Science and Technology Current Affairs December 2016


300 Million Children Breathing Toxic Air UNICEF Report

  • Two-hundred and twenty million’ children in South Asia region including India, among nearly 300 million globally, currently live in areas where outdoor air pollution exceeds international guidelines by at least six times, according to a new report released by UNICEF on October 31, 2016.
  • The study Clear the Air for Children based on satellite imagery, in the first analysis of its kind, has categorised the affected areas based on the quantum of particulate matter, ranging from 10 to 60 pg/m3 (the amount of micrograms of ultra-fine particulate matter per cubic metre of air that constitutes a long term hazard).
  • For the 2 billion figure which corresponds to the ultra-fine particulate matter exceeding 10 pg/m3, 620 million children are affected by it in South Asia.
  • 450 million children breathing toxic air in East Asia and the Pacific region, 200 million in Eastern and Southern Africa and 240 million in West and Central Africa for the 10 pg/m3.

Smooth-coated Otter Sighted in Krishna Mangrove

  • Smooth-coated otter (Lutrogaleperspicillata) was sighted for the first time in the mangrove forest adjacent to the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Krishna district on October 21, 2016.
  • The otters were seen preying on fish, resting on the sand banks, swimming in the brackish waters, offering a glimpse of their behaviour at different places.
  • According to the IUCN, conservation status of the Smooth-coasted Otter, distributed throughout South Asia and South-East Asia is, ‘vulnerable.’ Presence of the otter is a key indicator for rise of the mangrove cover.
  • Males are polygamous mating with up to the four females, according to the IUCN. The Smooth-coated otter predominantly preys on the fish but often eats shrimp and crab.

Globally Averaged CO2 Levels Reach 400 PPM in 2015

  • Globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached the symbolic and significant milestone of 400 parts per million for the first time in 2015 and surged again to new records in 2016 on the back of the very powerful El Nino event, according to the World Meteorological Organisation’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin on October 24, 2016.
  • The growth spurt in CO2 was fuelled by the El Nino event, which started in 2015 and had a strong impact well into 2016.
  • This triggered droughts in tropical regions and reduced the capacity of ‘sinks’ like forests, vegetation and the oceans to absorb CO2.
  • Between 1990 and 2015 there was a 37% increase in radiative forcing (the warming effect on our climate) because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (N20) from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities.

See Also – Indian Railway Question Papers.

Updated: December 4, 2016 — 9:17 pm

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