MoMS advocates legislative action to end plastic pollution in mountains

NEW DELHI, 24 Mar: The need for legislative action to end plastic pollution in the mountains was stressed during the two-day Meet of the Mountain States (MoMS), organised by the Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), in collaboration with the Divecha Centre for Climate Change (DCCC) and the ministry of environment, forest & climate change (MoEFCC) here.

The meet, which conclu-ded on Friday, saw participation of delegates from all the mountain states of India and members of various organis-ations and institutions.

The MoMS is an annual event organised by the IMI, following which “the outcomes of the sustainable mountain development summit and key mountain issues are placed before policymakers in Delhi,” according to a release.

During the course of the event, MoS for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Ashiwni K Choubey, commended the IMI’s work in bringing the stakeholders from across the mountain states together.

He highlighted the fragility of the Himalayas, and shared his personal experience during the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy.

MoS for Tourism, Ajay Bhatt, said that “disasters are a common thread that runs across the mountain states, with every state having experienced their share.”

He further said that “tourism is an important economic activity, and a cautionary approach has to be adopted.”

The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council’s Chief Executive Councillor, Tashi Gyalson, highlighted the need for “taking forward the conversation on extended producer responsibility for managing plastic waste in the mountains.”

“Companies are taking the mountains for granted, and they will have to do more on EPR for the mountains,” he said.

DCCC chairperson Prof Satheesh highlighted how mountains would have a higher degree of warming than other parts of the world.

IMI president PD Rai highlighted the importance of the mountains and how the IMI has been working for more than a decade to further the agenda for sustainable development in the mountains.

MoEFCC Minister Bhupendra Yadav acknowledged the Darjeeling and Leh Declarations that stress on plastic pollution in the Himalayas, “as well as extended producer responsibility implementation in the Indian Himalayan region,” the release said.

MoS for External Affairs, Dr Rajkumar Ranjan, commended the IMI for its work and proposed introducing an “interdisciplinary mountain science studies in mountain universities that would cater to the knowledge needs of the mountains.”

“The outcomes from the thematic sessions on millets and plastic waste were presented by Dr GS Rawat and Roshan Rai, in the presence of legislators from the mountain states of Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal and Uttarakhand,” it said.

“The need for mountain sensitivity, as well as special focus in extended producer responsibility guidelines was stressed on by the speakers, and it was deemed essential to redress the Himalayan plastic pollution crisis by the panel of legislators during the event,” the release added.