SPEAKING AT the 16th edition of the Badalta Maharashtra conclave that commenced on Wednesday, state Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam said that within a fortnight, his department will send a proposal to the Centre for the conservation of 25 rivers in the state.
On the first of the two-day conclave, deteriorating air quality and its impact were discussed in the session on ‘Environment: Delhi and Maharashtra’. Principal Secretary (Environment) Anil Diggikar and member secretary of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, E Ravendiran, participated in the session.
Delivering the keynote address, Kadam said, “The increasing population, along with increasing urbanisation, is leading to the destruction of forest… creating an environmental imbalance that is causing the various problems that we face, right from extreme temperatures to crop failures to even various diseases. To avoid major disaster waiting to happen, all of us need to increase the green cover actively.”
Speaking about the steps that the government has taken, he said, “We have made it mandatory for all municipal bodies to spend 25 per cent of their funds on sewage treatment plants and policies. As the first step to stop river pollution, we are sending a proposal to the central government in the next 15 days about conservation of 25 rivers, including Waldhuni, Godavari and Ulhas.”
The minister further said that housing societies not earmarking 30 per cent of land for parks inside their premises will be strictly dealt with. “We will not compromise. Already, 50 firms that are not following polltuion control rules in Taloja MIDC have been shut down. Several states have also approached us for our work on banning plastic,” he added.
Diggikar said, “The natural cycle of weather has been disturbed by the change in environment. Across the state, air pollution has increased in 17 cities. To check this, we have set up air monitoring machines in 21 cities.”