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Down To Earth Magazine (September 2022, Part 1): Important Environmental Current Affairs

Down To Earth Magazine is a fortnightly magazine focusing on politics of environment and development, published in New Delhi, India.
UPSC Previous years’ questions on Development, Environment, Health and Disaster Management give us a clear idea about the increased importance of Down To Earth Magazine.
Down To Earth Magazine is one of the most important and indispensable sources for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation.
Keeping this in mind, here, we come with ”Gist Of Down To Earth Magazine” which covers important environmental current affairs articles in smooth pointed form, keeping in mind the demand of UPSC aspirants.


International Vulture Awareness Day


Why in news?

  • Uttar Pradesh inaugurated its first vulture conservation and breeding centre on September 3, celebrated as International Vulture Awareness Day.
  • This is India’s second such centre after the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre in Pinjore, Haryana.

Key Points

  • The country has seven other facilities where vultures are bred and then released into the wild.
  • Of the eight vulture species in the country, two are nearly threatened, one is endangered and four are critically endangered, says the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • Data with the Union government shows that as of the last count in 2017, the country has only 19,000 vultures.


Continuous Use Of Hazardous Pesticides


Why in news?

  • Farmers across the country use four highly hazardous pesticides(Chlorpyrifos, Fipronil, Atrazine And Paraquat Dichloride) for more crops than officially approved, according to a report by Kerala non- profit Pesticide Action Network.

Key Points

  • Chlorpyrifos is used for 23 crops, but is officially approved for 18. High exposure to this insecticide can damage the human nervous system.
  • Fipronil, another insecticide that is harmful to the thyroid, has been approved for nine crops but is used for 27.
  • Similar figures are noted for herbicides atrazine which leads to hormonal problems, and paraquat dichloride, a possible carcinogen.


US Climate Law


Why in news?

US President Joseph Biden on August 16 passed the Inflation Reduction Bill, 2022, touted as a major win for the country’s climate ambitions.

How US climate law could impact climate goals?

  • The new law marks US $369 billion for various climate measures, for example, incentives for the domestic renewable energy sector.
  • Proponents of the new law say that it will boost global climate targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Some analysts note that this could invite foreign energy players to shift focus towards the US, hindering countries like India from building capacity to meet their own climate goals.
  • Moreover, the law also has provisions allowing the lease of 243 million hectares of public and offshore land for oil and gas drilling, which is seen as a massive boost to fossil fuel expansion.


The Air Quality and Health in Cities Report


Why in news?

  • India has the top two most polluted cities in terms of PM2.5 levels.

Key Points

  • Outdoor PM2.5 levels of 5 μg per cubic metre are deemed healthy by World Health Organization, but exposure is higher in cities of low- and middle-income countries.
  • The Air Quality and Health in Cities report, published by the State of Global Air, is a collaboration between the US-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Global Burden of Disease Project.
  • As per the report, the highest population-weighted annual average PM2.5 exposure in 2019 was in Delhi at 110 μg/m3, followed by Kolkata at 84 μg/m3.
  • Here is the list of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world (PM2.5) with the PM2.5 levels in μg/m3:

Delhi, India (110)
Kolkata, India (84)
Kano, Nigeria (83.6)
Lima, Peru (73.2)
Dhaka, Bangladesh (71.4)
Jakarta, Indonesia (67.3)
Lagos, Nigeria (66.9)
Karachi, Pakistan (63.6)
Beijing, China (55)
Accra, Ghana (51.9)
Chengdu, China (49.9)
Singapore, Singapore (49.4)
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (47.4)
Mumbai, India (45.1)
Bamako, Mali (44.2)
Shanghai, China (40.1)
Dushanbe, Tajikistan (39.7)
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (38)
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (35.8)
Cairo, Egypt (34.2)

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