Meghalaya celebrates World Environment day, Govt keen on reviving 'dead' rivers of Jaintia Hills 

The Chief Minister pledged and called upon all to bring 500 square kilometres of forest cover in the State in the next few years. 

World Environment Day 2021 was celebrated virtually throughout Meghalaya via video conferencing. The conference was participated by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, Forest Minister James PK Sangma and Soil & Water Conservation Minister Hamlet Dohling. 

Addressing the virtual gathering, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said that all need to accept that climate change is happening and it will affect everyone. 

He added that the adaptation to climate change is going to be a very critical part for policymakers at the highest level. "Different forms of adaptation to the environment and the ecosystem, figuring out policies, creating infrastructures and investing to ensure that people adapt to the changing ecosystem is very critical not only for the government but the people as well," he said. 

Thanking the different stakeholders in the conservation, restoration and preservation process, the CM added that the biggest responsibility in making a difference lies with an individual and urged upon all to take small yet significant steps towards the environment.  

The Chief Minister also pledged and called upon all to bring 500 square kilometres of forest cover in the State in the next few years. 

He also stressed the importance of 3As viz Awareness - the need to make people aware at the grass-root level, Alternative - the need for society and government to work together to create alternatives and Act - the need to act swiftly to achieve the goals in a time-bound manner to make a difference. 

Forest & Environment Minister James PK Sangma said that the theme of World Environment Day this year is very apt to Meghalaya. "With forest and nature so embedded in our culture and our livelihood, agriculture and life so closely tied to climate change impacts and forest-related sectors, we have to recast our lens on Meghalaya as a forest economy," he said. 

He added that economic opportunities out of the green and climate action and conservation besides climate finance, climate budgeting, conservation-related livelihoods and, incentivised green action like eco-tourism is what the State needs. 

"We at the forest and environment are already formulating many proposals to create a pathbreaking template of environmental leadership," he said. 

The Minister also informed of the various afforestation projects in coal mining-affected areas. He also said that the department is looking at restoration and cleaning of two entire stretch of the 'dead' rivers in East Jaintia Hills which are polluted due to unscientific coal mining.

Soil & Water Conservation Minister Hamlet Dohling said that Meghalaya has huge biodiversity and called upon all the citizens to come together unitedly in conserving the natural resources and the ecosystem.

Earlier, Chief Secretary M S Rao said that keeping in mind the theme of the World Environment Day 2021 celebration - 'Ecosystem Restoration', the celebration in the State highlights the ecological concerns of Meghalaya and also the success of some villages in restoring the ecosystem.

The programme also saw the experience sharing from communities across the state in preserving and restoring the ecosystem.

A presentation on the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Livelihood to have a common platform to anchor all that is happening in Natural Resource Management was also given during the occasion.

Among others present who participated were Katsura Matsumoto San, Chief Representative, JICA, Ulaç Demirag, Country Director, IFAD, Piyush Dogra, Senior Environmentalist, World Bank, Dr Arun Sharma, DG NECTAR.

(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)

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