August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (25-08-19)

PROJECT SU.RE

Related Topics: Sustainable Fashion, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

News

  • The Union Minister for Textiles has launched Project SU.RE, a move towards sustainable fashion, at Lakmé Fashion Winter/Festive 2019, in Mumbai.
  • It is an initiative by Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI); United Nations in India; and IMG Reliance, the organizers of Lakme Fashion Week.

What is SU.RE?

  • RE stands for Sustainable Resolution – a firm commitment from the industry to move towards fashion that contributes to a clean environment.

About Project SU.RE

  • This is the first holistic effort by the apparel industry towards gradually introducing a broader framework for establishing critical sustainability goals for the industry.
  • This framework would help the industry reduce its carbon emissions, increase resource efficiency, tackle waste and water management, and create positive social impact to achieve long-term sustainability targets.​
  • It aims to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, especially SDG-12 for responsible consumption and production.
  • The launch of the project was supported by Lenzing EcoVero (which stands for ecologically responsible production of viscose fibre made from the renewable & certified raw material wood) and R Elan which produces Green Gold fibre made from 100% used PET bottles, with one of the lowest carbon footprints globally.

The five-point Sustainable Resolution

  • Develop a complete understanding of the environmental impact of the garments being currently produced by our brand.
  • Develop a sustainable sourcing policy for consistently prioritizing and utilizing certified raw materials that have a positive impact on the environment.
  • Make the right decisions about how, where, and what we source across the value chain by selecting sustainable and renewable materials and processes and ensuring their traceability.
  • Communicate our sustainability initiatives effectively to consumers and media through our online and physical stores, product tags/labelling, social media, advertising campaigns and events.
  • Through these actions, shift a significant percentage of our supply chain to a sustainable chain by the year 2025, addressing critical global issues such as climate change, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

[Sources: PIB, UNDP website]

 

FIRES IN AMAZON RAINFOREST

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Natural Disasters

News

  • Fires in Amazon rainforest have increased by 84 per cent this year, according to satellite data released by Brazil’s space research agency.
  • The National Institute for Space Research, Brazil detected 72,000 fires between January and August, 2019, the highest since 2013.
  • The fire caused an hour-long daytime blackout in the city of Sao Paulo owing to smoke coming from a forest burning 2,700 km away.

Forest Fires in Amazon

  • Fires are a regular and natural occurrence in the Amazon during the dry season.
  • In Amazon, when an area of forest is cleared, the tree trunks are removed and the rest of the vegetation is burned on the spot during the dry season, which lasts from July to November.
  • The dramatic scale of this year’s fires is the result of a significant acceleration of deforestation for the lumber industry, for agriculture or for other human activities.
  • Farmers wait for the dry season and they start burning and clearing the areas so that their cattle can graze.
  • Environmental activists also blame Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has encouraged such tree-clearing activities for agriculture and mining.

Deforestation

  • Deforestation in Amazon began in the 1970s, reaching its peak rate at the end of the 1990s and the start of the 2000s.
  • In 2004, about 28,000 square km of forest had been cleared in Brazil alone.
  • The Amazon spreads over nine countries, but 60 per cent of the rainforest is in Brazil.
  • According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), about 2,900 square miles of rainforest disappeared last year.

Climate Change

  • When a tree is cut, the carbon inside will re-enter the atmosphere years later, at the end of its use cycle when it decomposes.
  • When vegetation is burned, as is happening now, the carbon enters the atmosphere immediately.
  • Thus forest fires will contribute to enhancing the rate of climate change.

Significance of Amazon

  • The Amazon is the largest tropical forest in the world.
  • It covers more than five million square kilometres across nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
  • It acts as an enormous carbon sink, storing up to an estimated 100 years worth of carbon emissions produced by humans.
  • It is seen as vital to slowing the pace of global warming.
  • The Amazon forest, which produces about 20% of earth’s oxygen, is often referred to as “the planet’s lungs.

Way Forward

  • Reducing wildfires requires going beyond addressing the ignition sources and fighting the flames themselves, and also encouraging actions that limit forest flammability.
  • Tackling deforestation remains the key as it exposes forest edges to the hotter and drier microclimate of agricultural land, and contributes to regional reductions in rainfall.
  • Climate change itself is making dry seasons longer and forests more flammable.
  • Addressing these challenges requires integrated national and global actions, collaboration between scientists and policy makers and long-term funding approaches.
[Sources: The Hindu, Down To Earth, The Conservation]

 

CLOUDED LEOPARD (NEOFELIS NEBULOSA)

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Wildlife Protection

Why in News

A research paper published by over 20 researchers from across the globe has helped understand clouded leopard’s habitats, migration corridors and laid out the conservation strategies.

Research

  • By using over 3,000 trap locations spread over 45 sites, the model looked at nine countries (Bhutan, Nepal, India, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) and suggested that only 9.44% of the studied region was ‘highly’ suitable for clouded leopards.
  • Clouded leopard presence was positively associated with forest cover and rain, suggesting that deforestation and reduction in rainfall patterns as a result of climate change may negatively influence clouded leopard distributions.

Indian Scenario

  • In India, the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram was chosen as the study site.
  • Dampa was one of the tiger reserves where tigers were estimated to be zero as part of the latest all India tiger estimation exercise.
  • Dampa had one of the highest population densities of clouded leopards, from the sites surveyed.
  • With over 350 sq. km. of prey rich forests, very low human presence, and a terrain that is very hard to access, which generally works acts as a deterrent to human movement, aids the survival of clouded leopards here.

About Clouded Leopard

  • They are named after the cloud-shaped patterns on its skin.
  • They are typical rain-forest dwellers but can also be found in the drier forests of Southeast Asia.
  • It has relatively short legs and broad paws which make it excellent at climbing trees.
  • In India, it occurs in North-East and West Bengal.
  • It is the state animal of Meghalaya.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable in IUCN red list.
  • Clouded leopards primarily live in lowland tropical rainforests, but can also be found in dry woodlands and secondary forests.
[Source: The Hindu]

 

GENUS MESOVELIA

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Zoological Survey of India

Why in News

Scientists of the Zoological Survey of India have discovered seven species of water treaders, semi-aquatic insects that can walk or run on the surface of water.

News in Detail

  • The newly described species belong to the genus Mesovelia whose size ranges from 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm.
  • They are equipped with hydrophobic setae (bristles) on their legs.
  • The combination of hydrophobic setae and water surface tension prevents them from sinking.
  • The insects are pale green with silver-white wings with black veins on the basal half which make them stand out over the green mat of aquatic weeds.
  • There are 12 species of genus Mesovelia found in the country.

How it is different from water striders?

  • Other than the size, there are morphological features that make these pond-weed insects different from water striders.
  • The claws of Mesovelia are placed apically (tip or extreme end of legs), whereas in water striders, they arise from the pre-apex (just before the tip) of legs.

New species discovered

  • Mesovelia andamana (Andaman Islands)
  • bispinosa and M. Isiasi (Meghalaya)
  • occulta and M. Tenuia (Tamil Nadu)
  • brevia and M. Dilatata (Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu)

[Source: The Hindu]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

‘ORDER OF ZAYED’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was honoured with the ‘Order of Zayed’, the UAE’s highest civilian award as a mark of appreciation for his efforts to boost bilateral ties between the two nations. With an annual bilateral trade of about $60 billion, the UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner. It is also the fourth-largest exporter of crude oil for India.

AKADEMIK LOMONOSOV

Russia launched the world’s first floating nuclear reactor, sending it on an epic journey across the Arctic, despite environmentalists warning of a “Chernobyl on ice.” Loaded with nuclear fuel, the Akademik Lomonosov left the Arctic port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 km voyage to Pevek in northeastern Siberia. Nuclear agency Rosatom claims that the reactor is a simpler alternative to building a conventional plant in isolated places where ground is frozen all year round, and it intends to sell such reactors abroad.

FLY ASH

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have developed a cheap waterproofing material by coating fly ash, a waste by-product from coal-based thermal power plants, with stearic acid, which is a surfactant. While fly ash is extremely water-loving (hydrophilic), it turns into a highly water-repelling surface once coated with stearic acid.

HYDROGEN SENSOR

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur in collaboration with IIT Hyderabad have developed a sensor that can detect hydrogen gas even when present at extremely low concentration of 1 part per million (ppm). Hydrogen gas is a pollution-free, renewable source of energy and is seen as a fuel of choice in the future.

DURAND CUP

Gokulam Kerala FC has won Durand Cup 2019 football tournament by beating Mohun Bagan and became the 2nd club from Kerala to win the crown. FC Kochin was the 1st Kerala club to claim title in 1997. Durand Cup is Asia’s oldest football tournament, which was founded in the year 1888.

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