KERALA

`Constitute full-fledged environment department'

UNLAWFUL ACTIVITY: Illegal conversion of a wetland-turned paddy field under way in Thiruvalla.  



Staff Reporter

Present one lacks powers to implement laws and rules

`Departments and agencies for environment protection and conservation should be brought under one department'`On the lines of the Environment Department under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests'

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Pampa Parirakshana Samithi, a Kozhencherry-based environmental organisation, has called upon the State Government to constitute a full-fledged department of environment, on the lines of the Environment Department under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

In a statement here on Thursday, N.K. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary of the samithi, alleged that the Environment Department in the State in its present form was toothless, as it lacked powers to effectively implement environment protection laws and rules.

According to Mr. Nair, the departments and agencies supposed to look after environment protection and conservation are now functioning under different Ministries.

The State Pollution Control Board is under the Health Ministry, while the Mining and Geology Department comes under the Industries Ministry. Environmental education, research and so on come under the State Science and Technology Council.

It is time various departments and agencies for environment protection and conservation were brought under one department.

Mr. Nair alleged that illegal sand-mining was rampant and indiscriminate demolition of hills unchecked in different parts of the State, posing hazardous environmental degradation. Activities of sand and land mafia were on the rise in different parts of the State, he alleged.

Almost all water sources in the State had been turning into carriers of filth and conversion of wetlands had made wells polluted or dry.

The Ashtamudi Lake, the Sathamcotta Lake and the Vembanad wetlands were on the verge of destruction. Even the multi-crore Pampa Action Plan envisaged by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for containing pollution in the Pampa remained a non-starter owing to red-tape and lack of initiative on the part of the State Government, he alleged.