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Integrated Efforts are Needed to Safeguard Environment, says Vizag’s Collector 

Indian Masterminds Stories

India, too, is observing World Environment Day today along with the rest of the world, with various functions and steps to mark the occasion. Government, NGOs and numerous private organisations are at the forefront, leading the initiatives and pledging to do their bit to protect the environment. 

In Vishakhapatnam, the day started with the banning of plastic from today and further saw cleaning of beaches and planting of 1 lakh saplings. This is just the beginning! The plan is to plant 10 lakhs trees before 31 July this year. 

All this is taking place under the guidance of District Collector Dr. Mallikarjuna. In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds today, he explained why integrated efforts are needed to save the environment. 

ENROLLING PSU AND PUBLIC DEPT

Dr. Mallikarjun is very sensitive towards the environment and had taken steps for its conversation during all his previous postings. This time in Vizag, he decided to initiate a massive plantation drive and took a target of 10 lakhs trees in two months. Talking about it, he said, “After few meetings within the administration, we chose this target and decided to start it on Environment Day. Choosing this time for the plantation was crucial, as planting trees is not the biggest task. Maintenance and sustainability of the trees are way more important. We will complete the target before 31st July so that the plants can get all the benefits of monsoon.”

The target is big, so the district administration has involved all the 13 PSUs, Greater Vishakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, Vishakhapatnam Metro Region Development Authority, schools, welfare hostels, local forest department and village and ward secretariats. All of them have been given specific targets which they have to complete on Environment Day and then during the rest of the campaign. 

“Municipal Corporation has been given target of 15,000 plantation and PSUs have been given 35,000 for day one. The PSUs can choose any barren or vacant land for the plantation,” Dr. Mallikarjuna said. 

The district administration is not providing them any funds for procurement of plants. The PSUs have their Corporate Environment and Corporate Social Responsibilty funds while the Municipal Corporation is self-sufficient. 

DM

There are 4 lakhs saplings with the district administration which will be provided to village secretariat, schools, etc., and all those who don’t have extra funds. All these distributions are to be taken care of by the Social Forestry Department. 

Dr. Mallikarjuna also mentioned that everyone involved in the drive has been directed to avoid plantation of Conocarpus plants and focus on the plants that give shade. 

PLASTIC BAN

From today, plastic with less than 75 macrons has been banned in Vizag as per the NGT orders. The district administration is already running campaigns on roads and public places to create awareness about the effects of plastic on environment. 

“We are late than many cities, but we want it to be effective. Our plan is working and all those campaigns through loudspeakers and gatherings are working. People are already coming to shop with cloth bags. We want public to be involved in this decision, otherwise it will go to waste.” 

SAGAR TEERA SWATCHATHA SWACHCHTA CAMPAIGN 

Vizag is famous for beaches. There are huge crowds on the beaches on weekends. However, due to the lack of responsibility on the part of the public, the beaches get littered with garbage. On 15 May, the district administration launched Sagara teera Swatchatha mission.

With the help of 3,000 employees from various departments including police, forest and Navy

etc., almost 65 ton of plastic was collected and sent to material recovery facility. On Environment Day, today, the team went to clean Sagar Nagar Beach. Dr, Mallikarjuna said, “All these climate changes and disruption in environment is the result of 100 years of negligence by humans. We can reverse the impact with a single effort. Integrated effort is must. So, we are focusing on that, trying to set an example amongst public, so that they volunteer in this task to make our planet a better place.” 


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