State finally takes climate change seriously

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Health Minister Eknath Shinde (right) take an aerial survey of flood-hit areas.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The State government has retrieved a policy on climate change that was lying in cold storage for two years, and the Health Department will set up a governing body and task force to take decisions to counter hazards related to changing climatic events.

In October 2017, the State Cabinet gave approval to a climate change policy based on an action plan submitted by The Energy and Resources Institute. The policy had cautioned of adverse impacts of climate change on agriculture, and possible floods and health-related problems.

On October 25, 2017, the Environment Department issued a 28-page government resolution (GR) detailing an action plan for departments such as forests, water resources, agriculture, power, health, public works, disaster management, rural development, urban development, finance and planning.

On Friday, Health Minister Eknath Shinde directed the formation of a governing body that he would lead, and a task force that will be headed by the principal secretary of the Health Department. The governing body and task force have been tasked with drafting an action plan for the State to gauge the impact of climate change on human health.

“The responsibility of the implementation of the State action plan stands with the State and district task force. The plan will include identifying diseases spread due to climate change, fixing the risk factor by conducting surveys, working out remedial measures by pinpointing areas and populations at risk, listing available resources,” said Mr. Shinde.

A nodal officer will be appointed at the district level to study climate change, along with an environmental medical unit. The Hindu on August 16 had written that the GR had specifically directed the government to “have department-wise recommendations/measures by making necessary changes in the existing policies or bringing in new policies.”

The governing body will meet once a year while the task force will have three meetings in a year. All district administrations have been informed to set up similar task forces at the district level, which will be led by the collector.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 3:16:06 AM |

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