India gets its first wetland conservation centre

Deepor beel, Assam (Image Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Deepor beel, Assam (Image Source: IWP Flickr photos)

Country’s first wetland conservation centre set up on World Wetland Day

As part of the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM), the first specialised institution–Centre for Wetland Conservation and Management (CWCM) has been set up in Chennai. The formation of the institution, which will work as a knowledge hub for various stakeholders for conserving wetlands, coincides with the World Wetland Day. The Centre will assist the national and state/UT governments in the design and implementation of policy and regulatory frameworks, management planning, monitoring and targeted research for conservation of wetlands. (The Times of India)

JJM gets outlay for Rs 2.87 lakh crore while Swachh Bharat 2.0 to be launched in urban areas

As part of the Budget 2021, the Union Government will launch the Jal Jeevan Mission [Urban] that aims at universal water supply in all 4,378 Urban Local Bodies with 2.86 crore household tap connections. The mission will be implemented over five years with an expenditure of ₹2.87 lakh crore.

Along with this, the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) is also announced with a focus on the management of sludge, wastewater and construction and demolition waste in cities. Rs 73,000 crore has also been allocated to MGNREGA in the budget to address the distress caused in rural areas because of reverse migration of workers owing to the lockdown. (The Hindu, CNBC TV)

100 of 156 drains in Yamuna’s catchment are not meeting standards: Centre tells SC

In a joint affidavit, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change have informed the Supreme Court that 100 of the 156 drains in the catchment of the river Yamuna are not meeting General Standards for the discharge of environment pollutants regarding one or more parameters. The findings have been based on the assessment of water quality data of drains for the year 2020 sought from the State Pollution Control Boards of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and Delhi Pollution Control Committee. The affidavit has been filed in response to a notice issued by the apex court, which is hearing a petition on “remediation of polluted rivers” in the country. (The Indian Express)

Forest land diversion approved in disregard of WII’s views

As part of the eight-lane Delhi-Mumbai Greenfield Highway project under Bharatmala, the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) has approved forest land diversion for three highway proposals in Rajasthan’s Ranthambhore and Mukundara Tiger Reserves. Along with this, the proposed highways will cut across the Gandhi Sagar, Bhainsrorgarh and National Chambal Sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

The government is moving ahead with these projects, despite the warning from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). As per WII, the highways would fragment wildlife habitats in the two reserves and will not only impact tigers, but a host of other wildlife.

(Down to Earth)

Pollution in Hindon river: NGT raps UP government

Noting that damage from pollution is no less than the damage from other heinous crimes, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has reprimanded the Uttar Pradesh government for not taking effective steps to control pollution in the Hindon river. The Tribunal has now ordered the Chief Secretary, UP, to ensure remedial action expeditiously, which includes fixing responsibilities and finding incompetent or failing officers. The proceedings took place following a petition filed by NGO Doaba Paryavaran Samiti alleging pollution in Kali Nadi, Krishna and Hindon rivers, resulting in diseases and deaths of some inhabitants in the area. (Firstpost)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from February 1 - 14, 2021. Also, read the news this week.