VIJAYAWADA: The State government is going to overhaul the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board to ensure pollution-free industrialisation and initiate measures to improve green cover. Speaking at the 70th ‘Vana Mahotsavam’ organised at Dokkiparu village in Medikonduru mandal of Guntur district on Saturday, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said the State government would take up the responsibility of making the State pollution-free. Expressing concern over industrial pollution, the Chief Minister said “industries are welcome, not pollution”.
“I am shocked to learn that pharma industries in the State, which we have celebrated, have been producing 1 lakh tonnes of garbage, of which only 30,000 tonnes are audited and the rest is either burnt or dumped into the sea. It is not good and the practice needs to be changed,” Jagan stressed. Promising that the State government would initiate measures to bring down pollution, he said public transportation would be transformed into a pollution-free system in a phased manner. “We are introducing 1,000 electric buses in APSRTC and all the 10,000 buses will be replaced with electric buses in a phased manner in the coming days,” the Chief Minister maintained.
Emphasising the need for environmental conservation and eulogising the role of plants in safeguarding human lives, Jagan said the green cover is needed for the healthy development of the State.
“Today, we may be happy to have 13 sanctuaries, three national parks, two zoological parks, one tiger reserve and one elephant reserve, but we should question ourselves what needs to be done to improve forest cover from the present 23 per cent to 33, the minimum requirement as per the national forest policy,” Jagan said. Citing the observations of agriculture and rural development expert P Sainath during a review meeting of the Agriculture Mission, Jagan said lack of green cover led to desertification, which is happening in Rayalaseema, where green cover in the form of short-term crops exists only for three months in a year. He also expressed concern as several of the 2,341 plant species and 1,461 animal species are on the verge of extinction. “Today we are happy that tiger population has increased from 42 to 48 in the State in the last five years. But, is that marginal improvement sufficient? he questioned.
Jagan said trees are the only living organisms in the world which provide oxygen, which is essential for the survival of humans. “We all remember Ashoka the Great because he ensured plantation of trees on both sides of roads to benefit future generations. Today, we too have embarked on planting 25 crore saplings in the current cropping season. We have already planted four crore saplings. On this day, we are planting one crore saplings across the State,” he said. He concluded his speech quoting Mahatma Gandhi, “The world has enough for man’s needs, but not enough for man’s greed”.