Leader Writer: Hrishikesh Angom
The Manipuris are active in every field – may be in sports, art and culture, films, theatre, science and technology and so on, besides being active campaigners in human rights and other social issues. However, they seem to take little interest in environmental campaigns. Everyone might be aware of AFSPA and violation of human rights under the shadow of this draconian act. But, the important aspect of environment is often neglected and kept in the darkness. People lack awareness and understanding of the environment. It is evident from sudden rise in temperature and uneven rainfall that the state is not free from the environmental problems. Besides terrorism, people all over the world are concerned with global warming which could have an adverse impact on the biosphere. The global leaders are mulling over ways and means to redress the environmental issues at the cost of billions of dollars. Here in Manipur, no one cares about the polluted rivers, diminishing forests and habitats. Once in a while, experts talk on environmental issues only on certain occasion. There is not all serious deliberation about the environmental problems. The Environment and Ecology Wing of the state government is just a worthless department having no proper action plan. The seminars and workshops are organized merely to extract funds rather than sensitizing the general public. The state officials and experts would be seen planting saplings only on the observation of “World Environment Day” and “Van Mahosav”.
Moreover, only few social organizations in the state are campaigning against the construction of dams and other projects which could pose serious threat to the environment. The recent development of oil exploration in Tamenglong district has quite gladdened the people with the hope that they would get enough oil in the near future, but they fail to see the ill consequences of oil exploration to the environment. Many experts and environmentalists have put up objections to oil exploration in view of safeguarding the environment, but the state machineries seem to take no notice of the experts’ view. The Manipur Pollution Control Board is a functionless body though it is empowered to do so many things for the betterment of the environment. The pollution level in the state has risen to a high level owing to large number of outdated automobiles being imported from other states. Many of the vehicles operating in the state might be more than 15 years and as a result the level of air pollution increases. The Pollution Control Board is not at all concerned with pollution. More rice mills, saw mills, oil stations and clinics come up in the residential area by defying the environmental norms. The environmental issues are totally neglected here in the state.
It is high time for the people of the state to come to a realization that a good environment is vital for a good living. People should be sensitized on practising green methods to safeguard the environment. Environmental issues are as important as the issues of human rights. Everyone should be involved in the campaign for safeguarding the environment for a better tomorrow. The state government should also give top priority to safeguarding the environment. The Environment and Ecology Wing and Pollution Control Board should be made functional and all environment related issues should be redressed before the problems culminate into a bigger problem.