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Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013

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Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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Table of Contents
PREFACE .......................................................................................................................................... 8
PICK OF THE YEAR ........................................................................................................................... 9
UNFCCs 19th Conference of Parties (COP-19) ....................................................................... 9
First-ever Environment Gender Index (EGI) launched by IUCN ............................................ 10
National Policy to Save Water .............................................................................................. 13
India's First Marine Eco-Sensitive Zone declared in Gulf of Kutch ....................................... 15
UNESCO: Nicobar Islands are now World Biosphere Reserve .............................................. 15
Global warming changes pattern of Indian Monsoon .......................................................... 16
MoEF organised Green Haat to raise awareness of rich forest and biodiversity of India .... 17
National Green Tribunal invoked Polluter Pay Principle ...................................................... 18
Kasturirangan Report on Western Ghats .............................................................................. 18
Odisha government banned fishing to protect Turtle Nesting............................................. 19
State of Nature Report revealed atleast 10% of UK Wildlife endangered ........................... 20
SC appointed commmittee recommends an indefinite suspension on GM Crops .............. 21
CLIMATE CHANGE ......................................................................................................................... 23
A new GHG more catastrophic than CO
discovered ........................................................... 23
Ice of Antarctica expanding despite global warming............................................................ 26
Siachen Glacier shrinking due to global warming ................................................................. 27
Gas behind Ozone destruction in marine regions discovered .............................................. 27
Climate change threatens survival of Asian Birds................................................................. 28
Snail shells could hold keys to predicting ancient climate ................................................... 28
New Zealand affected by the worst-Ever drought in 30 Years ............................................. 29
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Adlie Penguin benefitted by the climate change ................................................................ 30
Human Beings main Reason for Climate Change: IPCC ........................................................ 30
Role of CO
effect on Marine Fauna needs more in-depth study ......................................... 31
Australia's unique influence on global sea level ................................................................... 32
Global warming caused ocean level to rise by 3 mm ........................................................... 33
Seagrass can help in dealing with Climate Change ............................................................... 34
Slump in global warming to lead lower rise in temperatures in short-term ........................ 35
Increasing human violence behind rising temperatures ...................................................... 36
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ..................................................................................................... 38
UN established new forum to boost Sustainable Development efforts .............................. 38
Workshop on Indias preparedness for REDD+ held in Nagaland ........................................ 39
The International Centre for Environment Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED)
inaugurated in Jaipur 40
POLLUTION/HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES ...................................................................................... 42
MoEF formed a team to inspect oil spill off the Uran Coast near Mumbai ......................... 42
MoEF granted environmental clearance for various coal mines of BCCL ............................ 43
Air, water quality worsened in the six metros: TERI............................................................. 44
Technical evaluation of Waste-to-Energy plants at Okhla ................................................... 45
Management of solid waste in India .................................................................................... 45
About half of industrial clusters identified as critically polluted .......................................... 46
Internet and associated technologies release 830 Million Tonnes of CO
annually ............ 47
Okhla Compost Plant became first plant to receive Carbon Credits .................................... 47
Thousands of prawns found dead in Coronel city ................................................................ 48
Yellow alert in Beijing due to record toxic levels in air ......................................................... 48
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Delhi worst in the Environmental Performance Index ......................................................... 49
MoEF banned expansion in 8 Industrial Clusters.................................................................. 49
FOREST CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION ............................................................................... 51
Kannur International Airport gets the green nod ................................................................. 51
Rapidly increasing Desertification, a cause of concern ........................................................ 51
Deforestation on decline in Congo Basin .............................................................................. 52
New Technology developed for greening desert areas ........................................................ 52
NGT mandates a prior approval before digging earth .......................................................... 53
ESA approved Biomass Satellite to monitor the forests ....................................................... 53
AQUATIC AND MARINE CONSERVATION .................................................................................... 55
Scientists discovered new species of Giant Amazon Fish in Brazil ....................................... 55
Scientists discovered first Venomous Crustacean ................................................................ 55
UNESCO increased pressure on Australlia to conserve Great Barrier Reef .......................... 56
NASA Study: Middle East lost massive amount of freshwater ............................................. 56
US Drillers reached Lake Whillans hidden beneath Antarctic Ice ........................................ 57
UK Government banned the sale of five aquatic plants ....................................................... 58
Urban heat may raise temperature of distant rural areas ................................................... 58
A historic agreement to reform fisheries policy reached ..................................................... 59
UK based Whitley fund provides aid of 63-lakh Rupees for marine biodiversity conservation
............................................................................................................................................... 60
WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND PROTECTION............................................................................. 62
Mystery of Bengal White Tigers unveiled ............................................................................. 62
China: Fossilised skeleton of flying Dinosaur discovered ..................................................... 62
Leninia Stellans, a pre-historic fossil, named after Vladimir Lenin....................................... 63
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Rigorous conservation tactics saves Rock Wrens a nearly distinct species .......................... 63
33 Spotted Deer found dead in Kanha Tiger Reserve ........................................................... 64
Centre took steps to control the menace crated by Neelgai................................................ 64
Madhya Pradesh identified 17 new Eco-Sensitive zones ..................................................... 65
Dolphins and Wild Elephants facing extinction threat ......................................................... 65
Tiger Genome decoded ......................................................................................................... 67
NBWL permitted Rajasthan Government to draw water from Chambal Sanctuary ............ 67
Population of Water Voles declining .................................................................................... 68
Role of Bumblebees in probing electric fields of flowers ..................................................... 69
Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary will have first Wildlife Skywalk of India .................................. 69
Gabon to suspend the arms sale to curb Elephant poaching ............................................... 69
Indian reptiles on verge of extinction ................................................................................... 70
Olinguito: a rare mammal species discovered ...................................................................... 70
Puerto Rican parrot bounce back ......................................................................................... 71
Vulture Population estimation-2013 conducted in Madhya Pradesh .................................. 72
Stray dogs killed thirty one endangered Black Bucks ........................................................... 72
Butterflies at historic low in UK ............................................................................................ 73
Exotic Insects build new colonies ......................................................................................... 74
Dolphins possess longest memory among non-human species ........................................... 75
Nepal started a Census of Endangered Species Tigers ......................................................... 76
Alipore Zoo launched adoption of Zoo Animals Scheme ...................................................... 76
Rare Egyptian Vultures spotted ............................................................................................ 77
Cambodian tailorbird: newly discovered bird Species ......................................................... 78
Genetic similarity of Snails unvieled migration patterns of humans ................................... 78
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A Blue Jellyfish discovered near Newquay ........................................................................... 79
Critically endangered Kulavetti tree removed from IUCN Red List ...................................... 79
To conserve Peacock, MoEf imposed ban on the trade of Peacock feathers ...................... 80
Increasing Mercury level behind sharp decline of Arctic Foxes ........................................... 81
Pesticides unfriendly to bees to be banned: EU ................................................................... 81
Endangered Asiatic Lions to be relocated ............................................................................ 82
Kaziranga witnessed increase in Rhinoceros Population ..................................................... 82
Kaziranga National Park: High Security Measures to deal with poaching announced ........ 83
Two Wood lizard species discovered .................................................................................... 84
More than 50 percent of African lions on verge of extinction ............................................. 85
A new committee to examine legal cover for Elephant Habitats ......................................... 85
MoEF cleared Hydro Projects worth 2500 MW .................................................................... 86
Legendary Himalayan Yeti puzzle solved .............................................................................. 87
Honeybees Flower finding skill adversely affected by diesel exhaust ................................. 87
Critically Endangered Sumatran Tiger Cub born................................................................... 88
60 New Species Discovered in Suriname .............................................................................. 88
New Wildlife Bill could adversely impact research ............................................................... 89
DISASTERS ..................................................................................................................................... 91
Uttarakhand Landslides: Natural or man-made disaster ..................................................... 91
MoEF constituted a Committee to study the impact of Hydel Projects in Uttarakhand ..... 92
Role of Stick-slip movements in Redoubt Volcano ............................................................... 93
New Zealand coast faced an Earthquake of magnitude 6.9 ................................................. 94
Fukushima groundwater contains toxic radioactive Isotope ............................................... 94
California faces havoc of Camarillo Springs Wildfire ............................................................ 95
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Copahue Volcano Eruption alerted Chile & Argentina ......................................................... 96
Japan: Nuclear plant cooling system power restored .......................................................... 96
Role of Red Woods Ants in Earthquake predcition .............................................................. 96
Super Volcano threatened life on Earth in past ................................................................... 97
Phailin hits coastal States; alert and efficient disaster management minimize the loss of
lives ....................................................................................................................................... 97
PROGRAMMES/MISSION ........................................................................................................... 100
A new graduate course on Disasters, Environment & Risk Reduction introduced ............ 100
Government proposed Plastic Parks to promote downstream plastic processing industries
............................................................................................................................................. 101
CGWA fixed norms for withdrawal of ground water .......................................................... 102
Continuation of AIBP and Scheme of National Projects in XII Plan .................................... 102
MISCELLANEOUS ........................................................................................................................ 104
The TomTato Plant which can produce Potato and Tomato launched .............................. 104
GEAC approved field trials of 5 GM crops .......................................................................... 104
Grand Canyon found in Greenland ..................................................................................... 105
Mauritia, a lost Continent discovered ................................................................................ 106
Bangladesh permitted commercial cultivation of Bt Brinjal ............................................... 107

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The Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013 is designed to provide all the events
that happened in the field of Environment & Ecology in the year 2013. The eBook is a
comprehensive coverage of the environment & ecology news of the year 2013 that carries any
probability of being asked in Civil Services Exam including Indian Forest Service Exam and all the
PCS exams. besides, the eBook will also be useful for different types of competitive exams like
SSC, Banking, LIC, Railway and all other competitive exams.
The Environment & Ecology eBook is divided into nine important sections. These sections are
Climate Change, Sustainable development, Pollution/Hazardous Substance Management,
Forest Conservation and Protection, Aquatic and Marine Conservation, Wildlife Conservation
and Protection, Disasters, Programme/Missions and Miscellaneous. All the sections covered
provide the detailed description of the news and events that made headlines.
Events like 19
Summit of Conference of Parties of UNFCCC, Environment Gender Index, Indias
first Marine eco-sensitive zone, Kasturirangan Report on Western Ghats, Discovery of new
green house gas, and many more are precisely covered to allow you to identify the answers of
the questions being asked in the exams.
Representation of verified facts and figures along with fine-tuned analysis and comment makes
the events easy to understand and perceive. The aspirants of competitive exams will definitely
be benefitted by the content of the eBook.

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Readers are requested to verify/cross-check up to their satisfaction themselves about the advertisements, advertorials, and external
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responsibilities lie as well in case of the advertisements, advertorials, and external contents.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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The UN Framework on Climate Change Conference's (UNFCCC) 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19)
was held in Warsaw, Poland from 11 November 2013 to 22 November 2013. The President of the COP-
19 Conference was Marcin Korolec. It was attended delegates from 192 member countries. The COP-18
was held in Doha, Qatar in 2012

The COP-19 has set a pathway for governments to work on a draft text of a new universal climate
agreement by the time the next UN Climate change conference in Peru. This is an essential step to reach
a final agreement in Paris, in 2015.
Countries decided to initiate or intensify domestic preparation for their intended national
contributions towards that agreement, which will come into force from 2020. In this regard all
the concerned Parties will submit clear and transparent plans well in advance of COP-21 to be
held in Paris in 2015, and by the first quarter of 2015.
Countries also resolved to close the pre-2020 ambition gap by intensifying technical work and
more frequent engagement of Ministers.
It was also decided to establish an international mechanism called Warsaw international
mechanism for loss and damage by next year. The mechanism will provide most vulnerable
populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events
and slow onset events such as rising sea levels.
Parties concerned agreed to provide more clarity on mobilizing finance to support developing
country actions to curb emissions and adapt to climate change. This includes requesting
developed countries to prepare biennial submissions on their updated strategies and
approaches for scaling up finance between 2014 and 2020.
The COP-9 also saw concrete announcements by developed countries on forthcoming
contributions to public climate finance to support developing nation action.
The Green Climate Fund Board will commence its initial resource mobilization process as soon as
possible. To enable the operationalization of Green Climate Fund, developed countries were
asked for ambitious, timely contributions by COP 20, in December 2014.
The Conference also saw the accomplishment of Warsaw Framework for REDD+ backed by
pledges of 280 million dollars financing from the US, Norway and the UK. This will help
developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and the degradation
of forests, which account for around one fifth of all human-generated emissions.
Developed countries, including Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden,
Switzerland, pledged over 100 million dollars to add to the Adaptation Fund, which has now
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started to fund national projects.

Besides, the UNFCCC Secretariat also celebrated its annual Momentum for Change lighthouse activity
awards for climate actions that demonstrate positive results through innovative finance, by women and
the urban poor.

In addition, Momentum for Change launched a new initiative focusing on contributions by information
and technology sector to curb emissions and increase adaption capacity.

At the COP-19 UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his invitation to all governments, and
leaders from finance, business, local government and civil society, to a climate summit in New York
Summit scheduled to be held on 23 September 2014.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was created in 1992. Each year
it hosts the Conference of the Parties (COP) in a different city around the world in order to debate and
discuss the most effective ways to combat climate change. With 195 Parties, it is the parent treaty of the
1997 Kyoto Protocol.

About Conference of Parties (COP)
The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC. All States that are Parties to the
Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention
and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and take decisions necessary to promote the
effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements.

The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995. The 20th COP meeting will be held in
Peru in 2014.


At the COP-19 Conference on Climate Change held in Warsaw, the Global Gender Office of the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) launched the first-ever Environment and Gender
Index (EGI) on 19 November 2013. The EGI monitors gender equality and womens empowerment in the
environmental arena.

The Index has ranked 72 countries on the basis of how each country has succeeded in translating gender
and environment mandates into national policy and planning.

The strongest performers were Iceland, Netherlands and Norway. The lowest rankings went to
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Democratic Republic of Congo, Yemen and Mauritania.

The United States was ranked 14 out of 72 whereas India was ranked 46 out of 72 countries.


Information about womens roles and access in environment-related sectors is not widely
collected and reported. The discovery of this lack of information is significant because it shows
we do not know the full story behind human dependence on the natural world, and women are
virtually invisible.
Implementation of global international agreements on gender and environment is lacking in
most countries.
The global average for womens participation in inter-governmental negotiations on climate
change, biodiversity, and desertification has peaked at 36 percent.
Iceland is the top performer in most categories, but scored lower in performance on women in
COP delegations, female managers, senior officials, and legislators; and country-reporting on the
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention to Eliminate all Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Poland ranks highest worldwide in ecosystem category, and lowest in livelihood category for
OECD countries.
Costa Rica ranked highest for governance in Latin America and Caribbean region, lowest on
women in COP delegations, and lowest for country-reported activities.
Mongolia was a top performer in Asia region, but low on women in policy-making and
protection of property rights.
Liberia scored in the top tier of access to credit, land, and property (equivalent to same legal
rights as men.)
The USA had the highest performance on percentage of women without anaemia, and lower
performance equal to Greece and Bangladesh on women in policy-making positions.
Lebanon had the highest percentage of women in COP delegations, and low performance for
women as legislators, managers, and senior officials.
Benin ranks highest in the ecosystem category in Africa, and lowest in gender-based education
and assets category worldwide.
Mozambique, the first country in the world to establish a national climate change and gender
action plan, was the highest performer globally on women delegates to the CBD COP11 in 2012.


The Environment and Gender Index (EGI) brings together environment and gender variables in a
composite index. The EGI scores and ranks 72 countries worldwide along 27 dimensions divided into
six categories. These are listed below:
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1. Ecosystem
(i) Biodiversity Preservation
(ii) Critical Habitat Preservation
(iii) Higher-Quality Forests
2. Gender-based Education + Assets
(i) Women with bank accounts
(ii) Access to agricultural land
(iii) Female post primary education
(iv) Access to credit
(v) Access to property
(vi) Female literacy
3. Governance
(i) Civil liberties
(ii) Political stability
(iii) Property rights

4. Country Reported Activities
(i) Inclusion of gender in UNFCCC Reports
(ii) Inclusion of gender in UNCCD Reports
(iii) Inclusion of gender in CBD Reports
(iv) Inclusion of sustainable development topics in CEDAW Reports
5. Livelihood
(i) Less poverty
(ii) Food adequacy
(iii) Improved water
(iv) Fewer women with anaemia
(v) Improved sanitation
(vi) Less solid fuel use
6. Gender-based Rights + Participation
(i) Equal legal rights
(ii) Women in COP delegation
(iii) Women in policy-making position
(iv) CEDAW ratification
(v) Women managers

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1) Iceland (0.84)
2) Netherlands (0.83)
3) Norway (0.81)
4) Sweden (0.81)
5) France (0.80)
6) Finland (0.80)
7) Canada (0.79)
8) Spain (0.79)
9) Denmark (0.78)
10) Australia (0.78)
11) Switzerland (0.77)
12) Poland (0.77)
13) Portugal (0.75)
14) USA (0.73)
15) Greece (0.73)
16) Italy (0.72)
17) Panama (0.70)
18) South Africa (0.70)

19) Costa Rica (0.69)
20) Argentina (0.68)
21) Mexico (0.67)
22) Romania (0.66)
23) Jamaica (0.66)
24) Brazil (0.66)
25) Mongolia (0.66)
26) Philippines (0.60)
27) Georgia (0.60)
28) Viet Nam (0.59)
29) Thailand (0.59)
30) Turkey (0.58)
31) Moldova (0.58)
32) Dominican Republic
33) Indonesia (0.56)
34) China (0.55)
35) Kyrgyzstan (0.54)
36) Malawi (0.54)
37) Armenia (0.54)
38) Sri Lanka (0.53)
39) Uzbekistan (0.51)
40) Fiji (0.51)
41) Ghana (0.51)
42) Lebanon (0.50)
43) Gabon (0.50)
44) Tanzania (0.50)

45) Jordan (0.49)
46) India (0.49)
47) Burkina Faso (0.48)
48) Tajikistan (0.48)
49) Morocco (0.47)
50) Kenya (0.47)
51) Laos (0.47)
52) Egypt (0.47)
53) Nepal (0.47)
54) Liberia (0.47)
55) Mozambique (0.45)
56) Saudi Arabia (0.45)
57) Benin (0.44)
58) Madagascar (0.44)
59) Algeria (0.44)
60) Bangladesh (0.43)
61) Gambia (0.42)
62) Uganda (0.41)
63) Cameroon (0.40)
64) Mali (0.40)
65) Congo (0.39)
66) Ethiopia (0.38)
67) Pakistan (0.38)
68) Burundi (0.37)
69) Syria (0.37)
70) Mauritania (0.37)
71) Yemen (0.31)
72) Dem Rep Congo (0.27)


The National Water Resource Council adopted the National Water Policy, 2012 on 28 December 2012.
The consensus in this regard was made during 6th meeting of the council held in New Delhi under the
chairmanship of Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh.

Government of India formulated the National Water Policy, 2012 wherein several recommendations
have been made for conservation, development and management of water resources in the country.


Emphasis on the need for national water framework law, comprehensive legislation for
optimum development of inter-State rivers and river valleys.
Water, after meeting the pre-emptive needs for safe drinking water and sanitation, achieving
food security, supporting poor people dependent on agriculture for their livelihood and high
priority allocation for minimum eco-system needs, be treated as economic good so as to
promote its conservation and efficient use.
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Ecological needs of the river should be determined recognizing that river flows are characterized
by low or no flows, small floods (freshets), large floods and flow variability and should
accommodate development needs. A portion of river flows should be kept aside to meet
ecological needs ensuring that the proportional low and high flow releases correspond in time
closely to the natural flow regime.
Adaptation strategies in view of climate change for designing and management of water
resources structures and review of acceptability criteria has been emphasized.
A system to evolve benchmarks for water uses for different purposes, i.e., water footprints, and
water auditing be developed to ensure efficient use of water. Project financing has been
suggested as a tool to incentivize efficient & economic use of water.
Setting up of Water Regulatory Authority has been recommended. Incentivization of recycle and
re-use has been recommended.
Water Users Associations should be given statutory powers to collect and retain a portion of
water charges, manage the volumetric quantum of water allotted to them and maintain the
distribution system in their jurisdiction.
Removal of large disparity in stipulations for water supply in urban areas and in rural areas has
been recommended.
Water resources projects and services should be managed with community participation.
Wherever the State Governments or local governing bodies so decide, the private sector can be
encouraged to become a service provider in public private partnership model to meet agreed
terms of service delivery, including penalties for failure.
Adequate grants to the States to update technology, design practices, planning and
management practices, preparation of annual water balances and accounts for the site and
basin, preparation of hydrologic balances for water systems, and benchmarking and
performance evaluation.


To address the adverse impact involving economic and ecological situations, there is need to move away
from rice-wheat system to a sustainable one. In this regard, Crop Diversification Programme was
announced by the Finance Minister in the Union Budget 2013-14. The Programme will be implemented
in original green revolution areas, that is, Western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab with an outlay of
500 Crore Rupee. The long term objectives to achieve under Crop Diversification Programme were as

Reduction of area of high water requiring crops at least by 7% during 2013-14.
Establishment of alternate crops through adoption of adequate technological
innovations for a sustainable agricultural system.
Resource Conservation like restoration of ground water table, removal of soil fatigue
and increasing factor productivity and reduction in pollution levels.

The notified over-exploited and critical blocks based on recommendation of Central Ground Water
Board of major paddy growing districts of each State have been identified for implementation of Crop
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Diversification programme.

Several steps for augmentation, conservation and efficient management to ensure sustainability of
water resources are undertaken by the respective State Governments.

In order to supplement the efforts of the State Governments, Government of India provides technical
and financial assistance to State Governments through various schemes and programmes viz.
Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP); Command Area Development and Water
Management (CAD & WM); Repair Renovation and Restoration of Water Bodies etc.

The Government has also launched a National Water Mission with the objective of conservation of
water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States
through integrated water resources development and management. One of the goals of National Water
Mission is increasing water use efficiency by 20%.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest on 9 September 2013 declared India's first marine eco-sensitive
zone around Marine National Park in Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat. This decision prohibits any industrial activity
in the area. It will apply stringent environmental regulations in the region for developmental works in 36
villages and 31 rivers flowing into the Arabian Sea.
The ministry declared 313 sq km around the park as an eco-sensitive zone through a notification. Of this,
208 sq km is land while the remaining is on the seaside.
The notification says that land use for recreational, commercial or industrial development will not be
permitted in the area except for residential purpose. Mining, including fresh water mining, and release
of polluted water and waste will also be prohibited. The ministry even disallowed fishing by trawlers.
The ministry has also directed the government to prepare a zonal ecology conservation master after
consulting the inhabitants of these 36 villages. The plan should restore denuded areas as well as existing
water bodies. The plan should also have provision for management of catchment areas, watershed
management, ground water and soil conservation.

The Great Nicobar Biosphere Island Reserve was included in the list of World Biosphere Reserve by
UNESCO for promoting sustainable development based on local community efforts and science.
The International Coordinating Council of Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) under the
United Nations Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) designated the 103870
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hectares Great Nicobar Reserve as protected, in its meeting in Paris on 30 May 2013.
Great Nicobar joins the reserves at Simplipal (Orissa), Nokrek (Meghalaya), Pachmarhi (Madhya
Pradesh), Nilgiri (Tamil Nadu), the Gulf of Mannar (Tamil Nadu), Sunderban (West Bengal) Nanda Devi
(Uttarakhand) Similipal (Odisha) and Achanakmar-Amarkantak (Madhyapradesh and Chhatisgarh) which
are already on UNESCOs list.
Among the other 11 global sites included in the new batch of UNESCO bioreserve is the reserve in Alakol
Kazakhstan, which includes wetlands of world significance. It is an important Indian bird migration route,
a water bird habitat and aggregation site.
The other sites are Gochang (Republic of Korea) Macizo de Cajas (Ecuador), Marais Audomarois (France),
Marinas Corunesas e Terras do Mandeo (Spain), Mont-Viso (France), Monteviso Area della Biosfera del
Monviso (Italy), Real Sitio de San Ildefonso-El Espinar (Spain), Snake Island, Laotie Mountain, (China),
Terres de l Ebre, Catalonia (Spain), Ziarat Juniper Forest (Pakistan) and Ordesa-Vinamala (Spain).
The Nicobar Islands are an archipelagic island chain located in the eastern Indian Ocean.
The island chain is home to 1800 animal species and some of the world's most endangered
It is among 12 new sites added to the global network of biosphere reserves in Paris.
The Nicobar Islands are recognized as a distinct terrestrial ecoregion, the Nicobar Islands rain
forests, with many endemic species.
The Nicobar Islands are part of a great island arc created by the collision of the Indo-Australian
Plate with Eurasia.
Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO's Man and the
Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts
and sound science. It is a tool tools to help countries implement the results of the World Summit on
Sustainable Development and, in particular, the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Ecosystem
Such reserves are located in 117 countries and nine of them are now located in India.
Other sites added to the list include Pakistan's Ziarat Juniper forest and China's Snake Island.
There are currently 621 biosphere reserves including 12 trans-boundary sites.
Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the month of June 2013 have found
that the pattern of the Indian monsoon is supposed to change under global warming in the future.
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Research supported with Computer simulations and a comprehensive set of 20 state-of-the-art climate
models shows that Indian monsoon daily variability might increase. The ongoing ups-and-downs of
Indian monsoon rainfall are likely to increase under warming.
It is found by the Scientist that a 4% to 12% variability change of daily monsoon rainfall in India is to be
expected with 1 degree Celsius of warming. There is also a chance of 13% to 50% change in variability
will take place if greenhouse gases continue to be emitted unabated.
As per the analysis if global warming would be limited to the internationally acknowledged threshold of
2 degrees Celsius of global warming, this would bear the risk of additional day-to-day variability
between 8% - 24%.
It is important here to note that about 80% of annual rainfall in India occurs during the monsoon season
from June through September. Factors that could disturb rainfall regularity include the higher holding
capacity of moisture of the warmer air, but also more complex phenomena like cooling in the higher
atmosphere which changes current pressure and thereby rainfall patterns.
The researchers focused on the 10 models with the most realistic monsoon pattern - a conservative
approach, as these 10 models yield generally lower rates of change. The other 10 models showed higher
rates of change.

The Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) organised GREEN HAAT in New Delhi in January 2013. The
GREEN HAAT was organized from 16 January 2013 to 31 January 2013. The theme of the programme
was Connecting Nature with our Lives.

The programme endeavoured to promote Non Timber Forest based Handicrafts,
Herbal/Health/Cosmetic Medicinal & Food items (Forest/Argo/Biodiversity food).

Green Haat 2013 showcased an array of bio diverse and forest based products from 10 States involving
55 partner organizations.

Green Haat is an initiative of Union Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) to raise awareness on the
rich forest and bio diverse heritage of the country among the growing urban population often living far
off from the forests.

The initiative is to showcase various value added forest based products developed by Rural Artisans,
Community Self Help Groups, NGOs, and State Federations and thus provide support to biodiversity
conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

The first Green Haat was organized on the eve of World Environment Day 2011 where India played as a
Global Host.
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Through Green Haat the Ministry of environment & Forest intends to build and capitalize upon the rich
traditional knowledge of the local communities to augment their forest based livelihood and generate
awareness about the economic significance of forests among all sections of the society.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) bench headed by Swatanter Kumar on 22 July 2013 invoked the
Polluter Pays Principle to deal with the problem of pollution and dumping of debris on the Yamuna bank.
Any person found dumping debris on the river bank at any site will have to pay 5 lakh Rupees for
causing pollution. The offender will also have to remove
the debris.
The fine so imposed shall be recovered from the person
who is responsible for dumping of debris- truck owner as
well as person to whom the debris belongs - by whose
property demolition the debris have been created.
Even the contractor who is carrying on the business of
dumping of debris shall be equally responsible.
The Tribunal directed all concerned authorities, including
the Delhi Development Authority, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Delhi Metro Rail
Corporation to ensure that all debris is removed by 15 August 2013.
The Tribunal order came on the backdrop of a petition filed by Manoj Misra of the Yamuna Jiyo Abhiyan,
which has opposed the dumping of debris and construction waste on the banks of The Yamuna River.
The 10-member High Level Working Group (HLWG) headed by K Kasturirangan presented report on
Western Ghats to Ministry of Environment and Forests on 17 April 2013. It proposed to protect 90
percent of the regions Natural Landscape as Ecological Sensitive Area.
Roughly 37 per cent of the total area defined as the boundary of the Western Ghats is
ecologically sensitive.
Over this area of some 60000 sq km, spread over the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa,
Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the HLWG has recommended a prohibitory regime on those
activities with maximum interventionist and destructive impact on the environment.
The Working Group makes a range of recommendations to incentivize green growth in the

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Western Ghats. These include among others managing forests and improving their productivity
to ensure inclusive growth and economic benefits for local communities; integrating forest
accounts into state and national economic assessments; initiating an ecosystem service fund to
help villages around the forests
As part of the governance of ecologically sensitive areas, the Working Group has proposed to set
up a Decision Support and Monitoring Centre for Geospatial Analysis and Policy Support in the
Western Ghats, which will monitor changes and advise state government on policy reform.
It has also recommended that the high-resolution map, which demarcates ecologically sensitive
areas, down to each village settlement, must be put in the public domain so that people can be
involved in taking decisions about environment, which is first and foremost their concern.
The HLWG report draws upon the basic framework suggested by WGEEP to use remote sensing
technologies to demarcate the ecologically sensitive areas of the Western Ghats but with two key
Using remote sensing technology, it has found that the cultural landscape which includes human
settlements, agricultural fields and plantations covers 58.44 per cent of the region. The natural
landscape ranges over the remaining 41.56 per cent.
The methodology adopted by NRSC/ISRO has then combined spatial information generated on
vegetation types with species level information; biological richness and disturbance regimes to identify
the biologically diverse and contiguous regions of the Western Ghats.
The report notes that environmentally sound development cannot preclude livelihood and economic
options for this region. The answer does not lie in removing these economic options, but in providing
better incentives to move them towards greener and more sustainable practices. In doing this, the
Working Group has moved away from the suggestions of the Expert Panel, which had recommended a
blanket approach consisting of guidelines for sector-wise activities, which would be permitted in the
ecologically sensitive zones.
The Working Group was constituted in August 2012 by the MoEF to advise the Government on the
recommendations of Madhav Gadgil-led Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP). The WGEEP
had recommended that the entire Western Ghats should be declared as an ecologically sensitive area;
had suggested three levels of categorization where regulatory measures for protection would be
imposed and had recommended the establishment of the Western Ghats Ecology Authority for
Odisha Government on 24 October 2013 imposed seven months ban on fishing of the endangered Olive
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Ridley sea turtles within 20 kilometer across the river mouths of Dharma, Devi and Rusikulya in Gamjam
district. The ban was imposed to protect nesting of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The ban will come into
effect on 1 November 2013.

Odisha Fisheries department also imposed the ban on the motor boats, trawlers and mechanized fishing
boats. The ban is also applicable on the patrols across the beaches of Gahirmatha, Rushikulya and Devi.

The ban was imposed across the 20 Kilometer area of the Dhamra-Rushikulya river mouth following the
Sections 2, 7 and 4 of the Orissa Marine Fishing Regulation Act 1982.

The alternative livelihood project has been taken up by the Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone
Management Programme.

About Olive Ridley Sea Turtles

The olive ridley sea turtle is known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle. It is a medium-sized species of sea
turtle found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is a pelagic sea
turtle and is generally known to inhabit in the coastal areas, which also include Bays and Estuaries.
Since 1960, its population has been reduced by 50 percent as per the report of Marine Turtle Specialist
Group (MTSG) of the IUCN.

Around 60 percent of the British animal as well as plant species declined in last 5 decades,
leaving one out of 10 species to disappear revealed the latest State of Nature report. The State of
Nature report is compiled together by 25 wildlife organisations, which include RSPB and British Lichen
Society. The report assembles assessments of 3148 species, while also hinting towards 59000 species of
The species in which largest declines were observed included hedgehogs, turtle doves, red squirrels and
water voles. The report indicated that there were various reasons for the decline in these species but
major factors were habitat degradation and rising temperatures.
The worst affected are the species which require specific habitat but are not able to adapt in accordance
with the changing environment of the country. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough launched this report
and explained that though the species of UK were in trouble but there is a huge network of conversation
groups that will help in preservation of these species.
The State of Nature report extracts data from individual reports which were published in the recent past
and explained the positions of mammals, moths, bees and birds of UK. The report revealed gaps in
certain data, primarily marine species, invertebrates and fungi, but also additionally offered expertise in
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marine conservation and moss conservation.
Formerly, threatened plants and animals which were considered as the priority species were included in
the Biodiversity Action Plans of the UK government in order to target and formalize the conservation
The State of Nature report also indicated the watch list which explains how the populations of these
species fell in past 5 decades. Conservationists explained that it was difficult to provide the definitive list
of most endangered species of UK because of complexities involved in comparison of different species.
Turtle Doves
Small Tortoise
Shell Butterfly
Natter jack Toad
European Eel
Early Bumblebee
Corn cleavers
Harbour Seals
Bastard Gumwood

A Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme
Court of India recommended an indefinite suspension on open field
trials of genetically-modified (GM) crops till the deficiencies in the
regulatory and safety systems are effectively, addressed.
In the final report submitted to the court on 3 July 2013, the panel
did not mention 10-year suspension on field trials as suggested in the
interim report in October 2012. Instead, it imposed four conditions
for meaningful consideration for allowing trials.
Setting up of a think tank to look into Bio-safety issues.

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Housing the new Bio-technology regulatory in either Union Environment or Health Ministry.
Identification of specific sites for conducting tests and mandatory stakeholder participation as
part of risk management strategy.
On successful following of the recommended conditions, the Technical Expert Committee (TEC)
suggested that the trials should be only allowed on land owned by GM crop application and not on
leased land.
In TEC interim report submitted to the Supreme Court on October 2012, the panel
recommended a ban on field trials of GM crops until the regulatory system was completely
Panel also called for a 10-year suspension on field trials of Bt food crops (which are modified
with the Bacillus thuringiensis gene, such as the proposed Bt Brinjal), and a complete ban on
field trials of transgenic in crops which originate in India.
1. Imran Siddiqui, Plant Development Biology scientist, Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology,
2. P S Ramakrishnan, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences and Biodiversity, Jawaharlal
Nehru University Delhi.
3. P C Chauhan, an expert in Genetics Toxicology and Food Safety.
4. P C Kesavan, a former BARC Scientist and fellow in M S Swaminathan Research Foundation,
5. B Sivakumar, former director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.
6. Rajendra Singh Paroda, former Director General of Indian Agriculture Research Institute, Delhi.
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Scientists at University of Toronto discovered a long-lived manmade greenhouse gas (GHG) called
Perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA) that is 7100 times more catastrophic than carbon dioxide at warming
the Earth over a 100-year time span.

The new discovered gas PFTBA which does not occur naturally has been in use in the electrical industry
such as transistors and capacitors since the mid-20th century. It belongs to an entire class of chemicals
used for industrial applications whose effects on the atmosphere remain unknown.

Concentrations of PFTBA in the atmosphere are low 0.18 parts per trillion in the Toronto area
compared to 400 parts per million for carbon dioxide. So PFTBA does not in any way displace the
burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal as the main drivers of climate change.

From a climate change perspective, individually, PFTBA's atmospheric concentration does not
significantly alert the phenomenon of climate change, still the biggest culprit is CO2 from fossil fuel
emissions. Further, it has the highest radiative efficiency of any molecule detected in the atmosphere to

But PFTBA is long-lived. The Toronto researchers estimated that PFTBA remains in the atmosphere for
about 500 years. Unlike carbon dioxide which is taken up by forests and oceans, there are no known
natural "sinks" on Earth to absorb it.

The discovery of PFTBA and its warming potential raises questions about the climate impacts of other
chemicals used in industrial processes.


Earths atmosphere works something like a giant glass greenhouse. As the suns rays enter our
atmosphere, most continue on down to the planets surface. When they hit the soil or surface waters,
those rays release much of their energy as heat. Some of this heat then radiates back into space.

However, several gases in Earths atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor
work like a blanket to retain much of this heat. That helps to warm our atmosphere. The gases do this by
absorbing the heat and radiating it back to Earths surface. Such gases are nicknamed greenhouse
gases because of their heat-trapping effect.
Due in part to the warming effects of the greenhouse gases, the global average temperature is about
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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15C (59F). Without the greenhouse gases the global average temperature would be much colder,
about -18C (0F).


Since the industrial revolution got into full swing in the 19th century we have been burning ever
increasing amounts of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gasoline, natural gas) in electric generating plants,
manufacturing plants, trains, automobiles, airplanes, etc.

Burning releases CO2 into the atmosphere (much the same as respiration does). These fossil fuels may
have formed tens or hundreds of millions of years ago from the buried and preserved remains of plant
and animal matter whose carbon originated via photosynthesis. Photosynthesis and respiration in
plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, etc. leads to exchange of carbon between the CO2 in the atmosphere
and carbon compounds in the organisms. But humans are now putting this natural carbon cycle out of

Due to the emission of CO2, long-stored in fossil fuels, the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere has
increased very much. It has increased from about 289 parts per million before the industrial revolution
to over 360 parts per million and still rising. Sometime during the 21st century the concentration of CO2
will be twice what it was before the industrial revolution.

With higher CO2 concentrations the greenhouse effect also becomes stronger and as a result global
temperatures are expected to increase. This was originally proposed by a chemist named Arrhenius
about a century ago.

Global average temperatures have risen by a small, but measurable amount in the past 100 years,
apparently in large part because of the higher level of atmospheric CO2. Global average temperatures
are expected to be on the order of 2-5C (3.6-9F) higher by the time CO2 doubles the pre-industrial
concentration. The temperature rise will be small in the tropics but much greater at high latitudes.


A whole host of consequences will result. Some are probably already occurring.

Temperature measurements of the sea surface and deep oceans indicate that the oceans are warming.
Rising ocean temperature causes rising sea level from thermal expansion of the water. Rising
temperature also means melting glaciers and rising sea level through addition of melt water to the

Sea levels have risen by about 1 foot during the last century, mostly from thermal expansion of the
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oceans. Sea level is expected to rise closer to 3 feet during the coming century. Rising sea level will cause
increasing coastal erosion, flooding, and property damage during coastal storms. Besides, it will also
lead to loss of life from storms in low-lying coastal countries like Bangladesh and island nations in the
Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Warmer sea surface temperatures will result in more and stronger tropical storms (hurricanes and
typhoons). Coastlines already ravaged by these storms will expect to see more strong storms than
before, increasing the loss of life and damage to infrastructure.

It is much more difficult to predict how regional and local weather patterns will change but there will
certainly be changes. While higher temperatures will produce more rainfall across the globe, the
regional rainfall patterns will likely change. Some areas will get more, some areas will get less.

The timing of wet and dry periods may change. But higher temperatures will also mean more
evaporation. Higher temperatures may also mean stronger storms with damaging winds. All of these
mean new risks and changing conditions for agriculture. Centuries old farming practices will have to
change. Some areas may go from being marginal to becoming a breadbasket region, while other regions
may go from major agricultural production to marginal.

Higher CO2 allows plants to grow faster (more CO2 enhances photosynthesis). That would sound good
for agriculture. However, weed species tend to grow even better than crop plants under enhanced CO2
conditions so improved crop growth may be nullified by weed competition.

Natural ecosystems will be hard pressed to keep up with the changing climate because the rate of
change will be faster than typical long-term natural climate change. Many species, especially plant
species, will not be able to migrate to cooler areas fast enough to keep up with the warming of their
habitats. And Arctic species will have no place to go and may not be able to adapt to the new conditions.

Severe summer heat in areas not used to it can lead to deaths. Higher heat and expansion of tropical
areas may lead to increased incidence of malaria.


We can't realistically stop the rise of CO2 in the near term, but we can slow it and therefore reduce the
consequences that will occur.

Reducing our energy needs: More fuel-efficient cars, less frivolous driving, more use of mass transit,
improved insulation to decrease the fuel burned to heat and cool our homes, more efficient appliances,
use of fluorescent rather than incandescent light bulbs, and careful monitoring of home electricity usage
(turn off the lights and TV when not using them) can reduce our energy needs.

Conversion to alternatives like wind and solar power which don't burn fossil fuels and emit CO2 into the
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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Planting large areas with trees will consume CO2 as the trees grow, until the forests mature.
Deforestation in the tropical forests around the world, especially in the Amazon and Indonesian rain
forests should be stopped. This will keep that carbon in the forest rather than sending it back into the
atmosphere as the trees are burned or decay and are not replaced by more.

Other techniques have also been proposed such as the chemical removal of CO2 from smokestacks and
burial in deep underground reservoirs, though only certain areas can benefit from this.
Disposal in the deep ocean can be tried, where they will form a semi-stable compound under the cold
temperatures and high pressures, though the CO2 could too easily come bubbling back up. These latter
solutions are not well studied and wouldn't be especially cheap.

Moreover, leaders, societies, communities, local planners, farmers, health organizations, need to
recognize the changing climate and rising sea level as they make plans for the future. Our citizens need
to be educated as to likely changes and how best to deal with the changing conditions.

A team of scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) in De Bilt explained in
their recent study that the reason for expansion of sea ice of
Antarctica is climate change.
This phenomenon may be caused because of cold plumes of fresh
water which is derived because of melting that happens beneath
the Antarctic ice shelves.
The melted water has comparatively low density which is why it
accumulates in top layer of ocean. Cool surface water thereafter re-freezes easily during the winter and
the autumn. This phenomenon explains why there is an increase in the level of sea ice of Antarctica
during these particular seasons.
Climate scientists observed that Antarctic sea ice displayed a slight but statistically crucial increase of
around 1.9 percent per decade ever since 1985. On the contrary, level of sea ice in Arctic has been
continuously shrinking over past few decades.

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These observed changes were tried to be reproduced in the computer-based climate model. The lead
author of the study, Richard Bintanja explained that sea ice around the Antarctica has been increasing
inspite of an increase in the global temperature.
The researchers claimed that the Siachen Glacier reduced to 5.9 km in its longitudinal extent from the
time period of 1989 to 2009. This happened because of increasing temperatures. The researchers
additionally also believed that presence of humans on Siachen would affect other neighbouring glaciers
such as Milan, Janapa, Miyar and Gangotri which are a source to Chenab, Sutlej and Ganges river.
The main cause of Siachen shrinking is construction of the helipads as well as frequent flights of
helicopters which loosen packed snows leading to avalanches. Snow scooters also cause the same. Most
of the experts believe the fact that saving these glaciers is actually the scientific challenge which needs
attention immediately.
Hindukush, Karakoram and Himalaya actually form the largest mountain chain on this planet. They are
also keepers of the third-largest ice reserves only after Polar Regions. The glaciers found in these
mountains feed a population of 1.7 billion via seven huge Asian river systems which also include
Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze, Ganges and Indus.
Siachen is largest mountain glacier of the world, which is 70 km in length and 5-10 km in width. The
satellite pictures revealed that the glacier was shrinking. It is even worse that the satellite images
displayed increasing numbers as well as sizes of blue lakes in glacier.
Researchers at the Universities of York and Leeds in the third week of January 2013 identified a gas from
the earlier unknown marine source which led to destruction of ozone over the oceans.
The researchers discovered that most of the ozone-depleting iodine oxide which is observed on the
oceans came from earlier unknown marine source. The researchers found out that the source of iodine
oxide could be explained by emissions of hypoiodous acid (HOI) together with molecular iodine (I2).
Since 1970s, when the gas called methyl iodide (CH3I) was discovered to be present everywhere in the
ocean, it was understood that the presence of the iodine in atmosphere used to crop up primarily from
the emissions of organic compounds from the microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton.
The new research is actually linked up with the early study which indicated that reactive iodine and the
bromine in atmosphere led to depletion of huge amounts of ozone.
The researchers calculated the gaseous emissions of this inorganic iodine after experimenting with the
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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reaction of iodide with ozone. It was discovered that the reaction of iodide with ozone led to the
formation of hypoiodous acid (HOI) together with molecular iodine (I2).With the help of lab models, it
was found that the reaction of iodide with ozone on a surface could cause approximately 75 percent of
observed iodine oxide levels on the tropical Atlantic Ocean.
More of ozone meant that there will be a creation of more gaseous halogens which would destroy it. It
was basically a self-destruction mechanism.
Research conducted by the Durham University and BirdLife International in its finding concluded that
change in the climate is causing a threat to the survival of various Asian bird species including the ones
found in India.
These species do not just need the complete protection of protected and important sites but also the
management of wider countryside. The research also warned that in case of extreme situations, these
birds would be required to be moved physically to climatically-suitable areas.

A study was conducted for 370 species of Asian birds. These are the species where conservation is a
prime cause of concern in biodiversity hubs like lower Mekong River basin regions in certain parts of
Nepal and India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Bhutan as well as eastern Himalayas. The findings of the
study showed that for survival of these bird species it was important to properly manage the
conservation sites.
It was shown that at least 45 percent and up to 88 percent of these 370 bird species would face a
decrease in the availability of suitable habitats, which in turn would lead to change in the species
composition in certain areas.
As far as India is concerned, there are in all 466 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) which are identified for
hosting the different kinds of avian species, most of which also belong to the endangered category.

BirdLife International described that even though the important sites like these will sustain the bird
species but change in the climate will lead to a modification in the site for which the species will be
suitable. Therefore there is a need to adapt the conservation management.
Researchers from the University of York in the last week of January 2013 revealed that the snails could
help in predicting the weather conditions which existed thousands of years ago. The researchers
described that a lot of information could be extracted about weather conditions that were there 1000s
of years ago, through the snails.
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In their study, the researchers studied the chemistry behind shells of snail which dated back to 9000 to
2500 years ago, which were recovered from the Mediterranean caves. The study was conducted by
looking at the different phases in past.
A team of researchers which was led by Andre Carlo Colonese from York's department of Archaeology
believed that the land snails held plethora of information about not just the palaeo-climatic conditions
but also the human behaviour.
Andre Carlo Colonese described that when the research on snails was put together from various sites
such as Italy and Spain, a large scale regional picture of the weather conditions that existed over
western Mediterranean area could be produced.
The New Zealand Government in the third week of March 2013 declared the worst-ever drought in 30
years in the entire North Island of the country.
The worst-hit section of the society is the farmers. Losses from agriculture will put pressure on the
economy, which in turn would cut off 1 percent of the economic growth of New Zealand. Farmers of
New Zealand, who are said to be a crucial factor of the economy of the country, estimated that drought
had cost them earnings of 1 billion New Zealand Dollars already.
The capital of NZ, Wellington is left with just 18 days of water. Drought will hit parts of the South Island
soon. However, it was forecasted that first rainfall in the duration of two months would come by 16-17
March 2013. The drought conditions in New Zealand were apparent through the satellite images from
Drought hinting towards climate change
According to a few scientists, dry climatic conditions hint towards an overall climate change. Climate
scientists from Victoria University of Wellington forecasted that more summers and drought conditions
like these were on their way in New Zealand because of global warming.
The scientists explained that dry subtropical weather, which leads to the formation of deserts in
countries like Australia and Africa, was inching closer towards the poles of the world.
There were increasing risks of drought in the country, leading to stretching of water resources.

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Scientists from the University of Minnesota revealed that climate change can be a cause of benefit for
the Penguins. It was found that steep cliffs as well as glaciers can
limit the Beaufort Island Adlie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)
colonys nesting grounds expansion.
Lead author of the study, Michelle Larue of the University of
Minnesota explained that an increase in penguin population can
also be a cause of increase in the population of silverfish. And an
increase in the population of silverfish occurred because of reduction in predation of Antarctic toothfish
(Dissostichus mawsoni) over silverfish.
As a result, it was analysed that Ross Sea Adlie penguins would have benefited from climate change
and industrial fishing which led to more room for them to hatch babies and get abundant food. It is also
important to note that industrial fishing as well as climate change, in turn have affected various other
In the 52-year study period, it was noticed that nesting area and density of Beaufort Island Adlie
penguins increased and there was also an opening of new sub-colony on north shore of this Island.
There are three more penguin colonies which nest in Ross Sea area. Over the recent years, the
population of these penguin colonies also increased.
Earlier too, the scientists had documented how because of these glaciers, the young penguins slowed
their migration from Beaufort Island and remained in the new ice-free areas, primarily after 2005.
Beaufort Island is situated in the Ross Sea, which is said to be the most isolated area of Earth. The ice
shelf of Ross Sea covers 487000 square kilometers or approximately the area of France.
Even though the Beaufort Islands glaciers are receding, but the sea ice is expanding in certain areas of
Antarctica because of the warming of region. As a result, expansion of sea ice led to creation of holes
called polynyas. These polynyas, enable the penguins to get access to birds prey like silverfish
(Pleuragramma antarctica) and crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias).
The report released by the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) on 27
September 2013 highlighted that human beings are the main reason for climate change.

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It also reported that the carbon accumulation in the atmosphere and resulting global warming have
blown away the 2 degree Celsius tipping point that was earlier reported.

To limit warming to a rise of 2 degrees Celsius 1000 gigatons (trillion metric tons) is the outer limit of
carbon dioxide that can be emitted. But in 2011 human beings already emitted 531 gigatons. According
to climate change experts 1000-gigaton limit may well be crossed in the next 25 years.
According to the report the world has a total of 2795 gigatons worth of carbon in the form of
fossil fuels and reserves. Burning just percent of these would take the earth over the tipping
The report also presented regarding sea level rise. It highlighted that sea levels are projected to
rise by 28-97 centimeters by 2100.
The rise in the sea level is more than 50 percent of previous projection of 18 to 59 percent over
the same period.
The increase in the sea level is mainly because of better estimation methods and more
observations. It is projected that seas will be higher by up to a cataclysmic 3 meters by 2300.

About Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the international body for the assessment of
climate change.
It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988.
In 1988 the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the
The IPCC is a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). It reviews and assesses the
most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the
understanding of climate change.
It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.
Researchers in the last week of August 2013 highlighted the need of conducting more research on the
response of ocean and ocean fauna to the anthropogenic climate change. The need for the research was
highlighted in three different studies published in the Nature Climate Change on 25 August 2013.
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As per the research studies, oceans acting as a carbon dioxide sink absorbs a quarter of Carbon Dioxide
) from the atmosphere, resulting in the formation of Carbonic Acid (H
). The amount of CO

observed by the ocean is directly proportional to the increase in the amount of greenhouse gas in the
atmosphere, leading to formation of more H
, which in turn results in acidification of the ocean.
The study from the scientists of Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research has highlighted the
level of adaptability in different organisms and reported that corals and echinoderms (like starfish) faces
fear of extinction over a period of time, may be by 2100.
Finds of the scientists from Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research is more applicable because
these are based on the emission scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) for drafting the fifth assessment report (to be released in September 2013).
The study from the researchers and marine biologists from Plymouth University, England claimed that
the ocean worms have developed genetic responses against the climatic change. Response of
polychaete worms was studied, which lives around the carbon dioxide-rich volcanic vents off the
southern coast of Italy. The study displayed a different genotype (this is the first time that the genetic
adaptation of a complex animal species has been figured following its response to climate change).
The study figured out that acidification of Ocean reduced the amount of biogenic emissions of Sulphur
compounds like dimethylsulphide. Dimethylsulphide generally plays a major role in cooling the
atmosphere as it reduces the amount of solar energy that reaches to earths surface and its reduction
would increase ocean acidification directly.
About Carbonic Acid (H
) and its Role in Ocean Chemistry
Carbonic acid is the chemical compound with the formula H
. It is also a name sometimes given to
solutions of carbon dioxide in water (carbonated water). H
plays an important role in acidification of
the ocean water and has lead to shift the pH value of the ocean by about 0.1 units from the pre-
industrial levels.
A study titled Australia's Unique Influence on Global Sea Level in 20102011 conducted by the National
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Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) revealed that the worlds ocean level has dropped measurably,
due to the excessive precipitation over Australia in 2010 and 2011.
The excessive perspiration was the result coming together of the three atmospheric patterns over the
Indian and Pacific Oceans. Whereas, the soil and topographical conditions of Australia prevents running
off of almost all perspiration into the ocean.
As per the report, the long term trend of rise in the sea-levels due to rise in temperature resulting in
melting of ice sheets at poles was temporarily halted during 2010-11. The process continued for over a
period of 18 months from 2010 during which the level of oceans dropped by 7 millimeters (which is
more that annual rise of water i.e. 3 millimeters).
Apart from this, at present more rain is falling over the tropical oceans as a result of which the seas are
rising and this has happened due to the snapping back of the atmospheric patterns.
As per the latest reports, the warming of earth has caused rise in the level of ocean water by 3
millimeter annually in past few decades. The rise in the level of sea was caused due to two reasons (a)
heat causes water to expand, and (b) water runoff from retreating glaciers and ice sheets.
A research paper published in 2012 prepared by Fasullo and his co-authors demonstrated the reason for
increased rainfall over the tropical continents. They credited La Nina, an atmospheric oscillation as a
reason for suppressed rainfall. La Nia cooled tropical surface waters in the eastern Pacific and
suppressed rainfall in the region. It also enhanced it over other portions of the tropical Pacific, Africa,
South America, and Australia.
To prove transformation in the landscape of Australia due to heavy rains, scientists used two different
NASA satellite images of floodplains in Southwestern Queensland. The two images provide a clue
towards the fall of the ocean level globally (for time being). The two images were taken on different
dates, September 2009 and March 2011 respectively.
Earlier, La Nina played a role of cooling the surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean and pushing
moisture towards the west. Southern Annular Mode (a climate pattern) coaxed the moisture into
interiors of Australia, which caused widespread flooding across the continent. Further more moisture
was pushed into the interiors of Australia from the Indian Ocean Dipole that collided with La Nia-borne
moisture in the Pacific to increase the moisture content of Australia resulting in one of the wettest
periods in the history of the continent.
The basic region identified in the study for the fall in sea level resulted because maximum rainfall during
2010-11 periods in the vast interiors of Australia called Outback remained inland rather than flowing
back to oceans. This happened due to the dry environment of Outback and lack of river runoff.
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Remaining water got evaporated or sank into the granular dry soil of western plateau and filled Lake
Eyre basin in the east.
NASAs Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites: it helped in making
detailed measurements of the Earths gravitational field and enabled them to monitor changes
in the mass of continents.
To measure the temperature and salinity of the upper 6000 feet of ocean the Argo global array
of 3000 free-drifting floats was used
To subtract the seasonal variations and estimate the sea level changes globally, satellite-based
altimeters were used. These altimeters are calibrated against a network of tide gauges.
As per the scientists, Australia, the smallest continent of the world has affected the sea level of earth
and its effect has been successful in overcoming the recent trend rise in the level of sea due to change in
climatic conditions.
The study was authored by John T. Fasullo, Carmen Boening, Felix W. Landerer and R. Steven Nerem.
The study was co-authored from Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Colorado at Boulder
and was funded by Science Foundation, the sponsor of NCAR, and by NASA.
Scientists from the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
explained that seagrass can play a crucial role in fighting
against the climate change because the plant is 35 times
better in locking the carbon than the rainforests.
It is important to note that seagrass meadows used to
wrap the coastline of Australia at some point of time. The
seagrass also served as food for turtles and dugongs,
habitat for the fish to breed as well as various other
ecosystem services like sediment stabilisation and nutrient
Dr Peter Macreadie of University of Technology, Sydney explained that the atmospheric carbon dioxide
levels reached sky high and so they hurt the ecological life support systems. Seagrass can play a vital role
in reversing the warming trend of Earth. He also explained that in case the amount of carbon dioxide in

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atmosphere reach 450 parts per million, then there will only be 50 percent chance for human beings to
avoid drought, widespread species extinction as well as famine.
Seagrass helps by capturing and storing the carbon by the process of photosynthesis. Seagrass also traps
the particles in the water column. This ability of seagrass to absorb carbon dioxide is estimated to be
somewhere around 45 billion US dollar, based on the present carbon price of around 23 US dollar per
tonne. This is the consecutive estimate on the basis of just one seagrass species- Posidonia australis.
This is the reason why it is important to protect the seagrass meadows across the world. Seagrass is
under threat because of nutrient runoff as well as coastal development. New South Wales alone lost 50
percent of the seagrass, which can cause repercussions for the climate. The danger of destroying
seagrass comes in the form of less carbon pull-out from the atmosphere.
Researchers in the month of May 2013 found that recent slump in global warming would lead to lower
rise in temperatures in short-term. Since the year 1998, there has remained unexplained stagnation in
heating of the atmosphere of Earth. The researchers explained that this will bring down the rate of
predicted global warming in coming decades.
However, in the long term, the expected rise in the temperatures will not change much. Slowdown in
expected global warming rate has remained a subject of study for quite some time now. Earlier in 2013,
the UK Met Office also brought down the five-year temperature forecast.
The new research depicts a clear picture of how a slowdown can affect the temperatures in short term
and long term. A collective team of international researchers studied how previous 10 years would
affect long term balance of the climate sensitivity as well as short term climate response.
Climate sensitivity studies the impact of doubled concentrations of carbon dioxide in atmosphere. On
the other hand, climate response is the short term calculation that is also based on doubled carbon
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the year 2007 observed that short term rise in
temperature would be around 1-3C (1.8-5.4F). But in the new analysis, the estimated range would be
The authors of the story found out that over a period of a few coming decades, the global average
temperatures of Earth would warm by around 20 percent slower than forecasted. However, when the
long term picture is kept in mind, the work remains consistent with the previous forecasts. IPCC
revealed that climate sensitivity remained at the range of 2.0-4.5C.
The researchers explained that difference between lower short-term estimates as well as consistent
long-term picture remains on the fact that heat from previous 10 years was absorbed into and stored in
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oceans of the world.

The economists from Environmental and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley
explained about the inter-relation between human conflict and climate change. A recent study released
on 1 August 2013 revealed that there was a strong and
positive correlation between the human violence and
rising temperatures of Earth because of climate
change. The study was published in Science. The study
tracked human conflicts, climate change and the
relationship between the two since 8000 BC.
The economists conducting the study explained that
there was no explanation of this relation, but it was
speculated that the factors which associate climate to
the well being of humans, could be responsible for more aggression, which comes out in the form of
more violent kinds of rapes and blaring horns.
Edward Miguel, Oxfam Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, University of California,
Berkeley, one among the authors of the study, gave an example that when the climate gets hotter, the
neurophysiology of the humans, changes and this inclines them further to violence.
The findings are important for analysing the impact of climate change in future, on the societies. It is
important to note that various global climate models forecast the increase in temperatures of at least 2
degrees Celsius over the time period of next 50 years.
The study explained that, for every 1 standard deviation change in climate toward warmer
temperatures or more extreme rainfall, median estimates indicate that the frequency of interpersonal
violence rises 4 per cent and the frequency of intergroup conflict rises 14 per cent.

This indicated that an increase in the world temperature by 2 degrees Celsius would also increase the
rate of intergroup conflicts like civil wars, by more than 50 percent in different parts of the world. The
tropical regions are the ones where conflicts like these will become more common, by the year 2050.
This was the comprehensive study which showed that there was strong evidence about link between
more violence and climate change. The economists concluded that there was a robust connection

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between the violence and the climate, at the different scales and time periods, all over the world. In the
study, the data from various regions of the world were studied, and similar kind of patterns of conflicts
was associated with the climate changes such as higher than the average yearly temperature and
enhanced drought.
Economists explained that this scenario could also be linked to agriculture, where the economies are
primarily agrarian. In less developed countries, where major portion of the population is dependent
upon their farms for food, extreme rainfall or high temperatures can hamper their crops and lead to
considerable drop in income, thereby leading to violence.
Certain examples of these are more number of murders and assaults in Tanzania and US, domestic
violence in Australia and India, land invasions in Brazil, ethnic violence in South Asia and Europe,
collapse of Chinese and Mayan empires, civil conflicts in tropics as well as increased use of police force
in Holland.
The study made use of 45 datasets (from the 60 studies) in order to examine things. The datasets were
based on various subjects such as psychology, political science, history, geography, economics,
criminology and archeology. These datasets were subjected to rigorous statistical method known as
regression framework. This accounted for time as well as space in the systematic way, which explained
the correlation between climate variables and conflicts.
Considering the study, the environmentalists explained that this was another reason why serious steps
should be taken for dealing with future climate change.

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The United Nations General Assembly on 9 July 2013 established a new High-Level Political Forum
(HLPF) to replace the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD). The decision
was taken with an aim to boost efforts to tackle global economic,
social and environmental challenge.
The new resolution was adopted with consensus in the 193-
member Assembly with an emphasis towards development of an
improved and more effective institutional framework for
sustainable development. The assembly also decided that the Forum should provide a dynamic platform
for regular dialogue and for stocktaking and agenda-setting to advance that process.
The decision of the General Assembly is based on the key recommendation of the Rio+20s outcome
document of 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the Future We Want. The decision on
Forum marks a major step forward in implementing 'The Future We Want'.
This forum would play a major role in providing the political leadership and action-oriented
recommendations that need to be followed based on the Rio Recommendation. This will help in meeting
urgent global social, economic and environmental challenges.
The Forum would assemble once in a year at the ministerial level under the sponsorship of the UN
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The heads of state will also be brought together every four year
to add momentum for the sustainable development agenda by the Forum.
For the first the High-Level Political Forum will meet in September 2013 at the time of General
Assemblys 68th Session.
The forum will be responsible to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations
for sustainable development
Reviewing progress in the implementation of related commitments
Enhancing integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development - economic, social
and environmental
The Forum will replace the Commission on Sustainable Development, which was formed after

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the 1992 Earth Summit and helped to generate action on a range of issues that led to
international agreements or treaties.

A workshop on Indias preparedness for REDD+ was held in Nagaland on 9 February 2013. The Workshop
focused on three major topics. These were relevance of REDD+ in context of India, Forest governance in
the context of REDD+ and the methodology for carbon assessment.


REDD+ is the global endeavor to create an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage
and save their forest resources, thus contributing to the global fight against climate change.

REDD+ goes beyond merely checking deforestation and forest degradation. It also includes incentive for
ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of
carbon stock.

Indias position on REDD+ is in consonance and similar to the underlying principle of our National Forest
Policy 1988. Besides, India stands to gain a lot from global REDD+ mechanism. It has specifically opened
the possibilities for the country to expect compensation for its pro-conservation approach and
sustainable forest management resulting increase of forest cover and thereby its carbon stock.

Institutional Mechanism for REDD+ at the level of JFMC/Gram Sabha which should have linkage
to State level REDD+ Cell. State level REDD+ cell will report to National Level REDD+ Cell, and
National Level Cell would establish linkage with UNFCCC.
Identification of National level Institutions such as FSI for MRV of carbon assessment as well as
the assessment of SMF. FSI may designate government and non government based institutes for
the verification of carbon enhancement on the basis of their capability.
SMF term agreed at UNFCCC negotiation but definition of SMF is still awaited. In India, SMF is
being treated at par with SFM till any specific definition agreed under the umbrella of UNFCCC.
Initially, fund based mechanism for REDD+ projects is recommended but later possibilities of
voluntary market based mechanism or compliance market based could be explored.
Green India Mission may be used as opportunity to have fund based mechanism for financing
REDD+ projects. Financial assistance may be provided to communities to prepare baseline and
Capacity Building. The compensation of their efforts for conservation should be on the basis of
enhancement of carbon stock and implementation of SMF.
There is need to have provision of pilots of REDD+ under the External Aided Projects in future as
well as also in the existing projects.
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The funds available under CAMPA and thirteenth and fourteenth Finance Commission may be
used for pilots of REDD+.
There is urgent need to have National Level Strategy for REDD+ and operational manual for
simplifying the procedure for better understanding of field staff.


The customary rights and traditional institutions play a major role in forest governance. It was
emphasized that communities have the will and ability to manage local resources but often require
scientific management know-how and strategies to support what they are doing.

The way forward for effective implementation of REDD+ plus would be to overcome the challenges and
learn from communities the efficiency of their management mechanisms and see where the state can fit
in not the other way round.

The forest governance is largely people centric in most of the NE states particularly in forests
owned by community/village council. The government owned forests are managed through a
mechanism of JFM.
The role of forest department should be focused on monitoring, technical support to the
community and also in the protection of forests through legal instruments.
No single model of forest governance can work in all NE states. There is need to develop
governance models on the basis of their customary laws and special provisions in the
constitution of India exist.
Capacity building of communities as well front line staff of the state forest departments.
As NE region has around one fourth of countrys forest cover and peoples life is more forestry
centric, there is a need for creating significant economic opportunity through focused forestry
based livelihood programmes.
Need for greater convergence of developmental programmes at local level for addressing
various drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
Control of jhum cultivation with better alternative livelihood means to help regenerate forests.
Forestry research in NE region to be strengthened. Efforts to improve productivity and
sustainable harvesting and efficient utilization of forest produce including NTFPs including
bamboo with better marketing for enhancing income of local communities engaged in
conservation and sustainable management.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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The projects under REDD+ should be at the level of JFMC/Village Council.
The baseline for the existing stock may be financed under GIM or any other scheme.
Capacity building of communities and front line staff of the state forest departments for the
assessment of carbon stock.
State REDD+ Cell should build the capacity in the state to use GIS-Remote sensing Technology to
verify the carbon assessment done.
Five pool of carbon (AGB, BGB, Litter, dead wood and Soil Carbon) should be used for the
measurement of carbon.
There is need to institutionalize the indicators for SFM in the monitoring system of forest
Methodologies for carbon assessment established by IPCC should be used for REDD+ Projects.
The Government of India should nominate agency or agencies to provide certificates for carbon
stock under REDD+ concept.
The government of India should develop guidelines for the benefit of states on the basis of
lesson learnt till now by TERI, USAID and ICFRE with respect to different pilots in the country.
The International Centre for Environment Audit and Sustainable Development (iCED) was inaugurated
by Vice President Hamid Ansari in Jaipur on 5 May 2013. The iCED was set up by the Comptroller and
Auditor General (CAG). The centre will try to improve accountability and governance in the field of
environment and sustainable development.
The centres objective is to utilize Indias expertise in conducting over a 100 environment audits in the
past twenty years to offer extensive training and an international forum for experience sharing in this
field. iCED is also the Global Training Facility for The International Organization of Supreme Audit
Institutions, an organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions at global level.
The iCED facility was looked on as a green building and several features were added in design and
construction to minimise the buildings carbon footprints. The Energy Conservation Building Code 2006
rules are in force for the buildings energy and water efficiency, site selection, material usage during
construction and indoor environment quality.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 10 October 2013 constituted a team to inspect
the oil spill from pipelines of an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) installation, off the Uran coast
near Mumbai.

The team headed by member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board J.S Kamyotra, will make
an immediate site inspection. It will submit its report to the Ministry by 14 October 2013. The Ministry
has also ordered closure of the faulty ONGC pipeline responsible for the spill.

A show cause notice has been issued to ONGC to explain why action should not be taken against it under
Environment Protection Act, 1986.

An oil spill was reported at Mumbai-Uran Trunk oil pipeline following a rupture in ONGC's main pipeline
that carries crude from the offshore Mumbai High fields to land.

The State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) / Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) are regulating
water pollution under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 including
discharge of wastewater to coastal areas.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has laid down effluent standards under the
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 in order to ensure that the industries comply with the
prescribed standards.
The Central Government at national level and the State Governments at the State level are also
empowered under the E(P) Act, 1986 and have declared coastal stretches as Coastal Regulation
Zone (CRZ) imposing restriction on industries, operations and process in the CRZ.
For treatment of industrial effluent, 23 Common Effluents Treatment Plants (CETPs) are
operating in the coastal areas. Of the 23 CETPs, 14 are in Gujarat, 6 in Maharashtra and one
each in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Monitoring of marine pollution through Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System
programme is carried out by Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Project
Directorate, Chennai, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

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The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) granted environmental clearence for cluster of mines of
M/s Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL). The clearance was granted after following the due procedure
and only after a Boards Resolution has been passed by BCCL for compliance of environmental
regulations and the State Government has initiated action for violations.

The clearance for the various mines of BCCL, however, is conditioned upon the BCCL taking
rehabilitation obligations and ensuring social justice to the displaced inhabitants in the areas of coal
mining of BCCL. These include the following:

BCCL will undertake its responsibilities for dealing with fire and rehabilitation of BCCL families.
The Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority (JRDA) will take the responsibility for
rehabilitation of non-BCCL families from 595 affected areas, as per the approved Master plan.
The Master Plan deals with fires and subsidence and rehabilitation in the leasehold of BCCL.
The Rehabilitation & Resettlement package under the approved Master Plan includes
resettlement in satellite townships located on non-coal bearing areas identified as per Master
JRDA will take action for construction of houses under the Master plan.
Payment of appropriate compensation to head of each family.

M/s Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) had inherited a number of coal mines from the erstwhile private
mine owners at the time of nationalization during 1971-73. Before nationalization of coal mines, the
mining activity in Jharia coalfield was done in un-scientific manner which resulted in environmental
degradation and mine fire problems.

As a result, an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) was constituted under the Environment Impact
Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, with the view to analyse the Cluster Concept to ensure
environmental benefits, address the issues of abandoned mines and their reclamation through an
integrated action plan so as to speed up the process of obtaining Environmental Clearance. The EAC
after analyzing the cluster concept approved it for obtaining environmental clearance to 103 BCCL mines
(65 operating, 34 closed/abandoned and 4 proposed mines) grouped into 17 Clusters.

However, Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB) had issued closure orders for the mines of
BCCL which were operating without the Environmental Clearance. BCCL filed Writ Petition in the Honble
High Court of Jharkhand against the closure of mines by JSPCB stating that it had already initiated the
process of Environmental Clearance. Consequently, the High Court passed an interim order for
maintaining status quo.
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The 2013 TERI (The Energy and Resources Institute) environmental survey published on 3 June 2013
indicated that the air as well as water quality in six metros of India- Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai,
Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi-NCR worsened by the year.
The survey which was conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute evaluated peoples behaviour,
opinion, perception and awareness towards the environment. The aim of the survey was to help in
formulation of policies as well as implementation of the measures in order to make these major metros
In the TERI survey, it was found that for the respondents, the air quality became worse or
remained unaltered in six cities. The availability of the ground water on the other hand
diminished except in the Chennai because it has more forest cover. The quality of surface water,
in the meanwhile, became worse in five cities except in Mumbai.
All these six metros witnessed a decline in number of species of animals and birds. The
respondents saw deteriorating waste management in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad,
but in Mumbai and Kolkata, improvement was observed. Availability as well as quality of the
drinking water improved in these six cities, except in the city of Hyderabad.
On the grounds of public awareness regarding environmental policies, it was observed by the
TERI survey that respondents in Delhi had significantly low level of awareness while in Chennai,
respondents were not adequately aware of various policies on climate change as well as air
Most of the respondents in other cities knew about these policies on climate change and forest
conservation but they felt that these policies were not implemented properly or were not up to
the mark.
The TERI survey indicated that worsening of the air quality in the six major cities of India was
because of economic development of the country.
The contributors of rising air pollution were transport sector followed by the factories in as well
as around the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.
In Bangalore, factories were rated as the major contributors of the air pollution, followed by
transport. In Hyderabad, construction activities were considered as the worst offenders,
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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followed by transport sector.
Apart from this, rapid urbanization was the major cause of worsening environmental conditions,
which led to pressure on limited availability of the land.
The TERI Survey 2013 was conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
The survey was conducted in six major cities of India- Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai,
Bangalore and Delhi-NCR.
The TERI Environmental Survey 2013 made use of the sample size of 4039 respondents.
There were six main themes selected for this survey. These were waste management, water
management, overall environment, climate change, forest/green cover, water quality and air

The Central Pollution Control Board on 22 April 2013 carried out the Technical Evaluation of Municipal
Solid Waste (MSW) based Waste-To-Energy (WTE) plant at Okhla, Delhi. The technical evaluation was
done to check whether such plants release toxic gases or not in case necessary Air Pollution Control
Devices (APCDs) are not installed.

The evaluation found that the WTE Plant at Okhla is equipped with the necessary APCDs. The Delhi
Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has monitored this plant and the parameters are found to be within
the prescribed limits.

The cost of power generation from urban and industrial waste is about 2.50 rupee to 4.00 rupee per unit
of electricity depending upon the types of wastes and the technology deployed. This cost is competitive
with the cost of power generated from conventional resources.

The management of municipal solid waste is a State subject and it is the responsibility of the State
Governments/ Urban Local Bodies to plan, design, execute and operate the waste management
schemes in urban areas of the country.

The Central Government acts as facilitator in framing broad policies, programs and guidelines on
municipal solid waste management.

The norms for collection, segregation, processing and disposal of the waste have been laid down under
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the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000. The rules, inter-alia, prescribe
specifications for landfill sites, standards for composting, treated leachates and incineration.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been implementing a program on energy
recovery from urban and industrial wastes, by providing central financial assistance in fixed amounts
limited to 20% of the project cost for setting up biomethanation and power generation plants.


Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi
carried out a comprehensive environmental assessment in 88 prominent /major industrial clusters on 22
April 2013. The environmental assessment was based on the Comprehensive Environment Pollution
Index (CEPI) criteria laid down in 2009.
Out of the 88 industrial clusters, 43 industrial clusters with CEPI score 70 and above were identified as
critically polluted areas.

For restoration of environmental quality in the 43 critically polluted industrial clusters areas, State
Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs)/Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) have prepared Action Plans.
These action plans envisages to mitigate the pollution caused by these sources.

These action plans were finalized in light of suggestions of Steering Committee comprising national level
experts and an in-house committee comprising senior officers of CPCB. So far, 39 action plans have been

The implementation of these action plans would lead to improvement in environmental quality of the 43
critically polluted areas. Financial assistance for establishment of common treatment facilities such as
Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs), Common Bio-Medical Waste Treatment Facilities
(CBMWTF) and Treatment Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDFs) and expansion of the National Ambient
Air and Water Monitoring networks are available under the existing schemes of Union Government.

The CEPI is linked to public health in terms of presence of toxins and their concentration, exceedence
factors, impact of human health and level of exposures. Health impact Assessment /Health Survey of
Critically Polluted Areas (CPA) will be carried out, the funds for which will be based on Polluter Pays

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The researchers from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) and Bell Labs in the
first week of January 2013 claimed that internet video and associated cloud services including
Information Communication and Technology, discharge more than 830 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide
per year. This emission of the CO2 (one of the major green house gas) from the information and
communication industry includes about 2 percent of the global CO2 emission annually and its expected
to double nearly by 2020. Same is the amount shared by the aviation industry in form of emissions.
To control this emission, the researchers have suggested measures like development of accurate and
feasible model taking into account the energy use, data traffic and CO2 production in the networks as
well as use of other elements in the ICT industry. The researchers from the CEET and Bell Labs following
their new models of emissions and energy consumption have suggested three key factors that would
help in reduction of the CO2 emissions from the ICT industry and these are efficient usage of facilities,
use of energy efficient equipment and use of renewable energy sources.
Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET): Partnership between the Victorian State
Government and Alcatel-Lucent, the University of Melbourne is responsible for the formation of CEET.
Bell Laboratories: It is a R&D subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent in Berkeley Heights, United State and is owned
by France. Initially, it was a division of American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T Corporation)
and was half-owned by its Western Electric manufacturing subsidiary.
The composting plant of South Delhi Municipal Corporation in Okhla, New Delhi became the first in India
to receive the carbon credits from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The
civic body was given 25 lakh Rupees as an advance against the Carbon Emission Reduction (CER)
earnings from this plant.
The Okhla plant became operational in 2008. Since 2008, around two lakh tonnes of the waste has
already been processed. In the future, the amount of waste processed everyday would be increased.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation has outsourced this operation to IL&FS (Infrastructure Leasing &
Financial Services Ltd), which in turn is also working on the programme for upgradation of this plant.

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What are carbon credits?
Carbon credits can be like the certificates which represent a decrease of greenhouse gases in
environment. Projects which help in preventing the generation of these greenhouses gases are eligible
for earning these credits.
The projects in turn can also sell these carbon credits to the other organisations, businesses or
individuals in order to offset the emissions which are generated by them. One carbon credits equals to
the saving of one tonne of carbon dioxide.
Thousands of prawns were found dead on the beach in Coronel city, around 530 km from Santiago,
Chile, in the third week of March 2013.
Pollution as well as El Nino phenomenon is seen as the possible cause of mass death of prawns. El Nino
phenomenon refers to warm ocean current which is found along Pacific coast of South America.
It is believed that mass death of prawns would have a negative effect on the livelihood of fishermen.
The local fishermen hinted towards the fact that deaths of prawns might have been caused because of
the power generation plants- Bocamina 1 and 2 as well as Colbun, which make use of seawater as their
cooling agent. Experts, on the other hand, are investigating in terms of oxygen levels, water
temperatures as well as certain other details. The environment officers explained that physical
parameters such as electric conductivity, temperature and oxygen were being studied.
The meteorological authority of China issued yellow alert in various cities. Yellow alert indicated the
presence of fog that shows dangerous smog levels in the northern as well as western regions of China.
The cities which were under the blanket of yellow alert included major ones such as Chengdu and
Beijing. The alert mentioned that China was reeling under the effects of worst ever pollution record.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center website declared that the density of the PM2.5
particulates crossed the 700 micrograms per cubic meter level in various parts of Beijing. According to
the World Health Organization, the safe daily level is 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
Initially, it was found that the PM2.5 that is an indicator of the air quality had reached 500 point in
certain monitoring stations. PM2.5 is an indicator of the extent of floating fine particles. The level of
350-500 is actually considered as hazardous. According to the recommendation of WHO, PM2.5 level
should ideally be 20. This level was 19 in the New York City on 12 January 2013. The US embassy in
Beijing monitoring the levels of pollution announced that PM2.5 exceeded the highest level of the
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013
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The fog led to cancellation of around 10 flights, delaying 5 flights in the meanwhile. At various airports in
Beijing, the visibility was reduced to 100 metres. Road traffic on the highways was also disrupted.
Capital of India, Delhi was ranked at number 32 or the worst position in the crucial environmental
parameters of Environmental Performance Index (EPI) that evolved by Planning Commission. In 2011,
Delhi ranked at number 26 and now slipped down to number 32 in 2012.
The rankings of EPI reflect the performance of the states depending upon 16 green indicators which are
divided under five main categories- water quality, air quality, waste management, measures undertaken
for climate change adaptation as well as state of the forests.

Delhis cumulative score was 0.4246 in comparison to 0.7696 of the top ranker, Andhra Pradesh. Delhis
rank was 32 among various states and union territories. The best performing states with their scores are
as follows:
Andhra Pradesh: 0.7696
Sikkim: 0.7478
Himachal Pradesh: 0.7414
Madhya Pradesh: 0.7334
Maharashtra: 0.7167
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 17 September 2013 notified that it banned
industrial expansion in 8 industrial clusters. The ministry imposed moratorium on environmental
clearance for eight new industrial projects- Indore and Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh), Vapi (Gujarat),
Ghaziabad (UP), Ludhiana (Punjab), Patancheru-Bollaram (Andhra Pradesh), Panipat (Haryana) and
Jharsuguda (Orissa).
The ban came in light of the survey which was conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
in 43 identified Critically Polluted Areas. The survey was conducted from February-April 2013. The
survey revealed that the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) at these eight locations
ranged from 70-80. The CEPI is based on the Environmental Quality Monitoring.
The CEPI mechanism was adopted by CPCB in the year 2009 and it indicates the environmental quality at
any given location by considering the water, soil and air pollution. Areas which have the aggregated
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score of 70 and above are the critically polluted industrial clusters. In the meanwhile, the areas with the
scores between 60 to 70 are severely polluted areas.
On the basis of this survey, moratorium was lifted off from 10 areas where the CEPI score was below 80
and reflected the decreasing pollution trend. These areas included Asansol (West Bengal), Bhiwadi
(Rajasthan), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Dhanbad (Jharkhand), Korba (Chhattisgarh) and Manali (Tamil Nadu).
The CEPI score is an indicator of the fact that despite implementing the action plans for a time of 2.5
years, there was no significant improvement in environmental quality. Thereafter, the Ministry imposes
or lifts off moratorium with the immediate effect or as notified.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests on 19 July 2013 gave green clearance for an international
airport in north Kerala's Kannur district. Kannur airport would be the fourth international airport in the
state after Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.
The international airport will be constructed in a total land area of 525.50 hectares with a proposed
built-up area of 50000 square metres. It will be constructed at Keezhallur and Pazhassi Panchayat in
The proposed Airport was cleared by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in February 2008. The total cost for
the execution of AIR project will be approximately 1000 crore rupees. The first phase of the airport is
expected to be completed by 2014 and the first flight would land at Kannur airport in 2015.
Prior to this, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for building construction, coastal regulation zone,
infrastructure development and miscellaneous projects had recommended the project. It was set up by
the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.
According to an estimate, 30421 trees will be cut to build the airport in a total land area of
525.50 hectares.
The Ministry of Environment and Forest has directed the concerned department for
compensatory tree plantation of at least 1:3 ratio and the department should carry the cost for
its timely maintenance.
A report submitted to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification by the Environment
Ministry in fourth week of April 2013 described that one fourth of Indias geographical area is
undergoing the process of desertification despite of the efforts made by it to combat the problem.
India has a total geographical area of 328 million hectares and the problem of land degradation and
drought continues in the country. As per the findings of the report submitted to United Nation,
desertification, land degradation and drought has hit about 8 lakh square kilometer of Indian Territory
and covers almost all states and union territories of the country. The total area of India that is
undergoing the process of degradation is about 105.48 million hectares that constitutes of about 32.07
percent of total land area of India. The basic reason for such a major challenge lies in the area of land
use planning, management of waste and degraded land and efficient use of water resources.

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Satellite images of the Congo Basin of Africa revealed that deforestation has dropped down by around
one-third since 2000 in the area. Researchers explained that this happened partly due to focus on
mining activities as well as oil instead of commercial agriculture, where whole bandages of forests are
The study of the state of deforestation was a part of series which is examining the state of forests of
Africa. The primary focus was on Amazon and on South East Asian tropical rainforests. The missing part
was completed through Congo Basin in Central Africa. It is important to note that Congo Basin is the
second largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon, size-wise. The Congo Basin rainforest covers
around 2 million sq km or 800000 sq miles area. The study revealed that this rainforest was in a much
better condition than expected.
The satellite images taken from the space enabled the researchers to monitor the change in dense
foliage over the time. It was found that during the 1990s, around 3000 sq km or 1000 sq miles of forest
was filled every year. But from 2000 to 2010, deforestation rate slowed down considerably. Less than
2000 sq km or 700 sq miles of rainforest were lost every year during that time.
This happened because there was a network of the protected area. This however, also happened
because of lack of expansion from agriculture.
Losing the portions of crucial rainforests like these can have a huge impact on the climate change,
biodiversity as well as the communities which are dependent on the environment. The rainforests of
Africa have a very important role.
Engineers at the Kyoto University of Japan, in cooperation with Panasonic Corporation developed a new
technology which can be used effectively for successful greening of the desert areas.
Experts of Japan proposed to mix the dry sand along with special reagents which have the capability of
holding water and do not allow this water to get absorbed deeper into soil. The special reagents can
help in forming the fertile layer below soil surface. This fertile layer can preserve up to 70 percent
moisture. The new technology does not ban the circulation of air inside the soil and thus helps in
promotion of growth of plants.
It is important to note that producing one ton of the special reagent costs around 10 million yen or 100
US dollar. It is planned that the marketing of technology will commence from 2016. The technology will
be high in demand in Middle East, Africa as well as Central Asia. In these particular areas, the problem of
greening the landscape is more. The technology will thus help in fighting desertification in acute areas.

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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on 28 September 2013 banned digging of earth across India for
making bricks and roads without prior environment clearance.
A bench headed by Justice P Jyothimani directed the Chief Secretaries of all states and union territories
to ensure that its interim order is adhered to.
The tribunal issued notice to Uttar Pradesh seeking its response on a plea to direct the state government
to stop extraction of earth for making bricks and roads, allegedly going on in violation of a Supreme
Court decision and directions of the Environment Ministry to all states.
The ban on brick earth mining comes one-and-a-half months after the National Green Tribunal banned
sand mining from river beds, without environment clearance, across the country.
What is National Green Tribunal (NGT)?
The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18 October 2010 under the National Green
Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection
and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating
to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for
matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6
months of filing of the same. Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will
follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of
the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other 4 place of sitting of the Tribunal.
The European Space Agency (ESA) gave a green signal to Biomass, the satellite that can weigh the forests
of the Earth. Biomass would be launched in 2020. The Earth Observation Programme Board of ESA
approved 400 million Euro for the Biomass mission on 7 May 2013.
Biomass will carry the state-of-the-art radar system which can sense trunks as well as the branches of
the trees from orbit. This satellite will be used by the scientists for calculating the carbon amount stored
in forests of the world. It will also be used for monitoring the changes in the forests during its five-year
The data from the satellite will be used by the scientists to understand role of trees in cycling of carbon
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on Earth and that how it affects the climate of our planet.
The scientists explained that this would in turn help in formation of the treaties which would help the
developing countries in preservation of the forests by undertaking measures such as UN Reducing
Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative.
Biomass will be the seventh satellite of ESAs Earth Explorers, a series of the spacecrafts which are
designed for innovative science. So far, ESA has sent its three missions in the orbit, which sent back vital
information such as ocean salinity, soil moisture, polar ice cover and gravity.
The spacecraft that will study the magnetic field of the Earth will be launched by the ESA in 2013. The
satellites under this mission will study wind as well as fine particles in atmosphere.
Biomass is the 1.2-tonne satellite at the launch, which means that it would go into the orbit
through new Vega rocket of ESA.
The sole instrument of Biomass will send 70 cm radar pulse on the Earth which will penetrate the
canopies of forests but will scatter into large woody parts of the trees.
Biomass will sense volume of the material at resolution of around 200 m, basically; it will help in
weighing the amount of carbon associated with the forests of the world.
The 12 m reflector antenna will capture return signal from radar.
At present, Biomass is not permitted to operate on Europe, Arctic and North America. This is so
because the US Department of Defense (DoD) warned that the radar of Biomass would interfere
with the missile early-warning as well as space tracking systems.
The Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc) of UK funded the basic science which
underpinned the concept of Biomass. Britain is senior partner of Earth observation programme of
ESA. It will play a crucial industrial role in biomass mission.
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Scientists from the State University New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry discovered
a new species of arapaima - a giant torpedo-shaped fish - in the central Amazon waters of Brazil. The
discovery was reported in October 2013 scientific journal Copeia.

According to National Geographic it is the first new arapaima species to be discovered since 1847.
Arapaimas are huge freshwater fish native to the Amazon River in Brazil and can reach lengths of more
than 2 m and weigh up to 200 kg.

For the last two centuries, arapaimas are most important commercial fishes in freshwaters of the
Amazon and it has high economic, cultural and scientific value, but their diversity has been overlooked.

Scientists stated that the discovery of Arapaima suggests there may be important new conservation
issues to consider, particularly with regards to overfishing and the region's expanding fish farming


Scientists found the first venomous crustacean called remipede. It is a centipede-like creature that lives
in underwater caves. It liquefies its prey with a compound similar in nature to rattlesnake's poison. It has
its habitat in underwater caves of the Caribbean, Canary Islands and Western Australia. It feeds on other

Crustaceans venom contains a complex cocktail of toxins, including enzymes and a paralysing agent.
The above findings are published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The remipede (Speleonectes tulumensis) breaks down body tissues with its venom and then sucks out a
liquid meal from its prey's exoskeleton. This study will help improve our understanding of the evolution
of animal venoms.

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UNESCOs World Heritage Committee on 18 June 2013 increased pressure on the Australian government
so as to conserve the Great Barrier Reef.
The World Heritage Committee gave Canberra one year time to present a plan on how to protect the
reef, listed as a World Heritage site since 1981, from increasing coal and gas extraction and shipping.
As per the discussion in the 37th session in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, If Australia fails to come up with a
satisfactory plan then World Heritage Committee will place it on the in danger list. It was also
stressed that by 2014, Australia has to improve water quality monitoring and limit port development to
existing port areas.
It is worth mentioning here that among the 38 World Heritage sites currently listed as in danger is the
Everglades National park in Florida and the Old City of Jerusalem.
A recent NASA study revealed that Middle East lost quantity of freshwater which is almost the size of
Dead Sea because of poor management, increasing demand of groundwater as well as the after-effects
of 2007 drought.
The NASA study researched on the data over a time period of seven years since 2003 with the help of
gravity-measuring satellites, which are a part of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment or
GRACE. Researchers discovered that freshwater reserves in areas in countries like Syria, Turkey, Iraq and
Iran along Euphrates and Tigris river basins lost 117 million acre feet or 144 cubic kilometers of total
stored freshwater, which is said to be the second-fastest loss.
60 percent of loss was a result of pumping of underground reservoirs for ground water. 1000
wells in Iraq were pumped for groundwater.
One-fifth loss occurred because of impacts of drought which included decreasing snow packs as
well as drying up of soil.
Another one-fifth loss happened because of loss of surface water from reservoirs and lakes.
The rate at which water loss occurred is the largest liquid freshwater loss on the continents.

The latest NASA study revealed about the worsening of water crisis in Middle East. The demand for
water in Middle East is increasing because of increasing population, war as well as climatic changes. It
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also depicts that certain countries would face acute shortage of water in near future.
When the report was released during U.N. climate talks in Qatar, World Bank had concluded that water
shortage was one among the critical problems in North Africa and Middle East. This region particularly
had lowest quantity of freshwater in the entire world.
Climatic changes would result in more droughts in these regions with extreme situations. Water runoff
would decrease 10 percent by 2050 and the demand for water would increase 60 percent by 2045.
Fulfilling the increasing demand of water is the biggest challenge for improving the water conservation
in Tigris and Euphrates river basins.
Tigris and Euphrates headwaters are controlled by Turkey. Also the reservoirs and the infrastructure of
Turkey's Greater Anatolia Project which dictates the quantity of downstream of water flow into Iraq and
Syria are controlled by Turkey.
There is a need for coordinated water management, which at present does not exist among Turkey,
Syria and Iraq. Also, the tensions intensified since the drought of 2007 because Turkey diverts water to
irrigate farmland.
As a result, decline in the stream flow puts pressure on northern Iraq. UN as well as anecdotal reports
from area residents made it clear in the report that because of a decline in the stream flow, the
northern Iraq had to turn up to groundwater.
Scientists from the US in the last week of January 2013 successfully drilled into the Lake Whillans, which
was buried around 1 kilometre beneath the Antarctic Ice. Scientists described that the sensors which
were there on the drill system detected a change in the pressure, which hinted towards the fact that it
had made some contact with the undiscovered lake.
After detecting a change in the pressure, the scientists sent down the camera in order to verify this
breakthrough. The Whillans project is one among various projects started by the scientists to investigate
about the buried lakes of Antarctica. The Whillans project researchers now want to comprehend the
water flow beneath the glaciers into the Southern Ocean as well as the rate at which the Antarctic ice is
Back in December 2012, a team of British scientists had abandoned their efforts to explore the Lake
Ellsworth after they faced certain technical difficulties. The Russian scientists too took note of the water
samples from the Lake Vostok, but they do not have any big discovery about it yet.
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About Lake Whillans
Lake Whillans lies towards the west of Antarctica. It is situated on the southeastern edge of the
Ross Sea. As a matter of fact, it is not exactly a lake, but a dense system of the streams, which in
turn look like a delta which spreads over around 60 square kilometres. The liquid in the lake is a
bit shallow, merely a few metres in terms of depth.
The UK government on 28 January 2013 announced a ban on the sale of five species of invasive non-
native aquatic plants. In the first ban of its kind, the move will save money and help protect vulnerable
The plants to be banned from April 2014 are water fern, floating pennywort, water primrose and
Australian swamp stonecrop, parrot's feather. Actually, Tough laws to curb the sale of these plants could
save UK millions of pounds as well as protecting wildlife such as fish and native plants. Besides the
above, the ban will also help maintain access to rivers and lakes for anglers and water sport fans. It was
the first time that non-native plants have been banned from sale in England.
According to the new modeling research conducted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the
University of California, San Diego, the excess amount of heat which is produced by the cities can be
responsible for heating the rural areas as far as 1000 miles or 1600 km away.
The new research indicated that the cities mainly in the Northern Hemisphere can lead to an increase in
the heat in faraway rural places, raising the temperatures to up to 1 degree Celsius. The modeling
research was conducted with the help of data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research,
which is a leading source of global climate data.
The scientists cited urban island heat effect in order to explain the reason behind cities being hotter
than rural and suburban areas. Greater population, more paved surfaces, more houses and cars can
convert the energy into heat, which in turn is radiated in the atmosphere, leading to increased
Actually, the reason is global air flow. The heat which is produced by the people and the cars climbs up
to about 2500 feet or 4023 km up in the atmosphere, thereby disturbing the part of jet stream which
continuously circulates the belt of cool air around top most position of the Earth. When the hot air stops
the jet stream, it compels the belt to move upward, which in turn allows the warmer air from Equator to
shift further north, thereby increasing the temperatures of Northern Europe and North America. In case
this was not the scenario, the areas in North America and Northern Europe would have been cooler than
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In the Northern hemisphere, there are 86 crucial metropolitan areas which cover just 1.27 percent of
the surface of the Earth. However, these crucial areas consume 6.7 terawatts of energy in a year, which
actually represents 42 percent of the annual global consumption. It is for this reason that the influence
of global climate in these cities is magnified.
As of now, the reason for global climate change was attributed to just the greenhouse gases. But the
reality is that the Earth is warming in certain areas at a faster pace than predicted.
A meteorologist at Scripps who conducted the study, Guang Zhang explained that the effect of urban
heat which is produced by the energy consumption can be a reason for extra warming. The scientists
have therefore found the missing part of the puzzle that completes the reason for warming.
Guang Zhang additionally explained that the areas which are crucially affected by the urban heat are
Northern Canada and Siberia, where the temperatures rise from 0.8 to 1C because of excess heat in
their faraway cities such as San Francisco and New York. In the South, areas such as Michigan and
Minnesota could see an increase in a temperature of 0.3C.
Even though the aggregate climate of the Earth affects every place on this planet, but the effects of heat
from the city were mostly seen in the Northern Hemisphere, where around 90 percent of the overall
population of the Earth resides.
Europe in second week of July 2013 reached a historic agreement to reform its Common Fisheries Policy
(CFP). The agreement promises to reverse decades of excessive
overfishing by the European Fleets. The reform of the CFP is evidence
that Europe is embracing a pathway towards a green economy.
Rebuilding of fish stocks
Setting-up of legally binding targets to end overfishing alongside reducing catches of non-target
fish as well as wasteful discarding
It can mark watershed in the European Union's resolve towards sustainable fisheries
The need to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies was recognized by the European Union and the
International Community in 2002 and the same commitment was reaffirmed for being done in 2012 at
the Rio+20 Summit.

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To support the objectives of the CFP from 2014 to 2020, the European policy makers (the parliament
and ministers) would have to agree on the renewed fisheries subsidies regime the proposed European
Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
To prohibit subsidies that lead to overcapacity and overfishing, the negotiations of the World Trade
Organisation also produced real progress towards a binding agreement, which continued to be in
existence till the crash of the Doha Rounds in 2009. The crash left, fisheries subsidies reform fall a prey
to the global trade politics.
The EMFF legislation provides a unique opportunity for the EU to showcase its commitment to greening
an important sector of its economy.
Worldwide Fisheries employs 12 percent of world population directly or indirectly providing job and
economic benefits to them. Fish is also a critical component of the global food security and a major
source of Protein for more than a billion of people. According to the World Bank and the Food and
Agricultural Organization of the UN, an end to overfishing could recoup an estimated 50 billion US dollar
per year which is being lost due to the unsustainable practices involved in fishing.
The UK-based Whitley Fund for Nature in month of June 2013 provided a grant of 63 lakh rupees in the
support of Bombay Natural History Society, Indias marine biodiversity conservation programme in the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The continuation funding grant for developing giant clam
species recovery plan and identifying potential sites for marine
conservation reserves in the Andaman and Nicobar islands has
been awarded to the Chief Operating Officer.
Bombay Natural History Society - The giant clam is an
endangered species of clam found in the tropical coral reefs,
including Indian waters. All the species of giant clam are
protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
The grant was awarded after rigorous review and discussion. On
the other hand India's Ministry of Environment and Forests has
also provided 27 lakh rupees to Bombay Natural History Society
(BNHS) for the giant clam studies in the Andaman.
It is important here to note that earlier in 2008; Apte bagged the
Whitley Conservation Award by the Shears Foundation for exceptional work in the Marine Protected
Areas (MPAs) of Lakshadweep, India.

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Besides, India has a two-year presidency for Convention on Biological Diversity, which took place in
Hyderabad in October 2012, and considers marine and coastal biodiversity as one of its priority areas.
Under the Andaman-Nicobar Programme, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) aims to
establish baseline data for both giant clam population ecology as well as establishment of
profound understanding of the social fabric of these islands.
This will be done by way of undertaking social and natural resource use mapping.
BNHS also aims to arrange national legal consultation to identify gaps in existing conservation
reserve policies. This data will form a strong scientific basis to be fed into the national species
recovery plan for the giant clam.
BNHS already has been conducting research and conservation activities regarding various
aspects of marine life all along Indias coastline for over a decade. This includes study of the
giant clam and coral reefs, Molluscan Taxonomy, other marine fauna, mangroves, tidal creeks
and flora and fauna of inter-tidal habitats.
Currently, regions covered by BNHS for this work include Gujarat, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep
and Andaman-Nicobar.

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Scientists from Peking University, Beijing in May 2013 discovered that a change in single amino acid
(A477V) in one pigmentation relate gene (SLC45A2) is the cause of white fur or sepia brown stripes in
some tigers. The scientists studied 16 captive white tigers from three different parents to come up with
the conclusion.
As per the scientists, two types of melanin namely pheomelanin and eumelanin are used for identifying
the colour of fur, eye and stripes of the tiger. In case of the white tigers, pheomelanin that produces red
and yellow color is affected. As per the research, the point mutation in the amino acid blocks a particular
channel partially; as a result of this blockage yellow pigment forming process is affected. Same type of
mutation in pigmentation-related gene (SLC45A2) causes light skin colour in modern Europeans as well
as mouse, chicken and horse too.
As per the study, human often force the tigers to inbreed for increasing the number of white tigers in
zoos. This type of forced inbreeding may create some health side effects in the tigers as it has been a
reason of health ailments in humans. In tigers this forced inbreeding has resulted in human-induced
inbreeding has resulted in premature death, stillbirth and deformities.
White tigers are a part of the genetic diversity of the tigers, which is caused due to mutation and are
worth conserving. The findings of the research were published in Thursday in the Current Biology
journal. The study was conducted under the leadership of Shu Jin Lau of Peking University.
Researchers at Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels discovered new fossilised skeleton
of flying dinosaur called Aurornis xui in China. This new species is approximately the size of a chicken. It
lived around 150 million years ago.
The flying dinosaur from the Middle-Late Jurassic period was 20 inches in length and also had teeth. Its
diet could be insects. The discovery provides an insight into understanding of evolution of birds.
Aurornis xui was discovered from Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning Province, China. The lead author and
researcher, Pascal Godefroit explained that the dinosaur might have had four wings, two alongside the
arms and two alongside the legs.
The specimen, which is preserved in the clay sediment is an adult. Earlier, another fossil from around
150 million years ago, known as Archaeopteryx was considered as most primitive bird, but with this
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discovery, it is expected that Aurornis Xui is even more primitive bird that Archaeopteryx.
The discovery hints towards the relationships between early species of the birds as well as the dinosaur
relatives of these birds. This means that the species which were called birds could be considered as the
troodontids or vice-versa.
Russian Scientists, in the last week of March 2013, announced that a prehistoric fossil was named after
the Russia's Communist revolution hero- Vladimir Lenin. The prehistoric fossil is named Leninia
Stellans. In a similar affair in the past, the U.S. paleontologists had named ancient toothy lizard after the
name of President Barack Obama.
Leninia Stellans was the name that was agreed upon collegially. The ichthyosaur fossil was dug out
several years ago near Ulyanovsks village. Leninia Stellans name suggested that it was a unique species
of ichthyosaurs. Ichthyosaurs are the marine lizard which was found in sea in Mesozoic era between 251
million and 65 million years ago. The skull of Ichthyosaurs was more than one meter or 3.3 feet long. On
looking at its exterior, it appeared like the dolphin of modern era. It fed on mollusks and fish.
Rock Wrens, one of the oldest as well as the most distinct songbird species made a comeback from
extinction because of the New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) project. The information
was revealed on 23 September 2013. The relocation project of DOC relocated 41 tiny alpine Rock Wrens
from around Fiordland in the far southwest of New Zealand's South Island to Secretary Island from 2008
to 2011.
DOC announced that the number of Rock Wrens increased to 66 in April 2013. DOC ranger Megan
Willans explained that the increased safety of the island, a place where predators pose a lesser threat,
provides insurance against the birds' steady demise on the mainland. Out of the 66 birds on the island,
where the population of predatory stoats was tightly controlled, 63 had hatched and fledged there,
indicating that the birds have settled for the purpose of breeding.
The Rock Wren is the only true alpine bird in New Zealand and one of the most ancient bird
species in the world.
They originated from a species present more than 80 million years ago and have no close
structural resemblance to any other group of birds in the world.
Of the seven wren species that lived in New Zealand when humans arrived, the Rock Wren and
the Rifleman are the only two species surviving today.
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Rock Wrens are vulnerable to predation by stoats and mice. Both stoats and mice prey on Rock
Wren chicks and eggs on the nest.
The forest officials of Kanha Tiger Reserve discovered 33 dead spotted deer under the Ghorela ward,
under the Mukki forest area in the second week of January 2013.
Malnutrition, infection and severe cold are predicted to be the reason for the death of these deer. The
internal organs (viscera) of these animals were sent to Jabalpur-based Veterinary College laboratory for
testing for further postmortem and to identify the actual cause of their death.

Kanha Tiger Reserve
Kanha Tiger Reserve is considered to be among one of the finest wildlife areas of the world and is one of
the oldest wildlife sanctuaries of India that is located in Madhya Pradesh. The tiger reserve is a house of
43 different species of mammals that includes tigers, barasingha, wild dog, chital, gaur, hyena and Jackal
as well as of different species of reptiles, plants, birds and insects.
In 1879, it was declared as the reserve forest and was upgraded to be the wildlife sanctuary in the year
1933. In 1955, it was notified as the National Park and was declared to be a tiger reserve in the year

Geographically, Kanha Tiger reserve is located in the Mekal Range and forms the eastern base of the
triangular Satpura Range and the reserve lies between the Balaghat and Mandla districts of Madhya
Pradesh. Kanha formally was formed as a part of Gondwana - the land of Gonds, and its forests were
inhabited by the aboriginal tribes namely Baiga and the Gonds. These tribes were dependant on forest
produce for their livelihood and practiced shifting cultivation.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests took steps to control the menace created by Neelgai in the
States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, etc. The menaces created by Neelgai in these States have particularly
affected the crops.


Neelgai is included in Schedule-II of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. Under the Secction 11 of the
Act, Chief Wildlife Warden have been empowered to grant permission to any person to hunt such wild
animals that have become dangerous to human life or to property including standing crops.
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The Ministry of Environment and Forests had got the issue studied by the Wildlife Institute of India for
assessment of the nature of problem and possible ways to deal with it. The results have been provided
to the State Governments.

The Central Government will provide financial assistance to State/Union Territory Governments under
Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats for construction/erection
of fences to stop wild animals entering agricultural crops.

An advisory has been issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment and Forests
jointly to the Agriculture Departments of all concerned State Governments for management of Blue
Bulls (Neelgai).

The Government has adopted a multi pronged approach including mapping of problematic areas and
planning scientific management with methods like chemical capture of blue bulls, fertility control, bio-
fencing etc.
The Government of Madhya Pradesh in the first week of January 2013 declared that it has identified 17
eco-sensitive zones across the wildlife sanctuaries and parks of the state. It also cleared that illegal
mining and commercial activities around these eco-sensitive zones would be prohibited.

The move of identifying the eco-sensitive zones across the state came up in response to the last-chance
offered to the State Government by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for identification of
such zones and provide a site specific proposal before 15 February 2013. If there would have been any
delay in identification and declaration of these Zones, then the Ministry would have declared an area of
10 kilometers as eco-sensitive zones of the National Parks and Sanctuaries and this declaration would
have barred the commercial and associated activities which had an impact on the environment. All these
things would have happened following the norms of the ministry.
Madhya Pradesh at present has twenty-five wildlife Sanctuaries and eight National Parks. The state
Forest Department identified and approved the eco-sensitive zones across Pench National Park, Kanha
National Park, Panna National Park and Kuno Palpur sanctuary, Bandhavgarh National Park and others.
The Zoological Society of London in the month of May 2013 revealed that Indian dolphins as well as the
wild elephants were among recent top 100 mammals facing the risks of extinction. The Zoological
Society of London (ZSL) scored mammals of the world for the first time on the basis of how
Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) they were.
In the list which included most extraordinary threatened species, were frogs which gave birth via skin as
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well as the mammals which were immune to cyanide. A lot of these mammals in the list are not known
to people and therefore also do not receive the attention from conservation point of view. The latest
entries in this list are the two mammals from India as well.
The latest list of the endangered mammals rang an alarming bell, especially for the largest land mammal
of Asia, the wild elephant, which ranked 17th on ZSL list.
ZSL revealed that merely 35000 to 50000 Asian elephants were there in the wild in the year 1995. Since
that time, the population of the wild elephants has dwindled a lot of times and it is believed that the
present population would have diminished even below this estimate.
Majority of the elephants are found in India (20000-25000) and Myanmar (5000-6000). In Vietnam, a
little less than 200 elephants are surviving. The major factor of diminishing population of Asian
elephants is habitat loss.
Also, these elephants are constantly coming in contact with the local people and the farmers because of
the destruction of their feeding grounds. As a result, these elephants destroy properties, raid the crops
and even kill people. Farmers and local people even the score by killing these elephants, which result in
a decline in their population.
Other reason for decline in the population of Asiatic elephants is poaching for their ivory as well as
occasionally for meat.
River dolphin is ranked 60th in the list of top 100 endangered mammals of the world. In India, in the
river basins, these dolphins are found primarily in plains that have rivers with slow flow. At present,
dolphins are found in Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Bangladesh
as well as India.
ZSL surveyed parts of range of Ganges subspecies and found that they accounted for 1200 to 1800 in
The reason for dwindling population of dolphins, according to ZSL is that their habitat is one among the
most densely populated areas of the world. Therefore, they are threatened because of damming of the
rivers for electricity generation as well as irrigation. This leads to degradation of the habitat, prevention
of seasonal migration and isolation of the population.
In the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Megna River systems alone, over 18 high dams and 20 barrages have been
built since 1956. ZSL explained that a lot of decline in dolphin population could be seen because more
dams and barrages are planned or under construction in the range of this species.
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Professor Jonathan Baillie of ZSL explained that results of mapping exercise were alarming because at
present, merely 5 percent of EDGE mammals identified areas and 15 percent of EDGE amphibian
identified areas were protected.
The South Korean scientists from the Personal Genomics Institute in Suwon, on 17 September 2013
unveiled that they carried out first ever DNA analysis of the tiger as well as four other great felines. The
DNA analysis was carried out in the project for helping the critically-endangered cats for their survival.
The team of scientists led by Yun Sung Cho at the Personal Genomics Institute, Genome Research
Foundation in Suwon, South Korea, in their research, sequenced the genome of a Siberian tiger. The
genome of this genome of this tiger was then compared with the genome of white Bengal tiger, the
snow leopard, the African lion and white African lion. The comparison revealed that the genes
highlighted shared characteristics among all these close, yet distinct species of cats. All these kinds of
tigers included common genes which hinted towards extreme muscle strength as well as the ability to
metabolise hyper carnivorous diet.
There were variants which accounted for certain differences such as fur colour. In case of the gene
revealed about the characteristic of snow leopards ability to adapt to high, icy habitats.
The genomes therefore indicated about the diverse and crucial data source which can be used for
conservation of these tigers. Out of the overall nine subspecies of tiger, the scientists revealed that four
of them were already extinct in previous century. These four extinct species included Javan, Balinese,
South China and Caspian tigers.
It is estimated that at present the number of wild tigers range from just 3050 to 3950. The
conservationalists believe that in the absence of conservation measures, all the tigers will become
extinct from the wild soon.
The proposal of the Government of Rajasthan to construct the well for drawing water for Kota from
National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary area got approval from National Board of Wildlife (NBWL), the
Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India.
The approval came after the assurance of the chief minister Ashok Gehlot regarding measures to be
taken up for ensuring conservation of the National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary. The National Chambal
Gharial Sanctuary is spread across three states- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. It is the
abode of fish-eating Gharial (a kind of crocodile), which survives on the clean rivers only. Gharial is one
of the most critically endangered species of crocodiles. In 1970s, it came almost close to extinction. It is
estimated that at present, there are merely 200 Gharials in the forests.
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Apart from the Gharial, the National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary is also home of threatened Gangetic
Dolphins, Indian Skimmers, hundreds of migratory birds and the rare species of turtles. Withdrawal of
water from the sanctuary can prove fatal not just for the endangered Gharial but also for the dolphins.
Back on 28 March 2013, the standing committee of NBWL in its 28th meeting chaired by Jayanthi
Natarajan, the Environment Minister, rejected proposal of the Government of Rajasthan for
constructing intake well near left bank of Chambal river at Kota barrage reservoir. The committee
explained that the exploitation of the water of Chambal would have deleterious effect on Gharials found
in the river.
In the meanwhile, NBWL also rejected the proposal of Rajasthan Government for setting up Clinker
Grinding and Flyash Mixing Unit within 10 km of National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary at Kota, with the
same reasons and explanations.
The Rajasthan Government nevertheless wrote to the Environment Ministry to reconsider the project
and eventually on 19 July 2013, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot assured to ensure that there would be
sufficient water at all times for the protection of Gharials. Thereafter, NBWL discussed about the project
in two successive meetings on 6 June 2013 and 4 September 2013, eventually bringing green signal for
the project.
The research carried out by the Environment Agency and Wildlife Trusts in UK revealed that the water
voles dropped down by a fifth in UK since the year 2011. The reason for their declining population was
predation by American mink, habitat loss as well as changing weather. Environment Agency and Wildlife
Trusts carried out the research. The organisation is working for the creation of more vole-friendly
Water Voles were common sight centuries ago, but since 1970s, their number has declined by over 90
percent. This has happened because of breaking habitat and loss of habitat as well as escape of
American mink into the countryside. American mink came to UK for their fur, but these, instead started
feeding on the water voles. The problem of decreasing water voles is also prevalent in other parts of
Europe, primarily Belgium and Netherlands.
Environment Agency and Wildlife Trusts were working towards creation of the new habitats for these
voles. The Environment Agency is aiming towards creation of 10000 hectares of rivers and wetlands for
prevention of these water voles.

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What are Water Voles?
The European water vole or northern water vole, also scientifically known as Arvicola amphibious, is the
semi-aquatic rodent. It is also known as water rat. Water voles have round nose, deep brown fur, short
fuzzy ears and chubby faces. They do not completely resemble the rats because the rats have paws, tails
and ears covered with hair. The life of water voles is merely five months. Their maximum longevity in
captivity is 2 and half years.The population of water voles in UK declined from approximately 8 million
from pre 1960s to 2.3 million in 1990. In the year 1998, the population of the water voles in UK was
Scientists discovered in their study that Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) can detect flowers' electric
fields. Scientific study indicated that floral electric fields improve the bees' ability to discriminate
between different flowers. When used with visual signals, electrical cues can increase the bee's memory
of floral rewards. Scientists hinted that this method of signalling provides speedy and dynamic
communication between plants and pollinators. Flowering plants provide pollinators with nectar and
pollen in exchange for their assistance in the flowers' sexual reproduction. Usually, Flowers attract
pollinators using cues such as bright colours, patterns and enticing fragrances but this study for the first
time revealed the significance of electrostatic information as an additional cue. The investigation done
by the scientists put emphasis on the possible importance of electrostatic forces.
The first wildlife skywalk of India will be coming up in Maenam wildlife sanctuary, Sikkim. The State
Government of Sikkim proposed to construct 22 km rope-way from Maenam sanctuary to skywalk which
would be built on edge of Bhalleydhunga steep face.
This will also have rain shelter as well as public conveniences. Maenam wildlife sanctuary in Sikkim is 65
km south from Gangtok, the capital of the state. It is a popular tourist destination as well.
The environment ministry too has approved the proposal of Sikkim government for the first wildlife
skywalk of India proposal that would cost 500 crore Rupees. This skywalk would be like the one in Grand
Canyon in North America. The skywalk in Grand Canyon in North America gets more than 300000
visitors every year, inspite of opposition from the wild-lifers.
The African state of Gabon on 16 February 2013 decided to suspend the sale of large-calibre arms and
ammunitions to stem elephant poaching in the country. Last week, a study showed that in Gabon, which
hosts more than half of Africa's forest elephants, at least 20,000 elephants have been killed by poachers
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for their ivory during the last decade.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, some of the money raised through the illegal poaching in Africa is
used to finance armed groups. Trade in elephant ivory has been outlawed since 1989. During the 1980s,
more than half of Africa's elephants were wiped out, mostly by poachers hunting for ivory. But in
January 1990, countries across the globe signed up to an international ban on the trade in ivory. Global
demand decreased in the face of a worldwide public awareness campaign. As a result, Elephant
populations began to increase again. But in recent years, this has been reversed.
According to an estimate, 25000 elephants were killed in 2011. The figures for 2012 are still being
calculated, but they are likely to be higher.
Zoological Society of London along with IUCN species survival commission in their largest-ever analysis
found out that 19 percent of turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles and other reptiles were facing severe
threat of extinction.
One out of every five out of 10000 species of reptiles in the world, many of which are from India, is
facing a threat of extinction. Out of the endangered species are the King cobra, Indian crocodile
(mugger), South Andaman krait and four kinds of turtles namely, Red-crowned Roofed Turtle, Bengal
Roof Turtle, Jaggedshelled turtle and Hawksbill turtle. These species were identified to be extinct
The conversationalists worry about the fact that at present, there is no information about conservation
status of around one in every three reptiles in India.
The study conducted found out that 30 percent of the freshwater reptiles were almost close to
extinction. The figure increases to 50 percent when just the freshwater turtles are considered. These
reptiles are affected by international as well as national trade.
Also, 15 percent reptiles in Indo-malayan region were threatened. Our of 1500 species samples in the
study, it was found that 112 were from India. Out of these 1500 species, 12.2 percent had threat of
Scientists of Smithsonian Institution of US have announced a rare discovery of a new species of mammal
called the Olinguito on 15 August 2013.
Olinguito is a reddish-brown animal and is about 14-inches long with an equally long tail and weighs
about 2 pounds (0.9 Kg). Scientists of Smithsonian Institution discovered this new animal in the cloud
forests of Colombia and Ecuador.
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It has been named olinguito and it is the first new species of carnivore to be identified in the Western
hemisphere in 35 years. It has taken more than a decade to identify the mammal.
The olinguito is a carnivore - that group of mammals that includes cats, dogs and bears and their
relatives. This is a new carnivore - the first to be found on the American continent for more than three
Researchers working in the Rio Abajo Nature Preserve in western Puerto Rico, on 15 August 2013,
revealed that one of the most endangered bird species of the world, Puerto Rican parrot, made a
comeback in the Puerto Rico territory of the US.
The researchers revealed that there were 400 parrots in
captivity as well as over 100 tracked in the forests
across the island. Earlier, the population of these
parrots dropped down to merely 13. The counting took
place under the Rio Abajo parrot reintroduction
The researchers found the wild nest with the eggs of
Puerto Rican parrot, the first discovery of this kind in 42
years. Though the eggs did not hatch, but it was nothing
unusual and it indicated that the captive parrots were
procreating in the wild and building nests.
It is important to note that the Puerto Rican parrot is the only remaining native parrot as well as one of
the 30 species of Amazon parrots that are found in America.
In the year 2013, record 51 baby Puerto Rican parrots were born in the captivity in Rio Abajo forest.
Earlier, in the year 2011, there was a record of 34 new born Puerto Rican parrots. The goal of the
researchers is to release these parrots in the forests with attached temporary radio collars. However,
some of these parrots are either very weak or very aggressive, which is why they are kept in the
Characteristics of Puerto Rican Parrots
The Puerto Rican parrots have red foreheads and turquoise feathers under the wings. These parrots can
grow to around one foot in length and are known for their secrecy and mate usually for the life, thereby
reproducing just once in a year.

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Vulture Population Estimation-2013 was conducted in Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh by the
State Government. The Vulture Population Estimation-2013 started from 16 January 2013. It was found
that there are 867 vultures in the Panna Tiger Reserve which include 160 migratory birds as well as 48
unidentified birds. The Technical report of Vulture Population Estimation-2013 would be submitted by
February end 2013. Around 102 live nests were present in this tiger reserve.
Yet another survey would be conducted in April-May 2013 in order to find out the success of vulture
breeding in Panna Tiger Reserve. The Vulture Population Estimation is undertaken every year in January
in the Panna Tiger Reserve since 2010. The population of vultures was less in comparison to the 2012
population and the reason for their decreasing number is rise in temperatures in this area.
The Regional Director Panna Tiger Reserve informed that 659 residential vultures were present in the
Panna Tiger Reserve during this Vulture Population Estimation-2013.
Out of the 659 residential vultures, 476 were the Long Billed Vultures, 86 were the White Backed
Vultures, 52 were the Egyptian Vultures and 45 were the Red-headed Vultures.
There were 160 migratory vultures in the Reserve. Out of these, 41 were the European Griffon, 115
were the Himalayan Griffon and 4 were the vultures of cinereous species.

Over the past few years, there has been a sudden decline in the vulture population. Post mortem as well
as the diagnostic tests of the vultures revealed that there was a decrease in their population because of
consumption of veterinary drug Diclofenac.
Diclofenac was consumed by the vultures who fed on the carcasses of livestock. Diclofenac led to
deposition of uric acid in the visceral organs of vultures which caused their sudden death.
Thirty one Black Bucks were killed by the stray dogs in the enclosure of the Kanpur Zoo on 19 January
2013. The killed black bucks included 26 females and five males. There were a total of 38 black bucks in
the enclosure out of which seven of them are alive.

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About Black Bucks
Black Bucks are one of the most endangered antelope species on the earth and has been included in the
list of threatened species of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), since 2003. Poaching
and habitat destruction are one of the most common reason that has contributed a lot in making the
black bucks an endangered species. The long ring horned black bucks are now protected in the wildlife
parks and the zoos of India and Nepal for breeding.
The conservationists at the Charity Butterfly Conservation of UK declared that the number of butterflies
in UK was at a record and historic low. The Charity Butterfly Conservation issued the warning before the
annual survey called the Big Butterfly Count.
The experts explained that the critical weather conditions such as 2012s wet summer as well as 2013
cold spring were the reasons behind worsening population of the butterflies in UK. However, it was
explained that hot start of July 2013 could help in reviving the population of these insects.
It is important to note that butterflies are extremely crucial for the environment because they act as the
barometer of health to the environment. The declining population of butterflies in UK explains that
there was something wrong in the environment of UK.
In the year 2012, over 220000 butterflies were counted. During that interview, it was observed that 15
out of 21 species declined in comparison to 2011 survey. The 2012 was said to be the worst year on
record for UK butterflies due to wet as well as windy weather that caused disruption to their breeding.
Due to this, thousands of delicate insects succumbed to various elements before reproduction. In many
causes, their eggs were completely washed away.
In 2013 cold spring, the butterflies started emerging three weeks late. However, the heat wave in the
month of July 2013 could help in enhancing the number of butterflies. It was explained by the survey
manager that summer heat wave of 2013 was perfect tonic for struggling population of butterflies in
It is important to note that according to the scientists; around 1 million Puerto Rican parrots lived in pre-
colonial times. Due to the destruction of their natural habitat in late 1800s, the number of these parrots
declined considerably. The habitat was destroyed because of clearing of the forests in the 1800s for the
purpose of plantation of sugarcane, coffee and citrus.
By the 1950s, there were merely 200 parrots left in the forest and in 1975, this number reached to
record low, i.e., just 13. It is worth noticing that very few species of the world have reached so close to
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It was in the year 1989 that the number of Puerto Rican parrots grew to around 50. However, the
Hurricane Hugo killed half of these parrots again and thus the second reserve was created in order to
make them less vulnerable. The third reserve is under plan in the Western Puerto Rico.

The captive breeding programme was started off in the year 1972. The first baby Puerto Rican parrot
was born in the year 1979 as a result of this. Since then, the success rate of this programme has grown.
Nevertheless, the Puerto Rican parrots are still in the list of engendered species of birds.
About the Big Butterfly Count survey
The Big Butterfly Count survey is an annual survey conducted by the Charity Butterfly Conservation. It is
a citizen scientist survey where general public are invited for recording the number of butterflies flying
in the local green areas. People are provided with the chart of 19 most commonly found butterflies as
well as 2 day-flying moths. They are asked to record how many insects of each kind were spotted in just
15 minutes time. The Big Butterfly Count takes place from 20 July to 11 August every year.
A team of researchers from the University of Gerona in Spain found that huge numbers of insects are
shipped across the world unwittingly. The researchers also warned that a lot of insects were establishing
the colonies in new habitats, which in turn could be
disadvantageous for the human health, infrastructure and
The lead author of the study Veronica Miravete explained
that because of the small size, a lot of ants were
transported involuntarily in the boxes and containers
along with ornamental plants, wood, fruits and soil via the
airplanes and the ships.
The research team found out about the numbers of exotic ants in New Zealand, the US and the
Netherlands. A lot of these ants were discovered than what had been reported earlier. It was estimated
that 768 exotic ant species were introduced in the world through the trade routes. Out of these, around
600 species have already established their own new colonies in the different places of the world.
Veronica Miravete, in the meanwhile, also explained that the number of ants which were arriving was
very huge and around 85 percent of the newly introduced species of the ants were establishing
themselves very successfully. The research indicated towards the fact that a lot of newly introduced
species were living around the humans and that these were still undetected.
It is important to note that all the animals which move to the new regions are not a threat to the
environment and the human health, but some of these animals pose serious threats and wreak havoc.
Invasive ants are among those animals which pose a threat.

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The aggressive Argentina ants have built their own mega-colonies in Europe and they are also out-
competing the population of local ants. This in turn can ripple the entire ecosystem. In the meanwhile,
in the US, there is an invasion of the South America's Rasberry crazy ants, which in turn causes a lot of
problems because these insects swarm inside the electrical equipment. Another concern is that of the
spread of fire ants.
The researchers explained that there was a need of halting the spread of the pests like these because in
case the exotic ants establish their colonies in new regions, it becomes difficult to eradicate them.
In order to curb this, there are certain methods such as black lists, quarantine inspections and pre-
border risk assessments. However, the major focus needs to be done on the shipping routes from the
regions where there is higher probability of introduction of these exotic species of ants.
Researchers from the University of Chicago, in the first week of August 2013, revealed that dolphins had
the longest memories among the non-human species. Researchers declared that even if these dolphins
were separated for more than 20 years, they were capable of recalling the whistles of their former
The researchers believed that the long-term memories of
dolphins were a product of complex social connections from
which they have evolved.
During the study, the researchers used the information on
relationships between 56 captive bottlenose dolphins. These
dolphins moved for the purpose of breeding between six
diverse aquariums and zoos in Bermuda as well as the US. The
records which dated back to decades were used to find out
which dolphins were housed together.
Thereafter, the researchers played the recordings to these dolphins on the underwater speakers. The
recordings were the signature whistles of dolphins, with which they had once lived. Their responses
were then measured.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr Jason Bruck from the University of Chicago explained that these
dolphins approached the speakers for longer duration in case they recognised the call. They maintained
contact with the speaker for a longer time. On the other hand, when they were unfamiliar with the call,
they ignored these recordings from the speaker. It is unique to find such behaviour in non-human
Dr. Jason Bruck explained that the response of this kind was very typical. In comparison to the unfamiliar
calls, there was absolutely clear pattern in data where dolphins reacted primarily more to whistles of
those dolphins with whom they had once lived and had not seen or heard since decades.

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The researchers, in the meanwhile, believed that the complex nature of social systems of dolphin was
responsible for long term memory effect. In the ocean, the dolphins have fluid social arrangement which
is scientifically called fission-fusion model. According to this model, the dolphins can exit one group and
enter others, several times during their lifetime.
Therefore, it becomes important for them to recall calls of those dolphins with which they had previous
encounters. This was important so that they could decide whether they should approach or not the
dolphin of which they heard the whistle.
The researchers explained that the ability of the dolphins to recall events hinted towards the fact that
the cetaceans have a level of cognitive complexity in comparison to the humans, elephants and
Elephants also have the capability of long memory of up to 20 years. But, there is very limited evidence
of their abilities beyond the family relations. It is important to note that in a recent study, it was also
found out that dolphins had the capacity of recognising the whistles of other dolphins, absolutely
Nepal started a three-month-long census of the tigers on 4 February 2013. Tigers were declared as the
endangered species by International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2010.

The census includes five main conservation areas in Nepal which include two wildlife reserves namely,
Parsa and Shuklaphanta as well as three national parks namely Bardiya, Banke and Chitwan. All the
conservation areas where census began lie in the Terai plains of the country. First counting of the tigers
started in Shuklaphanta reserve which is situated in far-west region. The census was jointly started by
the World Wide Fund for Nature and the National Trust for Nature Conservation. 50 cameras were
installed in Shuklaphanta reserve for counting the number of tigers.
Nepal is said to be the abode of Royal Bengal Tiger that primarily dwells in dense forests of the Terai
plains. Royal Bengal Tiger was declared as the endangered species by International Union for
Conservation of Nature in 2010.
As per the initial census, there were a total of 200 tigers in Nepal. However, poaching remains a threat
to tigers in Nepal.
The Alipore Zoological Garden of Kolkata on 5 August 2013 launched Adoption of Zoo Animals Scheme
with an aim to create awareness and love for the wildlife among general public. The scheme was
inaugurated by the West Bengal State Forest Minister, Hiten Barman.
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Under the scheme
anyone willing to adopt
an animal will have to
pay specific amount for
a year, which will be
spent for the upkeep of
chosen animal including
its seeding and
healthcare needs.
Names of the adoptive individuals will be engraved on a plaque of the animal's enclosure. They
will be allowed to capture candid shots of their respective animal wards on film and
The sponsorship of each elephant, tiger, lion, and chimpanzee is annually 150000 rupees while
bears, leopards, rhinoceros, kangaroo, jaguar and zebra will each cost 50000 rupees per annum.
The Alipore Zoological Gardens (also called Kolkata Zoo) is India's oldest formally stated
zoological park and a big tourist attraction in Kolkata, West Bengal. It has been open as a zoo
since 1875 and covers 18.81 hectars.
Rare Egyptian vultures were spotted near Laxmipur in Chikiti forest range of Odisha's Ganjam district in
the month of July 2013. The forest department declared that it would carry out a survey of the birds in
order to find out more about them. The survey would help in locating their nesting site.
Thirteen Egyptian vultures were spotted by a bird-watcher, who in turn, informed about it to the
divisional forest officer at Berhampur. It is important to note that this sighting of the rare Egyptian
vultures indicate rich biodiversity as well as healthy trend.
The Berhampur forest division also planned to submit the proposal to the wildlife wing of the forest
department in order to undertake the projects for conservation of the endangered species. Action plan
will be prepared after detailed survey has been performed.
These vultures were sighted at different places in monsoon. It was found that these Egyptian vultures
fed on small animals as well as fish.
The number of vultures in south Asia, especially in Nepal and India, declined considerably over past few
years. The major reason for this is residues of the poisonous veterinary drug in the animal carcasses.

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Scientist in month of June 2013 discovered a complete new species of bird hiding in plain sight in
Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.
The bird has been named the Cambodian tailorbird (Orthotomus chaktomuk) and was first spotted in
2009 during routine checks for avian flu.
The detailed outline of the discovery has been mentioned in the Oriental Bird Club journal, Forktail.
Tailorbirds are in the family of warbler and got their name of their careful preparation of their nests,
weaving leaves together.
It is extremely unusual for undiscovered bird species to be found in urban contexts. The modern
discovery of an un-described bird species within the limits of a large populous city is very much
uncommon. The discovery indicates that new species of birds may still be found in familiar and
unexpected locations.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham explained that the genetic similarity between the snail
fossils which were found in the Eastern Pyrenees as well as Ireland suggested that human beings
migrated from Southern Europe to Ireland 8000 years ago. The fact is that the slippery creatures found
in Ireland at present are more or less similar to the snails found in Northern Spain and Southern France.
It is believed that Britain was formed at the end of the last Ice Age around 10000 years ago. At that time,
the sea levels increased and the landslides caused tsunami. Britain was then transformed into island
which segregated mainland Europe from Ireland. This implied that land-dwelling animals could not
migrate from Europe over the seas.
Scientists and researchers, over a long period of time, have remained confused that Ireland is a home to
various plants as well as animals which are genetically very different and unique in comparison to the
ones found in Britain.
Now, the researchers found that the common garden snail known as Cepaea nemoralis is genetically
identical to those which are found in Eastern Pyrenees. Nevertheless, it missed Britain during the course
of its journey.
Analysis of the fossil unveiled that there was a continuous record of the snails in Ireland for 8000 years.
Co-author of the study Angus Davison from the University of Nottingham explained that there were
evidences of Mesolithic or Stone Age humans that ate snails in Pyrenees.
The route in the past was actually ocean and rivers. The river flanking the Pyrenees was the ancient
trade route to Atlantic. The study could actually explain the legacy of snails which reflected the ride that
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was same as humans who traveled from South of France to Ireland 8000 years ago.
The implication of this study is that genetics of the snails can depict about the very old human migration
event. Population geneticist Dan Bradley from Trinity College, Dublin explained that this study was
evident of repeating theme that certain species in Ireland had the same genetic types like that of
southern Europe.
Earlier, the genetic studies conducted on the humans showcased that there were links between the
populations of Southern Europe and Ireland. However, there is a need to understand the ancient DNA
for understanding migration patterns of humans.
The Jellyfish which usually has its habitat in the colder waters was discovered stranded near the
Newquay, Cornwall. A group of from the Manor House Activity Centre in St Issey discovered a usual blue
This blue jellyfish, which was found at the Trevone Bay near Newquay, Cornwall was given to Blue Reef
Aquarium in Newquay. The authorities from the Blue Reef Aquarium explained that in the month of May
and June 2013, several washing up took place, but discovery of the blue jellyfish is the first live
Fully grown specimen of this can reach up to 15 centimetres in diameter. This blue jellyfish has one
metre long stinging tentacles which are used by it for catching the prey.
It is important to note that there are over 200 known species of the jellyfish. Blue jellyfish can be found
mainly in western Pacific around Japan as well as off the west coast of Scotland.
About the blue jellyfish
Blue jellyfish is also called Cyanea lamarckii or Bluefire jellyfish. It is the species of jellyfish and belongs
to the family of Cyaneidae. Populations of blue jellyfish in western Pacific around Japan are at times also
referred to as Cyanea nozakii or Cyanea capillata nozakii. Cyanea lamarckii has features such as yellow or
blue tone. It can grow to around 10 to 20 cm, but its specimen can grow to 30 cm. In the Scandinavian
seas, the blue jellyfish can rarely grow larger than 15 cm. This species has a lot of stinging tentacles.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the first week of May 2013 removed the
critically endangered Syzygium Travncoricum (locally known as kulavetti or vadhamkolli) tree endemic
to Kerala from its red list.
Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) conducted a field study in wake of the IUCN classification and
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suggested that the tree can now be moved to the endangered list.
The tree entered the critically endangered list of IUCN in 1998 on the basis of the Conservation
Assessment Management Plan (CAMP) workshop conducted under the Biodiversity Conservation
Prioritisation Project India. IUCN classified the Syzygium Travncoricum under the critically endangered
Red List after the camp study discovered that due to habitat destruction (the prime cause) the estimated
population of the tree went below 200.
Maximum of the last trees of the Syzygium Travncoricum group were seen in Southern Part of the state
raising concerns of the environmentalist about the tree.
The Environment Ministry of India decided to put a ban on the trade of peacock feathers as a measure
to conserve the national bird of India- peacock.
The government has no data regarding peacock population, but it is evident that the number of
peacocks in India is dwindling because of poaching of the feathers which fetches good price in not just
international markets, but also within Indian markets.
World Wide Fund for nature in 1991 did the only stock-taking of peacock population in India. It was
found that India had only 50 percent of overall peacock population left, in comparison to what existed
during independence. It is believed that the population of the peacocks went down even more since
1991 because of a rise in poaching as well as habitat loss.
There has been an increased demand of the peacock feathers, also called morpankh. Therefore, the
Environment Ministry decided to completely ban the trade of any kind (sale, purchase or transport) of
the peacock feathers.
Environment and Forest Minister Jayanthi Natarajan explained that the decision was taken to put a
complete ban on the trade of morpankh.
Trading of the naturally shed peacock feathers is permitted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. This
act completely prohibits peacock killing. However, because of the loophole in the Wildlife Protection
Act, 1972, extensive killing of peacocks takes place in India for the lucrative business of peacock
With the approval of the Union Government of India, an amendment will be made to the Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972 in order to make trading of any body part of national bird an offence, which would
be equivalent to the punishment granted for killing the other non-endangered species. This means that
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anyone caught buying or selling the peacock feathers or the trophies would be jailed for up to 2 years
under amended Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in the month of May 2013 unveiled
that foxes in the Arctic region who fed on ocean prey were exposed to higher levels of mercury. In the
time duration of 100 years, the mercury levels of oceans of the world have doubled, as per the United
Nations. Most of the mercury deposits take place in Arctic than other parts of Earth.
The Arctic Council described that an increase of ten times has been observed in mercury levels in top
most region of the Earth in past 150 years.
On Mednyi, the Russian island, it was found that the foxes survived exclusively on the sea birds as well
as some seal carcasses. The fox population of this island decreased drastically in 1970s. Although the
population of foxes is stable, but they are still in poor condition or have very low body weight. IUCN lists
them as critically endangered species.
Lead author of the research Dr Gabor Czirjak explained that they believed infection to be the cause of
shrinking number of foxes, but it wasnt found. However, when the hair samples of the foxes as well as
the animals on which they fed, were examined, it was found that there was a significant rate of mercury
in it.
When the Russian foxes were compared with the Arctic foxes, very different results were found. The
foxes in the Arctic had comparatively lower level of poison in the body. These results would be of a great
help for conservation of foxes in the Arctic.
The research raised some of the important questions regarding how accumulation of mercury was
taking place in marine food chain in Arctic region.
It is worth noticing that global efforts were undertaken to control a boost in the mercury level earlier in
2013 when over 140 countries of the world agreed signing legally binding treaty for curbing the mercury
The European Union made decision in May 2013 to impose a continent-wide ban on the Pesticides
namely neonicotinoids that harm bees. The EU came up with a decision to ban the use of the pesticides
after scientists came up with the conclusion that chemicals posed an acute risk to honeybees that
pollinate many of the crops grown in Europe on a commercial scale.
Bees as pollinators play a vital role in food production. The hives of honeybees across the globe are
dying off in the phenomenon that is known as Colony Collapse disorder.
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The European countries in May 2013 voted on banning neonicotinoids, which is mainly found in
pesticides. Fifteen of the twenty seven member states that included France voted for a two-year
restriction on the neonicotinoids which is not enough to form a qualified majority. The voting was
made amid strong opposition from chemical companies.
The final decision is now with the European commission, which will implement the ban. According to EU
rules, the Commission will now impose a two-year restriction on neonicotinoids.
Neonicotinoids are mainly produced mainly Switzerland's Syngenta and Germany's Bayer. The
conservationists called up for a ban on the use, whereas the organizations related to agriculture claimed
that farmers will face hardship and will have an impact on food production, which will cost Europe a loss
of billions of Euros due to loss of crop yield.
As per a United Nations report released in 2011, the bees and other pollinators like butterflies, birds and
beetles do a worldwide work of pollination that worth 203 billion dollar every year.
A bench led by Justice K S Radhakrishnan of the Supreme Court of
India on 15 April 2013 ordered Gujarat to share the endangered
Asiatic lions with its neighbouring state- Madhya Pradesh. The
population of these Asiatic lions has almost become negligible
but because of certain conservation efforts in the state of Gujarat
in past 50 years, these endangered lions have been saved from
extinction. At present, the population of these lions in Gir forests
of Gujarat is 400.
The political leaders in Gujarat resisted relocation of these lions, but Supreme Court ordered that they
should be relocated in order to save them from elimination because of fire or epidemic.
Conversationalists too had recommended establishment of second sanctuary outside Gujarat in order to
make sure about genetic diversification.
Back in 1986, the Union Government decided to relocate some of the Asiatic lions from Gir forest in
Gujarat to Kuno game sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh in order to prevent extinction of these species.
Gujarat had earlier opposed Madhya Pradeshs appeal for relocation of these lions on the grounds of
poor record of protection of tiger population in Panna reserve forest. What number of Asiatic lions
should be moved to Kuno game sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh is yet to be determined. Gujarat has now
been given a deadline of six months to successfully complete this lion relocation.
Despite a lot of poaching activities taking place in the Kaziranga National Park, Rhino population in this
world heritage site saw an increasing trend, according to the recent census which ended on 26 March

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Earlier, there were 2290 one-horned Great Indian Rhinoceros, which increased to 2329 in the latest
census, which means that there is an increase in the Rhino population of Kaziranga National Park by 39.
The census began in the Kaziranga National Park on 24 March 2013. The authorities of the KNP declared
that they counted 645 adult males and 684 adult females apart from sub-adults and the cubs.
Kaziranga National Park remained closed to the tourists during the census operation which was
performed by more than 250 people with 50 elephants. The census included all 81 blocks of the
Kaziranga National Park which has five main ranges- Agratoli, Bagori, Burapahar, Kohora and Uttarpara.
The census operation is performed in Kaziranga National Park every two years. The 2013 census
included forest guards battalions, officials from state forest department as well as the NGOs and certain
media groups.
Rhino headcount in Kaziranga National Park has now become a regular practice. It is performed in order
to implement the conversation methods fruitfully. In 2012, Kaziranga National Park witnessed a loss of
20 rhinos in poaching. So far, in 2013 14 rhino deaths have been observed.
In 2011, the rhino population in Kaziranga National Park was 2290. In the year 1999, this was 1672. In
2009, this increased to 2048.
Poaching basically means unlawful activities for taking wild animals or plants through trapping, fishing,
harvesting and hunting. The concerned law may be that of wildlife management of international
conversation. When poachers violate the hunting laws, they are usually punishable by law. These
violations of the hunting laws are called poaching. Poaching causes adverse affect on the wildlife
Kaziranga National Park is situated in Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam, India. It is the World
Heritage Site and houses two-thirds of Great One-horned Rhinoceroses of the world. In terms of wildlife
conservation, Kaziranga National Park has achieved great success in comparison to other wildlife
protected areas of India. Being situated at edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hub, this Park is a
home to varied species.
The Assam government announced on 7 November 2013 the high security measures against poachers of
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the world heritage site Kaziranga National Park.
N V Basu , the Field Director of the park explained that in a bid to enhance security of its inhabitants
including precious rhinos, eight high security towers known as Electronic Eye are being set up in the first
These towers will give a clear view of the park which can be accessed at several places. The electronic
tower is likely to serve its purpose particularly during night times as rampant poaching incident occurs
mostly at night time.
Kaziranga National Park will be the second park in the India to take such high security measures.
In a research led by lead author Dr Pablo Venegas from Centro de ornitologa y Biodiversidad (CORBIDI)
in Lima, Per, in the last week of March 2013, two new woodlizard species called Enyalioides were
discovered from Cordillera Azul National Park. These two species were named Enyalioides azulae and
Enyalioides binzayedi.
Enyalioides azulae is said to be from a locality in mountain rainforest of the Ro Huallaga basin in
northeastern Peru. This species was given the name based on the Spanish word- Azul which means blue.
It referred to the Cordillera Azul National Park from where this species was explored.
Enyalioides binzayedi, on the other hand, was discovered from same river basin but was named after
sponsor of the field survey Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He is the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi
and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE. He was the creator of Mohamed bin Zayed Species
Conservation Fund (MBZSCF).
The two newly discovered lizard species have body with distinct green patterns before the black and
dark brown background. The researchers assumed that the species have common territory with an only
difference in the altitude ranges. This slight difference of the altitude ranges made their biological
difference fascinating from the perspective of evolution.
The two lizards were discovered from Cordillera Azul National Park, which is the third largest national
park in Peru. This area includes least explored forests in Peru. The river basins of Pauya and Pisqui in this
National Park are said to be remarkable in terms of the diversity of amphibians and reptiles.
The fieldwork on Enyalioides increased recently with three out of ten known species described in past 5
years. New members of Enyalioides species were discovered during the expeditions on Andes' slopes
which are said to be the parts of Ecuador and Peru. The success of the discovery suggested that there
were other undiscovered lizards in these areas.

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The study conducted by a team of lion biologists of University of Minnesota in the first week of March
2013 found that around half of the wild lion population of Africa would decline to almost extinction over
the period of coming 20-40 years if conservation measures were not undertaken.
It was estimated that at present, less than 30000 lions remain in Africa in around 25 percent of natural
habitat. The study led by Professor Craig Packer as well as co-authored by a whole team of lion biologists
made use of the field data from 11 different African countries. In the study, the cost for managing the
fenced as well as unfenced habitats was examined. Also, in the study, the lion population densities along
with the trends were studied.
In the report, it was found that the cost of conservation in the reserves which are secured by wildlife-
proof fences was lower in comparison to unfenced ecosystems, while the size as well as densities of the
lion population was higher.
It was also found out that the lions living in the unfenced reserves were prone to higher degree of
dangers from the human communities. Lions in the unfenced reserves faced threats such as retaliatory
killing by the herders, fragmentation and habitat loss as well as overhunting of the lion prey.
In context with the study, Panthera, a US-based wild cat conservation organisation declared that the
study highlighted the degree of lion conservation crisis as well as the limited choices for safeguarding
their future.
The lion biologists declared that fencing or some kind of alternative physical boundary like intensely
managed buffer zones was important to separate lion population from humans in order to ensure the
survival of the species. There was a need for decreasing the lion-human conflict.
The Environment Ministry in the third week of February 2013 constituted a committee that will review
better legal protection to elephant reserves as well as the corridors in India under the green laws which
are already present. The committee was constituted after National Board for Wildlife raised concerns
about absence of any legal cover for the elephant corridors and reserves.

The central government has already identified two-third elephant reserves which cover 69582 sq km of
area. The size of these reserves varies from 450-6724 sq km. These reserves not just include the forest
patches of various kinds but also the tea plantations, revenue land, agricultural land, villages and
As of now, these elephant reserves are identified as the programme of the environment ministry for
facilitating more funds under Project Elephant central scheme. However, it does not facilitate better
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legal protection against the changes to demarcated landscape like that is case of tiger reserves. The
government does not face many difficulties in safeguarding the tiger reserves, national parks and
sanctuaries, but in case of elephant reserves, there are certain difficulties faced by the government.
This is so because the elephants travel hundreds of kilometres in a year and they run through the forest
and, cities and villages as well.
The committee which was set up by the environment ministry will be headed over by retired senior
forest officer, Vinod Rishi.
The director of Project Tiger will be the member convener of the committee.
Other members will include Member of National Board for Wildlife M D Madhusudan, elephant
conservation expert Ajay Desai, chief wildlife warden of Odisha J D Sharma and Supreme Court lawyer
Sanjay Upadhayaya.
The committee will have a one year time for examining the existing networks of elephant corridors and
reserves. The committee will inspect whether these reserves and corridors sufficiently cover the habitat
of elephants and that what other legal cover can be provided to these reserves and corridors under the
green laws recommended by Elephant Task Force.
The committee will also assess impact of wildlife protection regulations on the population that lives on
or uses the land that falls inside elephant corridors and reserves.
The Hydro Projects worth 2500 MW across various states were accorded clearance by the Forest
Advisory Committee (FAC) of Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) on 5 February 2013. The projects
include Tawang-II H.E. Project (800 MW) in Arunachal Pradesh, Teesta-IV H.E. Project (520 MW) in
Sikkim to be executed by NHPC Limited and Luhri H.E. Project (775 MW) in Himachal Pradesh to be
executed by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) Limited. The National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) has
accorded wild life clearance to Vishnugad Pipalkoti H.E. Project (444 MW) in Uttarakhand to be executed
by THDC India Limited subject to clearance by the State Board of Wild Life.
The clearances were pending for a long time. The way is straight clear in tapping the hydro potential of
the country to meet the countrys power needs. Separately, the MoEF has recently granted Stage-I
forest clearance to eight transmission projects and Stage-II forest clearance to two transmission projects
of the Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd.
The MoEF, through an order exempted certain linear projects including transmission lines from the
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requirement of obtaining consent of the concerned Gram Sabha(s) unless recognised rights of Primitive
Tribal Groups/Pre-Agricultural Communities are being affected. However, all other conditions as
prescribed in the MoEF`s earlier order would apply. This would help transmission projects obtain
clearances faster.
British Scientists in their research have come to the conclusion that the legendary Himalayan yeti may
be a sub-species of brown bear. DNA tests on hair samples from Yeti revealed that they matched those
from an ancient polar bear.
The scientists provided explanation that the animal is a hybrid of polar bears and brown bears. Scientists
conducted the DNA tests on hairs from two unidentified animals, one from Ladakh in northern India on
the west of the Himalayas and the other from Bhutan, 1285km (800 miles) further east.
The results were then compared with the genomes of other animals that are stored on a database of all
published DNA sequences.
The Yeti or Abominable Snowman is said to be an ape-like cryptid taller than an average human that
inhabits the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet.
The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region and are part of
their history and mythology.
The scientific community generally regards the Yeti as a legend because of the lack of conclusive
The researchers at the University of Southampton, in the first week of October 2013 revealed that the
ability of honeybees to find the flowers can be hindered by the chemical in diesel exhaust. The tests
revealed that the diesel exhaust degraded the floral scent chemicals on which the honey bees foraged.
The study revealed that the specific group of chemicals found in diesel exhaust, known as NOx was
responsible for diminishing the response of insects towards the floral scents. The researchers revealed
that the results of their study made it clear that the quality of air should be improved. Dr Tracey
Newman, the neuroscientist of the University of Southampton explained that they started the research
because they were aware of the impacts of airborne pollutants on human health, which hinted towards
the fact that they may also have an impact on other things.

In order to study about the chemical effects of pollution on the pollinators, the researchers created a
mixture of the volatile, or smelly, chemicals which scented like oilseed rape. Thereafter, the researchers
made use of the diesel-powered generator in order to create the mixture of air and exhaust which was
alike the levels of exhaust found on roads. This lab-made air pollution was mixed with the floral scent
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mix. The tests revealed that there was a considerable loss of two main components of the floral odour
mixture. The two odour chemicals lost during this had chemically reacted with a component of the
diesel exhaust, mono-nitrogen oxide, also called NOx.
In order to examine this, the researchers discovered whether the bees were affected due to the change
or not. Dr Tracey Newman explained that bees needed to decipher the chemical messages that they got
from the flowers. This had to be done so that they could give their best yield of nectar. The pollinators
learnt recognising the scents of nectar-rich flowers, which in turn enabled them to forage better.

Dr Guy Poppy, the biologist and lead researcher explained that the airborne pollution interfered with
the complex relationship which involved both plants and animals. The study primarily highlighted the
need to bring down pollution and also improve the quality of the air. This will not just help in protecting
the pollinating insects but will also help in improving the human health.

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) announced on 2 October 2013 that an endangered Sumatran
tiger Melati gave birth to the cub on 30 September 2013.

The rare species of the tiger cub was born born six months after the new Tiger Territory at London Zoo
was opened. The new Tiger Territory at London Zoo is designed for encouraging the breeding of critically
endangered sub-species of Tiger.

The birth of the critically endangered cub species was observed through the hidden cameras. The
zookeepers are yet not aware about the sex of the cub and the cub will also remain hidden from the
public for a long time.

It is important to note that this is the first time in 17 years that a Sumatran tiger cub is born at the
London Zoo.

About the Sumatran tiger
The Sumatran tiger, also known as Panthera tigris sumatrae is the rare sub-species of Tiger which
inhabits the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is the critically endangered tiger sub-species and was
declared so by the IUCN in the year 2008. In the year 2008, its population was estimated at 441 to 679
only and its subpopulation was not more than 50. It is the only surviving member of Sunda Islands
group of tigers, which also included the Bali tiger and Javan tiger, both of which are now extinct.


A scientific expedition by the Conservation International discovered 60 new species which included fish,
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snakes and frogs in the jungle region of south-eastern Suriname. A team of the biologists from various
countries took the expedition in the remote areas of Suriname, where no humans are found. They
discovered various species which had Suriname as their habitat and were unexplored as of now.

The expedition took part during the 2012 in Suriname, which is the thinly-populated South American
country north of Brazil and bounded by Guyana, French Guiana and the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition
included the team of 16 scientists who participated in the Conservation International programme.

The work of the scientists led to a discovery of 60 completely new species, which included one snake, six
kinds of frogs, 11 kinds of fish and various insects. The discoveries took place in the upper basin of the
Palumeu River.

A noteworthy discovery was that of the Lilliputian Beatle which was merely 2.3 mm long and was
considered as the second-smallest such insect in South America.

This insect had the antennae which enables it to sense smells from a great distance away.

It is important to note that Suriname encompasses 25 per cent of the world's rainforests. Also, 95
percent of its territory is completely jungle. The Conservation International worked along with the
Government of Suriname for over 20 years in order to protect the rainforests of the country that has
outstanding biodiversity.

The newly proposed amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA) can
jeopardize the relationship between Forest Departments in States and the research community.

The Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2013 tabled in the Rajya Sabha aims to tighten certain
provisions that protect wildlife and punish poaching and wildlife trade. Scientists are concerned that
researchers could face huge penalties for relatively minor violations.

The breach of any of the terms and conditions of any licence or permit granted shall be punishable
with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also with fine which may extend to
twenty five thousand rupees. This implies a compulsory prison term of up to three years for relatively
minor research permit violations. These could be submitting a research report late or trespassing.

Another amendment, which bans all forms of animal traps an attempt to curb poaching could turn
farmers into criminals who routinely use rat traps to keep their produce from pests.
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No person shall manufacture, sell, purchase, keep, transport or use any animal trap except with prior
permission in writing of the Chief Wild Life Warden given for educational and scientific purposes.

The Chief Wildlife Warden, shall on an application, grant a permit, by an order in writing to any person,
to conduct scientific research.

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The Himalayan States of India, Uttarakhand in the third week of June 2013 faced one of the toughest
situations of the century in form of a natural disaster with landslides and flash floods. Landslides are one
of the major forms of natural disaster in the Himalayan ecosystem as it lies in the Active Seismic Zone
(the area that is most prone to Earthquake in India).
This landslide and flashflood in the state have been termed as
a manmade disaster by several environmentalists and the
region behind the blame is speed of mining activity and
construction of roads and hydropower projects in the area,
which is not supported by the kind of biodiversity of the
The recent natural calamity in Uttarakhand took lives of
thousands as per official and recorded data, but as per the survivors of the crisis, the story is completely
different with more than ten thousands dead.
Rescue operations (Operation Surya Hope) is in process to save the survivors of the disaster. The Indian
Air Force, Army, ITBP personnel are engaged day and night to help the people struck in the Himalayan
Whereas, when seen from the perspective of geologists, if stricter regulations would have existed then
the losses from the destructions would have been lesser. Every section of the society is having a
different story to say following their scientific knowledge, belief in God and nature and many more
things. Few are blaming the central and the state government for turning their blind eye, towards
plundering the hills.
The heavy rainfall created havoc by affecting the fragile nature of the Himalayan range that is known for
its poor soil stability in its steep slopes. Apart from the stability of soil in the peaks of the youngest
mountains of the world, the other reasons for the disaster as per the expert are: the blind expansion of
the hydro-power projects and unplanned construction of roads in the Himalayan region, to match up
with the demands of ever increasing traffic in the area.
Geologists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee and Civil Engineering Department (Hill
Area Development) Bureau of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in their report to the Uttarakhand
Government have blamed the Unplanned Construction of roads for the disaster faced by the state.
The entire watershed across the 135-km stretch between Gaumukh and Uttarakashi along the

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Bhagirathi River in December 2012 was declared, as an eco-sensitive zone under the Environment
Protection Act, 1986 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. As per the act, all sorts of construction
activity in the region required a complete ban and if it would have been implemented than it would
have resulted in the closure of the Hydropower project along Bhagirathi River. As per the provisions of
the act, ban on mining and all other types of construction activity in the area needed a complete ban,
but the decision has always been opposed by the state government with a claim of barring the
development activity in the Himalayan state. Hence as per the experts, mining and construction of big
hydropower projects are one of the big reasons behind the disaster that killed thousands in
A landslide is the gravitational movement of a mass of rock, earth or debris down a slope. Landslides are
usually classified on the basis of the material involved (rock, debris, earth, mud) and the type of
movement (fall, topple, avalanche, slide, flow, spread).
Impacts of Landslides
Landslides are one of the most hazardous forms of destruction in mountain regions across the world. Its
impact depends upon the type of materials that comes in its way and the weakness of these materials.
The landslides in the mountainous and hilly region is a result of dam construction on the hills that blocks
the way of the river, bringing up the valley inundation creating pressure on the lake water, resulting in
flash floods (floods in which debris flow downwards).
Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 15 October 2013 constituted an expert
committee to study whether the environmental degradation caused by hydro-electric projects on
Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers led to Uttarakhand floods.
The expert committee will be headed by Prof. Ravi Chopra, Director of Peoples Science Institute,
Dehradun. The committee consists 17 members.
The committee will examine the extent to which the projects were responsible for the Uttarakhand
Committee will also examine the impact of the proposed 24 hydropower projects on the biodiversity of
the region and look into the degradation caused by functioning as well as on-going hydro-projects.
The committee will also suggest suitable environmental safeguard measures to mitigate the adverse
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environmental impacts in respect of ongoing projects for which Environment Clearance have been
granted including tourism projects and also suggest changes in project parameters if they feel it
The committee will also draft a Himalayan Policy for Uttarakhand keeping in mind the unique ecological,
social and cultural characteristics of the state and suggest environment friendly development activities.
The MoEF has given the committee a period of three months to study the impact and submit a final
report by 14 January 2014.
Uttrakhand in the third week of June 2013 was stuck by flash floods and landslides. During this natural
disaster in the state, thousands of people lost their life and various remained stranded. Rescue
operations by Indian Army were carried out in the state. The worst affected region of Uttarakhand was
Kedarnath, which is a popular Hindu shrine and receives lakhs of tourists every year during June and
Researchers, who examined the data of 2009 Mt. Redoubt eruption explained that the vibrations that
occurred during the eruption were caused by numerous so-called
stick-slip movements on faults more than a mile, beneath the volcano.
The Alaskas Mt. Redoubt volcano erupted in March 2009, with
unusual screaming sounds. A volcano normally makes sounds above
the range of human hearing, but this particular eruption produced
something audible.
Researchers explained that it was beyond the scope of their
study to determine the cause of the quake; they theorized
that it was the result of pressure building in blocked magma conduits underground.
Blockage of conduit flow increases magma pressure, driving increasingly rapid deformation until
the obstruction is breached and an explosion commences.
The study concluded that the high-frequency harmonic tremors were recorded before other
volcanic eruptions, as well as in the collision of icebergs. Usually, these tremors cannot be
heard by people. In the case of the Redoubt eruption, however, the shaking was just barely
audible as a hum.

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Location of Mount Redoubt
Mount Redoubt is located in the Chigmit Mountains (part of the Aleutian Range) along the western
shore of the Cook Inlet, an arm of the Gulf of Alaska, in Lake Clark National Park. Its elevation is 10,194
feet. The study was published in July 2013 edition of Nature Geoscience.
Earthquake of magnitude 6.9 on Richter scale stuck Wellington, the Capital of New Zealand on 20 July
2013. As per the details of the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck under the Cook Strait 57
kilometres southwest of Wellington at a depth of 10 kilometres.
New Zealand is part of the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire that receives regular seismic activity. Earlier in
2011, a severe earthquake occurred in the city of Christchurch in which 185 people were killed.
Apart from the quake in Wellington, an earthquake that measured 5.2 on the Richter scale also struck
Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and some areas in northern region on 21 July 2013. The
epicenter of this quake was 95 km northwest of province's Chitral district in the mountainous region of
Hindu Kush, along Pakistan-Afghanistan border, as per the reports of Pakistan Meteorological
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire is the area in the basin of Pacific Ocean, where a large number of volcanic eruptions
and earthquakes occur. This ring is the house of 75 percent of world's active and dormant volcanoes.
The Ring of Fire has been created as a result of plate tectonics and the movement and collisions of
lithospheric plates.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan unveiled
that high levels of toxic radioactive isotope were found in the groundwater at the plant.
The tests indicated that in the groundwater at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Strontium-90 was found at
30 times more than the legal rate. The radioactive isotope tritium was also found at the elevated levels.
The tsunami and earthquake in the year 2011 in Japan crippled the Fukushima nuclear plant and led to
power failures as well as water leaks. Tsunami had crippled the cooling systems of the nuclear reactor,
which were melted down. Water was pumped in the reactors to cool it but then Tepco faced the
problem of dealing with the safety of storing the contaminated water.
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Strontium-90 is formed in the form of by-product of the nuclear fission. The tests conducted by Tepco
unveiled that levels of Strontium-90 at Fukushima plant increased 100 times since end of 2012. Tepco
believed that the increased levels of Strontium-90 were a result of leak of contaminated water in April
2011 from one of the reactors of this nuclear plant.
On the other hand, Tritium was present at eight times more than the allowed level. Tritium is used in
the glow watches. Toxic radioactive in the groundwater leads to ill effects on health as well as
What are radioactive isotopes?
Radioactive isotopes are also known as radioisotope. These are the any form of various species of same
chemical element with different masses where the nuclei are not stable and dissipate excess energy.
This excess energy is dissipated by emission of the radiation in form of beta, alpha or gamma rays. Every
chemical can have one or more radioactive isotope.
Hazards of toxic radioactive isotopes
The air is contaminated by the radioactive isotopes in particulate form. This can cause inhalation hazard
to humans.
Camarillo Springs Wildfire broke on 2 May 2013 near Camarillo in California. Six huge wildfires in all
broke in California, which tripled in size since 3 May 2013. Over 3000 fire fighters struggle with the
blazes in California. Among these wildfires, one of the fiercest fire compelled shutting down Pacific
Coast Highway for second time, with 30-mile stretch off-limits.
Camarillo Springs Wildfire is spread over the area of 18000 acres. The wildfires, also known as Springs
Fire reached north-west of Los Angeles, thereby posing a major threat to various homes as well. Fire
crews in America have already dealt with 680 wildfires in 2013. This Springs Fire has already damaged
over 12 homes and there are more than 4000 other homes at risk.
Weather change affecting Springs Fire
Change in wind direction is also affecting the wildfire because the wind fanned the fire through coastal
wilderness to the beach. The fire is fanned by dry Santa Ana winds. These winds are occurring late in
2013. It is the strange weather pattern and is also affecting the firemen dealing with the wildfire.
However, the National Weather Service predicted that calmer ocean air might raise humidity level which
would help in fighting the fire.

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Authorities in Argentina and Chile ordered evacuation of around 3000 people that live in proximity with
Copahue volcano, situated in south of Argentina-Chile border. The authorities declared that the
Copahue volcano is on the verge of eruption any time.
The Copahue volcano is situated at a height of 2965 m or around 10000 feet and sits in Andes cordillera.
It has just spewed gases. In this area, various light earth tremors were registered as well. The red alert
was issued after the activities of this volcano were monitored and it was found that seismic activities of
the volcano increased.
The Emergency Office of Chile declared that the evacuation will have an adverse effect on around 460
families that live within 15 miles radius of this volcano. Earlier, Argentinas authorities had declared
yellow alert, but it was revised to higher level later.
Copahue volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in that region which spews gas and ash along with
smoke that rises to around 1.5 km in sky.
Power was restored to part of the cooling system at Japan's
tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant. The ponds cool the fuel
(which generates intense heat) and provide shielding from
radiation. The spent fuel remains in the ponds for a year or
more. The temperature of water inside the cooling pool at
reactor 3 was 15.1C, well below the safety limit of 65C. This
suggested that the spent fuel remained stable and did not pose
an immediate danger to the environment. The power cut in
March 2013 shut down cooling systems for four spent fuel
ponds at reactors 1, 3 and 4, although cooling for the reactors themselves was not affected. Possibly, a
rat had damaged the electrics which caused a short circuit in a switchboard and triggering the power
On 11 March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the plant. The mighty waves severely
crippled cooling systems for the reactors, resulting to meltdowns at three of them. Since then Engineers
have tried to stabilise the plant but years of work are still remaining to fully contain the disaster and
tackle its effects.
Researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, discovered that the red wood ants can
sense earthquakes even before they strike. Researchers discovered that red wood ants preferred

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building the colonies along the active faults and fractures where the Earth ruptured.
Lead author of the research, Gabriele Berberich described that the behaviour of red wood ants changed
considerably before the earthquake above magnitude 2.0 struck the area. The behaviour of these ants
remained like that and did not come back to normal till a day after the earthquake. The research of
Gabriele Berberich was presented at European Geosciences Union annual meeting in Vienna.
A team of researchers counted 15000 ant mounds lining the active faults. These ants were tracked
continuously for three years between 2009 and 2012. It was discovered that the ants underwent the
usual activities on the day just before the earthquake. Then they went back to their moulds. But before
an earthquake strikes, the ants remain awake and outside the moulds during night. It was found that the
insects can predict earthquakes by knowing about the changing gas emissions or shifts in magnetic fields
of the Earth. In case of red wood ants, there are chemo receptors for carbon dioxide gradients along
with magneto receptors for electromagnetic fields.
Seismologists in the second week of February 2013 declared that life on our planet was facing threat
because of the catastrophic super-volcano which would erupt anytime in 200 million years. The
seismologists explained that around two heaps of rocks which are like the size of continents, were
crashing against each other as they shift under the mantle of the Earth, i.e., 2900 km below Pacific
Seismologists also explained that beginning of any of huge eruptive events could lead to gigantic
destruction on the Earth. This mechanism would lead to huge plume eruptions but these would happen
somewhere in 100 million to 200 million years time duration.
The study conducted revealed that the activity created zone of partly molten rock which was that of the
size of Florida and this would cause massive eruptions in the times to come.
Hotspot plume super-volcano eruptions during previous 2 million years at Yellowstone caldera of
Wyoming led to huge landforms. For example, gigantic flood basalt eruptions created huge provinces
such as Pacific Northwests Columbia River basalts some 17 to 15 million years ago.
Since early 1990s, scientists knew about existence of thermo-chemical piles, which were that of the size
of continents, sitting on top of the Earths core and below most of the volcanic hotspots of the Earth.
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Phailin affected Indian states of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Odisha,
Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal as well as Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal on 12 October
2013. Cyclone Phailin was the fiercest storm of India in 14 years. Properties worth crores were damaged
during the cyclone, but efficient disaster management, which is the first of its kind in India, gripped the
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death toll to just 23.

On 10 October 2013, the Phailin was equivalent to a category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson
hurricane wind scale (SSHWS). On 11 October 2013, it became equal to the category 5 hurricane on the
SSHWS. Cyclonic Storm Phailin made its landfall near Gopalpur in Odisha coast and subsequently
weakened. It was last noted on 14 October 2013.

The Union Government of India along with the State Governments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh took
the precautionary measures in order to mitigate the disaster. The Armed Forces were put on high alert
and the teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in order to carry out the
rescue and relief operations. The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed 24 aircraft, including Ilyushin-76, C-130J
Super Hercules and the Antonv-32, along with 18 helicopters.
Impact of global warming- induced sea level rise due to thermal expansion is more pronounced in the
Bay of Bengal due to the shallowness of the waters. The entire coastal ecosystem in general and the
eastern coast in particular are highly vulnerable due to flat and low terrain, high population density,
over exploitation of natural resources, high rate of environmental degradation on account of pollution
and non-sustainable development.
Although cyclones affect the entire coast of India, the East Coast is more prone compared to the West
Coast. There are 13 Coastal States and UTs in India, with about 84 coastal districts affected by tropical
cyclones. Four States (Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal) and one UT (Puducherry)
on the East Coast and one State (Gujarat) on the West Coast are the States that are more vulnerable to
cyclone disasters.
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What are cyclones?
The cyclone is an area of closed, circular fluid motion which rotates in the same direction as the Earth.
Its primary characteristic is inward spiraling winds which rotate in the anti-clockwise direction in the
Northern Hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth.
The tropical cyclones form only on the warm ocean waters near the equator. For the formation of the
cyclone, warm and moist air over the ocean rises in the upward direction from near the surface.
When the air moves in the upward direction and away from ocean surface, less air is left near the
surface. Therefore, when the warm air rises upward, it leads to an area of lower air pressure below. The
air from the surrounding areas which have higher air pressure pushes it into the low pressure area. The
new cooler air from the surrounding areas that have higher air pressure pushes into the low pressure
area. The new cooler air eventually becomes warm, moist and then rises upwards, which continues the

Category Sustained Winds
Super Cyclonic Storm >222 km/h
Very Severe Cyclonic Storm 118-221 km/h
Severe Cyclonic Storm 88-117 km/h
Cyclonic Storm 62-87 km/h
Deep Depression 52-61 km/h
Depression <51 km/h
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the
Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD)
introduced a new graduate course on Disasters, Environment
and Risk Reduction at the 7th World Environmental Education
Congress held in Marrakesh, Morocco.
The course focuses to enhance awareness among the
graduate about the environment and development and
will target the causes of the environmental disaster.
The course on Disasters, Environment and Risk
Reduction is the latest concept to enhance awareness among the graduates, about environment
and its development.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Government of
Germany and the European Union has funded the module and direct for testing at ten
universities of CNRD whereas already being taught at different universities of Germany, Egypt
and Indonesia.
The course describes the different ways by which the environment interact with the disaster and
the causes of the by which disaster provide massive damage to the environment whereas as
exacerbate disaster impacts are climate change and degraded environments.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management/Integrated Water Resource Management are some of the
Ecosystem-based tools that counter the hazards from disasters, especially when DDR are incorporated
with it.
The Case studies from Brazil (the impacts of an April 2010 storm along the Rio de Janeiro coast), Nepal
(flood hazards in Central Terai) and Egypt (the impacts of sea level rise) were included to demonstrate
the importance of the course. The Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) has
also contributed in developing this course.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013

Comment: In recent times, the speed with which the environmental changes have been witnessed, its
mandatory to have a check on the disasters that are caused due to natures outburst. Incidents like,
tsunami, earthquakes, tornadoes, landslides, flood and others have increased in past one decade. The
course on Disasters, Environment and Risk Reduction by UNEP, would help people in having an
understanding about the steps that need to be taken at times of disasters.

The Government of India on 9 October 2013 proposed to support setting up of Plastic Parks for the
promotion of downstream plastic processing industries.

The Scheme is aimed at increasing investment in the sector for additions in capacity and for increased
exports in the sector. Adopting a clustered development approach, the scheme aims to achieve
environmentally sustainable growth through innovative methods of waste management, recycling etc

The Scheme will be implemented by the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.


It envisages setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which would provide infrastructure
and common facilities for the industries.
State Government or its agency, which would set up such SPV, will have to mandatorily have
equity participation in it.
Share subscription agreements between the SPV and its members will have to be executed. The
contribution of the members will have to be at least 20 percent of the total equity, including the
cost of the land.
The Government of India would provide a Grant-in-Aid to the extent of 50 percent of the project
cost, not exceeding 40 crore rupees per SPV to be set up for the purpose.
The remaining contribution in the SPV will be from the State Government, its agencies,
beneficiary industries or loan from financial institutions.
The release of funds will be based on identification of milestones and time limits set for each
such milestone to be decided at the time of the project approval by a Scheme Steering
Committee (SSC) in the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals. The proposals are to be
made by the State Governments.

Currently the share of India in world trade for plastics is very low. The industry in the country is very
large but highly fragmented with the dominance of tiny, small and medium units.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013


Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) under the Ministry of Water Resources has fixed norms for
withdrawal of ground water by industries using ground water as raw material including packaged water

Norms fixed by CGWA for extraction of ground water by such industries are as under:

Category of area as per ground
water resource assessment (2009)
Ground water withdrawal limit
Safe Withdrawal limited to 200% of ground
water recharge
Semi-critical Withdrawal limited to 100% of ground
water recharge
Critical Withdrawal limited to 50% of ground water
Over-exploited and Notified Areas Permission is not granted.

Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) accords No Objection Certificate to the firms for withdrawal
of ground water, wherein industries are required to report about the source and number of ground
water abstraction structures while applying for No Objection Certificate.

Submission of compliance report on conditions imposed in No Objection Certificate to CGWA is


The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its approval for continuation of the Accelerated
Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) with a total outlay of 55200 crore rupee. It is expected that States
would create an additional irrigation potential of 8.7 million hectare.

The CCEA also approved two related schemes namely the National Projects and Command Area
Development & Water Management (CAD & WM) during the XII Plan with a total outlay of 15000 crore
rupee. This would help in creating irrigation potential of 7.6 million hectares.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013


The advance stage criteria for inclusion of major/medium irrigation projects under AIBP has
been clearly specified
The area of coverage of Minor Irrigation (Ml) schemes modified as 10 hectares for individual and
20 hectares for cluster of schemes in hilly areas.
The CAD&WM projects will be implemented pari-passu with AIBP in respect of both ongoing and
new projects.
1:1 criteria for CAD will be relaxed,
Desert Development Programme (DDP) area/Desert Prone Area will be treated on a par with
those benefiting Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) areas as far as central assistance under
AIBP scheme is concerned.

Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP)

AIBP was launched by Government of India during 1996-97. The Government of India provides Central
Assistance (CA) under AIBP to the State Governments for completion of ongoing Major/Medium
Irrigation (MMI) projects & surface Ml schemes.

The scheme of National projects was introduced in the year 2008 under the ambit of the ongoing AIBP
of Government of India.

Command Area Development & Water Management (CAD & WM)
The CAD & WM Programme was started as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in the year 1974-75, which
was under implementation as a State Sector Scheme during the XI Five Year Plan (2007-08 to 2011-12).
Government of India has decided to continue with these Schemes during Xll Plan with desired policy

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013

Horticultural mail order company Thompson & Morgan developed a plant called The TomTato, which
can produce not just the tomatoes, but also potatoes. The TomTato is described as the veg plot in a pot
and it was launched in UK. The TomTato has the capability of growing over 500 sweet cherry tomatoes
and also the white potatoes.

Thompson & Morgan sells the plants at a cost of 14.99 Pounds each. Thompson & Morgan explained
that the hybrid plants were not a result of genetic engineering, but were hand-crafted. The grafted
tomato-potato plants were earlier produced in the UK as well, but it is for the very first that such plants
were produced commercially.

Paul Hansord, horticultural director at the company explained that the idea of The TomTato struck 15
years ago in the US. Various trials of The TomTato took place for several years. It became difficult to
produce this plant because the tomato stem and the potato stem needed to have the same thickness for
the graft to work.

It is possible to grow these plants either outside or inside, with the condition being that they should be
in a large pot or a bag. A product like this known as the Potato Tom was also launched in the garden
centres in New Zealand in the third week of September 2013.

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) permitted certain companies as well as the
research institutes for conducting the field trials of 5 GM (genetically modified) crops. The trials for
development of genetically modified cotton, maize, castor, wheat and rice were permitted.
The specialty of GM crops is that they are formulated for getting protection against the insects. Also,
these crops are resistant to salinity and water. Also, they are more resistance to the use of nitrogen
which is required by them for growing efficiently.
The decision by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee to allow field trials came after the concerns of
industry that without the permission of trials, another trial season would be missed, thereby stopping
the research activities for third year in a row.
A meeting was conducted in New Delhi and in the meeting, GEAC, which is constituted under Union
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013

Ministry of Environment, allowed Bayer Bioscience for conducting the event selection trials on 45
transgenic rice events, which also include six genes. There would be a test of insecticidal proteins like
Cry1Ab and Cry1Ca, which provide resistance to the crops from insects like stem borer.
The field trials of these 5 GM crops would be conducted in various states of India and these include
Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
Bayer Biosciences proposal for conducting the pollen flow study in cotton was also given clearance by
GEAC. The pollen flow study in cotton is meant to measure distance pollen containing herbicide tolerant
gene flows.
Apart from this, Mahycos proposal for conducting the even selection trials was also accepted by the
committee. Mahycos proposal includes selection trials at a lot of locations for the experiments in the
nitrogen use efficiency in cotton.
The validity of trials in castor which is conducted by the Directorate of Oilseeds Research in Hyderabad
was also extended by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.
Directorate of Oilseeds Research had proposed to conduct tests in GM castor by adding Cry1Ec and
Cry1Aa genes. This gives resistance to castor against stress and insects.

Scientists in last week of August 2013 unveiled that they have discovered a vast canyon under the ice
sheet of Greenland, which was previously unknown. The
latest discovered canyon stretches in an area of over 750
kilometers and it up to 800 meters deep.
The canyon was discovered by the scientists using an air
borne radar data, which was collected over a period of
several decades to piece together the landscape beneath the
ice. The hidden valley is longer than the Grand Canyon in
The canyon spreads from the centre of Greenland up to the
northern coastline. Scientists claim that before formation of
the ice sheet it would have contained a river gushing into the
Arctic Ocean, which was buried due to encroaching ice about
3.5 million years ago.
The findings were reveled in journal Science.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013

About Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and
Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Although it is a part of the continent of North
America, but politically and culturally it has been associated with Europe (specifically Norway and later
Denmark) for more than a millennium.
Greenland is a home of one of the Earths two major ice sheets, the other one lies in Antarctica. A three-
dimensional picture of the bedrock of Greenland was developed by the glaciologists until 2001, but the
resolution of the same was quite poor.
About Grand Canyon of Arizona
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the Colorado Plateau of the
United States in the State of Arizona. The Grand Canyon is 446 km long and up to 29 km wide and
attains a depth of over 1800 meters.
Researchers from Norway, South Africa, Britain and Germany, in the last week of February 2013
discovered a sunken and small continent beneath the Indian Ocean. This is the ancient and mini
continent named Mauritia and it lies beneath the lava flows which led to the formation of islands of
Mauritius and Reunion.
This lost continent called Mauritia, dates back to the time when the super continents of the Earth-
Laurasia and Gondwana shattered into the familiar geography like present. Mauritia is said to be a part
of the mass of Gondwana which had eventually split into Antarctica, India, Australia and Madagascar
after around 170 million years ago.
The mini continent was later torn apart as it passed over the mid-ocean ridges. The lava eruptions later
covered this sunken continent. But later, due to the volcanic eruptions on the Island of Mauritius the
pieces of this lost continent were brought on the surface of the Earth. These pieces were crystals called
zircons which dated back to 660 and 1970 million years ago. This hinted towards the fact that the rock
which lied beneath the crust was in fact the part of this ancient mini-continent.
The team of geoscientists also suggested that there might be other lost micro-continents on Earth which
are buried beneath the lava.

Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013


Bangladesh on 31 October 2013 approved the commercial cultivation of transgenic Bt brinjal. With this
decision Bangladesh became the first country in South Asia to cultivate the genetically modified food
National Committee on Biosafety (NCB), the highest regulatory body for GM crops in Bangladesh,
officially approved the Bt brinjal varieties. With this step, Bangladesh becomes the 29th country in the
world to grow GM crop. In South Asia, India, Pakistan and Myanmar grow GM crop cotton. With the NCB
nod, Bangladesh becomes the first in the region to grow a GM food crop.
Four Bt brinjal varieties (Bt brinjal-1, 2, 3 and 4) have been approved by the Bangladesh Government for
limited scale cultivation with some conditions. BARI (Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute) had
developed these Bt brinjal varieties incorporating Indian company Mahycos proprietary gene construct
Maharashtra-based seed company-Mahyco had transferred its Bt brinjal technology to BARI way back in
2005-06 through a USAID-funded and Cornell University-managed Agricultural Biotechnology Support
About Bt brinjal
In GM crops, the genetic material (DNA) is altered for improvements in its qualities. Bt Brinjal, for
instance, has been inserted with a natural bacterial protein which makes it resist pests.
Bt brinjal contains a foreign Cry1Ac gene derived from a soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt. This
gene synthesises a protein toxic to the fruit and shoot borer (FSB), a destructive pest. The gene gives the
crop built-in resistance to FSB, reducing reliance on spraying pesticides.
Environment & Ecology Current Affairs eBook 2013