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Biodiversity must be protected, loss linked to infections: Environment ministry

Biodiversity must be protected, loss linked to infections: Environment ministry

Even as the country is reeling under the effects of deadly coronavirus, the environment ministry (MoEF) has urged the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MoCA) to ask India Inc. to invest their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds in biodiversity protection in the country.

Citing that there is a consensus among scientists that a rise in zoonotic diseases like Nipah, Avian Influenza, Zika and Coronavirus is linked to loss of biodiversity and forest, CK Mishra, Environment Secretary has shot a letter to MoCA. Mishra urged corporates to invest in biodiversity conservation initiatives.

"Considering the importance of biodiversity conservation for not only the achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but for survival of mankind in general, enhancing fund flows to biodiversity projects is essential," CK Mishra wrote in his letter.

According to government estimates, out of various areas listed in Schedule VII - education, healthcare and rural development sectors have consistently received a significantly higher proportion of spending from CSR funds. In contrast, other areas such as biodiversity protection, flora and fauna receive an insignificant share.

"I understand that although conservation of natural resources and protection of flora and fauna find a place in the Schedule VII list of activities that may be funded under CSR, explicit mention of biodiversity conservation is missing. This is resulting in difficulty in the allocation of CSR funds by the corporates for activities related to biodiversity conservation," Mishra said.

MoEF highlighted that India is also playing an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Many of the SDGs are directly or indirectly linked to biodiversity conservation. Therefore, in order to achieve the SDGs, mainstreaming of biodiversity across different sectoral ministries is of utmost importance.

"It is totally true that Nipah and Covid are linked to the way we have destroyed bio-diversity but are also because of the poaching of animals. Bio-diversity is indeed not clearly stated in the list of CSR," said Bharati Chaturvedi, founder-director of the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.


Also Read: 20 Tamil Nadu hospitals to be equipped with liquid biomed waste treatment plants

Source: India Today

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