Press on Environment and Wildlife
Sharks as a source of recreation to maintain ecological balance in the Andaman Sea (August Week 1 (2005)) Despite objections from various NGOs, scientists favor shark fishing in Andaman Sea, saying cap on shark population is necessary. '' If there is no check on shark population, in the long run shark population will increase and others will decrease due to over predation, ''said Dr P Paul Pandian, senior scientist and Incharge of Andaman’s fisheries survey of India (FSI) unit (The Central Chronicle, July 25th). Dr Padian said unbridled shark population could bring drastic change in ecosystem and therefore there was no harm in fishing shark in a controlled manner. The MoEF Mortification, dated July 11, 2001, brought protection to species such as sharks, sea cucumbers, sea horses, sponges and corals, when it placed all sharks on schedule I of the wildlife (protection) act, 1972 making their killing illegal. The ban was later partially lifted in order to allow small-scale, traditional shark fisheries to operate at Subsistence levels. On October 2002, the Andaman Nicobar granted License for fishing sharks and rays in the Andaman water. Some endangered species of sharks are also found in Andaman water and the fisheries survey of India is organizing a series of campaigns for fishermen to teach the latter which shark species are to be caught. '' We have posters of those shark species, which are banned for fishing and we are giving huge publicity to spread awareness, '' the senior scientists of FSI said. Environmental lobbies active in Andaman feel the same that shark can earn good money for us, but, in other way round without killing them. '' Few small countries of south Asia have set an example of earning money from sharks without disturbing them in anyway, '' said Subhasis Ray, general secretary of HELP, an NGO of Andaman’s (healthy environment by less pollution). Ray said in those countries they have evolved a Tourist package called ''shark watching'' in a countries like Maldives this ''shark watching'' attract tremendous Tourist, thus a living shark earns good amount of money than a dead one, some times even double than that. '' This kind of practices should be promoted in Andaman to earn good revenue to attract more tourists, without harming the fragile ecology of Andaman''. Hopefully a combination of both the strategies should help restore the ecological health of Andaman Sea.
Monsoon patrol teams formed across the country (August Week 1 (2005)) With the advent of the rainy season, monsoon patrol teams have been formed in various reserves of the country, although it seems that these teams are hardly a discouragement to the poachers. The monsoon patrolling teams in Arunachal’s pakke reserve have come across poachers four times recently, and killed five and injured two. They seized ammunition arrows and animal meat. Raids in fringe villages have thrown out raps and snares. In Bihar Valmiki tiger reserve, people have been caught for illegal filling. While poachers and other criminals seem ready to use the rain and slush to their advantage monsoon patrolling hasn’t even begun in Chhattisgarh’s Indravati reserve an area where Naxalites hold sway. Since the tiger crisis hit the headlines, the environment ministry has put in additional money this year to arm vulnerable reserves to protect tiger and the other animals. In Rajasthan armed constabulary has been called in. in other states also the patrolling teams have been formed. For the first time the Sariska reserve, which has lost all its tigers, has been closed for the monsoon. This is because there are some 40-odd leopards and other animals there and if the tiger’s prey base is not protected, it would be impossible to reintroduce the big cat into that area.
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.
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