Shimla: Delay in implementation of environmental management activities like catchment area treatment (CAT) plans and compulsory afforestation is a threat to the sustainability of the states environment, a World Bank report on sustaining success in the hill state mentions.
“Failure to take action against environmental degradation could threaten further growth prospects, warns the report.
It mentions that the track record of state government agencies, especially the forest department, in implementing CAT plans, forestation programs, development of fisheries and conservation of wild life, was modest.
The reports states that a uniform river basin approach for implementing CAT plans would have more direct technical benefits rather than the current practice of piece meal approach to implementing them from one hydro project to another. It even suggests that implementation of CAT plans could even be outsourced for achieving better results.
For hydropower development an integrated river basin approach needed to be adopted; in industry, clustering of similar industries, would ease environment management solutions; and in tourism, environment conflict areas needed to be detected.
Recent development pattern and trend have some worrying impacts on the environment. While the forest cover has increased in recent years, the quality and density of the cover has diminished, as has the economic productivity, water holding capacity and the ability to sustain species richness, the report points out.