Here is the list of top 30 Environment & Ecology Events between (November –August) 2015 compiled from PIB, The Hindu, Indian Express and other standard references and customized for civil services examination.
30. World glaciers melting at record rates: Study
- A worldwide study has revealed that during 2001 to 2010, glaciers lost ice at an alarming two to three times the average for the 20th century. Such is the scale of ice loss that the scientists predict that even if global warming were to stabilize, the ice loss would continue.
- Melting glaciers, known to be caused by rising global temperatures, pose a global threat to fresh water systems, like rivers and lakes. Billions of people live in plains fed by glacier and snow melt fed rivers, as in India. If these rivers were to start drying up, there would be calamitous consequences as agriculture would collapse.
29. No mining, polluting units in eco-sensitive zones
- Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar held a review meeting with State Environment and Forests Ministers to review the progress of demarcation of Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA) in the Western Ghats region and discuss the further course of action in keeping with the recommendations of the 2013 Kasturirangan Committee report.
- As per the report, commercial mining and polluting industries would be strictly banned in areas identified as eco sensitive zones.
28. Japan pledges 26 per cent emissions cut by 2030
- Japan, the world”s sixth biggest greenhouse gas polluter, has pledged to cut emissions 26 per cent from 2013 levels by 2030, a target observers judged inadequate to avert calamitous global warming.
- In order to achieve this goal, nuclear energy, deeply unpopular and offline since the 2011 tsunami-induced Fukushima disaster, must provide about 20-22% of electricity production by then, said the country’s official UN filing yesterday.
27. Neem-coated growth
- The Union government’s decision to produce neem-coated urea will not only improve soil health and agriculture, but also halt its illegal diversion to industry.
- NCU will benefit the environment in more ways than one. The normal urea is a highly soluble and volatile material and is up to 40 per cent less efficient than NCU.
26. Kaziranga rhinos to be well-guarded from poachers
- Jorba, the lone sniffer dog deployed in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park to combat rhino poachers, will now have company.
- The park authorities have decided to have two more sniffer dogs — Kareena and Babli — to save the famed one-horned rhinoceros from poachers.
25. New species of songbirds evolving in Western Ghats, says study
- Interspersed with “sky islands” and large valleys, the unique topography of Western Ghats is aiding evolution of new species of songbirds, a recent study shows.
- Of the 23 species of songbirds that inhabit the tropical montane cloud (shola) forests across Western Ghats, it was found that ten such species have not crossed the mighty 40-km-wide Palghat valley for several thousand years, with some specialist species isolated for even up to five million years.
24. Indigenous varieties of rice conserved in Odisha
- Both the Centre and the state are collecting and conserving indigenous rice varieties to craft new ones.
- The State Seed Testing Laboratory (SSTL) in Bhubaneswar, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) in Cuttack, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) in New Delhi under ICAR and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) in New Delhi are conserving indigenous varieties.
23. 80% of India’s surface water polluted: Report
- Even as India is making headlines with its rising air pollution levels, the water in the country may not be any better.
- An alarming 80% of India’s surface water is polluted, a latest assessment by WaterAid, an international organization working for water sanitation and hygiene, shows.
22. World’s tigers should be classified into two species only, says study
- A study, published on June 26 in the journal Science Advances, says that tigers should be classified into two subspecies only, instead of the nine known ones.
- It shows concern regarding the existence of less than 4,000 tigers, a historically low number and appeals for a new management for conservation.
21. World’s major groundwater basins found to be depleting
- A study conducted by the University of California, Irvine, indicates that about a third of all major groundwater basins on Earth are under stress due to unsustainable human consumption.
- Of 37 major aquifer systems studied, 21 have surpassed sustainability tipping points of depletion.
20. Chile announces environmental emergency
- Chile announced environmental emergency in capital Santiago after the city registered alarmingly high levels of air pollution.
- The environment ministry, in a statement, said emergency measures will include temporary closure of more than 900 polluting industries and attempts to keep about 40 per cent of the capital’s 1.7 million cars off the roads.
19. Population of world’s smallest porpoise dwindles to 97
- A study released recently warns that the population of the world’s smallest and most critically endangered porpoise has fallen to just 97, and unless drastic action is taken, it will become extinct.
- The smallest porpoise, the vaquita, is found only in the northern Gulf of California in Mexico.
18. Rare plant with anti-cancer found in Western Ghats
- A team of Indian scientists has discovered in the Western Ghats a rare plant which could open up possibilities for cancer treatment.
- The plant, with botanical name Miquelia dentate Bedd, is a small climbing shrub producing anti-cancer alkaloid — Camptothecine (CPT). It occurs sparsely in Madikeri Forests in Kodagu in Karnataka, the researchers reported.
17. India, a victim of e-waste crime
- Much of the 40 million tonnes of electronic waste produced around the world — old smartphones, TVs, laptops and obsolete kitchen appliances — finds its way illegally to Asia and Africa every year, says a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- Close to 90 per cent of the world’s electronic waste — worth nearly $19 billion — is illegally traded or dumped each year, to destinations half way across the world.
16. India home to 48 species of bumblebees
- India is home to 48 of the 250 known species of bumblebees, the only pollinators of vegetation in high-altitude regions.
- This has been revealed in a recent publication Indian Bumblebees written by entomologist M.S. Saini and co-authors Rifat H. Raina and Harpeet Singh Ghator.
15. After Gujarat, more states to harness solar power from canal-top
- After the success of the canal-top solar plant in Gujarat, more states are planning similar projects.
- The Gujarat State Electricity Board’s 10 megawatt (MW) plant is built over a 3.6-kilometre stretch of the Sardar Sarovar Canal System.
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14. NGT adds armour for protection of rhinos
- After shocking revelations of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India about the dire state of management of Kaziranga National Park, home to one-horned rhinoceros.
- The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to 71 hotels, resorts and dhabas which have encroached into the eco-sensitive zone of the Park.
13. Emissions from biomass burning cross the Himalayas
- Contrary to the general assumption that the southern slopes of the Himalayas act as a barrier and effectively block the transportation of pollutants from India and other parts of South Asia.
- A study published a couple of days ago in the Nature Group journal Scientific Reports finds sound evidence to prove otherwise.
12. Green ultimatum to Western Ghat states
- The Environment and Forests Ministry has set April 30, as the final deadline for the states along the Western Ghats for submission of reports on demarcation of the ecologically-sensitive areas as per the recommendations of the high-level working group headed by Dr K Kasturirangan to declare 37 per cent of the Ghats as sensitive.
- Kerala is the only state among six bordering on the Western Ghats that has promptly filed the submissions while other states have been dragging feet.
11. India launches fourth navigation satellite
- India successfully launched its fourth navigation satellite, IRNSS-1D, from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists blasted off the 1,425-kg rocket at 5.19 pm amidst loud cheers.
10. Eiffel Tower goes dark in symbolic move for Earth Hour
- The Eiffel Tower went dark briefly to mark Earth Hour, the campaign to raise awareness about climate change.
- The five-minute dark-out on Saturday night was a symbolic gesture in the City of Light.
- Cities around the world also marked the event, with other landmarks like the Kremlin and the Empire State Building going dark.
9. Carbon emissions from forests drop by 25 per cent: FAO
- The world’s commitment to its forests is showing results. Fresh estimates by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) suggest carbon emissions from global forests reduced by 25 per cent between 2001 and 2015.
- “It is encouraging to see that net deforestation is decreasing and that some countries in all regions are showing impressive progress.
8. Antarctica’s retreating ice may reshape Earth
- From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can’t be seen is the battle raging underfoot to reshape Earth.
- Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea 118 billion metric tonnes per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations.
7. India home to 18% of world’s raptors
- India is home to 106 species of raptors, popularly known as ‘birds of prey,’ says a recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India.
- The publication reveals that more than 18 per cent of the 572 species of raptors spread all over the world can be found in India alone.
6. Global fertiliser use to surpass 200 million tonnes in 2018: FAO report
- Global fertiliser use will surpass 200 million tonnes in 2018 while the world’s fertiliser consumption will grow by 1.8 per cent a year through 2018.
- This has been said in the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)’s new report, “World Fertilizer Trends and Outlook to 2018”, a press release by the United Nations body said on Monday.
5. Solar power generation: Gujarat may lose top spot
- As Prime Minister Narendra Modi encourages competition among states, his home state Gujarat is likely to lose its position as the top solar power producing state.
- It is facing tough competition from states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which are fast catching up.
- Gujarat is currently the top solar power generating state with commissioned capacity of 929MW out of the country’s total capacity of 3,002.66MW.
4. Jackal research and translocation project launched
- Wildlife SOS in collaboration with U P Forest Department and Archaeological Survey of India are launching a wildlife research project.
- To study and eventually translocate about 30- 35 wild jackals from Akbar’s Tomb in Sikandra, Agra to safe natural habitat.
3. India Water Week to be Celebrated from 13 to 17 January
- In an effort to raise awareness, conserve and use water resources in an integrated manner, the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
- Government of India will be observing India Water Week from 13 to 17th of this month to use it as a platform to elicit ideas and opinions.
2. Critically endangered ape species “Hainan gibbon” may face extinction
- Critically endangered ape species that lives only in the rainforests of southern China’s Hainan Island.
- With 25 known individuals remaining, a disease outbreak or a strong typhoon could “massively impact” the species’s chances of survival
- It is world’s rarest ape species and also the rarest primate species.
1. Interpol releases first-ever list of most wanted green criminals
- Interpol on Monday released the first-ever “most wanted” list of environmental criminals suspected to be involved in a variety of environmental crimes
- Its headquarters is based in Lyons, France
- The investigation is code-named “Operation Infra-Terra” and was launched on October 6.
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