diu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar.

Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)

The FEE is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation promoting sustainable development through environmental education. It was established in 1981. It is Headquartered at Copenhagen, Denmark. It is active through five programmes; Eco-Schools, Blue Flag, Young Reporters for Environment (YRE), Green Key and Learning about Forests (LEAF).

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