Balancing environment protection with development vital to fight climate change: Choudhury

Guwahati, Dec 6 (PTI) Balancing environment protection and development along with awareness generation are the keys to combat climate change, noted environmentalist Anwaruddin Choudhury said here on Monday.

He said that while climate change is a natural phenomenon, activities of humankind is accelerating the process.

I am not against development. But there is a need to review and regulate some of the developmental projects, Choudhury said, while delivering the 1st Naresh Mitra Memorial Lecture on the topic Conservation of Wildlife in North East: Climate Change and Other Emerging Challenges’.

Talking of big dams, he said though these are required for power generation, but questioned the necessity of mega dams especially in areas such as NE region.

These are potential ecological disasters, he said, adding that most dams are being built on faulty Environmental Impact Assessment reports’.

The former civil servant also questioned why roads, railway lines or power transmission lines are taken through forested areas though it can be avoided by little re-alignment.

Choudhury cited instances of building underpass in Baksa and Lakhimpur districts of the state in select sites for smooth movement of animals.

He also sounded the warning bell regarding threat to environment through palm oil cultivation and said strict regulation must be ensured for taking it up on a largescale.

Extension of protected areas for flora and fauna, legal protection of elephant corridors, clearing of encroachment, strengthening of anti-poaching measures and control of jhum cultivation were among other measures suggested by Choudhury to fight climate change.

While we may take all these measures and more, most crucial is awareness. Unless the people are made aware for the need to conserve the environment, we cannot achieve anything, he added.

Choudhury further said, Climate change is a natural phenomenon. But our activities are accelerating it and it is a cause of concern.

Burning of fossil fuels and rapid deforestation are major causes leading to climate change, he added.

Chairman of Assam Pollution Control Board Arup Kumar Mishra speaking on the occasion, also harped on importance of awareness generation.

We have to make the people understand that climate change concerns their village, their locality, he said.

Mishra underlined the role of media in creating awareness and also spoke on the contributions towards environmental reporting by Naresh Mitra, in whose memory the programme was organised.

Mitra, a Guwahati-based journalist working with a national English daily, had succumbed to injuries sustained in a road accident two years back at the age of 45 years.

The lecture series has been initiated by the Institute of Media and Development Studies and Satirtha, a platform of journalists in the city.