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Govt plans to set up biodiversity museum: Union environment minister

The minister highlighted that museums are an appropriate medium to raise awareness on biodiversity, and engage people on a large scale.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The Union minister of environment, forest and climate change, Bhupender Yadav today said the government is mulling the idea of a museum to promote awareness and further enlighten citizens on biodiversity while remarking that the West cannot measure India’s environmental index based on theory since our country emphasises climate justice.

Celebrating the Foundation Day of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) at the Kolkata headquarters, the Union minister today released the publication ‘Animal Discoveries and Plant Discoveries-2021’, which lists 540 new discoveries, including 406 new species and 134 newly-recorded species to India. The Union minister also handed over the E K Janaki Ammal national award to Dr Ch Sasikala, Prof Mamiyil Sabu and Dr Kailash Chandra for their contributions in the field of taxonomy.

Mr Yadav said the government is seriously taking a scientific approach towards conservation of biodiversity rather than paying heed to populist methods. He claimed that the Union government wants to promote an “environment-friendly lifestyle that will help India to fulfil its climate goals. We should avoid mindless consumption of natural resources. Climate change is no distant reality.”

The minister highlighted that museums are an appropriate medium to raise awareness on biodiversity, and engage people on a large scale. Mr Yadav said the CERN museum in Geneva is an example. He pointed out that the museum idea has to materialise in India at a policy level. “At present, workshops are being conducted to encourage a scientific temperament.”

Reacting to the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), released on World Environment Day, which ranked India at the bottom (180th), he said if the West wants to measure India’s environmental index in terms of theory, it is unacceptable. “If they want to measure then they should first come with their historical responsibility. Already 90 per cent of carbon space globally is occupied by them. Our parameters cannot be decided by them. We follow the CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities) principle which must be based on national circumstances. We emphasize climate justice.”

Commenting on whether low funds are affecting capacity building of the organisations under the department, the minister said, “Organisations such as ZSI, Botanical Survey of India, Forest Survey of India etc should work together so we can reap the benefits of their combined capacity. These organisations are anyway building capacities, else it would not have been possible to search and compile such large volumes of data on new species. This shows the potential.” Asked about the status of the Forest Conservation Act amendment, the minister said it is under consideration.