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Goa government to ban plastic items from offices

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Panaji: Plastic cups and other plastic cutlery will soon be banned from Goa government offices and programmes conducted by the state government.

‘A circular to the effect will be issued later this week’, a senior government official said and added  that the Chief Minister Laxmikant  Parsekar had given his consent to the move at a meeting of the Goa State Environment Protection Council called on Monday at the Raj Bhavan.

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha is the chairperson of the council.

“The governor during the meeting had suggested that the eco-friendly move would help drive home the message of cutting down on the use of plastic, as far as government employees are concerned.

“The Chief Minister has accepted the suggestion and assured the Governor that a formal circular to the effect would be issed this week,” said the official, who was present at the meeting.

“To begin with, plastic cups, spoons and other forms of cutlery will be banned from use. More and more plastic and environment-unfriendly items will be added to the ban-list,” the official said.

(IANS)

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Goa Can Be Transformed Into The City Of Venice

The development of its intricate network of inland waterways has the potential to transform Goa. in to Venice of East

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Calvim Ferry in Goa. Goa can be
Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting. Wikimedia Commons

Panaji, November 21,2017:

Goa has the potential to become the Venice of the East if it taps its intricate network of inland waterways for commuting, suggests Rajiv Somani, chairman and managing director of Drishti Marine, promoter of the state’s first private ferry service.

Somani, whose agency also operates a private lifeguard service along Goa’s coastline, said that the ferry service also adds to the range of offerings, in terms of “things to do” in Goa.

“The only model really close to this is the one in Venice where one can travel through waterways all the time,” Somani told IANS in an interview.

“The ferry service is more of a leisure experience. The picturesque ferry service adds to the range of offerings in terms of things to do in Goa for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit the state. Additionally, it also acts as a premium transit service for tourists and local residents.

“We are only targeting less than five percent of the population arriving at the airport. We understand that there are people willing to pay the fee for the trip,” he said, adding that the service would begin later this month when the tourism season begins to peak in the coastal state.

The daily ferry service will function with the help of two 40-seater, high-speed catamarans, which will ferry commuters between designated pick-up points like the state capital Panaji, heritage centres like Old Goa, beaches like Baga, Aguada and Sinquerim and the Dabolim airport.

The Airport Ferry Terminal is located at Baina beach, Vasco da Gama, and is approximately five kilometres from the Goa airport in Dabolim. A free shuttle service will be available between the ferry terminal and the airport for the convenience of passengers arriving at the airport.

Fares for the ferry service range from Rs 100 for a ride between Old Goa and Panaji to Rs 800 for a trip between the Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina and Panaji.

The ferry will operate from 22 temporary jetties spread across the state, including tourism vantage points.”

In Phase 1 and 2 we are looking at a mix of about 22 jetties. Of these, 11 are existing jetties and 11 will be floating jetties which will be constructed by us. The present government jetties exist at Panaji, Old Goa, Chapora and Sinquerim, among other places,” he said.

Asked if the service would be competing with the state’s aggressive taxi lobby, which has been combative vis-a-vis introduction of alternative modes of mass transport, Somani said: “We are not competing with the taxi operators. One thing we were always clear about: We will not do anything which is competition to the local community”.

Somani also said that ferry services had immense potential in Goa, which is crisscrossed with waterways.

“Goa has an excellent network of waterways; what’s needed is the right kind of infrastructure. One doesn’t need to erect concrete jetties everywhere; a floating jetty like the one we are currently building in Baina works just as effectively,” he said, adding that the ferry would help better water-related experiences for visitors. (IANS)

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Undaunted Initiative by tribal women for forest preservation in Muturkham, Jharkhand

Muturkhum forest saved from deforestation and exploitation under Timber mafia due to collective efforts of tribal women

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forest under the threat o deforestation in Muthurkam saved by tribal women. pexeby

8th Nov, 2017, Jharkhand:Armed with just water bottles and sticks, a group of poor tribal women in Muturkham village of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhandtrekked miles to the sal forest that surrounded their habitat. Their mission: To save the forest from being plundered and denuded by the “forest mafia”.

Accompanied by just a dog for their safety, these determined women made frequent forays into the deep forest — with which they shared a symbiotic relationship — and have been able, over the years, to successfully conserve 50 hectares of forest land and its flora and fauna deep in the heart of a territory that has also been a battle zone between government forces and left-wing extremists.

This group was brought together by Jamuna Tudu, 37, who has spent the last two decades of her life fighting against deforestation. It was in 1998, after her marriage, that Jamuna took up this challenge of preserving the forest by making villagers develop a stake in it.

 

orest saved from deforestation by tribal women in Muturkham. pexeby

Today, her Van Suraksha Samiti (Forest Protection Group) has about 60 active women members who patrol the jungle in shifts thrice a day: Morning, noon and evening. And sometimes even at night, as the mafia set fire to the forests in random acts of vandalism and vengeance.

Jamuna’s fight has not gone unnoticed. The President of India has honoured her conservation efforts.

“Few days after my marriage, when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a few other women from the village took me to the forest to cut wood and get it to cook food, I felt that if we keep cutting the trees this way, all our forests will be wiped out,” Jamuna recalled to IANS in an interview.

In her quest, she had to battle against the mafia that was chopping down trees for their precious sal timber with complete disregard for the law or the tribal tradition that prohibits cutting of the trees.

Realising that she would get little help from authorities, who may well have been hand in glove with the mafia, she took matters in her own hands. She spoke to a few women of the village who were quite aghast at the task she had taken on. We won’t do it; this will require us to fight the men in the village, they told her.

But Jamuna, who has studied up to Class X, foresaw a bleak green-less future for herself and her community with no trees and forests to sustain or protect them.

‘Jungle nahi rahega toh paryavaran kaise bachega (how will we protect the environment if the forest is destroyed)?’ she asked.

Jamuna’s clear understanding of the issue soon trickled down to the other women and even men in her village.

“I was brought up with a love and respect for nature. My father used to plant numerous trees in our farms in Odisha. That’s where I learnt the importance of the environment,” she said.

Pointing out how the mafia was exploiting the wood from Muturkham to fund their alcohol needs, she said she was bewildered by the passive response of the community at their habitat being slowly destroyed.

“I went on to speak to a few women in the village. I held a meeting with them several times to be able to convince them that we needed to protect our beautiful forests,” she said.

Gradually, she mobilised a group of 25 women from the village and armed them with bows and arrows, bamboo sticks and spears, they marched into the forest to take on the forest predators.

With time, many men also became part of the campaign against deforestation, but most of the effort has continued to be from women, said Jamuna.

There are many daunting challenges that came their way, but their single-minded dedication towards their cause kept them going.

“There were too many altercations with the village people initially.. many scuffles with the mafia… and I told those women that in this journey, we would come across both good and bad times, but we have to struggle to keep the forest,” said Jamuna.

The group convinced the railway authorities to bar the plundered wood from being exported.

“Some time in 2008-09, we were brutally attacked by the mafia,” she said.

“They pelted stones at us while we were coming back from the railway station after speaking to the station master. Everybody got injured,” she added.

For obvious reasons, Jamuna, the woman whose initiatives were hampering their business, was their main target. She and her husband suffered most in the assault.

“My husband got hit on his head as he tried to save me. It was dark and we somehow managed to run away. We narrowly escaped death that day.” But she did not give up.

Over 15 years of many fierce encounters with the mafia and relentless sensitisation of the community, Jamuna, and the Van Suraksha Samiti that she formed, have succeeded in protecting and conserving the 50 hectares of forest land not just surrounding her village, but around many others as well.

Tribal communities cannot survive without wood. They need it for various things — mostly to cook food. But they ensure that their requirements remain within sustainable limits.

“We don’t cut trees on purpose any more and use the fallen trees and branches for all our needs,” Jamuna said. “The amount we are able to save up during the rains is sufficient for the whole year.”

The Forest Department has “adopted” her village, which has led to Muturkham getting a water connection and a school.

In 2013, Jamuna was conferred with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the ‘Acts of Social Courage’ category and this year in August, she was awarded with Women Transforming India Award by the NITI Aayog.

Today, she runs awareness campaigns through various forest committees in Kolhan Division. Around 150 committees formed by Jamuna, comprising more than 6,000 members, have joined her movement to save the forests.

She wants to do a lot more. “I wish to do a lot… to make a lot more difference, but I am bound by limited resources. I can’t in many ways afford to go beyond the villages in my state.”

But if I get more support, many more forests like ours can be saved, she declared.

(This feature is part of a special series that seeks to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India, and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at mudita.g@ians.in)

 

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Plastic Found in 83% Drinking Water on Five Continents, Nobody is Safe

While the health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, it is not something you would want to consume

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A shelf full of various kinds of bottled water is pictured at a supermarket in Beijing. (VOA)
  • Tiny particles of degraded plastic called microplastics found in drinking water
  • Consumption of microplastics by fishes are known to stunt growth, inhibit hatching of eggs and increase mortality rates
  • The tiny pieces of plastic have been found in both, public taps and bottled water

London, September 7, 2017 : Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in drinking water on five continents – from Trump Tower in New York to a public tap on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda – posing a potential risk to people’s health, researchers said on Wednesday.

Plastic degrades over time into tiny particles known as microplastics, which were found in 83 percent of samples from Germany to Cuba to Lebanon analyzed by U.S.-based digital news organization Orb Media.

“If you ask people whether they want to be eating or drinking plastic, they just say, ‘No, that’s a dumb question,’ ” said Sherri Mason, one of study’s authors and a chemistry professor at the State University of New York.

“It’s probably not something that we want to be ingesting, but we are, whether through our drinking water, through beer, juice. It’s in our food, sea salt, mussels. Nobody is safe,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Microplastics of up to 5 millimeters are also in bottled water, she said.

The health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, but studies on fish have shown they inhibit hatching of fertilized eggs, stunt growth and make them more susceptible to predators, increasing mortality rates.

Microplastics absorb toxic chemicals from the marine environment, which are released into the bodies of fish and mammals who consume them, Orb Media’s chief executive, Molly Bingham, said in a statement.

While many studies have shown the prevalence of microplastics in the world’s oceans, where more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating, it is the first time research has been conducted into drinking water. (VOA)