Allow States to make laws to curb environmental degradation and fight pollution, says Gujarat Pollution Control Board chairman
Furthermore, environment laws should be moved the Union list (which makes it the responsibility of the Centre alone) to the Concurrent list.
This was stated by K U Mistry, chairman of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, while making a special address at the inaugural session of the ‘Waste Management Summit 2014: Resource Management for Sustainable Future’.
The summit was organised by CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Mistry said that since states are unable to make rules to tackle pollution and environmental degradation, they are handicapped when acting against companies that cause pollution.
“Like the Factories Act, which is a central act to protect labour but which allows states to make rules for effective implementation, our environmental laws should allow states to make rules to facilitate implementation of the laws,” he said.
Terming environment as a manifestation of God, he said it was now time to make sure that only qualified people are allowed to operate environment control processes for maximum effect, and there was a need for more environmental labs to constantly monitor environmental pollution.
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission), he pointed out that instead of passing a law, the PM had chosen first to educate the people about the importance of cleanliness through this movement.
Daniel Ziegerer, Director & Counsellor, Swiss Development Cooperation, Embassy of Switzerland, said India and Switzerland had been cooperating for 50 years on the issue of sustainable development.
“Switzerland was one of the first countries to introduce national e-waste management, which included industry, recycler, public authorities, and the scientific community or experts. We are cooperating with other countries on e-waste management, including India,” he said.
Pradeep Bhargava, Chairman, Environment & Recycling Council, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, pointed out that waste can generate wealth. “Waste is an essential evil; while we cannot eliminate it, we can minimise and contain waste,” he said.
Bhargava said that growing urbanisation and people’s aspiration means waste can only increase.
“We will soon generate as much waste as the US though we are only one-fourth their population. But we are only one third their size so where will we dispose this waste?” he asked, and added that the way forward was through recycling and reusing waste.
Industrial Waste Management Association Chairman S Mani urged that reducing waste and using less energy started with the people.
“I asked people how old was the water they are drinking and they said one or two days old. They are wrong. It is three billion years old, created when earth first formed, and it is simply being recycled since then. Nature has given us the perfect balance and we have to take care of this balance,” he said.
Earlier, Ram N Agnihotri, Chairman, Waste Management Summit 2014, and Director, Mumbai Waste Management Ltd, Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd, welcomed the delegates to the 5th edition of the summit saying, “We want to create a world where the environment does not need protection."