Environment and Pollution Control is one of the subject mentioned in the indicative syllabus for the competitive examination of SSE and JE being conducted by RRB. The inclusion of this important subject is indicative of the commitment of Indian Railways towards sustainable development. The study material may not be available to the candidates at one place and may find difficulty in preparing for the examination. This is an effort by RailElectrica to compile relevant material at one place, one should be aware of. How to prepare for the examination is given at “Get ready to prepare for SSE/JE RRB Competitive Examination”
Multiple option objective model question bank will also be posted shortly before the scheduled examination to help you prepare for the RRB examination.
Question: Which one of these air pollutants not monitored under NAMP by CPCB
Legislation and Government Rules
Being in Govt. service, one shall be aware of the legislation and rules in this regard. There are many legislation which has come into existing since independence to meet the gigantic task in this regard and important are listed below.
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution), 1974
An Act to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution and the maintaining or restoring of wholesomeness of water for the establishment, with a view to carrying out the purposes aforesaid, of Boards for the prevention and control of water pollution, for conferring on and assigning to such Boards powers and functions relating thereto and for matters connected therewith
Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
An Act to provide for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution, for the establishment, to carrying out the aforesaid purposes, of Boards, for conferring on and assigning to such Boards powers and functions relating thereto and for matters connected therewith.
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
Environment Protection Act, 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of India. In the wake of the Bhopal Tragedy, the India enacted the Environment Protection Act of 1986 under Article 253 of the Constitution. The purpose of the Act is to implement the decisions of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment of 1972, in so far as they relate to the protection and improvement of the human environment t and the prevention of hazards to human beings, other living creatures, plants and property.
The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000
Whereas the increasing ambient noise levels in public places from various sources, inter-alia, industrial activity, construction activity, generator sets, loud speakers, public address systems, music systems, vehicular horns and other mechanical devices have deleterious effects on human health and the psychological well-being of the people, it is considered necessary to regulate and control noise producing and generating sources with the objective of maintaining the ambient air quality standards in respect of noise;Biological Diversity Act, 2002
An Act of the Parliament of India for preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out use of traditional biological resources and knowledge. The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which India is a party.
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010
An Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. In June 2010, Government of India notified introduction of National Green tribunal Act 2010 leading to establishment of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, conservation of forests and other natural resources. The National Green Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as tribunal or green tribunal) began operative from 18th Oct 2010. The tribunal repeals and replaces the earlier National Environment Tribunal Act 1995 and the National Environment Appellate Authority 1997 and all cases pending before them stand transferred to this tribunal. The origin of the green Tribunal can be traced to 186th Report of the Law Commission of India (2003) dedicated to “Proposal to constitute Environmental Courts”. The National Green Tribunal will give the Indian citizen first time judicial remedy as far as environmental damages are concerned
Earth day is observed on 22nd April to mark the commitment to save energy and protect earth.
Central Pollution Control Board
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. Its hq is located at New Delhi.
It serves as a field formation and provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, (i) to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and (ii) to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.
National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP)
Central Pollution Control Board is executing a nation-wide programme of ambient air quality monitoring known as National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP). Under N.A.M.P., four air pollutants viz ., Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Oxides of Nitrogen as NO2, Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) and Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM / PM10) have been identified for regular monitoring at all the locations. The network consists of three hundred and forty two (342) operating stations covering one hundred and twenty seven (127) cities/towns in twenty six (26) states and four (4) Union Territories of the country.
The objectives of the N.A.M.P. are to determine status and trends of ambient air quality; to ascertain whether the prescribed ambient air quality standards are violated; to Identify Non-attainment Cities; to get the knowledge and understanding necessary for developing preventive and corrective measures and to understand the natural cleansing process undergoing in the environment through pollution dilution, dispersion, wind based movement, dry deposition, precipitation and chemical transformation of pollutants generated.
CPCB has identified list of polluted cities in which the prescribed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) are violated. These cities have been identified based on ambient air quality data obtained under National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP). Action plans are being formulated and implemented to control air pollution in non-attainment cities by respective states.The list is available at http://cpcb.nic.in/Non_attainment.php and SPM, RSPM and NO2 found the main pollutants in Indian cities.
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
It is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state’s policies. This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals
India ranked 155th in the survey of 178 nations.
Green House Gases
A greenhouse gas (sometimes abbreviated GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. The thermal radiation from sun falling on the earth reflects back but partly absorbed by the green house gases to maintain the earth temperature, imagine if the green house gases do not exist, the temperature will fall to sub-zero. But if the absorption is more, the temperature will go high, unable for the beings to sustain. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC and ozone. Greenhouse gases greatly affect the temperature of the Earth; without them, Earth’s surface would average about 33 °C colder, which is about 59 °F below the present average of 14 °C (57 °F).
Although contributing to many other physical and chemical reactions, the major atmospheric constituents, nitrogen (N
2), oxygen (O2), and argon (Ar), are not greenhouse gases.
When ranked by their direct contribution to the greenhouse effect, the most important are water vapour 36-72%, carbon dioxide 9-26%, Methane 4-9% and ozone 3-7%.
Vehicle Emission Norm
Vehicle emission is the biggest cause of air pollution and its settlement resulting in water and soil pollution as well. Bharat stage emission standards are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests.
The standards, based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000. Progressively stringent norms have been rolled out since then. All new vehicles manufactured after the implementation of the norms have to be compliant with the regulations. Since October 2010, Bharat stage III norms have been enforced across the country. In 13 major cities, Bharat stage IV emission norms have been in place since April 2010.
The first emission norms were introduced in India in 1991 for petrol and 1992 for diesel vehicles. These were followed by making the Catalytic converter mandatory for petrol vehicles and the introduction of unleaded petrol in the market.
A catalytic converter is a vehicle emissions control device that converts toxic pollutants in exhaust gas to less toxic pollutants by catalyzinga redox reaction (oxidation or reduction). Catalytic converters are used in internal combustion engines fueled by either petrol (gasoline) ordiesel—including lean burn engines. The catalytic converter is installed in the exhaust of the engine.
A two-way (or “oxidation”) catalytic converter has two simultaneous tasks:
1. Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide
2. Oxidation of hydrocarbons (unburnt and partially burnt fuel) to carbon dioxide and water
This type of catalytic converter is widely used on diesel engines to reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. Because of their inability to control oxides of nitrogen, they were superseded by three-way converters.
Three-way catalytic converters (TWC) have the additional advantage of controlling the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx), in particular nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas over three hundred times more potent than carbon dioxide, a precursor to acid rain and currently the most ozone-depleting substance. Technological improvements including three-way catalytic converters have led to motor vehicle nitrous oxide emissions in the US falling to 8.2% of anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions in 2008, from a high of 17.77% in 1998.
1. Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen
2. Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide
3. Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) to carbon dioxide and water
Unleaded petrol is petrol that is not added with lead to it as an anti-knock agent to solve the problem of knocking sound observed at the time of engine start. When burnt in engines, this petrol does not give off toxic fumes, as leaded petrol does.
In the early days of motoring, in the first half of the twentieth century, motorists often experienced the phenomenon of their engine making a knocking sound after a few thousand miles. It was found that the knocking was caused because the petrol did not burn cleanly in the engine and this resulted in a build up of carbon residue in the cylinders. This carbon glowed red-hot and thus ignited the petrol prematurely – before the valve that admitted the petrol to the cylinder was properly closed.
It was this pre-ignition that caused the knocking. Chemists investigated the problem and found that adding very small amounts of lead to the petrol made the petrol burn cleanly with far less residue, thus curing the pre-ignition problem and eliminating the knocking noise. It also meant that cars produced far less smoke and fumes.
But over the next few decades evidence began to build up that the amount of lead in the atmosphere of cities was accumulating to a dangerously high level – a level high enough to cause damage to the nervous systems of newborn babies.
Effect of hazardous metal as pollutant
The Bhopal disaster, also referred to as the Bhopal gas tragedy, was a gas leak incident in India, considered the world’s worst industrial disaster. It occurred on the night of 2–3 December 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) pesticide plant in Bhopal; Madhya Pradesh.The plant released 42 tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas, exposing more than 500,000 people to toxic gases. MIC is an intermediate product in the manufacturing of pesticides.
The consumption of fish is by far the most significant source of ingestion-related mercury exposure in humans and animals, although plants and livestock also contain mercury due to bio concentration of mercury from seawater, freshwater, marine and lacustrine sediments, soils, and atmosphere, and due to bio magnification by ingesting other mercury-containing organisms. Exposure to mercury can occur from breathing contaminated air, from eating foods that have acquired mercury residues during processing, from exposure to mercury vapor in mercury amalgam dental restorations, and from improper use or disposal of mercury and mercury-containing objects, for example, after spills of elemental mercury or improper disposal of fluorescent lamps.
Consumption of whale and dolphin meat, as is the practice in Japan, is a source of high levels of mercury poisoning. Tetsuya Endo, a professor at the Health Sciences University of Hokkaido, has tested whale meat purchased in the whaling town of Taiji and found mercury levels more than 20 times the acceptable Japanese standard.
WHO and Indian Standard norms for limit of Hg containimination of Mercury is .001 mg/l
Dental fluorosis, also called mottling of tooth enamel, is a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development. The risk of fluoride overexposure occurs at any age but it is higher at younger ages. In its mild forms (which are its most common), fluorosis often appears as unnoticeable, tiny white streaks or specks in the enamel of the tooth. In its most severe form, tooth appearance is marred by discoloration or brown markings. The enamel may be pitted, rough and hard to clean. The spots and stains left by fluorosis are permanent and may darken over time.
According to a 1999 study by the National Academy of Sciences, arsenic in drinking water causes bladder, lung and skin cancer, and may cause kidney and liver cancer. The study also found that arsenic harms the central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as heart and blood vessels, and causes serious skin problems. It also may cause birth defects and reproductive problems.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a clear, odorless gas that is produced by burning any carbon-based substance. So when tobacco is burned and inhaled, one of the 4,000 or more chemicals that enters the body is CO. When the smoke is inhaled into the lungs, CO is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream. CO binds to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells 200 times more effectively than oxygen does. The result is that many of these blood cells that were designed to carry oxygen to different parts of the body, instead bind to the CO, forming carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). This means that the heart has to do more work to supply the necessary amount of oxygen to the body. There is good evidence that high levels of carbon monoxide in the blood of smokers is one of the main factors causing smokers to have increased rates of cardiovascular diseases (such as angina and heart attacks).
The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international treaty that sets binding obligations on industrialized countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The UNFCCC is an environmental treaty with the goal of preventing dangerous anthropogenic (i.e., human-induced) interference of the climate system.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol (Annex B Party) to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. Such projects can earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2, which can be counted towards meeting Kyoto targets. The mechanism is seen by many as a trailblazer. It is the first global, environmental INVESTMENT and credit scheme of its kind, providing a standardized emissions offset instrument, (Certified Emission Reduction) CERs. A CDM project activity might involve, for example, a rural electrification project using solar panels or the installation of more energy-efficient boilers.The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. The treaty was opened for signature on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989, followed by a first meeting in Helsinki, May 1989. Since then, it has undergone eight revisions, in 1990 (London), 1991 (Nairobi), 1992 (Copenhagen), 1993 (Bangkok), 1995 (Vienna), 1997 (Montreal), 1999 (Beijing) and 2007 (Montreal). As a result of the international agreement, the ozone hole in Antarctica is slowly recovering.
Asian Brown Cloud
The Asian brown cloud is a layer of air pollution that covers parts of South Asia, namely the northern Indian Ocean, India, and Pakistan. Viewed from satellite photos, the cloud appears as a giant brown stain hanging in the air over much of South Asia and the Indian Ocean every year between January and March, possibly also during earlier and later months. The term was coined in reports from the UNEP Indian Ocean Experiment (INDOEX)
UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.
UNEP work encompasses:
Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
Developing international and national environmental instruments
Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment
BOD and COD
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms in a body of water to break down organic material present in a given water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period. The term also refers to a chemical procedure for determining this amount. This is not a precise quantitative test, although it is widely used as an indication of the organic quality of water. The BOD value is most commonly expressed in milligrams of oxygen consumed per litre of sample during 5 days of incubation at 20 °C and is often used as a robust surrogate of the degree of organic pollution of water.
In environmental chemistry, the chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic compounds in water. Most applications of COD determine the amount of organic pollutants found in surface water (e.g. lakes and rivers) or wastewater, making COD a useful measure of water quality. It is expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/L) also referred to as ppm (parts per million), which indicates the mass of oxygen consumed per liter of solution.
Use of renewable source of energy
A renewable resource is an organic non-food natural resource that can replenish in due time compared to the usage, either through biological reproduction or other naturally recurring processes. It includes e.g. sunlight, wind, biomass, rain,tides, waves and geothermal heat.
Non-renewable sources of energy
A non-renewable resource (also called a finite resource) is a resource that does not renew itself at a sufficient rate for sustainable economic extraction in meaningful human time-frames. An example is carbon-based, organically-derived fuel. The original organic material, with the aid of heat and pressure, becomes a fuel such as oil or gas. Fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas), and certain aquifers are all non-renewable resources.
It is defined as “To limit and make sure efficient use of energy sources and economic harness of an abundant source of naturally existing renewable sources of energy” Thus there are three areas of research, development and action for Energy Conservation
It is the ratio of output of input. This is an area of research, additional cost (life cycle costing and rate of return), MARKETING and regulating agency to control spurious claims, labeling of energy efficiency of the product.
Aerobic and non-aerobic process
Sewage treatment is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater, including household sewage and runoff (effluents). It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants. Its objective is to produce an environmentally safe fluid waste stream (or treated effluent) and a solid waste (or treated sludge) suitable for disposal or reuse (usually as farm fertilizer). With suitable technology, it is possible to re-use sewage effluent for drinking water
An aerobic treatment system or ATS, often called (incorrectly) an aerobic septic system, is a small scale sewage treatment system similar to a septic tank system, but which uses an aerobic process for digestion rather than just the anaerobic process used in septic systems. These systems are commonly found in rural areas where public sewers are not available, and may be used for a single residence or for a small group of homes.
Unlike the traditional septic system, the aerobic treatment system produces a high quality secondary effluent, which can be sterilized and used for surface irrigation. This allows much greater flexibility in the placement of the leach field, as well as cutting the required size of the leach field by as much as half.
Anaerobic digestion is a collection of processes by which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste and/or to produce fuels. Much of the fermentation used industrially to produce food and drink products, as well as home fermentation, uses anaerobic digestion.
The technology for the toilets was developed by Indian Railways (IR) in collaboration with Defense Research and Development Organisation (IR-DRDO). In its first phase, IR is looking to fit 2,400 bio toilets in new coaches by the end of 2013, with an outlook to install toilets in over 40,000 coaches of all trains over the course of the plan.
Whereas waste in conventional toilets is dumped on the tracks below the moving train, waste, as part of the new toilet system, would be directed to a tank with bacterial sludge. The sludge then breaks down all solid waste using an aerobic process to gas and water, which is then released from the carriage.
Multiple Choice Question to check your preparedness
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