On World Nature Conservation Day, we take a look at what India is doing to conserve nature.
World Nature Conservation day is celebrated on July 28 across the world in order to raise awareness about protecting nature and conserving our natural resources. With problems like deforestation and illegal wildlife trade on the rise, nature conservation has gone up on the list of priorities for a lot of countries. In India, the increased urbanisation has led to issues like lack of wildlife habitat, loss of forest cover and pollution. The government has recognised this as a problem and taken initiative to reverse it.
Take a look at 5 initiatives that India has undertaken to conserve nature.
There have been multiple studies that prove that spending more time with nature improves quality of life and therefore this new scheme by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate might just be perfect. Open spaces, especially green areas are often hard to find in big cities because of the lack of space. People are restricted to their homes and have to go out of their way to encounter nature.
However, the 'Nagar Van Udyan' scheme aims to create at least one forest in each city having a municipal corporation to provide a "wholesome natural environment" for recreation and for the growth of smart, clean, green and sustainable cities. This scheme not only plans on creating an open space for recreation but also aims to educate the public about India's wide variety of biodiversity by labelling plants and putting up wooden planks to identify different species.
Some of the objectives of the initiative are to create 200 city forests in the country which will help towards creating awareness about the environment, provide health benefits to citizens and make cities' climate resilient.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is a mass movement of cleanliness that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. He hoped to develop a sense of responsibility among the people to achieve Mahatma Gandhi's aim of a clean India. One of the initiatives that was taken up under this mass movement was to amend and improve the waste management rules of the country in order reduce the amount of waste produced and improve the process of waste management.
These rules were finally revamped in 2016 to fit the objective of Swachh Bharat.
The main objective of the rules is to effectively recover resources for utilisation through recycling and generate income and employment in the process. Some of the features of these rules are mandatory segregation of waste, a 'spot fine' introduced for littering and jobs created by introducing the integration of waste pickers and waste dealers by State Governments.
Project Tiger was introduced in 1973 to improve the diminishing numbers of tigers in India. It is an ongoing scheme sponsored by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change and provides assistance to the tiger states for tiger conservation.
The objectives of this project include protection, habitat restoration, day to day monitoring, eco-development for local people in buffer areas, voluntary relocation of people from main tiger habitats, and addressing human-wildlife conflicts, under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The project has seen successful as the numbers of tigers went up from 1,710 in 2011 to 2,226 in 2014.
This is probably one of the most successful environmental projects by the government. In the words of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi,"Tiger conservation is not a choice but an imperative."
Mangroves are areas of shrubs or small trees that usually grow in brackish water. They are important because they protect the coastal areas from erosion, storm surges and tsunamis. They are also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna which will perish if they are destroyed. Mangroves are found in a lot of places in India but the largest mangrove forest in India is the Sundarbans in West Bengal.
Mangroves for the Future initiative is a multi-country initiative coordinated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN covering, initially, six tsunami-affected countries namely, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Seychelles, Srilanka and Thailand.
The National Coordination Body of India was constituted under this project to overlook the project activities in the country. The government has recognised 42 sites and four coral reefs in need of restoration and has set aside Rs 11.37 crore for the same. Due to the implementation of the project, mangroves have increased by more than 100 sq kms in the last few years.
Wetlands are small areas of shallow water that occur where the water table is at or near the surface. They are associated with a wide variety of animal and plant life and provide numerous ecological services.
The National Wetland Conservation programme is a Government of India initiative. Till date, the programme has identified 115 wetlands around the country that are in need of urgent conservation and management. The project aims to conserve and promote awareness about the wise use wetlands in the country in order to prevent further degradation.