A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2005
World Environment Day celebrated each year on 5th June, is one
of the prime means through which the West Bengal Pollution Control Board stimulates
environmental awareness within the state. The celebration of the day was established by the
United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm
Conference on the Human Environment. The World Environment Day theme selected
by the United Nations Environment Programme for 2005 was "Green cities: Plan
for the Planet".
World Environment Day is a people's event and was adorned with colourful
activities like sit-and-draw competition and quiz competition involving school
children at Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Salt Lake. In the morning, children of three
different age-groups between six and fourteen years participated in a sit-and-draw competition,
whereas children upto 16 years of age took part in a quiz competition. These
two events, organised in association with Pashchim Banga Vigyan Mancha, were aimed
to generate awareness for environmental protection among these school children.
Also, at the same ceremony at Yuba Bharati Krirangan, prizes were distributed
to the winners of the sit-and-draw competition that was held last year.
The main celebrations of the World Environment Day 2005 in West Bengal were held at
Paribesh Bhaban, Kolkata. Shri Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Hon’ble Chief Minister
of West Bengal was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The Hon’ble
Minister-in-charge, Deptts. of Information Technology & Environment, Shri
Manabendra Mukherjee presided over the function.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the Hon’ble Chief Minister inaugurated an
‘Information Kiosk’ that is being displayed at the reception counter of
Paribesh Bhaban, Salt Lake. The kiosk will display all relevant information of
the WBPCB including useful know-how’s related to consent administration as well
as air and water quality data of West Bengal. The Hon’ble Chief Minister also
released six publications and one CD bearing the following titles:
- Air Quality Status of West Bengal: A State of Environment Report 2004
- Report of the Committee on Improvement of the Environment of Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
- The Manual on Environmental Protection (Volume I and Volume II)
- Best Eco-Club Diaries: An Excerpt (2003-2004)
- West Bengal Environmental Campaign: An Update (2004-2005)
- CD on Air Quality Data of the Automatic Air Quality Stations operating in West Bengal
The Chief Minister’s speech, during the programme at Paribesh Bhaban, was the most
significant aspect on World Environment Day 2005. His speech summarised the future agenda
that would be followed by the State Department of Environment and the West
Bengal Pollution Control Board throughout the year. The Chief Minister stressed
upon the fact that environmental protection is a major global concern in both
developed and developing countries, and there have been both conflicts and
consensus on various popular environmental issues. The Hon’ble Chief Minister
and the Hon’ble Environment Minister, on the occasion of World Environment Day
at Paribesh Bhaban, summarised the future agenda that would be followed by the
State Department of Environment and the West Bengal Pollution Control Board
throughout the year. A summary of the issues raised is discussed below.
- Waterbodies and wetlands: The process of enactment of a comprehensive law on water
bodies and wetlands should be expedited. Efforts should be made to see that no
illegal structure comes up within the East Kolkata wetlands and other water bodies.
- Poaching of animals and felling of trees:
Setting up of first track court in both North and South Bengal to expedite trials in
cases of poaching of endangered animals. Law on felling of trees in non-forest areas
should be framed.
- Automobile Pollution: The government’s order to phase out old vehicles from
Kolkata Metropolitan Area should be implemented. Availability of greener fuel
like CNG to clean the city air should be explored.
- Plastic Carry Bags: In addition to the heritage/tourist sites and eco-fragile
areas of the state, restriction on the use of plastic carry bags may be
extended to district towns and industrial areas. Also, the government may offer
financial support to those units, which can take up projects to recycle
non-biodegradable plastic products.
- Waste Management: Solid Waste Management Mission should function on an
immediate basis. Attempts should be made to develop ‘Waste to Wealth’ projects.
Common biomedical waste treatment facilities should be expanded to districts
following the same mechanism as the one for Kolkata and Howrah.
- Industrial Pollution: In order to bring
transparency and decentralisation in consent administration, Expert Committees must be
formed at the Board. Extension of renewal time period for ‘consent to operate’ must be made.
Also, ‘Consent to Establish’ should be made valid for five years. Financial and
technical assistance will be provided to the small-scale industries like
plastic recycle units and gold melting units, if they adopt pollution control
- Biodiversity: The village-level Biodiversity Registers are now under preparation by the West
Bengal Biodiversity Board, in Ghoghat-II (Hooghly), Patharpratima (South 24
Parganas), and Matigara (Darjeeling). The same should be extended to the
remaining blocks of the state.
- Air Pollution: Studies reveal that the
contribution to Kolkata’s pollution (RPM) from the automobile sector has gone up to 53 percent,
while the industrial emission has gone down to 7 percent. However, 30 per cent
contribution to city's RPM levels is due to re-suspended dust arising out of
the construction sector. There is a need to draw up action plan to tackle this problem.
- Awareness Campaign: Need for intense awareness campaign on various
environmental issues involving school and college students as well as clubs and NGOs.