June 5, 2015
Environment Conservation – A focus area for Trinamool Government
In 2011, after the Trinamool Government came in power, it took a number of steps for a cleaner and greener Bengal. The Department, working mainly through The Department works mainly through The West Bengal Pollution Control Board, the Institute of Environmental Studies & Wetland Management, the West Bengal Biodiversity Board, universities/research institutes. other Government organisations, local bodies and NGOs/civil society organisations, is striving hard to protect the nature a build a consensus for making the State a pollution free one.
The Planning Commission of India for the last two years has started to quantify, the performance of the states with respect to water (based on parameters like riverine water quality, water quality etc.) forest (presence of forest coverage against prescribed coverage, density etc.). The position of the state has improved to 19th(in 2012) from 25th (in 2011).
Constant endeavour has been made to improve the air quality of the state specially in the metro-cities. There is constant monitoring and measures taken by West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB) to improve the air quality. The State Government has emphasized the need to accelerate the pace of Research & Development in the field of environment. The Department of Environment has regularly published booklets on environment issues, suggesting ways to address the problems.
• National Green Tribunal has been established in Kolkata, West Bengal.
• Rain water harvesting demonstration units have been put in place at numerous locations. These activities would be scaled up to include more institutes and locations in the state. There is a scheme where 10% of the cost is borne by the institution and the rest in financed by this Department.
• A study titled, “Vulnerability of Kolkata Metropolitan Area to Increased Precipitation in a Changing Climate” has been completed. This is the first climate change vulnerability assessment of any city in India and fourth in Asia.
• The Department in collaboration with Public Works Department and West Bengal Fisheries Corporation Limited has initiated landscaping work in Subhas Sarobar, installation of aqua fountain in Rabindra Sarobar and cleaning and beautification of a part of Tolly Nullah with financial support of WBPCB.
• Under Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) which is being implemented with the financial assistance from the World Bank considerable progress was made regarding distribution of grid electricity for household connection in 42 Mouza in Sagar Island by West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL). Work was also initiated with Digha-Shankarpur Development Authority undertaking (i) Beach cleaning and sanitation, environmental amelioration along the beaches, livelihood generation etc. (ii) Solid Waste Management and (iii) Development of drainage system and phyto-remediation at Digha. ICZMP is also finalizing a programme for creating livelihoods for inhabitants of Sundarbans area.
• Action Plan for improving the environmental control of Sponge Iron units of West Bengal has been unveiled.
• State Action Plan on Climate Change has been approved by Expert Committee at Ministry of Environment and Forests, GoI. The action plan which is a collaborative effort of more than a hundred technical experts, scientists and other stake holders will serve as a guiding document in the state’s effort to adaptation and mitigation.
• The Department has completed a comprehensive documentation of biodiversity. The 1000-page document titled, “Status of Biodiversity of West Bengal” will serve as a benchmark and will be used in making policy decisions related to living resources of the state in years to come.
• A campaign for the greening of the industries has been taken by WBPCB. A massive plantation programme has been initiated through industry partnership.
• Environmental compliance assistance centre has been made operational. Presently, this centre is helping the industries of the following sectors: tannery and chrome chemicals, lead acid battery, dyeing and bleaching units etc.
• Municipal solid waste authorization process has been put on a fast track resulting in grant of 70 authorizations out of 108 applications made so far.
• The Department has prepared the draft West Bengal Wetlands and Water Bodies Conservation Policy and the same has been submitted to the Government for acceptance.
• 8 new rainwater harvesting units are under construction taking the total number of rainwater harvesting units constructed by Institute of Environmental Studies and Wetland Management to 80.
• A novel “Paribesh Sevak” scheme has been introduced for grassroot level monitoring of environmental issues.