Post by on Monday, June 6, 2022
June 5 was observed as the World Environment Day and this year the theme of the day was ‘Only One Earth’. The main focus of this day is to create awareness about the adverse impact on environment and the need to preserve it. It is a fact that protection of environment has gained a lot of importance lately at all four levels – the state level, country level, regional level and at international level. From politicians to school kids, every one speaks and writes on the issue. For the rest of the year, however, we don’t hear or see much on the issue. Even if some ‘Save Environment’ campaigns are started, they soon run out of steam. There is a need to move beyond the rhetoric of environmental protection and implement a proper action plan for change. There is a need for proactive and positive agenda for environmental change. The significance of public awareness functions or campaigns cannot be undermined. Even the debates organized at the school or college level are commendable as the youth can act as ‘agents of change’. However, mere awareness does not serve purpose. Implementation of related laws becomes imperative if the environment is to be protected. Unfortunately, the concerned authorities have failed in this regard. The pollution and gradual shrinking of water bodies in the valley has been a cause of concern for Kashmiris. The first priority should be to stem further pollution of the water bodies by taking measures like upgradation of drainage and sewerage system in the catchment areas, removal of encroachments, relocation and rehabilitation of the affected people. In the past, disturbing the environment taught us many lessons in the form of floods and other natural disasters. The damages done by these natural catastrophes exceed the development costs spanning years and even decades. The blindfolded development practiced in the valley should not be the only reason to worry as what future holds for us. Forests have been plundered, agriculture land has been converted to suit residential and commercial interests, encroachments have been given a freehand, and pollution goes unchecked. It is sheer hypocrisy and all claims made as to protect the environment fall flat. Except for academic exercises like symposiums and student essay contests to encourage student activism and awareness – no agency can claim it has been committed to the cause of protecting environment. Educational institutions can play an important role by reinforcing environmentalism among the students. Saving environment needs a collective effort from all the sections of the society. The need of the hour is to strike a balance with our environment and work towards restoration of our ecosystems and other natural resources. We as the responsible citizens should pay attention towards environmental protection; it’s never too late!