- How important Environment for your government?
The protection and preservation of environment is undoubtedly the most important task of both the people and Government. There is a very delicate relationship between the living being the environment as survival and quality of life depends on how we care our environment. The path of development shall be in conjunction with the preservation of environment.
Protection of environment is the main goal of our Government. For attaining this objective, the National Agenda for Governance prescribes the formulation of a National Environment Policy. According, the ministry has recently prepared a White Paper outlining the various initiatives taken for protection of environment. The need for monitoring and information dissemination will be suitably addressed. Public participation will be emphasized.
- How important do your think is issue of dissemination environment related information to the public. What is your action plan regarding the same?
It is universally recognized that information is the basic resource not only for socio-economic development but also to formulate various policies and strategies relating to the protection of environment. Information is a resource of resources and dissemination of information is, therefore, of paramount importance to every organization. Effective dissemination is carried by the our Ministry through Environmental Information System (ENVIS) which is a decentralized database network for information collection, collation, storage, retrival and dissemination to all concerned. About 25ENVIS centers on various environment-related subjects have been set up at concerned institutions throughout the country.
- Sir, how useful do you find GIS and Remote Sensing to achieve objectives of your Ministry?
It will not be an exaggeration to say that GIS is sine qua non to development and environment. Environment has seen it’s advocating authorities and planners incorporating many aspects of different forces that determines that overall situation. The GIS provides an efficient way to not only overlay maps of different themes but is also an effective tool for visual analysis. GIS has proven to be a cost-effective tool for environmental modeling, locating the critical zones and offering a solution for the same.
It has been successfully used to assess the damages caused by the discharge of Soda Ash effluents in the coastal area.
Using GIS and remote sensing, Forestry Survey of India brings out bi-annual report depicting state of forest in the country that helps to plan the development strategy for preservation and protection of forests in the country. It helps in systematically documentation of data on environmentally sensitive components and updating of such information.
It is also being used by CPCB for industrial planning and preparation of Zoning Atlas for Siting Industries. It classifies the environment in a district and presents its pollution receiving capacity. The Atlas in each district include about 25-30 maps on various themes such as land use, drainage, air quality, water quality, depth of water etc.
- This vital information is generated on GIS is useful for various environmental studies. Does your Ministry has any plan to put it on the Internet?
Yes, we do have a plan to put it on the Internet so that it could be used optimally by maximum number of people. We are working out the modalities for the same.
- In today’s world, spatial information becomes very soon. Is there any plan for updating databases?
The obsoleteness of spatial information depends on the how rapidly the changes are taking place in a region due to various activities. The updating of databases shall be undertaken periodically.
- Recently, the Government of India has banned digitization of maps by any other organization other than few major government departments (including Ministry of Environment and Forest). Is your ministry prepared for undertaking this huge job and whether the infrastructure is available?
The Forestry Survey of India has the infrastructure and capabilities for doing this work and it has been doing digitization of maps. In addition, CPCB has also developed sufficient infrastructure for digitization of maps and also developing the same at various State Pollution Control Boards and State Executing Agencies.