Expected Questions in Environment & Latest Developments Part 1 (Set 2) (Download PDF)

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Steps for Curbing Plastic Pollution: India Laun. Plastic Free Zones World Envt. Day–2018: - India was global host for “World Environment Day –2018” & joined nations which hosted this prestigious event. With “Beat Plastic Pollution” as theme for this day, India went big w/announcement to wipe out all single-use plastics from country by 2022.

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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

Pan-India Initiatives on Plastic Pollution

  • Several pan-India initiatives will be launched to fight plastic pollution like clean-up drives of public spaces, national reserves, forests, & beaches.

  • Even Tourism Ministry will contribute their lot to cause by vowing to avoid plastic straws at public places.

  • Many developmental measures are initiated by various states across country to lower their plastic consumption & handle existing waste across their jurisdiction. These actions serve as perfect examples & can be adopted by other states as well.

Use of Recyclables in Govt. Offices in Kerala

  • Employees in govt. offices have shifted from using plastic-made items like plastic water bottles & disposable teacups to steel cutlery, & from pens made of plastic to pens made of steel.

  • This action of govt. offices was mooted by Suchitwa Mission & Haritha Keralam Mission, which aimed at making govt. departments example of clean environment.

Extracting of Plastic Waste from Water Bodies in Kerala

  • Marine creatures are paying price of callousness & impotence to handle plastic waste. Dead bodies of marine animals found on seashores, w/plastic waste inside their tummies.

  • To handle this grave situation, Kerala’s Suchitwa Mission has launched excellent project. W/this project 28 fishermen were employed from Neendakara harbor in finding fishes & extracting plastic from water bodies that either gets stuck in fishing nets or float on sea.

Tackling Plastic Use in Sikkim

  • In 1998, it became 1st Indian state to ban disposable plastic bags & single-use plastic bottles.

  • Sikkim govt. took 2 bigger decisions in 2016.1st, it targeted govt. offices for imposing ban on use of packaged drinking water on its premises to reduce unnecessary burden on dump yards. 2nd, it completely banned consumption of Styrofoam & thermocol disposable plates & cutlery in entire state in order to reduce harmful effects of plastic pollution & tackle its ever-increasing garbage problem.

Utilizing Plastic for Road Surfacing

  • In Madurai, road surfacing using plastics is reality.

  • The plastic which is banned and considered a waste can now be utilized in flagging off development projects across the country.

  • States of Kerala, Maharashtra, & Tamil Nadu have started to work on this unique technique.

Adoption of “Co-Processing of Waste” Technique in Gujarat to Deal with Plastic Pollution

  • Co-processing is process of utilizing waste materials in industrial processes or substituting them for primary fuel or raw material.

  • Paper mills in Vapi collected their plastic byproducts & then used them to fire cement plants. This co-processing of hazardous waste in cement production is eco-friendly & sound method for its disposal.

  • Started scale-out program to convert 6 million farms from conventional synthetic chemical agriculture to Zero-Budget Natural Farming in Andhra Pradesh.

  • SEEDS implemented drive in view of beating plastic pollution in 6 Schools in East Delhi to encourage safe environmental practices among students, children, teachers, parents, & communities in Delhi.

Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve Becomes 11th Biosphere Reserve from India

  • Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in Himalayan state of Sikkim was included in UNESCO designated World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR), making it 11th Biosphere Reserve from India to achieve this recognition.
  • Decision was taken at 30th Session of International Coordinating Council (ICC) of Man & Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO held in Palembang, Indonesia.

Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve

  • The park is named after the mountain Kangchenjunga, which with a height of 8,586 metres (28,169 ft), is the third-highest peak in the world.

  • It is one of highest ecosystems in world, reaching elevations of 1,220 metres above sea-level.

  • Core zone of Khangchendzonga National Park already is designated World Heritage Site in 2016 under ‘mixed’ category (1st from India in this category).

Biosphere reserves

  • Biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial & coastal ecosystems which promote conservation of biodiversity w/its sustainable use.

  • They are internationally recognized w/I framework of UNESCO’s Man & Biosphere (MAB) programme & nominated by national govt.

  • There is World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) under MAB Programme.

  • There are over 500 biosphere reserves in over 100 countries.

  • India has total 18 Biosphere Reserves & w/inclusion of Khangchendzonga number of internationally designated WNBR has become 11 & remaining 7 Biosphere Reserves are domestic Biosphere Reserves.

State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index

  • ‘State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index’ was released by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) & Alliance for Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) to assess state policies & programmes related to energy efficiency.

About Index

  • Nationwide Index is joint effort of NITI Aayog & BEE. Index assesses state policies & programmes.

  • Index will help in implementing national energy efficiency initiatives in states & meet both State as well as national goals on energy security, energy access & climate change.

  • It has 63 indicators across Building, Industry, Municipality, Transport, Agriculture and DISCOM w/4 cross-cutting indicators.

  • Index examines states’ policies & regulations, financing mechanisms, institutional capacity, adoption of energy efficiency measures & energy savings achieved.

Performance of States on State Energy Efficiency Preparedness Index

  • States are categorized based on their efforts & achievements towards energy efficiency implementation, as ‘Front Runner’, ‘Achiever’, ‘Contender’, & ‘Aspirant’.

  • ‘Front Runner’ states in inaugural edition of Index are: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, & Rajasthan based on available data.

  • Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & Haryana are categorized in 2nd best category of ‘achiever’ states.

  • The list can be download from: http://www.aeee.in/state-ee-index/

‘Perform, Achieve and Trade’ (PAT) Scheme

  • Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme is flagship scheme of GoI to improve energy efficiency of large energy consuming industries.

  • India’s Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) launched its ‘Perform, Achieve and Trade’ (PAT) scheme on 4th July w/aim to make industrial sector energy efficient.

  • PAT was launched under National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency, one of 8 missions under umbrella National Action Plan on Climate Change, launched in June 2008.

  • In its 1st cycle of 3 years, scheme covers 8 energy guzzling sectors—thermal power, aluminium, cement, fertilizer, iron & steel, pulp & paper, textiles & chlor-alkali.

  • Industries which over-achieve will get incentives in form of energy saving certificates. These certificates will be tradable at 2 energy exchanges: Indian Energy Exchange & Power Exchange India.

Making of Green Propellant: Indian Space Research Organisation

  • Scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have reported progress in development of environment-friendly propellant to power satellites & spacecraft.
  • New propellant is blend based on hydroxyl ammonium nitrate (HAN).

New Propellant for ISRO:

  • New HAN-based monopropellant is already being tested.

  • Monopropellant is chemical propulsion fuel which does not require separate oxidizer.

  • It is used extensively in satellite thrusters for orbital correction & orientation control.

  • In-house formulation consists of HAN, ammonium nitrate, methanol & water.

  • While methanol was added to reduce combustion instability, choice of HAN was dictated by its capacity to control burn rate & lower freezing point of propellant.

“PARIVESH” - an Environmental Single Window Hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife

  • PARIVESH - an environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances were launched on occasion of World Biofuel Day on 10th August, 2018. It is environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife & CRZ clearances launched recently.
  • This Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System is developed in pursuance of spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by PM & capturing essence of Min. Govt. & Max. Governance.

PARIVESH: Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub.

Key Features of PARIVESH:

  • “PARIVESH” is workflow based application, based on concept of web architecture. It is rolled out for online submission, monitoring & management of proposals submitted by Project Proponents to Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MOEFCC), as well as to State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA).

  • System is designed, developed & hosted by MOEFCC, w/technical support from National Informatics Centre (NIC).

  • It provides single registration & single sign-in for all types of clearances (i. e. Environment, Forest, Wildlife & CRZ), unique-ID for all types of clearances required for particular project & single Window interface for proponent to submit applications for getting all types of clearances (i. e. Environment, Forests, Wildlife & CRZ clearances).

  • Facility of Geographic Information System (GIS) interface for Appraisal Committee will help them in analyzing proposal efficiently, automatic alerts (via SMS & emails) at important stages to concerned officers, committee members & higher authorities to check delays, if any.

  • PARIVESH is available at: https://parivesh.nic.in.

India’s First ISTS Connected Wind Power Project Commissioned

  • 126 MW wind power capacity, part of India’s 1st inter-state transmission system (ISTS) auction, was commissioned in Bhuj, Gujarat. It was part of India’s 1st ISTS auction was conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd (SECI) in February 2017.

Key Facts on ISTS Connected Wind Power Project

  • Energy generated from this project is being purchased by Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, & UP.

  • 1st auction signifies major shift from earlier regime of state-specific feed-in-Tariff (FiT) model to Pan-India, market-driven mechanism.

  • It marks beginning of capacity additions in wind power based on market discovered tariffs, in line w/Govt. ‘s plan of having 175GW renewable energy by 2022.

India’s First Biofuel Powered Flight Undertakes Maiden Voyage

  • India’s 1st first-ever environment friendly biofuel powered flight b/w Dehradun & Delhi was propelled by blend of oil from jatropha seeds & aviation turbine fuel.
  • 43-minute flight was operated by Spice Jet’s Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, w/20 officials & 5 crewmembers on board.

Bio Jet Fuel Flight

  • This plane had carried blend of 25 % of bio jet fuel (derived from jatropha seeds) & 75 % of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) in one of 2 engines of plane, while other carried only ATF.

  • This flight was technological demonstration that bio jet fuel can be used in flights.

  • International standards permit blend rate of up to 50 % biofuel w/ATF.

  • Blend of bio jet fuel & ATF has potential to reduce fuel costs by 15 - 20%

  • Use of biofuel has potential to reduce aviation carbon emissions by up to 80%.

NCCCM: Technology for Detecting Contamination in Water

  • National Centre for Compositional Characterization of Materials (NCCCM), has developed visual detection kits for detection of Fluoride, Chromium (VI) & Iron. Technology is introduced in country thru technology transfers to private entrepreneurs.

Details on NCCCM Technology for Detecting Contamination in Water

  • The portable kit that can help in detection in 5 minutes is based on technology developed by Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

  • Technology for making Portable Visual Kits for detection of Fluoride, Chromium & Iron is transferred to 6 private entrepreneurs’ indigenous manufacturing.

  • Reagents are added & mixed for 2 minutes. W/I 5 minutes, colour develops in top layer, intensity of colour is compared w/colour chart by visual inspection to obtain concentration range of contaminant in water.

  • Iron Contamination detection kit is at advanced stage of development & very soon will be available to private entrepreneurs.

  • Kits are available in market based on DAE technology.

NMCG Organizes “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” Based on Report of FRI Report

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) organized ‘Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan’ in 5 main Ganga basin states – U’Khand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal. This week-long afforestation drive was organized during 9th July to 15th July, 2018 as ‘Shubharambh Saptah’.
  • State Forest Departments of 5 states acted as Nodal Agencies for smooth & effective execution of campaign.

  • Divisional Forest Officers (DFOs) were designated as district level Nodal Officers & Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) at State level for event.

  • Apart from these states, various organizations took part in this drive such as Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Ganga Vichar Manch (GVM), NGOs & educational institutions.

Highlights of ‘Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan’

  • Campaign was initiated as part of Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange Programme.

  • It was aimed at bringing greater awareness among people & other stakeholders regarding importance of afforestation for task of Ganga Rejuvenation.

  • Formal events to mark campaign were held at over 100 locations. In UP, programme is merged w/Ganga Haritima Abhiyan.

  • Some of plants which were sown during campaign are Kanji, Sheesham, Farmis, Jamun, Arjun, Gutal, Siras, Chhitvan, Mango, Neem, Semal, Jungal Jalebi, Gulmohar, Kadam, Sagwan, Saal, Mahogni, Ber, Bamboo, Karaonda, Ashwagandha, Curry Patta, Jathrofa, Beheda, Dhatura, Sarpgandha etc.

  • In order to implement afforestation project in scientific manner, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun was assigned project to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) on basis of which State Forest Departments would carry out their plantation activities.

Policy for Disposal of Waste and Pollution Control

  • Ministry, in supersession of Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2000, has notified Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Project proposals are appraised by concerned State Level Expert Appraisal Committees & while recommending proposals for grant of clearance, environmental safeguards are prescribed so as to mitigate increasing pollution.

Solid Waste Management (Imp)

  • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has mandate to take periodic review of measures taken by states & local bodies for improving their solid waste management practices.

  • MoHUA is implementing Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) project. Under this various projects are taken up.

Development and Pollution

  • Ministry, under provision of Environment Protection Act of 1986, issued several notifications to mitigate increasing pollution.

  • Ministry has issued Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006 for management of developmental projects.

  • Govt. has notified Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, & Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 Hazardous & Other Wastes (Management & Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2016, E-waste Management Rules, 2016 & Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016 for sound management of various types of wastes in country.

Air Pollution Control

  • As far as air pollution is concerned decreasing trend is observed in SO2 levels in cities like Delhi, etc. due to various interventions that have taken place in recent years such as reduction of sulphur in diesel, use of cleaner fuel such as CNG in Delhi & Mumbai & LPG in Hyderabad, Lucknow, Bangalore, etc.

  • Other measures include implementation of Bharat Stage-IV emission norms for new passenger cars & Bharat Stage – III for 2 Wheelers in metro cities commensurate w/improved fuel quality.

Water Pollution Control

  • Action to comply w/effluent standards is taken by SPCBs/PCCs to improve/water quality of rivers

  • Installation of Common Effluent Treatment Plants for cluster of Small Scale Industrial units

  • Issuance of directions for implementation of Zero Liquid Discharge

  • Installation of Online Effluent Monitoring System to check discharge of effluent directly into rivers & water bodies

  • Issuance of directions under Section 5 of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to industries & under Section 18 (1) (b) of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 & Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

High Lvl. Inter-Ministerial Meeting on Issues of Pollution Affecting Taj Mahal-C. K. Mishra Committee

  • High level Inter ministerial meeting was held on 16th July 2018 to deliberate on various issues & actions to be taken to conserve Taj Mahal.
  • Meeting focused on action points needed to overcome Air & Water pollution in & around Taj Mahal.

  • Meeting was chaired by Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping & Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, & was attended by Environment Minister.

Decisions Taken During Meeting

  • To deal w/air pollution, use of bio fuel, green fuel, & electric vehicles will be popularized in Agra.

  • Ethanol policy will be introduced for Agra, which will include conversion of bio mass to ethanol during crop burning season.

  • Use of ethanol auto rickshaws combined w/introduction of mass-rapid transport system will be introduced as part of policy of zero tolerance to pollution.

  • Some of measures that will be taken up to deal w/water pollution in Yamuna include afforestation along Yamuna, construction of rubber dam, solid waste management, developing 35 KM long garden along water front of Yamuna in UP, Haryana & Delhi.

  • Govt. will soon file affidavit in Supreme Court putting forward all steps & actions taken up by Govt. to conserve Taj Mahal.

Constitution of C. K. Mishra Committee

  • Committee under Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, C. K. Mishra will be constituted to suggest ways to deal w/ Air & Water pollution.

  • Committee will include experts from NEERI, IITs & experts from various organizations to look into issue of industrial pollution.

  • Committee will study on case-to-case basis & take tough stand on hazardous industries in vicinity of Taj Mahal.

NIWE Has Installed a Remote Sensing Instrument – LiDAR for Assessment of Offshore Wind Resource

  • National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has installed remote sensing instrument- LiDAR for assessment of offshore wind resource at Gulf of Khambat, off Gujarat Coast. IREDA is non-banking financial institution under Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

Remote Sensing Instrument – LiDAR

  • LiDAR is remote sensing technology which uses pulse from laser to collect measurements which can then be used to create 3D models & maps of objects & environments.

  • It is acronym of Light Detection & Ranging.

  • LiDAR works in similar way to Radar & Sonar yet uses light waves from laser, instead of radio or sound waves.

  • LiDAR system calculates how long it takes for light to hit object or surface & reflect back to scanner.

  • Distance is calculated using velocity of light. These are known as ‘Time of Flight’ measurements.

  • LiDAR systems can fire around 1,000,000 pulses per second. Each of measurements, or returns, can then be processed into 3D visualization known as ‘point cloud’.

  • Environmental applications benefit from LiDAR – laser scanning is popular method of mapping flood risk, carbon stocks in forestry & monitoring coastal erosion.

IRCTC Introduces Bagasse Based Food Packaging to Commemorate World Environment Day 2018

  • Ministry of Railways PSU IRCTC introduced bagasse based food packaging to commemorate World Environment Day 2018. This initiative comes as a part of the Railways’ drive to go green as it also aims at boosting the nation’s sugarcane industry.

Details of Bagasse Program

  • IRCTC launched its trial run of environment friendly bagasse based food packaging on 8 select Shatabdis & Rajdhanis originating from New Delhi.

  • Endeavour after initial trails is to progressively introduce bagasse based food packaging as viable alternative of non-bio-degradable material being currently used on all Rajdhani, Shatabdi & Duronto trains managed by IRCTC in coming months.

  • Bagasse, fibrous remains left behind after extracting sugarcane juice, is used to make disposable cutlery & containers in which meals will be served.

Proposal for Dam Safety Bill, 2018 Approved

  • Union Cabinet approved proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in Parliament after wide consultation w/leading Indian experts & international experts.

Refer:

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Dam Safety Bill 2018 - Key Highlights

Dr. Manishika Jain explains Dam Safety Bill 2018 - Key Highlights (Important for Geography Optional)

Importance of Bill

  • Bill will enable all states & UTs of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures that will ensure safety of dams & will safeguard their benefits.

  • Uniformity will help in protecting human life, livestock & property.

Key Facts of Bill

  • Bill will provide for proper surveillance, inspection, operation & maintenance of all specified dams in country to ensure their safe functioning.

  • It will provide for constitution of National Committee on Dam Safety that will evolve dam safety policies & recommend necessary regulations as required for purpose.

  • It will provide for constitution of State Committee on Dam Safety by state government.

  • It will enable establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as regulatory body, which will discharge functions to implement policy, guidelines & standards for dam safety in country.

  • Bill will address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, emergency action plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair & maintenance funds for dam safety & instrumentation & safety manuals.

State Committee on Dam Safety

  • Committee will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation & maintenance of all specified dams in that state & ensure their safe functioning.

  • State Dam Safety Organization, will be manned by officers from field of dam safety, preferably from areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation & dam-rehabilitation.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 4, 2018

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