IMD revises the onset and withdrawal dates for monsoon

IMD revises monsoon calendar for the country

Based on its extensive analysis of recent data, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has revised the onset and withdrawal dates for the southwest monsoon over 11 states covering 63 cities. This implies that the monsoon onset and withdrawal dates over parts of North-West, Central and West India have been delayed by 3-7 days in some cases and advanced by a few days, in some cases. The withdrawal dates over much of Central and North-West India, where a substantial part of the farming activities are dependent on rains are now expected to be 7-14 days later than usual. For New Delhi, the new date for monsoon onset is now June 27 instead of June 23. (Business Standard)

No improvement in Ganga river water quality post lockdown: CPCB report

According to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the lockdown has caused dramatic reduction in air pollution across the country, but, there isn't any significant reduction in the pollution of the Ganga river. The report noted that the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration, BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) and COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) showed insignificant reductions. Moreover, the report found a gradual increase in BOD levels towards downstream stretches of the river. However, a notable improvement in water quality of the Yamuna river has been observed due to a pause in industrial activity. (The Hindu)

Forest Ministry deliberates on granting clearance to Etalin hydel project 

Last week, the Forest Advisory Committee met virtually to decide whether to grant a forest clearance to the controversial Etalin Hydro Electric Project in Arunachal Pradesh. However, no decision has been made yet. On the day of the meeting, the FAC members were flooded with emails and messages from concerned citizens and scientists to reject the project as it involves destruction of a minimum of 2,70,000 trees in the Dibang Valley and is a threat to the valley's community-managed forests. Scientists opposing the project have stressed on the need to carry out a cumulative ecological impact assessment of the multiple large hydropower projects planned on the Dibang river. This deliberation comes in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is a reminder of the true cost of large-scale destruction of primary tropical forests. (National Herald)

Disaster in 2019 displaced five million while Covid-19 makes tackling natural disasters tough

As per a recent report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), five million people were displaced in India last year, the highest in the world, due to disasters, including cyclones and monsoon floods. Year 2019 was the seventh warmest in India since 1901 and the monsoon was the wettest in 25 years, which aggravated the destructive power of the eight tropical storms that hit the country during the year. Moreover, another report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic will make tackling climate-related hazards very difficult due to overstretched health systems. (Deccan Herald, Hindustan Times)

Post lockdown, Periyar river in Kerala remains polluted

Recent samples collected from four different stretches of the Periyar river have revealed that the river water is not fit for even bathing due to high presence of coliforms. The officials are yet to find the cause of pollution during the lockdown and will be visiting the industrial units in the area to find the industries discharging sewage into the river. Taking suo moto notice of reports about the high level of contamination in the river water, the Kerala High Court has sought reports from the State Pollution Control Board and the water authority. The Court has also instructed the Board to take immediate steps to prevent further contamination of the river. (The Times of India, India Legal)

This is a roundup of important news published between April 15 - April 30, 2020. Also read policy matters this week.