News Snippets, Water (March 2021) (Download PDF)

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News Snippets

  • Rishikesh to Badrinath - Char Dham highway project. Geologists allege steep cutting of the Himalayan slopes to widen the roads by 10 metres and make them all-weather is destabilizing the fragile region and making it prone to landslides. Workers violate all norms and directly dump the debris in the Ganga, obstructing flow of the river and affects its biodiversity
  • Jeevan Shalas provide basic lessons on nature upto class 4 and then admit them to govt. schools – now in Nandurbar, in Alirajpur and Barwani districts of Madhya Pradesh
  • Now vaccines for children: Covid-19 infected children aged 6 - 12 years are more likely to contract Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome than others
  • 20,000 earthquakes across Iceland since February 24 have worried scientists, who fear the heightened seismic activities could lead to a volcanic eruption in the Reykjanes Peninsula of the southwestern region of the country
  • In New Zealand, the Kermadec Islands recorded three consecutive earthquakes on March 5, triggering a tsunami warning and mass public evacuation - sequence of such high-magnitude earthquakes — 7.3,7.4 and 8.1 on the Richter scale — in one geography is extremely unusual
  • Chandigarh residents can now assess their environmental impact through Carbon Watch, a mobile application to track individual carbon footprint. The Union Territory՚s Department of Environment and Forest has developed the application to calculate factors such as the users՚ water and electricity consumption, waste generation and mode of transport and suggest ways to reduce their carbon footprint based on the results.
  • In the Ease of Living Index 2020 released by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Bengaluru has topped in the above 1 million population category. Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai and Surat followed the city in this third edition of the annual Index. Shimla ranked first in the below 1 million population categories. West Bengal is the only state not represented among the 114 cities in the Index due to a lack of required data from the state government.
  • Scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) have designed and developed India՚s first optical spectrograph to locate faint sources of light from distant galaxies, regions around black holes and cosmic explosions. Named the ARIES-Devasthal Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera, the spectrograph was made at 40 per cent of the cost of imported devices.
  • Nine African countries plan to join the solar “gigawatt (GW) club” of nations that have installed capacity to produce 1 GW of solar power, as per the first African Solar Energy Outlook 2021 report by the Africa Solar Industry Association. The countries are Algeria, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Namibia, Ethiopia, Morocco and Botswana. Currently, only South Africa and Egypt are part of the gigawatt club from Africa.
  • Russia launched its Arktika-M space satellite to monitor the climate and environment over the Arctic region. Moscow aims to develop the energy-rich region and is investing in the Northern Sea Route for shipping as the ice cover melts.
  • Laschamps: Some 42,000 years ago, the Earth՚s magnetic poles temporarily reversed. Called the Laschamps Excursion, the event lasted about 1,000 years. Now, scientists claim this event may have caused devastating global and environmental impacts. They have carbon dated ancient kauri trees native to New Zealand, which were alive during this period, and found varying levels of carbon-14. This suggests the pole reversal = weakened Earth՚s magnetic field and exposed it to the Sun՚s harmful ultraviolet radiation, they note in Science.
  • The scientists say the extinction of Neanderthals, our ancestors who lived between 200,000 and 40,000 years ago, might be linked to such high radiation. They also link the extinction of megafauna in Australia and shift in tropical Pacific rain belt to such radiation. Reversal events are random as magnetic poles are not fixed on the surface. But the magnetic field has weakened 9 per cent over 170 years and could trigger a reversal. Such an event would, at the very least, disrupt satellites and communication systems

Water

March 22 – World Water Day

  • In India, temperatures in parts of Odisha have crossed 40°C as early as February — even before summer set in. North Indian states are breaking all records in terms of rising heat and higher than normal temperatures. And this is when 2021 is the year of La Niña — the Pacific water currents that are known to bring cooler temperatures globally as compared to El Niño. But Indian weather scientists say global warming has offset this cooling effect of La Niña
    • Recommendations
    • Underground water storage — wells
    • Increased heat means that it will dry up the moisture in soils; it will make the land dusty and will increase the need for irrigation
    • Heat will drive up the use of water — from drinking and irrigation to fighting fires in forests or buildings
  • On February 28, Angul in Odisha recorded 40.1°C (see map) , its highest in 10 years, while state capital Bhubaneswar reached 40 °C a day before, as per the India Meteorological Department (imd) .

- Published/Last Modified on: June 13, 2021

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