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Geography Civil Services Paper 2 Section- A, Questions 1,2_ Solutions

(b)Why has extreme particulate pollution remained a festering issue in Delhi NCR region ?

Extreme particulate pollution has remained a festering issue in the Delhi NCR region due to a combination of factors, including:

Vehicular Emissions: Delhi NCR region has a high number of vehicles on the roads, including cars, buses, and trucks, which are major source of pollution. Diesel vehicles, in particular, are major contributors to particulate pollution.

Industrial Emissions: The region has a large number of industries that emit particulate matter, including power plants, brick kilns, and factories. Many of these industries are located in densely populated areas, contributing to air pollution.

Agricultural Residue Burning: The burning of agricultural residue in nearby states during the winter months is a major contributor to Delhi's air pollution. The smoke from these fires carries particulate matter and other pollutants into the city.

Dust: Dust from construction sites, unpaved roads, and open areas is a significant source of particulate pollution in the region.

Weather Conditions: Delhi's weather conditions, including low wind speeds and high humidity during the winter months, exacerbate the accumulation of particulate matter in the air.

Lack of Enforcement: There is often a lack of enforcement of environmental regulations, including those related to air pollution, which allows polluting activities to continue unchecked.

Lack of Awareness: Many people in the region are not aware of the health hazards associated with particulate pollution, and therefore, do not take steps to reduce their exposure.

Addressing particulate pollution in Delhi NCR region will require a multifaceted approach that includes reducing vehicular emissions, controlling industrial emissions, reducing agricultural residue burning, controlling dust, enforcing environmental regulations, and raising awareness among the public about the health hazards associated with particulate pollution.

(c)How do the physiography and climate of India explain the biological diversity of the country ?

The physiography and climate of India play a significant role in explaining the biological diversity of the country. India's diverse topography and varied climatic conditions have created different types of habitats that support a wide range of plant and animal species.

Physiography refers to the physical features of the land, including its terrain, elevation, and geological structure. India's physiography is highly diverse, ranging from high mountain ranges in the north to tropical forests in the south. The country is home to several major biomes, including deserts, grasslands, tropical rainforests, and alpine ecosystems. This wide range of habitats has contributed to the evolution and survival of a vast array of plant and animal species.

Climate is another crucial factor in explaining the biological diversity of India. The country has a tropical climate with distinct seasonal variations. The monsoon season brings heavy rainfall, which is essential for the growth of many plant species. The hot and humid climate of the country's coastal regions supports the growth of mangroves and other water-dependent species. The cooler mountainous regions of India are home to a variety of alpine flora and fauna.

The combination of India's varied physiography and climate has created a vast range of microhabitats that support a diverse array of species. This biological diversity includes more than 90,000 plant species and over 100,000 animal species, making India one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. The country's diverse biological resources also provide a range of ecosystem services, including soil conservation, carbon sequestration, and watershed protection.

d. The process of desertification. leads to soil desiccation and soil loss. Explain.

Yes, that is correct. Desertification is a process that involves the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas, leading to the conversion of productive land into non-productive desert-like landscapes. This process is often caused by natural factors such as drought and climate change, but it is also accelerated by human activities such as overgrazing, deforestation, and poor land management practices.

One of the major consequences of desertification is soil desiccation, which is the drying out of soil due to a lack of water. As vegetation cover decreases in a degraded landscape, the soil is exposed to the sun, and the moisture content in the soil decreases. This can lead to soil desiccation, which makes it difficult for plants to grow and can result in the loss of important soil nutrients.

Another consequence of desertification is soil loss. As the vegetation cover decreases, the top layer of soil becomes more vulnerable to erosion by wind and water. The loss of soil can lead to decreased soil fertility and productivity, which can make it difficult for farmers to grow crops and sustain their livelihoods. Additionally, the erosion of soil can lead to sedimentation in rivers and other water bodies, causing problems such as flooding and water pollution.

Overall, desertification is a significant environmental problem that can have serious consequences for soil health and productivity, as well as for the livelihoods of people who depend on the land for their sustenance. Addressing desertification requires a combination of measures, including sustainable land management practices, reforestation, and the restoration of degraded ecosystems.

Q2. (a) Critically examine the factors affecting the unpredictability of the South-West Monsoon system in India.

The South-West Monsoon (SWM) is a crucial weather system that determines the agricultural output and water availability in India. However, its performance is often unpredictable, causing droughts or floods in different regions of the country. Several factors contribute to this unpredictability, which I will examine below.

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events: ENSO is a complex climatic phenomenon that affects weather patterns across the globe. During El Niño events, the sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean rise, leading to reduced rainfall in India. Conversely, during La Niña events, sea surface temperatures in the same region decrease, leading to above-average rainfall in India. The timing and intensity of these events can affect the SWM's performance, making it unpredictable.

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events: IOD is another climate phenomenon that affects the SWM. During a positive IOD event, the western Indian Ocean becomes warmer than the eastern Indian Ocean, leading to above-average rainfall in India. Conversely, during a negative IOD event, the opposite occurs, leading to below-average rainfall. The timing and intensity of these events can also affect the SWM's performance.

Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) events: AO and NAO are climate phenomena that affect the weather in the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe and North America. However, they can also indirectly affect the SWM's performance by altering the wind patterns and moisture content over India. The timing and intensity of these events can make the SWM's performance unpredictable.

Land surface conditions: The land surface conditions in India, such as soil moisture, vegetation cover, and land use change, can also affect the SWM's performance. For example, deforestation and urbanization can alter the local weather patterns, making it difficult to predict the SWM's behavior in these regions.

Global warming: Climate change has altered the global weather patterns, making the SWM more unpredictable. The warming of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea has increased the intensity of rainfall in some regions while reducing it in others, leading to unpredictable weather patterns.

In conclusion, the unpredictability of the SWM in India is influenced by a range of factors, including ENSO, IOD, AO, and NAO events, land surface conditions, and global warming. Understanding and predicting the behavior of the SWM is essential for the agricultural sector and water management in India, and efforts must be made to improve forecasting capabilities and adaptive measures.

b. The peninsular location of India provides scope for harnessing non-conventional energy resources. Discuss with examples.

India's peninsular location, with a long coastline stretching over 7,500 km, provides ample opportunities for harnessing non-conventional or renewable energy resources. Some of the non-conventional energy resources that can be harnessed in India's peninsular region are:

Wind energy: The peninsular region of India, especially the western coast, is known for its high wind speeds, making it an ideal location for wind energy projects. Several wind farms are already operational in the region, and more are being planned. For example, the Muppandal wind farm in Tamil Nadu is one of the largest in Asia, generating over 1,500 MW of power.

Solar energy: India has abundant sunlight throughout the year, and the peninsular region is no exception. Solar energy can be harnessed through the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and solar thermal power plants. The Kamuthi Solar Power Project in Tamil Nadu, with a capacity of 648 MW, is currently the largest solar power plant in the world.

Hydro energy: The peninsular region of India has several rivers and water bodies that can be harnessed for hydroelectric power generation. The Koyna Hydroelectric Project in Maharashtra, with a capacity of 1,960 MW, is one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in India.

Biomass energy: Biomass, such as agricultural waste and animal dung, can be used to generate biogas and biofuels. The peninsular region of India has a significant agricultural sector, and the generation of biomass energy can help in waste management while also contributing to renewable energy production.

Geothermal energy: The peninsular region of India has several geothermal hotspots that can be used for the generation of geothermal energy. For example, the Puga geothermal field in Ladakh has been identified as a potential location for geothermal power generation.

In conclusion, India's peninsular location provides ample opportunities for the harnessing of non-conventional energy resources, including wind energy, solar energy, hydro energy, biomass energy, and geothermal energy. The development of these renewable energy resources can help in meeting the country's growing energy demand while reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable development.

c. Groundwater contamination in the fast expanding urban landscape of India appears to have become a major public health issue. Discuss.

Groundwater contamination has indeed become a significant public health issue in India, especially in the rapidly expanding urban landscape. India is the world's second-most populous country, and with rapid urbanization, the pressure on natural resources, including groundwater, has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, groundwater contamination is widespread, and the situation is getting worse day by day.

Several factors contribute to groundwater contamination in urban areas in India. One of the most significant factors is the improper disposal of solid and liquid waste, including industrial waste, which seeps into the groundwater and pollutes it. The lack of proper sewage treatment facilities is another major contributor to groundwater pollution. A vast majority of India's urban areas do not have adequate wastewater treatment facilities, and untreated sewage is dumped into open drains, which eventually find their way into the groundwater.

Additionally, overuse and depletion of groundwater resources also exacerbate the contamination issue. As the population continues to grow, the demand for water increases, and people resort to drilling deeper and deeper wells. This practice, coupled with inadequate regulatory mechanisms, often results in groundwater exploitation and contamination.

The impact of groundwater contamination on public health is alarming. Contaminated groundwater can cause a range of illnesses, from gastrointestinal infections to cancer. It can also lead to long-term health issues such as kidney damage and neurological disorders. The most vulnerable to groundwater contamination are children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

In conclusion, groundwater contamination is a severe public health issue in India's fast-expanding urban landscape. The problem is complex, and addressing it requires significant efforts from both the government and citizens. Effective measures such as proper disposal of waste, improved sewage treatment facilities, and sustainable groundwater management policies can go a long way in addressing this issue and protecting public health.

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