Yamuna, only filth and waste: Jairam



New Delhi: There is "no water" in the river Yamuna and all we see is waste dumped by the industrial units of Haryana and Delhi, feels Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who on Monday voiced concern over the pollution in Indian rivers.

"You will not find any water in Yamuna. All filth and waste material from Haryana and Delhi is dumped into the river which we call 'Yamuna'," Ramesh said at a function on the occasion of the World Forestry Day here.

He said, "We must finish de-greening before we start greening projects."

The de-greening has been created by industrial construction, the minister said, adding that the pressure of population and works done in the name of development had damaged forests and rivers in the country.

"This is the biggest challenge we face today. We have to achieve economic growth along with conserving forests and keeping our rivers clean," he said.

Recalling celebration of the Van Mahotsav, the minister said, "We celebrate World Forestry Day since 1971 but in our country, Van Mahotsav was celebrated much before that in the month of July since 1950 which was started by then Home Minister Late Kulpati K M Munshi."

"Our Culture and traditions teach us to preserve our forests and natural resources. The government will succeed in this movement only with cooperation from people," he asserted.

"Women are leading the movement of 'Save the Forests' and with partnership we will be able to achieve our goal. Awareness about protecting environment is tremendous today and schools, colleges, and NGOs must work together to conserve our environment," he said.

P J Dileep Kumar, Director General of Forests, said that forests and natural resources are important to maintain our environment, saying "Our life depends on greenery around us."

A calendar of events for International Year of Forests, 2011 was released. Prizes were also distributed to the winners of a painting competitions organised earlier. Students from about 30 schools participated in the competition.

PTI