Experts Call for Climate Justice and Adaptation Strategies at WBPCB 50th-year Celebration

At the WBPCB's 50th-year celebration, experts emphasize climate justice and adaptation strategies for West Bengal's environmental challenges.

Sumit Kumar
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Kolkata: At the golden jubilee celebration of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), Chairman Kalyan Rudra emphasized the urgent climate challenges facing West Bengal. Highlighting the rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers, rising sea surface temperatures, and erratic rainfall patterns, Dr. Rudra outlined the severe impact on the livelihoods of the region’s residents, especially the 5 million people living in the Sundarbans.

Dr. Rudra stressed the need for climate justice, advocating for prioritizing one of the most vulnerable communities who contribute minimally to global carbon emissions but suffer disproportionately from climate change effects. He proposed a shift towards renewable energy sources such as solar, tidal, and wind power to mitigate these impacts.

Prabhat Mishra, Additional Chief Secretary of the Irrigation and Waterways Department, provided a detailed account of ongoing efforts to save the Sundarbans. Key initiatives include desilting nearly 700 km of creeks to improve freshwater flow, replacing invasive shrimp species with native prawns, and implementing rainwater harvesting projects under the Jal Dharo-Jal Bharo scheme. Additionally, erosion-proof clay embankments with mangrove vegetation are being constructed to prevent saline water intrusion.

The World Bank-funded projects aim to bolster these efforts, ensuring sustainable development and improved livelihoods. Dr. Rudra concluded by highlighting that despite West Bengal’s minimal carbon footprint, the state faces severe climate impacts, underscoring the importance of equitable mitigation and adaptation strategies for achieving climate justice.

Other experts at the event echoed these sentiments, discussing various strategies to address these challenges. They emphasized the urgent need to integrate diverse ecological engineering approaches to combat environmental degradation.