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River Cities Alliance

The union minister for Jal Shakti has launched the River Cities Alliance.

About River Cities Alliance

  • It is a dedicated platform for river cities in India to ideate, discuss and exchange information for sustainable management of urban rivers.
  • It will focus on three broad themes- Networking, Capacity Building and Technical Support.
  • This Alliance is the successful partnership of the two Ministries- Ministry of Jal Shakti and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and National Institute for Urban Affairs (NIUA) have collaborated together to launch the RCA

Objectives

  • To provide the member cities with a platform to discuss and exchange information on aspects that are vital for sustainable management of urban rivers.
  • It includes components like minimizing city water footprint, reducing impacts on river and water bodies, capitalizing on natural, intangible, architectural heritage and associated services and develop self-sufficient, self-sustainable water resources through recycle, reuse strategy
  • It will lead to preparation of Urban River Management Plans and develop city-specific sectoral strategies that are required for sustainable urban river management

Niracara Svayamsasita Vedh Shala (NSVS)

  • Recently, IIT Kanpur has developed an Aquatic Autonomous Observatory named Niracara Svayamsasita Vedh Shala (NSVS) for in situ monitoring, real time data transmission and web-based visualisation of the Ganga.
  • The project has been jointly sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) .

About Niracara Svayamsasita Vedh Shala (NSVS)

  • It is a low-cost, multi-parameter, water quality monitoring system which consists an array of sensors and auto sampler on a stationary platform, which is semi-submersible, all-weather, robust and perfectly stable.
  • It can sense three parameters namely, pH, conductivity and dissolved oxygen capacity of water.
  • This can be further utilized to estimate total dissolved solid, specific gravity and presence of metallic ions in water.
  • It autonomously collects data every 15 minutes and reports it through a wireless network to the institute.
  • The new system has now been installed at the Laxman Ghat on the banks of the Ganga in Bithoor, a town in Kanpur

Green Crackers

Types of Green Crackers

There are three types of green crackers available in India - SWAS, STAR and SAFAL.

  • SWAS (Safe Water Releaser)
    • They will release water vapour in the air which will suppress the dust released eliminates use of Potassium Nitrate and Sulphur (S) .
  • STAR (Safe Thermite Cracker)
    • Does not comprise potassium nitrate and Sulphur
    • Reduce particulate matter including Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide by at least 30 %
  • SAFAL (Safe Minimal Aluminium)
    • Minimum usage of aluminium
  • Supreme Court observed that major fireworks manufacturers had violated orders requiring them not to use prohibited chemicals such as Barium salts.
  • The orders are in continuation of Arjun Gopal and Others vs Union of India and Others — filed on behalf of three children in 2015, seeking measures to mitigate air pollution and asserting right to clean air under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Katol Meteorite

  • A large meteor shower occurred near the town of Katol in Nagpur during 2012.
  • A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid that originates in outer space and survives its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet or moon.
  • Recently, International researchers studied meteorite segments from different perspectives and they found unique features in it.
  • Though previous studies on other meteorite samples have shown the presence of much more magnesium and iron components, they were different from Bridgmanite. But the Katol Meteorite showed resemblance to the first natural occurrence of Brigmanite mineral.
  • The mineral was named in 2014 after Prof. Percy W. Bridgman, recipient of the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • Initial studies revealed that the host rock was mainly composed of olivine. Olivine is the most abundant phase in our Earth՚s upper mantle
  • By studying this meteorite sample, scientists can decode how bridgmanite crystallized during the final stages of our Earth՚s formation.
  • It can help in research related with Earth evolution from being a magma ocean to a rocky planet and researchers can unearth more details about the formation of Earth
  • Bridgmanite is a magnesium-silicate mineral , most abundant mineral on earth՚s lower mantle

Climate Change Performance Index 2022

Recently the 17th edition of Climate Change Performance Index was released.

About Index

  • It is compiled by German Watch along with New Climate Institute and Climate Action Network.
  • It monitors climate mitigation progress of 60 countries and the European Union.
  • It is released on the basis of 14 indicators under 4 parameters:

Green House Gas Emissions (40 %)

Renewable Energy (20 %)

Energy Use (20 %)

Climate Policy (20 %)

Key Points

  • The first three ranks of the overall rankings were kept empty because no country had performed well enough in all index categories.
  • Sweden tops the index with rank 4th.
  • In the overall rankings, India is ranked at number 10 with a score of 69.22.
  • India has been categorized as a ‘high performer’ overall, but in the ‘medium’ category with respect to renewable energy

1st Geological Park

Recently, the approval for first geological park was given by Geological Survey of India, under Ministry of Mining. The park will be built at Lamheta village on the banks of Narmada River in Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

About Geo Park

  • It is a unified area that advances the protection and use of geological heritage in a sustainable way and promotes the economic well-being of the people who live there.
  • It promotes awareness of geological hazards, including volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis and many help prepare disaster mitigation strategies with local communities.
  • From geological point of view, Lamheta of Jabalpur is one of the most significant places in the world.
  • Several dinosaur fossils had been found in the Narmada valley, particularly in the Bhedaghat-Lameta Ghat area of Jabalpur.
  • In 1828, the first dinosaur fossil was collected from the Lameta Bed by William Sleeman.
  • UNESCO has also recognised Lamheta as geo heritage site.

New Ramsar Sites

Khijadiya & Bakhira

Khijadiya Wildlife Sanctuary

  • It is a fresh water sanctuary which is located near the gulf of Kutch, Gujarat.
  • The sanctuary is a coastal wetland with rich avifaunal diversity.
  • It provides a safe habitat to endangered and vulnerable species like endangered
  • Pallas՚s fish eagle, vulnerable common pochard, dalmatian pelican and common crane etc

Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary

  • It is fresh water marsh in the Sant Kabir Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh.
  • It offers a safe wintering and staging ground for a large number of species of Central Asian Flyway.
  • It provides habitat for Egyptian vulture, grater spotted eagle, common pochard, woolly-naked stork etc.

Wetlands

India has a total of 7,57, 060 wetlands, covering 1.6 crore hectares or 4.5 % of India՚s area. In India, wetlands are regulated under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017

State-wise distribution of wetlands: Gujarat is at the top (17.56 % of total geographical area of the state or 22.7 % of total wetlands areas of the country) . It is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal

Ramsar Sites

  • India has a network of 49 Ramsar sites, the highest in South Asia, covering 10,93, 636 hectares.
  • The countries with the most Ramsar Sites are UK (175) and Mexico (142) . Bolivia has the largest area with 148,000 sq km under the Convention protection

Montreux Record

Currently, two wetlands of India are in Montreux record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur) . Chilka Lake (Odisha) was placed in the record but was later removed from it.

Loss of Ice in South Col Glacier

Mount Everest՚s South Col Glacier has shrunk dramatically in the last three decades.

About South Col Glacier

  • It is a sharp-edged col between Mount Everest and Lhotse.
  • It is typically swept by high winds, which leaves it free of significant snow accumulation.
  • It is around 7,900 metres above sea level and a kilometre below the peak of world՚s highest mountain.
  • It was first reached by Lambert, Aubert, and Flory of Edouard Wyss-Dunant՚s Swiss Mount Everest

Expedition on 12 May 1952. The Expedition failed to reach the summit

INCOIS

  • The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has carried out coastal vulnerability assessment for the entire Indian coast at state level. Coastal vulnerability is a spatial concept that identifies people and places that are most susceptible to disturbances resulting from coastal hazards such as coastal storms, sea level rise and erosion etc.
  • INCOIS has brought out an Atlas comprising 156 maps on 1: 1,00, 000 scales to prepare a Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) .
  • These maps will determine the coastal risks due to future sea-level rise based on the physical and geological parameters for the Indian coast.
  • The CVI uses the relative risk that physical changes will occur as sea-level rises are quantified based on parameters like: Tidal range, Wave height, Coastal slope, Coastal elevation, Shoreline change rate, Geomorphology, Historical rate of relative sea-level change
  • Coastal vulnerability assessments can be useful information for coastal disaster management and building resilient coastal communities
  • Located in Hyderabad, INCOIS is an autonomous organization established in 1999, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO) , New Delhi

Erra Matti Dibbalu

Citizens in Visakhapatnam are working together to preserve the geological marvel of Erra Matti Dibbalu.

About Erra Matti Dibbalu

  • These are rare red sand dunes, located between Visakhapatnam and Bheemunipatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Comprises a mixture of sand (40 - 50 %) , silt and clay (another 50 %) with oxidation imparting the unique red colour
  • These dunes are formed around 12,000 years ago due to sea-land interaction.
  • The width of the dunes, which runs for 5 kilometres along the coast, varies from 200 metres to 2 kilometres.
  • It is listed among the 34 notified National Geological Heritage Monument Sites of India in 2014.

Significance

  • Sand dunes are a reminder of the million years of geological processes.
  • They are the result of the combined effect of numerous factors including global climate change, sea level rise, monsoonal variability and serve as valuable paleo-environment indicator.

Extended Producer Responsibility

  • Union Environment Ministry announced Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022 which notified extended producer responsibility (EPR) guidelines for plastic packaging waste to strengthen circular economy of plastic packaging waste.
  • The new rules classify plastics into four categories-
    • Category 1: rigid plastic packaging
    • Category 2: flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer
    • Category 3: Multi-layered plastic packaging;
    • Category 4: plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags of compostable plastics

Milky Seas

Scientists are using new satellite technology Day/Night Band to find glow-in-the-dark milky seas of maritime lore.

What is Milky Seas

  • They are a rare nocturnal phenomenon in which the ocean՚s surface emits a steady bright glow which can cover thousands of square miles.
  • Also called Mareel, the milky sea is caused by bioluminescent bacteria, billions of trillions of them that live throughout the water column from the surface to the sea floor. However, what causes these displays remains a mystery. If bacteria growing on algae were the main cause of milky seas, they՚d be happening all over the place, all the time.
  • Yet, as per surface reports, only about two or three milky seas occur per year worldwide, mostly in the waters of the northwest Indian Ocean and off the coast of Indonesia.
  • Sometimes exceeding 1,00, 000 sq km, it persists for days to weeks
  • Satellites offer a practical way to monitor the vast oceans, but it takes a special instrument to detect light around 100 million times fainter than daylight.

National Hydrogen Energy Mission

  • Blend of 15 % green hydrogen with piped natural gas
  • Compared to other fuel like gasoline, propane, natural gas, hydrogen is highly flammable that means hydrogen needs to be properly handled.

Lack of Infrastructure: Because hydrogen is so much less dense than gasoline, it is difficult to transport. It either needs to be cooled to -253 degree C to liquefy it, or it needs to be compressed to 700 times atmospheric pressure so it can be delivered as a compressed gas

Types of Hydrogen

Types of Hydrogen

Green Hydrogen

Green Hydrogen

Solar Waste

A report prepared by the National Solar Energy Federation of India states that India can generate more than 34,600 tonnes of cumulative solar waste by 2030.

  • India does not have a solar waste management policy, but it does have ambitious solar power installation targets.
  • Solar waste is the electronic waste generated by discarded solar panels. It can increase by at least four-fivefold by the next decade.

Solar Projects

NTPC Renewable Energy Ltd, a 100 % subsidiary of NTPC, has received the go-ahead from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to set up a 4,750 MW renewable energy park at Rann of Kutch in Khavada, Gujarat.

  • This will be India՚s largest solar park to be built by the largest power producer in the country. The NTPC project will be almost twice the capacity of the Bhadla solar park in Rajasthan, currently the largest single location solar power project in the country.
  • As a part of its green energy portfolio augmentation, NTPC Ltd, aims to build 60 GW Renewable Energy Capacity by 2032. Currently, it has an installed capacity of 66 GW across 70 power projects with an additional 18 GW under construction.
  • Recently, NTPC has also commissioned India՚s largest Floating Solar of 10 MW (ac) on the reservoir of Simhadri Thermal Power Plant, Andhra Pradesh. An additional 15 MW (ac) would be commissioned by August 2021. Further, a 100 MW Floating Solar Project on the reservoir of Ramagundam Thermal Power Plant, Telangana is in the advanced stage of implementation.
  • Additionally, NTPC RE Ltd. signed a MoU with the Union Territory of Ladakh, to set up the country՚s first green Hydrogen Mobility project in the region. To start with the National Hydrogen Mobility Project, NTPC has plans to ply five hydrogen buses in the region and will be setting up a solar plant and a green hydrogen generation unit in Leh. With this, Leh will be the first city in the country to implement a green hydrogen-based mobility project.

Plastic Park

Union Government has given the final approval for setting up a plastic park at Ganjimutt in Mangaluru.

  • It will be set up on 104 acres of Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) land.
  • In that, 50 % of the project cost will be borne by Union Government and remaining 50 % by KIADB.
  • KIADB will create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) under its purview to implement the project.
  • A polypropylene unit is to be set up in the park. This unit will provide raw materials to the polymer and plastic units inside the park.

10 such parks to be established in India

Bioenergy Crops

According to a new study, converting annual crops to perennial bioenergy crops can induce a cooling effect on the areas where they are cultivated. Eucalyptus, poplar, willow, miscanthus and switchgrass were the bioenergy crops used in the study.

Finding of the Study

  • Cultivation area under bioenergy crops occupies 3.8 % ± 0.5 % of the global total land area.
  • But they exert strong regional biophysical effects, leading to a global net change in air temperature of − 0.08 ~+ 0.05 degrees Celsius.
  • Global air temperature decreases by , with strong regional contrasts and inter-annual variability, after 50 years of large-scale bioenergy crop cultivation.
  • These crops increase soil carbon and fix atmospheric carbon.
  • They could be used for the phyto-remediation of heavy metal-contaminated soils.

Star Rating for Faster Clearance

Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has decided to “incentivise states” by ranking them on the basis of “efficiency and timelines in grant of environmental clearances” .

About Rating System

  • The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) which clears projects in the shortest period of time, has a high rate of clearance, and seeks fewer “essential details” will be ranked the highest.
  • It has been decided to incentivize the states through a star-rating system, based on efficiency and timelines in grant of EC (environmental clearance) .
  • It spells out seven criteria to rate SEIAAs on “transparency, efficiency and accountability” .
  • SEIAA is a state agency that reviews specific projects enlisted in Category B of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006. These are relatively smaller though they make up the bulk of projects (over 90 % clearances) that are presented for approval

Manishika