[Environment] Solar Cooperative Farms, Occupational Diseases, Earth Wobbling, Bangladeshi Wheat Blast & More

solar cooperative Gujarat

[Environment] Solar Cooperative Farms, Occupational Diseases, Earth Wobbling, Bangladeshi Wheat Blast & More

  1. Clean Energy related
    1. Energy: Solar cooperative farms
    2. Energy: Hydel
  2. Agriculture and Food
    1. Bread Carcinogens
    2. Wheat Blast
  3. Flora Fauna
    1. Marine Biodiversity
    2. Earth, Climate Change, Disasters
  4. Mains GS3: Pollution
    1. Salt Pan workers &Law commission
    2. Silicosis and Supreme Court
  5. Science Technology
    1. Resuable space shuttle
    2. Atomic Force Microscope


  • In the previous part, we saw polity related current affairs from May-2016.
  • This part contains Environment and science technology related current affairs from May-2016.

Clean Energy Related

Energy: Solar cooperative farms

solar cooperative Gujarat

Solar Cooperative in Kheda District, Gujarat

  • SPICE: Solar Pump irrigator cooperative enterprise
  • Farmers in Dhundi village of Kheda district of Gujarat, have started SPICE- solar cooperative, wherein they install solar irrigation pump in their farm with state government subsidy.
  • Excess electricity is sold off to Madhya Gujarat Vij Ltd. For Rs. 4.63 /unit. For 25 years’ contract.
  • Company can also sell off renewable energy certificates (REC) based on this purchase.
  • A farmer with 1 ht. land can hope to earn Rs.60,000/- per year from selling excess solar electricity.
  • Farmer can also cultivate cash crops like spinach, carrot, garlic, beet and medicinal plants in the shadow below the solar panels. Thus optimal landuse.

Energy: Hydel

Arunanchal Hydropower
  • 2008: National Hydro power policy 2008: Arunanchal has ~50,000 out of ~1.5 lakh MW total hydropower potential of India.
  • 2015: Dibang Multi purpose project (2880MW): India’s largest hydropower project – it was given clearance by government of India in 2015.
  • May 2016: Anti-dam protests in Tawang. A Buddhist monk died in Police firing.
Athirapally Hydel project
  • It is to be constructed on Kerala’s Chalakkudi river in Thrissur district.
  • New LDF government wishes to construct but tribal and coalition partners are opposed.
Energy Misc. developments in May 2016
Ujala LED scheme
  • By Gujarat state government
  • LED bulb to be sold @ concessional rate of Rs.80 (household) and Rs.90 (Commercial purpose).
Energy Bank India Nepal are planning to setup energy bank to help each other during power shortage issues.
Pachai Tamizhagam
  • Meaning “Green Tamilnadu“. This is the ‘first’ Green party of TN, floated by one of the anti-nuke protestors.
  • Their Election symbol is “Pot”.

Agriculture and Food

Bread Carcinogens

  • Potassium bromate (KBrO3):- oxidizing agent, used in flour treatment to make bread white, fluffy, soft and elastic. Causes cancer.
  • Potassium iodate (KIO3):flour treatment agent, causes thyroid disorders.
  • Many 1st world countries prohibit use of these chemicals in bread.
  • But Centre for science and environment (CSE) has found these chemicals in major bread/pizza/burger brands of India.

Wheat Blast- Bangladeshi worry, Indian neednot

  • Fungal disease originated from Brazil. It affects heads of the wheat stalk, and difficult to be treated by fungicides.
  • Widespread in Bangladesh after they imported wheat seeds from Brazil without proper quality check.
  • Bangladesh Government advised farmers to burn down the crop, and not to sow seeds from infected plots.
  • India need not worry since our wheat harvest season mostly over, so less chances of disease spread.
Misc. developments in May-2016
Gaushala meet
  • National conference on “Gaushalas” (Cowsheds), organized jointly by Agriculture and Environment ministries at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan.
GM compulsory licensing
  • Earlier government had notified that GM-technology Licensor can’t refuse license to any seed company to use its technology in their hybrid varieties.
  • GM Tech-Companies opposed this notification, and just like EPFO fiasco, here too government withdrew the notification.

Flora Fauna

Black necked crane
  • Black necked cranes are considered to be embodiment of 6th  Dalai Lama.
  • Nyamjang Chhu river in Tawan region of Arunanchal is one of their Wintering site.
  • NGT ordered government to conduct a study here on impact of hydel project.
  • At present IUCN  “Near Threatened Category”. But a group of researchers gave data of their declined population and demanded “Vulnerable” status.
Man eater lions
  • Lions have now settled in Junagadh, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra region of Gujarat. According to the 2015 census, there are 523 lions in the region.
  • In recent times they’ll killed and eaten more than 4 humans
  • Forest department has encaged ~13 lions.
  • MicroRNA is a small non-coding RNA molecule- that is not translated into a protein.
  • Researchers studying the microRNA of Lizard because it plays important role in regeneration of its tail.
Spirit of Freedom
  • This is a project by an International NGO to rescue circus lions and other caged animals from South America and rehabilitate them to South Africa via “airlift” but without Akshay Kumar
  • Scientists found a new species of wasp (Conobregma bradpitti) and named it after Hollywood actor Brad Pitt.

Marine Biodiversity

El-Nino & Coral Bleaching

  • New study says El Nino→ hot water→ more stress on corals, ultimately they become white and vulnerable to diseases. 30% of Great barrier reef’s coral destroyed by Coral bleaching.
  • Corollary to that, Hurricane/storms → cold water → less stress on corals
  • For more about Coral bleaching- watch Rajtanil’s lecture G5/P2

Palau Jellyfish Lake

  • It’s a group of islands in W.Pacific ocean. They’re part of UNESCO world heritage site.
  • Earlier tourist attraction for “Jellyfish lake” for presence of Golden jellyfish which don’t sting, so you can swim without worry.
  • But suddenly all jellyfish gone! Researcher blame it to climate change → Less rainlake became more salty → uninhabitable for this particular species of jellyfish.

Wetland draft rules

  • Government has sought public comments on new draft rules 2016 for Wetland conversation. They’ll replace 2010’s old rules.
  • India has 26 of the total 169 Ramsar wetland sites. Ramsar agreement was signed in 1971 in Iran’s Ramsar.
  • Notable wetlands in India: Wular Lake-Jammu Kashmir, Ashtamudi- Kerala, Deepor Beel- Assam and Nal Sarovar- Gujarat.
  • More you can read in Indianexpress Q&A series (although as such no point, because these are still ‘draft’ rule. After they’re officially publish, you should worry.)

Earth, Climate Change, Disasters

earth wobbling and climate change

Earth wobbling
  • Scientists say Earth’s watermass is shifting because of global warming, droughts and melting of glaciers.
  • And consequently, the earth’s spin axis is drifting towards Canada. See above image.
  • Relevance in MCQ– Which of the following factors can affect earth’s spin axis?
29th May Everest Day
Cyclone Roanu Hit Bangladesh’s southern coast. >20 killed, >5 lakh evacuated.
Drought 13 states and 25% population of India is affected by drought but inter-linking of rivers can solve the problem, says Rural development minister in parliament.
Forest Fire
  • Uttrakhand forest fire- main reason dry chir pine needles. Jim Corbett and Rajaji National Park destroyed.
  • MI-17 helicopters used for collecting water from Koteshwar dam in Srinagar to douze the fire.
Lightning hotspot
  • Venezula’s Maracibo Lighthouse is called “Lightning capital” of the world, because it recieves lightening strikes during 80% of the year.
Mount Sinabung
  • This volcano erupted. Location: North Sumatra, Indonesia
  • 7 years ago, Satellite imagery detected formation of new land mass near Mumbai sea.
  • Size of this land piece: – 15 sqkm, it is formed via natural sedimentation.
  • Now’s its part of official Mumbai, but will be treated as a “Natural area”- no construction permitted.
  • Army concerned, that early onset of summer and less snowfall this year- will increase terrorist infiltration.

Mains GS3: Pollution

Salt Pan workers &Law commission

Salt Production World Ranking: USA > China > India. And within India- Gujarat> TN> Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh

Salt pan workers suffer from following occupational diseases
Disease Reason(s)
Skin ulcer/chronic dermatitis
  • Due to constant exposure to sharp salt crystals. Gloves, boots not given.
  • Legs abnormally thin- don’t burn in pyre →legs buried in graves, separately.
Pterygia- loss of vision
  • Exposure to white reflected light & dust. Eye-googles not given.
  • Salt particles/aerosols inhaled. Masks not given
Respiratory disorders
  • Heat-sealing of salt in plastic bags.
  • Makeshift hemlets without LPG/kerosene. Firewood used.
  • Non-iodised salt used for domestic consumption.
  • Topic in news: because Gujarat State law commission chief Justice MB Shah (SC-Black money SIT fame) took suo-moto notice and criticized government for violation of Art. 21 and Art. 42.
  • Ultimately, 1st May (International Labour day), Government of Gujarat initiated some reforms.

Silicosis and Supreme Court

  • Silicosis is an occupational disease in quartz and stone crushing industries.
  • Inhaled silica crystals scar your lunch tissues, breathing becomes difficult. There is no cure for it.
  • SC orders Gujarat government to pay Rs.7 crore compensation to Silicosis victims in Godhara. Most of them poor migrants from Madhya Pradesh.
  • SC also issued bailable warrant against chief of Central pollution control board in this case.
Pollution related developments in May-2016
Commercial vehicles
  • Truck, bus, taxi, van etc  are examples of commercial vehicles, at present there is no deadline on their usage- just regulary they’ve to produce fitness certificate.
  • GoM of state minister recommends that commercial vehicles should not to be allowed to operate for more than eight years.
Diesel Taxis
  • Union request SC to reconsider the ban on diesel vehicles in Delhi because they provide transport facility to BPO employees- which generates lot of employment and GDP.
Diesel vehicles
  • NGT bans 10 years old diesel vehicles in 6 cities of Kerala.
Most polluted city
  • WHO urban air quality database 2016: Iran’s Zabol replaces Delhi as the most polluted city on PM 2.5 particles.
  • Other UPSC toppers are – Gwalio, Allahabad, Riyadh and Al Jubali (S.Arabia), Patna, Raipur.
  • This data is based on 2012-14 records, before AAP’s odd-even experiment.

Science Technology

Resuable space shuttle (RSV)

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