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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Plastic greets NGOs at State environment meet

Representative appalled at being handed out bouquets wrapped in plastic and files made of the non-biodegradable material at meet organised by State Environment Department; want saplings to replace flowers from next meet

 The State Environment Department obviously doesn't practise what it preaches about plastic. At a workshop organised by it on Tuesday to discuss ways to tackle problems faced by Mumbaikars, delegates from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were appalled to see information kits meant for them in plastic folders and VIPs being given bouquets wrapped in plastic and foam. 

    Satish Thakare, national coordinator of the NGO Nature Preservation, raised the issue during lunch hour, but Valsa Nair, secretary of the Environment Department, had no explanation. Kishor Dhariya, president of Hirval Pratishthan, also objected to the plastic folders and bouquet wraps. 
    However, by the end of the seminar, Nair assured that henceforth, saplings would be distributed instead of bouquets. She said the government will be advised to use recycled paper for letterheads and visiting cards and to install CFL bulbs to save power in all its offices. "We are also requesting the government not to burst fire-crackers at any of its functions," Nair added. 

    Environment Minister Suresh Shetty said, "We are also going to request the government to ask ministers not to use sirens while travelling on city roads, unless it is an emergency, to cut noise 
    M N Chaini, president of the Indian Merchants Chamber, said, "If people in the in
dustry come up with innovations that help save the environment, the government should reward them." 
At least 60 NGOs took part in the seminar, held at Sahyadri guest house. 
Prashant Shinde, chief of Drushti Vidnyan Kendra, said, "The government should take the help of Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act to make the Sewri creek environment conducive for migratory birds every winter." 
Anand, an environmental activist from Worli, wanted the government to appoint celebrity ambassadors like Aamir Khan or Amitabh Bachchan to create awareness about using cotton bags instead of plastic ones. 
Debi Goenka of the Bombay Environmental Action Group demanded that the government take 
strict action against people who recently attacked 
Citispace activist Nayana Kathpalia, and provide protection to NGO workers. 

"The government should take serious cognisance of bio-terrorism and make proper arrangements for this," said Balasaheb Pisat, member of Punebased NGO, Ranjai. The Environment Minister promised that all the NGOs' suggestions would be considered while creating the proposed Vision document on environmental issues. 

To create awareness about the environment and climate change among students, the Environment Department plans to join hands with the National Service Scheme (NSS) in state colleges. It will start an 'Environmental Service Scheme' for students to work for the environment and plant trees. 
    "Along with this, the government will also constitute a district environment committee in every district, under the chairmanship of the Collector. It will have power to take immediate action at the local level for complaints against environmental degradation. It will also act as a monitoring committee for proper implementation of different government schemes,"Environment Minister Suresh Shetty said .

Satish Thakare – who won an award for his innovative eco-friendly visiting cards – asked the government to make provisions in the budget for NGO work and stop using plastic visiting cards.

Anandi Thakoor, chairman of H-west Ward Citizen's Trust, said, "All ministers should cycle or walk to the Mantralaya."

Sumaira Abdulali, president of Awaz Foundation, advocated bringing in expert technicians from outside the state or country for noise-mapping and scientific study of noise pollution.

Kishor Dhariya, who raised objection to the plastic folders and bouquet wraps

Environment Minister Suresh Shetty was against the use of sirens by ministers in city


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