10 more wetlands in the country are now Ramsar sites
Ten more wetland sites in the country have received the tag of international importance under the Ramsar Convention — an intergovernmental global treaty to preserve ecological character of selected wetlands across the globe. The ten sites include one in Maharashtra, the first for the state, three in Punjab and six in Uttar Pradesh.
With this addition, the list of wetlands in India under the Convention has grown to 37 with surface area of over 10,679 sq km, an area nearly the size of Sikkim and Goa put together.
Along with sharing information on new Ramsar sites, the Environment Ministry has claimed to have prepared a four-pronged strategy for the restoration of wetlands. (The Times of India)
India received 120 percent of rainfall by the third week of January: IMD
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, India has received 120 percent of rainfall by the third week of January. Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab have received over 300 percent of the normal precipitation in January. Also, in the northeast, while Manipur received 1603 percent of the normal rainfall for the month, Tripura and Mizoram received 670 and 295 percent of rainfall, respectively. The reason behind the rainfall in the northern and north-western parts of the country in January is the influence of western disturbances (WD), which have been higher than usual this year. (Hindustan Times)
Punjab under severe water crisis
The water indices of Punjab show that it will have a net groundwater availability of -14.58 billion cubic metre (BCM) within the next 25 years and even the domestic and industrial water supply will shrink from 1.22 BMC. There are a few positive steps that have been taken to improve the water scenario, which includes passing of the Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Bill 2020 and initiation to formulate Water Conservation and Management Master Plan (WCMMP). However, the data by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), notes that the state government has not been able to properly manage its treated sewage water. The state is able to use only 21 percent of water treated by its sewage treatment plants. (The New Indian Express, The Times of India)
Satellite data uncovers a health decline in 25 percent of mangrove trees in Sunderbans
According to a recent study, the number of mangroves in the Sundarbans, spanning India and Bangladesh, have not reduced in the last 30 years. However, there is evidence of a decline in the health of about 25 percent of the mangrove trees. Using Landsat data archive and Continuous Change Detection and Classification (CCDC) method, the study examined mangrove extent and greening and browning trends in the entire Sundarbans over thirty years. The researchers informed that although Sundarbans forest is resilient to cyclone events, the long-term degrading effects of climate change could critically hamper its ability to spring back. (Mongabay India)
95 percent of the forest fires in India are due to human activity
As per the India State of Forest Report 2019, over 30,000 incidents of forest fires were reported in the country in 2019 and the technical study of Forest Survey of India has informed that over 95 percent of fire incidents in the country have anthropogenic origins. People living in the vicinity of forests often intentionally ignite fires for cleaning the land for agricultural purposes and such fires sometimes become uncontrollable. However, globally, as the frequency and severity of wildfires go up, climate change has been attributed as one of the reasons for aggravating fires. According to experts, the focus of fire management should be on prevention not suppression and tribal communities living in forests should be involved in prevention efforts. (CNBC TV8)
This is a roundup of important news published between January 23 - 29, 2020. Also read policy matters this week.