Environment and Ecology Previous Year Questions (PYQs) | UPSC Mains Examination

Environment and Ecology Previous Year Questions (PYQs) | UPSC Mains Examination

On this page, you will find all the updates related to the previous year’s questions of subject Environment and Ecology for the UPSC IAS Mains examination.

General Studies paper III of the UPSC Mains covers the major topics of biodiversity and the environment.

Q.1) What is oil pollution? What are its impacts on the marine ecosystem? In what way is oil pollution particularly harmful for a country like India? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2023]

Q.2) The adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing worldwide. How do electric vehicles contribute to reducing carbon emissions and what are the key benefits they offer compared to traditional combustion engine vehicles? [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2023]

Q.3) Comment on the National Wetland Conservation Programme initiated by the Government of India and name a few India’s wetlands of international importance included in the Ramsar Sites. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2023]

Q.4) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted a global sea level rise of about one metre by AD 2100. What would be its impact in India and the other countries in the Indian Ocean region? [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2023]

Q.5) Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in the light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2022]

Q.6) Discuss in detail the photo chemical smog emphasizing its formation, effects and mitigation. Explain the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2022]

Q.7) Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2021]

Q.8) Describe the key points of the revised Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) recently released by the World Health Organisation (WHO). How are these different from its last update in 2005? What changes in India’s National Clean Air Programme are required to achieve these revised standards? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2021]

Q.9) Explain the purpose of the Green Grid Initiative launched at World Leaders Summit of the COP26UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November,2021. When was this idea first floated inthe International Solar Alliance (ISA)? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2021]

Q.10) How does the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 differ from the existing EIA Notification, 2006? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2020]

Q.11) What are the salient features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for water conservation and water security? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2020]

Q.12) What are the key features of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) initiated by the Government of India? [250 Words] [15 Marks] [2020]

Q.13) Coastal sand mining, whether legal or illegal, poses one of the biggest threats to our environment. Analyze the impact of sand mining along the Indians coasts, citing specific examples. [150 Words][10 Marks] [2019]

Q.14) Define the concept of carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for sustainable development of a region. [250 Words] [15 marks] [2019]

Q.15) What are the impediments in disposing the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2018]

Q.16) What is wetland? Explain the Ramsar concept of ‘wise use’ in the context of wetland conservation. Cite two examples of Ramsar sites from India. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2018]

Q.17) Sikkim is the first ‘Organic State’ in India. What are the ecological and economic benefits of Organic State? [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2018]

Q.18) How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act,2002 helpful in conservation of flora and fauna? [250 Words] [15 marks] [2018]

Q.19) Not many years ago,river linking was a concept but it is becoming reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment. [150 Words] [10 Marks] [2017]

Q.20) ‘Climate Change’ is a global problem. How India will be affected by climate change? How Himalayan and coastal states of India will be affected by climate change? [250 Words] [15 marks] [2017]

Q.21) Rehabilitation of human settlements is one of the important environmental impacts which always attracts controversy while planning major projects. Discuss the measures suggested from mitigation of this impact while proposing major developmental projects. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2016]

Q.22) Discuss the Namami Gange and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) programmes and causes of mixed results from the previous schemes. What quantum leaps can help preserve the river Ganga better than incremental inputs? [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2015]

Q.23) Should the pursuit of carbon credits and clean development mechanisms set up under UNFCCC be maintained even though there has been a massive slide in the value of a carbon credit? Discuss with respect to India’s energy needs for economic growth. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2014]

Q.24) Environmental Impact Assessment studies are increasingly undertaken before a project is cleared by the Government. Discuss the environmental impacts of coal-fired thermal plants located at coal pitheads. [200 Words] [12.5 Marks] [2014]

Q.25) What are the consequences of Illegal mining? Discuss the Ministry of Environment and Forest’s concept of GO AND NO-GO zones for coal mining sector. [200 Words] [10 Marks] [2013]

Q.26) Enumerate the National Water Policy of India. Taking river Ganges as an example, discuss the strategies which may be adopted for river water pollution control and management. What are the legal provisions of management and handling of hazardous wastes in India? [200 Words] [10 Marks] [2013]

Trends of Environment and ecology PYQs for UPSC Mains

In recent years, the examination trend has shown that questions related to environment carry a weightage of 10 to 15 marks.

In the UPSC Mains examination, you may encounter several questions related to environment. It’s important to note that these questions demand understanding of both basics and dynamic portion of the subjects.

Many questions in this domain are related to current environmental issues and policies. Candidates are required to stay updated with the latest developments and their implications for the environment. Questions related to environmental laws, international conventions, and national policies are also common.

The mains questions for environment in recent years have covered a wide range of topics. In 2023, questions were on the oil pollution, electric vehicles, National Wetland Conservation Programme, global sea level rise. In the year 2022, questions were asked on the topics such as global warming and Kyoto Protocol, photo chemical smog and Gothenburg Protocol. The 2021 examination included a question regarding the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP), revised Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) and India’s National Clean Air Programme, Green Grid Initiative and International Solar Alliance (ISA). In 2020, there was a question related to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

YearTotal Marks weightage
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