Staff Correspondent

‘Change in lifestyle can contribute to forest conservation’

Environmentalists asked to emulate Baba Amte

MANGALORE: “Isn’t it ironical that you are destroying the environment but celebrating Environment Day?” This was the anonymous comment made by someone in the visitors’ book that was kept at the photo and plant exhibition organised by Mangalore Special Economic Zone Ltd. (MSEZL) to mark World Environment Day here on Friday.

MSEZL had organised the event at SDM Law College in association with the Department of Forests and the Department of Ecology and Environment. Another comment read: “May you, the destroyers of the environment, indulge in more pro-environment activities.” The person who left this message mentioned only his surname, Kamath. A.G. Pai, Chief Operating Officer, MSEZL, said that the company would develop a green belt on 60 acres of the 1,800 acres of land that had been acquired for the first phase of the project. “We will plant trees in the green belt,” he added.

The programme was inaugurated by Yogish Bhat, MLA. Mr. Bhat said that Environment Day celebrations would be meaningful only when the idea was taken beyond the custom of planting a few plants and watering them.

“We need to check if industries around us are respecting court orders and if effluents are treated before they are pumped into the sea,” he said.

The chief guest at the programme, Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj, said that the best way to preserve the environment was through small actions that would bring down the need and demand for industries that harmed the environment. He suggested to the audience to read books such as “One Straw Revolution” by Masanobu Fukuoka, which dealt with organic farming.“Change in lifestyle can be the greatest contribution to forest conservation,” he said and added that the late social activist Baba Amte, who led a simple life, was a model for environmentalists.