By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 18 Dec: A webinar on the subject ‘Ecological Responsibility’ was telecast/webcast by the Uttarakhand State Legal Services Authority on 14 December.
It was chaired by Justice Ravi Malimath, Acting Chief Justice, High Court of Uttarakhand/Executive Chairman, Uttarakhand State Legal Services Authority, Nainital. Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Lokpal Singh of the Uttarakhand High Court were also the panellists along with experts Dr Anil P Joshi, Founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO), Dr Durgesh Pant, Professor and Director, Uttarakhand Open University, and Dr Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR-IIP.
Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath, in his presidential address, mentioned the Stockholm Declaration and African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. He stressed that protection of the ecology is not just a role to be played by the individual, but also by various stakeholders, including the State.
The Acting Chief Justice highlighted that environmental protection and management were extremely crucial for a safe world. The Environment Protection Act, 1986, intends to safeguard the environment from rapid industrialisation and urbanisation. He emphasised that, in modern times, policy making is highly focused on economic development. This leads to over exploitation of natural resources, so it is necessary to consider the environmental impact in planning and development.
He further said that Uttarakhand, as a Himalayan State, is one of the very eco-sensitive zones of the world. The need of the hour is to design development for Uttarakhand and other Himalayan States in a planned and judicious manner. Uttarakhand possesses unique flora and fauna, which must be treated differently. On the judiciary’s role in environmental protection, he stated that, in Uttarakhand, the Court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate had been empowered to exercise jurisdiction on all the districts of Uttarakhand for cases under the Environmental Laws. Maintaining the ecology and environment was the responsibility of the State and all stakeholders.
Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia also emphasised on the ecological responsibilities of various stakeholders. He suggested that collective and coordinative effort is required to keep the environment clean. The responsibility of all should be fixed by providing incentives. He spoke of water conservation and the concept of Gross Ecological Product, which required good data and studies.
Justice Lokpal Singh spoke about the related provisions of the law. Dr Anil P Joshi claimed that due to imbalance in the environment, most of the soil was lost. He said humans were overriding the ecosystem and emphasising rapid growth. Development was good for society but nature had to be taken care of. Prosperity also includes nature.
Dr Durgesh Pant, Professor and Director, Uttarakhand Open University, shared his knowledge on Ecological Responsibility. He informed that India is poor in applying GEP and Ecological Responsibility. Education is important for Ecological Responsibility and saving nature. Environment issues had to be a compulsory subject at every level in school. He wanted the responsibility of corporations and institutional sectors to be fixed.
Dr Anjan Ray also shared his expertise on Gross Ecological Product (GEP). He said if something could be measured, something could be done. Sustainable management of water was required. He stressed that e-vehicles be promoted. Waste products can be used as a form of energy so as to reduce pollution. Environmentally sound management is required to conserve the soil and to ensure rivers clean. Directions and guidance from the courts to the State were necessary.
By Our Staff Reporter