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News – 1

Context: India successfully launches earth observation satellite

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Science & Technology

Name of the satellite: EOS­01 (earth observation satellite)

Applications: Agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.

About the launch vehicle: PSLV­C49

What is PSLV?

  • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is an expendable medium-lift launch vehicle designed and operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • It was developed to allow India to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into sun-synchronous orbits.

What is synchronous orbit?

  • A Sun-synchronous orbit is a nearly polar orbit around a planet, in which the satellite passes over any given point of the planet’s surface at the same local mean solar time.

News – 2

Context: Four more biodiversity heritage sites for Karnataka

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Environment & ecology

Name of sites:

  • These sites are Antaragange Betta, Kolar; Aadi Narayana Swamy Betta, Chickballapur; Mahima Ranga Betta, Nelamangala; and Urumbi area, Kumaradhara river basin.

Why these sites are selected?

  • Antaragange Betta was chosen for its exclusive and perennial water source.
  • Aadi Narayana Swamy Betta is home to several dry-belt species.
  • Mahima Ranga Betta is a famous green space.
  • Urumbi, which is situated on the banks of the Kumaradhara river, has a delicate environmental system.

What is the importance of such designation?

  • Biodiversity heritage site is indicative of its remarkable and fragile ecosystems, whether it be marine, coastal, or terrestrial.
  • This designation would help conserve the site’s pristine environment and rich biodiversity.

[Karnataka Biodiversity Board has recommended GI tag to Kari Ishad, a variety of mango grown in the State]

News – 3

Context: Guwahati zoo new home to rescued exotic animals – Macaws, capuchin monkeys, even a kangaroo, were smuggled in from Myanmar

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Environment & ecology

About Macaws:

  • They are long-tailed, often colourful, New World parrots. They are popular in aviculture or as companion parrots, although there are conservation concerns about several species in the wild.
  • The hyacinth macaw, the largest species of parrot in the world, will now be listed as threatened.
  • Macaws are native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and formerly the Caribbean.


About capuchin monkeys:

  • The capuchin monkeys are readily identified as the “organ grinder” monkey, and have been used in many movies and television shows.
  • The range of capuchin monkeys includes some tropical forests in Central America and South America as far south as northern Argentina.
  • In Central America, they are called white-faced monkeys.
  • They usually occupy the wet lowland forests on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and Panama and deciduous dry forest on the Pacific coast.
  • The Kaapori capuchin is a capuchin monkey endemic to Brazil is Critically Endangered according to IUCN status.

Capuchin monkey

About Aldabra tortoises:

  • Aldabras are one of the world’s largest land tortoises. Males are considerably larger than females and have longer, thicker tails.
  • Aldabra tortoises can reach ages of over 150 years.
  • They are found on Aldabra Island, one of the Seychelles northeast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.
  • They are vulnerable according to IUCN status.

Aldabra tortoise

About Kangaroo:

  • The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning “large foot”).
  • In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, the red kangaroo, as well as the antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo, and western grey kangaroo.
  • Kangaroos are indigenous to Australia and New Guinea.
  • Marsupial animals: A distinctive characteristic common to most of these species is that the young are carried in a pouch.


News – 4

Context: Finally, great banyan tree breathes afresh Telangana’s ‘modern-organic’ treatment brings green shoots in centuries-old tree

Topic in syllabus: Prelims – Environment & ecology

How did they do that?

  • To contain the termite attack, they sprayed chlorpyrifos on the tree.
  • Starting few months, they sprayed on the branches, and later realised the practise was not effective, as the solution was seeping inside the trunk.
  • so they drilled holes into the branches and stem and injected the chlorpyrifos.
  • Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide used on crops, animals, and buildings, and in other settings, to kill a number of pests, including insects and worms. It acts on the nervous systems of insects.

News – 5

Context: Plea on draft West Ghats notification – A Kerala­-based NGO for farmers moved the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional a draft notification of the Centre demarcating 56,825 sq. km spread across six States as the ‘Western Ghats Ecologically Sensitive Area’.

Topic in syllabus: Mains – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment (GS-3)

Why this petition?

  • The draft notification is declaring “123 agricultural villages in Kerala as ecologically sensitive area [ESA] villages and the recommendations based on the Kasturirangan report [and earlier the Gadgil report] on land use, farming practices, animal husbandry, forestry, industries, infrastructure development, power generation, transport, tourism, etc.
  • The petition said the draft notification would affect 22 lakh people and cripple the economy of Kerala.
  • This would convert the semi-­urban villages in the region into forests with no facilities and roads,” the petition said.

About Madhav Gadgil & Kasturirangan panel:

  • The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP), also known as the Gadgil Commission after its chairman Madhav Gadgil, was an environmental research commission appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India.
  • The commission submitted the report to the Government of India on 31 August 2011. The Expert Panel approached the project through a set of tasks such as:
  • Compilation of readily available information about Western Ghats
  • Development of Geo-spatial database based on environmental sensitivity, and
  • Consultation with Government bodies and Civil society groups.
  • The panel recommended a National-level authority, Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA).
  • The Gadgil panel had recommended a blanket approach consisting of guidelines for sector-wise activities, which could be permitted in the ecologically sensitive zones
  • The Kasturirangan Commission has sought to balance the two concerns of development and environment protection, by watering down the environmental regulation regime proposed by the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panel’s Gadgil report in 2012.
  • The Kasturirangan Commission recommended prohibition on development activities in 60,000 km2 ecologically sensitive area spread over Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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