June 5 is “world environment day” and it is celebrated to create awareness of environmental issues. Kerala celebrated this day by planting couple of trees in schools and organizing meetings across the state. Some also think that having a counting of Trees would help in protecting the environment. Unfortunately many of the suggestions put forward by environmentalists are impractical and without any regard to economic and social situation of our country and state. What I think is that we need to be pragmatic in environmental protection. Here are some practical ways of protecting our environment,
Improve public transport- For example consider Trivandrum city. If there is good and comfortable public transport, a lot of people will abandon cars/bikes and would take the public transport. Unfortunately, forget about comfortable travel, if you are a female, you will be harassed in KSRTC buses in the city. The problem is the overcrowding of buses. Government won’t allow private buses to operate, they won’t increase bus schedules or plan about metro rail in the near future. Same applies for road infrastructure. There is a lot of resistance against widening a road to a two lane road in the city (from enviornmentalists, business interests etc.). There are many trees in Trivandrum city standing almost in the middle of the road since some idiots oppose removal of them.Whenever a road is widened government could take enough land on both sides to plant trees as well. For every tree that is removed, two can be planted. In fact I am ready to pay a tax for it, if they are ready to acquire enough land on both sides of the road.
Waste collection & management- Except in city areas, there is no mechanism for waste collection/disposal. In trivandrum city, corporation runs a good waste collection group which charges just Rs.30 per month. This should be extended to other cities. Also there should be large collection bins across the city. Lack of these waste collection bins forces people to dump waste on the road during night or throw it on a river or lake during night.
Deforestation- The main reason for deforestation is the interference of humans in many ways such as firewood collection,cattle feeding, fire,illicit felling ,encroachment etc.... Now a days the participatory forest management program me is more helpful in forest management and forest protection.
Limiting the use of plastic – Many environmentalists behave as if plastic is the worst thing invented by humans. In fact it is one of the most useful things that we have invented. However uncontrolled use of plastic is a problem. For example, in retail shops there is no need to use lightweight plastic bags and could be replaced by cloth bags. Now a days more of the retail chains is giving out cloth bags for Rs. 1 per bag and it is a good idea. Whenever people adopt such good practises, government, media and other organizations should encourage it. But if someone says we should ban plastic buckets, I would call him an idiot.
Protection of waterways – This is one of the most important thing and is overlooked a lot. The pollution of rivers is one of the most serious problems we face. Discharge of untreated waste into river is one problem. Another is the direct plumbing of sewage to the rivers. Both should be banned. Unfortunately widespread corruption means you cannot do anything until you address the corruption problem.
But this should never prevent us implementing hydroelectric power plants. The alternatives in this case such as thermal plants or nuclear power plants is never a comparable solution. Whatever power conservation we do, our power requirements are going to double in the near future. If we don’t adopt the cheapest and most nature friendly solution (hydroelectric plants) we are doomed. Another interesting aspect is that a power plant and its associated administrative setup is quite useful in fighting corruption in forest department. For example, take the Idukky power project. After the commissioning of Moolamattom powerhouse, conservation of the forest around it has been successful.
Pesticides- Pesticides is the biggest threat to both environment and health of the people. Uncontrolled use of it is causing both direct damage and also slow poisoning of the population. There needs to be a concerted effort to limit the use of pesticides and promote traditional/organic ways of controlling pests. Unfortunately this is an area where environmentalists are a complete failure. Instead of blocking progress and development activities they should focus on things like pesticide control. You are able to stop railway lines and hydro electric plants but why can’t you stop pesticide abuse or the new phenomenon of genetically modified foods? Why are you going after coca-cola which contains 0.001% of pesticides while the drinking water supplied by government probably contains 1000 times more pesticide?
Awareness Programmes - Now in Kerala more awareness programmes are conducted by NGOs for the sake of our Environment.We MA PRITHVI is one of the leading group to conduct awareness about nature through out the year.Now in Kerala there is a common platform for the Nature Lovers in the name of GREEN COMMUNITY.All these efforts in the 50th ANNIVERSARY YEAR OF THE BOOK "THE SILENT SPRING" WRITTEN BY RAICHEL CARSON shows that Kerala has a good future in Nature Conservation.
Thankfully we don’t need to worry about large scale pollution from industries. Our comrades have ensured that no industry can run in Kerala for a long time!
Send a sms JOIN MAPRITHVI to 9219592195 and be the part of Nature Conservation !!!