Gangtok, September 11, 2012:
Pollution, one of the major threats to environment in recent times, does not seem to descend. Pollution in any form has proved to be harmful for the living beings either actively or passively. There are a number of challenges in the field of maintaining ‘pollution-less’ environment.
Similar to other parts of the country, Sikkim too faces numerous challenges, particularly with solid waste management issues and its segregation at source.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Government of Sikkim, Anil Mainra speaking to SIKKIM MAIL in this context mentioned that the concerned departments under the State Government, laying stress over the issue has initiated various steps to curb the same.
Not only at the departmental level but general public along with the school and college students are being made aware of pollution and its dire consequences and the ways to control it. “Awareness generation among the students and public especially about waste segregation is very much required”, he said.
Likewise he informed that in order to motivate the students towards environment conservation useful contests are held throughout the year. Rs.5 lakhs is also given to the best school for environment conservation. Under CSC, the Government of India also awards 10 schools within the country for the same. This year’s awardees included Sikkim in the top 5, he added.
Furthermore, funding schemes for schools is also there. A National Awareness Campaign is underway, through which Rs. 21 lakhs is provided to NGOs and 766 schools are covered under this. For making 100% environment conscious citizens the Pollution Control Board is also providing funds, he said. Further he said that Pollution Control Board has also been keeping a track of water pollution. Sikkim until now has the distinction of being the least polluted State of the country, he added.
The industries which wish to be established in the State needs to get Environmental Clearance Certificates, issued by the Environment section of the Forest Department after they fulfill certain criteria, he notified.
Similarly, speaking about use of LPGs Mainra said that the rural areas in the State still use firewood. This happens particularly at areas which face frequent connectivity issues. Since it is a community system, minimal use should continue as it cannot be totally prohibited, he told.
Conservation of Lakes and its protection is also stressed by the Government. Though few, the lakes of Sikkim need to be conserved, he added. The department is already working on a project to keep 4 lakes clean, and recently a plan has been submitted to the Government of India for preservation and conservation 6 lakes. These lakes include Tarnzey, Timpur, Tsomgo, Khecheoperi, Phidang and Gurudongmar. Since Tarnzey is the main water source of the capital, therefore, its water is tested once in every two months.
The State has been working in the direction of conservation and protection of environment, having banned use of plastic. However, the segregation of biodegradable from non degradable waste shall take a bit longer period.