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| Last Updated:02/07/2020

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'People's participation vital to protect environment'

PUNE: Wildlife scientist AJT Johnsingh said on Saturday that people's participation would play a vital role in conservation of environment and wildlife. He emphasised the need to grow more trees to reduce pressure on existing forests and protected areas.

Johnsingh was honoured with the Vasundhara Sanman award at the concluding session of the eighth edition of the 
Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival in the city.

Speaking to reporters, he said, "Everybody should contribute towards environment conservation; the government alone cannot do everything to protect forests and wildlife.

We need to plant more trees and protect them. Cities will have to protect their green cover, while in rural parts, farmers will have to grow trees along farm land. This will help bring down dependency on forests and maintain balance in the environment.

Even politicians will have to plan pro-conservation steps," he said.

Johnsingh said that the consistent population growth in the country has increased pressure on the environment. "Given the existing growth rate, the country's population could soon exceed that of China. We need to adopt measures to check population."

He said that the country also faced a serious challenge of degradation of habitats owing to erratic weather conditions. Recent landslides in Uttarakhand and floods were examples of sudden changes in weather, he said.

Johnsingh said that despite constraints, the country was doing well in wildlife conservation, but stressed that the momentum needed to be maintained.

Wildlife activist Samad Kottur said that encroachment on forest areas was the biggest threat and required urgent attention. Declaring forest areas as protected zones could curb encroachments to some extent. Local residents need to be given proper guidance to stop deforestation and activities that have an adverse impact on environment and wildlife, Kottur said.

The Times of India (26-01-2014)