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Environment

12. ENVIRONMENT

  • THE Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is the nodal agency in the central government for overseeing the implementation of India’s environment and forest policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country’s natural resources including lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals and prevention and abatement of pollution.
  • The Ministry is also the nodal agency for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
  • The Ministry also coordinates with multilateral bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and regional bodies such as Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) on matters pertaining to the environment.

National level organizations under the Ministry

Botanical Survey of India

  • It is the apex research organization under Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Govt. of India for carrying out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of the country.
  • It was established in 1890 with the basic objective to explore the plant resources of the country and to identify the plants species with economic virtues.
  • Sir George King, the then Superintendent of the ‘Royal Botanic Garden’ Calcutta was appointed as first ex-officio Honorary Director of the BSI.
  • After independence, the department was reorganized in 1954 by Government of India as a part of scientific development of the country.
  • During the successive plan periods, the functional base of BSI was further expanded to include various new areas such as inventorying of endemic, rare and threatened plant species; evolving conservation strategies; studies on fragile ecosystems and protected areas, like wildlife sanctuaries, national parks and biosphere reserves, multiplication and maintenance of endemic and threatened plant species, wild ornamentals, etc.

Zoological Survey of India

  • It is a premier research institution under the Ministry has completed 100 years of services to the Nation, undertaking survey, exploration and research leading to the advancement of our knowledge on the exceptionally rich faunal diversity of the country since its inception in 1916.
  • Over the successive plan periods functions of ZSI have also expanded gradually encompassing areas like the Environmental Impact Assessment with regard to fauna; a survey of conservation areas; a status survey of endangered species; computerization of digitization of data on faunal resources; supporting the enforcement of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; establishment of marine aquaria and Museum for awareness on conservation etc., and acts as a custodian of the National Zoological Collections.
  • Headquarters are at Kolkata and 16 Regional centres are located at different parts of the country.

Forest Survey of India

  • FSI, a national level organization under the Ministry is engaged in the assessment of the country’s forest resources on a regular interval.
  • Established in 1981, the Forest Survey of India succeeded the “Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources” (PISFR), a project initiated in 1965 by Government of India with the sponsorship of FAO and UNDP.
  • The main objective of PISFR was to ascertain the availability of raw material for the establishment of wood-based industries in selected areas of the country.
  • In its report in 1976, the National Commission on Agriculture (NCA) recommended the creation of a National Forest Survey Organization for the collection of reliable data through countrywide comprehensive forest resources survey at regular intervals.
  • Consequently, PISFER was reorganized into FSI in June 1981.
  • After a critical review of activities, the mandate of FSI was refined in 1986 in order to make it more relevant to the rapidly changing needs and aspirations of the country.

Biodiversity Conservation:

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of the key agreements adopted during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
  • The objectives of CBD are: conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources.
  • Pursuant to the ratification of the CBD by India in 1994, several steps were initiated to meet the commitments under the Convention and to realize the opportunities offered by the Convention.
  • These efforts were aimed at bringing the legislative, administrative and policy regimes in tune with the three-fold objectives of the CBD.
  • India enacted the Biological Diversity (BD) Act in 2002 to give effect to the provision of this Convention.
  • India also prepared a National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) in 2008, and an Addendum to NBAP in 2014 with 20 national targets on biodiversity.
  • The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) adopted under the aegis of CBD in 2010, is aimed at fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.

Biodiversity Conservation

Biosphere Reserves

  • The idea of ‘Biosphere Reserves’ was intiated by UNESCO in 1973-74 under its Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme.
  • The MAB, launched in 1970 by UNESCO.
  • Aimed to develop within the natural and social sciences a basis for the rational use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the relationship between man and the environment.
  • The Indian National Man and Biosphere (MAB) Committee identifies and recommends potential sites for designation as Biosphere Reserves, following the UNESCO’s guidelines and criteria.
  • There are 18 designated Biosphere Reserves (BRs).
  • Out of 18 Biosphere Reserves, 10 Biosphere Reserves have been included in the world Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.
  • Implementing organizations are the concerned states/UT government, environment and forest departments/line departments.

Biodiversity Conservation Scheme Relating to Biosafety

  • The scheme on Biodiversity Conservation was initiated during 1991-92 during the 8th Plan period, to ensure coordination among various agencies dealing with the issues relating to conservation of biodiversity.

Main objectives:

  • Implementation of Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety.
  • UNEP-GEF Supported Capacity-building Project on Biosafety (Phase-II) Project.
  • Strengthening of Biosafety Management System.

Cartagena Biosafety Protocol (CPB):

  • It was negotiated under the aegis of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and adopted in 2000.
  • India is a party to the Protocol.
  • Main objective: To ensure safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have an adverse effect on the conservation and sustainable use biological diversity, taking into account risk to human health.

Forest Protection

  • This Centrally Sponsored Scheme of intensification of Forest Management Scheme deals within forest fire management, to address the growing concern over adverse effects of forest fire.

Wildlife Conservation

  • There is a Wildlife Division of the Ministry that has two sub-divisions, namely, Project Elephant Division and Wildlife Division.
  • In addition, there are three autonomous bodies:
    • Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for wildlife research and training.
    • Central Zoo Authority (CZA) for conservation and zoo management
    • National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • The NTCA has been constituted by converting the Project Tiger Directorate into an autonomous body for tiger conservation.
  • Wildlife Division deals with the policy and law matters and knowledge management for facilitating processes and analysis for the evolution of policy and law for the conservation of biodiversity and protected area network.
  • The Government of India provides financial and technical assistance to the state/UT government for activities aimed at wildlife conservation through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme viz., ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’.

Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

  • It was constituted in 2007.
  • It is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established under the Ministry, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • The Bureau has its headquarters in New Delhi.

Functions:

  • To establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank.
  • Coordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act.
  • Assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control.

Central Zoo Authority

  • The Central Zoo Authority with its headquarters in New Delhi was established in 1992 under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to oversee the functioning of zoos in the country with the view to enhance their role in conservation.
  • Main objective: To enforce minimum standards and norms for upkeep and healthcare of animals in the Indian zoos.

National Zoological Park

  • It was set up in 1959 under this Ministry.

Main objective:

  • To complement and strengthen the national efforts in conservation of the rich biodiversity of the country, particularly the wild fauna.
  • Supporting the conservation of endangered species by attempting their
  • Coordinated breeding under ex-situ conditions.
  • Providing opportunities for scientific studies useful for conservation in general Creation of data base for sharing between the agencies involved in in-situ and ex-situ conservation.

Project Elephant

  • It was launched by the Government of India in 1991-92 as a centrally sponsored scheme.

Objectives: -

  • To protect elephants, their habitat and corridors
  • To address issues of man-animal conflict
  • Welfare of domesticated elephants.

National Tiger Conservation Authority / Project Tiger

  • NTCA is a statutory body, constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme providing funding support to tiger range states, for in-situ conservation of tigers in designated tiger reserves, and has put the endangered tiger on an assured path of recovery by saving it from extinction.

Project Tiger

  • It was launched in 1973 for conserving the tiger.
  • From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger coverage has increased to 50, spread out in 18 of tiger range states.
  • These reserves are constituted on a core /buffer strategy.
  • The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and nonforest land, managed as a multiple-use area.
  • The NTCA / Project Tiger also conducts the country level assessment of the status of tiger, co-predators, prey and habitat once in four years, using the refined methodology, as approved by the Tiger Task Force.
  • Due to the concerted efforts under the Project, India has the distinction of having the maximum number of tigers in the world - 2,967 - to be precise, as per the results of the 4 cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation.
  • After seeing the success of Project Tiger, the government updated the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • This ensures that along with tigers, other wildlife also gets protected.
  • One by one, every national park took an initiative to save endangered species. For example - Gir conserves lions, and Kaziranga conserves one-horned rhinos.
  • During the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, a panel of experts declared a goal towards tiger conservation, which was to double its population by 2022.
  • International Tiger’s Day is held every year on 29th July.

Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare General - Animal Board of India

  • General Animal Welfare covers the welfare of individual animals, mainly domesticated, as also wild animals in captivity, through Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI).
  • AWBI is a statutory body established with headquarter at Chennai.
  • Its basic mandate is to advise the government on animal welfare issues.

Free Mobile Animal Clinic

  • The Board is providing free, on the spot veterinary treatment to sick and injured animals belonging to poor people through its Mobile Animal Clinic (MAC) programme operating Awareness Rallies conducted during World Animal Day Week.

Environmental Impact Assessment:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), is a planning tool to integrate environmental concerns into the developmental process from the initial stage of planning.
  • It was first used in India as early as 1978 with river valley projects and was subsequently extended to large public sector projects requiring Public Investment Board (PIB) clearance.
  • These practices were formally codified for the first time in the EIA Notification, 1994.
  • This made the requirement of environmental clearance mandatory for 37 categories of projects/ processes, listed therein.

Control of Pollution

Air Pollution

  • Air quality regulation and actions for abatement of air pollution is undertaken under various provisions of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and Environment (Protection) Act, (EPA) 1986 which prescribes the mechanism and authorities for handling the issue.
  • As per the available data for Delhi and NCR for last five years, Particulate Matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5) concentrations are the major concern for the entire area, however, a few violations are observed in NO2 concentrations in Delhi, Meerut and Faridabad.
  • The concentration of SO2 is within the standard limit at all the locations in all the last five years.
  • PM10 are inhalable coarse particles, which are particles with a diameter between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (µm) and PM 2.5 are fine particles with a diameter of 2.5 µm or less.
  • People with lung or heart conditions may be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution.

Measures to Combat Air Pollution

  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards envisaging 12 pollutants have been notified under the EPA, 1986 along with 115 emission/effluent standards for 104 different sectors of industries, besides 32 general standards.
  • With reference to vehicular pollution the steps are taken:
    • Introduction of cleaner/alternate fuels like gaseous fuel (CNG, LPG, etc.) ethanol blending, universalization of BS-IV by 2017.
    • Leapfrogging from BS-IV to BS-VI fuel standards by 1st April 2020.
    • Ongoing promotion of public transport network of metro, buses, e-rickshaw.
  • National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched in 2015 starting with 14 cities and then extended to 34.
  • A Graded Response Action Plan for control of air pollution in Delhi and NCR region has been notified.
  • This plan specifies actions required for controlling (particulate matter) PM emissions from various sources and prevent PM 10 and PM 2.5 levels to go beyond the ‘moderate’ national Air Quality Index (AQI) category.
  • Actions listed in the poor to moderate category need to be implemented though out the year.
  • Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has issued a comprehensive set of directions for the implementation of 42 measures to mitigate air pollution in major cities including Delhi and NCR.
  • In order to involve people in the efforts, the Government launched a campaign called ‘Harit Diwali and Swasth Diwali’ in 2017 involving over 200 schools in Delhi and over two lakh schools in the country.
  • A mini marathon for ‘Swachh Hawa for Swachh and Swasth Bharat’ was also organized in 2017.

Noise Pollution

  • As a follow-up of Section 5.2.8 (IV) of National Environmental Policy (NEP)-2006, ambient noise has been included as a regular parameter for monitoring in specified urban areas.
  • Protocol for National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network Programme has been prepared and circulated to state pollution control boards.
  • Central Pollution Control Board in association with state pollution control boards established Real-Time National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network in 7 metropolitan cities and installed 70 noise monitoring system in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Hyderabad.
  • The steps are taken to reduce noise pollution:
    • Advisories for noise monitoring on the occasion of Diwali.
    • Prohibition of the use of fireworks between 10.00 p.m. and 06.00 a.m.
    • Issuance of directions under Section 5 of Environment (Protection), Act, 1986, and under section 18 (1) (b) of Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

Scheme of Common Effluent Treatment Plants

  • The CETPs arose in order to make a co-operative movement for pollution control.
  • Main objective:  To reduce the treatment cost to be borne by an individual member unit to a minimum while protecting the environment to a maximum.
  • Wastewater treatment and water conservation are the prime objectives of the CETP.
  • A centrally sponsored scheme has been undertaken by the Government for enabling small scale industries (SSI) to set up new and upgrade the existing common effluent treatment plants to cover all the states in the country.

Salient features:

  • The central subsidy has been enhanced from 25 percent to 50 per cent of the project cost.
  • All the three levels of treatment, primary, secondary, and tertiary are to be covered for assistance.
  • The management of the CETP is to be entrusted to a Special Purpose Vehicle registered under an appropriate statute.

Hazardous Substance Management

  • The Hazardous Substances Management Division (HSMD) is the nodal point
  • within the Ministry for management of solid waste including hazardous
  • substances and chemical emergencies.
  • Main objective: To promote the safe management of solid wastes, management of hazardous substances and wastes including hazardous chemicals, in order to avoid damage to health and environment.
  • The Division also administers the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and rules framed thereunder.

Chemical Safety

  • In order to ensure chemical safety, the Ministry notified two sets of Rules under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 viz.,
    • The Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989 (MSIHC)
    • The Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules (EPPR), 1996.
  • The main objectives of the MISHC rules are to:
    • Prevent major accidents arising from industrial activities
    • Limit the effects of such accidents.
  • The rules endeavour to achieve these objectives by having a quantity based approach.
  • The Chemical Accidents (EPPR) Rules. 1996 envisage a four-tier crisis management system in the country at the central, state, district and local levels.

e-Waste Management

  • The e-waste rules apply to e-waste generated from IT and telecommunication equipment and consumer electrical and electronics namely television sets (including LCD & LED), refrigerators, washing machines and air-conditioners.
  • These rules empower the concerned state agencies to control, supervise and regulate relevant activities connected with e-waste management such as collection, segregation, dismantling and recycling.
  • Producers are required to set up collection systems and meet the cost involved in the environmentally sound management of e-waste generated from the ‘end of life’ of their own products.

Hazardous Waste Management

  • To address the issue of ensure environmentally sound management of hazardous waste for safety of health and environment during handling of such waste Hazardous Waste (Management, Handling & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 were notified under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 
  • The Rules lay down procedure towards this process by providing provisions for authorization of hazardous waste generating and units using hazardous waste. 
  • The rules have an important provision on regulation of import/export of hazardous waste in pursuance to our obligation under the Basel Convention on Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous waste and its disposal.
  • India is party to the Convention.

Solid Waste Management

Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • The Ministry revised the rules for management of solid waste in the municipal areas after 16 years.
  • The new rules are now applicable beyond municipal areas and extend to urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships, areas under the control of Indian Railways, airports, airbase, port and harbour, defence establishments, special economic zones, state and central government organizations, places of pilgrimage, religious and historical importance.
  • Responsibilities of generators have been fixed for segregation of waste in to three streams, wet (biodegradable), dry (plastic, paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.)

Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016

  • The Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 were notified in 2011 which included plastic waste management.
  • However, their ambit was limited to notified municipal areas whereas today, the plastic has reached our rural areas also.
  • To address these issues, the Ministry notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • The Rules provide for:
    • Increase in minimum thickness of plastic carry bags from 40 to 50 microns.
    • First time cover and stipulate minimum thickness of 50 microns for plastic sheets being used for packaging and wrapping commodities to facilitate collection and recycle of plastic waste.
    • Revamped pricing mechanisms for plastic carry bags by introducing plastic waste management fee to be paid by retailers/street vendors willing to provide carry bags as pre-registration charge.
    • Ways and means to promote gainful utilization of plastic waste such as energy recovery, in road construction, etc.
    • Introducing user charge and spot fines by local authority.

Construction & Demolition Waste Management, 2016

  • The Ministry for the first time notified the separate set of rules for management of construction and demolition waste in the country as Construction and Demolition Management Rules, 2016.
  • Prior to these Rules, this was regulated under the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2000 and was left at the desecration of the urban local bodies.
  • The new rules will apply to everyone who generates construction and demolition waste-building materials, debris, and rubble waste from construction, re-modeling, repair and demolition of any civil structure of individual or organisation or authority.

Fly Ash Utilization

  • The fast-increasing demand of power coupled with its dependence on coal for about 2/3rd of its energy requirement is leading to generation of large volume of fly ash.
  • The management of fly ash has been a matter of concern in view of requirement of large area of land for its disposal.
  • To address the environmental problems of fly ash disposal, the Ministry issued notification on fly ash utilization in 1999 prescribing the targets for the fly ash utilization for coal/lignite power based thermal power stations with the aim to achieve 100 per cent utilization in phased manner.
  • The notification was amended in 2003, 2009 and recently in 2016. The utilization of fly ash has increased from 6.64 million ton in 1996-97 to a level of 107.77 million ton in 2015-16.
  • Fly ash earlier considered to be “hazardous industrial waste” material, is now considered to be useful and saleable commodity.

International Conventions

Basel Convention

  • The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted in 1989 in Basel, Switzerland.
  • Objective: To protect human health and the environment against the adverse effets of hazardous wastes.
  • Its scope of application covers a wide range of wastes defined as “hazardous wastes” based on their origin and/or composition and their characteristics, as well as two types of wastes defined as ‘other wastes’ (household waste and incinerator ash).

Rotterdam Convention

  • The Rotterdam Convention on the prior informed consent procedure for certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade came into force in 2004.
  • India acceded to the convention a year later.
  • The Designated National authorities (DNAs) for India are in Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation.
  • The Official Contact Points (OCPs) are designated in Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • There are 47 chemicals listed in Annex III to this Convention, which include 33 pesticides and 14 industrial chemicals that have been banned or severely restricted for health or environmental reasons by two or more parties and which the Conference of the Parties (COPs) has decided to subject to the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure.

Stockholm Convention

  • The Stockholm Convention on persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from POPs.
  • The Convention sought initially 12 chemicals, for restriction or elemination of the production and release.
  • Now, the Convention covers 23 chemicals.
  • Convention came into force in 2004. India ratified the Convention in 2006.
  • As per Article 7 of the Convention, Parties to the Convention were required to develop a National Implementation Plan (NIP) to demonstrate how their obligations to the Convention would be implemented and NIP has been developed through Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding.
  • Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change serves as the focal point for GEF and Stockholm Convention.
  • Designated national authorities are in Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation and Ministry of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.

Minamata Convention on Mercury

  • In February 2009, the Governing Council of UNEP adopted Decision 25/5 on the development of a global legally binding instrument on mercury.
  • At the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in 2013 in Minamata and Kumamoto, Japan, the “Minamata Convention on Mercury”, a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury, was formally adopted.

Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

  • In 2006, over 190 countries including India acceded to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), an international policy framework to foster sound management of chemicals.
  • Initial activities under SAICM included development or updating of national chemicals profiles, strengthening of institutions, and mainstreaming sound management of chemicals in national strategies.
  • Towards this end, India initiated the preparation of the National Chemicals Management Profile to assess India’s infrastructure and capacity for management of chemicals.

National River Conservation Plan:

  • The river conservation programme was initiated with the launching of the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in 1985.
  • The Ganga Action Plan was expanded to cover other rivers under National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) in 1995.
  • The objective of NRCP is to improve the water quality of rivers, which are major water sources in the country, through implementation of pollution abatement works in various towns along identified polluted stretches of rivers on cost sharing basis between the central and state governments.
  • Presently NRCP (excluding Ganga and its tributaries) has covered polluted stretches of 31 rivers in 75 towns spread over 14 states and a treatment capacity of 2445 million litres per day (mld) has been created so far under NRCP (excluding Ganga and its tributaries).

Conservation of Lakes:

  • So far under NLCP/NPCA, a total of 46 projects for conservation of 63 lakes have been sanctioned in 14 states for undertaking works like providing sewerage system and sewage treatment plants, interception and diversion of sewage, desilting, catchment area treatment, storm water management etc.
  • Conservation works for 34 lakes have been completed.
  • Major projects presently under implementation include Dal lake in Jammu & Kashmir, Shivpuri and Sindh Sagar lakes in Madhya Pradesh, twin lakes at Mokokchung in Nagaland (NE region), Annasagar, Pushkar and Pichola lakes in Rajasthan, Ramgarh Tal and Laxmital in Uttar Pradesh.

Conservation of Lakes

Conservation of Wetlands

  • Wetlands are lifeline for a very large number of people and an important source of fresh water to mankind.
  • Major pressures on wetlands include fragmentation of hydrological regimes, siltation from degraded catchments, pollution, spread of invasive species and over-harvesting of resources.
  • To control degradation and conserve wetlands, the National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) was initiated in 1987 and financial assistance is being provided to the state governments for implementing action plans for conservation and management of identified wetlands.

Ramsar Convention

  • India became a signatory to the Ramsar Convention in 1982.
  • As per this convention, India is committed for international cooperation and to take national action for conservation and wise use of Wetlands.
  • At present there are 26 Ramsar sites in India.

Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules

  • To implement the objectives of the convention, a regulatory mechanism was put in place through Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules in December, 2010 vide GSR-951(E).
  • Central Wetland Regulatory Authority (CWRA) has been constituted under the Wetlands Rules, 2010.
  • 25 wetlands spread over 14 states have already been notified under these Rules.

World Wetland Day

  • Each year, World Wetland Day is celebrated on 2nd February for increasing awareness and spreading need for conservation and wise use of wetlands all over the world.

National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board:

  • In order to promote afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, NAEB was set up in 1992.
  • Special attention is also given by NAEB to the regeneration of degraded forest areas and lands adjoining forest areas, national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas as well as the ecologically fragile areas like the Western Himalayas, Aravallis, and Western Ghats etc.

National Afforestation Programme Scheme:

  • National Afforestation Programme (NAP) is a major afforestation scheme of the NAEB in the Government of India.
  • Launched in 2000-02, the scheme has acquired a pan India ambit over the last nine years of its implementation and was being implemented by 28 states of the country through a twin institutional set up of Forest Development Agencies (FDAs) at the forest division level and Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at the village level.
  • From 2010- 11, State Forest Development Agency (SFDA) were constituted at the state level to smoothen the fund flow to the FDAs.
  • The programme is now implemented through a three-tier system of State Forests Development Agency (SFDA) at the state level, Forest Development Agency (FDAs) at the district/forest division level and Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at the village level.
  • Under Entry Point Activities, community assets are created with a ‘care and share’ concept.
  • Objectives:
    • Protection and conservation of natural resources through active involvement of the people.
    • Checking land degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
    • Ecological restoration and environmental conservation and eco-development.
    • Evolving village level people’s organization which can manage the natural resources in and around villages in a sustainable manner.
    • Capability endowment and skill enhancement for improving the employability of the rural people.

Eco-Development Forces Scheme:

  • It was established in the 1980s as a scheme being implemented through Ministry of Defence for ecological restoration of terrains, rendered difficult either due to severe degradation or remote location or difficult law and order situation.
  • It is based on twin objectives of ecological regeneration in difficult areas, and promotion of meaningful employment to ex-servicemen.
  • Under this scheme, the establishment and operational expenditure on the Eco Task Force (ETF) Battalions raised by Ministry of Defence is reimbursed by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change while the inputs like sapling, fencing, etc., and also the professional and managerial guidance is provided by the state forest departments.

National Mission for Green India

  • It is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change aims at protecting and enhancing India’s diminishing forest cover to counter the perils of climate change.
  • It envisages a holistic view of greening and focuses on multiple ecosystem services along with carbon sequestration and emission reduction as co-benefit.

Declaring Eco-Sensitive Areas in Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats is a global biodiversity hotspot and a treasure trove of biological diversity harbouring many endemic species of flowering plants, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and invertebrates.
  • It is also the origin of Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and a number of other rivers of Peninsular India, upon which much of the economy of the region is dependent.
  • The concept of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) provides a mechanism to conserve biological diversity of an area while allowing for sustainable development to take place.

National Natural Resources Management System

  • The Scheme “National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS)” of the Ministry is a part of an umbrella scheme of the erstwhile Planning Commission-Planning Committee-National Natural Resources Management System (PC-NNRMS) and is in operation since, 1985.
  • The prime objective of PCNNRMS is utilization of remote sensing technology for inventorization, assessment and monitoring of country’s natural resources.

Forestry Research

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education

  • ICFRE, Dehradun, an apex body in the national forestry research system, has been undertaking the holistic development of forestry research, education and extension covering all aspects of forestry.
  • The Council deals with solution based forestry research in tune with the emerging issues in the sector, including global concerns such as climate change, conservation of biological diversity, combating desertification and sustainable management and development of resources.

Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy

  • The Academy was constituted in 1987 by upgrading and renaming the erstwhile Indian Forest College, established in 1938.
  • The Academy imparts professional training to the Indian Forest Services (IFS) Probationers and has been accorded the status of “Staff College” for imparting mid-career training for officers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS).
  • Aim:  Managing the country’s forest and wildlife resources on a sustainable basis.
  • Its capacity building programmes include training the new entrants to the service, in-service training (Mid Career training programme) to contemporary batches of IFS officers, skills upgradation training to officers inducted into the IFS on promotion from the State Forest Service (SFS).
  • The Academy also provides orientation courses to various other stakeholders like joint training for members of All India Services, Indian Revenue Services Probationers, members of higher judiciary etc.

Wildlife Institute of India:

  • WII was established in 1986 in Dehradun as an autonomous institute of the Ministry.
  • The Institute has emerged as a premier training and research institution in the field of wildlife and protected area management in south and south east Asia.
  • Its primary mandates are to:
    • Carry out scientific and applied research on various issues of wildlife and biodiversity conservation
    • Develop wildlife science as a discipline through academic activities
    • Build capacity in the field of wildlife management and conservation planning
    • Provide technical inputs to MoEFCC and other international organizations.

Biodiversity Conservation and Rural Livelihood Improvement Project:

  • Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is one of the implementing partners in this project for enhancing capacities of the project implementers and as a knowledge management centre on landscape approach to biodiversity conservation.

National Green Corps Programme

  • NGC were formulated in 2001-02.
  • The phenomenal response that NGC received has made the network more than 1,00,000 Eco clubs across the country in 15 years, making it one of the largest conservation networks.
  • Under NGC programme, 86765 Ecoclubs were supported.

National Environmental Awareness Campaign

  • The (NEAC) was launched in mid 1986 with the objective of creating environmental awareness at the national level.
  • In this campaign, nominal financial assistance is provided to NGOs, schools, colleges, universities, research institutes, women and youth organisations, army units, government departments, etc., from all over the country for conducting awareness raising and action oriented activities.

National Nature Camping Programme

  • It is an initiative of the Ministry in environment education which is aimed at creating greater awareness, understanding and empathy of children with and for the environment.
  • Through this initiative it is hoped that every child who goes through middle school (classes VI-VIII) to get at least one opportunity for a 2-3 day camping experience during these years.

GLOBE:

  • Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) is a hands on international environmental science and education programme that brings students, teachers and scientists together to study the global environment.
  • MoEFCC and US Government signed an agreement in 2000 to implement the Globe programme in India.
  • Indian Environmental Society, Delhi is an implementing agency for Globe in India.

Centre of Excellence:

  • The Scheme-Centre of Excellence was initiated in the Sixth Five Year Plan.
  • The objective of the scheme is to provide selective support to the universities, reputed institutions including NGOs, professional organizations and other scientific and technological institutions to enable them to develop into advanced centres at the national level in that particular subject area to cater the need of the Ministry.
  • At present there are seven Centre of Excellences functioning under this Ministry.

National Green Tribunal:

  • NGT was set up in 2010 under the NGT Act, 2010, for the purpose of effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make an endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing.
  • NGT has five places of sitting, i.e, the Principal Bench in Delhi and Zonal Benches in Pune, Kolkata, Bhopal and Chennai.

Climate Change:

  • The earth’s climate has always changed and evolved. Some of these changes have been due to natural causes but other can be attributed to human activities such as deforestation, emissions from industry and transport etc. which have led to accumulation of gases and aerosols in the atmosphere.
  • These gases are known as Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) because they trap heat and raise air temperatures near the ground, acting like a greenhouse on the surface of the planet.
  • In order to create and strengthen the scientific and analytical capacity for assessment of climate change in the country different studies under Climate Change Action Programme (CCAP) were initiated.

National and State Action Plans on Climate Change:

  • NAPCC is being implemented through the nodal ministries in specific sectors/ areas.
  • Eight national missions in the area of solar energy, enchanced energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, sustainable habitat, water, Himalayan eco-system, Green India and strategic knowledge for climate change form the core of NAPCC.

National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change:

  • NAFCC is a central sector scheme under implementation in the 12th Five Year Plan with National Bank for agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) as National Implementing Entity (NIE).
  • Aim: To support concrete adaptation activities which are not covered under on-going activities through the schemes of state and central government, that reduce the adverse impact of climate change facing communities, sectors and states.

Climate Change Action Programme:

  • Ministry is implementing a scheme titled ‘Climate Change Action Programme’ since January, 2014.
  • The NCAP is a major multi-institutional and multi-agency study.
  • In this initiative, MoEF & CC collaborate with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Indian Space Research Organization, the Ministry of Science and Technology and other associated agencies to enhance understanding of the role of black carbon in climate change through monitoring and assessment of the impacts of Black Carbon using modeling techniques.
  • Paris Agreement:  India ratified the Paris Agreement to the UNFCCC in 2016.  The action plan for implementation of Paris Agreement and its components is being developed.

International Negotiations on Climate Change:

  • During the financial year 2016-17, many important bilateral and multilateral meetings and international negotiations on climate change were held.

Ozone Cell

Ozone Layer Protection

  • Ozone, a tri-atomic molecule of oxygen is formed from oxygen naturally in the upper levels of the earth’s atmosphere by high energy ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • The UV radiation breaks down oxygen molecules, releasing free atoms, some of which bond with other oxygen molecule to form ozone.
  • About 90 per cent of ozone formed in this way lies between 10 and 50 kilometres above the earth’s surface, called the Stratosphere.
  • The ozone found in the part of the atmosphere is called the ozone layer.
  • The ozone layer absorbs all the harmful UV-B radiations emanating from the sun.
  • It protects plant and animal life from UV-B radiation.
  • The UV-B radiation has the potential to cause skin cancer, eye cataract, suppress body’s immune system, decrease crop yield etc., which led to the adoption of the Vienna convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer in 1985 and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
  • The mandate of the Montreal Protocol is to phase out the production and consumption of the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs).
  • India is a party to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its all amendments/adjustments.
  • The MoEF&CC has set up the Ozone Cell as a National Ozone Unit (NOU) to render necessary services for effective and timely implementation of the protocol and its ODs phase-out programme in India.

Vienna Convention

  • The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer are the international treaties specific for the protection of the Stratospheric Ozone (Ozone layer).
  • The Montreal Protocol has been recognized as the most successful international environmental treaty in history.
  • It has been universally ratified and all the 197 UN member countries of the world are the parties to the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol.
  • In the 29 years of operation of the Montreal Protocol, extraordinary international cooperation under this agreement has led to phase-out of production and consumption of several major ODSs such as CFCs, CTC and halons globally from 2010.

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification:

  • India became a signatory to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1994.
  • MoEF&CC is the nodal Ministry in the government of India for the UNCCD, and Desertification cell is the nodal point within MoEF&CC to co-ordinate all issues pertaining to the convention.

International Cooperation and Sustainable Development

  • IC&SD Division of the Ministry coordinates matters related to international environmental cooperation and sustainable development including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

United Nations Environment Programme

  • India is a member of UNEP and provides the annual financial contribution of USD 100,000 to UNEP Environment Fund.
  • Three of the thirty-three members on UNEP’s International Resource Panel (IRP) are currently from India.
  • The Ministry is a member of the IRP Steering Committee.
  • IRP supports UNEP’s Resource Efficiency/ Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) subprogramme and is carrying out assessments of the world’s most critical resource issues with a view to developing practical solutions for government policymakers, industry and society.

Global Environment Facility

  • India is a founder member of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • Set up in 1991, GEF is the designated multilateral funding mechanism of 183 countries to provide incremental finance for addressing global environmental benefits which are also identified national priorities.
  • The GEF mandate is decided as per the guidance provided by the Conference of the parties of the multilateral environmental conventions namely Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Stockholm Convention on PoPs and Minamata Convention on Mercury.
  • The GEF grants are available under five focal areas namely, biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, international waters and chemicals and waste.

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