Forest Rights Act: Politicians, adivasi groups ask Centre if it wants to ‘sacrifice’ the law || Scroll staff|| 05:05 pm

Leaders of the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a former member of the Adivasi Congress, along with two organisations working for adivasi and forest dwellers’ rights, have written a letter to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, wondering if the Centre has decided to “sacrifice” the Forest Rights Act, 2006.

The signatories also include the All India Forum of Forest Movements and Campaign for Survival and Dignity. They told Minister of Tribal Affairs Jual Oram that in the last three hearings in the Supreme Court on petitions seeking to have the The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, struck down, the Centre’s counsel did not say anything in defence of the law. “Has it been decided that this Act should be sacrificed, perhaps to appease big corporates or other vested interests?” the signatories asked. Read more

This UN report shows green laws remain in books

By Kiran Pandey
Thursday 31 January 2019 || Down To Earth

Poor implementation of environmental laws is now a global problem, says the report that demystifies the reasons behind the failure

The world fares poorly on implementation of environmental laws and regulations despite the fact that 38 times more green laws have been framed and approved in the last four decades, says the United Nations (UN) in its first ever global assessment of environmental laws. India serves as a perfect example to this issue.

India’s people and the environment have been paying the price for its lethargic and poor state of environmental governance. This is reiterated by a high-level committee set up the environment ministry in 2014. Like the Water Act, which was implemented in 1974, a number of laws and regulations have been existing for more than four decades now, but are proving to be ineffective. Read more

HRF seeks action on illegal mining in Srikakulam

Published Jan 31, 2019, 5:51 am

They demanded strict action against the individuals or organisations violating the environment laws and regulations.

Visakhapatnam: Spearheading the next revolution, city-based social activists and critics have raised their voices on several environmental issues to alert the government authorities and correct the procedural lapses. They demanded strict action against the individuals or organisations violating the environment laws and regulations. Read more

Underwater ghost-busting to save Indian coral reefs

Every day, hundreds of thousands of pieces of lost or abandoned fishing equipment haunt the world’s oceans, killing indiscriminately and endangering marine life and livelihoods.

As it drifts, this ghost fishing gear takes on a life of its own; trapping fish, entangling all kinds of animals from seabirds and turtles to dolphins and whales, and snagging or smothering coral reefs.

Kanniah Marimuthu is one of many fishers living in the Gulf of Mannar in southeast India who is concerned about the community killing more than it catches, and the impacts of ghost gear on future business. Read more

Agenda for 2019

By Chandra Bhushan
Wednesday 30 January 2019

In 2018, some major policies and programmes were unveiled in India. At the international level also, two major agreements got under- way—the Rulebook for the Paris Agreement was adopted and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol came into effect on January 1, 2019. The agenda for 2019 is clear cut: we have to set up the institutional and regulatory framework to implement the major programmes and fulfil our international obligations. Here’s my list of the top environmental priorities for 2019.

National Clear Air Programme: Our piecemeal approach to tackle air pollution must give way to the implementation of a comprehensive and integrated action plan. The National Clean Air Programme, under which more than 100 cities have to develop and implement clean air plans, must be institutionalised for effective enforcement. Without strict enforcement, all the other measures will fail.

Single-use plastics: The pledge to ban all single-use plastics by 2022 must be put into action. At present, different states have interpreted the term “single-use plastics” differently. A national definition backed up by a comprehensive plan, including the promotion of alternatives, should be put in place.

Swachh Bharat Mission: Governments come and governments go, but successful programmes must continue. The Swachh Bharat Mission is one such programme. This year, solid waste management must be strengthened to make it sustainable.

National and State Action Plan on Climate Change: In 2008, the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and the State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) were adopted. The outcome has been mixed. While the National Solar Mission and the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency has done very well, other missions under NAPCC have not progressed as expected. The SAPCCS too have not progressed beyond documentation. It is time we revisit NAPCC and SAPCC and develop a comprehensive framework to decarbonise our economy and adapt to the changing climate. One thing we must ensure is that the division of responsibilities between the Centre and states is well defined. Currently, only Central government is responsible for cutting emissions. This must change.

National Forest Policy and Act: The draft National Forest Policy, 2018, fails to join the dots. In addition, the environment ministry has also started the process of amending the Indian Forest Act, 1927. It is imperative we get both of them right. India needs forest regulations that recognise the role and the potential of people to grow, manage, protect and use forests sustainably. For this, the forest department must shed its colonial hangover and become facilitators in community-managed forests.

National River Revitalisation Plan: It is not just Ganga that is polluted; all major and minor rivers are in the grip of pollution because of unsustainable withdrawal of water and untreated disposal of wastes. From the Cauvery to Godavari, and from the Sutlej to the Yamuna, all rivers need a revitalisation plan. Let 2019 be the year in which we unveil the National River Revitalisation Plan.

Pollution Control Boards: Pollution control boards (PCBS) are ineffective, corrupt and getting archaic with every passing year. They are not designed to regulate, monitor and enforce the pollution challenges of the 21st century. We cannot do without a frontline environment regulatory authority. It is time we reinvent PCBS and build their capacity for effective monitoring and enforcement.

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