Press on Environment and Wildlife
Police force to go to the classroom to learn animal welfare laws in Madhya Pradesh (August Week 1 (2005)) Whipping domestic animals to hasten their pace is used commonly by people without realizing that it is illegal and can land the owner behind bars. But it is not just the defaulters who to be blamed for the ignorance. Laws made for animal rights have been gathering dust since 1960, mainly because the law enforcers and the public are unaware of it, mostly due to lack of frequency in reported cases. A local NGO in Madhya Pradesh has now taken it upon itself to sensitize the police force. Because awareness of the existing laws has not yet reached police stations, Animal and Environment Care Organization (AECO) has decided to hold camps to sensitize the police force. The Animal Welfare Board of India, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, had passed laws for 'Checking Overloading of Draught and Pack Animals'. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) was enacted in 1960. This refers to animals used for drawing vehicles and includes buffaloes, cows, horses, mule, camels and donkeys. The laws prohibit poking or confining the animal and using it for more than five hours a day at a stretch. It also prohibits use of an animal when the temperature exceeds 37 Degree Celsius between 12 noon and 3 pm. "We are planning to sensitize the police on this issue. We will be holding camps and informing about 'pet respect' programmes. We are not relying on the animal welfare board and Madhya Pradesh has been a neglected State when animal rights are concerned," Mr. Punit Tripathi, associated with AECO said (The Pioneer, July 25th). AECO, which was recently recognized by the UK-based World Society for Protection for Animals (WSPA) is planning to start the project in another three months
World’s first eco-friendly magazine (August Week 1 (2005)) Housing and Environment Minister, Jayant Malaiyya in Bhopal recently released a women based magazine at a function. The magazine, edited by Ms. Meera Singh is the first magazine of the world which is published on Eco Friendly Hand Made Paper. The first issue of the magazine has covered the Domestic Violence Bill in a very simple language. Ms Meera Singh said that this magazine would cover all the issues related to the women's problems. Speaking over the handmade paper, she said that the distinctive character of the paper is that there is no pollution while manufacturing it and this paper is made from the waste pieces of cloths. The paper is very expensive and off beat so the magazine cannot be published on multi colors and there is only black or brown color. Minister Jayant Malaiyya appreciated the efforts of Ms Meera Singh and said that there was the need of such magazines which cover the women's issues prominently. On this occasion, Padamshri Dr Bashir Badr and Ms Mehrunissa Pervez were prominently present. These literary personalities also lauded the efforts of Ms Meera Singh in endeavoring to bring out such a magazine.
Supreme Court asks Cochin Port Authorities to stick to hazardous waste rules (August Week 1 (2005)) The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on Hazardous Wastes in Kochi has directed the Cochin Port to ensure that all consignments listed under seven categories, including paper wastes and furnace oil, should be returned to the country of export if found violating Hazardous Wastes (HW) rules. The SCMC had given a similar directive to the Kandla Port earlier. Cochin Port and Customs authorities will now have to ensure that all consignment listed under the categories such as paper wastes, furnace oil, waste oil/used oil, low Sulphur waxy residue, non-ferrous metal scrap in any form, plastic scrap and wax in drums should be inspected within a week of arrival. These consignments should be returned to the country of export within one month of arrival if found violating HW rules. This recommendation has been included in the final report of the SCMC on the hazardous wastes scenario in Kerala. The latest recommendation has been issued as a follow-up of the Committee visit to Kochi port on May 10. Members of the Committee had visited the Kochi port and held discussions with the port authorities and officers from Customs. The visit was to ensure that slop oil from ships under the Marpol commitments was being unloaded and sent for processing as per the Hazardous Wastes Rules and also to monitor the import of any other hazardous wastes through the port. The Committee observed that the transport manifest system under the Hazardous Waste Rules was not being followed as required. The port authorities have now assured the Committee that they would maintain the manifest system henceforth to ensure that a proper record was always available on the quantities of such oil offloaded through the port. Hope they keep their word.
An innovative protest by Greenpeace activists! (August Week 1 (2005)) The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) was given a whiff of the noxious chemicals that affected the health of people living in Patancheru when Greenpeace activists dumped bucket-loads of toxic sludge at the main entrance of Paryavaran Bhavan, its head office in Sanatnagar, last week. Thirty activists descended on the office, located a stone's throw away from the Sanatnagar police station, in a mini van. Even before private security guards posted outside could react, they poured on the doorstep buckets full of foul-smelling sludge collected from Asanikunta Lake. It was Greenpeace's way of protest to expose the APPCB's alleged inability in dealing with pollution crisis in the area. A banner demanding that the board "protect our lives, not the polluters" was unfurled. High drama prevailed for some time as activists asked the Member-Secretary, S.K. Sinha, to come out to address them. Greenpeace Toxics campaigner Bidhan Chandra Singh said (The Hindu, July 28th) the sludge was symbolic of "the chemical crisis engineered by the board's complicity with polluting industries in Medak district." He said for over 20 years polluting industries were being allowed to discharge toxic effluents directly into lakes and rivers, rendering drinking water sources unsafe. A Greenpeace study showed an overwhelming spurt in systemic diseases in people. The Sanatnagar police tried in vain to convince the activists to call off their protest, but they insisted that Mr. Sinha come out. However, the member-secretary refused to come out and instead agreed to meet a delegation in his chambers. Well, the Greenpeace activists must have made a strong impact, but whether any impact full action will be taken by the APPCB, that remains to be seen.
Rhino Task Force in Assam (August Week 1 (2005)) Considering threats from large-scale natural disasters and epidemics that could wipe out the entire population of the animal species from the state, the government of Assam has finally constituted a task force on rhino translocations. This will come as a major step towards securing the long-term future of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros. The body will work towards in creasing the population of rhinos in Assam from the existing 1,900 to 3,000 distributed across six of its protected areas over a period of 15 years. It has identified Manas National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Laokhowa-Burhachapori-Kochmara complex as places where the rhinos can be translocated from Kaziranga National park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Chaired by the chief wildlife warden of Assam, M C Kalakar, the task force will be a collaborative endeavor of the Assam forest department in partnership with the World Wide Fund (WWF) for nature- India and the International Rhino Foundation. The objective is to translocation a nucleus population of the prioritized target protected areas. Said Malakar (Times of India, July 29th), “The translocation will be done as per protocols following international standards. Before the translocation the field staff and required technical personnel in Assam will be trained through a number of work shops. The first one of these work shop will be held in Pobitora in November.” Interestingly, Assam has over 70% of the world’s one-horned rhino population bulk of which is concentrated in the Kaziranga National Park. “While Kaziranga and Pobitora have seen a rise in the annual growth of rhinos (5% and 12% respectively) places like Manas National Park which were once home to a large number of rhino has none of them left now. So the need was felt to create a viable population of rhinos across its range in Assam “said Delhi zoo director B S Bonal who is also a member of the task force.
Plastic ban in Punjab (August Week 1 (2005)) Following the example of Himachal Pradesh, the Punjab Government has decided to ban the use of all types of plastic bags in the state. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Council of Ministers presided over by the Chief Minister, Capt. Amarinder Singh, in Chandigarh last week. The Chief Minister said (The Tribune, July 28th) that the ban would come into force after six months. During this period traders could switch over to paper bags. There would be strict enforcement of the ban, he added. The ban was needed in view the adverse environmental and health implications, including the death of cattle in the state. The Council of Ministers also gave its approval to the draft of the Punjab Plastic Carry Bags (Manufacture, Usage and Disposal) Control Bill, 2005.The ban on plastics was working well in Himachal and Uttaranchal. There was no reason why it was not possible to enforce it here, Capt Amarinder Singh said, adding that penalties and other punishments for violating the ban would be declared in the official notification soon.
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