-Top News Environment USA

Biden likely to permanently block Grand Canyon mining

The White House previously announced that the President Biden would make climate change and his environmental agenda a focus of his stops on Arizona tour.

US President Joe Biden is leaning toward designating a vast area near the Grand Canyon as a national monument to safeguard it from uranium mining, a media report said.

“Leaders of local tribes and environmentalists have spent years lobbying to protect areas near the park from potential uranium mining, which they say would threaten aquifers and water supplies,” Xinhua news agency quoted The Washington Post report as saying citing sources.

“They have asked Washington to double the protected area around the canyon by including 1.1 million acres of public lands in a Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni Grand Canyon National Monument.”

According to the report, Biden will embark on a tour through Arizona next week.

The White House previously announced that the President would make climate change and his environmental agenda a focus of his stops on the tour.

Federal officials have started telling tribal and environmental groups to be available for a potential Grand Canyon announcement early next week, which would fall during Biden’s travel, said the report.

“No decisions have been made,” White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan said in an email.

“But I can tell you that President Biden has conserved more land and water in his first year than any president since JFK, and his climate protection record is unmatched.”

Uranium deposits sit deep within sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone layers across the US Southwest.

In the Grand Canyon region, uranium ore is found in geologic features called breccia pipes.

Uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park began in the 1950s at Orphan Mine. At least eight uranium mines have operated near the park, including the active Canyon Mine.

Since 2012, a 20-year mineral withdrawal has blocked new efforts to mine uranium on 1 million acres of public lands surrounding the Grand Canyon.

But the relief is temporary.

As of May 2022, there were still nearly 600 mining claims on national forest and other public lands around the Grand Canyon.

Environment Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Recycling a win-win for the environment

Inefficient waste management systems and a lack of government regulations make it difficult for businesses to recycle mattresses, as they need clarification on the requirements or where to send them…writes N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

Have you ever wondered what to do with your old mattress once you’ve purchased a new one? One typical solution is to throw it away. But, instead of simply dumping it, did you know you might look into environmentally friendly disposal options?

Mattress waste is a significant problem in India. Tens of thousands of mattresses are thrown each year, with the majority of them ending up in landfills. Mattresses abandoned in this manner disintegrate over hundreds of years, releasing toxic substances into the environment.

Speaking with Anand Nichani, Managing Director of Magniflex India, a homegrown mattress brand, explains several ways to repurpose old mattresses instead of throwing them away, such as making pet beds, transforming them into little cushions, pillows, and so on.

Read excerpt:

Why the issue of mattress waste in India is increasing?

Nichani: According to a 2022 report, India’s mattress market was estimated at around Rs 20,000 crore in 2022. Approximately 7-9 million mattresses are sold in the country each year, with a replacement cycle of every 10 years. The rise in income levels, increased urbanisation, changing lifestyles, and growth in the real estate and hospitality sectors are significant factors that accelerated the development of the Indian mattress market. 

While the buying capacity has increased, we have yet to figure out how to manage the discarded mattresses. As a result, the discarded mattresses end up in landfills, which can take up much space and release harmful pollutants into the environment.

Inefficient waste management systems and a lack of government regulations make it difficult for businesses to recycle mattresses, as they need clarification on the requirements or where to send them.

How mattress recycling can help reduce the burden?

Nichani:  Mattresses contain various harmful materials, such as flame retardants, polyurethane foam, and metal springs. When these materials are disposed of in landfills, they can leach into the soil and water, contaminating the environment. Recycling mattresses help to prevent these harmful materials from entering the atmosphere.

The materials used to make mattresses can be recycled and reused to make new products. Recycling helps conserve resources and reduce the need to extract new materials from the environment.

The recycling of mattresses will also contribute to creating jobs in collecting, processing, and manufacturing recycled materials. Job creation can help boost the economy and create opportunities for our country’s people.

Overall, mattress recycling is a win-win for the environment and the economy. It is a sustainable way to dispose of mattresses and helps protect the environment.

How to choose an eco-friendly mattress?

Nichani:  There has to be more propaganda on this; people should be educated on how to buy a mattress. We often come across customers looking for a cheap bargain, and customers usually need to realise that low-cost mattresses come with highly toxic materials, that can harm their health and our environment.

People should make an informed decision while buying mattresses, assess what their mattress is made of, look for OEKO-TEX certifications on products and manufacturing processes, and opt for patented Memoform in place of ordinary foam mattresses. Some mattresses also come with natural wood fabric – known as ecopaedic mattresses, which provide the right temperature to sleep and are environment-friendly. 

What are the ways to recycle a mattress?

Nichani:  Recycling, whether done on a large scale or small scale, is beneficial to the environment. Some ways to recycle your old mattress are; 

Many waste management companies offer mattress recycling programs. You can contact your local waste management company to see if they provide this service.

Some charities accept mattresses that are in good condition. Donating your mattress is a great way to give your mattress a new life and help someone in need.

You can sell your mattress online through Facebook Marketplace. This is a great way to get some money back for your old mattress and help someone else find a good deal.

What novel approach do you believe could reduce mattress pollution?

Nichani:  One way to reduce mattress pollution is to use sustainable and biodegradable materials in manufacturing. Mattresses should be made with materials that can be broken down by microorganisms in the environment. This means that they do not contribute to pollution when they are disposed of of., viz., natural cotton, wood fabric, viscose (it’s made from the cellulose of the trees), silk, linen, camel fibre, horse hair, merino wool, cashmere, etc., The presence of such materials is usually demonstrated by certifications like – OEKO TEX and GOTS. 

Mattresses can be designed to be more easily recycled by using materials that are easily separated and by using fewer hazardous materials.

There is currently a lack of mattress recycling infrastructure in many countries. This makes it difficult for people to recycle their mattresses. By creating more mattress recycling infrastructure, we can make it easier for people to recycle their mattresses and reduce mattress pollution.

Many people are not aware that mattresses can be recycled. Educating the public about mattress recycling can encourage more people to recycle their mattresses and reduce mattress pollution.

Any DIY projects that may be done to utilise old mattresses instead of throwing them away.

Nichani:  There are so many innovative things one could do with old mattresses; Upcycle them to use as upholstery for your garden/balcony furniture, use them as a pet bed, use them for your kids’ play area, convert them into small cushions, pillows, materials such as fabric and springs and foam can be used as mulch in your garden to help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.

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-Top News UK News

Environmental groups threaten govt

But other activists, such as Just Stop Oil, have continued with high-profile campaigns, including halting the world snooker championship on Monday…reports Asian Lite News

Environmental groups including Extinction Rebellion, which has previously staged highly disruptive protests across Britain, have vowed new and “creative” campaigns of disobedience unless the government meets their demands over fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) said the groups had issued the British government with a demand to end all licences, funding and approval for new fossil fuel projects and to immediately create “emergency citizen assemblies”.

If the government did not agree to discuss these by a deadline of 1600 GMT on April 24, they would step up their campaigns, which would include unspecified civil disobedience.

“This time we won’t be alone,” Marijn van de Geer from XR told reporters.

In January, the British arm of XR, which has previously closed key roads and bridges in central London, blockaded oil refineries, smashed windows at banks and thrown paint over government buildings, said it would cease public disruption.

But other activists, such as Just Stop Oil, have continued with high-profile campaigns, including halting the world snooker championship on Monday.

Later this week, some 200 groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth will gather for a four-day demonstration organised by XR, dubbed “The Big One”, which will be held outside parliament in central London, with 28,000 signed up to attend.

While XR said this week’s action in central London was not intended to be disruptive, nor would it target the coronation of King Charles next month, van de Geer said they would step up campaigns in future in “new and inventive ways”.

She said it would be up to each group and individuals involved to decide what these would be, saying there might be some “bigger disobedience”.

ALSO READ-EAD launches environmental assessment programme

Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

Take a sip, make a difference

The use of rice husk is a prime example of how sustainable alternatives can be found in unlikely places. This initiates restoration and a circular economy that benefits both the environment and local communities…reports Ronit Jain

Sustainability has become a hot topic in recent years, and for good reasons. As we become more aware of the aftermath of our actions on nature, looking for ways to reduce waste and live more sustainably will do the planet good and initiate rejuvenation. Even starting small, like switching from single use plastic to reusable, sustainable and durable mugs, can subsequently make a bigger difference and promote healthier lifestyle and planet.

But what is Earth’s Waste?

Agriculture is a vital industry that feeds the world’s population, it does however produce a vast amount of by-products. Every year around 500 million tons of crop residue is generated in India. The abundance of this agricultural waste presents a serious ecological problem owing to the release of carbon dioxide, long-lasting smoke and methane produced from its combustion.

Rice husk is the outer layer of rice grains that is removed during the milling process. It is a highly produced crop residue in India. Though when properly sourced, rice husk is ideal for product manufacturing as it is toxin-free, bio-degradable, and carbon-neutral, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional materials such as fragile ceramics and plastics. Not only does this help reduce waste and carbon emissions but also supports local farmers by providing a market for their crop residue.

The use of rice husk is a prime example of how sustainable alternatives can be found in unlikely places. This initiates restoration and a circular economy that benefits both the environment and local communities.

Mugs made out of Rice Husk are an excellent example of a sustainable product that provides consumers with a safer, healthier, and more eco-conscious option. They are durable and can withstand high temperatures, hence they are suitable for use with hot and cold beverages, making them a convenient option for everyday use and busy lifestyles.

We believe the search for safer and more eco-friendly alternatives is crucial and must continue as new technologies and materials emerge. By promoting the use of reusable materials and eco-friendly materials in product manufacturing, we can reduce the carbon footprint and mitigate the negative impact of these materials on the environment.

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Environment Ramadan UK News

The Islamic Way to Protect Environment

The climate crisis also brings together communities as we all struggle with its impacts. It threatens all of humanity, all faiths, and all cultures. If we do not work together, we cannot adapt or prevent the destruction…writes Afzal Khan MP

Islam is inherently environmental. Harmony and balance in the natural world is central to our Muslim faith. It is our duty to conserve nature and the Earth deserves respect and care. Nationally and internationally, we are seeing Muslim environmentalists and campaigners highlight how Muslims can make a positive impact by putting the environment at the centre of their faith.

The impact of the climate crisis is being felt across the globe. We have seen unprecedented fires, devastating droughts, life-threatening heatwaves, and catastrophic flooding. But most of the impact of climate change is felt by the world’s poorest countries. Those who contribute the least to global carbon emissions, and including much of the Muslim world. In Pakistan, a country close to my own heart, faced devastation last year from floods over an area larger than the United Kingdom. Over 1,000 people died, and 33 million lives were turned upside down in hours, displaced from their homes by a climate disaster.

We are all responsible for our own actions. Although we must hold governments and corporations accountable, we are all khalifah (stewards) of the Earth. “Thus We have made you trustees on the earth after them, to see how you would act.”[Qur’an 10:14]. Allah (swt) allows us the use of nature, but expects us to be responsible for balance and sustainability.  

Kalifah is not a concept unique to Islam. We see this variations on natural stewardship across different faiths, including Christianity and Judaism. Together, being of faith means caring: caring for people and caring for the planet. Our faith and values are a tool that allow us to achieve a goal towards a common cause.

Our faith is not the only thing to bring us together. The climate crisis also brings together communities as we all struggle with its impacts. It threatens all of humanity, all faiths, and all cultures. If we do not work together, we cannot adapt or prevent the destruction.

There are many ways we can become better climate activists using our faith. But, the overarching theme is remembering balance (Mizan). The Qur’an says, “O Children of Adam, dress well whenever you are at worship, and eat and drink [as We have permitted] but do not be extravagant (Mizan): God does not like extravagant people.” [Quran 7:31] This is a reminder that we should act in moderation and with balance. When considering the environment, we must avoid excess waste, pollution, or environmental destruction. This is particularly important to remember as we near the end of Ramadan and may consider items or gifts that are unnecessary or extravagant for Eid al-Fitr. This was reflected by Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in his own actions, during ablution (wudu) he used limited water, and he spoke of why we do not waste water, even if at a running stream.

During this holy month of Ramadan, I am proud to see so many Muslims across the world engaged and ready to make change. I am delighted to work with climate activist Zehra Abbas to mobilise communities in the UK, Palestine, Canada, Lebanon, Malaysia, Cyprus, Bangladesh and more to coordinate ‘green’ iftars in each country.

Afzal Khan MP

Each of these iftars have the aim to have the same programme, so all attendees can discuss the importance of climate action. These events are free or low-cost, interfaith, plant-based, and zero-waste and in[EY1]  many of the events, the food is what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), had noted as some of his favourites. This includes foods such as barley, dates, and pomegranates, which in most regions has little carbon footprint. The food is purchased with no plastic packaging wherever possible, attendees are encouraged to bring their own cutlery and plates, as well as no food waste being produced. There are guest speakers at the event who speak on the importance of interfaith work, what zero-waste is and how we can all do it, stewardship in Islam, and animal rights in Islam. Attendees are encouraged to walk, cycle, or rideshare to the event to reduce their own carbon footprint and wasteful decorations are excluded, opting instead for natural décor. A zero-waste event can be seen as daunting, but instead it is scaling down what many would consider to be the norm.

During Ramadan, I know myself and many others reflect. We reflect on what we do and how we can be better Muslims and community members. This is why during Ramadan I attend many interfaith iftars – it is a way to break down barriers in our community and talk about our shared goals. It is also important for me to reflect on the principles and key messages of Islam, such as Mizan and Khalifah, with those around me.

As a Muslim, I consider my faith to be part of who I am. My values and beliefs stem from by belief in Allah (swt) which Qu’ran teachers me how to put into practice. This is why I am passionate about action against the climate crisis, and I want to do all I can to improve our planet for our generation and future generations. When nature thrives, we all thrive – I hope together as Muslims and the wider community we will continue to come together on this global movement.

(The writer is Shadow Minister for Legal Aid of the United Kingdom)

ALSO READ: TBHF calls for supporting refugees in Ramadan

Environment Fashion Lite Blogs

Clothing to tackle environmental issues

But just as style evolves, so does the fashion industry. And eco-conscious designers are making a true fashion statement by shunning animal leather in favour of vegan (non-animal) leather, slashing their environmental impact in the process…reports Monica Chopra

Can the right outfit really fix everything? We know that clothing can boost confidence, help one land a job, or make a special occasion more festive. But what if it could also tackle many of the world’s most urgent environmental issues? Turns out, it can.

Last year, Sonakshi Sinha starred in a PETA India campaign encouraging her fans to ditch leather, and earlier, Milind Soman and Ankita Konwar starred in PETA India’s vegan fashion lookbook, launched on FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week’s leather-free Sustainable Fashion Day. That’s because the 2017 “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” report, published by the Global Fashion Agenda, Boston Consulting Group, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, concluded that cow leather is the most polluting material in fashion, while silk and wool are among the five most environmentally damaging materials.

Largely, that’s because leather is, well, skin, which decomposes unless treated. Calfskin leather is exactly what the name suggests: the skin of baby cows. Leather is also often made from the skin of buffaloes, pigs, goats, sheep, ostriches, kangaroos, dogs, cats, crocodiles, and other animals. Preventing the skin from rotting typically involves using a soup of noxious chemicals which seep into soil and groundwater and run off into rivers and other waterways, contaminating everything they touch. Exposure to these chemicals means that workers in tanneries are prone to a variety of cancers.

The water in South India’s Palar river was described by one reporter as “practically sludge”, as it is highly contaminated with tannery pollution. There are around 250 tanneries in the Kanpur and Unnao regions, through which the Ganges passes. The once-sparkling river, home to rare and unique species of fish, turtles, dolphins, and other wildlife, is now one of the world’s most polluted.

The process of breeding and raising animals, slaughtering them, and turning their skin into leather also requires massive amounts of water, land, and fossil fuels, thus contributing to climate catastrophe. According to some estimates, globally, animal agriculture (the industrial farming of animals, including leather) is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s transportation systems combined. Runoff from farms and slaughter houses also causes eutrophication in waterways, a serious ecological problem that is the result of animal waste creating an overgrowth of plant life, depleting oxygen levels, and suffocating animals.

But just as style evolves, so does the fashion industry. And eco-conscious designers are making a true fashion statement by shunning animal leather in favour of vegan (non-animal) leather, slashing their environmental impact in the process. In fact, 33 leading Indian designers agreed to give animal leather the boot to help animals and the environment after being contacted by PETA India and Lakme Fashion Week. They joined the likes of Anita Dongre and Purvi Doshi, who have been leather-free for some time. Many designers and brands are also creating stunning shoes, bags, and other fashion items using innovative new leathers made from pineapple leaves, cork, fruit waste, recycled plastics, mushrooms, mulberry leaves, coconut waste, and more.

Helsinki Fashion Week banned leather from its catwalks starting in 2019. Kanpur-based company Kanpur FlowerCycling scored a PETA India award for its Fleather, biodegradable leather made from discarded temple flowers, which would otherwise also end up in the Ganges. Top international brands including H&M, which partnered with PETA US to create and launch a global vegan fashion collection called “Co-Exist Story”, offer numerous vegan styles. And the list keeps growing as more and more consumers demand cruelty-free, eco-friendly fashion.

As we celebrate World Water Day on March 22, many of us will take shorter showers, turn off the tap while we brush our teeth, or spend less time rinsing our dishes. But if we truly want to protect the world’s water systems, we should vote with our wallets for a greener planet, starting with what we put in our wardrobes.

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-Top News India News

G20 environment, sustainability meet today

India’s ancient water management practices will be demonstrated at the Adalaj Vav- Ancient Stepwell and India’s engineering prowess will be on display at the Sabarmati siphon, the ministry said…reports Asian Lite News

The second Environment and Climate Sustainability Working Group (ECSWG) meeting will begin on Monday in which 130 delegates from G20 member countries along with 11 invitee countries and 14 international organizations will take part at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

The second ECSWG meeting will be held from March 27-29, 2023 in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar. The meeting would focus on thematic areas like arresting land degradation, accelerating ecosystem restoration and enriching biodiversity; encouraging resource efficiency and circular economy and promoting a sustainable and climate-resilient blue economy.

Special presentations on major initiatives like Namami Gange, Climate Resilient Infrastructure, Participatory Ground Water Management, Jal Jeevan Mission, and Swachh Bharat Mission will also be made during the meeting.

According to the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, “The delegates will get an opportunity to witness a mix of modernity and tradition during the excursions, organised as a part of the meeting.”

India’s ancient water management practices will be demonstrated at the Adalaj Vav- Ancient Stepwell and India’s engineering prowess will be on display at the Sabarmati siphon, the ministry said.

“Delegates will also have an opportunity to experience Gujarat’s vibrant cultural traditions through specially curated dance and music performances, and will also have the opportunity to taste the local cuisine during their visit,” the ministry added

Ministry further said that the conference will commence with a side event on Water Resources Management led by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, where G20 member countries will make presentations on best practices on this subject.

The final day will feature more technical sessions and a discussion on the outline of the final Ministerial Communique, it added.

Various organizations under the Ministry of Jal Shakti will also put up stalls on themes including Atal Bhujal Yojana, Swach Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission, Namame Gange, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, National Water Mission etc during the meeting showcasing and sharing the high-quality work with the delegates.

The second ECSWG meeting is a step in fostering the efforts of the G20 countries, invitee countries, and international organizations towards a sustainable and resilient future.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is committed to working with all stakeholders to drive outcomes under each of the priority areas, and to achieve a sustainable and resilient future for all. (ANI)

ALSO READ-India completes 100 days G20 Presidency

-Top News World News

1733 environmental activists killed in past decade: Report

The research has found that a total of 1,733 people have been killed over the past 10 years, that’s one person killed every two days…reports Asian Lite News

One environmental activist has been killed every two days on average over the past decade across globe, a new report revealed on Thursday.

The report titled, ‘A Decade of Defiance: Ten years of reporting land and environmental activism worldwide’, from the London-based Global Witness highlights the increasing urgency to protect land and environmental defenders as climate and biodiversity crisis worsens.

Research shows that in the past decade, a land and environmental defender was killed every two days, with deadliest countries include Brazil, Colombia, Philippines, and Mexico.

Since 2012, Global Witness has been gathering data on the killings of land and environmental defenders.

In that time, a grim picture has come into focus — with evidence suggesting that as the climate crisis intensifies, violence against those protecting their land and the planet remains persistent.

The research has found that a total of 1,733 people have been killed over the past 10 years, that’s one person killed every two days.

The report highlights that the control and use of land and territory is a central issue in countries where defenders are threatened.

Much of the increasing killing, violence and repression are linked to territorial conflicts and the pursuit of economic growth based on the extraction of natural resources from the land.

Evidence also shows that the data on killings does not capture the true scale of the problem. In some countries, the situation facing defenders is hard to gauge –restrictions on a free press and a lack of independent monitoring in many countries often leads to underreporting.

Land disputes and environmental damage can also be difficult to monitor in parts of the world affected by conflict.

The research has found that few perpetrators of killings are ever brought to justice due to the failures of governments to properly investigate these crimes. Many authorities ignore or actively impede investigations into these killings often due to alleged collusion between corporate and state interests.

A spokesperson for Global Witness said: “All over the world, Indigenous peoples, environmental activists and other land and environmental defenders risk their lives for the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. They play a crucial role as a first line of defence against ecological collapse, yet are under attack themselves facing violence, criminalisation and harassment perpetuated by repressive governments and companies prioritising profit over human and environmental harm.”

With democracies increasingly under attack globally and worsening climate and biodiversity crises, the report highlights the critical role of defenders in solving these problems and makes an urgent appeal for global efforts to protect and reduce attacks against them.

The data found within the report shows that over half of the attacks over the 10-year period have taken place in Brazil, Colombia, and the Philippines.

From the 2021 data specifically, Mexico was the country with the highest recorded number of killings and over three-quarters of the attacks recorded in 2021 took place in Latin America.

The research has also highlighted that Indigenous communities in particular face a disproportionate level of attacks — nearly 40 per cent — even though they make up only five per cent of the world’s population.

Global Witness is calling for companies and governments to be held to account for violence against land and environmental defenders — the people who stand on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Urgent action is needed at regional, national, and international levels to end the violence and injustice that they face.

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-Top News Environment USA

Megadrought hits biggest US reservoir

Lots of things underneath Lake Mead have resurfaced in recent weeks, including formerly sunken boats, as the lake’s water level is continuing to decline, reports Asian Lite News

 Surrounded by a white band of dried rocks, the vast drop in water levels was visible this week at Lake Mead, the biggest reservoir in the US, which has been shrinking amid a two-decade-long megadrought.

The “bathtub ring” around the drought-stricken lake, on the Arizona-Nevada border and over 40 km east of Las Vegas, is made of minerals deposited on the rock walls when the lake’s water level was higher, reports Xinhua news agency.

Some boat launching ramps along the lake were closed due to the low water levels.

Lots of things underneath Lake Mead have resurfaced in recent weeks, including formerly sunken boats, as the lake’s water level is continuing to decline.

Lake Mead’s water levels have dropped to historic lows since it was filled in the 1930s.

As of Friday, the water in the lake, formed by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, was around 1,042.3 feet above sea level, a decline of more than 43 feet from 1,085.95 feet by the end of January 2021, according to data from the US Bureau of Reclamation.

The highest recorded level of the lake was in 1983 when it was 1,225 feet above sea level.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s 24-month outlook released last month said it was forecasting the most probable lake level would be 1,014.86 feet by September 2023.

Lake Mead currently provides municipal water for the cities of Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Boulder City, as well as municipal and industrial water and irrigation water for downstream users, according to the US National Park Service.

“Altogether, about 25,000,000 people rely on water from Lake Mead, and it is unlikely that the Southwest could have developed as it has without it,” said the agency in an overview of the lake on its official website.

Lake Mead and Lake Powell, two of the largest reservoirs in US, hit lowest water levels amid megadrought. (Pic credit: ;

If the reservoir drops below 895 feet, a possibility still years away, the lake would reach dead pool status, with potentially catastrophic consequences for millions of people across Arizona, California and Nevada, and parts of Mexico.

If the lake’s surface drops another 150 feet, there will not be enough water flowing through Hoover Dam to supply large metropolitan centres downstream, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The megadrought is draining Lake Mead faster than anticipated.

Water shortages and demand on the Colorado River Basin will require reductions in water use of 2 million to 4 million acre-feet in 2023 to preserve “critical levels”.

Last August, the federal government declared a shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering substantial cutbacks in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada, as well as Mexico.

Many Arizona farmers have left some fields dry and unplanted, and have turned to more groundwater pumping.

The megadrought that has gripped the southwestern US for the past 22 years is the worst in at least 1,200 years, according to a research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Jason Smerdon, one of the study’s authors and a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, was quoted as saying that global warming has made the megadrought more extreme because it creates a “thirstier” atmosphere that is better able to pull moisture out of forests, vegetation and soil.

While the Colorado River has been affected by previous droughts, a warming climate is predicted to alter the water cycle in new ways.

File photo of Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell in northern Arizona, the United States. ( Photo credit: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation official website/Xinhua/IANS)

Long range climate predictions are for warmer winter temperatures in the Southwest, less snowpack in the Rocky Mountains, and less melted snow able to find its way into the Colorado River, the National Park Service noted.

Droughts in US West have also led water levels in many other major lakes to drop dramatically.

Shasta Lake, the largest reservoir in California, is reportedly at less than half of where it usually should be in early May.

Water level of the Great Salt Lake in Utah hit historic low earlier this month for the second time in less than a year.

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-Top News India News

India rejects Yale environment index rating

As per Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy website, EPI 2022 provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability for 180 countries using 40 performance indicators across 11 issues….reports Asian Lite News

Rejecting the bottom rank in environmental performance index by the Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy, India on Wednesday said that many indicators used for assessing the EPI are based on “unfounded assumptions” with some of them “extrapolated and based on surmises and unscientific methods”.

Rejecting the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022 released recently by the American University that had put India at the bottom most 180th rank, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) announced that it does not accept Yale’s analysis and gave a longish explanation for the same.

As per Yale Centre for Environmental Law & Policy website, EPI 2022 provides a data-driven summary of the state of sustainability for 180 countries using 40 performance indicators across 11 issues.

“A new indicator in the Climate Policy objective is Projected GHG Emissions levels in 2050. This is computed based on average rate of change in emission of the last 10 years instead of modeling that takes into account a longer time period, extent of renewable energy capacity and use, additional carbon sinks, energy efficiency etc. of respective countries,” the Ministry statement said, adding: “Both forests and wetlands of the country are crucial carbon sinks, which have not been factored in while computing the projected GHG emissions trajectory up to 2050 given by EPI 2022.”

India has already achieved the target of 40 per cent of installed electricity capacity from non-fossil fuel based sources.

India also said that the historical data on the lowest emission trajectory has been ignored in the computation and said: “The weight of indicators in which the country was performing well has been reduced and reasons for change in assignment of weights has not been explained in the report.”

“The principle of equity is given very low weightage in the form of indicators such as GHG emission per capita and GHG Emission intensity trend. The CBDR-RC principle is also barely reflected in the composition of the index,” the Ministry said.

The indicators on water quality, water use efficiency, waste generation per capita which are closely linked to Sustainable Consumption and Production are not included in the Index, the statement said, adding: “The Index emphasises the extent of Protected Areas rather than the quality of protection that they afford. Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Protected areas and eco-sensitive regions is not factored into the computation of Biodiversity Indices.”

Indicators such as agro biodiversity, soil health, food loss and waste are not included even though they are important for developing countries with large agrarian populations, the statement said, and gave detailed analysis of the flaws in various categories such as Climate Change Issue Category; Environmental Health indicators; Ecosystem Vitality Policy Objective; Biodiversity & Habitat; Ecosystem Services; Agriculture and Fisheries.

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