Expected Questions in Environment & Latest Developments Part 1 (Set 1) (Download PDF)

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NASA to Launch Space Laser to Measure Earth’s Polar Ice: - NASA is preparing to launch its $1 billion (abt Rs. 7,210 cr. ) ICESat-2 mission, using advanced lasers to uncover true depth of melting of Earth’s ice sheets.

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Expected Questions on Environment December 2018 - NTA NET/UPSC

Dr. Manishika Jain discusses Expected Questions on Environment 2018 for NTA NET Paper 1 Part 1 of 4

  • Satellite mission, called ICESat-2 should provide more precise information on how these frozen surfaces are being affected by global warming.

Background of ICESat-2

  • ICESat-2 is follow-on project.

  • Original spacecraft flew in 2000s & pioneered laser measurement of height of polar glaciers & sea-ice from space.

  • ICESat-2’s Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) measures height by timing how long it takes individual light photons to travel from spacecraft to Earth & back.

  • Satellite mission has 4 science objectives:

  • Measure melting ice sheets & investigate how this effects sea level rise.

  • Measure & investigate changes in mass of ice sheets & glaciers.

  • Estimate & study sea ice thickness.

  • Measure height of vegetation in forests & other ecosystems worldwide.

  • ICESat-2 will improve upon NASA’s 15-year record of monitoring change in polar ice heights.

  • It started in 2003 w/1st ICESat mission & continued in 2009 w/NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge, airborne research campaign that kept track of accelerating rate of change.

  • New observational technologies of ICESat-2 will advance knowledge of how ice sheets of Greenland & Antarctica contribute to sea level rise.

Petroleum Minister Laun. SATAT Initiative to Promote Compressed Bio-Gas as an Alternative

  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has launched Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) aimed at providing sustainable alternative towards affordable transportation.
  • Initiative was launched with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs i. e. IOC, BPCL, and HPCL).

SATAT Initiative

  • Initiative has potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung, & municipal solid waste.

  • This initiative provides additional revenue source to farmers.

  • It will benefit vehicle-users as well as farmers & entrepreneurs.

  • Expression of Interest (EoI) are invited from potential entrepreneurs to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants & make available biogas in market for use in automotive fuels.

Env. Ministry, World Bank Release Report on Strengthening Forest Fire Management in the Country

  • Ministry of Environment & Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) & World Bank Report have jointly released report on Strengthening Forest Fire Management in Country.
  • Report discusses policies on forest fire prevention & management (FFPM) at national, state & local levels.

  • It provides recommendations on 5 broad themes:

  • Policy

  • Institutions and capacity

  • Technology

  • Community engagement

  • Data and information

  • It has analysed patterns & trends of forest fires in India & looks at national & international best practices in FFPM.

Significance of Report

  • Report is significant in light of released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report that explores possibilities of keeping global temperature rise w/I 1.50 C to prevent catastrophic impacts due to unchecked temperature rise.

  • Its findings are crucial for India’s own commitment under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent thru additional forest & tree cover by 2030.

  • It is expected to be key input in issuing national policy on Forest Fire Prevention & Management (FFPM).

  • MoEFCC issued national guidelines on FFPM in 2000, but these are no longer being implemented.

Second Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-Refinery

  • Foundation stone for 2nd Generation (2G) Ethanol Bio-refinery of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited being set up at Baulsingha village, Bhatli Tehsil, Bargarh ditrict, Odisha was laid by Governor of Odisha.
  • Bio-refinery, 1st of its kind to be set up, will have capacity to produce 3 cr. litres of fuel grade Ethanol annually using Rice straw as feedstock.

  • Ethanol produced from this plant will be blended w/Petrol.

About Biofuels and Its Importance:

  • National Biofuel Policy of India 2018 targets 20 % Ethanol blending to Petrol by 2030.

  • Due to non-availability of Ethanol, current Ethanol blending in Petrol is abt 3 to 4%.

  • Bargarh Bio-Refinery will utilize about 2 lakh tons of Rice straw annually as feedstock. It will be sourced from nearby locations like Bhati, Ambabhona, Sohela, Burla, Lakhanpur, etc.

  • Bio-Refineries will contribute to cleaner environment due to usage of waste Rice straw for Ethanol production thereby reducing waste straw burning in fields.

  • Plant is based on Zero-liquid discharge plant technology where all water will be recycled back into plant.

  • Project will help improve socio-economic conditions of farmers due to additional income from sale of Rice straw to bio-refinery.

  • This will generate employment for approx 1200 persons (both direct & indirect) during construction, operation of plant & supply chain managements of biomass.

Government Launches Air Quality Warning System in Delhi to Combat Air Pollution

  • Union Environment Minister launched Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi Region. System is designed w/help of American & Finnish models to predict extreme air pollution levels.
  • There is decrease in detection of fire incidents as per satellite mapping in Haryana & Punjab.

Objectives of the System

  • System is launched by Union Govt. in Delhi, keeping in view city’s deteriorating air quality. Associated website is launched along w/it.

  • System will help combat air pollution in National Capital by getting information 2 - 5 days in advance. It will give signs for necessary actions.

Image of Objectives of the System

Image of Objectives of the System

Image of Objectives of the System

Air Quality Index in Delhi

  • Air Quality in New Delhi was 204 on 14th Oct. , 2018.

  • City’s air quality usually breaches ‘severe’ zone, when AQI reading shoots up to 5 times above safe limit, in November.

  • On 9th Nov. , 2017, AQI shot up to 486 on scale of 0 - 500, underscoring conditions that prompted Delhi govt. to declare public health emergency & describe Delhi as ‘gas chamber’.

Measures Taken to Reduce Air Pollution in Delhi

  • Delhi Govt. rolled out its emergency action plan - Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for 2nd year in row.

  • Under emergency action plan, stringent measures will be implemented such as ban on diesel generator (DG) sets in Delhi.

  • In November 2017, schools were shut when air quality turned ‘severe’ for more than week.

Background of Air Quality Index

  • In May, Delhi was declared world’s most polluted city, according to air quality data compiled by WHO for megacities w/population of 14 million or more.

  • Greater Cairo in Egypt was adjudged 2nd most polluted city, Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka was placed 3rd, Mumbai 4th & Beijing 5th.

  • New measures including installation of early warning system in capital have helped it become better equipped to fight air pollution in 2018.

Declaring SAI Stadia as “Plastic Free Zones”

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports are celebrating Swachhata Pakhwada from 1st to 15th August, 2018 under Swachh Bharat Mission Programme of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.

Department of Sports Has Taken 2 Major Initiatives:

  • 1st Initiative: Making all 5 SAI Stadia as “Plastic Free Zone”. It includes:

    • Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium

    • Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium

    • Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex

    • Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range

    • Dr. SPM Swimming Pool Complex

  • 2nd Initiative: Giving Swachhata Rank to these Stadia on implementation of Swachhata activities carried out during Swachhata Pakhwada based on following parameters:

    • Cleanliness of premises

    • Sanitization standard of toilets complex/stadia

    • Functioning level of drainage system in premises

    • Drinking water facilities

    • Tree plantation & maintenance of its growth

    • Proper trimming of existing trees/plants, etc. in premises

    • Waste management system/facilities

    • Involvement of complex/stadia in Swachhta activities of neighbouring areas of complex.

    • Replacement of old lamps w/LED lights.

  • Swachhata Pakhwada started in April 2016 w/objective of bringing fortnight of intense focus on issues & practices of Swachhata by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 4, 2018

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