Thursday, Jun 12, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
``Development should not be at the cost of environment,'' he said, noting that at least one-third of the original forest area in the State had been usurped by human habitation.
To contain depletion of forests in rural areas, a Rs.500-crore Tamil Nadu Forest Development Programme, involving local people, was being implemented in about 1,000 villages located near forests.
The State was investing about Rs.575.3 crores to check pollution of the Cauvery, Vaigai and Tamaraibarani rivers.
Noting that Chennai alone generated about 3,500 tonnes of garbage daily, the Minister suggested implementation of recycling and waste-to-wealth projects with NGO participation.
The Government would also take up roadside tree plantation in the State capital.
The Director of Environment, S. Balaji, said programmes, rallies, debates and discussions on water conservation had been organised this month in several districts.
(The theme for the World Environment Day, 2003, which fell on June 5, is `Water - Two Billion People are Dying for it'.)
The Transport Minister, R. Viswanathan, while admitting that vehicles were key pollutants, said the Ministry was keen on enforcing Bharat II and current environment norms, especially for public and government vehicles. If necessary, the Government would sanction new engines for its vehicles despite a high cost, he said. Old vehicles would be allowed on roads only after emission tests were done.
Urging students gathered for the programme to protect the environment, the Principal Conservator of Forests, J. C. Kala, warned them against the `not-in-my-backyard' syndrome, ``which started in the West and settled down in India''. ``Ours is the only planet known to support life, but we all are doing things to reduce its life supporting capacity.''
As part of the programme organised by the Department of Environment, a student rally was organised and Environmental Awards were given to 10 NGOs, researchers and institutions for their work in environmental protection, management, awareness campaigns and research. Among the awardees for environmental management was K. M. Chellamuthu of Karunkkalpalayam in Erode district, a farm labourer who suffered sideeffects of working with insecticides. As a result, he started developing and propagating eco-friendly insecticides, which won him the award.
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