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ENVIRONMENT - February 2021

Feb 2021

May 05, 2021

Sale of Coal and Wet Wood Restricted in England

  • Curbs on the sale of house coal and wet wood for household burning in England have come into force under new rules aimed at cutting air pollution.
  • People will still be able to use stoves and open fires but they will need to burn cleaner alternatives.
  • These are the first restrictions on what people can burn in their homes since the clean air acts of the 1950s.
  • The UK's air is far cleaner now, but in recent years pollution from log burners has increased dramatically.
  • Only 8% of households use them, but they are now the biggest source of the tiny pollution particles that are most damaging to health, according to government data.
  • Log burners and open fires are not being banned, but the government says people will have to buy dry wood or manufactured solid fuels which produce less smoke.

100 Million-year-old Bones of Sauropod Dinosaurs Discovered in Meghalaya

  • Researchers have identified fossil bone fragments of sauropod dinosaurs dating back to about 100 million years from an area around West Khasi Hills District in Meghalaya.
  • The yet-to-be-published findings were made during a recent field trip by researchers from the Geological Survey of India's Palaeontology division in North-East.
  • The GSI researchers noted that this is the first record of sauropods of probable Titanosaurian origin discovered in the region.
  • Sauropods had very long necks, long tails, small heads relative to the rest of their body, and four thick, pillar-like legs. They are notable for the enormous sizes attained by some species, and the group includes the largest animals to have ever lived on land.
  • The finding makes Meghalaya the fifth state in India after Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu and the only state in the North-East to report Sauropod bones having titanosaurian affinity.

Scops-Owl Subspecies Rediscovered in Malaysia

  • The Bornean subspecies of Rajah scops owl (Otus brookii brookii), documented in the wild for the first time since 1892, may be its own unique species and deserving of a conservation designation. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center ecologist Andy Boyce reported the rediscovery and photographed this elusive subspecies in the mountainous forests of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.
  • Almost all data on the Rajah scops-owl is of the Sumatran subspecies. The vocalizations, distribution, breeding biology and population size of the Bornean subspecies are totally unknown.

May 03, 2021

Antarctic Ice Sheet Melting to Push Sea Level

  • Researchers have warned that the global sea level rise caused by melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is likely to increase 20 per cent by the end of this century.
  • The global sea level rise linked to melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been significantly underestimated in previous studies, meaning sea level in a warming world will be greater than anticipated, said researchers from Harvard University in the US.
  • This occurs when the solid bedrock the West Antarctic Ice Sheet sits on rebounds upward as the ice melts and the total weight of the ice sheet decreases. The bedrock sits below sea level so when it lifts, it pushes water from the surrounding area into the ocean, adding to global sea level rise.
  • One simulation indicated that by the end of this century global sea level rise caused by melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet would increase 20 per cent by the water expulsion mechanism.

May 02, 2021

Global Forest Goals Report: 2021

  • The United Nations released the Global Forest Goals Report, 2021. According to the report, the COVID-19 has increased the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests.
  • During COVID-19 the forest dependent population faced reduced income, job losses, diminished access to markets and information. Most of the forest dependent population faced difficulty in accessing healthcare and basic services.
  • According to the report,
  • Around 1.6 billion people rely on forests. This is 25% of global population.
  • Of the rural areas in the world, more than 40% live in Savannah and forests. This is 20% of the global population.

How Climate Change is Killing Coral Reef in the Pristine Chagos Archipelago

  • The Chagos Archipelago is one of the most remote, seemingly idyllic places on Earth. Coconut-covered sandy beaches with incredible bird life rim tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, hundreds of miles from any continent. Just below the waves, coral reefs stretch for miles along an underwater mountain chain.
  • It's a paradise. At least it was before the heat wave.
  • When I first explored the Chagos Archipelago 15 years ago, the underwater view was incredible. Schools of brilliantly colored fish in blues, yellows and oranges darted among the corals of a vast, healthy reef system. Sharks and other large predators swam overhead. Because the archipelago is so remote and sits in one of the largest marine protected areas on the planet, it has been sheltered from industrial fishing fleets and other activities that can harm the coastal environment.

May 01, 2021

Centre Seeks Expression of Interest for Draft Amendment to Indian Forest Act

  • The Union environment ministry has called for expression of interest from consulting agencies, firms, joint venture consortiums to prepare a new draft amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927. In an office memorandum on April 26, the ministry said it extended the date for submission of proposals after the deadline for it ended that day. The new deadline now is May 6.
  • The ministry published an amended draft of the Indian Forest Act in 2019, which included so-called "production" forests, mainly of timber, pulp, pulpwood and other non-forest produce, in its definition of forests. One of the principal concerns of tribal groups and activists was that the provisions of the zero draft amendment 2019 gave more powers to forest officers, including the use of firearms and greater immunity from prosecution. Following protests by tribals, the draft amendment was withdrawn.

Apr 29, 2021

India Likely to Miss Olympic Qualifier World Relays in Poland

  • Star sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand might miss the Olympic qualifying World Athletics Relays in Poland in the first week of May as the Indian team's connecting flight to Amsterdam has been suspended following the record-shattering spike in the country's COVID-19 case load.
  • The women's 4x100m and the men's 4x400m relay teams were to board a KLM flight to Amsterdam but the Dutch government has suspended flights from India effective Monday evening.
  • The Athletics Federation of India is trying to book an alternate flight available to any European city en route to Silesia in Poland where the event will be held. There is no direct flight to Poland from India.
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