National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar today exhorted the youth to take lead for the protection of natural environment, which was the need of the hour and play a pro-active role in sensitizing the countrymen about the ill effects of air and water pollution.Presiding over a function on the launch of ‘Save Me’ campaign jointly organized by Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) and Dialogue Highway- a NGO here at Chandigarh University Campus, Justice Swatanter Kumar lamented that our generation did hardly anything tangible to save the natural environment but now we were eagerly looking at the younger generation to contribute immensely for this noble cause. He said our youngsters with unbounded capabilities and capacities coupled with innovative mindset could do miracles in this regard. “It is ironical that an individual who was enjoying the bounties of nature on the earth planet was hell bent upon to destroy it through his callous attitude and avarice,” remarked Justice Swatanter Kumar.
The NGT Chairman criticized the prevalent development model, which was not in sync with the natural environment and thus emphasized the need to have a balanced approach in terms of sustainable development. He cautioned the policy makers and planners to abandon the current development model which was causing irreversible loss to nature and its environs.He said that if we allow cutting of trees recklessly in for the sake of development, then why these could not be transplanted to keep the ecological balance intact. Justice Swatanter Kumar mentioned if human organs like kidneys, heart, liver and other vital organs could be transplanted then why trees could not be transplanted despite having the latest technology of re-planting them.Expressing deep concern over the shrinking forests cover, which resulted in enhanced levels of water and air pollution, Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the governments and concerned authorities at Centre, State and even Local level to keep a strict vigil on deforestation besides showing zero tolerance towards this anti-nature stance.Referring to the problem of municipal solid waste across the country, he underscored the need to develop an eco-friendly technology for its quick transportation and scientific disposal as it was a potent health hazard, which could play havoc with the innocent lives of the people.
Justice Swatanter Kumar highlighted the pro-active role of NGT in creating awareness amongst the people about the significance of clean and green environment besides sensitizing them about the harmful effects of air and water pollution. He solicited fulsome support and cooperation from the NGOs, religious and social organizations for this humane cause as they were instrumental in playing a vanguard role to keep our earth planet ever clean and green. He said that judicial intervention to check the incidents of pollution was limited to some extent but at the same time people should come forward to protect our natural environment and they must take a call on this issue being their bounden duty. He underlined the need to launch a vigorous awareness campaign to motivate millions and millions of people into this mass movement so that this problem could be tackled effectively for all times to come. Justice Swatanter Kumar cautioned the people to mend their ways and dissuaded them not to destroy the nature otherwise they would be perished by it.
Felicitating the PPCB and Dialogue Highway- a NGO for organizing this awareness programme in which nearly 700 students from various colleges in the region participated in this mega event, Justice Swatanter Kumar said such programmes should be frequently held to sensitize our youth to redeem our society from the pangs of environmental pollution. On the occasion, he launched a campaign ‘Save Me’ and planted a tree in the Chandigarh.
While addressing, the PPCB Chairman Mr. Manpreet Singh reiterated that ‘Save me’ campaign launched from this platform would be carried at grass roots level to sensitize every student of the state about the ill effects of pollution on ecology so that this campaign could be taken to its logical end.In his keynote address, the founder trustee of Dialogue Highway NGO Mr. Devinder Sharma mentioned that our generation has renounced our rich legacy but embraced western lifestyle and development model frantically, which has now ruined us absolutely. He urged the NGT Chairman to fix norms for compulsory green cover in every city/town on the basis of population, adding he said this step would go a long way in stamping out the pollution from the country. He said that the plantation of Neem tree should be undertaken extensively throughout the country because of its medicinal and environmental friendly properties. In his welcome address, the Chancellor of Chandigarh University Mr. Satnam Singh Sandhu updated the Chief Guest about the initiatives taken by the university to aware their students about the importance of ecological balance and the health hazards caused due to various kinds of pollution.
While Mr. J.K. Suri, Trustee of ‘Dialogue Highway’ proposed a vote of thanks on the occasion. Later in the afternoon, a technical session was held and presided over by Punjab Education Tribunal Chairman Justice Mr. Rajiv Bhalla, in which eminent environmentalists including Pingalwara Chief Dr. Inderjit Kaur, Kheti Virasat Mission Chief Mr. Ominder Dutt and Professor & Scientist from Srinagar University Dr. M.H. Vani gave their vital inputs on the different aspects and challenges of environmental pollution.Prominent amongst others who attended the function to launch ‘Save Me’ campaign included Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board Chairman Mr. Kuldeep Pathania, Haryana Pollution Control Board Chairman Mr. Anurag Rastogi, Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee Vice Chairman Mr. Santosh Kumar and Convener Dialogue Highway Advocate Reeta Kohli.