Experts from Pakistan, India call for implementing Bali declaration

NEW DELHI: Experts and journalists from Pakistan, India and other regional countries have underlined the need for implementation of Bali Declaration to save the earth from environmental hazards. During a two-day media briefing organized by Centre for Science and Environment here, the experts  said in the next few years there was an apprehension of fast changes in the world environment which could cause immense damage.The experts urged the United States and other world powers to fulfill their responsibilities in making the world environment free of pollution.They completely opposed the Copenhagen meeting by saying that “it was only a political agreement.”Speaking at the briefing, India’s Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh said that the United States was not following any agreement on environment and had also put aside the Bali Declaration.

The Copenhagen meeting was also a political agreement between powerful lobbies  and it was not mandatory for the countries. America did not let any agreement to take a final shape which carried any legal restrictions.He pointed out that the U.S also did not fulfill its promise of giving $ one billion to India on yearly basis to stop environmental degradation but paid only $ one billion in three years.He called upon the South Asian countries to work together to stop environmental pollution.He said he held wide ranging talks with his Pakistani counterpart Hameedullah Jan Afridi and it was the responsibility of all to join hands to provide a better environment to their people.Director Center of Science and Environment Sunita Narain said that rapid changes in the environment of the region are having effects on the common man and effective steps are not being taken at the government level to stop the deterioration.She said the Copenhagen meeting was a complete failure and it would be of no benefit to the people.

She said US President Obama and Bush have different views on environment as the latter was not ready to listen to anything while the former has shown some seriousness in addressing the issues of environment.Without complete implementation of the environmental agreements by the world powers, pollution could not be brought down, she noted.India ‘s Joint Secretary Union Ministry of Environment and Forests R R Rshmi said the targets of controlling environmental pollution could not be achieved without financial and technical assistance.At the briefing, the experts and journalists from various countries raised objections at the figures presented by India and said other countries were facing problems due to degradation of environment.Referring to the recent floods in India and Pakistan , prominent journalist Tashi Morup said the recent floods in the Indus river destroyed Leh district of Ladakh and 232 people were killed.Incharge Sindhi Service of Associated Press of Pakistan Shoukat Chandio said that the coastal areas of Sindh were badly affected by environmental changes.

Five million acres of land in the districts of Badin and Thatta have been washed away and many historical sites are also lost to water, he said adding due to stubbornness of India, Shakoor lake, the biggest one in India and Pakistan,  has turned into a salt mine.Due to non-release of water in the sea, thousands of acres of jungles of Timber and Mangroves are wiped out and now cyclones hit coast every year, he added.Chandio rejected the impression that the Pakistan government was neglecting issues of environment and said recently a world record was set by planting the highest number of saplings in a day.  The government is taking measures to expand forests with the cooperation of Asian Development Bank.Director of Indian National Center for Ocean Information Service Hyderabad Sateesh S Shenoi said sea level was rising due to increase in temperatures.

From 1950 to 2000, the sea level rose by 1.8 feet while by 2005 to 3.3 feet.Head of Marine Department of Kolkata University Abhijit Mitra informed the mmot that the rise of sea level has increased the ratio of humidity in the air which has badly affected agricultural production in numerous areas.Subodh Sharma said at present 18,000 megawatts of electricity was being produced with coal.He said the government can only support or take steps for implementation of different measures on environment.Energy expert Ajay Mathur said wood should not be used as fuel in villages and LPG should be promoted as this will reduce cutting of forests and create positive effect on the environment.At the conclusion of the media briefing, it was agreed to hold a similar conference in another country and arrange meetings with people affected by the environmental issues and forge a joint strategy to address climate issues – App