The Earth Day Message
It is time for the annual green parade to start again. World Earth Day marked for the 22nd of April every year is when the world in general would go all gaga over protecting planet earth. The media would hype over green effects in their channels and prints, corporations would hold CSR programs and not to be left behind or away from green light the politicians would not leave the opportunity of holding a mike before them and speak about things green. Gift of the gab rather than the magi all these sermons have finally given in return.
Even though back to nature is the prime slogan for all such program and activities, it actually is back to normal days that we the human race enact in reality. Forgotten would be the promises that were hollered and thumped against lecturing podiums and conferencing tables. Back to hacking at nature we get to soon as the sun sets upon Earth Day consoling ourselves that this is a necessity to maintain our life style.
The one day exercise goes in futile waste and would be the same even if it were extended by a few more days or even weeks or years. The message that Earth Day conveys, is not one for a mere day long retention, but one that should bring about consciousness to the devastating effects on nature that we are creating with our couldn’t-care-less-attitude. Our greed for achieving greater material benefits needs to be curtailed is what the message of Earth Day endeavors to convey but fails miserably to.
Started in 1970 the day was linked to bring about consciousness of the people to the necessary relationship that exists between mankind and nature. The push towards increasing consciousness has been directly balanced by proportionate increase in carbon emissions, deforestation, destruction to flora and fauna both on land and sea. The juggernaut named human race leaves no stones unturned in its selfish quest and nor does anyone have the guts to stop this unruly juggernaut.
If we were to take Earth Day 2010 from an Indian perspective, it would depict a picture of satanic evils in the form of coal power plants and mineral offloading ports sitting in prey along its entire coastline.
With its grandiose industrialization plans in place, Orissa has 10 new ports to come up along its coast line which spans a stretch of 480 Km with utter disregard that the building of these ports are going to cause to the native flora and fauna of the sea. Orissa once famous for its marine treasures specially the Olive Ridley sea turtles which have their nesting grounds along this part of the sea, has turned a blind eye to the massacre that is about to take place on this marine treasure.
These are not unsubstantiated effects that are being stated to create undue and unwarranted fear. Indonesia recently experienced an oil spill along its Rushikulya beach, which was not of a very alarming magnitude. The government and local bodies responsible for guarding environmental borders have done their best to nullify the effects of contamination caused by this spill which has spread into the beach also, but in vain. Inhuman and macabre effect of this contamination would only be noticed and known to those who know the sea world closely. The beach area that has been effected is the known nesting area of marine turtles. When the eggs now under cover of the sand hatch in a few days the tiny hatchlings would emerge and try making their way to the sea.
With their vulnerable predicament which is common for all new born living bodies, exposure to such poisonous material would sure lead to a senseless massacre. The turtle hatchlings are as it is known for their low rate of survival in number.
The ship in question was one of a small size and berthed off the shores of Gopalpur port when the spill occurred. In case the ship was of larger size and was located closer to the Rushikulya beach the leak would sure have wiped off the entire lot of eggs being hatched upon the beach.
A solution from such catastrophes exists in having ports of limited numbers. Instead of the 300 new ports that have been planned to be built along the entire coastline of India, the number should be brought down to reasonable and with due weightage given to ecological effects of their creation.
Conservationists and activists who are in the know about turtles and their ways have asked people who matter not to build ports within 25 Km radius of areas that have an ecological impact. They have selected areas, like mangroves, which are known habitats and nesting grounds of turtles. Such areas are few along the Indian coast and the Indian government would not lose much if they adhered to this advice. Presently the Dharma Port in Orissa is very close for comfort to Gahirmatha which is a known nesting ground for turtles. The port would handle ships of large size which pose dangers mammoth and massive to the lives and existence of the turtles should an unforeseen calamity ever occur to a ship plying in or out of the port.
The government has announced many a program and strictures that are supposed to safe guard the ecological interest in and around the ports. Plans like the Jairam Ramesh plan for coastal governance or the yet awaited Coastal Regulation Zone Rules are all waiting for implementation. How far would the government go to ensure their execution is yet to be seen! Only if implemented in letter and spirit would India be able to call itself a nation living in harmony with nature, else it would continue to be the unruly vandalizer of nature. Only then would Earth Day of a future year hold any meaning to the generation.
Before the bell tolls the end it is for India and all its polity and mass to get together and form a movement that would ensure awakening of people in every strata to the need of the environmental hour. Not just one particular day, but the very way of life needs to accept and remember the necessity that Earth Day or Environment Day speaks about and only then would droughts floods and all other such natural calamity be held back from the shores of India.