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1. Draft National Forest Policy, 2018

  • Background

  • According to latest Forest Survey of India (FSI) reports 2018, India has about 7,08,273 square kilometres of forest, which is 21.53% of the geographic area of the country.

  • India targets a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

  • More than 300 million tribals and other forest dwellers in India are either directly or indirectly dependent on forest lands for their livelihood.

  • There is a need to revise the existing National Forest Policy, 1988 through integrating:

  • Sustainable forest management.

  • Climate change mitigation strategies.

  • An evaluation mechanism to oversee participation of multiple stakeholders in forests

 

2. Salient feature of Draft Policy

  • Objective: To safeguard the ecological and livelihood security of present and future generations.

  • Eco-security: The country should aim to have a minimum of one-third of the total land area under forest and tree cover and in hilly and mountainous regions, the aim will be to maintain two-third of the area under forest and tree cover.

  • Institutions: Setting up National Board of Forestry (NBF) at central level (headed by the Environment Minister) and State Boards of Forestry at state level (headed by state ministers in charge of forests) for ensuring inter-sectoral convergence, simplification of procedures, conflict resolution, etc. They will also periodically review implementation of this policy.

  • Strengthening community participation in forestry: To ensure synergy between gram sabhas and joint forest management committees for successful community participation in forestry, National Community Forest Management Mission will be launched under Forest Rights Act (FRA).

  • Promote agro-forestry, farm forestry and Urban Green to increase the tree cover outside forests.

  • Stabilizing ecologically sensitive catchment areas with suitable soil and water conservation measures.

  • Biodiversity Conservation through surveying of forest areas and promoting modern techniques of ex-situ conservation for Relic, Endangered and Threatened (RET) species.

  • Identifying and maintaining wildlife rich areas and corridors outside protected areas for ensuring ecological and genetic continuity.

  • Develop a national forest ecosystems management information system for scientific planning and management.

  • Research and Education in Forest management for increasing forest productivity, enhancing the capacity of the forest ecosystems for carbon sequestration, reclamation of degraded and mined areas for ecological security, addressing the contemporary priorities and for increasing livelihood support and economic growth.

  • Carbon Sequestration: Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.

  • Enhance Quality and Productivity of natural forests by promoting natural regeneration through locally suitable indigenous species.

  • Increase the productivity of forest plantations by intensive scientific management of commercially important species like teak, sal, sisham, poplar, eucalyptus, bamboo etc.

  • Public private participation models: will be developed for undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas and forest areas available with Forest Development Corporations and outside forests.

  • Forest Based Industry will be incentivized as it being labour intensive can help in increasing green jobs and meeting the demand of raw materials as well.

  • Management of Non-Timber Forest Produce through Value Chain approach would be made compulsory and part of the business plans related to NTFP.

  • Management of North-Eastern Forests which have a vital impact on climate, agriculture production, and mitigation of floods in the plain areas of North-East.

  • Forest Certification to enhance value of forest product harvested sustainably.

  • Forest Skill Development Centres, for skilling forest dependent population in forestry sector jobs, will be instituted for training of frontline staff who are at the cutting edge of the forest department.

  • Addressing forest fires by mapping vulnerable areas and develop early warning systems and methods to control fire through remote-sensing technology and community participation.

  • Human-wildlife conflicts: It proposes dedicated and well-equipped quick response teams with health and veterinary services for speedy assessment of damage and quick payment of relief to the human victims, to minimise conflicts with the wildlife.

 

Concern

  • Although, it recognizes the role of forests in climate change mitigation unlike previous policies, there are various concerns as well:

  • Environmentalists object in involving PPP model for afforestation and reforestation activities, pointing out that this would mean privatisation of India’s natural resources and creating private forests.

  • National Community Forest Management mission is based on the joint forest management model (involving both the state forest departments & local communities) that has no legal standing after enactment of Forest Rights Act, which vests management authority with gram sabhas.

  • Policy orients itself more on the conservation and preservation of forest wealth rather than regenerating them through people’s participation.

  • Concern over the achievement of policy, as most of the objectives mentioned in earlier National Forest Policy 1988 have not been met so far.

  • It fails to mention or address the degradation of growing stock in the natural forests

  • It persists with the methodological weakness of the Indian Forest Survey Reports of the past 30 years that conflate plantations with forest cover.

 

3. Sand Mining

Sand

  • Under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act), sand is a minor mineral and sand mining is regulated by the respective state governments.

 

About Sand Mining

  • Sand mining is a practice that is used to extract sand, mainly through open pit mining.

  • Main sources of sand are agricultural fields, riverbeds and floodplains, coastal and marine sand, lakes and reservoirs.

  • Sand mining is also done on beach, inland dunes and dredged from ocean beds and river beds.

  • It’s done to extract minerals such as Rutile, Ilmenite and Zircon which contain useful elements Titanium and Zirconium.

 

Issues

  • Loss of revenue for exchequer due to cartelisation among mining companies during auction.

  • Higher prices of sand in many cities due to non-availability there and absence of robust monitoring mechanism or regulation by the Government.

  • Mixing of low quality sand with usable sand leading to construction of weak buildings.

 

Background

  • Demand of sand in the country was around 700 million tonnes in FY-2017 and it is increasing at the rate of 6-7% annually.

  • Government amended the Mineral Auction Rules 2015 in November 2017 to make the auction process less cumbersome and help states auction mineral blocks.

  • Government in May, 2017, constituted a committee to study the existing system of sand mining in various States and suggest a comprehensive sand mining policy/ guideline as a model for replication by the States.

 

Salient features of the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016:

  • It allows environment clearances for up to five hectares of mine lease area for sand and minor minerals to be done at the district level by the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority headed by the District Collector.

  • States will give clearances for mine lease areas up to 50 hectares, while the Centre would give permissions for areas larger than 50 hectares.

  • It calls for use of technology for stringent monitoring of sand mining through tools such as bar coding, remote sensing etc.

  • It calls for promotion of manufactured sand, artificial sand, fly ash and alternative technologies in construction materials and processes for reducing the dependence on naturally occurring sand and gravel.

  • It also calls for training of architects and engineers, new laws and regulations, and positive incentives to initiate a shift for lowering dependency on sand.

 

Features of the framework

  • Mining will be done as per the guidelines laid down in the Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines 2016 by the MoEFCC.

  • Alternatives to sand: To meet the growing pace of urbanization and infrastructure development alternatives should be explored like

  • Manufactured sand (M-sand) which is produced by crushing of rocks, quarry stones to a stipulated size of 150 microns. As compared to river sand, it is cheaper and has marginally higher bond strength and its mortar shows higher compressive strength Sand produced from coal

 

Steps taken by government to Promote Sustainable Mining

  • Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY): It’s to be implemented by the funds collected under District Mineral Foundations (DMF) and utilised for the welfare and development of the mining affected areas.

  • Mining Surveillance System (MSS): Ministry of Mines, through the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), has developed the MSS in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG) to use the space technology to check illegal mining.

  • Mining Tenement System (MTS): It will facilitate end to end national scale accounting of all the minerals produced in the country through automation from the pithead to its end use, reducing the scope for illegal mining.

 

Importance of sustainable sand mining

  • To ensure the conservation of the river equilibrium and its natural environment by protection & restoration of the ecological system.

  • To avoid aggradation at the downstream reach especially those with hydraulic structures such as jetties, water intakes etc. and to ensure the rivers are protected from bank and bed erosion beyond its stable profile.

  • To ensure there is no obstruction to the river flow, water transport and restoring the riparian habitats.

  • To avoid pollution of river water leading to water quality deterioration.

  • To prevent ground water pollution by prohibiting sand mining on fissures where it works as filter prior to ground water recharge.

  • To maintain the river equilibrium with the application of sediment transport principles in determining the locations, period and quantity to be extracted.o verburden.

  • Importing sand from other countries such as Malaysia and Philippines to meet the requirement of coastal states.

  • Encouraging alternative technologies in construction materials processing for reduced dependence on natural sand.

  • Affordability: can be achieved by

  • o Controlling the price from supply side rather than through administrative mechanism

  • o Reducing illegal mining, closure of quarries and smuggling of sand to neighboring States.

  • o Regulating transportation through use of GPS/ RFID enabled dedicated vehicles for better and efficient management of resource.

  • Business Model: States should opt out of either of the two models depending upon their objective:

  • o Market Model (Simple Forward Auction) for revenue maximization by State.

  • o Notified/ Controlled Price Model for keeping the prices and operations under control.

  • Classification of states: as Sand surplus State, Sand sufficient State and Sand deficit State on the basis of analysis of demand and supply situation and to help them in framing policy and regulation according to the needs of the states.

  • Separate Sand Mining Policy and Rules: for each state to better manage the sector and only the State Mining Department should be entrusted for regulating sand mining in the State.

  • District Survey Report (DSR): shall be prepared by the State Government to estimate the annual quantity of sand available in a particular district and their usage.

  • Clearances and approvals: Responsibility of seeking the clearances and approvals should be given to the lessee/contractors only and department should play the role of facilitator/ regulator only.

  • 360-degree monitoring mechanism: States need to create and establish a robust system to monitor and measure the mined-out mineral at each lease location and its transportation in the State.

  • Classification of the rivers: States need to classify the rivers based on the stream orders i.e. stream orders I, II, III, IV and above, where for stream I, II and III, sand may be allowed to be extracted by manual means for local use in villages or towns bordering the streams, while for order IV and above streams, bidding is done for sustainable commercial mining and usage.

 

4. Brazzaville Declaration

About the Brazzaville Declaration

  • The declaration has been signed by Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Indonesia in the backdrop of the 3rd Conference of Partners of the Global Peatlands Initiatives (GPI), taking place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

  • GPI is an initiative by leading experts and institutions to save peatlands as world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock and to prevent it being emitted.

 

What are Peats?

  • Peats are a heterogeneous mixture of plant material (vascular plants, mosses and humus) that had accumulated in a water-saturated area and are only partially decomposed due to absence of oxygen.

  • The natural areas covered by peat are called peatlands. Various types of peat are – swamp forests, fens, bogs or mires.

  • They form where climate, bedrock and relief create an area with permanent water saturation i.e. either in shallow water over layers of lake sediments (called terrestrialisation) or directly on mineral soil (called palaudification).

  • They are mostly found in permafrost regions towards the poles and at high altitudes, in coastal areas, beneath tropical rainforest and in boreal forests. Countries with largest peatland areas are – Russia, Canada, Indonesia, USA, Finland etc.

  • Several multilateral conventions take peatland into consideration such as UNFCCC, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Convention on Biodiversity and United Nation Convention to Combat Desertification.

 

Importance of Peatland

  • Carbon Storage – Although they cover less than 3% of the global surface, estimates suggest that peatlands contain twice as much carbon as in the world’s forest.

  • Supporting unique and critically threatened biodiversity – They are home to some of the most unique and even endangered species which are adapted to live there. e.g. 37% of all the vascular plants in the peatlands of Yamal Peninsula and 10% fish species within Malay Peninsula are only found in peatland ecosystem.

  • Supporting water cycle –They regulate water flow, exert a cooling effect during hot periods through evaporation and cloud formation, play an important role in retention of pollutants and nutrients and water purification, counteract eutrophication of water bodies and also prevent intrusion of salt water.

  • Supporting livelihood – They are source of berries, mushrooms and medicinal plants in boreal and temperate regions and of non-timber forest products in tropical regions. Even the peat itself is used as fuel.

  • As a cultural landscape and archive – They hold some of the most evocative archeological discoveries of last decades such as 4th millennium BCE footpath ‘sweet tracks’. They also record environmental changes.

 

Threats to Peatlands

  • Drainage for agriculture – Agriculture expansion has been main driver of changes in peatlands. Peat soil needs to be regularly saturated otherwise they lose nutrients very fast.

  • Commercial Forestry – It is the second greatest cause of land-use changes in peatland mostly prevalent in Scandinavian countries, UK, Russia, South-east Asia etc.

  • Peat extraction and usage – Peat as a source of energy is being used on a large scale by households. It is also used as raw material for producing growing media for professional horticulture and for home gardening.

  • Infrastructure Development –Conversion of peatlands in coastal areas to meet the urban development, waste disposal needs, development of roads and other infrastructure.

 

Solutions

  • Rewetting - It is an essential step in the restoration of Peatlands as they rely on waterlogged conditions for their survival.

  • Plaudiculture and sustainable management techniques – It is a practice of crop production on wet soils, predominantly in peatlands. Other sustainable techniques could be cultivation of fish or pursuit of eco-tourism.

  • Legal and Fiscal environment and Polices – Various policies that have been put in place both at global as well domestic levels should be implemented properly.

  • Creating a market to finance peatland management – Using Funding mechanism such as Green Bonds, private capital (equity and debt), funding from government sources etc.

  • Institutional framework for coordinated action –Integrated global partnerships should be established.

  • Restricting new agriculture & industrial activities that threaten their long-term viability and developing long-term land use policies which favour conservation and protection of peatlands.

  • Capacity building – Focused action is required with support from developed countries for capacity building, outreach and awareness raising.

 

5. Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (Ca|Ts)

More on news

  • The survey is the first and largest rapid assessment of site-based tiger conservation across Asia and has been driven by 11 conservation organisations and tiger-range governments that are part of the CA|TS coalition.

  • It found out that tiger monitoring is being implemented in 87 per cent of the sites and all sites surveyed in South Asian and East Asian countries like Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia have management plans.

 

Conservation Assured (CA|TS)

  • It is a management tool which sets basic criteria for effective management of tiger conservation reserves or other conservation reserves and protected areas which have tiger populations.

  • It is based on a set of seven pillars with 17 minimum standards and associated criteria for effective management.

  • It addresses multiple factors which impact conservation management, including support for resident human populations (including their social, cultural, spiritual and economic needs), enhancing overall biodiversity richness, prey-base and habitat cover, and also considers the legal context of an area in terms of content, application and capacity of those on the ground to enforce those laws.

  • It is driven by the CA|TS Partnership, which comprises of tiger range governments, intergovernmental agencies, conservation organisations and other institutions, such as Global Tiger Forum, IUCN, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), WWF etc.

  • The secretariat for CA|TS is hosted by WWF.

  • It is a key element in realizing the ambitious goal of doubling the global tiger population by 2022, a commitment made by all 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRC).

  • Nepal is the first TRC to implement the process.

  • To date, three sites- Lansdowne Forest Division in Uttarakhand, India, Chitwan National Park in Nepal and Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in Russia have been awarded CA|TS Approved status.

 

6. Rise In Rhino Population In Kaziranga National Park

The Great One-Horned Rhinoceros

  • The great one-horned rhino or Indian Rhino is the largest of the rhino species found commonly in Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and India.

  • In India, it is found in Assam – Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Pobitora Reserve Forest, Orang National Park, Laokhowa Reserve Forest etc.

  • It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and is protected under the Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act. It is threatened by poaching, habitat destruction, flooding etc.

  • Indian Rhino Vision 2020 – It has been implemented by Assam State Government with the Bodo autonomous council as an active partner and supported by WWF- India. The aim is to increase the number of

  • Northern White Rhino

  • The world’s last male northern white rhino named Sudan died as he was euthanised after suffering from "age-related complications" in the Kenya.

  • Now only 2 females of this subspecies are alive leaving invitro fertilization technique as the only option with egg from female, stored semen from male & surrogate southern white rhino females

 

Recently Extinct Species

  • Baiji River Dolphin – 2006

  • Western Black Rhino – 2011

  • Formosan Clouded Leopard – 2013

  • Barrier Reef Rodent – 2016 (first mammal to go extinct due to climate change)

  • Rhinos and provide long term viability of the one-horned rhino population.

 

Kaziranga National Park

  • It is located in Assam and is one of the UNESCO world heritage site and is also located in the edge of the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot.

  • It hosts two-third of the world’s Great One-horned rhinoceros.

  • The Park area is circumscribed by the Brahmputra River, Mora Dhansiri, Diphlu and Mora Diphlu.

  • It has also been identified by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area and it is home to important migratory birds such as lesser white fronted goose, ferruginous duck, lesser adjutant etc.

 

7. NATIONAL CLEAN AIR PROGRAMME (NCAP)

About the programme

  • The programme involves various steps to be taken by the government (see figure)

  • Earlier the environment ministry had announced its targets of 35% reduction of air pollution in the next three years and 50% reduction in the next five years for at least the 100 identified non-attainment cities across India.

  • A non-attainment city is considered to have air quality worse than the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

  • However, no reference of these targets is there in latest released document by the Ministry.

 

8. National Biogas And Manure Management Programme

​​Background

  • Biogas Plant generates biogas from organic substances such as cattle dung, and other bio-degradable materials such as biomass from farms, gardens, kitchens and night soil wastes etc. through anaerobic digestion (AD).

  • Biogas: Major constituent is methane (55-70%), CO2 (30-45%) and some traces of gases such as H2S and ammonia.

  • As per Census 2011, about 65.9 percent of households depend on solid biomass, including firewood, crop residue and cow dung as primary fuel for cooking in India.

  • Bio-fuels are expected to contribute 5000 MW to the overall renewable energy target of 175,000 MW by 2022

  • Under NBMMP, about 47.5 Lakh biogas plants have already been installed in the country upto 31st March, 2014.

 

About the programme

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme, which aims at setting up of family type biogas plants for providing biogas as clean cooking fuel and a source of lighting in rural and semi-urban areas of the country.

  • The programme is being implemented under ministry of New and Renewable energy by the State Nodal Departments/State Nodal Agencies and Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Biogas Development and Training Centers (BDTCs).

 

Advantages

  • Enhancing Productivity: Slurry produced from biogas plants can be used as an organic bio-manure for enhancing crop yield and maintaining soil health

  • Social benefits to rural families by reducing drudgery of women involved in collecting fuel wood and mitigating health hazards during cooking in smoky kitchens.

  • Sanitation can be improved in villages by linking sanitary toilets with biogas plants.

  • Environmental Benefit: By reducing environmental degradation and preventing the emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs) such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane into the atmosphere.

  • Economic Benefit: Annual Saving of LPG via saving on cost of refilling of LPG cylinder, savings on cost of production from reduced need of fertilizers like urea and equivalent etc.

 

9. Un World Water Development Report

​​More on news

  • The report aims to address contemporary water management challenges across all sectors, and particularly regarding water for agriculture, sustainable cities, disaster risk reduction and water quality.

  • The world is facing immense water-related challenges such as o Tremendous increase in water demand due to increasing population

  • Water scarcity due to impact of climate change on global water cycle with wet regions generally becoming wetter and dry regions drier

  • Decreasing water quality due to water pollution by discharge of industrial and municipal wastewater

 

What are Nature-based Solutions?

  • These are solutions that are inspired and supported by nature and use, or mimic, natural processes to address societal challenges effectively and simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.

  • NBS are designed to address major societal challenges, such as food security, climate change, water security, human health, disaster risk, social and economic development.

 

Role of NBS in addressing water problems:

  • Managing water availability through ecosystem-friendly forms of water storage (natural wetlands, soil moisture, efficient recharge of groundwater) and environmental-friendly agricultural practices like conservation tillage rather than traditional grey infrastructure such as dams.

  • Managing water quality through proper management of forests, wetlands, grasslands, soils and crops for reducing sediment loadings, capturing and retaining pollutants, and recycling nutrients and reduction of non-point (diffuse) source pollution from agriculture by rehabilitating ecosystem services that enable soils to improve nutrient management.

  • Managing water-related risks and disasters, such as floods and droughts: NBS for flood management can involve water retention by managing infiltration and overland flow, and thereby making space for water storage through floodplains.

  • Enhancing water security: by improving water availability and water quality while simultaneously reducing water-related risks and generating additional social, economic and environmental co-benefits.

 

Challenges and limitations

  • There remains a historical inertia against NBS due to the continuing overwhelming dominance of grey infrastructure solutions.

  • NBS often require cooperation among multiple institutions and stakeholders, something that can be difficult to achieve.

  • There is a lack of awareness, communication and knowledge at all levels, from communities to regional planners and national policy makers, of what NBS can really offer. Lack of understanding of how to integrate green and grey infrastructure at scale, and an overall lack of capacity to implement NBS in the context of water.

  • There are limits to how NBS can perform. For example, NBS options for industrial wastewater treatment depend on the pollutant type and its loading.

  • While some small-scale NBS applications can be low- or no-cost, some applications, particularly at large scale, can require large investments.

 

Way forward

  • Leveraging financing: there is a need of redirecting and making more effective use of existing financing. The emerging ‘green bond’ market can be tapped.

  • Creating an enabling regulatory and legal environment: Rather than making drastic changes in regulatory regimes, NBS can be promoted effectively through existing frameworks. Identifying where and how NBS can support existing planning approaches at different levels can be a useful first step in this process.

  • Improving cross-sectoral collaboration through better harmonization of policies across economic, environmental and social agenda.

  • Improving the knowledge base on NBS, through more rigorous research.

 

10. STATE OF GLOBAL CLIMATE REPORT, 2017

  • World Meteorological Organization

  • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).

  • It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the land and oceans, the weather and climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.

  • Major Points of the Report

  • 2017 was 2nd warmest year on record after 2016, and the warmest non-EL Nino year.

  • The 2013-17 was the warmest five-year average on record.

  • Global sea surface temperatures were ranked as the third warmest, as they were somewhat below the levels of 2015 & 2016.

  • Total global disaster losses from climate-related events in 2017 stood at US$ 320 billion making 2017 the most expensive year on record.

  • Cryosphere continued to shrink, with Artic and Antartic sea ice well below average. Cryosphere is the frozen water part of the Earth which includes the continental ice sheets found in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as ice caps, glaciers, and areas of snow and permafrost. It also includes frozen parts of the ocean, such as waters surrounding Antarctica and the Arctic and frozen rivers and lakes, which mainly occur in polar areas.

  • Ocean acidification continued with seawater pH progressively falling from values above 8.10 in the early 1980s to between 8.04 and 8.09 in the last five years.

 

11. CLEAN SEAS CAMPAIGN

The UNEP Global Programme of Action (UNEP/GPA):

  • It aims at preventing the degradation of the marine environment from land-based activities by facilitating the realization of the duty of States to preserve and protect the marine environment.

  • It was created through the Washington Declaration on Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, 1995.

  • It is unique in that it is the only global initiative directly addressing the connectivity between terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.

  • The GPA secretariat has establised three global multi-stakeholder partnerships: the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and the Global Wastewater Initiative (GWI).

  • The Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) was launched in June 2012 at Rio + 20 in Brazil. It is a global partnership gathering international agencies, Governments, NGOs, academia, private sector, civil society and individuals to protect human health and the global environment by the reduction and management of marine litter as its main goal, through several specific objectives.

 

Other related initiatives

  • Honolulu Strategy - a global framework for the prevention and management of marine debris.

  • Nairobi Convention- is a partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector and part of UNEP’s Regional Seas Programme. It works towards a prosperous Western Indian Ocean Region with healthy rivers, coasts and oceans.

About the Clean Seas Campaign

  • It was launched in 2017, with the aim of engaging governments, public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter.

  • It contributes to the goals of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter, and Global Programme of Action of UNEP.

  • The campaign is in consonance with SDG 12- sustainable consumption and production, SDG13- Climate Change, and SDG 14-Life below the water.

  • India is not a member country to Clean Seas campaign.

 

12. ONE PLANET ONE CITY CHALLENGE OF WWF

World Wildlife Fund for Nature

  • It is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

  • The Living Planet Report is published every two years by WWF.

  • Earth Hour is organized by the WWF. The event is held worldwide annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. towards the end of March, as a symbol for their commitment to the planet.

More about the news

  • World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) works in collaboration with ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (a global network of more than 1,500 cities, towns and regions committed to building a sustainable future) to mobilize cities to participate in the One Planet City Challenge.

  • The three cities Panaji, Pune and Rajkot that are among cities in India’s Smart City Mission, will now compete for the title of National and Global Winner.

  • Given the increasing urbanization in India, cities have a significant role in providing solutions for mitigating carbon emissions as well as preparing for climate resilient development.

 

13. Persistent Organic Pollutants

  • What are POPs?

  • POPs are organic chemical substances—toxic to both humans and wildlife—which once released into the environment remain intact for years on end.

  • They become widely distributed throughout the environment as a result of natural processes and accumulate in the fatty tissues (thus they have to be fat soluble) of living organisms including humans.

  • POPs are recognized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1 carcinogens or cancer-causing substances.

  • Specific effects of POPs can include cancer, allergies and hypersensitivity, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system.

 

Details about the notification

  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

  • It is a legally binding global treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from the effects of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

  • The Convention sought initially 12 chemicals, for restriction or elimination of the production and release. Now, it covers 23 chemicals.

  • The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is the designated interim financial mechanism for the Stockholm Convention.

  • India has ratified the Convention and its 12 initially listed chemicals.

  • It bans the manufacture, trade, use, import and export of the seven toxic chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention.

  • The notification held that industrial units or persons, “shall not drain or discharge or dispose the chemicals directly or indirectly in effluent treatment plant, sewage treatment plant, onto any land, in public sewers, in inland surface water or in marine coastal areas”.

  • It further held that the waste containing these chemicals “shall be disposed of as per the provisions of the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016”.

  • These rules apply to hazardous and other wastes like metal and metal bearing wastes, wastes which may contain either inorganic or organic constituents. They do not apply to wastes covered under other acts such as waste-water and exhaust gases, radio-active wastes, bio-medical wastes and municipal solid wastes.

 

14. E-Waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018

What is E-waste?

  • It refers to electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts which have been discarded by its owner as waste without the intent of re-use.

  • Common hazardous materials found in e-waste are: heavy metals (such as mercury, lead, cadmium etc.) and chemicals (such as CFCs/chlorofluorocarbon or various flame retardants).

  • India is 5th largest producer of e-waste.

  • The main sources of electronic waste in India are the government, public and private (industrial) sectors, which account for almost 71% of total waste generation.

  • About 90.5% of the e-waste in India is being handled by the informal sector.

 

Producer Responsibility Organisation:

  • It is an organisation that helps producers meet their EPR targets through various recyclers and dismantlers.

  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): It is a strategy designed to promote the integration of environmental costs associated with goods throughout their life cycles into the market price of the products. Three basic objectives of EPR:

  • Manufacturers shall be incentivised to improve the environmental design of their products and the environmental performance of supplying those products.

  • Products should achieve a high utilisation rate.

  • Materials should be preserved through effective and environmentally-sound collection, treatment.

Highlights of new rules

  • It aims to formalise the e-waste recycling sector by channelizing the E-waste generated towards authorized dismantlers and recyclers.

  • Phase wise Collection: It introduced the phase-wise collection targets for e-waste, which shall be 10% of the quantity of waste generation as indicated in the EPR Plan during 2017-18, with a 10% increase every year until 2023. After 2023 onwards, the target has been made 70% of the quantity of waste generation as indicated in the EPR Plan.

  • Separate e-waste collection targets have been drafted for new producers, i.e., those producers whose number of years of sales operation is less than the average lives of their products.

  • Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS): Under this, cost for sampling and testing shall be borne by the government for conducting the RoHS test and if the product does not comply with RoHS provisions the cost will be borne by the Producers.

  • Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs) shall apply to the Central Pollution Control board (CPCB) for registration to undertake activities prescribed in the Rules.

 

About E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016

  • It is applicable to all the stakeholders such as Producer Responsiblilty Organisations, Consumers, Dismantlers, Recyclers, Dealers, Manufacturers etc.

  • It adopted collection mechanism-based approach which includes collection centre, collection point, and take back system etc. for collection by Producers under EPR.

  • It covered even components and spare parts of electric & electronic equipments. Mercury containing lamps like CFLs were also included.

  • It has the interest-bearing Deposit Refund Scheme charged by the producer to the consumer at the time of purchase.

  • It introduced Pan India EPR Authorization by CPCB replacing the state wise EPR authorization.

 

15. Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2018

  • What is Bio-medical Waste?

  • Bio-medical waste consists of any waste which is generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunisation of human beings or animals or in research activities.

  • It includes syringes, needles, cotton swabs, vials that may contain bodily liquids and spread infections.

  • It has been found that only 15% of the bio-medical waste that is generated is hazardous. However, all the waste needs to be treated.

 

Context Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • It is a statutory organisation which was constituted in 1974 and was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

  • Main functions of CPCB is to - o Promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution

  • to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

  • Government had notified Bio-medical Waste Management Rules in 1998 under the Environment Protection Act 1986 which were later amended twice in 2000 and 2003.

Features of Bio-medical Waste Management Rules 2016

  • Widened jurisdiction – The ambit of the rules was widened to include vaccination camps, blood donation camps, surgical camps etc.

  • Pre-treatment of waste – Waste generated in laboratories, microbiological waste, blood samples and blood bags to be pre-treated through disinfection or sterilisation on-site in the manner as prescribed by WHO or NACO.

  • Better segregation – Bio-medical waste has been classified into 4 categories instead of 10 namely – Untreated human anatomical waste, Animal anatomical waste, Soiled waste and Biotechnology waste.

  • Bar-code system for bags or containers to be established containing bio-medical waste for disposal.

  • Training and Immunisation – Regular training to all its health care workers and immunising all health workers.

  • Stringent pollution norms for incinerator to reduce the emission of pollutants in environment including the emission limits for Dioxins and furans.

  • Phasing out of use of chlorinated plastic bags, gloves and blood bags within 2 years.

  • Procedure of Disposal –The biomedical waste must be segregated in coloured bags according to the category of the waste. It can be stored up till 48hrs after which it is either needed to be treated at in-situ site or collected by the worker from CBMWTF.revamped Bio-medical Waste(BMW) Management Rules 2016 to enhance, widen and bring a comprehensive regime for bio-waste management.

  • The latest amendments have been further introduced to improve compliance and strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of biomedical waste.

 

Features of Bio-medical Waste Management (Amendment) Rules 2018

  • Bio-medical waste generators i.e. hospitals, clinics, vaccination camps etc. will now be required to phase out the use of chlorinated plastic bags and gloves by March 2019.

  • Common biomedical waste treatment facility (CBMWTF) shall establish GPS and Bar coding facility in accordance with guidelines issued by the CPCB.

  • Pre-treatment of Bio-medical waste – Every occupier of health care facility needs to pre-treat the laboratory waste, microbiological waste, blood samples etc. on-site in accordance with guidelines on safe management of wastes from health care activities by WHO and WHO Blue Book 2014 and then send it to CBMWTF for final disposal. This will ensure that the toxic discharge such as infectious liquid waste is not discharged into the sewerage network.

  • All healthcare facilities shall provide annual report on its website within two years of the publication of the amended rules

 

16. Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System

Highlight

  • Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) and RIMES would forge a partnership in the field of drought monitoring and early warning for different natural disasters.

  • It would also help in strengthening the prediction and response capability of the OSDMA through specialised expert training.

 

About RIMES

  • Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System for Africa and Asia (RIMES), an inter-governmental body registered under the United Nations, is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in Asia Pacific and African Region.

  • Objective: to establish a regional early warning system within a multi-hazard framework for the generation and communication of early warning information, and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards

  • The programme unit of the agency is located in Thailand. India is the chairman of the body

  • RIMES is already working with the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority.

March Environmental Issues

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