n the occasion of World Environment Day, Orissa POST speaks to people working on environment, community service, Forest department and with the legal system to know about their response on the challenges ahead to restore the lost green space and biodiversity. Excerpts from their views:
‘Need to convert green waste into manure’
Cyclone Fani has created a great void in the ecological landscape of Odisha. We have lost around 10 crore trees of different kinds and species including trees on which the coastal livelihood is dependent on. There are tonnes of green waste lying around the cyclone-affected areas which have the potential to be converted into manure. It needs collaborative efforts from the government as well as citizens. Such loss of trees and green cover will lead to rise in temperature in the affected areas. There is need to identify the species of trees which withstood the cyclone and need to replicate their plantation.
–Jagdananda, Founder, CYSD
‘Govt needs to take pro-environment steps’
The cyclone stayed for merely four hours but the quantum of loss was almost equal to that of the 1999 Super Cyclone in terms of losses to green cover and infrastructure. The early warning system helped save human lives. The losses from such devastation run into millions of dollars. The government now needs to shift its attention from the industry based economy to environment based economy.
–SN Patro, Environmentalist
‘Urban planners need to learn from other disaster-prone areas’
The urban planners and other agencies which are working on the restoration of the state need to learn from other disaster prone areas. There is need to use underground electric wires or cyclone-resistant poles which can withstand strong cyclonic storms. Moreover, the government officials who are entrusted with the task of assessing the damage of the properties of victims, need to expedite their work to ensure speedy justice and allay fears of compensation losses among the sufferers.
–Sankar Prasad Pani, NGT Lawyer
‘Big plants to be imported for plantation’
Around 25 lakh trees fell down due to the cyclone. Avenue trees got majorly destructed. We have chalked out a five-year plan to combat the losses due to Fani. In around 6,000 hectares we will undertake a coastal shelter plantation drive. We will import around 80,000 big plants from other states for plantation. Besides forest land we will also plant them on college campuses and government campuses. We will also distribute 50 lakh seedlings free of cost to give impetus to the plantation drive. We will also focus on the plants which are cyclone-resistant and prone to withstand the high speed cyclonic storm and also important for the coastal belt.
–Sandeep Tripathi, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests