2018-CGS-33: Mains Revision-22: Environment & Disaster Management

Ozone Pollution

Ozone has molecular composition of O3. The presence of ozone in the stratosphere protects the humans against the harmful effects of ultra violet radiations. But the ozone at ground level is considered as a pollutant. This is referred as ozone pollution.

Formation of ozone at ground level

The ground level ozone is formed due to reaction between the Oxides of Nitrogen and Volatile Organic Compounds in the presence of sunlight.

Why it is a cause of concern?

Ozone pollution is concern because

  • Ozone at ground level is a potential green house gas. It can increase global warming.
  • When inhaled it can damage lungs, worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.
  • It can cause skin irritation and infections.
  • It can cause decrease in yield of crops.
  • Ozone can adversely impact species diversity, habitat quality and nutrient cycles.
  • Ozone at ground level can also cause acid rains.

The harmful effects of ozone will cause serious and adverse effect on health and economy. Therefore while dealing with remedial measures under Paris climate agreement due attention must be given to ozone at ground level. [Down To Earth]

Geoengineering Intervention To Combat Climate Change

Geo-Engineering also known as climate engineering is the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system with the aim of addressing global warming. It mainly adopts two strategies, greenhouse gas removal and solar radiation management.

Geo-engineering in fight against climate change

Geo-Engineering adopts methods such as deflecting sunlight away from the Earth, increasing the reflectivity (albedo) of the atmosphere or the Earth’s surface, Carbon capture, Spewing aerosols etc.

Geo-Engineering aims to protect the adverse affects of global warming by

  • Removing of green house gases from the atmosphere.
  • Offsetting effects of greenhouse gases by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation.

The world is committed itself to contain the global temperature rise with in 2deg of pre- Industrial levels and strive to contain it within 1.5deg. But the current temperature levels are already above 1.2deg. Developing countries like China, India are still to achieve their peak emissions. Therefore there is a need of a non conventional approach to limit the global temperatures.

Geo-engineering cannot be a panacea

The geo-engineering interventions pose challenges such as

  • Sudden application and rapid termination of these technologies will have an adverse impact on the life forms because living creatures have a symbiotic relation with surrounding environment.
  • Methods like spewing aerosols will have adverse impact on the biodiversity.
  • The efficacy of geo-engineering methods is still not proven. Adverse consequences may deter investments in fight against climate change.
  • The food chains will be impacted because of the resultant migration of mammals, reptiles, birds to their preferred climate zones to deal with the impact of geo-engineering techniques.

Geo-engineering still at nasant stage at most can address the symptoms not the causes of climate change. Therefore geo-engineering cannot be a panacea to address the global warming. At worse it can even deteriorate the fight against global warming. [The Wire]

State Of Forest Report 2017

Forest survey of India has released its biennial report India State of Forest Report (SFR) 2017. The findings of the report include

  • Increase in forest cover by 1% when compared to 2015.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala topped the list of States that posted an increase in forest cover.
  • Rise in the very dense forest category but decline in moderately dense forest category.
  • Decreasing forest Cover in north-east where forest cover was more than 60%.
  • 15 Political units (States and UTs) have 33% of their geographical area under forests.

These findings are vital for the fact that it aids in policy formulation and implemetation. The following conclusions can be drawn from the findings of the report

  • Increase in forest cover in Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh was due to plantation and conservation activities both within and outside the recorded Forest areas as well as an improvement in interpretation of satellite data.
  • As north-east is now opening up to process of development at a faster pace, the decrease in forest cover is eminent. The need to compensate the decreasing forest cover of north east in other regions of the country.
  • Increase in tree cover shows the improvements in implementation of commitments under Paris climate deal. India has committed to develop additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
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