Web magazine: “gobar times” India
Article title: Making waves in the Bay of Bengal
So we have all heard of how our coasts and coastal ecosystems are threatened by various harmful activities – too much construction, coastal erosion, dumping, overfishing, pollution and chemical spills. Phew!
But never fear! Organisations working to save the environment are here!
Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem (BOBLME) Project is a regional initiative driven by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and a number of other international organisations. As part of the project, eight countries - Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand – work together to develop a common strategy for the sustainable use of shared marine resources.
In India, Puducherry has been named an Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Pilot Site by BOBLME Project. So stakeholders and the community get together to brainstorm how the present system can be made to function under the comprehensive rules of ICM framework. The powers that be figured out that the best way to get the community involved in managing their coastal resources is to involve the most active segment – young people and school students.
This is where we, the Environment Education Unit at CSE, come in.
BOBLME asked us to conduct an exclusive Green Schools Programme training session for participants from Puducherry and neighbouring Tamil Nadu, last month.
The two-day Green School Programme training session, held at the Conference hall of Hotel Green Palace, Puducherry received an overwhelming response with 65 participants against the targeted 50.
The opening session was attended by senior officials from various national and international government departments and organisations:
• Shri Premchand, Deputy Director General (Fy), Fishery Survey of India, Mumbai
• Smt Mary Chinna Rani, Director of Fisheries, Govt. of Puducherry
• Shri C M Muralidharan, Representative of BOBLME Project (FAO), Bangkok, Thailand
• Dr V Krishnan, Officer-on-Special-Duty, Dept of Education, Govt. of Puducherry
• Dr Krishna Raj, Joint Director of Education, Govt. of Puducherry
• Dr C V Geetha, Retired Principal, Govt. College, Kerala and
• Dr A Anrose, Zonal Director, Fishery Survey of India, Chennai
We can make a difference
“Excessive generation of solid waste, and expanding tourism often highly impacted the coastal seas and the estuaries. If the entrance to the estuaries is blocked restricting water flow, fauna and flora will disappear and mangroves will perish. This will affect the feeding and breeding of fishes. Students can be trained to keep a vigil and guide the tourists to follow eco-friendly practices,” said BOBLME Project representative CM Muralidharan, “Observing coastal cleaning day and promoting education on waste management are necessary for cleaner environment.” He stressed on the need for teachers to understand the intricacies of their coastal environment and pass on this knowledge to students.
Alok Mishra, Deputy Programme Manager, EEU, explained how Pondicherry lost 1.5 million lorry load of sand and affected the Tamil Nadu villages in 2002, causing destruction and loss of property and scarcity of freshwater. Similarly, illegal mining and unchecked construction in the Himalayan region caused disasters. Comprehensive and continuous evaluation is needed for understanding the dynamics, assessing the damage and addressing the issues, he said.