ECOLOGY & ENVIRONMENT :
The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) noted in a study that state-level guidelines must be created for sustainable resource usage in areas where community forest resource (CFR) rights are given under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA). The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) in February 2019.
- MoTA must issue broad guidelines and principles for implementation of CFRs, mentioning specific role of the state forest department, state tribal/social welfare department, revenue department and gram sabhas.
- State governments should prepare state-specific guidelines on the basis of MoTA’s guidelines.
- MoTa should focus on capacity-building of gram sabha members, assessment of the biomass stock and biodiversity conservation.
- Focus on capacity building programmes to educate various stakeholder government departments about the acts/schemes/policies.
- The micro-plans prepared by gram sabha for their respective CFR should be a part of the working plans of forest division concerned, so that forest staff could facilitate the implementation of sustainable forest management.
An analysis carried out by the Centre for Science and Environment has assessed hourly trend in PM2.5 and NO2 levels during the day before and after the lockdown and also on the day of the Janata curfew.
- As vehicles go off the road after the country-wide lockdown in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, the typical two humps of daily pollution coinciding with morning and evening traffic peak-hours have nearly flattened out in India’s big cities.
- As cities slow down to fight the pandemic, daily average levels of particulate matter of size less than 2.5 micron (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have reduced sharply from the pre-lockdown days by close to more than half in Delhi and the towns of the national capital region (NCR).
- A similar trend is evident in other big cities including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai. But the impact of this overall declining trend is dramatic on daily peak-hour pollution.
- This brings out the pronounced effect of traffic on hourly pollution trends. With traffic minimised, hourly trends have plummeted, reducing daily exposures to toxic vehicular pollution.
GreenCo Rating, developed by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has been acknowledged in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document, submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015, as a proactive voluntary action of Indian industry / private sector towards combating climate change.
- Assessment and rating of major Workshops and Production Units of Indian Railways as Green Industrial Units started with ‘GreenCo’ certification in 2016-17.
- It helps the industrial units in identifying and implementing various possible measures in terms of energy conservation, material conservation, recycling, utilisation of renewable energy, Green House Gases (GHG) reduction, water conservation, solid and liquid waste management, green cover etc. Increasing focus in these areas helps Railways in resource conservation and reduction in intensity of environmental impact.
- Carbon more than 8,000 years old has been found inside the world's deepest blue hole — the Yongle Blue Hole (YBH) — which was recently discovered in the South China Sea.
- This finding will help in studying carbon cycling and potential mechanisms controlling it.
- Blue holes are marine caverns filled with water and are formed following dissolution of carbonate rocks, usually under the influence of global sea level rise or fall. What distinguishes them from other aquatic caverns is that they are isolated from the ocean and don’t receive fresh rainwater. They are generally circular, steep-walled and open to surface.
- YBH has a depth of 300 metres, far deeper than the previously recorded deepest blue hole, Dean’s Blue Hole in Bahamas, which had a depth of 202 metres.
- A report on conserving Sperm Whales and Chimpanzees based on their culture was presented in the 13th Conference of Parties CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)). This is the first time that a conservation strategy based on animal culture was considered in CMS.
- Animal Culture is the learning of non-human species through socially transmitted behaviour. It is believed that animals learn from their adults or peers, the ability of acquiring knowledge, choosing optimal migration routes, etc.
- Rising sea surface temperatures and acidic waters could eliminate nearly all existing coral reef habitats by 2100, and restoration of projects in these areas will likely meet serious challenges, according to a new research presented in the Ocean Sciences Meeting, 2020.
- The study further states that cleaning beaches, combating land pollution are decent but not concrete enough measures in ensuring sustenance of coral reefs. The preliminary findings, as per the report, suggest sea surface temperature and acidity are the most important factors in determining if a site is suitable for restoration.
- While addressing the media before CoP 13 (CMS), Environment Minister said that the number of vultures reduced from 4 crore to 4 lakh in three decades .
- The major reason for decline in the population of vultures has been the use of ‘Diclofenac’, a veterinary drug used to treat cattle.
- Vultures are known to be of vital importance for ecosystem as they feed on dead cattle. This scavenging act helps in allaying diseases caused by animal leftovers like rabies, anthrax, etc.
- Vulture is listed as 'Critically Endangered' under IUCN Red List since 2002.
- Diclofenac application on cattle is not yet banned Pan-India except Tamil Nadu which has put a ban on application of Diclofenac for cattle treatment.
- The National Green Tribunal has directed thermal power plants in the country to take prompt steps towards scientific disposal of fly ash (a by-product of thermal power plant).
- It asked the thermal power plants to follow the statutory notification of MoEFCC under Environment Protection Act, 1986 (requiring 100% utilization and disposal of fly ash).
- The European Commission (an executive branch of the EU) has launched an ambitious roadmap termed the Green Deal at the CoP25, Madrid event that aims to make Europe the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 by addressing environmental challenges while, at the same time, promoting an efficient use of resources.
- India is among the top 10 nations (ranked 9th) for the first time as per the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) released at the CoP25 Madrid, Spain.
- The CCPI 2020 results illustrate the main regional differences in climate protection and performance within the 57 evaluated countries and the EU.
- Indicators: The ranking results are defined by a country’s aggregated performance in 14 indicators within the four categories “GHG Emissions”, “Renewable Energy” and “Energy Use”, as well as on “Climate Policy”.
- Sweden leads the ranking on rank 4, followed by Denmark (5) and Morocco (6). The three countries are Chinese Taipei (59), Saudi Arabia (60) and the United States (61), rated low or very low across almost all categories.
- Still no country performs well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall very high rating in the index. Therefore, once again the first three ranks remain empty.
- Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute and the Climate Action Network publish the Index annually.