nsive study on environment
GLO BAL SOIL BIODIVERSITY ATLAS Recently, the Global Soil biodiversity Atlas placed India among countries biodiversity faces the highest level of risk. . .o It is a joint venture of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative and the European Commission Joint Research Centre. o Its findings were published as part of the Living Planet Report, 2018 (published by WWF every two years). .Some of the important findings of the Living Planet Report, 2018 were: o The current rate of species loss is 100 to 1,000 times higher than only a few hundred years ago. Ten thousand years ago that ratio was probably reversed. o 60% of all animals with a backbone were wiped out due to human activity from 1970 to 2014. The report says that the Earth has entered the sixth mass extinction event in the last half-a-billion years. o There has been a decline in mangroves by 30% to 50% over the past 50 years. 0 Almost 50% of the globe's shallow-water reefs have declined in the last 30 years. .
USTRIAL DISASTERS ININDIA Why in news? Recently, 9 people died in blast and fire in the gas pipeline during maintenance work in SAIL's Bhilra plant. Industrial Disasters- A background .The ever-growing mechanisation, electrification, chemicalisation and sophistication have made industrial jobs more and more complex and intricate leading to increased dangers to human life in industries through accidents and injuries. .India has continued to witness a series of industrial disasters during the last 3 decades after the Bhopal gas tragedy, including a chlorine gas leak in Vadodara (2002) that affected 250 people, a toluene fire at Mohali (2003), a chlorine gas leak at Jamshedpur (2008), and more recently, boiler furnace explosion at the NTPC Unchahar power plant (2017) which killed 43, affecting more than 80 people. A study by the British Safety Council based on ILO data found that 48,000 people on average die in the country per annum due to work-related hazards. It observed that as many as 38 fatal accidents take place every day in the construction sector in the country. As per NCRB data, Electrical faults seem to be the major reason for 8% of the deaths in industries.
Reasons for Industrial disasters On part of Industries Low awareness: Most companies are not aware of the safe practices in terms o what is a safe machinery, or what environment it will be used in Unsafe practices: For eg- quarrying leading to roof collapse in coal mines, workers working without masks in areas prone to poisonous gas leakage, contradt workers not given adequate personal protection equipment (PPE) etc. Lack of regulations: Storing and handling hazardous chemicals by factories in unorganized sector posesserious and complex risks to people, property and the environment Poor management systems: Due to poorer reporting systems, many accidents and deaths go unreported. Unawareness about disaster management: Industries do not regularly inform the larger public about the disaster management plan in case an accident occurs.
On part of Government Lack of centre-state coordination: Labor falls in the concurrent list, so the Centre frames the laws while the states have the responsibility of implementing them. But the multiplicity of legislations and changing regulations from state to state often pose compliance problems. .Relaxation of Industrial Regulations: Industrial regulation has, unfortunately, come to be viewed as a barrier to ease of doing business in India. This is a result of inefficiency and corruption. Safety audits: Owing to poorly staffed labour departments, safety audits of hazardous manufacturing units still remain a distant dream although the Factories Act prescribes a mandatory annual examination. Capacity building at state level: The inability of states to strengthen their labour bureaus and environment protection units caused unsafe factories to mushroom to meet the growing demand for industrialization. On part of workers and public Lax attitude of workers: Even if workers are provided with PPEs they are generally reluctant to use them as they feel it hinder their comfort while on work. Also, most of the workers are inattentive while safety trainings. Lack of Public awareness: Public outside the premises are unaware of the nature of industry and the hazards it poses to health and life. They are also not aware of what to do when an accident occurs around
Government/Judicial Actions taken to tackle Industrial Disasters Environment Impact Assessment: It introduced the concept of environmental appraisal of all rojects and incorporating ecological and safety conditions while approving new ventures. Also, it has provisions for management of hazardous waste. Extended Risk scope: In 1987, the Factories Act, 1948, was amended to extend the scope of risk from hazardous industries. What used to be a narrowly defined scope covering only workers and the premises of the factory was extended to the general public in the vicinity of the factory. The changes also provided for appraisal when hazardous industries were being set up or expanded .Handling hazardous chemicals & wastes o Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Substances Rules, 1989, details and catalogues chemicals deemed "hazardous" entering the country, the port of entry and the quantity imported. o The Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008, provide for means of safe storage and disposal of "hazardous waste" with the help of central and state pollution control boards
Addressing chemical disasters o The Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules, 1996, addresses gas leaks and similar events. o The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) guideline on chemical disasters was published in 2007 for a "proactive, participatory, well-structured, failsafe, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach" to tackle chemical disasters Compensation liability o Concept of Absolute Liability: As defined by the Supreme Court in 1986, the enterprise owes an absolute and non-delegable duty to the community to ensure that no harm results to anyone on account of hazardous or inherently dangerous nature of the activity which it has undertaken. Compensation needs to have a "deterrent effect" and must reflect the magnitude and capacity of the enterprise" o Public Liability Insurance Act (1991): It was supposed to provide for immediate and interim relief to disaster victims till their claims of compensation were finally decided. Owners of industries dealing in hazardous substances are required to take out insurance policies under this Act
.The NGT Act provides for the "principle of no-fault liability", which means that the corm held liable even if it had done everything in its power to prevent the accident. o The Civil Liabiln for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, is the most recent law that has provision for compensation of more than Rs.100 crore, which could reach up to Rs.1,500 crore, depending on severity. For worker safety: ILO's Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006, ratified by India in 2017, aims at promoting a preventative safety and health culture and progressively achieving a safe and healthy working environment. Way Forward Creation of Buffer zone: It is essential for government to ensure an adequate buffer zone and not permit people to stay around in that zone or allow any business shops or constructions therein. Sufficient space must be kept in the buffer zone so that if something goes wrong or an accident occurs, the people are not affected. Location of Industry: The EIA regulations mandated under Environment Protection Act must be strictly enforced. Local authorities especially Gram Sabha must be given adequate weightage for their inputs in regards to EIA assessment.
.Disaster Management Plan: Industries should have disaster management plans that local authoriti include hospitals, fire stations and the like-will know and should communicate to the local people what they supposed to do in the event of a disaster. These plans are also needed to be updated regularly. Consolidation of rules and laws: India should formulate and implement a comprehensive safety legislative framework in accordance with the current industry best practice and community expectations. . Enhance monitoring standards: India needs a single national authority to monitor workplace standards and increasing inspection as recommended by a Labour Working Group constituted by the Government back in 2008- 09. . .Safety Audit reforms: At present, safety audits are primarily focused on occupational safety and health issues and lack sufficient technical rigour. The audit scope and methodology should be expanded to include auditing of major incident event scenarios and controls identified and assessed for each scenario. The audits should seek evidence on performance assurance of safety controls. Institutional capacity building: Investigative and technical rigour should be enhanced in the inspections that are being undertaken by the inspectorate. o There should be a national capacity building programme for inspectors in process safety, incident investigation, and auditing and inspections. o Universities and professional institutions should contribute to the long-term skill development of inspectorates. o There should be international cooperation in research and training programmes related to safety and health inspections
Identification of common safety incidents: Within the premises of the in the 5 most common causes of safety incidents and preventative measures have been identified as follows: o Moving machinery - Isolate, lock or pin all energy sources before any machinery is accessed. Falling from height - Provide regular training, appropriate harnessing equipment and ensure checks are in place when working at height. o Falling objects -Ensure regular checks are in place to remove or secure objects in risk areas. o On-site traffic - Ensure all traffic on the site is operated safely, including road, rail and pedestrians, and remove all unnecessary traffic. o Process safety incidents . ldentify potential process safety hazards that could cause explosions or fires and take adequate precautions. Strict implementation of safety norms: Every factory management should set up a statutory safety committee responsible for ensuring the strict implementation of occupational safety norms
The NGT on August 24, 2018 directed the ministry to finalise the notifica a period of six months without making any alteration in the draft of February last year. . . So, the Centre will now have to finalise it by February next year. Eco Sensitive Zones (ESZ)/ Eco-Sensitive Area (ESA) ESZs are ecologically important areas notified under the Environment Protection Act to be protected from industrial pollution and unregulated development. According to the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the government can prohibit industrial operations such as mining, sand quarrying and building thermal power plants in sensitive areas. To categorise an area as ecologically sensitive, the government looks at topography, climate and rainfall, land use and land cover, roads and settlements, human population, biodiversity corridors and data of plants and animal species
.Nature of Activities in ESZ: While some of the activities coul allowed in all the ESAs, others will need to be regulated/ prohibited. However, which activity can be regulated or prohibited and to what extent, would have to be PA specific. There are 3 categories of activitieso Prohibited- commercial mining, polluting industries, major hydroelectric projects etc. o Restricted with safeguards (Regulated) Felling of trees, Establishment of hotels and resorts, Drastic change of agriculture system, widening of roads, introduction of exotic species etc. o Permissible- Rain Water Harvesting, Organic farming, Ongoing Agricultural Practices etc. .
BANNI GRASSLAND .Why in news? Nomadic tribes (Maldhari) are leaving their villages in Banni region due to water scarcity. About Banni grassland The Banni grassland of Gujarat (near Rann of Kutch) is the largest natural grassland in the Indian subcontinent known for its scarce rainfall and semi-drought conditions. . The land of Banni is formed out of ocean clay, so it includes an element of salt from very beginning. This land is formed out of alluvial and clayey sand. .Migratory pastoralism has been followed here from centuries with a broader geographical landscape that included Sindh in Pakistan and even extended into parts of Baluchistan and Afghanistan Now, Banni is divided into eastern and western parts separated by National Highway 341, which leads to the India-Pakistan International Border. .There are 22 ethnic communities living in the area called Maldhari pastoralists('mal' means animal stock and 'dhari means keeper)
EURASIAN OTTER Why in news? . Recently scientist confirmed the presence of Eurasian otter in Western Ghats. About Otter .They are carnivorous mammals and adapt to a variety of habitats ranging from marine to freshwater environments. India is home to 3 of the 13 species of otters found worldwide. These are o Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra): IUCN: Near Threatened; CITES Appendix I; Wildlife (Protection) Act Schedule Il o Smooth-coated Otter (Lutra perspicillata): IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES Appendix II; Wildlife (Protection) Act Schedule II. o Small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus): IUCN: Vulnerable; CITES Appendix Il; Wildlife (Protection) Act Schedule lI. Though the Eurasian otter has been recorded historically from the Western Ghats (Coorg in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu's Nilgiri and Palani hill ranges), this is the first photographic and genetic confirmation of its presence here