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


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Year on Year Target for Solar Energy Sector: Vice President of India, said that India has huge potential to become the leader in solar energy sector addressing the inaugural session of ELECRAMA 2018, organized by the Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturing Association, in Noida, UP.

Initiatives to Make India a Solar Power

  • The country’s solar installed capacity reached 20 GW in February 2018.

  • India expanded its solar-generation capacity 8 times from 2,650 MW on 26 May 2014 to over 20 GW as on 31 January 2018.

Year on Year Target for Solar Energy Sector

Year on Year Target for Solar Energy Sector

Year on Year Target for Solar Energy Sector

  • The 20 GW capacity was initially targeted for 2022 but the government achieved the target four years ahead of schedule.

  • The country added 3 GW of solar capacity in 2015 - 2016 and over 5 GW in 2016 - 2017, the highest of any year, with the average current price of solar electricity dropping to 18 % below the average price of its coal-fired counterpart.

Image of Indian's New Solar Power Projects

Image of Indian’s New Solar Power Projects

Image of Indian’s New Solar Power Projects

  • The improvements in solar thermal storage power technology in recent years has made this task achievable as the cheaper solar power need not depend on costly and polluting coal/gas/nuclear based power generation for ensuring stable grid operation.

  • So far, 1.42 lakh Solar Pump have been installed in the Country as on 30.11. 2017 including 1.31 lakh during last three and half year.

  • Solar projects of capacity 23656 MW have been tendered and LoI for 19,340 MW issued.

  • Under National Solar Mission, the target for setting up solar capacity increased from 20 GW to 100 GW by 2021 - 22.

  • Target of 10,000 MW, set for 2017 - 18 which would take the cumulative capacity over 20GW till 31st March 2018.

  • Capacity of the scheme for “Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects” has been enhanced from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW.

  • 35 solar parks of aggregate capacity 20,514 MW have been approved in 21 States.

  • Kurnool Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh with 1000 MW capacity has already been commissioned and is operational. With commissioning of1000 MW capacity at single location, Kurnool Solar Park has emerged as the World’s Largest Solar Park.

  • 650 MW capacity commissioned in Bhadla Phase-II Solar Park in Rajasthan.

  • 250 MW capacity commissioned in Phase –I of Neemuch Mandsaur Solar Park (500 MW) in Madhya Pradesh.

  • 3 new solar parks have been approved in this year at Rajasthan (1000 MW), Gujarat (500 MW) and Mizoram (23 MW) after issue of Guidelines for Enhancement of capacity from 20,000 MW to 40,000 MW under Solar Park Scheme.

  • As on 30.11. 2017 over 41.80 lakh Solar Lighting Systems, 1.42 lakh Solar Pumps, and power packs of 181.52 MW eq have been installed in the country.

  • Major achievements of 18.47 lakh Solar Lighting Systems, 1.31 lakh. Solar Pumps, Power Packs of 96.39 MW eq have been reported during last three and half years.

  • Several schemes namely (i) Defence scheme (ii) Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) scheme (iii) Bundling scheme (iv) Canal Bank/Canal Top scheme (v) VGF Scheme (vi) Solar Park scheme (vii) Solar rooftops Grid Scheme, have been initiated/launched by the Ministry under National Solar Mission which are under implementation.

Measures for Solar rooftop grid panels are:

  • Concessional loans of around 1375 million US dollars from World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and New Development Bank (NDB) have been made available to State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Canara Bank for solar rooftop projects.

  • Suryamitra programme have been launched for creation of a qualified technical workforce and over 11000 persons have been trained under the programme.

  • Initiated geo-tagging of RTS projects, in co-ordination with ISRO, for traceability and transparency.

  • Launched mobile app ARUN (Atal Rooftop Solar User Navigator) for ease of access of beneficiaries for request submission and awareness.

  • MNRE has allocated Ministry wise expert PSUs for implementation of RTS projects in various Ministries/Departments.

  • Published best practices guide and compendium of policies, regulations, technical standards and financing norms for solar power projects.

Government Launches ‘SUVIDHA’- 100 Percent Bio-Degradable Sanitary Napkins

  • The government, announced the launch of 100 percent biodegradable sanitary napkins, to be called “Suvidha”, under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana.
  • This step taken by the Dept. of Pharmaceuticals to ensure Affordable and Quality Healthcare for All. The cost of the napkin would be Rs. 2.50.

  • Suvidha was launched on International Woman’s day, as this unique product to ensure affordability, hygiene, ease of use, and easy disposal.

  • ‘Swachhta, Swasthya and Suvidha’ are the touchstones of the product

  • SUVIDHA napkins would be physically available at all Janaushadhi Kendras in the country by May 28,2018 - World Menstrual Hygiene Day.

  • Two NGOs – Tasya and Chandran’s Yuva Foundation installed two sanitary napkin vending machines at the Coimbatore Medical College in Tamil Nadu. Similar machines will be installed in public places like bus stands in Gandhipuram, Singanallur, Ukkadam and Mettupalayam in the district.

PMBJP Scheme

  • Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses. Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) is the implementation agency for PMBJP.

Jan Aushadhi Store (JAS)

  • JAS has been opened across the country. The normal working hours of JAS are 8 Am to 8 PM.

  • All therapeutic medicines are made available from Jan Aushadhi Stores.

VOCs: Emerging Chemical Pollution Threat

Volatile Chemical Products (VCPs) or VOCs

  • Recent study by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), US, revealed that source of ambient air pollution in urban spaces has shifted to other Volatile Chemical Products (VCPs), or everyday products such as pesticides, coatings, printing inks, adhesives, cleaning agents & personal care.
  • They contain organic solvents, which are major sources of pollutants called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

  • Study bears significance as it was conducted in 33 industrialized cities in Europe & US & attributed 50 % of air pollution to volatile chemicals.

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Created with Highcharts 6.2. 0Where Do VOCs Come FromOther (13%) Other (13%) on Road Vehicles (28%) on Road Vehicles (28%) Non Road Equipment (19%) Non Road Equipment (19%) Industrial Processes (11%) Industrial Processes (11%) Solvent Use (29%) Solvent Use (29%) Other (13%) Where Do VOCs Come From: 13

Evidence of VOCs Pollution

  • Researchers & scientists are currently using 4 diff. evidences:

  • Energy & chemical production statistics

  • Vehicular emissions near roadways & laboratory testing of chemical products

  • Measurements of ambient air away from roads

  • Indoor air measurements to arrive at VCP emissions

  • Based on these parameters, studies are concluding that per product intensity of VOC emission from chemical products has increased by several orders of magnitude in comparison to emissions from fuel burning in vehicles.

  • In US, for instance, input of fossil fuels for transportation is 15 times that of amount used for chemical products; yet emissions intensity from chemical products is twice as much as that from vehicle exhausts.

Underestimation of Chemical Pollution

  • Emissions from chemical products are underestimated by factor of 2 or 3, while those from vehicles are overestimated.

  • Reason for this could be that many of compounds emitted by chemical production were not accounted for earlier & compounds produced in vehicle exhausts were readily measured.

Railways Phasing Out Asbestos- a Suspected Health Hazard

  • Broken-down asbestos roofs on railway stations were being replaced by metal sheets since June 2009. Asbestos sheet is manufactured from naturally occurring fibrous mineral has been an imp. construction material for India’s railways.

Use of Asbestos in Railways

  • There are nearly 8000 railway stations in India have asbestos in their premises.

  • Sheets are made by bonding asbestos fibres w/cement. Product is used as roofing & partition material for stations, workshops & worker’s quarters. It is used as insulation material in places w/extreme weather.

Feature Plan or Railways for Asbestos Replacement

  • Railways announced that all new railway stations will have metal sheet roofs.

  • Asbestos roofs at older stations will be phased out.

  • Metal sheets look appealing as they are pre-painted. They do not break; they only bend on impact while asbestos has to be painted after it is installed, and it can break.

  • Disposal of asbestos retrieved from railway will be tough task as material is used widely.

  • Asbestos products that are breaking down can release fibres in to air.

  • Railways have said that they will be using ‘scientific’ landfilling methods to dispose of asbestos waste.

Policy for Asbestos in India

  • Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association (ACPMA) says that Asbestos as raw material is harmful. So, precautions have to be taken during manufacturing & packing.

  • Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), group creating awareness about possible hazards of asbestos, are campaigning against use of asbestos.

Mutant Bacteria Could Be Answer to Plastics Pollution Crisis

  • 2 years ago, team of Japanese scientists found bacteria that could “eat” one of world’s most popular kinds of plastics, polyethylene terephthalate, a. k. a. PET.

  • In process of studying just how this bacteria breaks down plastic, British & American scientists accidentally created mutant enzyme that’s even better at breaking down PET.

  • Popular Science claims that this discovery could “finally allow us to recycle plastic drink bottles for 1st time ever. “

  • Newly discovered mutant enzyme can break down PET in just few days.

  • Current recycling strategies for PET bottles mostly focus on mechanical recycling, so they chop bottles up & use them for applications that typically do not need same materials requirements as bottles.

  • Engineered enzymes that break PET down to its building blocks would enable full bottle-to-bottle recycling.

60 MW Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project in Uttarkashi

  • Govt. officials have laid foundation stone for 60-MW Naitwar Mori hydro project on Tons River in Mori, Uttarkashi dist. of U’Khand. Project is scheduled to be completed by December 2021, in a record period of 48 months.
  • Run-of-river Naitwar Mori hydroelectric plant is developed by SJVN Ltd. SJVN Ltd is Mini Ratna PSU under administrative control of Ministry of Power, Govt. of India. Other hydro plants SJVN owns & operates include 1,500-MW Nathpa Jhakri & 412-MW Rampur, both in Satluj basin.

Features of project are:

  • Dam structure 30.5 m high

  • Headrace tunnel 4.3 km long with a diameter of 5.6 m

  • Surge shaft 51.65 m deep

  • Underground powerhouse with two 30-MW vertical Francis turbines

  • Project utilizes net head of 90.76 m. to generate 265.50 MU in a 90 per cent dependable year.

  • Naitwar Mori has two underground generating units of 30 MW each.

Advantages of the Project

  • Naitwar Mori has potential to generate 265.5 million units of electricity every year.

  • Project would result in CO2 emissions reductions to tune of 0.21 Million tons annually.

  • Ministry of Power in U’Khand has goal to fully electrify state, under Saubhagya Scheme.

  • After project is commissioned, 12 % free electricity will be supplied to Uttarakhand as a royalty. Each project-affected family will be provided w/amount equivalent to cost of 100 units of electricity per month for ten years.

Swachh Bharat Mission Launches GOBAR-DHAN

  • ‘Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) ’ is launched at National level by Union Ministry for Drinking Water & Sanitation & State Govt. of Haryana.


  • GOBAR-DHAN scheme is central scheme aimed at maintaining clean village conditions along w/producing clean biofuel & bio-manure to save electricity & environment.

  • It will cover entire country-Districts, Tehsils & villages for educating people about utilization of cattle dung for converting into more valuable fuel i. e. , Biogas & manure.

  • In initial phase, scheme has covered 115 districts for implementation of scheme.

Launch of Scheme

  • Scheme GOBAR-DHAN was launched at National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) Auditorium, in Karnal, Haryasna.

  • Guidelines of scheme were also launched detailing of scheme, implementation arrangements, financing provisions & roles & responsibilities of Centre, State Govt. , districts & other stakeholders involved in implementation of scheme.

  • Scheme was announced in Budget 2018.

  • Scheme was formulated w/aim to manage & convert dung & solid waste in farms to compost, biogas & bio-CNG & to provide village’s clean environment, so that income of farmers & cattle herders can be increased.

  • Scheme derives inspiration from European countries & China, wherein animal dung & other organic waste is used to generate energy.

MNRE Issues National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy

  • Union Ministry of New & Renewable Energy on 14th May 2018 issued National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy in New Delhi.
  • Scheme for new hybrid projects under policy is expected shortly. It aims to reduce variability in renewable power generation & achieve better grid stability.

  • Objective: provide framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV hybrid system for efficient utilization of transmission infrastructure & land.

Key Features of Policy

  • Technology front

  • Flexibility in share of wind & solar

  • Hybrid projects

  • Procurement of power

  • Use of battery storage

  • Standard & regulations

Significance of National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy

  • Hybrid policy aims at facilitating better utilization of resources- to open-up new area for availability of renewable power at competitive prices along w/reduced variability.

  • Union govt. has set ambitious target of achieving 175 Gigawatt (GW) of installed capacity from renewable energy sources by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar & 60 GW of wind power capacity- policy is the right step in that direction.

  • Total renewable power installed capacity in country stood at abt 70 GW in F. Y. 2017 - 18.

Indians 1st Hybrid Plant in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

  • Earlier in Dec 2017, The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in India chose district of Anantapur in the state of Andhra Pradesh for world’s largest solar-wind hybrid project.

  • The mega project will have a capacity of 160 megawatts and would be built over a land area of 1000 acres. The project is expected to entail an investment of approximately INR 1000 crores ( $155 million). The World Bank has agreed to provide funding for the project.

BS-VI Fuel Will Bring Down Sulphur Level by 80 Percent from Current BSIV Levels

  • BS VI fuel for automobiles is expected to cut level of pollutant sulphur in petrol & diesel by as much as 80%. Advancing Date of rollout of shift to BS VI fuels announced by 2 years to 2018 in national capital Delhi & 2019 in adjoining National Capital Region (NCR).
  • It will improve emissions from existing fleet, even from older vehicles on road.

  • BS-VI is as clean as CNG or even cleaner than CNG in some respects.

Advantages of BS VI

  • Use of BS VI fuel w/lower sulphur content may improve particulate emissions from existing fleet of vehicles which are presently playing in national capital to some extent.

  • Major difference in standards b/w existing BS-IV & new BS-VI auto fuel norms is presence of sulphur.

  • BS-IV fuels contain 50ppm sulphur, while BS-V & BS-VI grade fuel will have 10 ppm sulphur.

  • Plans for Launching BS VI

  • BS VI Fuel will be available across country from 1st April, 2020, when auto industry will fully migrate to manufacturing only BS VI compliant vehicles on a pan India basis.

  • Availability of BS VI fuel in Delhi from April 2018 gives opportunity to vehicle manufacturers in this region to test & validate BS VI vehicles being developed by auto industry so as to be fully ready for April 2020 deadline.

What is Asita? Yamuna River Front Development Project

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has asked Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to expedite “Asita”, its Yamuna River Front Development Project. People-friendly bio-diversity zone will be created for people to interact freely w/river’s eco-system.
  • Asita: “Asita” is another name of river Yamuna. Asita is known as Yamuna River Front Development (RFD) project. It aims to restore, revive & rejuvenate river’s floodplains & make them accessible to people of Delhi.

Key Features of Project

  • Special focus of project is on reviving river’s bio-diversity in National Capital.

  • River Front “walks”, major component of project, will enable people to develop relationship w/river Yamuna.

  • Project envisages creating green buffer area approx. 300mts wide along river edge w/species of riverine ecology.

  • Besides, wide belt of 150mts along peripheral roads will be developed as greenways for public amenities that will include continuous trail of pathways & cycle tracks.

  • To revive ecosystem of floodplains, wetlands will be created to store flood waters & also to improve groundwater recharge which will eventually result in flourishing of biodiversity in floodplains.

Yamuna Action Plan

  • GoI has sanctioned Yamuna Action Plant (YAP) -I & YAP-II schemes for river Yamuna in Delhi, Haryana & UP & YAP-III in Delhi under financial assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for taking up works for sewerage/interception & diversion of drains, Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), low cost sanitation/community toilet complexes, electric/improved wood crematoria, etc.

- Published/Last Modified on: December 5, 2018


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