Eco-friendly drive launched along Yamuna to control mosquito breeding
Nipping the problem in the bud, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) on Friday launched a drive to remove mosquito larvae from the Yamuna riverbank using eco-friendly techniques.
Before the onset of the monsoon season, when vector-borne diseases are at their deadliest, the civic body launched a two-day pilot initiative to fish out the larvae from the water.
Fishing out larvae
Instead of spraying diesel and other pest-control chemicals, which has been the practice so far, larvae were removed using nets and deposited into small pits on the bank. The pits were then filled with soil to make sure that the larvae don’t grow into adult mosquitoes.
No impact on dengue and malaria-causing mosquitoes
The drive, however, will not really impact dengue and malaria-causing mosquitoes as these breed in relatively cleaner water. The larvae found in the river were mostly of culex mosquitoes, which, though a nuisance, don’t carry these diseases.
Mexico’s Vaquita porpoise headed toward extinction
The population of Mexico’s endangered vaquita marina, the world’s smallest porpoise, has fallen to alarmingly low levels and is heading toward extinction soon if drastic measures aren’t taken, scientists warned Friday.
According to results of a survey released in the evening by the country’s Environment Department, as of December there were probably only about 60 of the shy, elusive creatures left in the upper Gulf of California, the only place where the vaquitas are found.
Gillnet fishing menace
The vaquitas are threatened primarily by gillnet fishing for the totoaba fish, another endangered species in the area that is hunted for its swim bladder, considered a delicacy in China.
The study was conducted by the ‘International Commission for the Recovery of the Vaquita’ using a team of boats and acoustic devices to detect their sonar-like squeaks or clicks.
Last census found just under 100 of them
The last such survey found just under 100 vaquitas in 2014. Overall, their numbers are down 92 percent since 1997.
They are dwindling
Even since the most recent study was conducted, three vaquitas were found dead during just three weeks in March by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, leading some to fear their numbers could be significantly lower.
Lest they become museum relics
Others offer a slightly less dire outlook but still say the situation is critical.
Omar Vidal of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mexico office said he believed there were likely fewer vaquitas remaining than the 60 found by the survey.
It is still possible to save the vaquita, but this is clearly our last chance.The Mexican, the U.S. and Chinese governments need to take urgent and coordinated action to stop the illegal fishing, trafficking and consumption of totoaba products. In the end, if the vaquita goes extinct it would inevitably be a shared responsibility of the three countries.
Dried totoaba bladders are often smuggled through the United States to China.
To Mexico: ban commercial fishing
It is essential to ban all commercial fishing in the upper Gulf of California. At present the Mexican navy and environmental authorities patrol the area, but some legal fishing boats may clandestinely be setting nets for totoaba.
In April 2015, Mexican authorities announced a $70 million plan to ban gillnet fishing in about half of the upper Gulf. The plan promised to compensate fisherman for not using gillnets and offered them alternative, safer nets.
If officials are unable to halt the vaquita’s decline, it risks becoming the fifth marine mammal to go extinct in modern times, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.
May join the ‘extinct’ list
The Steller’s sea cow disappeared in 1768, the Caribbean monk seal in 1952, the Japanese sea lion in 1970 and the Chinese river dolphin in 2006.
While capture and captive breeding remain as a possible last resort, no one has ever succeeded in keeping a vaquita alive in captivity, much less breeding them.
Activists said extinction could also end the kind of shielding effect that the protections for the charismatic porpoises resulted in for the surrounding habitat.
Will have a Domino’s effect
Once the vaquita is gone, enforcement would probably come to an end,.The remaining marine life: the totoaba, shrimp, corvina, sharks, sea turtles ill follow the same path.
Dairy Sector Snapshot :-
- Dairy provides livelihood to 60 million farmers in India
- During 2015-16, farmers produced 160.35 million tonnes of milk
- At present, dairy sector is growing at the rate of 9.59 per year.
- America, Brazil, Australia and other countries are importing Indigenous Indian milch animals to develop heat resistant species.
INFRACON, ePACE and INAM PRO
- These are technologiccal initiatives under Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping.
- Technological initiatives have also been brought in like satellite based road asset management system, use of concrete for road construction, electronic toll collection, INAMPRO other IT initiatives.
- All these are aimed at making the road building procedure faster, more transparent and more efficient, and all officials and other stakeholders should make maximum use of the innovations relevant to their areas of operation.
ePACE (Projects Appraisal & Continuing Enhancements) is an online integrated Management Information System that brings projects from all wings of the Ministry under a common platform, ensuring their effective and real time tracking. More than 2000 projects being executed by multiple agencies are currently listed on the portal and it is possible to get any information about their real time status, fund utilization etc. The portal can be freely accessed by anybody, and information regarding projects in any particular state can be found at the click of a button.
The portal also allows for validation checks to prevent wrongful entries, making it difficult to fudge figures. It has provision to obtain reports in multiple formats with graphical interface for round the clock monitoring. It has also been provided with GIS interface to enable easy geo-tracking of the projects. The application has a data export engine for feeding into other applications. The architecture of the application is scalable and customizable. ePACE as a platform is amenable to be used for monitoring projects pertaining to any ministry in the country and can improve governance of such projects.
INFRACON is the National Portal for Infrastructure Consultancy Firms and Key Personnel. This portal acts as a kind of bridge between consultancy firms working in the road engineering and construction sector and domain experts and key personnel who are deployed both for project preparation and supervision. The portal hosts the credentials of consultancy firms and key personnel and has linkages to Aadhar and Digi-locker for data validation and purity. 474 consultancy firms and 2387 key personnel under various categories are already registered with the portal. In addition to this, agencies within the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, like the NHIDCL can receive technical proposals through INFRACON. This leads to a significant reduction of paper work during bid submissions and also brings in a lot of transparency and speed since the evaluation of technical bids can be done at the click of a button.
INAM PRO has been developed as a web-based application (www.inampro.nic.in) for Infrastructure and Material Providers. It is a kind of a web based market place that brings together the material providers and the prospective buyers on a common platform. The platform was launched in March 2015 to facilitate contractors and cement buyers engaged in executing central/state funded roads and highways and bridge construction projects to place cement orders online with the registered cement companies offering cement at competitive rates in the vicinity of project execution locations. Cement companies are facilitated to update their offered stocks and the prices on the portal. They in turn get instant intimation about the orders placed and are able to approve the delivery schedules as requested by the cement buyers without hassles and delays. This is helping cement companies plan their annual production in advance and schedule deliveries with better precision. Cement companies also have the facility to increase the cement stock offerings based on market demand and reduce prices to attract more buyers. In addition, using INAM Pro, companies are able to track orders, add more products , add cement offerings, view listed buyers, and submit their complaints or suggestions to Ministry. Similarly, buyers are able to view and track the orders placed with different companies and also submit their suggestions or complaints. With the help of INAM Pro, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is able to track and monitor the activities of buyers and suppliers, and remove impediments of both the parties
Popularizing Science Education Among Women
To popularize Science Education among women the Department of Science and Technology has recently constituted a Standing Committee for Promoting Women in Science
Consolidation of University Research for Innovation and Excellence in Women Universities (CURIE) is another unique programme of Department of Science and Technology through which budgetary support is extended for strengthening S&T infrastructure and also to enhance research facilities in women only universities, in order to encourage Science and Technology education among women.
Ministry of Human Resource Development also launched UDAAN project to address the lower enrolment ratio of girl students in science and engineering colleges. The aim of UDAAN is to enrich and enhance teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics at Senior Secondary level by providing free and online resources to every girl, with a focus on special incentives and support to 1000 selected disadvantaged girls per year.