Recently the Alang Ship wrecking yard in Gujarat hit the international news on two counts (International Herald Tribune, August 10, 1998) : First the toxic and organic wastes and the second deals with human health and working environment. News report (Indian Express, August 27, 1998) indicates that ships with toxic wastes may not be sent to along any shore, as per Basel Convention requirement. With an annual economic turnover of about Rs. 20 billion, it is a classic case of conflict between environment and development, with poorly defined environmental laws, due to lack of enforcement. Far away in the Himalayas, things are not good either. In addition to land slides along the Mansarovar route, reported recently, Geological Survey of India believes (Hindustan Times, June 17, 1998) that the gangotri glacier is receeding primarily due to large scale deforestation in the Himalayas. While the above two news may disturb us, these are also some good things happening around.
September is a very important month for our living environment in India. On first of this month, Delhi became the first city in our Country to make use of lead-free petrol mandatory for all petrol based vehicles. Hopefully, the entire Country can likewise be covered in no time to spread this good beginning. This is however not enough : only a better mass transport system can automatically act as a good check on proliferation of vehicles.
Some more good news in the form of common effluent treatment plant for the dyeing units in Karur in the Cauvery basin is in operation and in Gujarat, due to public interest litigation, industries are gradually becoming clean and green corporate machines (The Hindu, June 15, 1998).
Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi, Minister of Science & Technology recently inaugurated a 'Biodiversity Conservation Programme' and also announced a multi-institutional programme on "bioprospecting of biological wealth using biotechnological tools".
With increasing public awareness and definite, though, belated positive actions, the future of our Country, at least from environment point of view, is hopefully bright! Happy reading.