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February 2020 Environment

  • NTPC Limited has agreed to help the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to set up 25 Continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations (CAAQMS) across six States and three Union Territories (UTs) in India. 

    1.) As per the agreement, NTPC will provide financial support of Rs.80 crore for the installation of CAAQMS in the States and Union Territories.

    2.) The six states are Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, Ranchi in Jharkhand, Patna in Bihar, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur, and Allahabad all in Uttar Pradesh, Pimpri-Chinchwad in Maharashtra and Madurai in Tamil Nadu.

    3.) The 3 UTs where the CAAQMS will be installed are Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Silvassa in Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman in Daman & Diu.

    4.) The data collected from the respective stations will be used for the evaluation of the air quality index for these cities.

  • Two cheetah cubs have been born through in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer to a surrogate mother for the first time, Ohio zoo officials announced on 24 February, 2020. The male and female cubs were born to 3-year-old Izzy at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on 26 February, 2020. The biological mother of the cubs is 6-year-old Kibibi who has never reproduced and is too old to easily become pregnant naturally.

  • Scientists have recently discovered a new species of snail. The temperature-sensitive species is named Craspedotropis gretathunbergae. The scientists have given this name after the environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Scientists have been given this honor to Greta's efforts in spreading awareness towards climate change.

  • Two new bird species Red Throated Thrush and Plumbeous Water Redstart have been found during Great Backyard Bird count in Ladakh. The three-day exercise undertaken by the Wildlife Conservation and Birds Club of Ladakh.

  • The State of India’s Birds 2020 Report was recently released at the 13th COP Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The report has been prepared with the help of a massive database of more than 10 million observations uploaded by 15,000 birdwatchers on the 'e-bird' platform. 

    It is India’s first of its kind report that highlights observations by birdwatchers form the basis of the analyses. The project was started in May 2018 as a means to collect the actual data of birds in India. The final report was released on February 17, 2020, at 13th COP to the convention on migratory species held in Gujarat. 

    Key Highlights of Report : 
    • The report suggests that about 867 birds were assessed which made it clear that almost all the species are declining.
    • The report categorises 101 species as of High Conservation Concern, 59 based on their range size and abundance trends, and an additional 42 based on their IUCN Red List status.
    • According to the report, India has witnessed a big decline in migratory shorebirds, raptors, Indian Vulture, Large-billed Lea Warbler, Curlew Sandpiper, Richard’s Pipit and While-rumped Vulture.
    • The report also highlights that some species have increased in numbers such as Glossy Ibis, Rosy Starling, Ashy Prinia, and Feral Pigeon.
    • Birds were divided into different categories – 101 birds as a high concern, 319 birds as moderate concern and 442 birds as low concern species.

  • The first-ever Hornbill festival in Tripura has begun with an aim to raise awareness among people for bird conservation.

  • India will be moving to include the Asian Elephant and the Great Indian Bustard in the list of species that merit heightened conservation measures. The list will be debated at the 13th cop of the convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS) an environment treaty under UNEP. The elephant phases risk in particularly in Bangladesh and Nepal. 

  • The 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (CMS), an environmental treaty under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, is hosted by India from 17th to 22nd February 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. 

    The theme of CMS COP13 in India is, “Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home.“ The CMS COP 13 logo is inspired by ‘Kolam’, a traditional art form from southern India. In the logo of CMS COP-13, Kolam art form is used to depict key migratory species in India like Amur falcon, humpback whale and marine turtles. 

    The mascot for CMS COP13, “Gibi - The Great Indian Bustard” is a critically endangered species that has been accorded the highest protection status under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species. 

    India has been a Party to the CMS since 1983. The Conference of Parties (COP) is the decision-making organ of this convention. Migratory species are those animals that move from one habitat to another during different times of the year, due to various factors such as food, sunlight, temperature, climate, etc. The movement between habitats can sometimes exceed thousands of miles/kilometres for some migratory birds and mammals. A migratory route can involve nesting and also requires the availability of habitats before and after each migration. 

    In order to protect the migratory species throughout their range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has been in force, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme. Also referred to as the Bonn Convention, it provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range. 

    The convention complements and co-operates with a number of other international organizations, NGOs and partners in the media as well as in the corporate sector. Under this convention, migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I and Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them. Migratory species that need or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention. India has also signed a non-legally binding MOU with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016). 

    India is a temporary home to several migratory animals and birds. The important among these include Amur Falcons, Bar-headed geese, Black-necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpbacked Whales, etc. The Indian sub-continent is also part of the major bird flyway network, i.e, the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) that covers areas between the Arctic and Indian Oceans, and covers at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 globally threatened species. India has also launched the National Action Plan for the conservation of migratory species under the Central Asian Flyway.

Last Updated : 29/02/2020



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