Shillong(Meghalaya),June 6: The World Environment Day, 2023 was observed here today with a series of events held at different places to mark the day. Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma graced the programme as Chief Guest.
Culminating at the State Convention Centre where the main event was held, Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma said that the government in the last few years have been trying to bring a change in the environmental sector by collaborating with different departments and getting the community involved. “Today’s program is another step forward towards ensuring for the need for all of us to work together to be able to achieve the goals that we have laid before us,” he said stressing that the goals cannot be achieved only by the government but by the involvement and participation of the society and community at the grassroots level.
Coming down heavily on suppliers of single use plastic he said, “The use of single use plastic is banned by the government but we have challenges when it comes to enforcement but we will be ensuring that the supply of single use plastic will be dealt with firmly by the government.” He added that getting people to stop using single use plastic is not so easy and there has to be an alternative given to the people like organic bags or plastic bags that degrade after ninety days. He further said that stopping single use plastic at every shop will be very difficult and the easiest way to stop single use plastic is to stop their supply.
Highlighting the Payment to Ecosystem Services in Meghalaya the Chief Minister said that this is a unique program which the government hopes to expand in future. “With thousands of hectares of land under the PES system we hope that we can earn carbon credits from different agencies and we are working in this direction,” he informed.
The Chief Minister also said that the environment will play a crucial role in creation of livelihood activities and employment because the environment will be linked to different sectors like Tourism, Agriculture, Farming etc. “While there is a huge potential for creating economic activities, we want our youth to be a part of Sustainable and Conscious Tourism, Agriculture or Farming,” he added.
Chief Secretary, D P Wahlang, informed the gathering on the progress and rejuvenation of Wah Umkhrah river and other rivers in Shillong and also emphasized on the need of simple steps that can be adopted to conserve and preserve the environment.
Other highlights of the program included distribution of prizes to the winners of different competitions that were held to commemorate World Environment Day, Felicitation of Dorbar Shnongs and civil societies involved in the cleaning rivers, maintaining cleanliness and environment protection, Meghalaya Excellence Award on Environment Protection, Release of NRM Mascots and Release of Natural Resource Management Anthem, Distribution of PES cheques and a number of documentaries on Mission Life, Save Shillong River Campaign, Journey of PES etc.
Earlier, the Chief Minister, also launched the Tree Plantation Drive and Seed Ball Dispersal at SICPAC and also inaugurated the Nature Interpretation Centre at Ka Phan Nonglait Park.
An interesting feature of World Environment Day 2023 in Meghalaya is the Seed Ball initiative for Greening of Meghalaya under which seed balls, balls of soil mixed with compost, biochar and paddy straw in which seeds of different tree varieties are embedded are dried in shade and dispersed. Seed Ball broadcasting is a low-cost widespread method of enhancing green cover. Broadcasting of seed balls can be done by simply throwing them manually or by using catapults. Drones are also used for dispersing in remote areas.
Around 3.5 million seed balls were dispersed by school children during the WED 2023 and about 75000 children took part in Seed Ball initiative during June 2023. School children across the state had hands-on experience in making the seed balls in the schools under the guidance of trained instructors.