Showing posts with label ENVIRONMENT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ENVIRONMENT. Show all posts

Saturday, July 7, 2012


International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on 19 June 2012 released its latest update of the Red List of Threatened Species. The report showed that of the 63837 species assessed, 19817 are threatened with extinction, including 41 per cent of amphibians, 33 per cent of reef building corals, 25 per cent of mammals, 13 per cent of birds, and 30 per cent of conifers.
From India the IUCN listed 132 species of plants and animals as Critically Endangered, the most threatened category. With as many as 60 different species assessed as Critically Endangered and 141 species as Endangered, plants appeared to be the most threatened life form.
18 species of amphibians, 14 fishes, 10 mammals and 15 varieties of birds were assessed as critically endangered while, 310 species were included in the list of endangered species. The list of endangered species includes 69 fishes, 38 mammals and 32 amphibians. Two plant species namely Euphorbia Mayuranthanii of Kerala were listed in the extinct in the wild category, while a leaf frog species and six plants were reported to be extinct. On a global basis the IUCN classified 3947 as Critically Endangered, 81 as Extinct, 63 as Extinct in the Wild. In the lower risk categories, there were 5766 species in Endangered, 10104 in Vulnerable and 4467 in Near Threatened categories. Scientific data regarding 10497 species was not available and hence classified as Data Deficient.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization. Founded in 1948, today it is the largest professional global conservation network of the world. As of now the organization has more than 1200 member organizations including 200+ government and 900+ non-government organizations. The IUCN Red List is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. Headquartered in Gland near Geneva in Switzerland, IUCN's vision is "a just world that values and conserves nature."

Founded in 1969, IUCN Red List is the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. The goal of the IUCN Red List is to provide information and analyses on the status, trends and threats to species in order to inform and catalyse action for biodiversity conservation.

Coast Guard radar project may make hornbills extinct

The Coast Guard’s proposal to install a radar on the tiny island of Narcondam in the Andaman and Nicobar cluster threatens to wipe out the last of the 350 endangered Narcondam Hornbills, which are indigenous to the island.
Categorised as endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species this year, Aceros narcondami, exclusively found in the lush wildlife sanctuary of Narcondam, has been struggling to survive.
In India it is listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Studies by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) suggest that the population of this endangered species is on the decline, making it vulnerable to extinction and in need of the highest possible protection.
The proposal for the radar and diesel power supply source installation came up before a meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife on June 13 where conservationists like M. D. Madhusudan of Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) pitched for its rejection for the dangers it posed to the survival of the bird and to the fragile island ecosystem. After a field visit, the committee, headed by Director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Asad R. Rahmani, recommended its abandonment. Bird watchers wondered why the Coast Guard was insisting on radar in an eco-sensitive location when there were other alternative sites like the Landfall Island.
In an allout effort to save the bird and pressure the Central government to abandon the ‘ill-advised’ proposal, conservationists have stepped up their campaign. Conservation India has come up with a short movie by wildlife film maker Shekar Dattatri. 

Letter to Environment Minister
In a letter to the Minister of State for Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan, Divya Mudappa, T. R. Shankar Raman and Aparjita Dutta of the NCF have expressed serious concern. Of the 350 hornbills, only 161 to 185 (46 to 53 per cent) are mature breeding birds, with only 80 to 90 possible pairs. This is one of the reasons why their global threat status has spiked, they said quoting the SACON study.
Disputing the Coast Guard’s contention that the installation involved only 0.6736 hectares as “false and misleading”, they said 20 hectares would be directly affected, while 400 hectares or 60 per cent of the island area would be affected indirectly.
As the site for the radar was atop a hillock in the dense forest, access for its installation and regular maintenance would become important and a two kilometre road would have to cut through the virgin forest. This would mean cutting an unspecified number of trees that would not only affect the bird’s feeding, nesting and roosting but loss of the entire habitat, the NCF said.
Already a police outpost of 30 personnel has resulted in a loss of 50 acres and continuous disturbance, they said adding that construction of roads and their maintenance could also lead to great instability as Narcondam is a volcanic island with ash beds, loose rocks and soil.
Regular maintenance would invariably lead to further disturbance, erosion and spread of invasive alien species, the NCF warned.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

World Environment Day 2012 observed across the World

The world community observed the World Environment Day (WED) on 5 June 2012. The World Environment Day is observed every year on 5 June to raise public awareness on the issues related to global environment. The World Environment Day activities keep going on through out the year, but culminate on 5 June every year.
Theme for the World Environment Day 2012 is: Green Economy: Does it include you? The host for World Environment Day 2012 was the Federative Republic of Brazil. Theme for the World Environment Day 2011 was Forests-Nature At Your Service and India was the global host for the year's events.
World Environment Day 2012 is the 40th edition of the global. The UN General Assembly started observing the day in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment.

What does Green Economy means:
As per the definition of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a Green Economy is 'one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.'
Green economy widely refers to an economic situation where the economic developments take place without hurting the environment. In the green economy the income of people is driven by the private and public investments which helps in the reduction of carbon emissions and pollution and stimulates energy and resource efficiency, and ultimately helps in the prevention of loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Friday, May 25, 2012

National Green Tribunal suspended Environment Clearance to the Srikakulam Thermal Power Plant

The National Green Tribunal suspended environment clearance to the thermal power plant in Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh on 24 May 2012. The tribunal also instructed the Union Environment Ministry to come with the final guidelines and site criteria for Thermal Power Plants urgently.
The tribunal was hearing petitions filed by 6 locals against the 2640 MW thermal power plant of Nagarajuna Construction Company. The petitioners had alleged that the land allotted for the thermal power plant is not suitable for the commercial use. They argued that the proposed plant will adversely affect the ecological system of the vicinity.
The tribunal in its findings mentioned that the existing guidelines to set up a thermal power plant don’t take notes of the factors that affect the environment and ecology today. The tribunal also quashed environment clearance to the 1200 MW thermal power plant in the Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu.

Sustaining the Environment

On completing three years in office the UPA Government recently released a ‘Report To The People’. The following achievements pertain to the Ministry of Environment & Forest and in the field of sustaining the environment.

National Action Plan on Climate Change
The National Action Plan advocates a strategy that promotes, firstly, the adaptation to climate change and secondly, further enhancement of the ecological sustainability of India’s development path. The eight missions under the PM’s Council on Climate Change are the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the National Water Mission, the National Missions on Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, and Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change, and the National Missions for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, a Green India and Sustainable Agriculture.

Forest Conservation
An amount of Rs. 848 crore was released to State Level Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management & Planning Authorities to carry out protection, conservation and regeneration of natural forests in addition to compensatory afforestation. National Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) was established in October, 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. Delhi, Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the five place of sitting of the NGT.

Mission Clean Ganga
Projects worth nearly Rs. 2,600 crore have been sanctioned by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA). These include projects for development of sewer networks, sewage treatment plants and sewage pumping stations, electric crematoria, community toilets and development of river fronts.

Several innovations have been introduced for improved implementation of projects sanctioned by the NGRBA. These include Tripartite Memoranda of Agreements, project appraisal by independent institutions, Third Party Inspection, etc. State River Conservation Authorities have been constituted in the five Ganga basin States to facilitate better coordination and implementation of conservation activities at the State level.

The Central Government has secured World Bank assistance of US$ 1 billion for the NGRBA Programme. The World Bank project will support NGRBA’s immediate objective of Mission Clean Ganga.

Tiger Conservation
A detailed report on the country level status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India was released in July, 2011. This was the second round of country level snapshot assessment. The earlier estimation made in 2006 indicated that there were 1411 tigers in the country; the current estimates show that this number has increased by about 20% to 1706.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

World Wildlife Fund released its Report on Global Environment

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in its report Living Planet Report 2012 released on 15 May 2012 noted that Biodiversity has decreased by an average of 28 percent globally since 1970 and the world would have to be 50 percent bigger to have enough land and forests to provide for current levels of consumption and carbon emissions.
The report further added that unless the world addresses the problem, by 2030 even two planet Earths would not be enough to sustain human activity. The WWF also urged the global community to take the issue of environmental degradation seriously.
A summit on the global environment is to be held in the Brazilian city Rio De Janerio from 20 to 22 June 2012. The summit is expected to draw more than 50000 participants from different nations. Politicians in the summit will be under tremendous pressure from environmentalists to agree goals for sustainable development, in the spirit of the Rio Earth Summit that spawned the Kyoto Protocol 20 years ago.

Call for Indian version of World Migratory Bird Day

Rejecting the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day at a time when no migrant birds could be spotted in India, a section of ornithologists is pitching for an exclusive Indian version of the occasion.
The theme of the 2012 celebrations, organised between May 12 and 13, was “migratory birds and people — together through time.”
The day is celebrated during the second week of May with “public events such as bird festivals, education programmes, and bird-watching excursions to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day and to help raise awareness around a specific theme,” say the organisers of the day.
United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) two international treaties — Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement — are the organisers. 
The migratory season in India begins in September and extends up to April and nearly 600 species of birds can be spotted at various locations in the country. Most of these come from the north of Himalayas from countries namely Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Magnolia, and the Siberian region. The major wintering grounds are Chilka Lake, Bharatpur, East Calcutta Wetlands, Harike Lake, Kolleru Lake, Loktak Lake, Point Calimere, and Sambhar Lake. Some of the important long distance-migrants that reach the country during the eight-month-long season are White Stork, Bar headed Goose, Northern Pintail, and Eurasian Wigeon, experts say. 

Waste Management

Pursuant to the recommendations of the Committee on Solid Waste Management for Class-I cities constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in July 1998, the Government of India, Ministry of Urban Development had constituted a Technology Advisory Group (TAG) on Solid Waste Management in August 1999 and later reconstituted the Committee in January 2002. The objective of constituting the Committee was to collect information on various proven technologies for processing and disposal of waste, developing IEC material for creating awareness among the masses, promotion of capacity building, human resources development in Urban Local Bodies for efficient management of municipal solid waste. The Committee finalized its Report and submitted to the Ministry in May, 2005.

The report covers the details of the various technologies available within and outside the country for the treatment of municipal solid waste and deriving compost, Refuse Dried Fuel (RDF), power, etc., from the waste, their merits, demerits, their limitations etc. It also narrates the extent of application of these technologies in India so far. The TAG report also covers the financial aspects giving details of sectoral lending by financial institutions, the extent of private sector participation attempted, the legal issues related to private sector participation in India and makes recommendations of fiscal incentives for solid waste management infrastructure financing by the State and Central Government.

The TAG report also spells out the strategies proposed to be adopted for building community awareness through information, education and communication technique for ensuring public participation and for human resources development through internal capacity building of the officers and supervisory staff dealing with solid waste management at various levels through training at various levels.

Since all the recommendations have to be implemented by State Govts. / ULBs, the Ministry had already circulated the TAG report to all the State Governments for adoption.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Asia's first dolphin research centre to come up in Bihar

With only about 2,000 Gangetic river dolphins left in India, down from tens of thousands just a few decades ago, the Bihar government is planning to set up Asia's first research centre to strengthen conservation efforts to save the endangered mammal.
An official in the chief minister's office said the Gangetic dolphin research centre would be set up in Patna, where dozens of dolphins can still be seen in the stretch of the river near the state capital.
The man behind the proposal is RK Sinha, an expert on Gangetic river dolphins and chairperson of the working group for dolphin conservation set up by the central government. He said the centre was suggested by the Planning Commission and subsequently received "in principle" approval by the state government.
"A final decision in this regard is likely soon," said Sinha, popularly known as the dolphin man.
Gopal Sharma, a scientist with the Zoological Survey of India here, said the centre would carry out research activities on the dolphin and also conduct a census in rivers in Bihar.
The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, India's only dolphin sanctuary, spread over 50 km along the Ganges, is located in Bihar's Bhagalpur district.
The Gangetic river dolphin is India's national aquatic animal but frequently falls prey to poachers. Their carcasses are found regularly on river banks.
The mammals are killed at an alarming rate with wildlife officials saying poachers kill them for their flesh and oil, which is used as an ointment and aphrodisiac.
Gangetic river dolphins fall under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act and have been declared an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Last year, the Bihar government decided to set up a task force for the conservation of endangered species.
The Gangetic river dolphin is one of the four freshwater dolphin species in the world. The other three are found in the Yangtze river in China, the Indus river in Pakistan and the Amazon river in South America.
The Gangetic river species - found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal - is blind and finds its way and prey in the river waters through 'echoes'.

India's first common bird monitoring system

India's first bird monitoring system for common birds was  launched by Mumbai-based Nature Forever Society (NFS), an organisation working for the protection of common sparrows and other common fauna.

The system is based on a website, allowing users from across the country to participate in what NFS founder Mohammed Dilawar terms as a "Citizen-science venture".

"After creating a user ID on the system, the user will be able to provide data such as number and types of birds in his or her locality and from the individual contributions of users across the country, the system will be able to map our geographical distribution of birds," claimed Dilawar.

"We should have had bird monitoring systems in the country, at least 30 years back. In west, there are more than 100 years old bird monitoring programs," he added.

Claiming the launch of the online programme as an "ornithological landmark," Dilawar told IANS that "a lot of answers are going to come out from this system".

The programme has been designed by a technical team from Jaypee group. Currently the programme maps 18 common birds such as House Sparrow, Common Hoopoe, White-throated Kingfisher, Green Bee-eaters, Black Kite, House Crow and Rose-ringed Parakeet.

Centre to rate states on environment protection

With an increase in illegal mining, coastal abuse and rampant industrialization, the Centre now plans to rate every state based on their environmental performance.

In an endeavour to assess how successful each state has been in conserving the environment, the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has conceptualized an Environment Protection or Performance Index (EPI). Sources in the Maharashtra environment department said the concept of EPI is still taking shape and the guidelines will be ready by 2013. Conceptualized on the lines of the Human Development Index (HDI), EPI will rate states according to their management of coastal pollution, solid waste, sewerage, water and the rise in sea level.

"With population increasing by the day and the growth of industrialization in the state, we feel the need for EPI for Maharashtra. This will help us analyze the areas we need to improve upon. We will be able to gauge how much we are conserving the environment," said Sachin Ahire, minister of state for environment, The EPI will also help address health concerns as well as environmental concerns like pollution and conservation.

Ahire added that the EPI guidelines for Maharashtra will be dependent on director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Dr R K Pachauri's 2020 projections on climate change effects. "Based on Pachauri's projections, the guidelines for EPI will be prepared for the state. We are expecting the report in six months," said Ahire.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Union Cabinet approved India’s National Communication to UNFCCC on Climate Change

The Union Cabinet  of India on 12 April 2012 approved India`s Second National Communication to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change towards fulfilment of the reporting obligation under the Convention.

This report shall benefit state and national level policy makers in enhancing the understanding of the issues related to climate change and its impact and create general awareness of the stakeholders relating to Government of India`s proactive commitment towards addressing the challenges due to climate change.

The range of studies included in this report has been conducted broadly at the national level, with some specific case studies highlighting the enormous diversity of India and their regional imperatives. India is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC).

The Convention, in accordance with its Article 4.1 and 12.1, enjoins all Parties, both developed and developing country Parties, to furnish information, in the form of a National Communication (a national report), regarding implementation of the Convention.

Monday, April 2, 2012

National Green Tribunal suspended the Environment Clearance Granted to Posco's Steel Project

The National Green Tribunal on 30 March 2012 suspended the environment clearance granted to Posco's mega steel project in Orissa in January 2011. The tribunal comprising Justice C V Ramulu and Devendra Kumar Agarwal held that the clearance given to Posco's mega steel project in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa will remain suspended till the environment ministry reviews it afresh.

The tribunal pointed out that memorandum of understanding between the Orissa government and Posco states that the project is for production of 12 million tonnes of steel per annum (MTPA) but the environment impact assessment (EIA) report has been prepared only for 4 MTPA steel production in the first phase.

The tribunal’s order came following a petition filed by environment activist Prafulla Samantray seeking quashing of the environmental clearance granted to Posco on the ground that it was "contrary to the provisions of the EIA Notification 2006" and was "illegal and arbitrary".

Posco India Pvt Ltd was granted environmental clearance for its two projects, steel-cum-captive power plant project and captive minor port, in Jagatsinghpur district of Orissa in 2007.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest, after reviewing the same, issued environmental clearance with additional conditions on 31 January 2011 which prompted the petitioner to move the tribunal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eco-Development Activities in the Country

The Ministry of Environment and Forests is implementing National Afforestation Programme (NAP) for afforestation & eco-restoration of degraded forests and adjoining areas in participatory mode under Joint Forest Management (JFM). Since the inception of NAP during 10th Plan, an area of about 1.8 million ha has been targeted till date by incurring an investment of about Rs.2762 crore.

Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan further stated that in order to improve eco-system services and to gear up afforestation & regeneration of degraded forest tracts, an area of about 10 million ha is envisaged to be tackled under Green India Mission (GIM) during 12th and 13th Five Year Plan period. The 12th Plan outlay of NAP has also been proposed as Rs.10,000 crore against the outlay of Rs.2000 crore during 11th Plan. In addition, various State Governments are also implementing schemes for improvement of degraded forest utilizing State funds and externally aided projects.

Forest Report, 2011

As per the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2011, the Forest and Tree Cover of the country is 23.81% of the geographical area of the country. The forest cover of the country has registered a marginal decline of 0.05% as compared to the previous assessment published in ISFR 2009.
          Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan further stated in Rajya Sabha today that in the India State of Forest Report, the forests are classified into three categories such as Very Dense Forest (VDF), Moderately Dense Forest (MDF) & Open Forests not as degraded forests.  The area covered by Very Dense Forests (VDF) is 83,471 km2 (2.54%), that with Moderately Dense Forests (MDF) is 320,736 km2 (9.76%) and Open Forests is 287,820 km2 (8.75%). 
          She said forests are defined legally in accordance to the provisions of Indian Forest Act, 1927 such as Reserve Forests, Protected Forests and Village Forests. 
          The Minister, however, clarified that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has extended the scope of forest and “forest” must be understood according to its dictionary meaning.  This description cover all statutorily recognized forests, whether designated as reserved, protected or otherwise, including any area recorded as forest in the Government records irrespective of the ownership, for the purpose of Section 2 (i) of the Forest Conservation Act.  
In India State of Forest Report, the different categories of forests are defined for assessment of forest cover on the basis of tree canopy density which are as follows:-

Very Dense Forest
All lands with tree canopy density of 70% and above
Moderately Dense Forest
All lands with tree canopy density between 40% and 70%
Open Forest
All land with tree canopy density between 10% - 40%

2001-2010 warmest decade on record: World Meteorological Organisation

Climate change has accelerated in the past decade, the UN weather agency releasing data showing that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade on record.

The 10-year period was also marked by extreme levels of rain or snowfall, leading to significant flooding on all continents, while droughts affected parts of East Africa and North America.

"The decade 2001-2010 was the warmest since records began in 1850, with global land and sea surface temperatures estimated at 0.46 degrees Celsius above the long term average of 14.0 degrees Celsius (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit)," said the World Meteorological Organisation.

Nine of the 10 years also counted among the 10 warmest on record, it added, noting that "climate change accelerated" during the first decade of the 21st century.

The trend continued in 2011, which was the warmest year on record despite La Nina -- a weather pattern which has a cooling effect.

'The average temperature in 2011 was 0.40 degrees Celsius above the long term average, said the WMO.

"This 2011 annual assessment confirms the findings of the previous WMO annual statements that climate change is happening now and is not some distant future threat," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

"The world is warming because of human activities and this is resulting in far-reaching and potentially irreversible impacts on our Earth, atmosphere and oceans," he added.

The UN weather agency noted that during the decade, "numerous weather and climate extremes affected almost every part of the globe with flooding, droughts, cyclones, heat waves and cold waves."

Historical floods hit Eastern Europe in 2001 and 2005, Africa in 2008, Asia and Australia in 2010.Global precipitation -- including rain or snow -- reached the second highest average since 1901. The highest average was recorded for the decade 1951-1960.

Meanwhile for the North Atlantic basin, the 10 years marked the highest level of tropical cyclone activity, including Hurricane Katrina which struck the United States in 2005 and Cyclone Nargis which hit Myanmar in 2008.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Climate Deal

The Minister of State (I/C) for Environment and Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan informed Lok Sabha today that at the seventeenth session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which concluded in Durban, on Dec 10, 2011, the Parties adopted a set of decisions. She further stated that the key decisions include a decision to establish the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, operationalising the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Mechanism and adoption of the guidelines for transparency arrangements. It was also decided at Durban to launch a process under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, to develop a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties for the post-2020 period. The process under the Durban Platform is to be completed as early as possible but no later than 2015 for the new arrangement to come into effect and be implemented from 2020. 

The Minister further stated that at Durban, India ensured that the importance of some of the unresolved issues relating to Bali Action Plan adopted at the Thirteenth Conference of Parties (COP-13) at Bali viz. Equity, Unilateral Trade Measures and Technology- related Intellectual Property Rights is recognized. India remains committed to implementation of decisions taken in Durban in accordance with the principles of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) of the Convention.