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ENVIRONMENT - July 2019

Jul 2019

Jul 30, 2019

Iceland to Mark First Glacier Lost

  •  On October 18, 2019, Iceland will issue a plaque that will mark an unusual event, the passing of a glacier lost to climate change. It will be the first monument of its kind.
  • On this day, a plaque will be unveiled to Okjokull -- which translates to 'OK glacier' -- in the west of Iceland.
  • This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world. 

Jul 28, 2019

Deep Ocean Mission

  • A five-year, Rs. 8,000-crore plan to explore the deepest recesses of the ocean has finally got the green signal from the government.
  • The 'Deep Ocean Mission (DOM)' to be led by the Union Earth Sciences Ministry would commence from October 31. Now, expenditure plans would be drawn and circulated [to various institutions affiliated to the Ministry] for executing programmes and we hope to launch by October 31.
  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
  • A major thrust of the mission would be looking for metals and minerals.
  • India has been allotted a site of 75,000 sq. km. in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by the UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploitation of polymetallic nodules (PMN).

Faridabad Badkal Lake to be Revived

  • At the peripheries of Gurugram and Faridabad, nestled in the foothills of the Aravallis, lie Damdama, Surajkund and Badkal lakes, which served as important public spaces in the not-so-distant past. People of a certain age still recall fond memories of these lakes, which are tightly woven into the cultural identity of South Haryana and the National Capital Region.
  • The Haryana government is now making an effort to revive these water bodies which — due to the influence of urbanisation, illegal groundwater extraction and mining in the Aravallis — have been worn to a shadow of their former selves, ecologically and culturally. With the state polls scheduled for October, officials say such projects would be cleared for approval and announced in coming months.
  • On July 13, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar revealed at an event pertaining to Jal Shakti Abhiyan, in Gurugram, that new lakes would be created in Kasan and Kukdaula and older ones in the region will be restored for tourism purposes.
  • The first of these projects to be implemented is the restoration of Badkal, which emerged as a popular tourist spot in the late 1960s. Now, the lake bed has been bonedry for over a decade.

Jul 24, 2019

UN Asks India to Update Plan to Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  •  The United Nations has nudged India to update and enhance its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and announce the revamped strategy at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23, 2019.
  • Mexican diplomat Luis Alfonso de Alba, UN SecretaryGeneral's special envoy for the 2019 climate summit has asked India to enhance its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • The goal of the UN summit is to call on world leaders to enhance their NDCs in line with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade and to net zero emissions by 2050.

Jul 23, 2019

Iceland Set To Honour Glacier Lost

  •   Iceland is planning to mark the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change which threatens some 400 others on the subarctic island.
  • On August 18, 2019, a plaque will be unveiled to Okjokull - which translates to "OK glacier" - in the west of Iceland.
  • This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world.
  • The researchers hope that the memorial, entitled A Letter To The Future, will raise awareness about the decline of glaciers and the effects of climate change.
  • Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014. In 1890, the glacier ice covered 16 square kilometres but by 2012, it measured 0.7 square kilometres, according to a report from the University of Iceland from 2017.
  • To have the status of a glacier, the mass of ice and snow must be thick enough to move by its own weight.

First Govt Wild Bird Rescue Centre to Come up at Rajokri

  •  The Delhi forest department has proposed to come up with its first Wild Bird Rescue Centre at Rajokri where injured birds found in the national capital would be kept for treatment and then released.
  • Among cities, Delhi is considered to have the second highest bird population in the world — after Nairobi in Kenya, with more than 450 species.
  • Even though around 500 species of birds have been recorded in the national capital in the last 100 years, at least 30 of these could not be spotted since 1970s.
  • The decision has already been passed by the Ridge Management Board and is now with the Supreme Court-appointed committee.
  • The committee will send it to the SC, after which a call will be taken. Initially, two areas were proposed for the rescue centre – Rajokri and Tughlaqabad – but the forest department later zeroed down on Rajokri, on the recommendations of the Bombay Natural History Museum.
  • There is a monkey rehabilitation centre at Rajokri, which is not in use. The building could be turned into a bird rescue centre at a minimum cost.
  • The monkey rehab centre is spread over 1.2 acres and the building on the premises has two rooms which could be turned into a clinic for injured birds.
  • There is also a water body which could be used to keep injured water birds such as pelicans and cranes.

Jul 22, 2019

Arctic ocean ice melting faster than normal

  •  Ice covering the Arctic Ocean reached the second-lowest level recorded for this time of year after July temperatures spiked in areas around the North Pole.
  • The rate of ice loss in the region is a crucial indicator for the world's climate and a closely-watched metric by bordering nations jostling for resources and trade routes. This month's melt is tracking close to the record set in July 2012.
  • This year's heatwave in the Arctic Circle has led to record temperatures in areas of Alaska, Canada and Greenland, extending long-term trends of more ice disappearing.
  • Ice flows are melting faster than average rates observed over the last three decades, losing an additional 20,000 square kilometers of cover per day — an area about the size of Wales.

Mahalaxmi rly workshop is first to get 'zero scrap' tag

  •  The Mahalaxmi EMU workshop has earned the reputation for being the first 'zero scrap' workshop of the Indian Railways.
  • V.P. Pathak, a member of the Material Management of Railway Board, visited the workshop at Mahalaxmi and appreciated the efforts made by officials to create the first 'zero scrap' workshop in the Indian Railways.
  • He also announced an award of Rs 25,000 for the workshop.
  • The workshop has been able to achieve this feat by segregating the ferrous and non-ferrous material and keeping the materials in separate bins provided in each section.
  • After collecting the scrap from all the sections, it is handed over to stores for further disposal.
  • The workshop has maintained the MPCB norms of the state government and the National Green Tribunal.
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