“For many years, the environment was neglected in our country but now people are understanding the value of it”, said advocate and human rights activist Asim Sarode on Monday, at the twenty-first S E Wadia Memorial Lecture organised by Indian Water Works Association, at S M Joshi Hall.
He was speaking on the subject of ‘Environmental Understanding and Intervention by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).’
Sarode in his lecture states, that in subjects like human rights, civilisation and environment awareness, India has fallen back in comparison to other countries.
The National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 enabled the formation of a special tribunal to hear cases related to the environment.
There are seven acts which strengthen the NGT and its influence. These include the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 and the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Sarode questioned as to why the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is not included in this act.
Speaking about holding festivals like Sunburn, he said, “During the days of year end some people attend the parties like Sunburn. For small amounts of entertainment taxes, the municipal authority permits these kinds of festivals. This causes noise pollution and is also responsible for increase in the level of garbage. What kind of culture is this?”
Sarode has also professionally opined in connection with the Pune Metro case which is being heard at the NGT. According to the metro plan, a part of it will pass through Mula-Mutha rivers in the city which could pose a threat environmentally.
“We are not against the metro. In accordance with the environment it should be properly done. We are against the track of the metro that goes through the river. This can severely affect the flow of the river.”
On the contentious statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, he said that there is no need to build the statue in the Arabian Sea. “This can be harmful for aquatic animals. There is no need to build the statue, when on the other side the condition of fort is deteriorating day by day.”
Ganeshotsav is a time for celebration in the city but it is also a time of serious concern for environmentalists. Sarode added that due to the visarjan of Ganapati idols, the rivers are also facing the problem of water pollution. People also use loud sound speakers, and this can badly affect citizen health and the environment.
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