April 2018 – Environment News

Environment News bits – April ‘18 – (click here for previous month)

‘End Plastic Pollution’

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year to demonstrate Protection of Environment. The theme for 2018 Earth Day is ‘End Plastic Pollution’ by providing information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behavior on plastics usage.

4 major components of this year’s Plastic Pollution campaign are

1. Lead grassroots movement to support adoption of global framework to regulate plastics.

2.  Educate, mobilise and activate citizens across globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution.

3. Educate people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics.

4. Promote local government regulations and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution.

Sunderban may soon get Ramsar Tag

The Government of West Bengal gave its nod to State Department of Forest for the application of ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ tag under Ramsar Convention for Sundarban Reserve Forest.

The Sunderban Forest is located in India and Bangladesh with total area of about 10,000 Sq.Km of which two fifth in India and three fifth in Bangladesh. If the forest is conferred with Ramsar Tag, they will be the largest protected Wetland in India. The tag also helps to gain International Scientific attention and intervention.

As of Forest Survey of India  Report 2017, Sunderbans account for 43% of Mangrove forests of India. Sunderban Reserve became UNESCO Heritage Site in 1997 and was also nominated for New 7 wonders of Nature list.

BS VI Fuel Mandatory in Delhi

From April 1,2018, National Capital Region Delhi became first city in the nation to use BS VI Fuel for Transportation to combat the alarming rate of Air Pollution. Cities like Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Noida, Chennai, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai will use BS VI fuels from Jan 2019 and rest of the country from April 2020.

The main difference between BS IV and BS VI is the emission concentration of Sulphur which is 10 ppm in BS VI against 50 ppm in BS IV, also it brings down emission of Nitrogen Oxides by 50% and bring down the concentration of Particulate matter which are carcinogenic in nature.

Invasive Beetle – A threat to Japan’s Cherry blossom

Red Necked Longhorn Beetle (Aromia bungii) became a serious threat to the famous Cherry Blossom of Japan. The invasive species which has its origin from China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, now invaded Japan through imported Wood Materials. Generally it lives in Trees of Cherry and Plums stripping them of their Barks. In serious infestations, beetle can cause collapse of Trees. Hanami is a Japanese Custom of enjoying the transient beauty of Flowers especially Cherry( Sakura) and Ume (Plums) blooms at end of the March to beginning of May in entire Japan.

New Pollution Forecast System

India joined hands with US and Finland to develop a new Pollution Forecast System. It will help anticipate particulate matter (PM) levels at least two days in advance and at a greater resolution than what is possible now.

A key focus would be to develop forecasts around the “stubble-burning season” that adds to Delhi’s pollution woes in the winter. At present, the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) is by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune which serves as the apex forecaster of pollution trends in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Ahmedabad. The new system generates a likely air quality profile, a day in advance, for these cities. All the activities are coordinated by Ministry of Earth Sciences.

NASA to Study Phytoplankton Blooms

NASA have to study the influence of Tiny Sea Creatures in Earth’s Climate. About half the carbon dioxide emitted into Earth’s atmosphere each year ends up in the ocean, and plankton absorb a lot of it. The North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study (NAAMES) studies the world’s largest plankton bloom and how it gives rise to small organic particles that leave the ocean and end up in the atmosphere, ultimately influencing clouds and climate. Rates of phytoplankton accumulation are critical for understanding the ocean conditions as these are key environmental drivers and controls of biological dynamics.

Brazzaville Declaration

Governments of Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo and Indonesia have jointly signed Brazzaville Declaration for the conservation of World’s Largest Tropical Peatlands, Cuvette Centrale in Congo basin. This was organised under the sidelines of Third Partner Meeting of Global Peatlands Initiative held in Brazzaville, capital of  Republic of Congo.

Peatlands are the Wetlands that contains Mixture of Decomposed Organic Matter, partially submerged in layer of water lacks oxygen and high carbon content. They are World’s Important Carbon Stock. Cuvette Centrale stores three years equivalent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly sizes the area of England.

World’s Smallest Fern Discovered in Gujarat

Ophioglossum malviae of the group Adder’s- Tongue Ferns (named after their resemblance to Snake’s Tongue) is discovered in Ahwa Forest of Western Ghats of Gujarat. It is a 1 cm tall species and smallest of all known Ophioglossum species. Studies report that ferns are seasonal and grow in First Monsoon Rains. It’s spores have thick outer walls which is unique feature compared to other species.

At present, India is home to nearly 14 species of Ophioglossum (total 25-30 species) of which majority of the species were reported from the Western Ghats.

Environment News is compiled by ​‘IMoT’s Cultivate’ Team – Sathees Kumar, Jayalani (B.Sc Sericulture) and Pavithran (B.Sc Agriculture). Follow us in our FB group  and our Telegram channel

This was Originally Published in ‘The Agraria’ an Agri-Environmental monthly e-Magazine. To Receive it to your mail id every month with insightful articles subscribe using the link