Daily Current Affairs for 22nd February 2020

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SC passes interim order on Mahadayi tribunal’s award

GS Paper II


Prelims: Mahadayi River

What’s the News?

The Supreme Court in its interim order allowed the plea of the Karnataka government for implementation of the final award by a tribunal for sharing of water between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra from the Mahadayi River.


  • The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa.
  • It originates in the Belagavi district of Karnataka, briefly passes through Maharashtra and flows through Goa (where its known as Mandovi), and drains to the Arabian Sea
  • Since the eighties, Karnataka has been was contemplating linking of Mahadayi with Malaprabha river, a tributary of Krishna
  • In 2002, Karnataka gave the idea a shape in the form of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project
  • Goa strongly opposed it as Mahadayi is one of the two rivers the State is dependent on and thus Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010.
  • Karnataka government, which has locked horns with the neighbouring Goa on the larger issue of sharing Mahadayi River water between both the states, had petitioned the tribunal seeking the release of 7.56 tmcft of water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.

Award of the tribunal:

  • The Mahadayi Water Dispute tribunal had passed the order on August 14, 2018, allocating 13.42 TMC water (including 3.9 TMC for diversion into the depleted Malaprabha river basin) from the Mahadayi river basin to Karnataka.
  • It also said the interim order is subject to the final outcome of the petitions filed by the three states against the tribunal’s award.
  • Maharashtra was allotted 1.33 TMC water while Goa was given 24 TMC in the final decision of the tribunal.
  • The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, which will utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi river, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
  • It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, the tributaries of the Mahadayi River, to divert 7.56 tmc water to the Malaprabha river which fulfils the drinking water needs of the twin cities.

Study on real-time sources of air pollution can be done across Delhi

Paper: GS-III

Topic: Environment Security

For Prelims: Air Quality Index and its health Impacts.

For Mains: Initiatives taken by the Delhi Government to curb air pollution.

Why in news?

  • Environment Minister of Delhi visited a Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Station near India Gate and said that a study being done by the Washington University in St. Louis to find out real-time sources of air pollution in the city could be replicated across different locations in the Capital.

Collaboration of DPCC and the Washington University:

  • The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has been collaborating since March 2019 with the university to undertake real-time source apportionment study of air pollution in the city.
  • Once the establishment of that model is a success, the study can be replicated across various locations in the city, as per the Environment Minister.
  • Delhi government has 26 pollution monitoring centres across various locations in Delhi. The mechanism in these centres monitors AQI [Air quality index] at a particular point of time in a span of one hour. But the mechanism cannot detect sources of pollution.
  • An interim report will be submitted by the university by March 2020 and the model will be functional by the month of June 2020.

Targeted campaign:

  • Delhi Government will launch a targeted campaign based on the findings of the report which will help in identifying the real sources of pollution and to work on reducing the existing pollution levels in the city.
  • Once the government able to identify the real sources, then only able to take immediate action and balance efforts in reducing the pollution generated daily by two crore people of Delhi.
  • The Minister after conducting a review meeting of the situation in Delhi had said that the government will work to make the fight against air pollution a mass movement.
  • An aim to reduce air pollution to one third in the course of next five years was part of the 10-point ‘Kejriwal Ka Guarantee Card’ released by Chief Minister of Delhi in the run-up to the 2020 Delhi Assembly elections.
  • Implementing the promises in the guarantee card is being done on a priority basis by the government.

Air quality index (AQI):

  • Air quality index (AQI) is the tool to monitor air quality in major urban cities across the country on a real time basis and to enhance public awareness.
  • The AQI developed is based on human exposure and health effects and may not be strictly applicable to ecologically sensitive areas. Various pollutants which are considered for AQI determination are PM10, PM2.5, NO2, O3, CO, SO2, NH3, and Pb.
  • The data obtained from the online air quality monitoring stations is the most suitable for the AQI determination as information on AQI can be generated in real time.

Various AQI bands:

AQI Associated health impacts
Good (0 – 50) Minimal impact
Satisfactory (51 – 100) Minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people
Moderately polluted (101 – 200) Breathing discomfort to people with lungs, asthma, and heart diseases
Poor (201 – 300) Breathing discomfort to most people on prolonged exposure
Very poor (301 – 400) Respiratory illness on prolonged exposure
Severe (401 – 500) Affects healthy people, and seriously impacts those with existing diseases

Measures adopted to improve the air quality of Delhi:

  • Odd even scheme, an initiative (on trial basis) has been taken by Govt. of NCT of Delhi to curb the air pollution.
  • A control room has been set up in CPCB to facilitate review of levels of air pollution and monitoring ambient air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR).
  • Prohibition on entry of overloaded and non-destined trucks in Delhi and imposition of ‘Green Tax’.
  • The Delhi Government has launched car-free day campaign ‘Ab Bus Karein’ since 22nd October 2015 to be observed on 22nd day of every month.
  • Air Quality Index (AQI) to reduce the health impacts of the pollutants, dissemination of the information related to air quality is also equally important so that the preventive measures can be adopted.
  • Stringent provision for ash content in coal for thermal power plants.
  • Stringent industrial emission standards formulated and notified for public/stakeholders’ comments.
  • Construction of Eastern and Western Expressways for by-passing non-destined traffic to Delhi has been given high priority for completion.
  • Regular co-ordination meetings to discuss air pollution control in NCR adopting air-shed approach.
  • Revision of rules for handling and management of municipal waste.
  • Revision of rules pertaining to construction and demolition waste.
  • Ban on burning of leaves/ biomass in Delhi. ENVIS Centre on Control of Pollution (Water, Air, & Noise).
  • Fuel quality standards (Bharat Stage – I, II, III, and IV) are introduced.
  • Pollution under control (PUC) certificate with three month validity is introduced.
  • Introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) for commercial vehicles phased out from 1998.
  • Metro rail transit system for rapid mass transport is introduced.
  • Construction of fly-over and sub-ways for smooth flow of traffic.
  • Sulphur content in diesel reduced from 0.5% (April 1996) to 0.05% in April 2000.

Way Forward:

  • For the development of the country, establishment of new industrial units cannot be downgraded; however, effective control measures of pollution, and proper installation of air pollution control devices and their smooth functioning must be ensured before the establishment of any industry. After the establishment of industry, proper functioning of the installed controlling units must also be ensured.
  • Emission from construction industries / activities can be minimized by adopting best practices such as; use of water sprays for dust suppression, creating ridges to prevent dust, compaction of disturbed soil, prevention of dumping of earth materials along road side etc.
  • Restrictions may be imposed over the number of vehicles owned by an/a individual/family.

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