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Some important topics of environment

These are excepts from our environment magazine, to download full magazine click here

River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016

Cabinet approves the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities Order, 2016.

Salient Features:

  • Order will provide for Creation of the National Council for River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management), as an Authority for overall responsibility for superintendence of pollution prevention and rejuvenation of river Ganga Basin.

Setting up of an Empowered Task Force

  • Creation of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), as an Authority with powers to issue directions and also to exercise the powers under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and to enable it to carry out efficiently its mandate.
  • At the State level, it is proposed to create the State Ganga Committees in each of the defined States
  • At District Ganga Committees in each of the Ganga Bank Districts will carry out the assigned tasks as an Authority at the district level

Other main features

  • NMCG will take action only in the event when required action is not taken by CPCB.
  • A special focus of the revamped structure would be to maintain required ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.
  • For taking up fast track creation of sewerage treatment infrastructure in Ganga basin, an innovative model based on Hybrid Annuity has also been approved.
  • In order to ensure transparency and cost effectiveness, a provision for concurrent audit, safety audits, research institutions and financial framework has been made.

Ganga Action Plan

The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I was launched in 1985.

Later GAP Phase-II was initiated in 1993 with the objective of improving the water quality of river Ganga

In May, 2015, the Government approved the Namami Gange programme as a comprehensive mechanism to take up initiatives for rejuvenation of river Ganga and its tributaries as a Central Sector Scheme with hundred per cent funding.

Government Declares BS-VI Rollout From 2020

The Union transport ministry will notify the introduction of BSVI emission norms for all vehicles from April 2020, overriding a demand from auto manufacturers to push its rollout by five years.

Prelims related Facts

About BS-VI

  • Standards are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change
  • Objective is to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and Spark ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • Standards are based on European regulations (Euro norms).
  • Current norms in India are BS IV in 33 cities and BS III in the remaining country
  • These norms specify the maximum permissible emission limit for carbon monoxide (CO), Hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrous oxides (NOx) and Particulate matter (PM)

Technologies to be introduced to make vehicles BS IV compliant:-

  • SCR (selective catalytic reduction) module to reduce oxides of nitrogen
  • Vehicles must be fitted with DPF (diesel particulate filter) for Particulate Matter (PM) reduction

Environment Ministry to Allow Hydropower Projects In Bhagirathi ESZ

Despite being termed as “destructive” for water resources by the union ministry, the Uttarakhand government has stuck to its zonal master plan of the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) that proposes to open up the fragile area for hydropower projects above 2 MW, mining, and roads.

This decision is important considering the 2012 notification of the government

2012 notification

In 2012, Centre declared the 100-kilometre stretch along the river Bagirathi, from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi, an ESZ (Eco-sensitive Zone).

Notification prohibited new hydro-electric power plants and expansion of existing plants on this stretch, except micro or mini-hydel power projects up to 2 megawatts (MW),

It also banned all types of mining of minerals except for the domestic needs of residents

Eco-Sensitive Zones

  • Eco-Sensitive Zones are areas notified by the MoEFCC around Protected Areas , National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • Purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas.
  • They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection
  • Government is empowered to declare Eco-Sensitive Zones are declared undersection 3(2)(v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • The width of the ESZ could go up to 10 kms around the protected area.
  • Prohibited activities includes:-
    • Commercial mining,
    • Setting of saw mills and industries causing pollution,
    • Commercial use of firewood
    • And major hydro-power projects
    • tourism activities like flying over protected areas in an aircraft or hot air balloon,
    • Discharge of effluents and solid waste in natural water bodies or terrestrial area
  • Regulated activities includes:-
    • Felling of trees,
    • Drastic change in agriculture systems
    • Commercial use of natural water resource
  • Permitted activities includes:-
    • Ongoing agriculture and horticulture practices by local communities,
    • Rainwater harvesting, organic farming,
    • Adoption of green technology
    • Use of renewable energy sources

Amendment to 1987 Montreal Protocol

In Kigali agreement, nearly 200 countries secured a deal to phase down global climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) by amendments to Montreal Protocols.

About Kigali agreement

  • Countries that ratify the Kigali Amendment, commit to cut the production and consumption of HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years
  • Most developed countries will start reducing HFCs as early as 2019.
  • The move could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius in global warming above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century


  • HFCs  although pose no harm to the ozone layer because, unlike CFCs and HCFCs, they do not contain chlorine but are thousands of times more dangerous than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.
  • HFCs could warm the world by an additional half a degree Celsius by the end of the century.
  • These gases were once identified as a suitable alternative to replace ozone-depleting hydrochloroflurocarbons (HCFCs) that the Montreal Protocol targets for elimination.

Montreal Protocol treaty

  • Montreal Protocol treaty was first signed on Sept. 16, 1987
  • Aim was to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in order to reduce their abundance in the atmosphere.
  • It has undergone eight revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1998 (Australia), 1999 (Beijing) and 2016 (Kigali, adopted, but not in force).

India’s first ‘Green corridor’ inaugurated

The 114-km-long Manamadurai– Rameswaram stretch of Southern Railway became India’s first ‘Green corridor’.

Train would have bio-toilets and there would be zero discharge of human waste on tracks in the section.

Last year, Indian Railway had developed the environment friendly ‘IR-DRDO Bio-toilets’, in association with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

How does bio-toilet work?

  • Anaerobic digestion process is applied for the digestion of human excreta in the bio-toilets.
  • A collection of anaerobic bacteria that has been adapted to work at temperatures as low as -5°C and as high as 50°C act as inocula (seed material).
  • Regenerative type anaerobic bacteria in liquid form poured into the retention tanks in the bio-toilets and the bacteria will help in disintegrating human waste into liquid and bio-gases (mainly Methane CH4 & Carbon Dioxide CO2).
  • The liquid would be chlorinated and discharged with no harm to the environment.
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