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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Black Carbon level at Himalayan glacier

10th July 2020

Why in News?

A recent study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) states that the black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer.

What is Black carbon?

It is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels. Complete combustion would turn all carbon in the fuel into carbon dioxide (CO2), but combustion is never complete and CO2, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and organic carbon and black carbon particles are all formed in the process. The complex mixture of particulate matter resulting from incomplete combustion is often referred to as soot.

 

 

KEY FIGURES

460-1,500x 4–12 days 6.6 million tonnes 58%
Black carbon has a warming impact on climate 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2 per unit of mass The average atmospheric lifetime of black carbon particles is 4-12 days About 6.6 million tonnes of black carbon were emitted in 2015 Household cooking and heating account for 58% of global black carbon emissions

 

 

BLACK CARBON – 80% emissions reduction potential globally by 2030

 

HOUSEHOLD ENERGY Replace traditional cooking to clean burning modern fuel cookstoves

Replace traditional cooking and heating with clean-burning biomass stoves

Eliminate kerosene lamps

Replace lump coal with coal briquettes for cooking and heating

Replace wood stove and burners with pellet stoves and boilers

 

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION Modernize traditional brick kilns to vertical shaft brick kilns

Modernize coke ovens to recovery ovens

 

TRANSPORT Use diesel particular filters for road and off-road vehicles

Fast transition to Euro VI/6 vehicles and soot-free buses and trucks

Eliminate high-emitting diesel vehicles

 

AGRICULTURE Ban open-field burning of agricultural waste

 

FOSSIL FUELS Capture and improve oil flaring and gas production

 

WASTE MANAGEMENT Ban open burning of municipal waste

IMPACTS ON VEGETATION AND ECOSYSTEMS:

Black carbon can affect the health of ecosystems in several ways: by depositing on plant leaves and increasing their temperature, dimming sunlight that reaches the earth, and modifying rainfall patterns.

Changing rain patterns can have far-reaching consequences for both ecosystems and human livelihoods, for example by disrupting monsoons, which are critical for agriculture in large parts of Asia and Africa.

SOLUTIONS:

Black carbon’s short atmospheric lifetime, combined with its strong warming potential, means that targeted strategies to reduce emissions can provide climate and health benefits within a relatively short period of time.

The Coalition supports implementation of control measures that, if globally implemented by 2030, could reduce global black carbon emissions by as much as 80% (UNEP & WMO 2011).

Several of these emission reductions could be achieved with net cost savings. Adopting these measures would have major positive co-benefits for public health, especially in the developing world.

Sukhana Lake

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently declared Sukhna lake (Chandigarh) as a living entity recently.

 What is legal entity?

A legal entity means entity which acts like a natural person but only through a designated person, whose acts are processed within the ambit of law.

 

  • The court invoked its parens patriaejurisdiction to declare the lake as a legal entity for its survival, preservation and conservation having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.
  • All the citizens of Union Territory, Chandigarh, are hereby declared as loco parentis (in the place of a parent)to save the lake from extinction.
  • Sukhna Lake is a rain-fed lake,located within Chandigarh and its catchment area falls both in Punjab and Haryana.
  • The lake was constructed in 1958and is spread over 3 sq km.

An area of 2 km to 2.75 km around the lake has been declared as an eco-sensitive zone by the Chandigarh Administration.

All activities in this area fall under provisions of the Environment Protection Act.

The court has completely banned new construction in the catchment areas falling in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory Chandigarh as well as in the Sukhna Wetland and Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.

Earlier, Uttarakhand High Court declared the rivers Yamuna and Ganga as legal or juridical persons, enjoying all the rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.

The HC bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed in 2014 and gave a landmark judgment stating that the Ganga and the Yamuna must be treated as living entities.

 

About the Environment Protection Act, 1986:

§  It empowers the government of India to lay down standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources whatsoever, provided that different standards for emission or discharge may be laid down under this clause from different sources having regard to the quality or composition of the emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from such sources.

 

What is Parens patriae?

It is Latin for “parent of the nation“. In law, it refers to the public policy power of the state to intervene against an abusive or negligent parent, legal guardian, or informal caretaker, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who is in need of protection.

NIRA

Why in News?

The Central government is working on the establishment of an exclusive body to implement projects for linking rivers- To be called the National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA).

Functions of NIRA:

  1. It is expected to take up both inter-State and intra-State projects.
  2. It will also make arrangements for generating funds, internally and externally.

About National River Linking Project (NRLP):

The NRLP formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.

Significance: It is designed to ease water shortages in western and southern India while mitigating the impacts of recurrent floods in the eastern parts of the Ganga basin.

ILR Projects in India:

As of now, six ILR projects — the Ken-Betwa, Damanganga- Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada, Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga, Mahanadi-Godavari and Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) — have been under examination of the authorities.

With regard to the peninsular rivers, the Centre has chosen to focus on the Godavari-Cauvery link than the earlier proposal to link the Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Cauvery rivers.

Issues and Concerns:

Interlinking of rivers is a very expensive proposal. It will adversely affect land, forests, biodiversity, rivers and the livelihood of millions of people.

  1. Interlinking of rivers will lead to destruction of forests, wetlands and local water bodies,which are major groundwater recharge mechanisms.
  2. It causes massive displacement of people. Huge burden on the government to deal with the issue of rehabilitation of displaced people.
  3. Due to interlinking of rivers, there will be decrease in the amount of fresh water entering seas and this will cause a serious threat to the marine life.

 

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