- Clean Energy related
- Energy: Solar cooperative farms
- Energy: Hydel
- Agriculture and Food
- Bread Carcinogens
- Wheat Blast
- Flora Fauna
- Marine Biodiversity
- Earth, Climate Change, Disasters
- Mains GS3: Pollution
- Salt Pan workers &Law commission
- Silicosis and Supreme Court
- Science Technology
- Resuable space shuttle
- Atomic Force Microscope
- In the previous part, we saw polity related current affairs from May-2016.
- This part contains Environment and science technology related current affairs from May-2016.
Clean Energy Related
Energy: Solar cooperative farms
Solar Cooperative in Kheda District, Gujarat
- SPICE: Solar Pump irrigator cooperative enterprise
- Farmers in Dhundi village of Kheda district of Gujarat, have started SPICE- solar cooperative, wherein they install solar irrigation pump in their farm with state government subsidy.
- Excess electricity is sold off to Madhya Gujarat Vij Ltd. For Rs. 4.63 /unit. For 25 years’ contract.
- Company can also sell off renewable energy certificates (REC) based on this purchase.
- A farmer with 1 ht. land can hope to earn Rs.60,000/- per year from selling excess solar electricity.
- Farmer can also cultivate cash crops like spinach, carrot, garlic, beet and medicinal plants in the shadow below the solar panels. Thus optimal landuse.
- 2008: National Hydro power policy 2008: Arunanchal has ~50,000 out of ~1.5 lakh MW total hydropower potential of India.
- 2015: Dibang Multi purpose project (2880MW): India’s largest hydropower project – it was given clearance by government of India in 2015.
- May 2016: Anti-dam protests in Tawang. A Buddhist monk died in Police firing.
|Athirapally Hydel project
- It is to be constructed on Kerala’s Chalakkudi river in Thrissur district.
- New LDF government wishes to construct but tribal and coalition partners are opposed.
Energy Misc. developments in May 2016
|Ujala LED scheme
- By Gujarat state government
- LED bulb to be sold @ concessional rate of Rs.80 (household) and Rs.90 (Commercial purpose).
||India Nepal are planning to setup energy bank to help each other during power shortage issues.
- Meaning “Green Tamilnadu“. This is the ‘first’ Green party of TN, floated by one of the anti-nuke protestors.
- Their Election symbol is “Pot”.
Agriculture and Food
- Potassium bromate (KBrO3):- oxidizing agent, used in flour treatment to make bread white, fluffy, soft and elastic. Causes cancer.
- Potassium iodate (KIO3):– flour treatment agent, causes thyroid disorders.
- Many 1st world countries prohibit use of these chemicals in bread.
- But Centre for science and environment (CSE) has found these chemicals in major bread/pizza/burger brands of India.
Wheat Blast- Bangladeshi worry, Indian neednot
- Fungal disease originated from Brazil. It affects heads of the wheat stalk, and difficult to be treated by fungicides.
- Widespread in Bangladesh after they imported wheat seeds from Brazil without proper quality check.
- Bangladesh Government advised farmers to burn down the crop, and not to sow seeds from infected plots.
- India need not worry since our wheat harvest season mostly over, so less chances of disease spread.
Misc. developments in May-2016
- National conference on “Gaushalas” (Cowsheds), organized jointly by Agriculture and Environment ministries at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan.
|GM compulsory licensing
- Earlier government had notified that GM-technology Licensor can’t refuse license to any seed company to use its technology in their hybrid varieties.
- GM Tech-Companies opposed this notification, and just like EPFO fiasco, here too government withdrew the notification.
|Black necked crane
- Black necked cranes are considered to be embodiment of 6th Dalai Lama.
- Nyamjang Chhu river in Tawan region of Arunanchal is one of their Wintering site.
- NGT ordered government to conduct a study here on impact of hydel project.
- At present IUCN “Near Threatened Category”. But a group of researchers gave data of their declined population and demanded “Vulnerable” status.
|Man eater lions
- Lions have now settled in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat. According to the 2015 census, there are 523 lions in the region.
- In recent times they’ll killed and eaten more than 4 humans
- Forest department has encaged ~13 lions.
- MicroRNA is a small non-coding RNA molecule- that is not translated into a protein.
- Researchers studying the microRNA of Lizard because it plays important role in regeneration of its tail.
|Spirit of Freedom
- This is a project by an International NGO to rescue circus lions and other caged animals from South America and rehabilitate them to South Africa via “airlift” but without Akshay Kumar
- Scientists found a new species of wasp (Conobregma bradpitti) and named it after Hollywood actor Brad Pitt.
El-Nino & Coral Bleaching
- New study says El Nino→ hot water→ more stress on corals, ultimately they become white and vulnerable to diseases. 30% of Great barrier reef’s coral destroyed by Coral bleaching.
- Corollary to that, Hurricane/storms → cold water → less stress on corals
- For more about Coral bleaching- watch Rajtanil’s lecture G5/P2
Palau Jellyfish Lake
- It’s a group of islands in W.Pacific ocean. They’re part of UNESCO world heritage site.
- Earlier tourist attraction for “Jellyfish lake” for presence of Golden jellyfish which don’t sting, so you can swim without worry.
- But suddenly all jellyfish gone! Researcher blame it to climate change → Less rain → lake became more salty → uninhabitable for this particular species of jellyfish.
Wetland draft rules
- Government has sought public comments on new draft rules 2016 for Wetland conversation. They’ll replace 2010’s old rules.
- India has 26 of the total 169 Ramsar wetland sites. Ramsar agreement was signed in 1971 in Iran’s Ramsar.
- Notable wetlands in India: Wular Lake-Jammu Kashmir, Ashtamudi- Kerala, Deepor Beel- Assam and Nal Sarovar- Gujarat.
- More you can read in Indianexpress Q&A series (although as such no point, because these are still ‘draft’ rule. After they’re officially publish, you should worry.)
Earth, Climate Change, Disasters
- Scientists say Earth’s watermass is shifting because of global warming, droughts and melting of glaciers.
- And consequently, the earth’s spin axis is drifting towards Canada. See above image.
- Relevance in MCQ– Which of the following factors can affect earth’s spin axis?
||Hit Bangladesh’s southern coast. >20 killed, >5 lakh evacuated.
||13 states and 25% population of India is affected by drought but inter-linking of rivers can solve the problem, says Rural development minister in parliament.
- Uttrakhand forest fire- main reason dry chir pine needles. Jim Corbett and Rajaji National Park destroyed.
- MI-17 helicopters used for collecting water from Koteshwar dam in Srinagar to douze the fire.
- Venezula’s Maracibo Lighthouse is called “Lightning capital” of the world, because it recieves lightening strikes during 80% of the year.
- This volcano erupted. Location: North Sumatra, Indonesia
- 7 years ago, Satellite imagery detected formation of new land mass near Mumbai sea.
- Size of this land piece: – 15 sqkm, it is formed via natural sedimentation.
- Now’s its part of official Mumbai, but will be treated as a “Natural area”- no construction permitted.
- Army concerned, that early onset of summer and less snowfall this year- will increase terrorist infiltration.
Mains GS3: Pollution
Salt Pan workers &Law commission
Salt Production World Ranking: USA > China > India. And within India- Gujarat> TN> Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh
Salt pan workers suffer from following occupational diseases
|Skin ulcer/chronic dermatitis
- Due to constant exposure to sharp salt crystals. Gloves, boots not given.
- Legs abnormally thin- don’t burn in pyre →legs buried in graves, separately.
|Pterygia- loss of vision
- Exposure to white reflected light & dust. Eye-googles not given.
- Salt particles/aerosols inhaled. Masks not given
- Heat-sealing of salt in plastic bags.
- Makeshift hemlets without LPG/kerosene. Firewood used.
- Non-iodised salt used for domestic consumption.
- Topic in news: because Gujarat State law commission chief Justice MB Shah (SC-Black money SIT fame) took suo-moto notice and criticized government for violation of Art. 21 and Art. 42.
- Ultimately, 1st May (International Labour day), Government of Gujarat initiated some reforms.
Silicosis and Supreme Court
- Silicosis is an occupational disease in quartz and stone crushing industries.
- Inhaled silica crystals scar your lunch tissues, breathing becomes difficult. There is no cure for it.
- SC orders Gujarat government to pay Rs.7 crore compensation to Silicosis victims in Godhara. Most of them poor migrants from Madhya Pradesh.
- SC also issued bailable warrant against chief of Central pollution control board in this case.
Pollution related developments in May-2016
- Truck, bus, taxi, van etc are examples of commercial vehicles, at present there is no deadline on their usage- just regulary they’ve to produce fitness certificate.
- GoM of state minister recommends that commercial vehicles should not to be allowed to operate for more than eight years.
- Union request SC to reconsider the ban on diesel vehicles in Delhi because they provide transport facility to BPO employees- which generates lot of employment and GDP.
- NGT bans 10 years old diesel vehicles in 6 cities of Kerala.
|Most polluted city
- WHO urban air quality database 2016: Iran’s Zabol replaces Delhi as the most polluted city on PM 2.5 particles.
- Other UPSC toppers are – Gwalio, Allahabad, Riyadh and Al Jubali (S.Arabia), Patna, Raipur.
- This data is based on 2012-14 records, before AAP’s odd-even experiment.
Resuable space shuttle (RSV)
Image taken from Indianexpress
- To launch a satellite Payload, we need a “Launch vehicle”.
- Two major types of Launch Vehicles are PSLV and GSLV. Read my old notes for more on them
- But these launch vehicles get burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere.
- So, to minimize the cost and increase the frequency of launches, ISRO came up with idea of Reusable launch vehicle and conducted a technology demonstration in 2016, May.
- Criticism: its R&D and mfg. cost is far exceeding the cost of existing non-reusable launch vehicles.
Atomic Force Microscope
- Electron microscopes use electron beams to illuminate object for observation.
- Atomic Force Microscopes use sharp needle with dimensions of few nanometers. This needle ‘feels’ the geometry of the object and creates its picture.
- Problem: needles have to be replaced frequently.
Misc. terms: 2016, May from newspapers
- 2009: NASA launched Keper Mission to find terrestrial planets with habitable zones and possible life forms.
- At present Kepler found 1,200 more planets and NASA analyzing its data.
||Genetic disorder. Extra copper accumulation in tissues that damages neurons and liver.
||Nickname of two brothers in Pakistan, who become paralyzed every day after sunset.
||Gullian Barre Syndrome – body’s immune system attacks nervous system.
Next Part: IR, Defense, Internal security developments in May 2016.