What are the Environmental Effects of Sulphur dioxide?


Sulphur dioxide(SO₂) is a harmful gas that can adversely affect the environment.

India is the largest emitter of Sulphur dioxide (SO₂) in the world, contributing more than 15% of global anthropogenic emissions according to a recent report by Greenpeace.

Environmental effects of Sulphur dioxide

1. Sulphur dioxide gas contributes to the formation of acid rain which is harmful to plants, animals as well as architectures like the Taj Mahal.
2. In combination with other pollutants and moisture, Sulphur dioxide is responsible for the formation of high resistance, visible corrosion layers on all except most noble metals (e.g. silver and gold) and alloys.
3. Sulphur dioxide a precursor for sulphate aerosols, a type of suspended particle that can affect the properties of clouds and also lead to outbreaks of haze and other health and climate problems.

Why Coral Reefs are important?

coral important

Coral Reefs are one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems on the earth.

These are found in the shallow tropical areas where the seawater is clean, clear, and warm and spreads in a large area having rich species diversity.

Coral Reefs are important due to the following reasons.

1. Ecologically, coral reefs are important because they are the counterpart to the tropical rain forest in terms of biological productivity in the Ocean and species diversity.
2. Coral Reefs are natural protective barriers against erosion and storm surge.
3. They provide habitat for a large variety of plants and animals.
4. Coral reefs provide an accurate long-term record of climate change by helping in determining the climate variability in remote tropical oceans and thus are climatologically important.
5. Coral Reefs provide substrate for mangroves.
6. They help in the formation of associated eco-systems which allow the formation of essential habitats, fisheries, and livelihoods.

Is Ozone a Pollutant?


The simple answer to this question is yes and no.

Ozone is a pollutant when it is found in the Troposphere (also known as ground-level ozone). Surface level ozone is also the third most potent greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane.

On the other hand, Ozone acts as a shield in the Stratosphere where it protects us from harmful Ultra violet radiations of the Sun.

How is Bad Ozone formed?

The Ozone found in the Troposphere is known by different names such as Bad Ozone, Ground Level Ozone, etc. It is man-made ozone found near the surface of the earth (Troposphere).

Bad Ozone is formed during high-temperature conditions of late spring, summer, and early fall, when high levels of ozone are usually formed in the heat of the afternoon and early evening, dissipating during the cooler nights.

The released gases such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOC) combine chemically with oxygen to form ozone during sunny days near the surface of the earth.

NOx, CO, and VOCs are known as ozone precursors as they combine with oxygen to form ozone.

This bad ozone combines with Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 to form smog.

Effects of Bad Ozone

Being harmful and a greenhouse gas, Bad Ozone has many ill effects on the environment as well as to the human health.

1. Higher rates of pulmonary (related to lungs) disease.
2. Irritation to the skin and the respiratory system
3. Sufficient ozone, when enters the leaves of a sensitive plant, can reduce photosynthesis and slow the plant growth.
4. Damages some types of materials, especially objects made of rubber.
5. As a potent greenhouse gas, it is largely responsible for the warming of the surface of the earth.

Ozone is found in which layer?


Ozone is a gas that is found in both Stratosphere and Troposphere. Ozone is of 2 types.

One that is found in the lower Stratosphere where it acts as a layer that protects the earth from the harmful Ultra Violet radiations of the Earth.

The other is found near the surface of the earth (Troposphere) where it acts as a pollutant and a potential greenhouse gas.

Layers of Earth Atmosphere

Earth’s atmosphere is broadly divided into 5 layers. These are –

1. Troposphere0 – 13 km
2. Stratosphere13 – 50 km
3. Mesosphere50 – 85 km
4. Ionosphere85 – 700 km
5. Exosphere700 – 10,000 km

What are Green Crackers and why are they important?


Green Crackers are specially manufactured crackers with the objective of reducing air pollution and health hazards while maintaining its performance.

Green Crackers were developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) led by Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in a bid to tackle the crisis of air pollution.

Any kind of firecrackers are regulated by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO).

These crackers are available at the same cost as the traditional ones, some of them are even cheaper!

Difference Between Green Crackers and Conventional Crackers

Green CrackersConventional Crackers
1. Use Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) as an oxidantUse Barium Nitrate as an oxidant
2. Does not contain banned and harmful chemicals like lithium, arsenic, and leadMight contain banned and harmful chemicals like lithium, arsenic, and lead
3. Green Logo is used to identify them.No such logo is used.
4. Releases water vapor, air as a dust suppressantDoes not releases any water vapor
5. Lesser impact on health and the environmentHigher negative impact on health and the environment.

Green Crackers and their Importance

Green Crackers are less harmful and dangerous than the traditional ones.

The green crackers use Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) as an oxidant to achieve a 30% reduction in particulate matter and 40% less sulfur dioxide emissions on an average.

These are also named as Safe Water Releaser (SWAS), Safe Thermite Cracker (STAR) and Safe Minimal Aluminium (SAFAL)

These crackers have the unique property of releasing water vapor, air as a dust suppressant, and diluents for gaseous emissions that match with the performance in sound with traditional conventional crackers.

Some of the conventional crackers use Barium Nitrate as an oxidizer which causes irritation in the nose, throat, and lungs when inhaled. Green Crackers have replaced barium nitrate with oxidants such as potassium nitrate making it safer to burst.

Green Crackers are also free of other banned chemicals such as lithium, arsenic, and lead which are generally found in conventional crackers.

To differentiate a Green cracker form a conventional one, a Green Logo and a system of QR (Quick Response) Code has been developed.

Nandur Madhameshwar Wetland


Nandur Madhameshwar wetland has been recently (January 27, 2020) declared Ramsar Site of international importance.

It lies in the 100 sq km Nandur Madhameshwar Bird sanctuary formed in 1986.

It is the first Ramsar site in (Niphad tahsil of Nashik district) Maharashtra and one among the 10 new wetlands declared under the Ramsar Convention.

In order to get notified as a Wetland under Ramsar Convention, the wetland has to meet at least one of the criteria. Nandur Madhameshwar has met seven out of nine criteria set for recognition by the Ramsar Convention.

Important Facts

1. Nandur Madhameshwar has lakes, marshes, and riparian forest on the Deccan Plateau.
2. It is home to many threatened birds like Indian Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Common Pochard, Bristled Grass Bird, Wooly-necked stork, White-rumped vulture, Indian vulture, and Egyptian vulture, threatened fish Deolali Minnow and mammal, like leopard.
3. The Nandur Madhameshwar Sanctuary area has diverse flora and fauna despite the semi-arid conditions due to being in the rain shadow area of Western Ghats.
4. It is a habitat to diverse fish species and includes  Butter catfish, Slender rasbora, Deolali minnow, Novacula razorbelly minnow, and globally threatened specie Shalini barb.

The Deolali minnow is a critically endangered species of cyprinid fish currently only known from the Darna River near Deolali in Nashik District, Maharashtra, India.
5. A Weir or low head dam is constructed at the confluence of the Godavari and Kadwa Rivers which has helped create a thriving wetland.