“Biodiversity Management Committees can be empowered through Access Benefit Sharing to protect and conserve the ecosystem”
Bhopal: Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Secretary Madhya Pradesh State Biodiversity Board, R Sreenivasa Murthy, today emphasised that conservation objecties can be achieved to a large extent by strengthening the network of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) and through Access Benefit Sharing, which is a key provision of the Biological Diversity Act of 2002.
Murthy was delivering the key-note address at the meeting of the Madhya Pradesh Chapter of Indian Institute of Public Administration at the Academy of Administration in the State capital on Saturday. He said that the State Biodiversity Board works on a low budget but this should not be any constraint when it comes to creating a network of Biodiversity Management Committees. The Biological Diversity Act 2002 mandates all local bodies to setup Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC), he pointed out.
The fees required to be collected for granting access to biodiversity for commercial use by companies would be sufficient to meet the overheads and the BMCs would not require any financial support from the Government to carry out its functions in terms of preserving and promoting local biodivesity, Murthy said.
Expressing grave concern over the gross neglect of biodivesity and the ecological system, Mr. Murthy said it is high time all should be worried and steps are urgently required to check the rapidly growing population. The situation in India is particularly grim on this count, he added.
Murthy had a special word of caution with regard to the vegetables and food grains that people are now consuming. There is nothing organic about most of what we eat, he said and in this regard he especially drew attention towards the drawbacks of polyhouse farming. He compared the tribal socities, still carrying out traditional organic farming practices with other farmers now growing cash crops by using chemical fertilsiers and pesticides and said it is only the latter category of farmers who were in distress and resorting to agitation.
Seventeen per cent of the world population is Indian, whereas the total area of India accounts for only about 2.4 per cent of the total geographical area of the world, Murthy said adding this is grossly out of proportion and it is high time steps are taken on priority to reduce population and bring down pressure on environment, biodivesity and natural resources.
The Earth is said to have been formed about 4.6 billion years. With passage ot time (billions of year), the earth cooled, causing the formation of a solid crust, allowing liquid water to exist on the surface and oxygen stimulating with the ultraviolet rays to form ozone near the upper part of the atmosphere. However, in last 200 years since the Industrial Revolution, the ozone layer that prevents most energetic ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface of the earth has been damaged and the whole environment has been put to risk, Murthy pointed out.
Speaking on the occasion, Lalit Shastri, Editor-in-Chief of Newsroom24x7, focused attention on the factors threatening forests and the the river system. He said that reckless grazing, illegal mining, firewood collection, illegal felling of timber, encroachment of forest land and man-made fire, are some of the main causes leading to massive depletion of forest cover.
Shastri also said that population should be controlled on priority to reduce pressure on our eco-system. He also issued a firm warning against conspicuous consumption and the growing tendency to ape the so-called developed societies that are already realizing the folly of not living with but living off nature.