Today’s News Updates – 8.January 2018

Medaram’s Jatara

Central government is likely to declare Medaram’s Sammakka-Sarakka/Saralamma Jatara a national festival this year. Once declared a national festival, Jatara can be considered for ‘intangible cultural heritage of humanity’ tag of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

About the Medaram’s Sammakka-Sarakka/Saralamma Jatara:

What is it? Sammakka-Sarakka Jatara held by forest dwelling Koya tribe of Telangana and surrounding States, is the biggest Tribal festival in Asia which is attended by one crore people on an average.

Why is it held? The event is held bi-annually to honour the twin goddesses Sammakka and her daughter Sarakka. Several communities in Telangana society support Jatara as it is also a mythical narrative of two tribal women leaders who fought against the Kakatiya rulers who tried to annex their land and forests. According to the myth it was Sammakka’s curse which caused gradual decline and death of Kakatiya rule.

Facts for Prelims:

Where is Medaram located? Medaram is a remote place in the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of Dandakaranya, the largest surviving forest belt in the Deccan.


Ozone layer hole

The hole in ozone layer has shrunk thanks to the ban of CFCs, Nasa has confirmed, after finding that chlorine levels are rapidly declining in the Earth’s stratosphere.

Background:

Last year, satellite images showed the hole had begun to close and could be completely healed by 2060. But it was not clear whether the closure was a direct result of the Montreal Protocol, which was signed by all countries of the world in 1985, phasing out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Now long-term satellite observations by Nasa have shown a 20% decrease in levels of chlorine in the Earth’s atmosphere since 2005, proving for the first time that the worldwide action is having a dramatic impact on the planet.

What is ozone layer?

A layer of ozone envelops the Earth and keeps damaging ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from reaching living things on the planet’s surface. The ozone layer exists mainly in the stratosphere, a layer of the atmosphere that reaches from 10 to 50 kilometers (about 6 to 30 miles) above the Earth’s surface.

What is ozone hole?

The ozone hole is a region of depleted layers of ozone above the Antarctic region, whose creation is linked to increased cases of skin cancer.

Factors responsible for the depletion of ozone:

Depletion of ozone is due to many factors, the most dominant of which is the release of chlorine from CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) which destroys the ozone. CFCs are released by products such as hairsprays, old refrigerators etc.

What are CFCs?

Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, are compounds made up of combinations of the elements chlorine, fluorine and carbon; aerosols, refrigerants and foams contain CFCs. When these CFCs enter the air, they rise up into the atmosphere to meet up with and destroy ozone molecules. First used in 1928, CFCs have since become more common as various other CFC compounds were created. Some of the better-known CFCs are the Freon compounds, which were used as cooling ingredients in refrigerators and air conditioners. CFCs have lifetimes from 50 to 100 years.

How CFCs destroy the ozone?

Once in the atmosphere, CFCs drift slowly upward to the stratosphere, where they are broken up by ultraviolet radiation, releasing the chlorine that catalytically destroys ozone. The process is as follows:

UV radiation breaks off a chlorine atom from a CFC molecule.
The chlorine atom attacks an ozone molecule (O3), breaking it apart and destroying the ozone.
The result is an ordinary oxygen molecule (O2) and a chlorine monoxide molecule (ClO).
The chlorine monoxide molecule (ClO) is attacked by a free oxygen atom releasing the chlorine atom and forming an ordinary oxygen molecule (O2).
The chlorine atom is now free to attack and destroy another ozone molecule (O3). One chlorine atom can repeat this destructive cycle thousands of times.
Applications of CFCs:

CFCs have some interesting properties which can be fully exploited; therefore there are plenty of uses for these molecules. CFCs are not flammable; therefore they were used as propellants that would push other molecules out of the aerosol sprays. For the same reason CFCs were used to form foamed plastics. Also low flammability enabled people to use these molecules to dry clean hot electronic components of devices such as air conditioning.


Mankidia denied habitat in Simlipal

Mankidia, one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha, have been denied habitat rights inside the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) under the historic Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, as the State Forest Department has objected on grounds that tribals could be attacked by wild animals, especially tigers.

Definition of Habitat: “‘Habitat’ as defined under Section 2(h) of the FRA (Forest Rights Act) includes the area comprising the customary habitat and such other habitats in reserved forests and protected forests of primitive tribal groups and pre-agricultural communities and other forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes.

Facts for Prelims:

About Mankidia tribe: Mankidia is a marginalised group that critically depends on making rope with siali fibre that’s richly available in Similipal.

About ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)’: PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups. In 1975, the Government of India initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups, while in 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category,making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 Scheduled Tribes, spread over 17 states and one Union Territory(UT), in the country (2011 census). Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).

About Simlipal national park: It is located in Mayurbhanj district in Odisha. It is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve, which includes three protected areas — Similipal Tiger Reserve, Hadgarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary. Simlipal National Park derives its name from the abundance of semul (red silk cotton trees) that bloom here.

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