Silchar (Assam): The sixth Northeast Green Summit ended here with experts from different fields making a number of recommendations for harnessing the economic potential of eco-services, biodiversity and wildlife conservation in the northeast region and using sustainable technologies in a post-Covid world.

The recommendations also stressed the need for a proper policy to increase green space in urban areas and to check wildlife trade.

These recommendations will be summed up and handed over to the Assam government, Sivaji Bandyopadhyay, director of National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Silchar said while addressing a gathering on the concluding day of the three-day summit on Thursday.

The theme of the Northeast Green Summit this year was ‘Greening after COVID: Regional cooperation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship’.

The summit sought to raise awareness about the rich and diverse natural habitat, biodiversity and cultural heritage of northeast India.

During the summit, a number of panel discussions saw experts exchange views on different topics like community forest resources and wildlife conservation.

One of the sessions underlined the need for sustainable technological solutions to decompose masks and other accessories being used during the COVID-19 pandemic, while another pointed to the “lack of political will” to save the environment by strictly enforcing laws.

Another session highlighted the urgent need for wildlife conservation in Assam’s Barak Valley that is home to 550 species of birds and 100 species of mammals.

The Barak Valley comprises three districts — Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj.

Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey was the chief guest at the event. Forest ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh Parimal Suklabaidya, Awangbow Newmai and Mama Natung, respectively, also attended the event.

Choubey warned against disturbing nature. “If we disturb nature, it will not forgive us,” he said.

He also presented the ‘Conservation Award’ to Natung for the success of the Arunachal Pradesh government’s ‘Air Gun Surrender Campaign’, which seeks to encourage people to voluntarily surrender their air guns to check the indiscriminate hunting of birds in the state.

“The work done by you in Arunachal Pradesh is a source of inspiration for everybody in the northeast region,” Choubey said lauding Natung.

Natung said, “Humans alone cannot live on this planet. We have to live with nature. Saving jungles is not enough, wildlife also needs to be saved.”

“In today’s world, many sophisticated air guns are available and people use them to kill 20-30 birds in a day and even deer. Due to this, several species of birds in Arunachal Pradesh are disappearing,” Natung told PTI.

“So, the government launched this campaign to stop hunting of birds using air guns. This campaign was launched on March 17 last year from East Kameng district,” he said.

As of today, over 2,000 air guns and guns have been surrendered under this campaign, he added.

Now people are realising the value of the native species of birds, the minister said, adding that Arunachal Pradesh is home to more than 500 species of birds.

Natung also urged Choubey to replicate this campaign across the country.

Speaking at the summit, Suklabaidya said that people do not value something that is available free of cost.

“This is why we don’t realise what we are doing to the environment,” he said.

The summit’s recommendations also called for involving the youth as stakeholders in the protection of biodiversity so that their future is secured.

The summit came to a close with a cultural gala that saw performances by popular bands Rhythms of Manipur and Vayali from Kerala and a play by theatre group Dapon depicting how people’s daily activities affect the environment.

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