Expected Questions on Environment & Latest Developments 2019 – IAS/NET (Part-1) - (Set 1) (Download PDF)

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Expected Questions on Environment 2019 - Part 1

Dr. Manishika Jain discusses Expected Questions on Environment 2019 for IAS/NET

Akademik Lomonosov: World’s 1st Floating Nuclear Power Plant becomes operational

  • World’s 1st floating nuclear power plant (FNPP)
  • Has become Operational - December 11,2018
  • Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced - plant is brought to 10 % of its capacity.
  • Length - 144 metres & Width - 30 metres.
  • It has displacement of 21,500 tons & crew of 69 people.
  • For power generation, it is fitted w/2 modified KLT-40 naval propulsion nuclear reactors (each of 35 MW capacity) together providing up to 70 MW of electricity & 300 MW of heat.
  • Named after Russian Academician Mikhail Lomonosov.
  • Environmentalists have dubbed it as ‘nuclear Titanic’ or ‘Chernobyl on ice’.

Significance

  • Project is part of Russia’s greater aims to secure rich deposits of oil and gas in North Pole region in Artic. Due to climate change, new shipping routes are opening up in Russia’s north & as result, it is strengthening its military position in region.

‘Asiatic Lion Conservation Project’ launched by Government

  • Project” launched by - Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • Objective - To work for conservation of world’s last ranging free Asiatic Lion population & ecosystem associated with it.
  • Project will be funded under - ‘Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) ’ scheme which is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
  • Cost will be borne in the 60: 40 ratio by Central and State govt.

About Asiatic Lion

  • Asiatic Lions are listed as ‘Endangered’ under IUCN Red List.
  • Its population is restricted to state of Gujarat in India.
  • Population have increased to over 500 which used to be around 50 by late 1890s.
  • Gir Protected Area Network of Gujarat includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary & adjoining forests. It has area of 1648.79 sq. km.

Olive Ridley Nesting Site in Odisha

  • Main Olive Ridley Nesting sites in Odisha - Gahirmatha marine sanctuary & Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district.
  • Gahirmathamarine sanctuary is largest rookery (mass nesting site) of Olive Ridley turtles.
  • Odisha is home to 50 % of total world’s population of Olive Ridleys & abt 90 % of Indian population of sea turtles.
  • BahudaRookery at beach on Bahuda river mouth in Ganjam district - located around 20 km to south of Rushikulya rookery coast.

Olive Ridley

  • Another Name - Lepidochelys olivacea, smallest & most abundant of all sea turtle
  • Known for their unique mass nesting called ‘Arribada’, where thousands of females come together on same beach each year to lay eggs.
  • It is found in warm waters of Pacific & Indian oceans. It migrates thousands of kilometers between feeding and mating grounds in course of a year.
  • Breeding season
  • A single female can lay upto 100 to 150 eggs in a pit dug on beaches.

Threats

  • Poaching for meat, shell and leather & their eggs. Development & exploitation of nesting beaches for ports & tourist centres.

Protection Status

  • In India, it is protected under Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Moreover, trading in its products are banned under CITES.

India to submit 2nd biennial report on greenhouse gas inventory to UNFCCC

  • Report containing updates of national greenhouse gas inventories & information on mitigation actions, needs & support received as a party to UNFCC.
  • Cabinet has approved submission of 2nd Biennial Update Report (BUR) to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), giving India’s national greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory of 2014.
  • India’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2014
  • Report contains 5 major components National Circumstances, National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, Mitigation Actions; Finance, Technology & Capacity Building Needs & Support Received & Domestic Monitoring, Reporting & Verification (MRV) arrangements.

BUR reports figures about India’s greenhouse gas emissions:

  • In India, a total of 26,07,488 Gg CC-2 equivalent or around 2.607 billion tonnes of CC-2 equivalent of GHGs were emitted from all activities, excluding ‘land use, land use change & forestry’ (LULUCF) in 2014.
  • Net national GHG emissions after including LULUCF were 23,06,295 Gg CO_2 equivalent or around 2.306 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
  • Energy sector accounted for 73%, industrial processes & product use (IPPU) 8%, agriculture 16% & waste sector 3 % of emissions.

BUR reports figures about India’s greenhouse gas emissions:

  • India is on course for achieving target for emission intensity of economy & share of non-fossil fuel-based power capacity.

India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement

3 imp. commitments under INDC:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emission intensity of India’s GDP by 33 - 35 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
  • 40 per cent of India’s power capacity would be based on non-fossil fuel sources.
  • Creating an additional ‘carbon sink’ of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of Co2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Parivesh

  • Parivesh (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) - Ambitious web-based single-window system for environmental clearances.
  • Rolled-out at – 15th January•Provides for automated system for submission, clearance & monitoring.
  • A web-based workflow application which is developed for online submission & monitoring of proposals submitted by proponents for seeking Environment, Forest, Wildlife & CRZ Clearances from Central, State & district level authorities.
  • Automates entire tracking of proposals which includes online submission of new proposal, editing/updating details of proposals & displays status of proposals at each stage of workflow.

Benefits of Parivesh

  • Empowers proponent to track real-time pendency of their proposals or applications. System will show a bar chart about delay at each level of clearance.
  • Sharp reduction in time taken for issuance of Terms of Reference (TOR) for a project is biggest benefit of scheme.
  • Removes manual intervention & puts proposals on first-come-first-serve basis for agenda.
  • It provides for amalgamation of various objectives of govt. like Digital India & capturing essence of Min. Govt. & Max. Governance.

Parliamentary Panel Report on Western Ghats

  • Western Ghats is recognized as one of world’s 8 ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity.
  • They represents geomorphic features of immense importance w/unique biophysical & ecological processes.
  • Rajya Sabha Committee on Govt. Assurances has examined issues related to categorisation of Western Ghats as ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) as per recommendations of 2 committees led by MadhavGadgil & K. Kasturirangan.

Observations of Committee

  • Ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) in Western Ghats could not be earmarked due to State govt. ‘s ‘insensitivity’.
  • As a result over 56,000 square km of ESA could not be earmarked as ‘no-go’ zones for polluting activities & deforestation. Hence large-scale deforestation, mining & construction are continuing unabated, hurting ecology of Western Ghats.

Observations of Committee

  • Insensitivity towards the ecology of the Western Ghats has made the Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka vulnerable to floods and landslides.
  • The committee recommends that implementation of the recommendations of the Kasturirangan report is only possible with the active support of the local population.
  • The parliamentary panel has urged the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to constitute a committee to address the issues and grievances of State governments and local people.

Initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from Farming

Recognising need to cut down on carbon emissions to tackle climate change, GoI has taken steps to reduce emissions from farm sector:

  • Crop diversification programme under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM) & Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI).
  • Increasing area under System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as alternative to widely used practice of transplanted paddy.
  • Deployment of zero tillage drill machines & other residue mgmt. equipment to enable planting of Rabi crop in standing residue of rice crop to avoid stubble burning.
  • Adopting practices like alternate wetting & drying, direct seeded rice system of rice cultivation, use of slow-release nitrogen fertilizers, integrated nutrient mgmt. practices, leaf colour chart-based nitrogen application, use of urea super granules etc. in rice cultivation.
  • Neem coating of urea.
  • Planting of trees under National Food Security Mission (NFSM), BGREI, Sub-Mission on Agro-Forestry (SMAF) & National Bamboo Mission (NBM).
  • Spreading of micro irrigation under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) -Per Drop More Crop
  • Models of Integrated Farming System (IFS) are developed for replication in Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) & in States for enabling climate-resilient agriculture & cutting down carbon emissions.

Sub-programmes initiated by govt. :

  • Soil Health Card (SHC),
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY),
  • Mission Organic for Value Chain Development for North East (MOVCD),
  • Rainfed Area Development (RAD),
  • Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) & NBM

Measures to tackle stubble burning

  • Stubble burning in Haryana & Punjab is a major cause of air pollution in North India in Oct. -Nov.
  • It is one of main reasons for higher level of pollutants in air in National Capital Region.
  • Steps to reduce & eradicate stubble burning in neighbouring states of NCR:
  • Central govt. announced special scheme to encourage farmers in these states to shift to alternative ways of dealing w/agricultural waste.
  • Govt. announced central sector scheme on ‘Promotion of Agricultural Mechanization for In-Situ Management of Crop Residue in Punjab, Haryana, UP & NCT of Delhi’.
  • Scheme provides for in-situ crop residue mgmt. machinery to farmers on subsidy, establishment of Custom Hiring Centres (CHCs) of in-situ crop residue mgmt. machinery & undertaking IEC activities for creating awareness among farmers to avoid stubble burning.
  • Ministry of Power has brought out a policy for biomass utilization for power generation thru co-firing in pulverized coal-fired boilers. Ministry of Power has decided that Haryana & Punjab shall issue bids for all coal based Thermal Power Plants to use min. of 5 % of biomass pellets & up to 10 % to be co-fired w/coal.

Steps to reduce & eradicate stubble burning in neighbouring states of NCR:

  • Govt. is taking steps to popularize zero tillage farming where crop seed will be sown thru drillers w/o prior land preparation & disturbing soil where previous crop stubbles are present.
  • These measures have made a positive impact. Satellite data indicates that paddy residue burning events in 2018 have reduced by 29.5%, 24.5% & 11.0 % in Haryana, UP and Punjab, respectively when compared with the paddy residue burning events in the year 2017.

- Published/Last Modified on: April 8, 2019

Environment/Ecology

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