Prof.Anish Dua : As a young Nation where environment policies became a law only a few decades ago, we need to follow the national guidelines as sacrosanct or otherwise we shall not be doing justice to the spirit and objectives of such studies.
Hundreds and thousands of crores are spent in carrying out research related to the fields of agriculture, medical-science and environment to address the issues of human welfare and their harmony with the surroundings. In a society, where we react too early and very intensely, we might not even realize that the debates & the public perceptions are driven by the loud-activism more and many stakeholders might not even understand the issue in its complete totality. We have debated various issues in the past and the latest is Yamuna environments where we are talking more on what ideally should be, and less of what is. And in a heated argument, the louder negative opinions do get attention and the scientific assessments/bases are made to follow, as a meek party crying in feeble voice of what is the real- reality of the matter.Apprehensions and cynicism do have their place but that cannot be the main-course of an issue.
We read it in newspapers and electronic media was all focused on how ArtofLiving though its World Culture Festival in March 2016 has affected the river floodplains of Yamuna. Scientific assessments were still pending, and the judgments were pronounced on the national Media. This is ideally a full fledged environmental exercise, that was/is to be done in all its seriousness. Scientific assessments, screening, and the generation of baseline data as per the Environment & Forests Ministry is required to be completed before the conclusions are drawn (both pre-event as well as post event). This cannot be accomplished without proper sampling, and without perusing the historical data. All this, so that we have a genuine starting point when we are discussing it.
Along-with this, the value of ecosystem services & functions need to be known for calculating the correct compensations, if any.
Otherwise an issue can becomea case of subjectivity, biased-intent, and not giving a fair chance to the accused to prove their point.We cannot have a trial, with a judgment in our mind, right at its beginning.
As a Nation, as practitioners of the environmental conservation and as citizens who are directly & indirectly linked through their activities to such predicaments, let us wish that the matters are looked at, understood in complete totality and assessed without bias so that we have examples where sensitivity of the cases is not lost in the rush to reach a conclusion.
*Prof Dua is based in GND University, Amritsar and is engaged in research related to the field of Aquatic biology