BMC to make all its depts eco-conscious by next year

First-ever initiative comes after state govt directive

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The civic body’s drift towards infrastructure development at the cost of the environment is set to change, since, by 2011, Mumbai will at least have a ‘vision’ of becoming an eco-city.

To make every department in the civic body accountable, the state environment ministry, for the first time, has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to chalk out an environment action plan for the next five years. It will focus on lakes, river conservation, stringent air pollution rules, sewerage and water monitoring, and sensitivity to the environment. The initiative is part of the 2010 vision document of the state environment ministry.

“Whatever money the BMC spends is pumped into infrastructure, and not the environment. The the need of the hour is to have a vision to take Mumbai along the right direction,” said Sachin Ahir, minister of state (environment).

A meeting of all departments — solid waste management, development plan, sewerage, water, storm water drain, gardens and tree authority — was held with additional municipal commissioner RA Rajeev recently to chalk out this  ‘vision statement’.

“Environment is a by-product of good policies and this vision will ensure that each department takes into consideration the environment aspect. For SWM, we have already formulated an environment sensitive system. This plan will do away with the unscientific way of garbage dumping,” said Rajeev.

However, environment activists are not optimistic. “I think the state of sensitisation of our political leadership to environmental issues is so bad that they are not capable of taking to this kind of an exercise. These visions are hogwash, but if they prove me wrong, it’s great,” said Rishi Aggarwal of Mumbai Environment Social Network.

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