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July 2017 Environment

  • NGT issues notice to Centre on air pollution caused by ships
    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notice to Centre on alleged air pollution caused by diesel-run ships in the Indian territorial waters. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by a petitioner seeking directions to monitor the pollution caused by ships and vessels entering the Indian maritime coastal waters and submit a report to the NGT. 

    A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the ministries of Environment and Shipping, Central Pollution Control Board and Directorate General of Shipping seeking their replies before August 17. 

  • Drifting Antarctic iceberg A-68 opens up clear water
    The giant iceberg known as A-68 that was produced in the Antarctic last week continues to drift seaward. All the latest satellite images indicate the gap between the 6,000-sq-km block and the floating Larsen C Ice Shelf from which it calved is widening. The particular image on this page was acquired by the Deimos-1 satellite. 

    It is not easy getting pictures of the Antarctic at this time of year because of the long winter nights and because of cloud cover. 

    Those spacecraft that have so far spied the berg have been relying on radar or on infrared sensors to pierce these difficulties. The monster berg - which is a quarter the size of Wales, and one of the biggest ever recorded - is so far behaving as expected. 

    Theory suggests it should move, in the first instance, down the slope in the ocean surface that has been created by winds in the Weddell Sea pushing water up against the coast. But the leftward deflecting effect of the Coriolis force, produced by the Earth's rotation, should keep the berg relatively close to the continent's edge. 

    Interestingly in the Deimos image, acquired recently, it appears as though a large segment of "fast ice" that was attached to the berg has broken free. This fast ice is considerably thinner than the main block - a few metres thick versus the 200-plus-metres of the berg itself. 

  • Tata Motors has developed the country’s first bio-CNG (bio-methane) bus.
    Bio-CNG will help in contributing to the smart cities and to keep them clean and is a good option for Wet Garbage management. 

    It is aimed to develop environment-friendly vehicles. Bio methane is produced out of bio-degradable materials like kitchen waste. It displayed three models, including the lead model Tata LPO 1613 with 5.7 SGI NA BS-IV IOBD-II compliant buses. 

  • NGT bans nylon, synthetic manja
    The National Green Tribunal on 11th July banned the use of 'Chinese' kite strings, made of nylon or any synthetic material on the grounds that it poses threat to life and environment. 

    The Tribunal directed all state governments to prohibit the "manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use" of synthetic manja or nylon threads and all other synthetic strings used for flying kites with immediate effect. 

    A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered the authorities to ban import of any synthetic manja or nylon thread or other similar threads coated with synthetic substances, across the country. 

    The judgement came on a plea filed by animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others, contending that 'manja' poses a grave threat to humans and animals as every year a number of deaths are caused by it. 

  • One of the biggest icebergs breaks away from Antarctica
    One of the biggest icebergs ever recorded has just broken away from Antarctica. The giant block is estimated to cover an area of roughly 6,000 sq km; that's about a quarter the size of Wales. 

    An US satellite observed the berg while passing over a region known as the Larsen C Ice Shelf. Scientists were expecting it. They'd been following the development of a large crack in Larsen's ice for more than a decade. 

    The rift's propagation had accelerated since 2014, making an imminent calving ever more likely. The more than 200m-thick tabular berg will not move very far, very fast in the short term. But it will need to be monitored. Currents and winds might eventually push it north of the Antarctic where it could become a hazard to shipping. 

    An infrared sensor on the American space agency's Aqua satellite spied clear water in the rift between the shelf and the berg. The water is warmer relative to the surrounding ice and air - both of which are sub-zero. 

  • Telangana CM launches third phase of 'Telanganaku Haritha Haram'
    Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on 12th July launched the third phase of 'Telanganaku Haritha Haram', in Karimnagar. It is a government led two-week long plantation drive aimed at increasing the green cover in the state from 24 percent to 33 percent. 

    The government has already claimed the mission to be a success by claiming to have planted 40 crore saplings across the state, out of the target of 230 crore saplings. The program involves reviving 2.40 hectares of forests across the state. 

    Chief Minister had participated last year as well in the Haritha Haram campaign which was launched from Nalgonda. 

    He had joined the one lakh green volunteers who planted 1.25 lakh saplings on the 165 km Hyderabad-Vijayawada Highway. 

  • Climate change to have devastating effect in Asia
    Climate change would bring devastating consequences to countries in the Pacific and Asia, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. It has warned that Southern India may witness a decline in rice yields by five per cent in 2030s. 

    Unabated climate change could severely affect the future growth of these countries, reverse current development gains, and degrade the quality of life, the report claimed. 

    According to the report, Asia has the highest number of people exposed to flooding from possible storm surge events, particularly in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia. It said 130 million people in low-elevation coastal zones in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, are at the risk of being displaced by the end of the century in worst-case scenario. 

    Flood exposure is apparently increasing in coastal cities due to growing population and assets and subsidence, it said. The report said recent studies reveal that flood risk is projected to increase significantly in Southeast Asia and India under global warming. 

    Noting that the challenge is two-fold, he said Asian greenhouse gas emissions have to be reduced in a way that the global community can limit planetary warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed in Paris 2015 while on the other. 

  • Largest Fresh water aquarium of India inaugurated in Jharkhand
    Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das inaugurated the India's largest fresh water aquarium “Ranchi Machchli Ghar” at Bhagwan Birsa Munda Biodiversity Park in Ranchi to encourage tourism in the state. This aquarium is established over 36,000 square feet area and it has 58 fish tanks, where 120 species of 1500 fishes have been exhibited. Besides Indian breeds, rare and popular species of Fish have been brought in from Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore. 

  • Thermal power plants in Ganga basin under NGT radar
    Thermal power plants discharging effluents in the Ganga basin have come under the radar of the National Green Tribunal. It has sought a report on whether the power plants have adequate measures in place to prevent pollution of the river. 

    A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Power to hold a meeting in this regard and file their comments along with affidavit before it. 

    The green panel said that any deficiency with regard to the thermal power plants should be pointed out in the report, especially with regard to Uttar Pradesh. 

    The Tribunal also sought comments on the view taken by the Central Pollution Control Board that old plants should be shut down and only those with new technology be allowed to operate. 

    The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by NGO Indian Council for Enviro Legal Action seeking regulation of thermal power plants located in the Ganga river basin. 

  • UNESCO opts against 'in danger' status for ravaged Great Barrier Reef
    UNESCO opted to keep the Great Barrier Reef off of its official list of World Heritage sites 'in danger' at a meeting in Poland. There are currently 55 World Heritage sites on the 'in danger' list, including the Everglades National Park, the Syrian city of Palmyra, and Liverpool's historic docklands.
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