WWF-India urges tourists traveling to the Himalayas to go green!

WWF- India’s Green Hiker campaign launched

New Delhi: In its efforts to encourage responsible tourism in the Himalayas, the World Wide Fund for Nature- India launched its Green Hiker Campaign today in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The campaign aims at raising awareness about the vulnerability of the Himalayan ecosystem, by encouraging tourists and tour operators to adopt responsible practices towards reducing the impact of tourism on this fragile ecosystem. The campaign stands on the positive, direct message of Nature leaves a mark on you, don’t leave one behind. The campaign corresponds with the tourist season in the Himalayas and links with the Incredible India initiative of the Ministry of Tourism.

WWF's Green Hiker Campaign launched in Delhi by Mr. Sujit Banerjee, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism (3rd from left) - © Anil Cherukupalli/WWF-India

The launch saw the participation of various officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India in addition to many other organizations and individuals. Arjun Vajpai, the youngest Indian to conquer Mount Everest at the age of 16 was also present to lend his support for this campaign. He also shared the overwhelming experience of his recent expedition and the importance of being a responsible hiker.

Mr. Maninder Singh Kohli, veteran Himalayan hiker, presented a short account of his experiences in the Himalayas, the problems and possible solutions. A Green Hiker Animation Film targeting the tourists and service providers in the industry and encouraging them to watch their footprint was released and screened at the launch.

Mr. Sujit Banerjee, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, while launching the campaign said, “…The Himalayas are the pride of our nation. The Ministry of Tourism is glad to support this campaign, since the conservation of the majestic Himalayan ecosystem is a common goal which we have to achieve together. It is important that we start now ….”

On the occasion, Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India said, “Irresponsible tourism is increasingly rendering the high altitude regions and its fragile wetlands vulnerable. Appropriate mechanisms need to be put in place so that tourism can carry on without negative consequences on this ecosystem. The impact of travel in the Himalayan region needs to be dealt with by the travelers themselves. They should be both responsible practitioners and delivery mechanisms of the conservation message. The Himalayas need our care and protection.”


Green cover of the Tiruchi city should be improved

TIRUCHI: The Federation of Welfare Organisations of Tiruchi has appealed to the State Transport Minister K.N. Nehru to initiate steps for improving the green cover in the city by planting saplings along the roadsides.


In a representation to the Minister, the federation coordinator N. Ramakrishnan welcomed the various development programmes planned in the city under the Tamil Nadu Urban Road Infrastructure Project.

Expressing confidence that the city would sport a new look once the proposals were executed, Mr.Ramakrishnan however stressed the need for increasing the city’s green cover too.

Felling of trees

Over the past couple of decades, a large number of trees have been felled in the city.

5,000 saplings

Efforts should be taken to plant about 5,000 saplings in the city to compensate for the loss of green cover, he said.


India’s water power hit by delays

New Delhi: The government seems to be merrily sleeping while India’s underwater combat arm sinks deeper and deeper. As it is, the Rs 18,798 crore Scorpene project to construct six submarines at Mazagon Docks (MDL) has been hit by huge delays and cost escalations.

And now, the government is dawdling through the proposed Rs 30,000 crore programme, called Project-75I, for the second line of submarines. After the Navy pressed the panic buttons for P-75I’s quick finalisation, the Defence Acquisitions Council chaired by defence minister A K Antony did meet on Tuesday but not much headway was made.

The identification of a domestic shipyard — either public or private — to build the six new-generation submarines is still to take place despite Navy stressing the “criticality” of fast decision-making.

“It’s only after the shipyard is identified that the RFP (request for proposal) or global tender will be issued to submarine manufacturers like Rosoboronexport (Russian), DCNS/Armaris (French), HDW (German) and Navantia (Spain),” said a defence ministry source.

“MDL is already loaded with the Scorpene project under P-75. So, a new shipyard will have to tie-up with the foreign manufacturer for P-75I. At this rate, it will take five years for P-75I to get going,” he added.

As per one projection, India will be left with only nine out of its present fleet of 16 diesel-electric submarines — 10 Russian Kilo-class, four German HDW and two virtually obsolete Foxtrot — by 2012. The number may dip to just five by 2014-2015.

This when both China and Pakistan are rapidly adding to their underwater muscle. Pakistan is now looking to induct three advanced Type-214 German submarines, equipped with AIP (air-independent propulsion) to enhance their operational capabilities, after inducting three French Agosta-90B submarines. China, of course, already has a staggering 62 submarines, with around 10 of them being nuclear-powered.

With problems dogging the French Scorpene project, Navy is keen that P-75I gets underway parallely as soon as possible. Under it, all the six submarines will have AIP systems, stealth, land-attack capability and ability to incorporate futuristic technologies.

As was first reported by TOI, the Scorpene project, under which the six submarines were to roll out one per year from 2012 onwards as per the contract inked in October 2005, is running well over two years behind schedule.

A major factor for this delay is the jacking up of prices of `MDL procured material (MPM) packages’ — sensors, propulsion and the like — from around 400 million Euros to 700 million Euros by French company M/s Armaris (DCNS-Thales joint venture). In effect, it’s demanding India pay an additional Rs 2,000 crore to it.

Both Project-75 and 75I are part of the 30-year submarine-building perspective programme approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security a decade ago. The basic aim was to acquire indigenous capability in design, development and construction of submarines, with a total of 24 submarines to be manufactured in a phased manner.

From TOI

Global Warming-India’s ‘green and clean’ village


The village has set a standard of cleanliness much admired throughout India.

The village has set a standard of cleanliness much admired throughout India.

 Large crowds of visitors have been thronging to the village curious to find out why Mawlynnong has earned the reputation for being arguably the cleanest and best educated in India – all its residents can read and write and each house has a toilet.

That is no mean achievement in a country that is still struggling to educate its population and address basic water and sanitation issues.

About 90km (55 miles) from the state capital Shillong and barely 4km (2.4 miles) from the Bangladeshi border, Mawlynnong is much loved by its inhabitants who work hard to keep it clean.

Bamboo dustbins

It is five in the morning and pouring with rain. But that does not deter a group of volunteers in the village from rising early to sweep the roads. It is a process that is repeated several times a day.

“Some cleaners have been hired by the village council to sweep the roads – but many villagers take turns to make sure they are swept several times a day because it is not possible to pay so many people,” says young volunteer Henry Khyrrum.

There is a fine imposed by the village council for anybody found to be throwing litter around or cutting trees - Mawlynnong village headman - Thomlin Khongthohrem

"There is a fine imposed by the village council for anybody found to be throwing litter around or cutting trees" - Mawlynnong village headman - Thomlin Khongthohrem

The streets are all dotted with dustbins made of bamboo. Every piece of litter and almost every leaf that has fallen from a tree is immediately discarded.

Plastic is completely banned and all waste disposal is environmentally friendly. Rubbish is thrown into a pit dug in a forest near the village where it is left to turn into compost.

The villagers here say that lessons in hygiene start in school so that children can be taught from an early age how to keep their surroundings clean and green.

Mawlynnong is one of the wettest parts of the country – and while many parts of India are suffering under drought-like conditions this year, the south-western monsoon has not disappointed the north-east.

While the supply of clean water and sanitation is a huge problem in India’s teeming cities, it is an even bigger challenge for the authorities in the country’s villages where these facilities are almost non-existent.

Keeping it clean now comes naturally to most people here. The village headman says the village council – or Darbar – maintains very strict discipline.

‘Global warming’

“There is a fine imposed by the village council for anybody found to be throwing litter around or cutting trees. You see, the fine is just one dollar for each such offence committed. But due to the humiliation and embarrassment that our self-respecting people feel at being fined, they make sure to follow the rules,” says village headman Thomlin Khongthohrem.

“Besides, the council carries out strict inspections of the sanitation facilities in each house.

A small village in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya has become the envy of its neighbours.

Children are taught to collect litter at an early age.

Children are taught to collect litter at an early age.

“Workshops are also being organised to make people aware of the dangers from global warming.”

Experts say Mawlynnong, like the rest of the state, has a very effective local governance system. The society is matrilineal – meaning that land is passed down through the female side of families – making women economically more powerful.

Mawlynnong’s reputation for being clean and green has been well documented, and its Khasi tribal inhabitants are known to be worshippers of nature.

Their reverence for nature is seen by some as an effective way of preserving the forest cover.

Thambor Lyngdoh, in charge of a sacred community forest in a neighbouring village, says the while it is true that many Khasi people are “nature worshippers” the drive for cleanliness and education is not about faith only.

“Even today we are very strict about how the forest can be used,” he says.

“People are allowed to take whatever they need from the forest for their own use. But they cannot take anything more than that for any kind of commercial use. They are punished for any violation.”

Local initiative

Mawlynnong’s reputation for cleanliness has even earned it a place on the state’s tourism map.

Hundreds of visitors from all over India now visit the village throughout the year. Most of those visitors are impressed with what they see.

“This is the first time I have come to this place. I really want to congratulate the villagers who have made the place so beautiful and the cleanest in the continent. There is something special about the place. We just came to see why it has become so famous. It really is clean and you have to give them 10 out of 10 for that,” says Sanjay Saraogi, a tourist from Shillong.

Another tourist, Euginea, says the rest of country should learn from Mawlynnong’s experience.

“I have come to this village to see its cleanliness and I think everybody should follow the example of the villagers,” she says

Mawlynnong’s success is entirely driven by local initiative. It has been so successful that the state government has been prompted to promote eco-tourism in the area but the locals are resisting this.

“There is a fierce sense of self-determination among these people. There are certain rules they have followed traditionally. They do not want government to borrow ideas from outside and impose it on them,” says Deepak Laloo, a member of the Meghalaya Tourism Development forum.”

The villagers are treading a path that the rest of India should be keen to follow.

By Jyotsna Singh – BBC News, Meghalaya

Check your Carbon Emissions

Climate Change Pledges
To reduce your emissions further and to better prepare for climate change, pledge to do one or more of the following,
1. Learn more about your carbon emissions. There is much more you can do to reduce your household carbon emissions. Find out more about your emissions and where you can best reduce them by using an online “carbon calculator.” See the list maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2. Commute by carpooling or using mass transit. Over a quarter of the vehicle-miles travelled by households are for commuting to and from work – usually with one person in the vehicle. Carpooling and mass transit are among options that offer big reductions in carbon emissions.
3. Plan and combine trips. A lot of driving involves frequent trips nearby, to go shopping or run errands, for example. Plan and combine trips to reduce the miles you need to travel. Better yet, take someone with you so they can leave their car behind.

Carbon Emissions by our day to day life activities

Carbon Emissions by our day to day life activities

4. Drive more efficiently. In particular, observe speed limits, avoid rapid acceleration and excessive breaking. Don’t drive aggressively.
5. Switch to “green power.” Switch to electricity generated by energy sources with low – or no – routine emissions of carbon dioxide. Contact your electricity provider to find out about the “green power” options available to you.
6. Insulate and seal your apartment or house. This will reduce emissions associated with both heating and cooling, two of the largest sources of residential carbon emissions.
7. Replace older appliances with high-efficiency units
8. Learn more about the potential impacts of climate change on your region.
9. Learn more about potential weather-related emergencies in your area. Find out how you can reduce your vulnerability and how you can respond to each kind of emergency. Find out too about the plans government agencies may have in place.