WB Govt steps up to protect environment through campaigns

The West Bengal Government and the organizations under its aegis have taken a number of initiatives to make the  State pollution-free and clean. Below is a list of such campaigns. Today being the World Environment Day, let us take a quick look at the initiatives.

The Zero-Plastic Waste Campaign    

Discarded plastics pose a threat to human health and environment. Due to its non- biodegradable nature, littering of plastics causes irreversible damage to the environment. Waste plastics hinder the natural aeration process of the surface water bodies, choke municipal sewer lines and storm water drains and clog the bar-screens of sewage treatment plants. They interfere with various agricultural operations, prevent natural recharge of underground water and contribute to visual pollution. Consuming food wrapped in coloured plastic has adverse effects on health.

Municipalities routinely receive reports of death of cows and other animals from ingesting plastic bags. Thus the overuse of the disposable plastic items, mostly the carry bags and the PET bottles, which are wasteful of resource and energy, a litter problem, a disposal problem and harmful to wildlife on land and in our waterways, needs immediate management. The zero-plastic waste campaign of the WBPCB thus includes awareness programmes involving NGOs and school students of different districts, in order to fight the problem of plastic waste in the state.

Forest and Wildlife

The world of nature is a living kaleidoscope of all the plants and animals that live harmoniously in a perfectly balanced system. It is imperative for the young children to understand how nature works before learning the ways to conserve and care for it. Nature Trails are being organised under this theme to provide the young minds with an excellent opportunity to grow, by way of observing the relationships between plants and animals.

The students experienced all the fun and excitement by taking a simple walk through nature that turned out to be a real journey of exploration and discovery. In association with TERI, a series of nature trails will be organised as part of the forthcoming events of the WBPCB campaign.

Environmental Studies

Under this theme, teacher orientation programme was organised, which was primarily meant to inculcate the importance of environmental protection among the teachers to convey the same to the students by undertaking various environmental awareness related activities for their schools and colleges. This theme also includes events such as inter-college debates and workshops on soil testing – in order to create awareness on environmental protection among the school and college students.

Environmental Issues, Law and Practice

The key role of the WBPCB has been to establish coherent, uniform and workable environmental practice, standards and regulations to restore, protect and enhance the quality of the environment in the state.

In order to provide training on various environmental issues, law and practice, the programmes under this theme were devised for the students of colleges and universities, NGOs and government officials.

Noise Pollution

Over the years, the major mandates of the WBPCB include strengthening and enforcement of laws, and generation of awareness for curbing noise pollution in the state. In its effort to eliminate the menace of noise pollution, under the Environmental Campaign of the WBPCB, training programmes were conducted. The target groups of these training programmes comprise of government officials including police officials, functionaries of local bodies and others.

The participants were trained on various aspects of environmental pollution, especially on issues that are related to their job. Also noise monitoring programmes were conducted on the festive days and necessary regulatory actions were taken against the violators.


All life on earth is part of one great, interdependent system. It interacts with, and depends on, the non-living components of the planet: atmosphere, oceans, freshwaters, rocks, and soils. Humanity depends totally on this community of life, the biosphere, of which we are an integral part. Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the variety of the world’s organisms, including their genetic diversity and the assemblages they form. Under this theme, programmes such as the distribution of potted medicinal plants, study on medicinal plants and study of birds have been undertaken for the school students, the prime target group of the campaign. The programme is aimed at making the students understand the various aspects of biodiversity, which is essential to develop a perception of its conservation.

Personal Hygiene and Public Health

This programme is aimed to improve the condition of environmental hygiene in the state. The main target group being school students, this programme will help students achieve more effectively the cultivation of a sense of responsibility and healthy lifestyle and to strengthen civic and health education.

This will also incorporate the concept of civic responsibility and its relationship with personal and environmental hygiene and thus enhance their ability to develop skills and capacity of moral judgment with regard to personal and public health issues.

Moreover, a series of awareness-raising events for school children, such as sit and draw competition, wall painting and slide shows will be organised under this theme in the forthcoming months.

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.

Some achievements:

• 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.