Current Affairs 18 March 2019 Digest 1: India pilots resolutions on single-use plastics, sustainable nitrogen management; NGT directs CPCB to prepare noise pollution maps
India piloted resolutions on two key global environmental issues, single-use plastics and sustainable nitrogen management, at the fourth session of United Nations Environment Assembly. The UN Environment adopted both the resolutions with consensus.
Story 1- India pilots resolutions on single-use plastics, sustainable nitrogen management
India piloted resolutions on two key global environmental issues, single-use plastics and sustainable nitrogen management, at the fourth session of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) that was held in Nairobi from March 11-15, 2019.
The UN Environment adopted both the resolutions with consensus. The theme of the organisation this year is ‘innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable production and consumption’.
India’s resolutions to address these two global challenges are the first key steps towards addressing these issues and attracting the focus of the global community.
Why are these two issues global environmental challenges?
Single-use plastics: Only a small proportion of the plastics produced globally are recycled with most of it damaging the environment and aquatic bio-diversity.
Sustainable Nitrogen Management: The global nitrogen use efficiency is low, resulting in pollution by reactive nitrogen which threatens human health, ecosystem services and contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion.
• In the high-level segment of UNEA, India hosted a session on “Global Partnerships: Key to Unlocking Resource Efficiency and Inclusive Green Economies”.
• The side event saw participation from representatives of member states, civil society organisations, private sector organisations including leading financial institutions.
• It included a panel discussion that had high-level diplomatic participation from Germany, Brazil, South Africa and senior management of international financial institutions.
• The Indian delegation also participated in the panel discussion on the “need for additional commitments of public finance and the ways to maximise mobilization of climate finance”.
At the conclusion of the session, it was realised that the mainstreaming of resource efficiency and the use of secondary raw materials through partnerships and action at scale is critical for moving towards a green economy.
It was concluded that collaborations and action at scale is the key to success and that the actions should be oriented towards having an inclusive green economy.
It was also understood that blended finance will help in implementation whereas public finance should be provided to de-risk private finance in transformational projects.
It was highlighted during the sessions that climate finance is an important lever for climate action related to both mitigation and adaption in the developing countries and that the contributions to climate finance need to be in consonance with the basic principles of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC).
The discussions concluded that climate finance is more of an obligation of the developed countries, based on their historical emissions. The availability of sufficient, additional and predictable climate finance is a key for action.
Importantly, the lack of pledged funds in the Green Climate Fund and the potential reliance on the private sector was highlighted by many developing countries.
India has been initiating domestic climate actions, both related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, primarily through its own financial resources.
Currently, there is a sense of urgency for financial support to developing countries, which have not been so responsible for these global environmental concerns.
Story 2- NGT directs CPCB to prepare noise pollution maps
The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare a noise pollution map and remedial action plan to solve the issue across the country.
The green bench headed by National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the CPCB to identify noise pollution hotspots and categorise cities with specified hotspots and propose a remedial action plan within three months.
• The NGT directed the CPCB to consider setting up noise monitoring mechanisms in all cities where noise pollution is beyond permissible limits. The pollution control board has already established such mechanisms in seven cities.
• It further directed all the state pollution control boards to undertake noise level monitoring along with the concerned police departments.
• The green tribunal stated that the police departments of all the states and union territories may obtain noise monitoring devices within a period of three months. The specification of such devices may be finalised in consultation with the respective state PCBs and pollution control committees.
• The tribunal also stated that the police may also train their staff regarding the use of such devices and develop a robust protocol for taking appropriate action against the defaulters.
• Besides this, the tribunal suggested manufacturing of public address systems with equipment that can monitor the noise pollution parameters and alert authorities once the prescribed limits are crossed.
• It added that the CPCB may also down the scale of compensation to be recovered including conditions on which equipment seized is to be released within one month.
As per NGT, the absence of implementation of noise pollution norms affects the health of citizens, especially infants and senior citizens.
It also affects sleep, comfort, studies and other legitimate activities.