Expected Environment Questions 2017 Set 1 YouTube Lecture

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Expected Questions on Environment and Biodiversity Part 1 - UPSC IAS 2017

Cloud Seeding Project for 2017 Monsoon


  • First controlled experiment to quantify extent to which clouds form water drops large enough to make rain.

  • Ground radar will be used to track clouds and verify which ones contributed rain.

  • Largest cloud seeding system in world: China. Rain in arid regions in Beijing just before 2008 Olympic Games to clear air pollution.

  • USA: To increase precipitation in areas of drought, to reduce size of hailstones that form in thunderstorms, and to reduce amount of fog in and around airports.

  • 2006, an $8.8 million cloud seeding project began in Wyoming.

  • Australia: CSIRO’s activities in Tasmania in 1960s - Seeding over Hydro-Electricity Commission catchment area on Central Plateau – increased rain to as high as 30% in autumn.

  • Russian military pilots seeded clouds over Belarus after Chernobyl disaster to remove radioactive particles from clouds heading towards Moscow.

Cloud Seeding

Cloud Seeding

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Barren Island: House of India’s Active Volcano

  • Volcano started erupting in 1991 and has since then shown intermittent activity.

  • It had started showing activity in 1991 after being dormant for over 150 years.

  • Andaman Basin - sea floor samples.

  • Daytime - ash clouds.

  • Sunset - red lava fountains from crater.

  • Scientists recovered coal-like black pyroclastic material from the area.

  • Barren Island volcano is located 140-km north-east of Port Blair.

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

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Newly Formed Fracture in Indian Ocean May Trigger Quakes in Future

  • Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences

  • New plate boundary forming on the floor of Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin.

  • Conducted sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard a research vessel.

  • New fault system off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 quakes.

  • Plate had broken along a 1, 000 km fracture zone - site of future fault-slip quakes.

  • Wharton Basin

Boundary Area

Boundary Area

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Focus on Biodiversity


Agasthamala among 20 UNESCO world biosphere reserves

  • Location -Western Ghats

  • Comprises mostly of tropical forests

  • Shendurney, Peppara, Neyyar & Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger reserve

Myanmar’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

  • Location: Inle Lake in Shan state

Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program (1971)

Aim: Improve relationships between people & environments

  • To safeguard natural and managed ecosystems

  • Promoting innovative approaches to economic development

Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Reserves

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Pakke Tiger Reserve

  • East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh has won the ‘India Biodiversity Award 2016’

  • Conservation of threatened species category for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme

Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme

  • Joint collaboration of Ghora-Aabhe Society, Nature Conservation Foundation & State Forest Department.

  • Urban citizens contribute money to protect hornbill nests (4 species)

India Biodiversity Award

  • 4 categories

    • Conservation of Threatened Species

    • Sustainable use of biological resources

    • Successful models for access and benefit sharing

    • Biodiversity Management Committees

  • Joint initiative of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and UNDP

  • Winner: Cash prize of 1 lakh rupees & runners up receive 50,000 rupees

Declining Vulture Population

  • In Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), Kerala

  • Culprit: Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug

  • Constituent of – Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and Elephant Reserve No.7 (world’s largest recorded population of Asiatic elephant).

Why Are Vultures Important?

  • Natural disposal of livestock carcasses.

  • Livestock carcasses can cause anthrax, and encourage pest species, such as rats.

  • Increase in the number of feral dogs - bites can led to human rabies

  • Substitute for Diclofenac – Meloxicam (Safe for Vultures)

  • Haryana Government launched Asia’s first ‘Gyps Vulture Reintroduction Programme’ at the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore

Raptor MoU



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  • Conservation of birds of prey in Africa and Eurasia

  • India->56th country to sign the Raptor MoU

  • Agreement under Article IV paragraph 4 of the CMS and is not legally binding.

  • Raptors MoU extends its coverage to 76 species of birds of prey

  • 46 species, including vultures, falcons, eagles, owls, hawks, kites, harriers, etc. also occur in India.

  • In line with existing Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.

  • Pakistan and Nepal also signed the MoU.

Nagaland’s Doyang Lake

  • Doyang lake, Wokha in Nagaland, famous for the world's longest travelling raptors - Amur falcons

  • They come to roost here during their flight from Mongolia to South Africa

  • Doyang lake area as an eco-tourism spot

  • Pangti village in Nagaland -World's Amur Falcon capital (more than one million birds can be seen in just 30 minutes)

  • IUCN has categorized and evaluated these falcon species and has listed them as of "Least Concern"

Doyang Lake

Doyang Lake

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NGT Halts Tawang Hydro Power Project

Tawang hydro power project in Arunachal Pradesh.

Black-necked crane: Breeds on the Tibetan plateau and migrates to Tawang for the winter.

  • Listed in India’s Wildlife Act as a Schedule 1 species (gives animals and birds the highest legal protection)

  • India – “Vulnerable”- IUCN – Sacred to Buddhists

  • Common in China

  • Legally protected in Bhutan

Other Species in the region:

  • Red Panda

  • Snow Leopard

  • Arunachal Macaque



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Biological Diversity Act, 2002

To conserve and promote sustainable use of biological diversity

To regulate the access to biological resources of the country with equitable share in benefits

Set up:

  • National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)

  • State Biodiversity Board (SBB)

  • Biodiversity Management Committees

Protect knowledge of local communities, traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and secure sharing of benefits with local people.

South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN)

  • Approval for India

  • Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency

  • Helps to control the trans-boundary wildlife crime

  • SAWEN, a Regional network is comprised of 8 countries in South Asia:

    • Afghanistan

    • Bangladesh

    • Bhutan

    • India

    • Maldives

    • Nepal

    • Pakistan

    • Sri Lanka

  • Strong regional intergovernmental body for combating wildlife crime

  • Region has precious biodiversity and large markets very vulnerable to illegal traffic and wildlife crimes.

Ballast Water Discharge

Used by ocean bound ships to provide balance and stability while navigation

  • Exotic species transported

  • Globally more than 10,000 exotic marine species are transported

  • In India - 10 invasive exotic species in the coastal waters of Kerala

  • Damage to our coastal ecosystems and lead to severe loss of biodiversity

  • 10 Common Species

    • Cholera Vibrio cholerae

    • Cladoceran Water Flea Cercopagis pengoi

    • Mitten Crab Eriocheir sinensis

    • Toxic algae (red/brown/green tides)

    • Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus

    • North American Comb Jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi

    • North Pacific Seastar Asterias amurensis

    • Zebra Mussel Dreissena polymorpha

    • Asian Kelp Undaria pinnatifida

    • European Green Crab Carcinus maenas

Ballast Discharge

Ballast Discharge

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Snowflake Corals

  • For first in 1972 it was reported as an invasive species from Hawaii

  • Native of the tropical Western Atlantic and Caribbean

  • Spread to countries like Australia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines

  • Inhabit reefs and underwater structures such as piers and shipwreck

  • Can attach itself to metal, concrete and even plastic

In India:

  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • Gulf of Mannar

  • Gulf of Kutch

  • Goa


  • Can destabilize the marine ecosystem

  • It can crowd out other marine species

Snowflake Corals

Snowflake Corals

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Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation

  • Co-organized by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, National Tiger Conservation Authority, Global Tiger Forum, Global Tiger Initiative Council, Wildlife Institute of India, WWF and Wildlife Conservation Trust

  • Project Tiger in 1972 - 70% of the global wild tiger population is in India

  • National Tiger Conservation Authority is responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger plan

  • 13 Tiger Range Countries

    • Bangladesh

    • Bhutan

    • Cambodia

    • China

    • Indonesia

    • India

    • Laos

    • Malaysia

    • Myanmar

    • Nepal

    • Russian Federation

    • Thailand

    • Vietnam

Asia Tiger Conference

Asia Tiger Conference

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Gorewada Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre

  • India’s biggest Wildlife Rescue Centre

  • At Gorewada near Nagpur, Maharashtra

  • Managed by: Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM)

  • Created on the lines of Gujarat based Gir National Park

  • 1914 Hectares of land

Bio Park

Bio Park

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Russian Poplars

Mass awareness campaign in Kashmir to protect the poplar trees

In 2014: J&K High Court first banned the sale, purchase and plantation of Russian Poplars

During summers, populous deltoids—female poplar—sheds a cotton-like material carrying seeds that cause allergy and respiratory disorders.

  • Russian Poplars

    • Nothing to do with Russia

    • Russi Frass variety from USA

    • It grows faster than the local variety

    • Central to rural economy in Kashmir

    • Source of livelihood for many because fruit boxes are made of it

    • Forms a canopy over the highways

    • Tourist attraction

Russian Poplars

Russian Poplars

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Focus on Disaster Mitigation

Focus on Waste Management

Waste Management

Waste Management

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E-Waste Management Rules 2016

Supersession of e-waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2011.

E-Waste Rules

  • Stringent norms and reflect the government’s commitment to environmental governance.

  • Include Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) and other mercury containing lamps

  • Producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets.

  • Collection is Producers responsibility.

  • Ensure safety, health and skill development of the workers involved in dismantling and recycling operations.

  • Provision of penalty for violation of rules has been introduced.

  • Simplify process of dismantling and recycling by one system of authorization

  • Single authorization by Central Pollution Control Board in India.

Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling &Transboundary Movement) Rule, 2016

  • Total hazardous waste: 7.46 million metric tons per annum from 44,000 industries

  • Started in 1989, 2000, 2003, 2008 & 2016

  • Ambit of the Rules has been expanded to ‘Other Waste’.

  • Prevention, minimization, reuse, recycling, recovery, co-processing; and safe disposal has been incorporated.

  • Revise rules for permission, import/export, filing of annual returns, transportation, etc.

  • Merge all the approvals as a single window clearance.

  • Co-processing as preferential mechanism over disposal for use of waste as supplementary resource, or for recovery of energy has been provided.

  • Streamline approval.

  • Import of metal scrap, paper waste and various categories of electrical and electronic equipments for re-use purpose has been exempted.

  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) specific to waste type given.

Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • Changed from Management and Handling, 20111 to Management in 2016

  • From 10 categories to 4 categories

  • Barcode system for disposal

  • Phase-out use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within two years

  • Immunize all its health care workers & those involved in handling of bio-medical waste for protection against diseases including Hepatitis B and Tetanus - transmitted by handling of bio-medical waste

Biomedical Rules

Biomedical Rules

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Laboratory Disposal

Laboratory Disposal

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  • Focus on Disaster Mitigation

National Disaster Management Plan, 2016

  • First ever national plan prepared in the country

  • Ethical guidelines for media – respecting dignity and privacy of community

Aim: To make India disaster resilient and reduce loss of lives

Based on: Four priority themes of the “Sendai Framework”

  • Understanding disaster risk

  • Improving disaster risk governance

  • Investing in disaster risk reduction (through structural and non-structural measures)

  • Disaster preparedness, early warning and building back better in the aftermath of a disaster

Sendai Framework

  • 15-year, voluntary, non-binding agreement for disaster reduction.

Targets by 2030

  • Reduce global disaster mortality.

  • Reduce the number of affected people globally.

  • Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global GDP.

  • Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services.

  • Increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction.

  • Enhance international cooperation to developing countries.

  • Increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information.