Four more wetlands from India get recognition as Ramsar sites on 14th August 2021. These sites are Thol (Gujarat), Wadhwana (Gujarat), Sultanpur(Haryana) and Bhindawas(Haryana). With this the number of Ramsar sites in India are 46. While Haryana gets its first Ramsar sites, Gujarat gets three more after Nalsarovar which was declared in 2012.
Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary
Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, the largest wetland in Haryana is a human-made freshwater wetland. Over 250 bird species use the sanctuary throughout the year as a resting and roosting site.
Sultanpur National Park
Sultanpur National Park from Haryana supports more than 220 species of resident, winter migratory and local migratory waterbirds at critical stages of their life cycles.
Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary
Thol Lake Wildlife Sanctuary from Gujarat lies on the Central Asian Flyway and more than 320 bird species can be found here.
Wadhvana Wetland from Gujarat is internationally important for its birdlife as it provides wintering ground to migratory waterbirds, including over 80 species that migrate on the Central Asian Flyway.
Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. They are, in fact, are a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.
About Ramsar Convention
The Ramsar Convention is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
About Ramsar site
Under Ramsar Convention the Ramsar site is recognised to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits.
Sources : PIB
The giant panda has just been downgraded from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the global list of species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced the positive change to the giant panda’s official status in the Red List of Threatened Species.
Sources : Worldwidelife
National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) has approved the conversion of the Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary in Rajasthan’s Bundi district into the fourth tiger reserve on 6th July 2021. Apart from Ramgarh Vishdhari Sanctuary three tiger reserve in the state are
Sources : Times of India
U.S. and NATO troops vacated their main Bagram Air Base, from where the coalition forces led operations for two decades against the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda allies in Afghanistan.
About Bagram Air Base
Bagram Air Base was the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan. It is located next to the ancient city of Bagram, 11 kilometres southeast of Charikar in the Parwan Province of Afghanistan.
Sources : The Hindu
The Taliban has captured Afghanistan’s second-biggest dam after months of fierce fighting on 6th May 2021. Dahla Dam, which provides irrigation to farmers via a network of canals as well as drinking water for the provincial capital, was now under Taliban control.
About Dahla Dam
The Dahla Dam, also known as Arghandab Dam, is located in Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. Dahla Dam Constructed in 1952, it is said to be the second largest dam in Afghanistan.
Sources : The Hindu
India and Germany signed an agreement on Technical Cooperation titled ‘Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment’ at a virtual ceremony on 19th April 2021. The project, aimed at enhancing practices to prevent plastic accumulation in oceans that is adversely affecting marine ecosystems, will be undertaken at the national level(Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs), select states (Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman Nicobar Islands) and in the cities of Kanpur, Kochi and Port Blair for a period of three and a half years.
About Marine litter
Marine litter threatens ecosystems and adversely affects fishery and tourism industries around the globe. In addition to negative economic impact, it affects public health with increased concerns about micro-plastic and risk of particles entering the food chain.
Major Sources of Marine litter
It is estimated that 15-20% of all plastics are entering oceans via riverine ecosystems of which 90% are contributed by 10 of the world’s most polluting rivers. Two of these river systems are located in India, namely Ganga and Brahmaputra.
Stiff resistance from at least 12 villages in Meghalaya against hydroelectric project on Umngot River. The proposed 210 MW Umngot Hydro Electric Project would be built over Umngot river between East Khasi Hills district and West Jaiñtia Hills district.
About Umngot River
The Umngot River acts as a natural divide between Jhantia and Khasi hills, before finally flowing into Bangladesh. They say that the water of the river is so clear that the boats floating on it look as if they are on a crystal glass surface.
The melting of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier has long been a cause of concern because of its high potential of speeding up the global sea level rise happening due to climate change. Researchers at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg are now saying that fears related to Thwaites’s melting are worse than previously thought, owing to the supply of warm water flowing underneath at a rate underestimated in the past. Thwaites Glacier, it is 120 km wide at its broadest, fast-moving, and melting fast over the years. Thwaites’s melting already contributes 4% to global sea level rise each year. Thwaites Glacier is important for Antarctica as it slows the ice behind it from freely flowing into the ocean.
About Thwaites Glacier
Thwaites Glacier, sometimes referred to as the Doomsday Glacier, is an unusually broad and vast Antarctic glacier flowing into the Pine Island Bay, part of the Amundsen Sea, east of Mount Murphy, on the Walgreen Coast of Marie Byrd Land.
Jordanian King Abdullah II celebrates on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Jordan and hailed the Middle Eastern country as a global symbol of moderation. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan marked the 100th anniversary of its founding on April 11.
Jordan is situated geographically in Southwest Asia, south of Syria, west of Iraq, northwest of Saudi Arabia and east of Palestine.
The population of dolphins in Chilika, India’s largest brackish water lake, and along the Odisha coast has doubled this year compared with last year. The population estimation exercise for dolphins and other cetacean species covered almost the entire coast of Odisha. Three species were recorded during the census, with 544 Irrawaddy, bottle-nose and humpback dolphins sighted this year, compared with 233 last year.
About Chilika Lake
The vast and dream like Chilika Lagoon is situated on the east-coast of India. It is the largest brackish Water Lagoon with estuarine character that sprawls along the east coast. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
About Irrawadd Dolphin
Irrawaddy dolphins are found in coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia, and in three rivers: the Ayeyarwady (Myanmar), the Mahakam (Indonesian Borneo) and the Mekong. They are 'Endangered' as per the IUCN Red List.
The Chenab Bridge is an Indian railway arch bridge under construction between Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, India. When completed, the bridge will span the Chenab River at a height of 359 m above the river, making it the world's highest rail bridge.
The bridge forms the crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra and Banihal which is part of the Udhampur- Srinagar-Baramulla section of the Kashmir Railway project.
Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has started work on reopening the crucial Baralacha Pass in Himachal Pradesh much before schedule to restore connectivity to Leh in Ladakh. Baralacha Pass is a high mountain pass in Zanskar range, connecting Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Leh district in Ladakh, situated along the Leh–Manali Highway.
Maitri Setu’ bridge inaugurated between India and Bangladesh on 9th March 2021 via video conference. The bridge ‘Maitri Setu’ has been built over Feni river which flows between Indian boundary in Tripura State and Bangladesh. The name ‘Maitri Setu’ symbolizes growing bilateral relations and friendly ties between India and Bangladesh. The 1.9 Km long bridge joins Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh. It is poised to herald a new chapter for trade and people to people movement between India and Bangladesh. With this inauguration, Tripura is set to become the ‘Gateway of North East’ with access to Chittagong Port of Bangladesh, which is just 80 Kms from Sabroom.
The first-ever survey of the elusive fishing cat in and around Asia’s biggest brackish water lagoon, the Chilika lake in Odisha, started on March 1, 2021.The survey to enumerate the animal’s population is being done by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), the regulatory body for the lake. The fishing cat is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List. In India, the fishing cat is included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and thereby protected from hunting.
About Fishing cats
Fishing cats are almost twice the size of the house cat. They are generally found in the marshy wetlands of northern and eastern India and on the mangroves of the east coast.
A Himalayan mammal, somewhere between a goat and an antelope, has been confirmed as the newest creature to be spotted in Assam. Himalayan serow(goat-antelope) spotted in the 950-sq. km. Manas Tiger Reserve on December 3.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra lay the foundation stone of Dhubri Phulbari Bridge and Majuli Bridge on 18th February 2021 via video conference.
About Dhubri Phulbari Bridge
The four lane bridge over the Brahmaputra between Dhubri (on North Bank) and Phulbari (on South Bank). It will connect Dhubri in Assam to Phulbari in Meghalaya. The bridge will meet the long-standing demand of the people from Assam and Meghalaya who were depending on ferry services to travel between the two banks of the river.
About Majuli Bridge
The two-lane Bridge on the Brahmaputra between Majuli (North Bank) and Jorhat (South Bank). The Construction of the bridge has been a long demand of the people of Majuli who for generations have been dependent on the ferry services to connect with the mainland of Assam.
About Majuli Island
Majuli is a river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam and in 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India. Majuli is the biggest river island in the world which is located on the Brahmaputra River in the state of Assam. This island is formed by the River Subansiri in the north and River Brahmaputra in the south.
NITI Aayog Proposals ‘Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island Vision Document’ for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands have conservationists worried over the fate of some of the most important nesting populations of the Giant Leatherback turtle in this part of the Indian Ocean.
About Giant Leatherback turtle
The largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging, Leatherbacks are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic. Within the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and are also listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
A signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) for the construction of the Lalandar (Shatoot) Dam in Afghanistan took place on 9 February 2021. The MoU was signed between Government of India and Afghanistan. The project is a part of the New Development Partnership between India and Afghanistan. This is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam (Salma Dam) in June 2016. Signing of the MoU on Lalandar (Shatoot) Dam is a reflection of India’s strong and long-term commitment towards the socio-economic development of Afghanistan and the enduring partnership between our two countries.
About Lalandar (Shatoot) Dam
The Lalandar (Shatoot) Dam would meet the safe drinking water needs of Kabul City(Afghanistan), provide irrigation water to nearby areas, rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network, aid in flood protection and management efforts in the area, and also provide electricity to the region.
India- Afghanistan Friendship Dam (Salma Dam)
Afghan-India Friendship Dam, formerly Salma Dam, is a hydroelectric and irrigation dam project located on the Hari River in Chishti Sharif District of Herat Province in western Afghanistan.Since this project is funded and constructed by the Government of India as a part of the Indian aid project, the Afghan cabinet renamed the Salma Dam to the Afghan-India Friendship Dam in a gesture of gratitude to strengthen relations between the two countries. The dam was opened on 4 June 2016 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Chinese company won a contract to set up hybrid wind and solar energy projects on three Sri Lankan islands
A Chinese company has won a contract to set up hybrid wind and solar energy projects on three Sri Lankan islands off the northern Jaffna peninsula 45 km from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
The Sri Lanka reported that the US $12 million project was awarded to Sinosar-Etechwin, and will be implemented as a joint venture with the state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board as part of the Sri Lankan government’s Supporting Electricity Supply Reliability Improvement Project.
Asian Development Bank will fund the project, which will come up on Delft, Nainativu and Analativu, three islands in the Palk Strait off Jaffna peninsula. Delft, the largest of the three islands,45 km from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.
The Dhauliganga river turned into a deathly torrent on Sunday after a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off and collapsed into it. Tapovan hydel project entirely washed away in Uttarakhand on Dhauliganga river. The Tapovan Vishnugad power plant is a 520MW run-of-river project which is being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand.
About Dhauliganga river
Dhauliganga river Originating from Vasudhara Tal, perhaps the largest glacial lake in Uttarakhand, the Dhauliganga flows in a meandering course, which takes it through the Nanda Devi National Park.The river merges with the Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag.It is one of the several tributaries of the Ganga.
About Nanda Devi Mountain
Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India after Kangchenjunga. It is the 23rd-highest peak in the world. this phenomenal peak is situated in the Garhwal region, in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
Mandarin duck from eastern Asia spotted in Assam after 118 years. Mandarin duck was spotted in Assam in 1902. Spotting the lone Mandarin duck on the Maguri-Motapung Beel in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district by a team of avian specialists from the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and birding volunteers on 8 Feb 2021.
About Mandarin duck
Considered the most beautiful duck in the world, the Mandarin duck(Aix galericulata) was first identified by Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Mandarin duck native to East Asia and It’s very beautiful, with majestic colours.
About Maguri Motapung wetland
The Maguri Motapung wetland — an Important Bird Area as declared by the Bombay Natural History Society — is located close to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Upper Assam. The entire ecosystem (grassland and wetland) is very important as it is home to at least 304 bird species, including a number of endemic ones like Black-breasted parrotbill and Marsh babbler.
Report Published by : NITI Aayog
NITI Aayog’s plan ‘Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island - Vision Document’, for the sustainable and holistic development of the 680 sq km, fragile Little Andaman Island in the Andaman and Nicobar group. This will be done by building a new greenfield coastal city there, that will be developed as a free trade zone and will compete with Singapore and Hong Kong.
The NITI Aayog’s plan proposed three zones.
The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has approved a proposal to levy a “Green Tax” on old vehicles which are polluting the environment.
The main principles to be followed while levying the Green Tax are
Sources : PIB
Mount Semeru(Indonesia) shot a plume of ash and debris into the sky on 16th Jan 2021 as bright red lava flowed down from its crater. Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, where tectonic plates collide.
About Mount Semeru
Location : Indonesia
Mount Semeru is in eastern Java, Indonesia, has been erupting almost continuously since 1967 and is characterized by ash plumes and lava flows. It is the highest mountain on the island of Java.
Sources : The Hindu
CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST) at Pappanamcode in Kerala developed banana grit from raw Nendran bananas.
About Banana Grit:
Banana Grit can improve gut health and is an ideal ingredient in a healthy diet. Banana Grit concept was introduced to utilise the presence of resistant starch in bananas.
Starch is manufactured in the green leaves of plants from excess glucose produced during photosynthesis and serves the plant as a reserve food supply. starch from plants is broken down into its constituent sugar molecules, which then supply energy to the tissues.
Nendran Banana or famously known as Changalikodan is a banana variety originated and cultivated in Chengazhikodu village of Thrissur District in Kerala state of India. Changalikodan, now are cultivated on the banks of the Bharathapuzha river. Changalikodan got Geographical indication (GI) Tag registration from the Geographical Indications(GI) Registry, Chennai.
About Geographical indication (GI)
Geographical indication (GI) Tag is a name or sign used on products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g., a town, region, or country). The use of a geographical indication, as an indication of the product's source, acts as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a good reputation due to its geographical origin.
At the International level: Geographical indication (GI) covered Under
Sources : The Hindu