Our Future, Our Responsibility - Eastern Mirror
Friday, June 14, 2024
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Editorial

Our Future, Our Responsibility

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 05, 2024 12:42 am

With a forest cover of nearly 1.70 lakh square km, accounting for 23.75% of the country’s total forest cover, the Northeast is rightly dubbed the lungs of India. According to the 2021 India State of Forest Report, Mizoram has the highest percentage of forest cover at 84.53%, while other states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland, too, have more than 70% forest cover, which is impressive. While this is something to be treasured, it is equally disturbing to know the dwindling of green cover in the region. This trend, if not checked, will prove costly to the rich biodiversity, which the region takes pride in and is vital for a balanced ecosystem. Various human activities like deforestation and improper agricultural practices, compounded by climate change, have not only led to the extinction of flora and fauna but also soil erosion. Considering the harm done to the region’s rich biodiversity and fertile land over the years, the theme for this year’s World Environment Day — “Land restoration, desertification and drought resilience” — is apt for the region to retrospect, reflect and learn from past actions that were detrimental to its ecosystem. With extreme weather events like floods, heatwave and droughts bound to increase due to global warming, it is pertinent to build resilience. For instance, some countries have set up hundreds of desalination plants and started treating sewage water for irrigation purposes as well as to cater to millions of drought-affected areas. While these methods may not be feasible for a capital-starved region like the Northeast, also because of the energy required to desalinate water, what we can do to mitigate the impending water scarcity is turn to nature-based solutions, protect source watersheds and water quality, check deforestation and desertification, and adopt sustainable agricultural practices.

Well, if there is one issue that the world can’t afford to ignore, it has to be the ever-increasing plastic waste that is polluting water bodies and the environment, thus endangering marine life as well as wildlife. Many countries have introduced mitigating measures to address this menace but the current efforts are just not enough to make up for decades of neglect. Moreover, collective effort is missing. For instance, the government of Nagaland declared its resolve on the occasion of World Environment Day in 2018 to make the state plastic-free and eventually banned single-use plastic items the following year. The move received mixed reactions, with several organisations joining the campaign with much enthusiasm, while it was met with reluctance from business establishments and the general public. After being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has once again reintroduced the ban but there seems to be few takers, though the business community as well as the public are aware of the environmental hazards associated with non-biodegradable materials like plastic. While the government should ensure that its policies are implemented on the ground, we should know our responsibility towards the environment.

6113
By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 05, 2024 12:42:42 am
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