Institutions in environment
Environment protection for some time now is not more the exclusive preserve of the Government and its various arms. It has, and rightly so, devolved right down to individuals. Even the Corporate world has not been spared. Foremost in the arena of protecting the environment has been the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Mumbai, the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the Government of India, the State Pollution Control boards under respective state governments, the Zoological Survey of India, the Botanical Survey of India, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) to name a few.
Mentioned below are a few notable one:
Botanical Survey of India (http://bsi.gov.in/): Born in the year 1890 as the Royal Botanical Gardens, its most defining feature has been the banyan tree with the largest canopy in the world at its park in Kolkata, a tourist attraction today. It has seen several changes and additions from the time it came into existence the first being in 1939. It has several regional centers all over India. In 1976, under the Flora of India project, it underwent comprehensive reorganization for modernizing and maintaining herb lives, parks and botanical museums in India. Its objective since 1987 has been to explore and list flora and fauna resources in to comprehensive national-level lists with international systems of nomenclature being followed, notify endangered and new plant-life discoveries besides promoting a healthy environment.
Central and State Pollution Control Boards: A total of 23 bodies with 22 representing states and one representing the Central Government of India, they together constitute the legislative and executive arm of the Government in matters relating to pollution control whether of water, air or sound. Be it individuals or entities, everyone’s rights, duties, norms and practices towards a clean environment have been defined by the notifications which the PCBs generate from time to time. Be it home, industry, vehicles or utilities, the PCBs formulate norms, guidelines and procedures leading to safe, sound and a positive environment.
Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Mumbai http://bnhs.org/bnhs/ : Save the Silent Valley. If you have heard of this campaign, one of India’s most successful to save India’s most famous biodiversity hotspots, you would obviously have heard of BNHS. And if you still need clues, Dr Salim Ali, India’s most original and famous birdwatchers was associated with BNHS besides quite a few luminaries like him. It started small in the year 1883 and originally had people from all walks of lives as members. They still do and its influence in matters related to policy formation, research, publishing besides ground-level action is beyond noteworthy. A highly respected NGO, it has always been at the forefront of ecosystem preservation and conservation. Besides research and policy matters, it does publish noteworthy stuff like Hornbill, Journal of Natural History and Dr Salim Ali’s Handbook on Birds to name a few.
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi http://www.cseindia.org/ : A think-tank cum scientific institution, the CSE includes within its ambit activities such as environment-related campaigns, workshops, conferences, publications and even films which are very work specific and designed to interest the die-hard hard-nosed environmentalist who want everything from research to action on the ground at one single place. Its State of India’s environment has been a trend-setter of sorts. It does have publications for the general public such as “Down to Earth”, a fortnightly.
CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai http://www.cpreec.org/ : The wish to do positive things for the environment is not restricted just to the north and is an all-India phenomenon which is attested by our next contender, CPR_EEC of Chennai which came about in the year 1988 which has seen the creation of various programmes and workshops for the spread of nature awareness, its conservation and propagation amongst the general people of India. The body has created a wide range of publications which interest NGOs, teachers, students, children and women in matters related to the conservation and upkeep of a healthy environment.
Centre for Environmental Education (CEE), Ahmedabad http://www.ceeindia.org/cee/index.html : Fairly similar to CPR CEE of Chennai, CEE too holds programs and workshops on environmental upkeep and upgradation with its target audience being from various strata and groups.
Ministry of Environment and Forests www.moef.gov.in/ : An arm of the Central Government ie the Government of India, it has been around from the time the first cabinet was formed. Being a part of the Government, the MOEF, as it is called in industry parlance is primarily constituted to deal with planning and implementing the country’s ecosystem policies which have a direct bearing on environment, forests, grasslands and fallow lands. Everything from a blade of grass on the ground to the clouds in the sky and beyond are covered within the ambit of the laws and statutes that the MOEF passes from time to time. Tasked with the upkeep of the environment within the landmass of India and surrounding areas which come under the exclusive interest zone of India whether in the sea or air, it implements regulatory measures and puts in place those agencies which monitor the environmental impacts and corrects deviation where they occur. In doing so and being part of the GOI, the MOEF is associated with world bodies such as United Nations Environmental Programmes (UNEP), South Asia Co-op Env Program (SACEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Devl (ICIMOD) to name a few.
The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology (MCBT) http://www.madrascrocodilebank.org/cms/ : Fondly referred to as CrocBank was born in the year 1976 at Mamallapuram (erstwhile Mahabalipuram). It has the distinction of being Asia’s first conservation facility for crocodiles. And they go beyond crocs to other endangered species like turtles plus they have a dedicated facility to supply snake venom from all its captive reptiles. Supplies of all its produce be it snakes, turtles, venom and everything else find their way as far away Sri Lanka and other countries in the neighborhood. Otherwise they supply hatchlings and venom to all state government bodies in India.
The Dr Salim Ali Centre, Coimbatore http://www.sacon.in/ : A birdwatcher’s delight, the facility tragically came up only after the demise of Dr Ali in 1990 prior to which it was known more an off-shoot of BNHS. Given its lineage, it is known for its programmes and interventions means to inform us on our biodiversity wealth and where all we lack.
Worldwide Fund for Nature, New Delhi http://www.wwfindia.org/ : Primarily known for its programmes for school children and the general public to increase their awareness of the environment around them and its betterment which include Nature Clubs all over the country, they are also a known think-tank which given their sheer size and presence also acts as a pressure group for environmental and economic development-related issues. Initially WWF was a Mumbai-based organization which later shifted based to New Delhi with branch all over the country.
Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehardun http://www.wii.gov.in/ : Its website mentions it as “An Autonomous Institution of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India” and was established in the year 1982 with the express intent to conduct research in wildlife management given India’s vase wildlife resources/ wealth. Its other mandate is to train officials under the Indian Forest Services as also other government officials. Given its lineage and antiquity, it has over the years added a wealth of information on Indian forest wealth. One of its highlights is the MSc program and an Environment Impact Assessment cell.
Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) http://zsi.gov.in/App/index.aspx: Established way back in 1916 to take charge of the wealth of information held by the Indian Museum and Asiatic Society of India both in Calcutta, it today hold close to a million+ as specimen thus making it the largest such collection in Asia. With close to a dozen regional centres, it has done pioneering work collecting and documenting information about the environment, flora and fauna.