Published: Wednesday 30 April 1997

Seriously speaking

Apropos the article 'Green milestone' ( Down To Earth , Vol 5, No 16), for one who has lived in rural areas for a long time, it is clearly discernible that in today's context, communities can no longer manage their resources, as their members seek their own interests over everything else.

Self-seeking individuals hide behind the facade of community tradition even when they no longer think about or feel for the community. In the face of such a mind set, active involvement of the rural population in conservation efforts will not always be productive.

For a serious effort at bringing change from below, the planners will themselves have to spend time in rural areas for a better understanding of the nature of the problems....

For a better world

Noxious fumes from a large number of private vehicles which also display 'pollution under control' signs on their windscreens, are a major source of pollution in Delhi.

After India gained independence in 1947, Delhi's population has increased geometrically. With increasing affluence, most families now have two or three vehicles and the pollution problem has indeed multiplied over a period of time.

For people in charge of planning our development policy, increase in industrial and agricultural productivity carries primary importance. The focus on augmenting agricultural production by using pesticides and fertilisers and increasing industrial production at all costs are complementary factors that compound the pollution problem.

An all-round awareness among the people is necessary for solving the problem. Highlighting the areas of concern through your magazine alone is not sufficient. You need to do this through other newspapers and magazines as well.

For controlling vehicular pollution, the cost of petrol for private vehicles should be made prohibitive so that only a few can afford the luxury of private cars. Simultaneously, more luxury buses operating under the state transport corporation may have to be introduced to induce the affluent to use the public transport system. The fare in these buses can be raised as this section of the society can certainly afford it.

The task of bringing about a clean Delhi is no doubt gigantic, but not impossible if there is will behind the effort....

A little more please

Your magazine is doing an excellent job of spreading awareness among scholars. I appreciate your efforts in this regard, but I would suggest that you include some more aspects of environment education in your magazine.

For example, a study of the total water sources of the country would help in bringing awareness on utilisation and harvesting of rain water in villages. Similarly, a study of environmental laws will help make the people aware of their right to a pollution-free society and seek redressal for grievances in this area....

Mine blues

I am a regular reader of your magazine. Appropriate to the title of the magazine, you have specialised in taking up various 'down to earth' (core) environmental issues. But your reporting is not complete at times, in the sense that it only gives one side of the issue.

Apropos the news item 'Goa farms incensed' ( Down To Earth , Vol 5, No 18), development is necessarily associated with disturbance of the environment and one cannot condemn all development processes per se.

Though agriculture is the most polluting industry as it consumes and discharges the maximum amount of pesticides and insecticides, we cannot do away with it as food is essential for us. Similarly, mining is equally essential for the growth of India's industries. Besides, mining occupies less than 0.5 per cent of the land mass in India and yet accounts for three per cent of her gross domestic product .

Several mining concerns have workable environment management programmes and there are various examples from India and abroad where afforestation in closed or abandoned mining areas has nearly restored the green cover. The prescribed procedure for obtaining mining leases ensures that the land owner is adequately compensated and if the agricultural yield is better than the worth of the mineral, it is simply not economical to work such mines.

Different opinions on an issue should be given equal importance. This will make the articles more balanced and will enable the readers to make up their own minds on the merits of the case....

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