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Kashmir Himalayas: Retreat of Kolahoi glacier continues 

Kolahoi Glacier, the largest glacier in Kashmir Himalayas which feeds two major tributaries of the river Jhelum – Lidder and Sindh – has further reduced in the area over three years, a new research paper has revealed, as it compared its recent findings to that of a 2017 study. Scientists said that rapid retreating of Kolahoi and other glaciers in the region is largely attributable to global factors and climate-driven by the local land-use changes. Kolahoi glacier has rapidly receded due to climatic changes prevalent over the Kashmir region. The glacier has lost 23 percent area since 1962 (from 13.73 sq km in 1962 to 10.49 sq km in 2018) and has fragmented into smaller parts. The snout retreat rates also suggest that the glacier has been in an imbalanced state between 1962 and 2018 and is not approaching equilibrium. (Glaciers gaining and losing approximately the same amount of snow and ice are thought of as ‘in equilibrium’)

During Lockdown, Tripura govt didn’t provide mid-day meal food grains to any child, reveals RTI

The government in Tripura, led by Biplab Kumar Deb, has not provided food to any child under the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme while the schools remained closed during the lockdown, according to RTI documents accessed by The Wire. Given that a lack of proper nutrition weakens the immune systems, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had asked state governments and the administrators of Union Territories to ensure that children get their meals even though schools were closed due to the COVID-19 threat. It has been reported that the state government did not provide meals to the children, but instead credited the accounts of students or their relatives with a lump sum that is less than the amount prescribed as the cost of cooking under the MDM scheme.

Similar instances were also highlighted in Uttarakhand as per an RTI reply earlier.

Unlock 1 poses environmental challenges for Uttrakhand

There has been a reduction in man-animal conflict in Uttrakhand and an overall decrease in pollution levels in the state, especially in the water quality of Ganga during the lockdown. However, now the officials and green activists are worried that with the movement of people, resumption of commercial, industrial activities and traffic under Unlock 1.0, these incidences might increase again.

With almost no tourism activities, the pollution levels in the mountain state have gone down. Waste management and water pollution have been two major cause of concern for Uttarakhand due to tourism. Also with factories closed during the lockdown, lesser pollutants entered water bodies, helping them cleanse themselves and return their natural state. Uttrakhand annually attracts over 3.5 crore tourists and pilgrims.

Plastic water bottles less than one litre banned from public meetings in Himachal

The Himachal government on Friday decided that plastic water bottles of less than one-litre capacity would be banned in public meetings and tourists visiting the state must be sensitized to use jute or paper bags instead of polythene bags. The state government has also imposed a complete ban on the use of thermocol cutlery as it was also non-biodegradable and causing harm to the environment and has promoted the use of ‘pattals’ and ‘dona’ made of leaves. The state government has also launched a polythene buyback scheme under which polythene was being purchased from the people. The main objective of this scheme is to ensure that the polythene does not get into the environment and could be recycled and reused.

India faces challenges in achieving 9 out of 17 SDGs set by UN

The Down to Earth, a renowned environmental publication, released its annual report  ‘State of India’s environment 2020 in figures’ this World Environment Day. The report outlines the status on the progress of sustainable development goals (SDGs), state of forests, groundwater waste management and others. It has been observed in the report that the country is facing challenges in achieving 9 out of the total 17 SDGs set by the United Nations.

The report observed that India’s rank in the progress of SDG has slipped by one point to 115th which in 2019 was at 114th place, primarily because it has been downgraded in SDG 1 that is ‘end poverty’ and SDG 6 ‘clean water and sanitation’ bracketed to major challenges. The country even has fared worse than neighboring countries of Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal which are respectively placed at 84th, 93rd and 103rd places.

(By: Gautam Kumar)

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