Study Material for UPSC IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations - Environment (Other Measures for Targeting Air Pollution)


Study Material for UPSC IAS, Civil Services and State PCS Examinations - Environment (Other Measures for Targeting Air Pollution)


NATIONAL AIR QUALITY INDEX (AQI)

  • It was launched in the year 2014.
  • The index is a part of the government’s Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • AQI provides : ‘One Number- One Colour-One Description’ to judge the Air Quality for Common Man
  • There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe.
  • The AQI considers eight pollutants PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb for which short-term (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed

NATIONAL AMBIENT AIR QUALITY STANDARDS

  • They are the standards for ambient air quality set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that is applicable nationwide.
  • The current National Ambient Air Quality Standards were notified on 18 November 2009 by the Central Pollution Control Board.

NATIONAL AIR QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAMME (NAMP).

  • Central Pollution Control Board is executing a nation-wide programme of ambient air quality monitoring known as National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP).
  • Under N.A.M.P., four air pollutants viz ., Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen as NO2, Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM / PM10) and Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) have been identified for regular monitoring at all the locations.
  • The network consists of 731 operating stations covering 312 cities/towns in 29 states and 6 Union Territories of the country.

SYSTEM OF AIR QUALITY AND WEATHER FORECASTING AND RESEARCH (SAFAR)

  • It is a air quality monitoring and weather forecasting initiative developed by Indian Institute of Tropical
  • Meteorology, Pune, and operationalized by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • It monitors UV-Index, PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Mercury, Black Carbon, Sulfur Dioxide, Ozone, Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, Benzene, Toluene and Xylene.
  • It is implemented in four cities of India – Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

CRZ NOTIFICATION 2018

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018 which was last reviewed and issued in 2011.
  • CRZ notifications are given under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.
  • (CRZ Notification 2018) is based on the recommendations of Shailesh Nayak committee.
  • CRZs have been classified into 4 zones for the purpose of regulation:
  • CRZ-I: includes ecologically sensitive areas, where no construction is allowed except activities for atomic power plants, defence.
  • CRZ-II: includes designated urban areas that are substantially built up. Construction activities are allowed on the landward side only.
  • CRZ-III: includes relatively undisturbed areas, mainly rural areas. No new construction of buildings allowed in this zone except repairing of the existing ones. However, constructions of dwelling units in the plot area lying between 200-500m of the high tide line is allowed.
  • CRZ-IV: Includes the water area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 nautical miles seaward. Except for fishing and related activities, all actions impugning on the sea and tidal water will be regulated in this zone.
  • CRZ Clearances streamlined: Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) will be required to be cleared by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. For, the CRZ-II (urban) or CRZ III (rural) areas, the CRZ clearance will be considered at the state level by the Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA).

SIXTH ANNUAL REPORT TO CBD

Why in News?

  • Recently, India submitted Sixth National Report (NR6) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD);
  • Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held, adopting Sharm El-Sheikh Declaration.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • It seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change.
  • It aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
  • It’s a near universal convention with a participation of 196 member countries.

Protocols adopted under the Convention:

  • Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety: It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
  • Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing: It aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.
  • It also provides for global and national Aichi biodiversity targets.

EARMARKING ECO-SENSITIVE AREA OF THE WESTERN GHATS

Why in news?

  • Centre has released a draft notification for earmarking Eco-Sensitive Area (ESA) in Western Ghats.
  • Various recommendations have been made by the Madhav Gadgil committee and a High-Level Working Group (HLWG)under former ISRO chairman K Kasturi rangan
  • ESZs are ecologically important areas notified under the Environment Protection Act -1986 to be protected from industrial pollution and unregulated development.
  • According to the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the government can prohibit industrial operations such as mining, sand quarrying and building thermal power plants in sensitive areas.
  • The calls to declare the Western Ghats as ESA got louder recently after the Kerala floods. Many environmental experts including Gadgil had blamed it on the rampant destruction of the Western Ghats and the mindless construction and mining activities in ecological fragile areas in the state.
  • In 2012 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the world.

CONSERVATION OF MIGRATORY BIRDS AND THEIR HABITATS

Why in news?

  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has developed a National Action Plan for Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Habitats along Central Asian Flyway (CAF) for the period 2018-23.
  • The NAP has also been drawn to support meeting national commitments related to protection and conservation of migratory birds and their habitats .
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) or Bonn convention
  • It is the only convention under UNEP which provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats ( and their migration routes). India is a member of the convention.
  • Migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I of the Convention.

NATIONAL REDD+ STRATEGY

Why in news?

  • Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released National REDD+ Strategy, which will help to fulfill India’s NDC commitment under Paris Agreement of climate change.

REDD+ :

REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation” It involves conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

  • REDD+ aims to achieve climate change mitigation by incentivizing forest conservation.
  • COP 19, 2013 at Warsaw agreed on Warsaw REDD+ framework
  • It encourages Parties and the private sector to take actions to reduce the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Finance: It encourages financing entities, including the Green Climate Fund in a key role, to channel adequate and predictable results-based finance in a fair and balanced manner, and increasing the number of countries that are in a position to obtain and receive payments for results-based actions
  • It recognizes the importance of incentivizing non-carbon benefits for the long-term sustainability.

LAND DEGRADATION NEUTRALITY

Why in news?

  • Recently a session was held at United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to review the first global assessment of land degradation which seeks to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by 2030.
  • The new UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build
  • As per the UNCCD definition, LDN is a state whereby the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services and enhance food security, remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
  • Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management. The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semiarid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the dry lands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

KATOWICE COP 24

Why in news?

The 24th Session of the of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) was held in Katowice, Poland.

Key outcomes in Katowice

Rulebook Specifics

  • Accounting Guidance Rules to guide the countries for their Climate pledges (“nationally determined contributions”, NDCs), to compare pledges and to add them up as a global aggregate.
  • Market mechanisms: It provides for the trading of carbon credits i.e. overachievement of NDCs, as well as individual projects generating carbon credits for sale.

Other outcomes:

  • Accounting Rules to prevent “double counting” of emissions reductions by the buyer and seller of offsets could not be finalised.
  • The schemes and methodologies for the implementation of Sustainable
  • Development Mechanism- SDM would be discussed in COP-25. The SDM is intended to replace the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism” (CDM) for carbon offsets.
  • Overall Mitigation in Global Emissions (OMGE): It is voluntary and new element under the Paris Agreement, that takes carbon markets beyond the offsetting approaches of the existing markets like the CDM. The primary purpose of OMGE is to deliver on cost-effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions, rather than creating carbon markets for their own sake.
  • Loss and damage: The Warsaw International Mechanism, which has to deal with averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, has no financial resources to support vulnerable countries.
  • Talanoa Dialogue: The final text simply “invited” countries to “consider” the outcomes of the Talanoa dialogue in preparing their NDCs and in efforts to enhance pre-2020 ambition.
  • Pre-2020: With respect to the “pre-2020” commitments –first agreed by developed countries in 2010 in Cancun – the COP called for developed countries to ratify the Doha Amendment so that it can enter into force. This would extend the Kyoto Protocol on developed country emissions till 2020.
  • The Paris Agreement provides for progress assessments (“stocktakes”) every five years .The first full global stocktake will occur in 2023 in order to prepare for a new round of climate commitments, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), by 2025 WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.

TALANOA DIALOGUE SYNTHESIS REPORT AND YEARBOOK OF GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTION 2018

Why in news?

  • UNFCCC released two key publications, Talanoa Dialogue Synthesis Report and Yearbook of Global Climate Action 2018.
  • Emissions Gap Report 2018: This is the 9th edition of the UN Environment Emissions Gap Report.
  • It focuses on the “gap” between the emissions reductions necessary to achieve the agreed targets at lowest cost and the likely emission reductions from full implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which form the foundation of the Paris Agreement.
  • It is prepared by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON CLIMATE CHANGE (NAPCC)

It was launched on 30th June 2008. The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change is in charge of the overall implementation of the plan. It pledges that India’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions “will at no point exceed that of developed countries.”

It constitutes 8 missions

1. National Solar Mission: It targets 100GW of solar power by 2020.
2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency: It builds on the Energy Conservation Act 2013.
3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: It includes Energy Conservation Building Code, urban waste management, incentivising public transport etc.
4. National Water Mission: It has set a goal of a 20% improvement in water use efficiency.
5. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
6. National Mission for a “Green India”: Goal is increase forest/tree cover to the extent of 5 million hectares (mha) and improve quality of forest/tree cover on another 5 mha of forest/non-forest lands
7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: To support climate adaptation in agriculture.
8. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

MONTREAL PROTOCOL

Why in news-

  • The quadrennial (four-yearly) review of the Montreal Protocol reveals a healing ozone layer, global warming reduction potential, and options for more ambitious climate action.

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer [1985] :

  • It acts as a framework for the international efforts to protect the ozone layer.
  • It paves the way for a legally binding treaty through protocol called Montreal protocol.

Montreal Protocol [1987]

  • It aims at reducing the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS).
  • It has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in United Nations history.

Kigali agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol [2016]

  • Its aim is to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s.
  • It will be binding on countries from 2019.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT

Why in news-

  • The IPCC has released its Special Report titled “Global Warming of 1.5°C”, first in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle.

What is the IPCC?

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body with 195 member states for assessing the science related to climate change.
  • It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) & the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

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