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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 14 &15 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. JSM Framework for water quality testing, monitoring
  2. Commission for Air Quality Management dissolved
  3. ‘Gregarious bamboo flowering’ in WWS a threat
  4. Govt. reconstitutes panel for studying Sarasvati river

JSM FRAMEWORK FOR WATER QUALITY TESTING, MONITORING

Context:

The Ministry of Jal Shakti launched a framework and guidelines for testing, monitoring and surveillance of drinking water quality as well as a Water Quality Information Management System (WQMIS), an online portal that provides detailed information on laboratories for this purpose.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Water Conservation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the new Guidelines for Testing Drinking water
  2. Significance of the Framework of water quality testing and monitoring

About the new Guidelines for Testing Drinking water

  • The guidelines by the Jal Shakti Ministry specify work to be done in terms of monitoring and surveillance of the water quality at the state, block/tehsil, and village levels.
  • They have been prepared in consultation with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • The objective of the exercise is to instill a sense of confidence about the quality of water as well as that the people can also test the water quality.
  • He further added that a database of 2,200 laboratories have been prepared across India so that the water quality can be tested.

What are the prescribed water quality parameters under the guidelines?

  1. pH Value
  2. Total Dissolved Solids
  3. Turbidity
  4. Chloride
  5. Total alkalinity
  6. Total Hardness
  7. Sulphate
  8. Iron
  9. Total Arsenic
  10. Flouride
  11. Nitrate
  12. Total Coliform bacteria

Significance of the Framework of water quality testing and monitoring

  • As per the 2018 assessment done by the Central Ground Water Board, 52% of all the blocks in India have inter alia any one of the contaminants such as fluoride, arsenic, chloride, nitrate, iron, and salinity.
  • Nearly 20 states in the country have a drinking water source which is contaminated with fluoride, arsenic, iron, nitrate, heavy metals, or salinity.
  • Apart from these, there are also 61 districts on priority across 5 states that have been identified by the Health and Family Welfare Ministry which are affected by Japanese Encephalitis.

-Source: Hindustan Times


COMMISSION FOR AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISSOLVED

Context:

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) was suddenly dissolved

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Pollution Control)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)
  2. Criticisms of the CAQM
  3. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

About the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)

  • The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020, set up the  statutory authority – the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region (NCR) and Adjoining Areas.
  • The CAQM was headed by a full-time chairperson who has been a Secretary to the Government of India, or a Chief Secretary to a State government.
  • It had members from several Ministries as well as representatives from the stakeholder States.
  • It had experts from the CPCB, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Civil Society.
  • In matters of air pollution and air quality management, the Commission superseded all existing bodies such as the CPCB, and even the state governments of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • It will had the powers to issue directions to the states.
  • CPCB and its State branches had the powers to implement provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 for air, water and land pollution.
  • The Commission also coordinated the efforts of state governments to curb air pollution, and laid down the parameters of air quality for the region.
  • The Commission also had the powers to restrict the setting up of industries in vulnerable areas, and will be able to conduct site inspections of industrial units.

Criticisms of the CAQM

  • The Commission has a large number of members from the central government, which has not gone down well with the states, as the States, on the other hand, had just one member each.
  • States were not happy with the overarching powers being vested in the Commission.
  • Political differences also played a part in the functioning of the Commission.
  • The Commission had also taken the issue of air pollution out of the purview of the judiciary even when the old laws had not even been implemented completely.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a Statutory Organisation under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
  • It was established in 1970s under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act.
  • CPCB is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control.
  • It is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.

-Source: The Hindu


‘GREGARIOUS BAMBOO FLOWERING’ IN WWS A THREAT

Context:

The ‘gregarious flowering of bamboo’ inside the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) and the nearby Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Gudalur forest division in Tamil Nadu may pose a threat to wildlife in the Nilgiri biosphere, a major tiger and elephant habitat.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the issue with Bamboo groves
  2. Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

About the issue with Bamboo groves

  • The bamboo groves in the Wayanad forest are the mainstay of herbivores in the Nilgiri biosphere during summer. With the advent of the season, migration of wild animals starts from the adjacent sanctuaries in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to Wayanad thanks to shortage of fodder and water.
  • The gregarious flowering may adversely affect migration, especially by elephants, wild gaur, and other lower herbivores owing to the mass destruction of bamboo groves after the flowering (full blooming is a phenomenon said to occur once in the life cycle of bamboo plants).
  • Profuse natural regeneration occurs from seeds after gregarious flowering.
  • But protection from fire and grazing is essential for proper establishment of seedlings.

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • It is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (1st Biosphere Reserve in India) along with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) in the West, Bandipur National Park (Karnataka) in the North, Mukurthi National Park and Silent Valley in the South.
  • The Reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as ‘Elephant Grass’, a variety of Bamboos, several species of endemic flora and valuable timber species.
  • The Tiger and Asian Elephant are the Flagship Species of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, along with a wide variety of more than 260 species of birds.

-Source: The Hindu


GOVT. RECONSTITUTES PANEL FOR STUDYING SARASVATI RIVER

Context:

The Centre has reconstituted an advisory committee to chalk out a plan for studying the mythical Sarasvati river for the next two years, after the earlier panel’s term ended in 2019.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography 

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Saraswati River
  2. Recent Findings: Ghaggar river sand evidence

About the Saraswati River

  • The Indus Valley civilization was the largest and oldest urban civilization in the world flourishing the present-day North-western India and Adjacent Pakistan.
  • Nearly 2/3rd of the 1500+ archaeological sites of the Indus Valley civilization occur on the dried banks of the Ghaggar River.
  • The Sarasvati River is a deified river mentioned in the Rig Veda and later Vedic and post-Vedic texts.
  • Since the late 19th-century, scholars have proposed to identify the Rig Vedic Saraswati river with the Ghaggar-Hakra River system, which flows through northwestern India and eastern Pakistan, between the Yamuna and the Sutlej.
  • ISRO has observed that major Indus Valley Civilization sites at Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Banawali and Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Dholavira and Lothal (Gujarat) lay along this course.

Recent Findings: Ghaggar river sand evidence

  • Presently, Ghaggar river is a seasonal, monsoon-fed river originating in the sub-Himalayas.
  • In 2019, analysing the sand from 3-10 metres below the modern-day river Ghaggar, researchers estimated the date and source of the river, rekindling the question of whether evidence of River Saraswati’s existence was found.
  • The analysis of the sand shows that Ghaggar river was indeed fed by glacial rivers in the past.

-Source: The Hindu

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