Welcoming PM Narendra Modi’s Earth Day tweet hailing the efforts by “all those working to make our planet better”, a group of environmentalists called for making rainwater harvesting a must for all government departments from panchayat to the Parliament and increased transparency in the execution of climate-related policies.
Earth Day will turn out to be a ‘vyarth’ (waste) day with government agencies themselves ignoring the environmental aspects in their race for rapid urbanisation and infrastructure development, NatConnect Foundation said in a fresh missive to the Prime Minister.
The government’s commitment to environmental protection is unfortunately not visible in action, Nandakumar Pawar, director of Sagarshakti said and pointed out that neglect of environmental norms while executing major infrastructure projects can be seen across the country.
Perils of global warming & climate change
Global warming and climate change are discussed only on international platforms, but in actual implementation there is an utter lack of transparency, he said.
The lack of accountability is the biggest victim of the mad race for so-called infrastructure, he said. “We have been raising our voices against the destruction of mangroves, wetlands and hills in the Mumbai Metropolitan region (MMR) and no authority worth its name is bothered to check the ground situation,” Pawar said.
What is worse is that even the forest department’s warning against destruction of wetlands, the migratory and local bird abodes, is not taken seriously by the other wings of the government, Pawar said. The Mangrove Cell wants to conserve at least five wetlands – Belpada, Bhendkhal, Panje, NRI and TS Chanakya – in Navi Mumbai, but CIDCO brushes off the idea stating that these are wetlands, he said.
Despite the Bombay High Court order to handover all mangroves to the forest department, agencies such as JNPA and CIDCO continue to hold the tidal plants with them and ignore their destruction, he said.
As the Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL) obtained the environmental clearance based on misleading claims, the green groups have requested the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) to re-check the ground situation. The MOEFCC, in turn, asked the Maharashtra environment department to look into the complaints and report. “It has been a year since we complained and we still await the report,” Kumar said.
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