InfoDigger: A source of simple and sequential news


Government releases Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India


Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo today called for generating awareness towards preventing and restoring land degradation for healthier and sustainable ecosystems.

Speaking at a virtual event for the celebration of Desertification and Drought Day, Mr Supriyo said, this will help for a better economy and overall human wellbeing.

The Desertification and Drought day was commemorated by the Ministry, with an aim to generate large scale awareness towards understanding the key role of land in all environmental and economic concerns faced by us.

On this occasion, the Minister of State released the latest version of the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India. It has been published by Space Application Centre, ISRO, Ahmedabad. The Atlas provides the state-wise area of degraded lands for the time frame 2018-19. It also provides the change analysis for the duration of 15 years, from 2003-05 to 2018-19.

Secretary in the Ministry Mr RP Gupta said the salient findings of this Atlas are not only useful as a ready reference but, will also be helpful in strengthening the envisaged National Action Plan for achieving land restoration targets by providing important baseline and temporal data and technical inputs.

The event also observed the release of the Coffee Table Book "India Hosting UNCCD-COP 14" and a short film on UNCCD-COP 14.


Enrich Nature, Enrich Life


Oxygen has always been important for sustaining lives on our planet.

However, we have hardly had serious thoughts about giving back this gift that we receive from nature. 

The advent of the COVID pandemic and the resulting increase in demand for oxygen has forced us to have a serious thought about replenishing nature with oxygen.

Get Well Hospital in Nagpur is asking all the patients who have availed oxygen support for their treatment to plant trees to give the priceless gift back to nature. The discharge summary of patients mentions the amount of oxygen they have consumed and asks them to plant at least 10 trees to replenish the same.

Many patients are being inspired by this appeal and leaving the hospital with a determination to plant more trees and enrich nature.

The Hospital is setting a very good example which many of us need to follow and make our world greener and cleaner.


Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates highest Meteorological Centre in India at Leh


Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Science and Technology and Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh (Ladakh) via video conferencing at an event on 29th of  December in Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi. 

Guest of Honour Radha Krishna Mathur, Lieutenant Governor, Ladakh and Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, MP Ladakh also joined the event virtually. Dr M Rajeevan, Secretary, MoES; Dr Vipin Chandra, JS MoES; Dr M Mohapatra, DG IMD; Gopal Iyenger, Scientist- F, MoES and other officials were also present on the occasion.

At the outset, the Union Minister thanked the administration of Ladakh for extending full support and their active cooperation in establishing the Met Centre facility at Leh. 

Elaborating on the need for a Met Centre at Leh, Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the Ladakh region has lofty mountains with high slopes and no vegetation and lot of loose soil and debris making the region vulnerable to various kinds of natural hazards like Cloud burst (of 2010), Flash Floods, Avalanches and Glacial Lake Outbursts, etc. To avert losses due to such weather events in future, the Government felt the need to establish a State of the Art Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh in 2020 to strengthen weather related Early Warning System in Ladakh. Located at a height of 3500m, Meteorological Centre in Leh is creating history, as it will be the highest meteorological centre in India, he added.

He also said that to help the administration and the people of Ladakh, IMD will provide a range of weather forecast services, ranging from short (3 days) and medium (12 days) to extended (1 month) period to all the stake holders on a daily basis for both the districts (Leh and Kargil).

“Apart from district level forecast, IMD will provide forecast for important tourist places like Nubra, Changthang, Pangong Lake, Zanskar, Kargil, Drass, Dha-Baima(Aryan valley), Khalsi, etc. Some of the important services to be made available are Highway Forecast, Forecast for Mountaineering, Trekking, agriculture, flash flood warning, low and high temperatures among others”, Dr Hardh Vardhan explained.

“The Met Center will be a world class facility for high altitude meteorology and will cater to the various kinds of weather and climate needs of the people and the administration of Ladakh”, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

#Leh #Ladakh #IMD #HarshVardhan

Air Quality Commission calls for strict implementation of RFID system at toll plazas in Delhi


The Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) system was set-up at 13 Toll Plazas in Delhi to control vehicular pollution from commercial vehicles entering Delhi. These 13 toll plazas contribute to about 70 per cent commercial vehicles entry to NCT of Delhi. 

A release issued by the Ministry of Environment said that it was brought into the notice of the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi NCR and adjoining areas that RFID is not being fully implemented at 13 toll plazas in Delhi with effect from 14/08/2020 and waiver is being given to Commercial Vehicles without such RFID tags or inadequate balance in the tags. 

Considering the pollution scenario in Delhi and the fact that commercial vehicles are an important contributor to the vehicular pollution, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has been instructed to ensure RFID compliance at all the 13 toll plazas with effect from 1st of January, 2021 and disallowing entry of vehicles without RFID tags or inadequate balance in the tags.  

SDMC has also been directed to give adequate publicity and advance intimation to minimize inconvenience to the drivers of commercial vehicles entering Delhi.

#AirPollution #Delhi

International Blue Flag hoisted at 8 beaches across India


Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar today virtually hoisted the international blue flags in 8 beaches across the country.

India secured the International Blue Flag Certification for these beaches on 6th October 2020, when an International Jury comprising of member organizations UNEP, UNWTO, UNESCO, IUCN, ILS, FEE etc. announced the award at Copenhagen, Denmark. Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by "Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark" based on 33 stringent criteria.

While congratulating and lauding the efforts of the State and central government as well as the people, Mr Javadekar said that neat and clean beaches are an indicator that the coastal environment is in good health and the Blue Flag certification is a global recognition of India's conservation and sustainable development efforts.

The Environment Minister further informed that hundred more such beaches will be made Blue Flag in coming 3-4 years and highlighted that cleaning beaches needs to be a made a "Jan Andolan" not only for its aesthetic value and tourism prospects but more importantly towards reducing the menace of marine litter and making coastal environment sustainable.

The beaches where the International Blue Flags were hoisted are Kappad (Kerala), Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha) and Radhanagar (Andaman and Nicobar Islands). The Flags were also simultaneously hoisted on these beaches physically by state ministers and senior officials of the respective state and Union territories.

India started its journey of sustainable development of coastal regions on World Environment Day in June’ 2018 by launching its beach cleaning campaign – I-AM- SAVING-MY-BEACH simultaneously at 13 coastal states and thereafter implementing ministry’s coveted program BEAMS(Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services).

Today, the introduction of BEAMS program in 10 coastal states have resulted into the international level of cleanliness at beaches with over 500 tonnes of solid waste collected, recycled and scientifically disposed at these beaches reducing the menace of marine litter by over 78 per cent and marine plastic by over 83 per cent. Approximately 11000 KL of water was saved by recycling and reuse with BEAMS program, which has resulted into an increase in footfall at these beaches by over 85 per cent cumulative.

#PrakashJavadekar #BEAMS

Ladakh's Tso Kar Wetland Complex added as Ramsar site


India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site, which is a second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.

Expressing happiness, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar shared this information in a tweet message today.

The tweet message is as follows, 

"Happy to share that high-altitude wetland complex in Changthang region of Ladakh is recognized as wetland of international importance. The complex is a notable example of two connected lakes, the freshwater Startsapuk Tso & the hypersaline Tso Kar. Now, India has 42 Ramsar sites."

The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex, consisting of two principal waterbodies, Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake of about 438 hectares to the south, and Tso Kar itself, a hypersaline lake of 1800 hectares to the north, situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India. It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.

The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway. The site is also one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India. This IBA is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.

The aim of the Ramsar list is "to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits."

#Ladakh #TsoKarWetland

60 per cent rise in Leopard population across India


Releasing the Status of Leopards report in New Delhi, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has said that increase in Tiger, Lion and Leopards numbers over the last few years is a testimony to the conservation efforts and of the fledgeling wildlife and biodiversity of the country.

According to the Status released yesterday, India now has 12,852 leopards as compared to the previous estimate of 7,910 conducted in 2014. More than 60 per cent increase in population has been recorded. The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690 respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Javadekar remarked that monitoring of the tiger in India has clearly shown its umbrella role in the ecosystem, which has shed light on other charismatic species like the Leopard.

India's world record tiger survey also estimated the population of leopards and the tiger range was found to be home to 12,852 (12,172-13,535) leopards. They occur in prey rich protected areas as well as multi-use forests. A total of 5,240 adult individual leopards were identified in a total of 51,337 leopard photographs using pattern recognition software. The statistical analysis estimates the leopard population at - 12,800 leopards within the tiger's range.

The leopard was estimated across forested habitats in tiger range areas of the country but other leopard occupied areas such as non-forested habitats (coffee and tea plantations and other land uses from where leopards are known to occur), higher elevations in the Himalayas, arid landscapes and the majority of North East landscape were not sampled and, therefore, the population estimation should be considered as a minimum number of leopards in each of the landscapes.

Tiger has not only served as an umbrella species but even its monitoring has helped evaluate the status of other species, like the leopard. The National Tiger Conservation Authority-Wildlife Institute of India (NTCA-WII) shall be reporting on several other species soon.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today expressed happiness over the increasing population of Leopards in our country and congratulated all those who are working towards animal conservation.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, "Great news! 

After lions and tigers, the leopard population increases. 

Congratulations to all those who are working towards animal conservation. We have to keep up these efforts and ensure our animals live in safe habitats." 

#Leopard #PrakashJavadekar

Weather Forecast for the week


According to the National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), under the influence of the easterly wave, scattered to fairly widespread rain/thundershowers very likely over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal, Kerala and Mahe and Lakshadweep area during next 3 days. 

Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall very likely over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal on 17th December and isolated heavy falls on 18th and 19th December and over Kerala and Mahe on 18th December and over Lakshadweep on 19th and 20th December 2020. A fresh feeble Western Disturbance is very likely to cause light rain/snow over the Western Himalayan region on 20th and 21st December 2020. No significant rainfall is likely over remaining parts of the country during the week.

Cumulatively, above normal rainfall likely over the south peninsula and below normal rain/snow likely over Western Himalayan Region during the week.