5 june :Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India said we should focus our thoughts on keeping the planet safe from degradation. On the occasion of World Environment Day today and the presentation of the Indira Gandhi Prayavaran Puraskar Smt. Patil said every member of our society will have to contribute to the task of conservation of nature and environment and make this people’s movement in which local bodies, civil societies and NGOs can participate.
The President said though the generation of Green House Gases in India is vastly different and far poor than that of developing countries, as a responsible member of the world community, India gives high leveled and focused attention to climate change. The President said the harshest impact is being felt by the poorest in the world who have had hardly any share in causing this problem. Global discussions on climate change must, therefore, bear in mind that the process of burden sharing should be fair and in line with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.
Referring to this year’s World Environment Day slogan, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil expressed the hope that new and advanced technologies will play a key role in achieving the objective of picking right choice to reduce carbon emission. Developing countries naturally expect a robust arrangement for the transfer of technology and financial support from developed countries, she added. Governments as well as academic institutions and corporate bodies must step up research work and also develop joint research programmes across nations for meeting the challenge of sustainable development including climate change across the globe. Earlier the President congratulated Dr. Kamal Singh, Vice Chancellor of Sant Gadge Baba Amrawati University of Maharashtra, Shri Jagadish Babla of Uttaranchal and Dr. Amrita Patel of Gujarat, who were selected for the Indira Gandhi Paryavaran Puraskar for their contribution in protecting and conserving our environment. She also conveyed her good wishes to Ms. Shefalika, the Young Environmentalist of the year.
The Sant Gadge Baba Amrawati University, Maharashtra was established on 1st May 1983 with the objective to provide excellent quality of higher education & learning to the students of five districts of Vidarbha. The University has taken extensive afforestation programmes since 1986. This includes Avenue plantation, Agro forestry, Farm forestry, Timber, Fodder, Medicinal plants as well as beautifying parks & gardens with land scaping.
The afforestation programme of the University covers an area of 285.66 ha. in which six lakh plants in and around Amarawati District have been planted. The University is also working on soil conservation, vermi-composting and rainwater harvesting projects. An extremely significant achievement of the University is the establishment of active National Service Scheme in 192 units in University affiliated colleges who creates awareness for conservation of nature and tree plantation.
Mr. Jagdish Babla has planted about 3,20,000 trees with the help of children and youth in Dehradun District’s hilly waste land since last three decades in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand. He also created a dense forest in 27 acres of land in Dhoran village valley during 1984 -1988. Mr. Babla has organized camps in villages, padyatras involving children and youth, seminars, workshops, kavi sammelans and other cultural programmes and has also published various articles for creating environmental awareness among the common people.
Dr. Amrita Patel set up the National Tree Growers Co-operative Federation in 1988. She was also instrumental in setting up of the Foundation for Ecological Security in 2001. The Foundation for Ecological Security has grown to secure the co-operation of 992 villages across seven states, situated in nine locations and spread across five different agro-ecosystems in a period of five years. Altogether about 75,200 hectares of revenue wastelands and forestlands have been brought under ecologically enlightened community governance and about 33,000 hectares brought under improved vegetative cover.
Under her guidance the National Tree Growers Co-operative Federation progressed from a pilot project to an organization working in seven states on regenerating thousands of hectares of the degraded revenue wastelands through village based Tree Growers Cooperative Societies. Dr. Patel has initiated a pilot project under which three milk unions in the State of Karnataka set up rainwater harvesting structures in their milk processing plants in order to conserve rainwater to meet their potable water requirements. She has also done work on energy conservation, environment education and watershed development.
These awardees received a silver trophy, a citation and Rs.5 lakhs, Rs. 3 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs respectively.
The President also launched the Environment Ambassador Campaign today. Two books titled ‘Animal Discoveries 2007 – New Species and New Records’ and ‘Plant Discoveries 2007 – New Species, Varieties and New Records’ were released by the Ministers of State and were presented to the President. Smt. Patil conferred Young Environmentalist Award on the 30th Foundation Day of National Museum of Natural History to Ms. Shefalika studying in class IX in Convent of Jesus & Mary, New Delhi. This award is given to the best participant of the ‘Explore the Environment Group’ (class VIII, IX, X & XI) showing keen interest in the educational sessions and the contests held during the Summer Programme, 2008. She won first prize in the Declamation Contest held on 28th May, 2008. The topic of the Declamation Contest was “To Save the Species from Extinction, join hands for their protection”.
Shri Namo Narain Meena, Minister of State for Environment and Forests in his address said that World Environment Day is one of the main events through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhanced public attention and action. This year’s theme makes us recognize that climate change is becoming a crucial issue, and needs our immediate action. Shri Meena said that consumptive lifestyle is severe pressure on biological resources. Each of us has to become a savior of a destroyer of the environment.
Shri S. Regupathy, Minister of State for Environment and Forests addressed the gathering and said that the World Environment Day provides us an opportunity every year to reaffirm our commitments to work towards the sustainable conservation of environment. Shri Regupathy added that right choice of optimal use of biodiversity resources can reduce the impacts of climate change on population and ecosystems.
Later, Shri Namo Narain Meena and Shri S. Regupathy, Ministers of State for Environment & Forests gave away prizes to the winners of various competitions organized by National Museum of Natural History for students. The competitions were organized in Group I- Model Nature & Environment (Age Group 9-12 years), Group II – Paint Nature & Environment (Age Group 9-12 years), Quiz contest and For Senior Group (Explore Nature & Environment). NMNH also organized the Summer Programme Explore Nature and Environment in which 40 students participated.
A Directory of Environmental NGOs, NMNH Folder, Poster and Environment Booklet were also released today.