Ecology & Environment Notes 2020 (#10): Chinese Pink Dolphins; Hottest September Since 1880

Chinese Pink Dolphins

  • Chinese pink dolphins are making a comeback in the Pearl river estuary, one of the most heavily industrialised areas on Earth.
  • The Pearl River estuary includes Hong Kong, Macau as well as the mainland Chinese cities of Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Dongguan. Some 22 million people live in the area.
  • Pink dolphins have seen a decline in their numbers in the past 15 years by 70-80 per cent. Dolphins use echolocation to find their way in water. 

Hottest September Since 1880

  • The September of 2020 was the hottest September since 1880, according to the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA.
  • The 10-warmest Septembers have all occurred since 2005, with the seven-warmest Septembers occurring in the last seven years.

Bioremediation Mechanism Technology

  • The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has developed an eco-friendly crude oil bioremediation mechanism technology using consortia of marine microbes wheat bran (WB) immobilized on agro-residue bacterial cells.
  • This technology will help clean up the oil spillage from the oceans without damaging the marine ecosystem.
What is Bioremediation?
  • It is a process that uses microorganisms or their enzymes to remove and or neutralize contaminants within the environment (i.e., within soil and water) to their original condition.

Food Consumption Patterns

  • Bending the Curve: The Restorative Power of Planet-Based Diets was published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on October 9, 2020.
  • According to the report, food consumption patterns vary widely and can best be characterised by massive inequality.
  • The report calls for a need to strike a balance in how countries consume their food.
  • The report also proposes a shift to plant-based diet.
According to the report:
  • One in three people either eat too little or too much.
  • The current consumption pattern is not balanced across the globe.
  • But by just shifting the diets to more plant-based will cut down carbon emissions by 30 per cent; wildlife loss by 46 per cent; agriculture land use by 41 per cent and premature deaths by 20 per cent.
  • A greater shift to plant-based diets can help cut more environmental loss, the report added.

According to the report, a sustainable environment and human health can be achieved by following a few lifestyle changes that include:

  • Eating more sustainable food
  • Eating more plant-based food and less animal-based food
  • Eating healthy and locally grown and minimally processed food
  • Eating lots of diverse food rather than consuming just one kind

Crimes Related To Environment

  • Recently, National Crime Records Bureau released Crimes in India 2019 report.
  • According to the report, at least 34,671 crimes related to environment were recorded in 2019.
  • This was a little less than 2018’s 35,196 environment-related crime cases.
  • While the number dipped 1.5 per cent in a year, a closer look at the data revealed a disturbing trend. 
  • For one, offences under Air / Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act and Environmental (Protection) Act increased by over 841 per cent and 466 per cent between 2018 and 2019.  
  • Cases registered for violating Noise Pollution Act and the National Green Tribunal Act increased by nearly 14 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.
Environmental offences increase in 16 states
  • At least 16 states registered an increase in environmental crimes between 2018 and 2019.
  • Between 2017 and 2018, 12 states had reported an increase in such offences.
  • Rajasthan reported the maximum number of environment crimes, followed by Uttar Pradesh in 2019.
  • Cases registered under The Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), at 22,667, were the highest and followed by Noise Pollution Act at 8,537 cases.

Nobel Peace Prize

  • The Nobel Committee, on October 10, decided to confer the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP).
  • The WFP is an intergovernmental organization.
  • It provides food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. 
  • Established in 1961, it has been working to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition by 2030.

Human Emissions of Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

  • Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas.
  • It is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Human emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) increased by 30 per cent between 1980 and 2016, according to a research paper published in Nature.
  • Nitrous oxide is a dangerous gas for the sustainable existence of humans on Earth.
  • It has the third-highest concentration — after CO2 and methane — in our atmosphere among greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
  • N2O can live in the atmosphere for up to 125 years.
  • The research was conducted through an international collaboration between the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) and the Global Carbon Project of Future Earth, a partner of the World Climate Research Programme.
  • N2O is also the only remaining threat to the ozone layer, for it accumulates in the atmosphere over a long period of time, just like CO2.