On International Mountain Day environmentalists say no one is bothered about the country*s mountains
International days are usually celebrated with aplomb around the world. But on Saturday, not much noise was made of the occasion of International Mountain Day.
Environmental activists, however, have been working tirelessly to preserve our hills and mountains and ensure sustainable development in these regions. Save the Western Ghats tackles deforestation, while another group of activists has taken up cudgels against illegal mining in the Aravalli range. The Himalaya Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO) in Uttarakhand work with locals to generate eco-friendly employment opportunities for environment conservation, and celebrates September 9 as Himalaya Day.
Dr Anil Joshi, an environmental scientist with HESCO says, "International Mountain Day was created to conserve mountains; they are the Earth*s climate controllers. HESCO holds meetings with villagers, and requests the government to generate eco-friendly employment opportunities for them."
Joshi*s colleague Dr Kiran Negi stresses the need for sustainable development projects. "Big dams are a threat to the ecosystem. Locals should be made aware of the problems that accompany mindless development," she says.
Mining in the Aravalli range, for instance, has led to wide scale soil erosion in Haryana and Rajasthan and has left the fertile North plains open to sand storms from the Thar desert, says environmental activist Anupam Mishra. "The Aravallis control everythingu00a0-- rain, drought and flood, on both sides, the desert and the fertile plains," he points out.
Mumbai-based activist Rishi Agarwal says indifferent tourists, mountaineers and trekkers are part of the problem too.