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NE can learn from big city disaster: Keya Acharya

By - Nava Thakuria
Guwahati, May 20,
 
Senior Indian journalist and researcher on environment and development issues, Keya Acharya expressed concern over the state of environment across the country and said that Bengaluru can be an
example of environmental mismanagement for northeastern (NE) provinces, which still have comparatively less pollutants.
Ms Acharya commented while interacting with journalists in Guwahati Press Club through video conferencing and said that fifty four percent of India has become water stressed now.

“While cities like Bengaluru are already suffering due to environmental degradation, northeastern States could definitely learn not to follow examples from States like Karnataka,” she said while emphasizing on rain water harvesting to be made mandatory in all growing cities while initiating new high-rise constructions.
“Rain water should be considered as a resource and used as a resource as well. This is more relevant for northeastern States including Assam which receives more rainfall,” observed Ms Acharya adding that the government should also lay more stress on city garbage disposal system.
“The garbage disposal system in Bengaluru has affected the water bodies negatively triggering series of environmental problems. The stress should be on segregation of waste so that agencies could pick them up and dispose properly,” she pointed out.
Presently functioning as the President, Forum of Environmental Journalists in India (FEJI), Ms Acharya also expressed concern over the lack of political will and public awareness to address the environmental problems in the large country and revealed that she had not come across a single speech that is focused on environment during the current general elections. Most political parties had some environmental issues included in their manifestos but those were superficially addressed.
Travelled extensively to countries in south America, south and southeast Asia, south & east Africa and Europe on various assignments ranging from forestry to renewable energy to solid waste management to rural development etc Ms Acharya however expressed dissatisfaction over the media’s inept role in highlighting environmental issues.
She stated that the influence of media editors in India had slowly diminished, which had impacted the quality of news. The editorial space in media has been encroached by interest of the owners, Ms Acharya claimed, adding that it has led to shrinking media space for people-centric issues including the environment.

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