himachal forest

Known for its lush green meadows and the salubrious climate, Himachal Pradesh is a well recognised tourist destination in the Country and the initiatives, the State has taken for preservation of its environment, have been acclaimed by many International and National agencies.

The credit for the same goes to the farsightedness of the Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is the lone crusader in initiating measures for preservation of the environment of the State and wants to see the State going ‘Green and Clean’.

The State Government in its endeavour to maintain its serene beauty has taken innovative steps in this direction. The State Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board had been especially constituted for specific purpose of containing the industrial effluents and the pollution thereof but also adopt necessary measures to conserve natural resources.

The State Government has finalised the environment master plan document during the year 2013-14 for effectively managing the fragile environment of the State. During the year 2014-15, the sectoral guidelines prepared under this plan shall be adopted and implemented in the State. During the year 2013-14 environmental policy of the State is being re-oriented and re-structured to ensure sustainable development. The State Action Plan on climate change has been finalised as a part of adoption and mitigation strategies and has been approved by the National expert committee. Under this plan, various adaptation measures shall be taken in the State.

The Government had received a development policy loan of $100 million from the World Bank through Government of India for shift towards ‘Green Growth and Sustainable Development’. The Government is making transformational shift towards a model of sustainable economic –Green Growth.

The State Centre on climate change has been strengthened so that it can give the required level of inputs for combating the climate changes due to depletion of ozone layer. Keeping in view the likely impacts of climate change on the livelihood practices of people, the research on climate change impacts on agriculture, horticulture would be carried out through State Centre on climate change during the current fiscal.

The Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, which is the is the first and only Board in the country constituted for mitigating pollution of all types, is a nodal agency for planning, coordination, prevention & control of pollution. The State Board has always endeavoured to strike a rational balance between economic growth and environmental preservation. In the pursuit of attaining the objectives enshrined in the environmental legislations the State Board has followed the principles of sustainable development. Continuous efforts are being made by the Board to expand its activities to fulfill the demands of emerging environmental concerns, challenges and new statutes.

The Board is regularly monitoring the water and air quality and compiling the data of cement, textile and pharmaceuticals industries of Himachal Pradesh. Besides, the Board has also uploaded the ambient air and water quality data of 10 towns of Himachal Pradesh and 219 locations respectively, of major rivers & their tributaries.

On the persuasion by the State Board, 37 Hydel Power Projects in the State have installed the requisite equipment for ensuring 15% discharge of water into the respective water bodies.

Continuous efforts are being made to fulfill the demands of emerging environmental concerns, challenges and new statutes. Online real-time monitoring of air emissions in all the cement plants has been taken care of.

Last but not the least, the Government has launched many awareness campaigns including the Total Sanitation Campaign, not only in schools but also in PRI’s to make the people aware of the benefits of conservation of our natural resources by preserving the environs, which has started yielding the desired results.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.