By Pandurang Hegde
Since 1972 World Environment Day is celebrated over the world to raise awareness about forests and wider issues of environmental protection. The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Connecting People to ture’. It implores us to get outdoors and into ture, to appreciate its beauty and to take forward the call to protect the Earth that we share.
Over the years the alietion of people from ture is increasing both in urban and rural areas.
The lives of modern person is ever busy and their minds are even more busier. Under such circumstances, it is very important that we reconnect with ture to calm our minds. The green spaces available in the cities, especially trees and parks provide opportunity to reconnect people to ture.
In order to reconnect with ture, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has launched tiol Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC) at tiol level. Under this programme fincial assistance is given to NGOs, educatiol institutions, women and youth organisations for conducting awareness programmes on environmental issues . About 12000 organisations are involved in conducting some action programmes related to ture protection and solving environmental problems.
Traditiolly the pilgrimage centres are mainly located in the tural surroundings, especially in the mountains or banks of the rivers. The Char Dham Yatra in Himalayas is an excellent living example of how our culture provided opportunity to people across the country to enjoy the beauty of ture with reverence to the trees, rivers and mountains. The bridle path that started from the banks of Ganga river in Rishikesh lead the people to the origins of Yamu and Ganga rivers, that are the holy pilgrimage sites visited by millions of people.
Pilgrimage routes to Amarth caves in Jammu and Kashmir, and to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibetan plateau in Chi are also places of extraordiry tural beauty that has deep spiritual value to common man. These pilgrimage routes are one of the main ways to reconnect with ture and reflect on the interconnectedness between man, ture and spirituality.
Similarly the rmada Parikrama is another traditiol pilgrimage route on which people walk along the banks of rmada river and learn to appreciate the beauty of the river and the tural surroundings.
The existence of 166 tiol Parks and 515 wild life sanctuaries consisting of 2 percent of the total geographical areas of the country provides excellent opportunity for common people to enjoy and reconnect to the ture, wild life and the green space of the country.
In order to create awareness about ture conservation the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation has initiated steps towards promoting greenery in public spaces in cities and reducing waste generation of all kinds. The craze of paving the roads and open spaces with asphalt and cement in urban areas has alieted younger generation form ture. Felling old trees to broaden the roads, and allowing more space to vehicles than for those who walk or cycle leads to further alietion of urban citizen. Urban ecology can me maintained with active participation of all the stakeholders and involvement of the community.
Reconnecting with ture helps to reduce the modern day stress and brings harmony in the lives of individuals and the community. The greenery not only reduces the noise and sound pollution but it also helps to reduce the temperature, adding in mitigating climate change.
The Government of India is launching a massive waste magement campaign in 4000 cities across the country on World Environment Day . Under this campaign waste bins of blue and green colours would be distributed in these cities along with the awareness drive to educate common people to adopt a life-style that inculcates the culture of cleanliness.
“I have a firm belief that we will develop a culture and the new steps that we take towards achieving cleanliness will continue. Only then will we achieve the dream of Gandhiji, achieve the kind of cleanliness that he had dreamt of,” Prime Minister Modi said in his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’.
The government is aiming to change the attitude of people to segregate waste at its origin, dry and wet waste and to treat them accordingly. This will be the basis for cleaning up the cities that will be more ture friendly and provide the basic hygienic conditions for living. This is the logical follow up of the Swatch Bharat Abhiyaan(SBA) under which there is need to address the issue of waste generated in urban areas is creating mountains of waste that has adversely impacted the ground water and the quality of the air around the waste dumps. This is a challenging task as there is need to change the habits of people, in which they become the agents of change from each family by performing the duty or dharma of segregation of waste. (PIB)