June 5, 2017
Bengal Government takes major steps for a greener environment
Under the able leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Bengal Government has taken numerous steps for a greener environment in the last six years.
Here are the most important achievements:
- From May 2011 to May 2017, Air Quality Monitoring Systems have been installed at 80 places.
- Water Quality Monitoring Systems have been installed at 102 points in the rivers Ganga, Damodar, Ichhamati, Rupnarayan, Tista and Mahananda for monitoring on a regular basis.
- Forty projects have been completed under Rain Water Harvesting Structure at 40 educational institutions in Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum and Paschim Medinipur districts. In addition, 90 Wetland Ecological Conservation Projects have been completed in the wetlands of Kolkata, Howrah, Bidhannagar, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur and Cooch Behar with a financial involvement of Rs 29 crore.
- Online Industrial Clearance System has since being introduced to make the process of giving permission for setting up industries simple, speedy and flawless.
- In 2010, the Haldia, Howrah and Asansol had been declared as Critically Polluting Areas. But things are now in control and as a result, lots of industries have come up in these places – oil installation, gas installation, port activities and ferro-alloy manufacturing in Haldia, expansion of coal mines in Asansol and steel manufacturing in Howrah. In addition, twenty green (that is, non-polluting) buses have been introduced in the Durgapur-Asansol industrial area using coal bed methane as fuel.
- Thirty-nine industries under the ‘Grossly Polluting Industries’ category in the Ganga river basin have installed Online Effluent Quality Monitoring Systems.
- In order to achieve climate change mitigation, two hundred solar photovoltaic cells have been installed in educational institutions and health centres.
- In collaboration with the Forest Department, intensive plantation has been done in the Durgapur-Asansol and Paschim Medinipur industrial areas with a financial involvement of Rs 10 crore.
- One demonstrative model for Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting System has been installed in each of the 20 districts (except in the recently constituted districts of Kalimpong and Jhargram) to show their mitigative impact on climate change in the wetlands. Five other such fully functional units have been formally installed in the districts of Bankura, Hooghly and Purba Medinipur.
- A mass-scale rooftop rainwater harvesting project has been started in Darjeeling Municipal Corporation to provide water to poorer sections of the hilly town to benefit an estimated 3,200 families directly and indirectly. A total of Rs 23.121 crore has been granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) in 2016.
- The project, Enhancing Adaptive Capacity and Increasing Resilience of Small and Marginal Farmers of Purulia and Bankura District, facilitated by DRCSC (Development Research Communication and Service Centre), had been sanctioned US$ 2.5 million (approx. Rs 15 crore) under the first Adaptation Fund Project of India in 2015.
- State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) had been prepared in 2012 and follow-up actions with regard to adaptation/implementation are going on.
- A vulnerability assessment project in the context of climate change has been started in 2016 for Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts at a cost of Rs 2.16 crore as part of the National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE), under the Department of Science & Technology.
- West Bengal is the first State in India to implement the project of ‘Downscaling of Global Climate Change Model (GCM)’ to district-level projections in 2017 through the expertise of IIT Bombay.
ENVIRONMENT CLEARANCE STATUS
- From May 2011 to May 2017, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has given environmental clearance to 230 industrial, thermal power, mining, infrastructure and building construction, and township and area development projects.
INTEGRATED COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT PROJECT (ICZMP) (A WORLD BANK-funded project):
- 100% electrification of Sagar Island.
- Construction of Nat Mandir at Sagar Island as part of the ‘Eco-Tourism Project in Sagar Island’ project.
- Laying of 11.33 km sewer line and a 6.7 MLD sewage treatment plant as part of the ‘Sanitary Sewerage Scheme for Digha’ project for providing efficient municipal/public health services. Treated effluents will be discharged into the sea, which in turn will reduce coastal pollution.
- Under the ‘Beachfront Development in Digha’ project, beach beautification Phase-I for improving facilities and reducing the pollution level has been completed, which includes two watch towers, an open-air theatre, rehabilitation of 219 hawkers through temporary and permanent kiosks.
- Under the ‘Multipurpose Cyclone Shelter in Five Coastal Blocks’ project, 25 multipurpose cyclone shelters have been constructed.
EAST KOLKATA WETLAND MANAGEMENT
- From May 2011 to May 2017, the State Department of Environment has done 15.575 km of canal desiltation, 6 km of road renovation, plantation of 6,000 seedlings and excavation of a bheri (fish cultivation farm) in the East Kolkata Wetland.
Picture courtesy: thebeaconkolkata.co.in