Daily Prelims Notes 14 June 2020
- June 14, 2020
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- National Action Plan on Forest Fires
- Epidemics in 21st century
- Athirappally Hydel Power Project
- Diversion of forest areas
- MB Lal Committee
Kerala Forest Department has been given time by NGT to submit report on the steps taken to prevent forest fires and implement the National Action Plan on Forest Fire in the State.
- Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change has prepared a National Action Plan on forest fires in 2018 after several rounds of consultation with all states and Union Territories.
- The objective of this plan is to minimize forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivizing them to work in tandem with the State Forest Departments.
- The plan also intends to substantially reduce the vulnerability of forests across diverse forest ecosystems in the country against fire hazards, enhance capabilities of forest personnel and institutions in fighting fires and swift recovery subsequent to fire incidents.
- While forests are managed by states concerned, the ministry provides forest fire prevention and management measures under the Centrally Sponsored Forest Fire Prevention and Management scheme and also the Centre provides funds for forest fire management.
Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme (FPM)
- The FPM is the only centrally funded program specifically dedicated to assist the states in dealing with forest fires.
- The FPM replaced the Intensification of Forest Management Scheme (IFMS) in December 2017
- By revamping the IFMS, the FPM has increased the amount dedicated for forest fire work
- Funds are allocated under the FPM in 90:10 ratio of central to state funding in the Northeast and Western Himalayan regions and a 60:40 ratio for all other states.
Subject: Science and tech
“SARS CoV2 virus behaves very differently from SARS and that is why it is much more difficult to contain it” said renowned virologist Malik Peiris who was credited for his role in discovering that a novel coronavirus was the cause of SARS in 2003.
SARS vs COVID
- In case of SARS, most of the transmission took place five or six days after the patient developed symptoms. So, the first few days after a patient was ill, there was very little transmission. But in the case of COVID-19, they transmit even before they develop symptoms; it becomes very difficult to control.
- The other big difference is that whereas with SARS most of the patients who got infected had symptoms, in the case of COVID-19, it is clear that quite a number of patients, who get infected, have no symptoms at all.
- SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) – virus identified in 2003. SARS-CoV is thought to be an animal virus from an as-yet-uncertain animal reservoir, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals (civet cats) and first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002.
- Transmission of SARS-CoV is primarily from person to person.
- Symptoms are influenza-like and include fever, malaise, myalgia, headache, diarrhoea, and shivering (rigors).
- The disease appeared in November 2002 in the Guangdong province of southern China. This area is considered as a potential zone of re-emergence of SARS-CoV. Other countries/areas in which chains of human-to-human transmission occurred after early importation of cases were Canada, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Chinese Taipei, Singapore, and Viet Nam.
- Experimental vaccines are under development.
- Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, or MERS‐CoV) that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
- Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
- Typical MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, which means it is a virus that is transmitted between animals and people. Studies have shown that humans are infected through direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels.
- The virus does not pass easily from person to person unless there is close contact, such as providing unprotected care to an infected patient.
- Since 2012, 27 countries have reported cases of MERS including Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Yemen.
- Approximately 80% of human cases have been reported by Saudi Arabia.
- No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available, however several MERS-CoV specific vaccines and treatments are in development. Treatment is supportive and based on the patient’s clinical condition.
Subject: Science and tech
International Albinism Awareness Day is observed every year on June 13 to highlight the rights of those born with albinism and increase awareness of the genetic condition. “Made to Shine” the chosen theme of the year celebrates the achievements of those who have albinism.
- Albinism is a rare disease characterized by a lack of melanin pigment in skin, hair and eyes.
- Those with albinism are vulnerable to sun exposure, something that increases chances of skin cancer and severe visual impairment.
- In India, there are around 200,000 who have albinism. The Union government is yet to conduct a census to account for those who have albinism.
- In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that called for the prevention of discrimination against individuals with albinism.
- Albinism is also widespread among animals.
Rare diseases/Orphan disease:
- The common denominator of rare diseases is the infrequency of their occurrence in the human population.
- Often debilitating lifelong disease or disorder condition with a prevalence of 1 or less, per 1000 population is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a rare disease.
Kerala government gives nod to Athirappally hydel power project
- It is 163-megawatt (MW) Hydro Electric Project proposed on the Chalakudy river in Thrissur district
- Around 168 hectares of biodiversity-rich forests in the Western Ghats would be submerged if the project got implemented.
- In addition, Kadar tribal settlements in the forests will be dismantled. The fresh move is even violative of the forest rights granted to the Kadars under Forest Rights Act.
- The project which was initially mooted by KSEB in 1996, had been in limbo with the local community strongly opposing the move, backed by environmentalists.
- Even the majestic Athirappally waterfall would dry up once the project comes up.
- Apart from flora and fauna involving four varieties of rare hornbills, even fish varieties in the Chalakudy river would be impacted.
- It is the 4th longest river in Kerala.
- Chalakudy River is the one of very few rivers of Kerala, which is having relics of riparian vegetation in substantial level.
- Chalakudy River is the richest river in fish diversity perhaps in India.
- The famous waterfalls, Athirappilly Falls and Vazhachal Falls, are situated on this river.
- For irrigation purposes Thumboormoozhy Dam is constructed across this river.
- It merges with the Periyar River near Puthanvelikkara.
- The Parambikulam Dam has been built on the Parambikulam River, one of its four tributaries.
- Riparian vegetation grows along banks of a waterway extending to the edge of the floodplain (also known as fringing vegetation).
- This includes the emergent aquatic plants growing at the edge of the waterway channel and the ground cover plants, shrubs and trees within the riparian zone.
- Riparian zones dissipate stream energy which slow the flow of water and reduces soil erosion and flood damage. Sediment is trapped, reducing suspended solids to create less turbid water, replenish soils, and build stream banks. Pollutants are filtered from surface runoff, enhancing water quality via bio-filtration.
- The riparian zones also provide wildlife habitat, increased biodiversity, and wildlife corridors, enabling aquatic and riparian organisms to move along river systems avoiding isolated communities.
In Annual report published by Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, it was found that total 11,467.83 hectares forest lands were diverted in 22 states between January 1 and November 6, 2019
- Forest land is usually recommended for diversion by state governments for the development of various infrastructure projects or mining, and then given a final approval by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change after having received clearance from the Ministry’s Forest Advisory Committee or the ten Regional Empowered Committees.
- Whenever forest land is diverted for non-forest purposes, it is mandatory under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 that an equivalent area of non-forest land has to be taken up for compensatory afforestation.
- In addition to this, funds for raising the forest are also to be imposed on whosoever is undertaking the diversion. The land chosen for afforestation, if viable, must be in close proximity of reserved or protected forest for ease of management by forest department.
- In 2002, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered that a Compensatory Afforestation Fund had to be created in which all the contributions towards compensatory afforestation and net present value of land had to be deposited.
- In April 2004, Ministry of Environment and Forests constituted Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to overlook and manage the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) as directed by the SC. The authority was termed as the ‘custodian’ of the fund.
- Further in 2009, the government ordered that State CAMPAs had to be set up to boost compensatory afforestation at state level and also manage Green India Fund.
- Despite all these efforts, CAG report in 2013 revealed that the CAMPA funds remained unutilised. The report stated that between 2006 and 2012, CAF with ad hoc CAMPA grew from ₹ 1,200 crores to ₹ 23,607 crores.
- Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 came into force from 2018. The Act established a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
- The payments made for compensatory afforestation, net present value and others related to the project will be deposited in the fund.
- The State Funds will receive 90% of the payments while National Fund will receive remaining 10%. These funds will be regulated by State and National CAMPA.
- The Ministry also stressed that the fund had to be used for important needs such as Compensatory Afforestation, Catchment Area Treatment, Wildlife Management, Assisted Natural Regeneration, Forest Fire Prevention and Control Operations, Soil and Moisture Conservation Works in the forest, Improvement of Wildlife Habitat, Management of Biological Diversity and Biological Resources, Research in Forestry and Monitoring of CAMPA works and others.
Green credit scheme
- Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has approved the Green Credit Scheme which will allow the Forest Department to outsource the responsibility of reforesting to non-government agencies
- It would allow agencies like private companies and village forest communities to identify land and grow plantations.
- After a period of three years, they would be eligible to be considered as compensatory forest land if they met the criteria set by the Forest Department.
- An industry in need of forest land could then pay for these patches of forest land, and this would then be transferred to the Forest Department.
- Previously, in 2015, a ‘Green Credit Scheme’ for degraded forest land with public-private participation had been recommended, but was shelved when it was not approved by the Union environment ministry.
Subject: Disaster management
The natural gas well at Baghjan in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district that had been leaking gas since May 27, caught fire on June 9.
- According to the Oil Industry Safety Directorate, eight accidents in oil and gas installations took place between April and June 1, 2020.
- Such accidents are a grave reminder of the inadequate safety measures and the lackadaisical implementation of safety standards at oil and gas installations in the country
- The MB Lal committee was constituted following a fire incident in 2009 at the IOCL terminal at Jaipur. It had nearly 118 recommendations with regard to safety guidelines to be followed by oil companies at their installations.
- All recommendations of the committee approved by the petroleum ministry were supposed to be implemented immediately. But the recommendations are remaining idle.
- Emergency Response Centres (ERCs) to handle major oil fires in the fastest way possible are yet to be set up in India, more than a decade after they were recommended by the MB Lal Committee.