Union ministry should monitor implementation of environmental laws at local level: NGOs - Hindustan Times
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Union ministry should monitor implementation of environmental laws at local level: NGOs

Jan 20, 2024 06:02 AM IST

Representatives from around 50 NGOs gathered on Friday, at Vanrai organisation’s office for the ‘Pune NGO Meet’ programme

There are various laws to protect the environment, however, there are a few loopholes in the acts and the implementation is another major problem, especially at the local level i.e. city or district level. Therefore, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) should monitor the implementation of existing environmental laws at the local level as well, said green activists.

There are laws to protect our rivers, however, those laws are not implemented properly at the local level, said green activists. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
There are laws to protect our rivers, however, those laws are not implemented properly at the local level, said green activists. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Currently, forest department is looking at issues related to forest, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) after air and water pollution issues, and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) after river conservation and other environmental issues.

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Representatives from around 50 NGOs gathered on Friday, at Vanrai organisation’s office for the ‘Pune NGO Meet’ programme.

Ashwini Kunar Chaubey, minister of state, MOEFCC was unable to attend the meeting because of health issues.

Ravindra Dhariya, president, Vanrai organisation, said, “Rivers, not just in Pune but in the entire state are in terrible condition. Other water sources like water streams and lakes are also facing various issues like pollution, debris and waste dumping, encroachment, etc. There are laws to protect our rivers, however, those laws are not implemented properly at the local level.”

“Moreover, the ministry has brought the Forest Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2023 (FCAA) to protect the forest cover, however, rules like the tri-party agreement for tree plantation, fencing of forest lands, and various government scheme implementation for the farmers living near the forest areas need to be modified to some extent,” he said.

Narayan Hegade, trustee, BIAF organisation, said, “ Although the environment is a state subject, there are some issues that the MOEFCC should look into and one such issue is traffic jams in metro cities. Almost all the metro cities in India are facing serious traffic issues. The traffic jams not only cause inconvenience to the people living in those cities but contribute significantly to air pollution. Therefore the ministry should intervene and monitor the traffic issues in metro cities.”

Sachin Punekar, founder of Biosphere, said, “Biological invasion is a major challenge for our environment. Many invasive species have become a threat to local biodiversity hence impacting the ecology of various areas. Earlier the National Biodiversity Authority has a separate committee for dealing with this biological invasion issue. However, for the last three years, the committee has not functioning.”

“I urge the minister to reconstitute this committee not just at the central but also at state and district levels. It will give a boost to the movement for removing invasive species from the forest as well as non-forest lands,” he said.

“Environment education and awareness is a crucial element. Hence it is necessary to form guidelines for educational institutions both schools and colleges regarding environmental education and project implementation,” said Anushka Kajbaje, representative from Conservation Education & Research Institute.

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