- In March 2017 in Delhi, Stage II of HCFC Phase Out Management Plan (HPMP) was launched in India by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in lieu with its Montreal Protocol Agreement.
- Aim: To terminate the use of a harmful ozone-depleting substance (ODS)
- Hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which is at present used by many industries including air-conditioning, foam manufacturing, etc., and substitute it by a non-ODS technology. The plan is for the period 2017-23, however, the ultimate goal is to cease the use of these HCFCs by 2030 under an accelerated plan.
- USD 44.1 million provided by the multilateral fund, which was set up under the protocol, for India’s HPMP plan will be used for aiding industries in the process of switching to alternatives and training manpower.
Measures to be taken under this plan:
- Approximately 400 enterprises of industries, including foam manufacturing and air-conditioning, will be provided with support for conversion from HCFCs to non-HCFC technologies.
- Under HPMP-II, around 16000 service technicians will be trained resulting in the reduction of emission of about 8.5 million metric tonnes annually from 2023 onwards.
- In order to increase and multiply the impact of skill and training, appropriate emphasis to synergize the Refrigeration and Servicing (RAC) servicing sector will be provided with the Skill India Mission.
- Energy efficient methods, development of cold chains with non-HCFC alternatives and new standards development for non-ODS will be promoted under this plan.
- Montreal Protocol was ratified by 197 countries in the year 1989 becoming the first universally ratified protocol in the UN history.
- Under this protocol, the accelerated phase out of HCFCs with the aim to completely phase out these ozone layer depleting chemicals by 2030 is underway. This agreement has proven to be a great success as it as phased out around more than 95% of the ODS in a span of less than 30 years.
- India in the past has been able to successfully eradicate the earlier generation of refrigerants, that is, Halon and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in its phase I and now has launched this phase II to phase out HCFCs as well.
– News post compiled By Shivalika Srivastava
- A Cloud Seeding Project worth Rs. 250 crore coordinated by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology has been approved by the Maharashtra Government for the 2017 monsoons so as to produce sufficient rain.
- Weather scientists will be using aircrafts to spray chemicals (silver iodide) over clouds hovering over Solapur district, a rain shadow region of Western Ghats in the state during 2017 monsoons.
- This will be the first controlled experiment to quantify the extent to which clouds form water drops large enough to make rain. Also it will be the beginning to answer a three-year investigation into an old question: does cloud seeding produce sufficient rain?
Courtesy: Izudin Ismail, Star Graphics
- China has already used this technique during the 2008 Olympics to veer rain away from the inaugural venue and now has a full-fledged department that blasts rockets into clouds to induce rain and control pollution.
- In the past also Maharashtra has planned to implement this program because of the frequency of droughts over the Vidarbha region. The State Cabinet had approved a plan to seed clouds for 113 hours with a rainfall level of 1,381mm, at ₹28 crore. However above-normal rains pushed the plan to the back-burner.
- Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences claims that the benefits of cloud seeding aren’t well understood. He also said that it’s time our country had a proper scientific evaluation that State governments could rely upon.
– News post compiled by Aditi Mishra
- Crustaceans like Hirondellea Gigas, living about 33,000 ft down in the Pacific Ocean are lately found to be polluted by PCBs and PBDE chemicals.
- Scientists conducted their study by catching creatures in the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific, which is the deepest point on the seabed.
- They are shocked by the high levels of poison.
- Scientists stated that the reason for the high concentration may be the trash or the remains of contaminated fish that sink and build up on sea-beds and provide food for the scavengers.
- Polychlorinated Biphenyls are a group of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) that were used in electrical equipment and Polybrominated Diphenyl ethers are organobromine compounds used as flame retardants.
- In 2001, at the Stockholm Convention, the governments of many States decided to outlaw the PCBs because of health and environmental concerns.
- In 2009, at the Geneva Convention, the PBDEs were also included in the list.
– News post compiled by Ayushi Singh
- There are many products in Kerala to get a GI tag such as Pokkali rice, Tirur Betel vine, Vazhakulam Pineapple, Wayanadan rice varieties Jeerakasala and Gandhakasala, Central Travancore Jaggery and Chengalikodan Nendran, a banana variety.
- The newest addition to the GI family in Kerala is Nilambur Teak which is known internationally for its elegant appearance and superior timber quality.
- The GI tag was applied by IPR Cell of the Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) with the support of the Nilambur Teak Heritage Society, the Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) and the Department of Forests.
- Britishers were first to identify the unique quality of teak from Nilambur plantations and forests. Afterwards, this region became the major supplier of superior quality teak in the world.
- Nilambur was christened the Mecca of Teak because of its superior physical and mechanical properties as well as aesthetic appearance, the teak was exported to England and other parts of the world.
- A railway line was laid down; Nilambur-Shoranur Railway line, for transporting the teak logs.
- However, as the export of Nilambur teak increased, fake products with false tags also started flooding the wood and furniture markets.
- The preparations for registering Nilambur teak were initiated with a workshop of stakeholders organised by Kerala Agricultural University in 2013. The application for GI registration was submitted to the GI Registry, Chennai, in December 2015. The formality of bestowing the GI tag on Nilambur teak is expected at the next sitting of the Registry, scheduled for the end of February.
What is Geographical Indication?
- GI tag is an insignia on products which have a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regards to its special quality or reputation attributes.
- The status given to the products marks its authenticity and ensures that registered authorised users are allowed to use the popular product name.
- Benefits of GI Status
- Legal protection to the products is provided
- Unauthorised use of a GI tag products by others is prevented
- Consumers are helped to get quality products of desired traits
- Producers of GI tag goods through enhanced demand in national and international markets are benefitted economically.
- Legal Authorities associated with GI: Under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, it is covered as an element of intellectual property rights (IPRs).
- Also at the international level, GI is governed by World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
- Geographical Indications of goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force in September 2003 governs the GI registration in India. Darjeeling tea was the first product to be accorded with GI tag in India.
– News post compiled by Ritika Ranka
- A survey of 279 beaches around UK has revealed that almost three-fourths of the beaches are littered with tiny plastic ‘nurdles’.
- The finding is the result of ‘The Great Winter Nurdle Hunt Survey’ involving over 600 volunteers during early February organized by Madeleine Berg of Fidra, a Scottish environmental charity.
- The largest number of nurdles recorded was at Widemouth Bay, Cornwall, where 33 volunteers collected around 127,500 pellets on a 100-metre stretch of beach.
- There were also some beach hunts that yielded no nurdles at all like Spurn Point in Yorkshire and Sully beach in South Wales.
- The lentil sized nurdles or pellets are used as raw material to make plastic products. They are main sources of primary micro plastics.
- They can cause significant harm to birds and fish which eat them accidently.
Courtesy: Natalie Welden, BBC
Causes and Effects:
- The volunteers of the survey estimate that roughly 53 billion of the tiny pellets escape into the UK’s environment each year during the manufacture, transport or use of plastic products.
- They are usually accidently spilt into oceans and rivers or fall into drains from where they get washed off to seas.
- 230,000tonnes of nurdles are estimated to be entering the ocean in Europe annually.
- The nurdles soak up the chemical pollutants from their surroundings and then release dangerous toxins into the body of animals that accidently consume them.
- Simple precautionary measures can help reduce the spillages and ensure that the nurdles do not end up in the environment.
- Adoption of best and efficient practices along the full plastic supply chain is necessary for putting an end to further nurdle pollution.
– News post compiled by Merrin Muhammed Ashraf
- World’s smallest porpoise, Mexico’s Vaquita Marina is close to extinction as warned by scientists lately.
- The International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA) reported that the situation has worsened despite all the conservation measures and the current enforcement efforts.
- The scientists also stated that unless the current gill net ban is maintained and effectively enforced, the porpoise is likely to decline to extinction by 2022.
- In a possibly last effort to save the Vaquitas, scientists are planning to get the government approval and capture Vaquita specimens and put them in an enclosure in the Gulf of California so that they can reproduce.
- The tiny Vaquita Porpoise is found only in the shallow waters of Gulf of California.
- Vaquita Porpoise which means the ‘little cow’ is the most endangered of the 128 marine mammals alive in the world.
- In response to this, a number of steps have been taken and are being taken by the Mexican Government.
– News post compiled by Ayushi Singh