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Justice Lokur: Laws on river pollution good, implementation lacking

New Delhi, Nov 25 (UNI) Supreme Court Judge Justice Madan Lokur on Saturday said the laws governing protection of environment and rivers were good but their implementation was lacking.
''Laws governing protection of environment and rivers are by and large good. The problem is in implementation. If the executive doesn’t do it, what is the remedy for people?'' he asked at a meeting of water and environment experts here on “Rivers in Urban Context”.
The judge called for a strong movement to create ''educated awareness’’ about pollution in rivers, dying marine ecosystems and degradation of environment.
He was speaking after giving away the debut Anupam Mishra medal for best reporting on environment and rivers and the Bhagirath Prayas Samman to NGOs who had worked on reviving rivers. The award is in the memory of ‘water warrior’ Anupam Mishra who passed away last year.
Justice Lokur said laws were good although there is always scope for improvement but what is required is government studies on what the problem is and how to resolve it. “These kinds of studies are required for all areas that affect people,’’ he said.
Giving the examples of the judiciary intervening on PILs on issues like food security, pollution, bonded labour, stone quarrying etc. he said awareness has to be created about people’s issues and solutions found.
``The second aspect is about educating people on how damaging it can be if no efforts are made. Through campaigns people have to made aware of how difference can be made to the quality of life and water if they rise to the occasion. Education is an aspect of awareness,’’ he said.
Recalling that the Ramgarh Lake in Rajasthan was used for yachting competition during Asiad 82, he said he was shocked to learn that the lake is “practically gone” today. ''Likewise the Subansiri river in Arunachal Pradesh was famous for rafting, so strong it was. Today it has become a trickle, at least during the days I saw it,’’ he bemoaned.
Emphasising the need to reach out to people to spread awareness about the problems about polluted and vanishing rivers, he said, “otherwise the potential for damage is huge.’’
Freelance environmental photographer and writer Aarti Rao received the Anupam Mishra medal for highlighting riverine ecosystems.
Mahavir Singh Sukarlai of Pali district in Rajasthan received the Bhagirath Prayas Samman for his work on stopping pollution in Pali river through awareness, campaign and litigation.
The Meenachil Nadee Samrakshana Samithi received the Samman for stopping an ecologically un-viable hydroelectric dam on Meenachil river in Kottayam district in Kerala and is now working for rejuvenation of the river.
UNI GP Ae 1956
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