Reality and challenges on World Environment Day
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, June 5: There is much that needs to be done, beyond traditional “observance” of functions and events that normally characterise the idea of ‘participation’ in Nagaland.
Fast-changing climatic patterns and conditions; noise pollution and air pollution; disappearing vegetation and greenery, growing mountains of unprocessed garbage even in urban areas; issues of waste management and practical advocacy that have yet to truly reach much of the state’s largely rural, agricultural population; and a generally few stakeholders sweating it out in the fray.
On World Environment Day, June 5, communities and institutions across Nagaland observed the event with good intentions and much advocacy. But behind the scenes and in the reality of rural and urban centres alike, the uncomfortable narrative demanded more than words or photograph opportunities—it demanded dedicated action by every citizen of the state’s community.
In Dimapur, Nagaland’s commercial centre and arguably the state’s busiest district, the call to tackling the environmental challenge is even louder. As part of a move to make the dusty and polluted city greener and “better,” various environment-themed actions have been on for years.
Plantation and clearing garbage dumps in the urban areas are a regular activity. On World Environment Day, the Dimapur Municipal Council (DMC) undertook a plantation drive at the DMC’s colossal landfill (“garbage dumpsite”) at Burma Camp, on Wed. June 5 in Dimapur.
The DMC’s administrator Moa Sangtam said that the plantation at the landfill was initiated to combat air pollution in line with this year’s theme “beat air pollution.” The area was ‘chosen for the plantation drive considering the need to plant trees to redress the pollution concern.’
Living in harmony with nature will lead to a better future as the earth is an ecosystem Sangtam said in his address. He remarked there are many species of animals and human beings are one of them and the most intelligent of them. Because of this, he said, there is development.
However, Sangtam lamented, the same human beings living in the ecosystem are destroying the environment.
‘It is only human beings who can save the earth and not by the animals, Sangtam said. The DMC official urged the community to ‘leave something for the future generation,’ which can be even an act of planting a tree.
Khonoma is ‘Green practice village’
The Khonoma Students’ Union, in Kohima district, organized a program to declare Khonoma village a “green practice village.”
A press release from the union on Wednesday informed that all materials made of plastics and which contribute to waste in the form of plastic carry bags, packaged drinking water bottles, and styrofoam cups and plates, will be banned.
Speaking during the occasion was Kovi Meyase, chief executive officer of the Kohima Smart City Development Ltd. He recalled how the village was recognized by the government in 2005 for its conservation efforts, notably the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS). It was then termed the “first green village” in Asia.
Meyase maintained that Khonoma has had a rich history and that its trend to continue being in harmony with nature was praiseworthy.
He urged the village to strive hard to be an example for the neighbouring villages.
Meyase expressed hope that the ‘green practice’ is there to complement the already existing protection of flora and fauna. The initiative is one which the youngsters are now ready to carry forward, he said. The officer hoped that the initiative will result in the village using CFL bulbs, managing own waste efficiently and preserving and conserving the soil. He urged other organizations to contribute towards the initiative to make their goals a reality.
KelhoukholieKhate, president of the KSU, recalled how the Green Village project started in 2005. Since then the students had been responsible for cleaning the village once every month. He maintained that although the students are able to clean the village, ‘cleaning campaigns’ outside the periphery of the village becomes constrained due to lack of financial aid.
The village’s council chairman, Nisamezo Pier thanked the students’ union for their contribution in keeping the village clean. He maintained that it was not just the duty of the students but for each family to manage waste.
Political parties go on cleanliness drives
Units of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) also commemorate World Environment Day with green-themed events in Mokokchung and in Dimapur.
The youths of the Mokokchung NDPP conducted a cleanliness drive on May 5 at the Imkongmeren Sports complex.
The youths cleaned the gallery and corners of grass and litters, updates from the unit stated on Wednesday.
The NDPP youths invite people to consider ‘how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife and our own health.’
Members of the NPF’s minority wing besides others from its Dimapur division also marked the event with a plantation programme. ‘They participated with full of enthusiasm. The members of minority wing planted trees and saplings at NPF Dimapur division office and also at members residential area to keep area green and spread awareness about the protection of the environment,’ a note from the group stated on Wednesday.
During a short meeting with office bearers at the unit’s Dimapur office, the group requested all the members to plant or ‘adopt a tree’ and give it regular care as a ‘gift to nature and to save the earth,’ the note stated .
From our Mokokchung Correspondent
Treehouse School in Mokokchung commemorated World Environment day in collaboration with the Mokokchung Forest division and Manila Shakti Kendra with a plantation drive on June 5 at Yimchalu village, some 15kms from Mokokchung town.
The event culminated with a programme in Tongdentsuyong community hall with Mokokchung’s subdivision officer (civil) Abhinav Shivam as special guest.
During the programme, Green Tribe, an initiative of Treehouse to educate and publicise a ‘sustainable model for preserving the ecosystem’ was highlighted.
The initiative focuses mainly on attaining proper waste management. Production of handmade bookmarks made from recycled paper accumulated from classrooms, for instance, is an activity of the programme.
Arenla Lemtur, Treehouse School’s administrator mentioned that a yearlong activity has been planned to carry forward the ‘zero waste’ initiatives at the school.
Special guest C Abhinav Shivam expressed appreciation for the school’s initiative. The officer urged the parents and stakeholders to take the responsibility of securing ‘a healthy and safe environment’ for future generations.
The students of Treehouse School presented to the gathering various environment-themed stage performances to mark the event.