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ENVIRONMENT - December 2019

Dec 2019

Dec 24, 2019

Turkey Approves Environmental Impact Assessment for Canal Istanbul

  • The Turkish Environment and Urbanisation Ministry has announced the final approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the planned Canal Istanbul project. Canal Istanbul is a mega-infrastructure project involving the construction of a 45-kilometer shipping canal in Istanbul parallel to the Bosphorus Strait.
  • Known as the "crazy project," Canal Istanbul has been on the government's agenda since 2011, but its realisation has been delayed several times due to financial problems and environmental concerns.
  • With the Canal Istanbul, the government is aiming at opening an artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea in order to mitigate the oil tanker traffic through the Bosphorus as well as constructing new earthquake-resistant residential areas along the channel.

Waste-to-energy Plant Gets Approval

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ruled in favour of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram's (MCG's) proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in the Aravallis, at the Bandhwari landfill site, 17 km from the city.
  • The Tribunal said that it was unable to interfere with the grant of environmental clearance for the waste processing facility. Environmentalists, however, criticised the ruling saying it would be an ecological disaster.
  • The Tribunal was of the view that there is a huge waste dump site which cannot be left unattended and such waste has to be processed and removed" and this necessitated the plant to be set up.

Dec 23, 2019

Chilai-Kalan' Begins in Jammu & Kashmir

  • In Jammu & Kashmir, the 40-day period of extreme cold, known as 'Chilai-Kalan', began as the region is continuously reeling under intense cold wave and chill for the past over ten days now.
  • Srinagar recorded minimum temperature at 1.2 degree Celsius with day temperature settling at 9.6 degrees Celsius.
  • Similarly, the minimum temperature improved to minus 7.6 degrees Celsius in Gulmarg.

Dec 22, 2019

India Proposes Names for Future Cyclones

  • Gati, Tej, Neer and Vyom are 4 of the 13 names that India has proposed to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) as names for future tropical cyclones (TC) that will originate in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
  • Earlier this month, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in New Delhi named the Arabian Sea cyclone heading to Somalia "Pawan", the second-last name on the final list. India's list of names had expired in June with Vayu that hit the Gujarat coast.
  • In 2004, the current panel of 64 names were divided into eight lists. Each list had the name proposed by a country arranged sequentially. Each time a cyclone forms, the RSMC designates a name from these lists. There are 13 countries, each are allowed to propose 13 names.

Dec 20, 2019

World's Oldest Fossil Trees Uncovered

  • The earliest fossilised trees, dating back 386 million years, have been found at an abandoned quarry in New York.
  • Scientists believe the forest they belonged to was so vast it originally stretched beyond Pennsylvania.
  • This discovery in Cairo, New York, is thought to be two or three million years older than what was previously the world's oldest forest at Gilboa, also in New York State.
  • The findings throw new light on the evolution of trees.

Dec 19, 2019

Researchers Extract Air Dating Back to the 1870s in Antarctica

  • A team of researchers extracted more than 194 cubic feet of air that was trapped beneath the surface ice in Antarctica. The samples represented the largest collection of air dating from the 1870s. It is expected that the air samples will help to learn more about the composition of the atmosphere throughout history. It will help to measure the changes in the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG).

Australia Sees Hottest Day Ever

  • Australia experienced its hottest day on record and the heat wave is expected to worsen, exacerbating an already unprecedented bushfire season.
  • The average nationwide temperatures of 40.9 degrees Celsius beat the previous record of 40.3 degrees Celsius in January 2013.
  • The heat wave is another alarm bell about global warming in Australia.
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