Representatives from over 100 womens' groups from across the State gathered at the Veterinary College in Bangalore to participate in a two-day workshop that discussed the role and responsibilities of women in protecting the environment.
Organised by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), the workshop was inaugurated by Minister for Energy Shobha Karandlaje. Speaking at the inaugural function, Ms. Karandlaje said women could truly create an impact in this field. Though successive attempts to implement waste segregation and other eco-friendly programmes had failed, if targeted among women, the success rate would be much higher, she said.
On Hebbal lake
Pointing to the state of lakes in the city, particularly the Hebbal lake which is “heavily polluted by industrial effluents”, she said the KSPCB should take stringent action against defaulters. “Authorities cannot turn a blind eye to this,” she said, adding that exploitation of resources and industrial pollution had a grave impact on the environment. She emphasised the need to protect natural resources, and called for stringent government controls to ensure that existing resources — water, air, forests and minerals — are not plundered.
Stressing on the critical role women should take up and play in this respect, she said that whether it is protecting farmland and forestry or conserving resources at home, women must be roped in to create a real impact.
Clean drinking water
Out of 28,000 villages in the State, government surveys show that over 16,000 do not have access to potable water. “Groundwater too has been polluted. This is only set to get worse in coming years,” she said. Commenting on the excessive use of fertilizer in farming, she said that organic farming was the only way out. She conceded that the organic farming mission had not been properly implemented, and more awareness needs to be created on it.
A.S. Sadashivaiah, chairman of the KSPCB, also spoke about the need to create awareness among women. “This workshop is a step towards that,” he said.
He also spoke about the KSPCB's programme with schoolchildren where industries will adopt schools to implement ‘green initiatives'.