The state on Thursday gave conditional clearance to the Environment department’s dos and don’ts to reduce its carbon footprint, because some ministers do not want to let go of their car sirens although they cause noise pollution.
Hindustan Times had reported on Thursday that the Environment department had created a list of instructions to conserve resources. The list included ban on plastic, reduced use of paper, and shifting to energy efficient bulbs and fans.
Most of these directives got a clearance from the cabinet, but some ministers were not ready to give up their car sirens. “The ministers kept arguing that it is not possible to not use car sirens and that it is important during VIP visits. It was feudal and petty,” said a minister present at the meeting on condition of anonymity. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, however, put his foot down. “He said people don’t like such symbols of power and they must go,” the minister said.The department’s proposal has got an approval on the condition that wording of the instruction be changed from a complete ban to ‘can be used when required for the car sirens’. A similar leeway was sought for use of firecrackers during government functions.
Instead of a complete ban, their use will be limited and subject to prior permission from the department. Other welcome changes will soon be seen in government offices across the state. “There will be no use of plastic folders, there will be duplex printers for printing on both sides of paper, there will be recycled paper for almost all use in all government offices from October 2,” said Environment Minister Suresh Shetty.
At government functions, instead of bouquets covered in plastic, guests will receive a single flower or a sapling. Government drivers will be asked to switch of engines at signals and minimise honking. Ministers also sought that trees be planted at government functions whenever possible.