Quiz on environment

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on January 12, 2018 Published on June 23, 2017


In keeping with the theme of the issue, this week’s quiz is on the environment

Earth hour

1 Starting with a sitter! In 1989, which continent faced its first man-made environmental disaster caused by an oil spill from an Argentine supply ship named Bahia Paraiso?

2 Which bird is the symbol of the Bombay Natural History Society, inspired by a bird named William of the same species who lived on its premises until 1920?

3 Which conservation organisation started in 1961 was catalysed by the signing of the Morges Manifesto, which pledged support for mercy missions around the world?

4 Which nation in the Americas has the highest biodiversity by unit area worldwide — over 1,900 species of birds, which amounts to 18 per cent of all bird species; 10 per cent of the world mammal species, and 14 per cent of all amphibian species?

5 Billy Arjan Singh was one of India’s foremost conservationists, who also pioneered the reintroduction of big cats into the wild. Which well-known Indian sanctuary did he successfully campaign to start in the ’70s?

6 In 2003, which country’s farmers strongly protested the agricultural emissions tax, which proposed to collect approximately $8.4 million annually to compensate for methane emissions from sheep and cows? The tax was, a shade inaccurately, referred to as the “fart tax”.

7 The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms that devastated the ecology of around 100 million acres of prairie land, mainly in Texas and Oklahoma. Which classic American novel describes the life of a family escaping the dust bowl in the mid-’30s?

8 Once one of the four largest lakes in the world, almost 70,000 sq km in size, this waterbody has been shrinking since the ’60s and has now almost completely dried up — one of the largest environmental disasters of modern times. What was it named?

9 A perennial headache for conservationists, what are ‘ghost nets’?

10 Communist China, under Chairman Mao, started a bewilderingly shortsighted campaign in the ’60s to eliminate four pests — rats, flies, mosquitoes and a specific species of bird. The large-scale elimination of the bird resulted in an increase in locust population, which devastated crops and caused famines that claimed the lives of millions. Which bird did Mao regard as a pest?


1. Antarctica

2. The great hornbill. William was immortalised as a part of the logo in 1933

3. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which was originally World Wildlife Fund

4. Colombia. Brazil has more species, but is around eight times its size.

5. Dudhwa National Park; he was awarded the WWF gold medal for his efforts in 1976

6. New Zealand, where livestock outnumber humans 10:1

7. Grapes of Wrath, which earned both a Pulitzer and a National Book Award for John Steinbeck

8. The Aral Sea, between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. The area is now known as the Aralkum desert

9. These are fishing nets that have been lost or abandoned in the ocean by fishermen. Just off the coast of the US, ghost nets are estimated to trap and kill 11 adult whales annually

10. The sparrow; the campaign was officially known as The Four Pests

Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster and Project Director, FIFA U-17 World Cup; Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

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Published on June 23, 2017
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