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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

2011: Decade of Biodiversity and something more than that

Every year, as you well know, is the International Year for Something or the Other.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2011 23:57 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

Every year, as you well know, is the International Year for Something or the Other.

If you had forgotten, 2010 was the International Year of Bio-diversity, which, in common parlance, means the sum total of living creatures in an eco-system.

This annual theme has a ring of irony for anyone in India—it’s been the year of fighting for biodiversity, whether it’s been the battles around the mangroves around the Navi Mumbai airport or the Vedanta mines and smelting, or even, the outrage over Bt Brinjal.

What remains clear is that each of these victories is only temporary.

There just isn’t enough willingness outside the Ministry of Environment and Forests to preserve bio-diversity, despite the fact that hundreds of thousand of people depend on it for their livelihood and existence, and many urban benefits also flow from these.

But cheer up, from 2011 starts the Decade of Biodiversity. It may mean little to Indian policy makers and politicians, but there will be a UN body, much like the IPCC for Climate Change, that will push for action on this front.

Watch this space to learn how people like us can support this new body to conserve India’s beautiful bio-diversity.

Chemicals, anyone?

2011 is also the International Year of Chemicals, and things are starting on a positive note.

Take one of India’s biggest chemical controversies today, the terrible pesticide, Endosulfan, responsible for the health catastrophe in Kasargod, Kerala.

There is a global effort to include Endosulfan on the list of chemicals to be phased out in the second phase of the Stockholm Convention, which India is a party to.

In the last six weeks, the National Human Rights Commission has taken up the matter of the Endosulfan victims, the state government has both banned it and asked for Central assistance for the victims—a sarkari nod to the idea that the pesticide resulted in severe human impacts.

But it will only feel like a substantive year of chemicals when Endosulfan is firmly placed in the Stockholm Convention, and governments all over the world will have to cease production and usage.

First Published: Jan 02, 2011 23:54 IST

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