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Vibrant public spheres based on democratic forest rights needed to prevent wildfires: iGP

Unchir-Dunktok: The India Greens Party (iGP) on Monday said vibrant public spheres based on democratic and forest rights are needed to save the forests and wilds from the recurrence of fires again and again.

In a press statement issued here on the critical situation created by the wildfires in several places in the Himalayan region, the iGP President Suresh Nautiyal said it is a sad story that is repeated year-after-year.

“Governments are not serious about finding a solution to the recurrence of fires every year,” he pointed out. Recurrence of wildfires in several parts of Himalaya, due to human negligence or vegetation dryness in the absence of adequate precipitation, has not only added to the serious environmental issues; but also, threatened the very ecological sustainability,” said the Green party leader.

“Regrettably, people have no mechanism to fight the unrestricted and indiscriminate fires. They are ill-equipped to save their villages, fields, fuelwood and fodder from the wildfires even as the governments in the Himalayan region, as usual, remain in their deep slumber,” Mr Nautiyal added.

The iGP leader said the uninterrupted wildfires are only adding to the global deforestation despite invaluable ecological, economic, social and health benefits from the forests, made up of thousands of species of flora.

“It is sad that thousands of hectares of forest are destroyed annually and this adds to the global greenhouse gas emissions that is accelerating climate change,” said Mr Nautiyal.

The iGP president said forests, their sustainable management and use of resources, including in fragile ecosystems, remain key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations.

“Therefore, we must protect the forests and wilderness from fires. They also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation,” the Green leader said.

“In view of all this, we need to develop vibrant public spheres based on democratic and forest rights if we want to save our environment and ecological systems. Prevention of harm has to be the key to pro-people policies and strategies. Those found guilty for the forest or wildfires must pay. This means, polluter-pays-principle calls for strict liability. Besides, a mandatory insurance system against risks needs to be in place, Mr Nautiyal stated.”

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