National News-Daily Digest: 3 Key Updates
1. WWF report: ‘Huge impact of human activity, 60 per cent fall in wildlife population’
Pressures exerted on the planet has led to a 60 per cent fall in wildlife population and 87 per cent decline in wetlands since 1970, the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018 has warned.
The report paints a very grim picture of human activity on the condition of wildlife, forests, oceans, rivers and the climate. It makes a case for urgent need for the global community to take stock and “collectively rethink and redefine how we value, protect and restore nature”.
Though India is among the countries with the lowest ecological footprint of consumption, the report points out that it is among the worst when it comes to soil biodiversity. The report lists “loss of above ground diversity, pollution and nutrient overloading, intensive agriculture, fire, soil erosion, desertification and climate change” as some of the risk indicators.
The report also lists threats from habitat loss and degradation, over-exploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive species. Specifically, it points to over-exploitation of nature through agriculture and deforestation as major causes.
WWF-India said that over 4,000 species were monitored across the globe, and a 60 per cent decline was noticed between 1970 to 2014. “Average abundance of 16,704 populations representing 4,005 species monitored across the globe declined by 60 per cent between 1970 to 2014,” the report states. Specifically, the report monitored vertebrate species, or animals with a backbone, with database containing information on over 22,000 population of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians.
2. Odisha launches disaster alert system for its coast
The Odisha government launched the much-awaited Early Warning Dissemination System, the first-of-its-kind technology in India, to simultaneously warn coastal communities and fisherfolk about impending cyclone and tsunami through siren towers.
Sirens will go off from 122 towers installed along the 480-km-long coast of the State if a button is pressed in the State emergency centre in Bhubaneswar.
The EWDS, a collaborative effort of the Central and State governments, has been implemented under the assistance of World Bank.
It comprises technologies such as satellite-based mobile data voice terminals, digital mobile radio, mass messaging system and universal communication interface for interoperability. It’s a part of the last-mile connectivity programme under National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project and aims to inform the last man living near the sea in case of an impending cyclone. Six coastal districts —Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri and Ganjam — have been covered under the EWDS.
3. CSIR develops Less Polluting Firecrackers named – SWAS, SAFAL and STAR
CSIR scientists have developed Less Polluting Firecrackers which are not only environment friendly but 15-20 % cheaper than the conventional ones.
These crackers have been named as safe water releaser (SWAS), safe minimal aluminium (SAFAL) and safe thermite cracker (STAR).
The Indian Fireworks industry is over 6000-crore worth of annual turnover and provides employment opportunities to over 5 lakh families directly or indirectly.
This endeavour of CSIR aims at addressing the pollution concerns at the same time protecting the livelihoods of those involved in this trade.
The firecracker manufactures took keen interest with laboratories throughout the process and the new crackers would not require changes in their manufacturing facilities.
First time in India, an Emission testing Facility has been established at CSIR-NEERI and extensive testing is in progress for conventional and green crackers for monitoring the emissions and sound.