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ENVIRONMENT - October 2020

Oct 2020

Oct 29, 2020

National Clean Air Programme

  • According to an analysis of the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme tracking, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab were the only ones among 23 states and union territories listed in the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to have above average readings in the past three years for PM 10. 
  • As per NCAP, 104 readings are required in a year to get an accurate picture.
  • The list shows Punjab has an average PM 10 reading of 133 over the last three years. Himachal Pradesh stands at 125, and Chandigarh at 102.
  • This does not necessarily mean that pollution levels have gone down in these states, in fact pollution levels in all three continue to be much higher than acceptable CPCB norms and way above the WHO limits of 10 micrograms/cubic-metre. What these rankings seem to indicate is a trend on air pollution in Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and that all three monitor them better than other states in the country.

Oct 28, 2020

National Action Plan for Vulture Conservation

  • The National Action Plan for Vulture Conservation, 2020-25 was approved by National Board for Wild life. The plan suggested that new veterinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs be tested on vultures before they are commercially released.
  • The new plan automatically removes veterinary use of a drug if it is found to be toxic to vultures. 
  • Under the plan, every state will host at least one vulture safe zone to conserve the remnant population of vultures in the state. These centres will facilitate conservation and breeding of vultures.
  • A coordinated Nation-wide vulture counting is to be conducted by the Bombay Natural History Society, Forest Department, non-profit organisations, Research Institute, etc. These countings are to be conducted at regular intervals.

Oct 27, 2020

Suture Zone of the Himalayas is Tectonically Active

  • The study conducted by scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology says that the suture zone of the Himalayas has become tectonically active.
  • The scientists have observed that the thrust is broken, sedimentary beds are tilted. Bedrocks are showing brittle deformation and the rivers are associated with the uplifted terraces. The scientists used the technique of Optically Stimulated Luminescence to make these observations.
  • The findings say that the Suture Zone of the Himalayas has been active in the recent years of the earth history. This is one of the several reasons for the recent frequent earthquakes in the northern India.
  • The scientists have estimated it as 78,000 to 58,000 years. According to them, the recent 2010 earthquake of low magnitude 4.0 in the village of Upshi was due to thrust rupture.
  • Himalayas are made of three thrusts namely Main Central Thrust, Main Frontal Thrust and Main Boundary Thrust. According to the study, Main Frontal Thrusts are locked and the overall deformation is occurring in the Main Frontal Thrust.
  • The study also says that there is a remote fault zone in the suture zone that is tectonically active.

Oct 26, 2020

Japan Set to Target Zero Emissions by 2050

  • Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is set to bind Japan to a target for carbon neutrality by 2050, a shift in stance that will bring the country in line with the European Union and more than 60 other nations in efforts to combat climate change.
  • The move, if confirmed, would make the world's third-largest economy the second Asian country after South Korea to aim for the 2050 target that is considered the minimum needed to keep global average temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 Celsius.
  • Japan is the world's fifth-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, the heat trapping gas that scientists say is already causing major heatwaves, bigger and more powerful cyclones and periods of drought around the world.

Oct 24, 2020

River Ran Through Thar Desert 172 Thousand Years Ago

  • Researchers from Anna University, IISER Kolkata and Max Planck Institute of Germany have found that the population of Stone Age lived in a different landscape in Thar Desert.
  • The researchers have found a lost river in the central Thar Desert. The river had supported human population in the region over 172 thousand years ago. The river would have supported populations of Paleolithic era.
  • The researchers have made the discovery using satellite images. The images from satellite show strong evidence of dense river channels crossing the desert.
  • The different phases of the river activity were deciphered by studying deep deposits of sands and gravels that were exposed during a quarrying activity in a nearby village.
  • The river activity in the region continued between 95,000 to 78,000 years ago. Later, there was only limited evidence for the presence of river. The river activity was at its strongest during weak monsoonal activity in the region. This might have enabled population to inhabit the Thar Desert.
  • Luni is the only inland drainage river in Rajasthan. The river rises on the western slopes of Aravalli range. It is also known as Sagarmati River. It flows southwestward and across the plains of the region.
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