Q. In which one of the following States is Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary located?

(a) Arunachal Pradesh

(b) Manipur

(c) Meghalaya

(d) Nagaland

Answer: (a) Arunachal Pradesh

  • Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary, also known as Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary, is in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India.
    • It is bounded by Bhareli or Kameng River in the west and north, and by Pakke River in the east.
    • It is surrounded by contiguous forests on most sides.
    • To the east lies Papum Reserve Forest,
    • Towards the south and south-east, the sanctuary adjoins reserve forests and Assam’s Nameri National Park,
    • To the west, it is bounded by Doimara Reserve Forest and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary;
    • and to the north by Shergaon Forest Division.
  • Keibul-Lamjao (Loktak Lake) National Park is located in the state of Manipur.
  • Siju Bird Sanctuary, Balpakram National Park and Nokrek Biosphere Reserve are located in Meghalaya.
  • Fakim Wildlife Sanctuary, Rangapahar Wildlife Sanctuary, Singphan Wildlife Sanctuary are located in Nagaland.
Pakke Tiger Reserve

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. The definition of “Critical Wildlife Habitat” is incorporated in the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
  2. For the first time in India, Baigas have been given Habitat Rights.
  3. Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change officially decides and declares Habitat Rights for Primitive and Vulnerable Tribal Groups in any part of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (a) 1 and 2 only

  • The definition of ‘critical wildlife habitat’ is incorporated only in the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
  • Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs is the nodal ministry and officially decides and declares Habitat Rights for Primitive and Vulnerable Tribal Groups in any part of India.
  • For the first time habitat rights have been given to Baigas under the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
    • Baiga tribals become India’s first community to get habitat rights.
  • Critical wildlife habitats (CWH) are defined under the Forest Rights Act, 2006, as the “areas of national parks and sanctuaries where it has been specifically and clearly established, case by case, on the basis of scientific and objective criteria, that such areas are required to be kept as inviolate for the purposes of wildlife conservation.”

Q. Which of the following is/are the possible consequence/s of heavy sand mining in riverbeds?

  1. Decreased salinity in the river
  2. Pollution of groundwater
  3. Lowering of the water-table

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (b) 2 and 3 only

  • Heavy sand mining in riverbeds leads to the increase of velocity of the flowing water, thereby eventually erode the river banks.
  • Sand aquifer helps in recharging the water table; its progressive depletion in the river is accompanied by the lowering of the water table in the nearby areas.
  • As the turbidity increases at the mining site, saline water intrusion takes along the coastal aquifers thereby polluting the ground water.
  • It also leads to an imminent danger of saline water ingress into fresh water.
Impact of Sand Mining on the Environment
  • Excessive sand mining can alter the river bed, force the river to change course, erode banks, and cause flooding.
  • It causes river and estuary deepening, as well as the expansion of river mouths and coastal inlets.
  • It may also result in saline water intrusion from the nearby sea.
  • Instream mining can have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond the immediate mine sites.
  • Every year, many hectares of fertile streamside land are lost, as well as valuable timber resources and wildlife habitats in riparian areas. Degraded stream habitats reduce fisheries productivity, biodiversity, and recreational potential.
  • Sand mining is a direct cause of erosion and has an impact on local wildlife.
  • Various animals rely on sandy beaches for nesting clutches, and mining has nearly wiped out gharials (a crocodile species) in India.
  • Sand mining in Chambal has had an impact on the population of Gharials, a critically endangered species (a National Chambal Sanctuary has been established for their conservation).
  • Mining harms wildlife by removing basking and egg-laying habitat.
  • Turbidity in the water is caused by the disturbance of underwater and coastal sand, which is harmful to organisms that require sunlight, such as coral.
  • It can also devastate fisheries, causing financial hardship for the operators.
  • As the amount of sand reaching the oceans changes, rivers are unable to replenish the sand on beaches and in deltas.
  • Increased riverbed and bank erosion raises the concentration of suspended solids in the water both at the excavation site and downstream. Suspended solids can harm water users and aquatic ecosystems.

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. Most of the world’s coral reefs are in tropical waters.
  2. More than one-third of the world’s coral reefs are located in the territories of Australia, Indonesia and Philippines.
  3. Coral reefs host far more number of animal phyla than those hosted by tropical rainforests.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

  • Most of the world’s coral reefs are located within the tropical zone between 30º N and 30º S latitude.
  • Conditions for the growth of Coral Reefs:
    • It required a preferred temperature range of approximately 22º to 30º C. 
    • ​For the growth of coral, the depth of the water should not exceed 200m.
    • Corals can live only in saline waters, and the average salinity should be between 27 to 40% for their proper growth.
  • More than one-third of the world’s coral reefs are located in territories of Australia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
  • The coral reefs are most commonly grown in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, due to their shallow, warm, and clean water.
  • Some scientists estimate that more than 25,000 described species from thirty-two of the world’s thirty-three animal phyla live in reef habitats – four times the number of animal phyla found in tropical rain forests.

Q. “Momentum for Change: Climate Neutral Now” is an initiative launched by

(a) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(b) The UNEP Secretariat

(c) The UNFCCC Secretariat

(d) The World Meterological Organisation

Answer: (c) The UNFCCC Secretariat

United Nations Environment Programme
  • The UNEP is a leading global environmental authority established on 5th June 1972.
  • Functions: It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
  • Major Reports: Emission Gap Report, Global Environment Outlook, Frontiers, Invest into Healthy Planet.
  • Major Campaigns: Beat Pollution, UN75, World Environment Day, Wild for Life.
  • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya.
  • UNFCCC was signed in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development also known as the Earth Summit, the Rio Summit or the Rio Conference.
    • India is among the select few countries to have hosted the COP of all three Rio conventions on climate change (UNFCCC), biodiversity (CBD) and land (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification).
  • The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994 and has been ratified by 197 countries.
  • It is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement. It is also the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
  • The UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. It is located in Bonn, Germany.
  • Its objective is to achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous repercussions within a time frame so as to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally and enable sustainable development.
  • The UNFCCC secretariat launched its Climate Neutral Now initiative in 2015.
  • It is an initiative launched to urge individuals, companies, and governments to measure their climate footprint, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible.
  • The secretariat in 2016 launched a new pillar under its Momentum for Change initiative focused on Climate Neutral Now, as part of larger efforts to showcase successful climate action around the world.
  • Climate neutrality is a three-step process, which requires individuals, companies, and governments to:
    • Measure their climate footprint;
    • Reduce their emissions as much as possible;
    • Offset what they cannot reduce with UN certified emission reductions.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • It is the international body for assessing the science related to climate change.
  • It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.
  • IPCC assessments provide a scientific basis for governments at all levels to develop climate related policies, and they underlie negotiations at the UN Climate Conference – the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Q. Which of the following statements best describes “carbon fertilization”?

(a) Increased plant growth due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

(b) Increased temperature of Earth due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

(c) Increased acidity of oceans as a result of increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

(d) Adaptation of all living beings on Earth to the climate change brought about by the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Answer: (a) Increased plant growth due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

  • Carbon Fertilization:
    • It is the artificial enrichment of the atmosphere of greenhouses with carbon dioxide.
    • It is the phenomenon that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases the rate of photosynthesis in plants.
    • Impact of carbon fertilization:
      • Increase in the photosynthetic rate
      • Increases the water use efficiency
      • Plants distribute a greater proportion of photosynthate to roots under a high concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. 
      • The reproductive biomass growth, as well as vegetative biomass growth, is usually increased by elevated carbon dioxide.

Q. With reference to the circumstances in Indian agriculture, the concept of “Conservation Agriculture” assume significance. Which of the following fall under the Conservation Agriculture?

  1. Avoiding monoculture practices
  2. Adopting minimum tillage
  3. Avoiding the cultivation of plantation crops
  4. Using crop residues to cover soil surface
  5. Adopting spatial and temporal crop sequencing/crop rotations

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 3 and 4
(b) 2, 3, 4 and 5
(c) 2, 4 and 5
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 5

Answer: (c) 2, 4 and 5

  • According to Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Conservation agriculture (CA) can be defined as “a concept for resource-saving agricultural crop production that strives to achieve acceptable profits together with high and sustained production levels while concurrently conserving the environment”
  • Conservation agriculture systems utilize soils for the production of crops with the aim of reducing excessive mixing of the soil and maintaining crop residues on the soil surface in order to minimize damage to the environment.
  • The 3 principles of CA are:
    • minimun tillage and soil disturbance
    • permanent soil cover with crop residues and live mulches
    • crop rotation and intercropping

Q. Which of the following leaf modifications occur (s) in the desert areas to inhibit water loss?

  1. Hard and waxy leaves
  2. Tiny leaves
  3. Thorns instead of leaves

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d) 1, 2 and 3

  • There are some plants that grow in extremely dry conditions throughout the year.
  • Structural adaptations are important to plant survival in the desert.
  • For this purpose, they undergo some morphological adaptations in the xerophyte stem.
  • These are as follows:
    • The stems of woody xerophytes are comparatively stunted, hard, and rigid. They may be covered with thick bark. e.g. Acacia arabica.
    • Wax coatings on leaves prevent water loss through evaporation because the loss of water from both the surface and the inside of leaves occurs in the hot desert.
    • The stem is covered by hairs or waxy coating.
    • The main stem and branches may occur thick, fleshy, flattened, and have a green modified structure called phylloclade.
    • Leaves are also smaller on desert plants, further reducing the possibility of water loss.
    • Phylloclades are found in succulent xerophytes. They do photosynthesis. e.g. Opuntia, Cacti etc.
    • Usually, in phylloclade bearing xerophytes, leaves are modified into spines that are known to check the rate of transpiration.
    • They have hard, thick coatings and some are covered in prickly spines to prevent water loss.
    • It is to protect them from animals who might try to chew through them to get to their moisture.
    • The stem may occur as an underground modified structure to store food and takes part in reproduction. e.g. Saccharum.

Q. How is the National Green Tribunal (NGT) different from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)?

  1. The NGT has been established by an Act whereas the CPCB has been created by an executive order of the Government.
  2. The NGT provides environmental justice and helps reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts whereas the CPCB promotes cleanliness of streams and wells, and aims to improve the quality of air in the country.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (b) 2 only

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is a statutory body that was established in 2010 by the National Green Tribunal Act.
    • It was set up to handle cases and speed up the cases related to environmental issues.
    • The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
    • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, and Chennai shall be the other 4 places of sitting of the Tribunal.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the statutory organization, was constituted in September 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
    • Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
    • Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelled out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981,
      • to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and
      • to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

Q. Which of the following has/have shrunk immensely/dried up in the recent past due to human activities?

  1. Aral Sea
  2. Black Sea
  3. Lake Baikal

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1 and 3 only

Answer: (a) 1 only

  • The Aral Sea is a saline lake located in Central Asia that was once the world’s fourth-largest salt lake.
  • In the 1960s the Aral Sea, which was the drainage basin for Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan, began to shrink as the Soviet Union began to divert water for agricultural purposes.
  • As per NASA, over the last 50 years, the Aral Sea has shrunk by about 75% of its original size mainly because of water diversion for agricultural usages in surrounding areas.
  • The depth of the Aral Sea has also decreased from 68 meters in the 1960s to at less than 10 meters in the present day. 
Aral Sea
Aral Sea