Environment conservation has taken a backseat in the district, with the Kochi Corporation and municipalities not preparing People’s Biodiversity Registers (PBR) yet.
The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) formed in these local bodies have also become defunct, thereby, failing in their task of conserving the region’s biodiversity.
The PBRs are expected to serve as an inventory of the biodiversity of the region and also a dossier of people’s knowledge of bio-resources in a locality. It will be based on the PBRs that the biodiversity conservation and management strategies for each region would be formulated.
The State government had recently empowered the BMCs to be the sentinels of environment. They were also handed over the mandate of conserving and protecting the ecology of the region.
It was after much persuasion that the BMCs were formed in majority of the local bodies in the State. The Biological Diversity Act 2002 makes the formation of the BMCs mandatory in local bodies of the country, biodiversity experts have pointed out.
Though some initiatives were taken in Aluva municipality for the formation of the PBR, the move lost steam halfway through. No progress had been made in nine other municipalities of the district or the Kochi Corporation, said C.G. Anantha Pai, Ernakulam district coordinator of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board. Though the municipalities and the corporation were lagging behind in the preparation of the key documents, the project was well received in the panchayats of the district.
Of the 84 panchayats in Kochi, PBRs have been drafted in as many as 39 local bodies and work was progressing in some other civic bodies. The civic heads and officials of the panchayats were positive in their approach towards drawing up the document, said Mr. Pai.
Incidentally, Kochi led the way in preparing PBRs in the country. A comprehensive document listing the flora and fauna and also traditional knowledge of 66 village panchayats of the district were documented in 1999, said M.K. Prasad, who was the chief coordinator of the project.
Ommen V. Ommen, chairman of the Board, said most BMCs in the State had failed to perform along the expected lines. Though Kerala is leading the national scene regarding the formation of BMCs with the committees constituted in 978 panchayats, 60 municipalities and five corporations, PBRs were completed in around 670 local bodies, he said.The Board has written to the presidents of all district panchayats for speeding up the process of preparing the PBRs, Mr. Ommen said.