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Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: mobilization of resources

Why in the news?

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy, 2019 on 25.07.2019 inviting comments and suggestions from stakeholders including public/private organizations, experts and concerned citizens on the draft policy.

What is the Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP)?

  • The Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP) envisions a future with environmentally sustainable and equitable economic growth, resource security, healthy environment (air, water and land), and restored ecosystems with rich ecology and biodiversity. 
  • The Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy is guided by the principles of (i) reduction in primary resource consumption to ‘sustainable’ levels, in keeping with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and staying within the planetary boundaries, (ii) creation of higher value with less material through resource efficient and circular approaches, (iii) waste minimization, (iv) material security, and creation of employment opportunities and business models beneficial to the cause of environment protection and restoration.
  • The Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy provides an overarching collaborative framework for resource efficiency across all sectors in the country, covering both biotic and abiotic resources and life cycle stages and aspires for cross-sectoral stakeholder partnerships for the cause of resource efficiency for sustainable development.


Sulphur Dioxide Emissions

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Why in the news?

  • A new report by Greenpeace India shows the country is the largest emitter of sulphur dioxide in the world, with more than 15% of all the anthropogenic sulphur dioxide hotspots detected by the NASA OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument) satellite. Almost all of these emissions in India are because of coal-burning, the report says.
  • The vast majority of coal-based power plants in India lack flue-gas desulphurisation technology to reduce air pollution.
  • The Singrauli, Neyveli, Talcher, Jharsuguda, Korba, Kutch, Chennai, Ramagundam, Chandrapur and Koradi thermal power plants or clusters are the major emission hotspots in India, the report says.
  • In a first step to combat pollution levels, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change introduced, for the first time, sulphur dioxide emission limits for coal-fired power plants in December 2015. But the deadline for the installation of flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) in power plants has been extended from 2017 to 2022.
  • Of the world’s major emitters, China and the United States have been able to reduce emissions rapidly. They have achieved this feat by switching to clean energy sources; China, in particular, has achieved success by dramatically improving emission standards and enforcement for sulphur dioxide control.

What is flue gas desulfurization?

Flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) is a set of technologies used to remove sulphur dioxide (SO2) from exhaust flue gases of fossil-fuel power plants, and from the emissions of other sulfur oxide emitting processes (e.g trash incineration). Below are common methods used:

  • Wet scrubbing using a slurry of alkaline sorbent, usually limestone or lime, or seawater to scrub gases;
  • Spray-dry scrubbing using similar sorbent slurries;
  • Wet sulfuric acid process recovering sulfur in the form of commercial quality sulfuric acid;
  • SNOX Flue gas desulfurization removes sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates from flue gases;
  • Dry sorbent injection systems that introduce powdered hydrated lime (or other sorbent material) into exhaust ducts to eliminate SO2 and SO3 from process emissions.

For a typical coal-fired power station, flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) may remove 90 percent or more of SO2 in the flue gases.


National Maritime Domain Awareness Project (NMDA)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas

Why in the news?

  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh visited the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) and Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) located at Gurugram. He reviewed the functioning of IMAC and IFC-IOR.
  • Senior Navy officials, including the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, briefed him on further enhancing the capabilities of the two centres under the National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project.

What is the National Maritime Domain Awareness Project?

  • The National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) Project of India is an integrated intelligence grid to detect and tackle threats emanating from the sea in real-time.
  • It has been established to generate a common operational picture of activities at sea through an institutionalised mechanism for collecting, fusing and analysing information from technical and other sources like coastal surveillance network radars, space-based automatic identification systems, vessel traffic management systems, fishing vessel registration and fishermen biometric identity databases.
  • The NMDA project was launched in accordance with the vision on SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region). The IMAC monitors movement of more than 120,000 ships a year passing through the Indian Ocean. The cargo carried by these ships account for 66 percent of world crude oil, 50 percent of container traffic and 33 percent of bulk cargo. Thus, IMAC performs a very crucial role in collecting shipping information, analysing traffic patterns and sharing the inputs with the user agencies.
  • IFC-IOR is a collaborative initiative by the Indian Navy in coordination with partner nations and multinational maritime agencies to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness and Maritime Security. The Centre is likely to host International Liaison Officers from the partner nations in the near future.