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ENVIRONMENT - December 2019

Dec 2019

Dec 31, 2019

Centre Says Forest Cover rising, Triggers a Debate

  • As per the India State of Forest 2019 report, India recorded a 0.56% improvement in its forest cover since 2017, taking total forest cover to 21.67% of India's geographical area, although experts expressed concerns about plantations being included in the definition of forests and the relative youth of many of the country's forests. Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who released the report, said that India is among very few countries that may be recording an increase in forest cover.
  • The overall marginal increase in forest cover masks loss of forests inside recorded forest areas, which include reserve forests, protected forests and other forested areas in government records. An assessment of forest cover in the tribal districts of India shows a major loss of 741 sq km inside recorded forest areas in these districts since 2017.
  • The data also masks the massive loss of forests in several north-eastern states, including Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.

Delhi Breaks 118 Years Winter Record

  • With a numbing cold continuing to sweep Delhi-NCR, the region recorded its second-coldest December since 1901, the weather department said. The mean maximum temperature for December was less than 20 degrees Celsius only in 1919, 1929, 1961 and 1997. In December this year, the mean maximum temperature (MMT) till Thursday was 19.85 degrees Celsius. It is expected to dip to 19.15 degrees Celsius.

Dec 30, 2019

Madhya Pradesh Gets its First Elephant Colony

  • Last November, elephants in herds, 38 of them, wandered into the forests of Bandhavgarh looking for food and water, like each year. A year on, they have stayed back in Madhya Pradesh for the first time over seasons and even bred two new calves, choosing not to return to the withering forests of north Chhattisgarh.
  • The herd has found plenty of space, food and water within the core are of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, and that's why it may have stayed back, believes Reserve Deputy Director Sidharth Gupta.
  • Stating that the species is migratory, he says: "... That we have two new members now indicates that the species is comfortable here."

'World's Oldest Rhino' Fausta Dies in Tanzania Aged 57

  • Fausta, an eastern black rhino, was first sighted in the Ngorongoro crater in 1965, when she was three.
  • She roamed the crater freely for more than 54 years, but health issues in her old age required her to spend her final few years receiving specialist care in a sanctuary.
  • Fausta never had calves - something conservationists in Ngorongoro suggest may have contributed to her long life.
  • By 2016, Fausta's eyesight was deteriorating and she was suffering from the lingering effects of hyena attacks.

Dec 28, 2019

Archaeologists Uncovers Large Mayan Palace in Mexico

  • Archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered the ruins of a large palace they believe dates back to the height of the Mayan civilisation, 1,000 years ago.
  • Remains of a building six metres (20 ft) high, 55 m long and 15 m wide were found at a dig on the site of the ancient city of Kulubá in Yucatán state.
  • It is thought the structure was used over two periods of Mayan history as far back as AD 600.
  • The Mayan civilisation flourished before Spain conquered the region.

Dec 26, 2019

Panchkula Firm Develops Biodegradable Shoe

  • A 100% biodegradable shoe manufactured from sugarcane and eucalyptus with 82% of the material bio-based? Banking on innovation, a Panchkula-based firm is set to launch lifestyle shoes that will be easily biodegradable as compared to conventional ones.
  • The upper and lining material will be of Tencel which will be made from the pulp of eucalyptus wood. The Tencel would be sourced from Austria. This material uses 95% less water than cotton. Also, we will use an EVA outsole with 70% sugarcane content which will be sourced from Brazil. An additive that ensures 100% biodegradation would be added to this. The company is a sister concern of Drish Shoes Ltd., which has been catering to domestic and international market for over 25 years.

Dec 25, 2019

Delhi Faces Coldest December Spell in 22 Years

  • With most weather stations, other than Safdarjung, recording the maximum temperatures at least 4.5 degrees Celsius lower than the normal maximum temperature at this time of the year, Delhi is going through its longest cold spell in 22 years.
  • Thus far, Delhi's cold spell this December has been eight days if only Safdarjung station is considered and 11 cold days if other stations are considered. In 1997, there was a cold spell for 13 days in December.
  • Delhi so far has recorded the longest and extreme cold day spell in December month, since 1997.
  • Since 1993, Delhi has seen cold days only in 10 years, and had a cold spell only in four (before this year) — 1997, 1998, 2003, and 2014.
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