Saturday, 30 August 2014

Launch of National Green Corps Scheme in Uttar Pradesh;August 29,2014(Saturday)

Today (August 29,2014;Saturday), at a  very well organized  and vibrant event  at City  Montessori School, Gomti Nagar auditorium , I launched (restarted) National Green Corps Scheme  as  Principal secretary (Forests and Environment,UP .The  event was organized by Directorate  of Environment ,UP  in association with UP Pollution Control Board.Directorate of Environment has been declared as State Nodal Agency and CEE,( Centre for Environment Education) is State Resource Agency for for National Green Corps(NGC) Scheme in UP.Here is what I spoke there as chief guest:
              National Green Corps Scheme has been launched today in UP , after a gap of about 7 years, in all the districts of UP.Each of the 75 districts will select 150 schools ,which will form Eco Clubs of students.Each Eco Club will have 30-50 students.In all we will reach 11500 schools and about 5 lac students and 11500 school teachers.We already have got funds from Government of India and these are available with Director, Environment.Special Secretary , Secondary education  will be Nodal Officer on behalf of Secondary Education Department.District Inspector of Schools will be Nodal Officer at the district level.The next is to select 150 secondary  schools in each district.These schools will be from any of the Boards . . .UP Board, CBSE or ICSE.There will be regular review and monitoring.The best Eco Club,the best school , and the best district will be selected and recognized.
                                     Four objectives of NGC are:
1.Education and awareness.
2.Outdoor visits and demonstrations.
3.Instilling a spirit of inquiry.
4.Active environment preservation steps.
Every selected school will create one Eco Club to meet these objectives.There will be one teacher in charge for each Eco Club.Gender ratio should be maintained in Eco Clubs in co-educational schools.This ratio should be maintained in the district as a whole , in each district.District committee (DIMC) will select Master trainers and send them for training at state level , to the directorate of environment.The training of teachers will be organized at the district level by DIMC.Funds of Rs 2500 per Eco Club  will be sent by the director Environment into the accounts of schools through RTGS online.Resource material will be provided through the districts to the schools.
                    Dr. Nina S. Roberts of San Francisco  University  published on 17th April ,2009 a research paper on the impact of NGC in many states and indicated very encouraging results.She said that environment degradation  involves economic as well as  cultural  issues.By education , we can make an impact on our attitudes as well as behaviour.
                    Important stakeholders of Eco Clubs are:
1.Department of Environment.
2.Department of Secondary Education.
3.Principals and Managers of schools.
6.State Resource Agency.
                      Our stress is on qualitative outcomes.This requires:
1.Commitment leaders at state level as well as district level.
2.High quality training of teachers and officials.
3.Regular meetings of Eco Clubs.
4.Good quality and timely supply of resource material.
5.Involvement of parents.
6.Coordination between  schools, education department,CEE and Environment department.
7.Managers and Principals to make teachers in charge less loaded with work.
8.Publicity of Eco Clubs at local level.
                    VISION of National Green Corps is to create a mass movement for environment and ecology and against pollution and wastage.It is to create a Green Brigade in each school, in green uniform and with green Band.Such a Green Brigade can participate in Republic Day Parade.It has also been decided that we shall develop a separate website(not only a webpage as at present) and facebook account for UP National Green Corps.
                 Funding of NGC is inadequate in many ways:
1.Rs 2500 per Eco club is inadequate.This needs to be revised to Rs. Ten thousand.
2.Government of India gives funds for 250 schools per district.There is a need to cover all the schools.
3.Corporates also should contribute through corporate social responsibility funds, to supplement the resources contributed by the government.
I quote the following from GOI  literature:
"Preserving our planet for prosperity is a mammoth task and no single individual, group, organization or state can make it happen.Micro and macro level conservation efforts are on throughout the Globe, yet degradation  continues apace.Mass movements like National Green Corps are necessary to arrest this trend."
I appeal all of you to make this movement of National Green Corps a success.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Environment and climate change:The human factor(August 23,2014, Saturday)

Today , on 23rd August ,2014(Saturday), I inaugurated the  seminar/event on Environment and climate change:the human factor, organized by Swayam Siddha(A reputed NGO  based in Lucknow),Directorate of Environment ,Government of U.P.,State bank of India  and IRITIM , Lucknow.The venue was Indian Railways Institute of Transport Management, Lucknow.Dr. H N Dutta,DY. Director(former), national Physical Laboratory, and Sri K. Sekar , CGM, SBI , Local Head Office ,UP were the two Guests of Honour, while I was the Chief Guest as Agriculture Production  Commissioner, and Principal Secretary, Environment and forests , Government of UP.Dr. R K Sardana , Director of Environment , UP gave a vote of thanks.Here is the text of what I said there:
  I started with a quote by Cecil Rhode, a British statesman.He migrated from Britain  to South Africa  for health reasons.In South Africa, he made a vast fortune in gold and diamond  mining.He used a part of his fortune to endow the famous Rhode Scholarship programme.Lewis Mitchell, who was at Rhode's bedside in his cottage near Cape Town, heard the dying man murmur:"So little done , so much to do."
                      IPCC,Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was constituted in 1988.Al Gore and R K Pachauri were awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for spreading awareness about climate change.United Nations framework on Climate change was adopted and Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1992 by about 130 countries.Now more than 150 countries are signatories.The idea is to reduce Green House gases emission.GHG emission (Carbon dioxide,Methane , Nitrous Oxide) contributes directly in increasing the warming of the Earth's surface.UP is the highest emitting state of India and contributes nearly 14% of national greenhouse gases.Three highest emitting districts are Sonbhadra,Rae Bareli and Gautam Budh nagar.Most of these emissions are due to presence of thermal power plants , industries, increasing population , deforestation and felling of trees,increasing number of vehicles, inadequate disposal of waste of all kinds like municipal waste, sewerage, biomedical waste and industrial waste.
            On one hand , climate change impacts on environment, forests, energy , biodiversity and human life.On the ther hand, our present development and life style  contributes to climate change .We have to find ways to mitigate the impact of climate change.
                 We need to prepare a State Action Plan for Climate Change(SAPCC).It shall have seven missions as below:
1.State Strategic Knowledge Mission:We need to create a UP State Climate Change Authority,with a corpus of Rs 20 crores or so .
We also need to introduce climate change as a subject at primary and high school levels.
2.State Solar Mission:
We need to promote three things:a)Solar light systems. b)Solar pumps  for irrigation. c)Solar power plants of 1MW or more.
3.State Mission for enhanced energy efficiency:
a)Energy audit of all government buildings and installation of APFC(Automatic Power Factor Corrector.)
b).Use of LED light.
c).Use of star rated fans , air conditioners.pumps and motors.
d).Procurement of vehicles on the basis of cost and emission norms.
e).Timers to switch off lights , when not in use.
f).Energy conservation building code(ECBC) be made mandatory for new government and commercial buildings.
g).Replace existing transformers by compact secondary sub-stations.(CSS.)
4.Mission for Green India,Green UP.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.The next best time is now(A Chinese Proverb)
a).Green belt plantation.
b).Plantation within degraded forests and moderately dense forests.
c).Social forestry.
d).Agro forestry.
e).Decreasing dependence on fuel wood and encouraging solar stoves in the villages.
5.State Mission on Sustainable  habitat.
a).green belts in planned townships.
b).Building bye-laws be amended so as to encourage energy efficiency.
c).Installation of Sewerage treatment plants.
d).Municipal solid waste management.
e)Local public transport infrastructure.
f)Four- laning of state highways.
6.Mission on water
a)Quality of drinking water free from Arsenic  and Lead  and other impurities.
b)Lake development authority needs to be created.
c)Promote water efficiency through drip and sprinkler system.
d).Diversify  into water efficiency crops.
e)Reduce subsidy in water pricing.
f)Use existing irrigation capacity more efficiently.
7.Mission on agriculture
a)Promotion of green and organic manures.
b)Crop residue management  with modern farm machinery like Laser Leveller, Rotavator,Seed trills , etc.
c) Diversify into dairy farming and poultry farming.
d)Cultivation of pulses , oilseeds, vegetables and fruits.
e)Promotion  and encouragement of agricultural research  to develop Climate Resilient  Agriculture.
                    So little done , so much to do.The agenda seems so big.No single person can achieve it .The community has to join in this cause of mitigation of the effects of climate change.
                  I compliment Swayam Siddha and its founder Dr. Shikha Tripathi for dedication , discipline , hard work and honesty ,in organizing this event.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Launch of Prakriti Bus for education on Biodiversity

It was a crisp and smart event today(August 2,2014;Saturday).A specially designed bus on biodiversity was launched by the chief guest, Prof. Abhishek Mishra, Minister of State for Vocational Education and Skill development , Uttar Pradesh, in Indira Gandhi Pratishthan , Lucknow (U.P.).Dr. Sharad Gaur came from CEE, Delhi .I joined as Chairman, UP State Biodiversity Board  as well as Principal Secretary , Forests and Environment,U.P. The event was organized jointly by U.P. State Biodiversity Board, Lucknow University and CEE(Centre for Environment Education, North.)
           What follows is the summary of what I spoke:The landslide event which took place recently, in village Malin near Pune resulted in the death of 63 persons so far(, and the figure may go up).A major reason behind this tragedy , according to Geological Survey of India, is deforestation and large scale felling of trees.This one example is enough to indicate why we should conserve our biodiversity and ecology.
                        There are 17 threats to biodiversity:
1.Habitat loss and fragmentation.
2.Over exploitation of natural resources.
4.Illicit tree felling.
5.Climate change and global warming.
7.Growth of human population.
8.Hunting and illegal trade.
9.Invasive Alien Species.
10.Lack of efficient protection to threatened species.
11.Oil spills.
12.Coastal/agricultural development.
13.Land diversion.
15.Fuel wood removal.
17.Forest fires.
                     National  biodiversity targets for India , among other things, say that by 2020,a significant proportion of India's population , especially the youth , should be made aware of the values of biodiversity, and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
                         Prakriti bus is a bus for biodiversity education .It is a unique model of education and awareness.It has an exhibition on biodiversity as well as trained communicators to explain.The key thrust areas of the bus include biodiversity of U.P.,bio-geographic zones of U.P., status of protected areas, flagship schemes, climate change and its relation to biodiversity.Audience targets include:
1.School children.
3.General public.
It is free of cost to the audience.
The bus will cover eight districts :
6. Sitapur.
7. Rae Bareli.
8. Hardoi.
It includes both rural and urban areas of these districts.The idea is to have the widest possible outreach in these eight districts.U.P. is a big state , and if this experiment proves successful, we shall replicate it in other parts of the state.
              It is the start of an innovative idea, full of potential for enrichment and scalability.Its salient features are:
2. Interactivity.
3. Fun-filled,with games and puzzles.
4. Visual effects.
5. Take away pamphlets and brochures.
6. Trained communicators and volunteers.
7.Evaluation of level of awareness.
There is a scope to  improve content , design and communication strategy.There  must be continuous feed back.
We must consult all the stakeholders in this project.They are:
1.U.P. State biodiversity Board.
2.  CEE.
3. Lucknow University.
4.Forest Department.
5.Environment Department.
6.Education Department.
8.Other NGO's engaged in environment.
9.Other  universities.
10. Teachers.
11. Managements of schools and colleges.
12. Students.
              I congratulated  U.P. Biodiversity Board, University of Lucknow and Centre of Environment Education , Lucknow for this outstanding joint initiative.The chief guest gave a very good and motivating speech in the end.