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State govt to paint the town green

The government wants every one of its departments to have a ‘green’ commitment. To necessitate this, it is drafting a plan that could soon become a policy. If it happens, every government department will be made accountable towards the environment, reports Soubhik Mitra.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2009 01:53 IST
Soubhik Mitra

The state seems rather serious about doing its bit for the environment. And for that it already has a plan in place.

The government wants every one of its departments to have a ‘green’ commitment. To necessitate this, it is drafting a plan that could soon become a policy. If it happens, every government department will be made accountable towards the environment.

Take for instance, the concrete waste and debris that you often see lying around in your city. The Urban Development Ministry could be given the task to keep a tab and ensure that it is disposed of properly.

City environmentalists say Mumbai generates about 3,000 metric tonnes of concrete waste daily, which is the cause of various bronchial diseases.

“The rough draft [of the plan] is ready and it will soon be sent to all departments,” said Valsa Nair Singh, secretary with the department of environment.

She said that a vision document would be made on the basis of feedback received from the departments. “The vision document is the first step. On the basis of this document we expect to coin a policy by July or August.”

If the policy comes into effect, every state department will have a green agenda of its own.

“For instance, the Public Works Department that constructs government offices and residential quarters might switch to solar energy and green buildings,” a senior official with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The policy could also ease the pressure on the pollution control board that currently monitors pollution in the state.

“We can focus on larger issues like global warming and climate change,” the official added. City environmentalists have welcomed the move.

“Given the current state of affairs, the fact that we are taking environment as a priority is a welcome move,” said Rishi Agarwal, co-founder of the Lokhandwala Complex Environmental Action Group.

“We don’t expect change overnight, but any change is welcome,” Agarwal said.

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