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Daily The Hindu Editorial With Vocabulary in Detail : Trouble in the hills on Western Ghats ecology

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Trouble in the hills: on Western Ghats ecology

 

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Environmental disasters
Kerala rains 2018

There should be public consultation on expert reports on the Western Ghats ecology
The catastrophic(आपदाजनक/प्रलयंकर) monsoon floods(बाढ़) in Kerala and parts of Karnataka have revived the debate on whether political expediency(फ़ायदा/लाभ) trumped(छोड़ दिया/मात) science. Seven years ago, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel issued recommendations(सिफ़ारिश) for the preservation(संरक्षण) of the fragile(नाज़ुक/टूटने-फूटने वाला) western peninsular region(क्षेत्र). Madhav Gadgil, who chaired the Union Environment Ministry’s WGEEP, has said the recent havoc in Kerala is a consequence(परिणाम/महत्त्व) of short-sighted policymaking, and warned(आगाह) that Goa may also be in the line of nature’s fury(प्रकोप/रोष). The State governments that are mainly responsible for the Western Ghats — Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra — must go back to the drawing table with the reports of both the Gadgil Committee and the Kasturirangan Committee, which was set up to examine the WGEEP report. The task before them is to initiate(आरंभ)correctives to environmental(पर्यावरण) policy decisions. This is not going to be easy, given the need to balance human development pressures with stronger protection of the Western Ghats ecology. The issue of allowing extractive(खनन/निष्कर्ष)industries such as quarrying(उत्खनन) and mining to operate is arguably(यकीनन) the most contentious(विवादास्पद). A way out could be to create the regulatory framework that was proposed by the Gadgil panel, in the form of an apex Western Ghats Ecology Authority and the State-level units, under the Environment (Protection) Act, and to adopt the zoning system that it proposed. This can keep incompatible(बेमेल/असंगत) activities out of the Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZs).

At issue in the Western Ghats — spread(वृद्धि/विस्तार) over 1,29,037 sq km according to the WGEEP estimate and 1,64,280 sq km as per the Kasturirangan panel — is the calculation of what constitutes(जमा करना/निर्मित करना)the sensitive core and what activities can be carried out there. The entire(समूचा/संपूर्ण) system is globally acknowledged as a biodiversity hotspot. But population estimates for the sensitive zones vary greatly, based on interpretations(व्याख्या/अर्थ) of the ESZs. In Kerala, forinstance(घटना/उदाहरण), one expert assessment says 39 lakh households are in the ESZs outlined by the WGEEP, but the figure drops sharply(शीघ्रता से) to four lakh households for a smaller area of zones identified by the Kasturirangan panel. The goal has to be sustainable development for the Ghats as a whole. The role of big hydroelectric dams, built during an era of rising power demand(मांग) and deficits(घाटे), must now be considered(विचार करना/सोचना) afresh and proposals for new ones dropped. Other low-impact forms of green energy led by solar power are available. A moratorium(पाबंदी/अधिस्थगन) on quarrying and mining in the identified sensitive zones, in Kerala and also other States, is necessary to assess their environmental impact(प्रभाव). Kerala’s Finance Minister, Thomas Isaac, has acknowledged the need to review decisions affecting(प्रभावित करना) the environment, in the wake of the floods. Public consultation(परामर्श/मंत्रणा) on the expert reports that includes people’s representatives(प्रतिनिधियों) will find greater resonance now, and help chart a sustainable path ahead.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1.Catastrophic(आपदाजनक/प्रलयंकर)
Synonyms: calamitous, cataclysmic, disastrous, fatal, ruinous
Antonyms: advantageous, blessed, fortunate, happy, successful

2.Fragile(नाज़ुक/टूटने-फूटने वाला)
Synonyms: delicate, feeble, frail, weak, brittle
Antonyms: able, firm, healthy, strong, durable

3.Consequence(परिणाम/महत्त्व) 
Synonyms: aftereffect, aftermath, effect, fallout, issue

4.Constitutes(जमा करना/निर्मित करना)
Synonyms: create, establish, aggregate, complement, complete
Antonyms: destroy, ruin, break, disarrange, disperse

5.Consultation(परामर्श/मंत्रणा) 
Synonyms: appointment, conference, deliberation, dialogue, discussion

6.Initiate(आरंभ)
Synonyms: begin, commence, inaugurate, institute, launch
Antonyms: block, cease, close,complete,conclude

7.Sharply(शीघ्रता से)
Synonyms: clearly, strongly,discernibly, distinctly, pointedly

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