Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Category: ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
Concerns Over Drilling in Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
Why in News
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Oil India Limited (OIL) and two concerned state entities to explain how environmental clearances for the seven proposed drilling sites in the Dibru- Saikhowa National Park were given.
- OIL has clarified that its exploratory drilling project is “under” and not “in” the 765 sq km Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.
- This argument is based on Extended Reach Drilling (ERD) enabled drilling of wells up to a depth of approximately 4 km from an existing well plinth without entering the protected area.
- OIL had obtained permission for the seven wells in 2016 on the basis of the ERD
- ERD is drilling a well horizontally to at least twice its vertical depth. It is extensively used to intersect hydrocarbon targets far from the surface or areas of the reservoir that otherwise were difficult to access.
- The notice has been issued following a gas leak that occurred at OIL’s baghjan oil field, located near the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park. The disaster at Baghjan has impacted the surrounding ecological life and displaced close to 11,000 people from their homes.
Natural Resources in Assam:
- Assam has wildlife sanctuaries, the most prominent of which are two UNESCO World Heritage sites-the Kaziranga National Park and the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary.
- There are three other National Parks in Assam namely Dibru Saikhowa National Park, Nameri National Park and the Orang National Park.
- Kaziranga is a home to Indian one-horned rhinoceros which has also been recognized as the State Animal of Assam.
- Assam has abundant mineral resources– coal, petroleum; limestone and natural gas are the principal mineral resources. It is also the largest producer of crude oil in India.
- OIL is the second largest hydrocarbon exploration and production Indian public sector company with its operational headquarters in Duliajan, Assam under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
- Dibru-Saikhowa is a National Park as well as a Biosphere Reserve situated in the south bank of the river Brahmaputra in Assam.
- The forest type of Dibru-Saikhowa comprises semi-evergreen forests, deciduous forests, littoral and swamp forests and patches of wet evergreen forests.
- It is the largest swamp forest in north-eastern India. It is an identified Important Bird Area (IBA), notified by the Birdlife It is most famous for the rare white-winged wood ducks as well as feral horses.
- Mammals found in the Park include Tiger, Elephant, Leopard, Jungle Cat, Bears, Small Indian Civet, Squirrels, Gangetic Dolphin Hoolock Gibbon, etc. Maguri Motapung wetland is a part of the Reserve.
Punjab’s law plays ‘minimal role’ in spiking Delhi’s pollution: study
Why in news
A study argues that Delhi’s meteorology and the quantity of chaff burnt play a greater role in worsening air quality than the time chosen by farmers in Punjab to start crop burning.
- Crop burning is a traditional practice in Punjab and Haryana of razing fields off rice chaff to prepare it for winter sowing. It begins around October and peaks in November, coinciding with the withdrawal of southwest monsoon.
- Subsidies and assured procurement of rice have led to a rise in the rice acreage in these States. Coupled with increased farm mechanization, large quantities of rice stubble have increased over the years.
- A change in Punjab’s water policy in 2009 that mandated farmers to delay sowing to late June (to discourage groundwater extraction), led to sowing being delayed by an average of 10 days compared to 2002-2008. This, consequently, delayed harvesting and rice chaff burning.
- Thereby, the pollutants and the particulate matter from chaff, along with other sources of pollution in Delhi, which stuck in the lower atmosphere of the Indo-Gangetic plain, exacerbated winter pollution.
- According to the study, ultimately, the halting of crop residue burning would greatly aid the newly established National Clean Air Programme [NCAP], which aims to reduce emissions from various sectors including agricultural residue burning.
- The NCAP proposes to reduce pollution by 20-30% in annual PM concentration by 2024.
‘E-commerce sites must state country of origin’
Why in news
The Centre told the Delhi High Court that all e-commerce entities, including Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, have to ensure the mandatory declaration of country of origin of imported products sold on their respective sites.
- The law relating to the issue has been enacted under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 and the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.
- The enforcement of the provisions of the Act and Rules rests with the State and Union Territory governments. Whenever violations are observed, action is taken by the legal metrology officials of the State/UT governments in accordance with the law.
- The Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020, under the Consumer Protection Act prescribes that the E-commerce portals would mandatorily have to mention the country of origin which is necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform.
- E-commerce portals assert that the law does not mandate a disclosure of the country of origin/manufacture/assembly separately, in case of India-manufactured goods.
- They have argued that, in many cases, finished goods sourced from different countries are packed together or assembled in a third country, prior to their shipment to India.
- It could not be simply presumed that the Rules intended that the last country of export alone be declared as the “country of origin”, unless the law was amended or clarified to expressly state so.