Ecology and biodiversity cannot be ignored, and integrating ecology and development is the biggest challenge facing the State, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

He was speaking after inaugurating the International Day for Biological Diversity and presenting the Green awards at a function organised by the Kerala State Biodiversity Board at the Kanakakkunnu Palace here on Wednesday.

Mr. Chandy said development initiatives that affected the ecology were harmful to the country. Citing environmental issues, the State had been denied permission for constructing dams.

The State, which had been depending on hydro-electric power as it was cheap, was now reeling under power crisis and facing lot of problems, he said.

The Chief Minister said his government was committed to protecting the environment and biodiversity, and ensuring the development of the State. The attitude of the people had changed over the years and concerted efforts were needed for protecting environment and biodiversity, waste management, and avoiding plastic.

Kerala State Biodiversity Board chairman Oommen V. Oommen, member secretary K.P. Laladhas, Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal, Principal CCF, Social Forestry, B.S. Kori, and Chief Executive Officer of the State Medicinal Plant Board K. G. Sreekumar spoke.

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