Himachal Pradesh has embarked on the path of green growth and sustainable development while maintaining a balance, said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur here today.

Presiding over the state level world environment day function, the Chief Minister said that the Himalayan region was not only important for the people residing in this region, but it was of utmost importance for the whole world.

He said that the state has been endowed with diverse climatic conditions and a variety of flora and fauna. “The World Environment Day is the ‘People’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth. It should not be a ceremonial occasion, but something concrete must come out from this,” he said.

Himachal Pradesh, HP, green growth, sustainable development, Jai Ram Thakur
Photo: SNS

He said that polythene was rampantly polluting the water bodies, harming marine life and posing a threat to human health. However, Himachal Pradesh became the first state in the country to ban use of polythene bags in the state.

He said that plastic water bottles less than one liter capacity would be banned in the public meetings in the state. He said that the tourists visiting the state must be sensitized to use jute or paper bags instead of polythene bags.

Thakur said that the state government has also imposed a complete ban of use of thermocol cutlery as it was also non biodegradable and causing harm to the environment.

Himachal Pradesh, HP, green growth, sustainable development, Jai Ram Thakur
Photo: SNS

He said that instead of this the government has promoted use of ‘pattals’ and ‘dona’ made of leaves. He said that it was very essential to maintain a fine tuning with the environment as nature has sufficient for everyone’s needs.

He said that the state government has also launched a polythene buy back scheme under which polythene was being purchased from the people at the rate of Rs 75 per kilogram. He said that the main objective of this scheme was to ensure that the polythene does not get into the environment and could be recycled and reused. He said that the used polythene was being utilized for metaling of roads.

The Chief Minister said that the polythene was also one of the major causes of pollution of water resources and choking of water supply. He said that the water crisis in Shimla town during the summer of 2018 was due to the pollution and degradation of water catchment areas, rivers and water bodies supplying water to the town.

Thakur said that the state of Himachal Pradesh was rich in biodiversity as it houses 5721 species of fauna and about 3295 species of flora, which comes to about seven percent of the biodiversity of the country. He said that the state government was committed for conservation of our rich biodiversity and as many as 3871 Biodiversity Management Committees have been constituted in the state at the Panchayat level. He said that the Biodiversity Register should be prepared.

He said that Biodiversity Committees should be constituted through the Rural Development Department. Similarly, the Urban Development Department should effectively monitor the functioning of these Committees in their areas, he added.

Chief Minister said that the role of NGO, Mahila Mandals, Yuvak Mandals and common people is vital to ensure environment conservation as no programme of the government can succeed without the active participation of the people.

He said that all the programmes like ODF, literacy campaign etc. were successful only due to the people’s participation.

Chief Minister also released three publications, ‘Climate Change Impacts and Vulnerability Assessment in Himachal Pradesh’, Trainer’s Guidebook on Interring Climate Change in Development Planning in Himachal Pradesh’ and ‘Technology Needs Assessment for Climate Change Adaptation in water sector in Himachal Pradesh’ brought out by the Department.

He also presented ‘Pattal Making Machines’ to two self help groups. The Chief Minister also distributed Environment Leadership Awards 2019-20 to the winners.