The policies and programmes of the Government are aimed at striking a balance between economic development and conservation of environment and forests, but the challenge is how to mainstream environment related activities in the development process, says G.V. Subrahmanyam, Advisor in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Delivering the inaugural address of the three-day international conference on “Biodiversity and aquatic toxicology”, being organised by the department of zoology and aquaculture of Acharya Nagarjuna University here, on Saturday, Dr. Subrahmanyam said that the need for conservation and clean environment became even more important in the face of increasing population, continuing urbanisation and industrial pollution. India was the first country to enact the Biodiversity Act and rules and also form the National Biodiversity Authority, he pointed out.

Dr. Subrahmanyam called upon the young generation to take advantage of the vast scope available in the area of research and development in biodiversity and toxicology. He stressed the need for effectively involving trained experts, local people, college students, teachers and universities in preparing “people's biodiversity registers”. A long-time ecological monitoring system with focus on preserving biodiversity hot spots like the Eastern Ghats should be evolved, he suggested, and added that the Government had been making efforts in that direction.

Talking about the impetus being given by the Government to research activities, Dr. Subrahmanyam said that a national environmental science fellowship programme was being implemented to provide Rs. 30 lakh per year to each fellow for carrying out cutting edge research in biodiversity and environmental protection. Anticipatory research should be taken up for better conservation of biodiversity and India should show the path to the world in this area, he added.

In his presidential address, ANU Vice-Chancellor Y.R. Haragopal Reddy said that the protection and conservation of aquatic organisms should be given more focus and more research should be encouraged on fresh water bodies, study of lakes and fresh water eco-systems.

Professor Tomislav Karanovic from the Hanyang University (South Korea), Arun Ninawe, Advisor in the Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, S.K. Prasada Rao, Senior Toxicologist in the US Environmental Protection Agency, ANU Rector K. Viyyanna Rao and others were present.

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