Kerala, the southern tip of the Indian Peninsula has been immensely blessed by Nature, with it’s rich and varied flora and fauna, lush green forests, enthralling waterfalls, mighty mountains, virgin beaches and breathtaking backwaters. The expanse of greenery and abundance of waterbodies stand as the hallmark of this land. This geographical region has etched indelible impression in the Global tourism map. With its mesmerizing beauty which has invoked the United Nations to demarcate it as among the most significant places in the realm of tourism. Paradoxically, this same region is now reeling under the grip of precarious climate change dynamics. The onslaught of consumerism and the consequential changeover have put a lot of strain on our fragile ecosystem and natural resources, resulting in an imbalance equilibrium between Man and Nature. Depletion of water resources, unscientific methods of solid waste management, air pollution, dumping garbage and chemical effluence in the water bodies, loss of grass cover, abuse of agricultural land and deforestation are some of the threats the State is confronting with. With a far-sighted vision to bestow an eco-friendly land with its greenery and serenity to the posterity, the Government of Kerala has envisioned a people-centric endeavour named Mission Haritha Keralam, a mission under the umbrella mission named Nava Kerala Mission.
Mission Haritha Kerala aims to promote eco-friendly environment sustainable development of natural resources, effective solid waste management, rejuvenation of the water reserves, sanitation and social hygiene, promotion of organic cultivation, zero pesticide food products, healthy foods, propagation of herbicides and Organic farming, protection of biodiversity and so on. Environmental sustainability is framed with a biocentric approach which places humans within the greater context of their natural environment.
THREE SUBSIDIARY MISSIONS
Haritha Keralam Mission is one among the few well designed and impactful programmes under the overall development banner of the Government of Kerala. It encompasses three other Missions, Hygienic waste management for effective waste disposal, JalaSamirdhi for water conservation, Sujalam Suphalam for agricultural development, implemented through Local Self-Government bodies in a people-centric mode under the Water Resources, Local – Self Government and the Agricultural Departments respectively.
Though Kerala receives twice the national average rainfall, we are unable to capitalize the national average, as the bulk of the rainwater flows into the sea within 48 to 72 hours of rainfall. As such it has become a pressing necessity to harvest rainwater and replenishing the groundwater. Perceiving the magnitude of this issue, the Haritha Keralam Mission undertakes vital steps in order to preserve the water bodies across the state. The Water Conservation Sub Mission emphasizes to instil a new culture for water conservation in the State by the way of rejuvenating the existing water bodies, cleansing and protecting them with pure and pristine water right from the village ponds to the reservoirs at large, so as to tackle the water woes. The message of the 3R’s approach towards Reduce, Reserve and Recycle use of water has to be imprinted in the minds of the citizen with the active participation of voluntary organization, youth associations, students, social and philanthropic organizations discerning groups and people from all walks of life. Local self – governing institutions are the premier bodies for making this venture a success. It is envisaged to revitalize and to safeguard the existing wells, ponds, springs, canals and streams across this land in the first phase. In the second phase, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, backwaters and other larger water bodies will be cleaned and protected. The reunification of streams and rivers, the revival of dead rivers with enhanced free flow of water is aimed at this stage thereby, spreading the message of conservation of water sources, judicious use of water well recharging and rainwater harvesting are also aimed at this stage.
Activities to ensure hygienic, cleaner and healthier surroundings, better sanitation, waste disposal at the source of generation, promotion of organic farming, prevention of dumping garbage in the water bodies zero pesticide cultivation, pure and pollution free water bodies, are all on the move for the cause of greener and cleaner Kerala under the stewardship of Hygienic Waste Management and Agricultural Development Karmasenas. Organic vegetable farming in all households, promoting paddy cultivation in barren lands, vegetable cultivation in rooftops, planting of saplings are the focal points emphasized and encouraged by the Sujalam Suphalam projects. In addition, promotion of biogas plants, decentralized waste disposal management on Thumboormoozhy model, dispensing plastic and e-waste on Block level basis and effective disposal of hospital waste are some of the waste disposal methods envisioned by the Hygiene Waste Management Sub Mission. Moreover, centralized waste disposal management with modern technologies will be implemented in the urban cities of Trivandrum, Kochi and Kozhikode.
The Agricultural Development Mission is looking forward to achieving self-sufficiency in agricultural produce especially vegetables and other basic agro products. Organic vegetable farming in every household is already set in motion. There will be Task Forces under the respective Mission in the local, district and state level. All the activities including campaigns are done with excellent support and complete participation of the people. Wholehearted public participation will be ensured by the local self-governing Institutions on the successful model of the Literacy Mission and People’s Programme.
The challenges which may crop up in the implementation of projects under the Missions can be surmounted with the active coordination of various government departments by the local bodies. The local bodies have to play a vital role in ensuring public participation along with coordinating the Government departments. People’s Forums, voluntary organizations, political parties, technical experts, socio-cultural activists, philanthropic organizations, youth wings and all other discerning groups have to join hands for the preservation and conservation of our soil, air and greenery. This mission with emphasis on people-centric approach to take environmental issues is certain to restore and revive our Air, Soil and Water and to facilitate an eco-friendly world, which we wish to live in and to leave it for the future generations, in all its purity and goodness.
STRUCTURE OF THE STATE LEVEL HARITHA KERALAM CONSORTIUM:
|Co-Chairperson||:||:||Ministers of Local Self Govt., Agriculture and Water Resources|
|Deputy Chairperson||:||:||MLA’s/Former Ministers/Former MLA’s/Former MP/Minister for Social Welfare|
|Advisor||:||:||A senior-level scientist|
|Special Invitee||:||:||Opposition Leader|
|Members||:||:||MLAs, A Planning Board Member nominated by the Planning Board Vice Chairman, Principal Secretary of Health, Agriculture, Water Resources, Tourism, Education Departments, Chief Executives of the three Task Forces.|
|Mission Secretary||:||:||Additional Chief Secretary Planning Dept|