Union Minister Bhupender Yadav cautions against extensive use of natural resources

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Sunday emphasised on the need to conserve flora and fauna and cautioned against indiscriminate use of natural resources for development.
Union Minister Bhupender Yadav cautions against extensive use of natural resources

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav on Sunday emphasised on the need to conserve flora and fauna and cautioned against indiscriminate use of natural resources for development.

Addressing a programme organised here on the occasion of the 109th foundation day of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Yadav said the surveyor has been doing a pioneering job in the field of taxonomy, recording and scientific evaluation of faunal species to create awareness among people.

He also said the environment ministry has worked to conserve the rich biodiversity of sensitive zones like Bhitarkanika in Odisha, Flower Valley in Uttarakhand, the desert landscape in Rajasthan, the unique mangrove belt in the Sundarbans in West Bengal and described them as 'Nature's best gift'.

"If plundering of our natural resources continues, there will be a day in this world when only humans will be around - not animals, avian species and plants. Just think about what will happen to our future if such a situation arises. We must work towards saving the planet," Yadav said.

He rued that people are not mindful of their responsibilities to save the environment.

"We take oxygen from the atmosphere but we pollute air in return. We get pure water from the environment but discharge industrial effluents in water. We use unadulterated natural resources but turn these into garbage," said the union minister for environment, forest and climate change.

Yadav pointed out that one important big cat species Cheetah had become extinct and the Centre has started relocating the animal to the country.

"With the active involvement of forest employees, rangers, villagers and scientists, the project has become a success. We have launched such a project involving a big cat for the first time and we will take it forward," he said.

On the 50th year of the tiger conservation effort, India is committed to save the big cats, he said.

As one of the signatories of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which is an international legal instrument ratified by 196 nations, India has an important role, and organisations like ZSI and the Botanical Survey of India play a crucial part as knowledge-sharing is a key factor, the minister said.

Yadav referred to the 2050 vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aiming at meeting the goals for saving biodiversity and in turn the earth.

He also said, "The uniqueness of separate biosphere areas needs to be documented...To retain the sensitivity and uniqueness of these zones, ZSI and BSI will get every support from the Centre. We wish them to continue to work for knowledge sharing and capacity building."

Yadav, who launched the 'Fauna of India Checklist Portal' containing details of 1,04,561 species chronicled by ZSI scientists and researchers, said it was the first such comprehensive list in the world and commended the efforts of the ZSI team.

"This year alone, ZSI reported 641 new species and the 109-year-old organisation makes us proud for its work of research, documentation and exploration," he said.

Identifying climate change as the biggest threat, faced by humanity, Yadav said organisations like ZSI and BSI are performing their respective roles in fighting global warming and continuous challenges posed to the environment.

The ministry with the active involvement of these organisations has been working on a geospectrum model and mapping of biological corridors apart from analysis of factors behind landscape change, he said.

ZSI director Dhriti Banerjee said 153 experts from the Kolkata-headquartered organisation had prepared the checklist during 2022-23, presenting a voluminous fact sheet of species from amoeba to elephants in various topographical regions of the country.

She said 1,700 participants from Zimbabwe, Rwanda, the UK, the UAE, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will attend the Animal Taxonomy Summit from July 1-3, a day after the foundation day programme.

The ZSI was founded on July 1, 1916.

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