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Issue 9
January , 2009
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Good Earth

Source: From Editor's Desk, Date: January , 2009

Besides being well known for its apples, beautiful landscape and tourism industry, Himachal Pradesh now has hit the headlines for an entirely different reason. The state has mandated all its government departments to start environment audit. In fact, Himachal Pradesh is all set to become the country’s first and the world’s second carbon-free state.

If implemented successfully, HP would become a role model for other Indian states. As per reports the state will announce its carbon-neutral policy by March.

This is no doubt a welcome move right at a time when environment seems to be a major crisis not only for India but also for the globe. According to reports of National Climatic Data centre last year was the eighth warmest year on record. Preliminary calculations show the world’s average temperature for 2008 was .49 degree centigrade higher than the 20 th century average of 13.9degree centigrade. The gar-reaching impacts of Global warming would be felt in changing storm patterns, damage to flora and fauna, droughts, floods, spread of killer diseases etc.

Toxic waste management, too, be it household hazardous waste or e-waste, is proving to be a challenge. Delhi government has recently put a ban on usage of plastic bags. As per new laws violators will face imprisonment of up to five years and/or fine of up to Rs 1 lakh under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

Environmentalist and ethicists are burning midnight oil mulling over conflicting issues of Economic Development and Human Progress. We have already learnt to tread cautiously around the subjects of Food safety and food security. Blind usage of pesticides to increase crop production and bring about self-sufficiency have resulted in spread of cancer and other life threatening diseases. Wildlife is receding fast as conservation laws and implementing authorities struggle to preserve hundreds of endangered species. In fact forests are also disappearing fast. Commercial interests are prompting agencies to strip the lands of their natural resources causing loss of habitats for those closest to the soil: tribals.

That is why this pro-environment move by HP government has ushered in a gush of fresh air. We only hope all the plans mentioned in the state’s environmental master plan cross beyond the paper-barrier as sustainable development and emerge as a true path-breaker for other governments.