Nature spaces threatened by urban modernisation

Nature spaces threatened  by urban modernisation

India’s rapid urban modernisation has been described as a challenge to the country’s natural reserves, especially the Western Ghats.

During a lecture at the annual day celebrations of the Centre for Sustainable Development, Dr K Kasturirangan, the member of the Planning Commission and Chairman of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission said that development must be balanced lest it pose a threat to the Western Ghats.

“Any damage to the Western Ghats, which are rich in bio-diversity, will straightaway affect six States along its belt. Preservation of the Ghats is a major challenge for the government as well as for the people,” said the former Isro Chairman.

In addition to the Western Ghats, Dr Kasturirangan explained that the sustainable management of the Himalayan ecosystem, and safeguarding the Eastern Himalayas is an equally important task.

“New threats to the environment are posing new challenges to the country. If sustainable development has to be taken care of, we need to innovate, invest and improvise the related efforts, both at the national as well as the local level,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, retired judge R V Raveendran said that development without sustainable values will only cause destruction. Citing an example of the effect of uncontrolled mining activities by private individuals in Bellary district and the resultant damage to the environment there, he said that, “In the name of economic development, a few 100 individuals became rich by exporting iron ore. The government did not even get enough royalties as much of the mining went unaccounted for. The damage done to the environment there is irreversible.”

Justice Raveendran also offered the example of solid waste mismanagement in Bangalore and expressed regret that the City is losing its nickname of ‘garden city’ gradually. “The Palike corporators are playing spoilsport in garbage disposal while  experts in the field are kept away from the business. Rules should be framed so that people causing pollution are made to pay for it,” he said.

He also gave an example of how the Lakshwadeep islands are suffering from environmental degradation due to government-sponsored “development” schemes.
An annual report on the activities and achievement of Centre for Sustainable Development was released on the occasion.

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