World Environment Day is observed on the fifth day of June every year. Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz marked the day by inviting some of the most passionate environmentalists and environment activists to share personal stories of change-making and to highlight the importance of the day.
One of our guests was the coordinator of the Environment Support Group (ESG) – Trust, Leo F Saldanha, who held forth on ‘Environment and the Law.
“There are multiple provisions in the Indian constitution about protecting the environment, but the problem is that most of them have been continuing, with very few changes, since British times. These laws need to be updated to match the times; pollution levels have worsened but the law hasn’t kept up. The implementation of the existing laws has been inadequate too. For eg., the government needs to recognise that grazing grounds for cattle are just as important as forests, but we want to save just the forests. Tribal communities continue to suffer displacement without adequate rehabilitation infrastructure being put in place. Under the strictures of the Forest Rights Act of 2002, anyone harming the environment in any way is deserving of severe punishment. We can, in fact, learn so much from tribal communities – how they cherish nature and live in harmony with other beings.
The BBMP has done impressive work in the city in terms of environmental protection, but while implementing any law, it is imperative that citizens be included. Another concern is big factories buying up big tracts of forest land.
We are currently working to improve the health of people living near the Mavallipura Landfill. This area is subjected to a lot of toxic waste dump which has led to widespread skin diseases and other health problems. The main concern is of highly contaminated water in this area.
I strongly believe that greater environmental protection can come only when most of the citizens are involved in the solution as well. Every day should be Environment Day!”
Written by Shruti Sharada.