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IGNOU Organizes International Conference on Environmental and Ecological Sustainability- Engaging the Stakeholders

08 October, 2018

School of Interdisciplinary and Trans-disciplinary Studies (SOITS), IGNOU organized a two day international conference on “Environmental and Ecological Sustainability- Engaging the Stakeholders” starting today. The inaugural session saw eminent speakers, Dr. Rajendra Singh, Chairman, Tarun Bharat Sangh, a Ramon Magsasay Awardee and the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, and Prof. Shymala Mani, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, deliver very thought provoking presentation on the theme covering Conventional Water Management Techniques and Waste Management Techniques that ensure environmental health and ecological sustainability.

Prof. B. Rupini, Director, SOITS while welcoming the dignitaries on and off the dais, outlined the two day-long conference. Explaining the aim of the conference she said that it would attempt to provide an academic excellent forum for researchers, scientists, teachers, professionals and industry personnel to understand and focus on the emerging aspects in environmental sciences. Talking about the pertinence of the theme, she said that with environmental issues and ecological sustainability becoming major problems all over the world, it is high time that the policy makers and academia deliberate on these and come up with a roadmap taking all stakeholders along.

The highlight of the session was presentation by well-known water conservationist & environmentalist Dr. Rajendra Singh, popularly known as “Waterman of India”. He pitched for the conventional knowledge to fight the water woes facing the country. He said the techniques used by our elders in villages are far more effective in checking the problem of water. He cited example of Rajasthan where he has worked extensively with local people using the simple methods of water harvesting and other techniques prevalent since ages in our society. He cautioned the gathering against the mindless extraction of natural resources by our engineers and policy makers. He said that the western model of reduce, reuse and recycle for water conservation is narrow in its approach and Indian ethos has respect and rejuvenate as added aspects for water as we consider it one of the elements which connects us with the universe which is also made up of the five elements. He advocated the community approach to the environmental issues which has indigenous Indian knowledge being used which is sustainable and has almost no cost.

Prof. Shymala Mani, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, in her key-note address, stressed on the need for waste management at micro and macro level for effective and sustainable outcomes. She showcased low cost techniques for solid waste management for small townships and big cities. She regretted the fact that only 7% of the water gets treated and rest of it pollutes our rivers and blamed this for the poor state of them. She urged everyone to use simple techniques as compost to decompose the organic matter at home. While commending the Open defecation free program, she said it has to have waste management as part of it where it gets treated and does not lead to land or water pollution.

Prof. Nageshwar Rao, VC, IGNOU in his address lauded the effort of the school in organizing such a relevant deliberation on the theme. He urged the school to incorporate the foundation course which he said should be simple enough for everyone in other schools’ programs for sensitizing the learners about the environmental and ecological sustainable issues. He also thanked the speakers for their very insightful yet simply put addresses.

Dr Sadananda Sahoo, SOITS presented the vote of thanks.

Dr. Sushmitha Baskar, Organising Secretary, addressed about the technical sessions.