Kamal Haasan’s MNM announces agenda for environment protection in TN

The party intends to create a circular economy, where recycling and reuse would be the norm for water, plastic and e-waste

Makkal Needhi Maiam founder Kamal Haasan on Monday unveiled his party’s agenda for protection of the environment. The party would like to create ‘equipoise’ between big industries, agriculture and the environment, he said.

Former IAS officer Santhosh Babu and party environmental wing functionary Padma Priya read out the seven-point environment agenda. The party intends to create a circular economy where recycling and reuse would be the norm for water, plastic and e-waste. As per the Supreme Court directions in 2017, Online Continuous Emission Monitoring Systems would be established for continuous streaming of information.

Regulations on groundwater extraction

Mr. Babu said stringent regulations would be put in place for large scale extraction of groundwater. Wetland rules would be amended to ensure protection of local water bodies. A State-wide environment atlas would be created for industrial sites on the lines of the Central Pollution Control Board with criteria for industries. The atlas would have details regarding pollutants released by an industry and how waste from the plant would be handled.

Mr Haasan said that Tamil Nadu had global standards on water management even 1,000 years ago and this should be achieved again. Laws should be enacted to punish people polluting water bodies.

On achievements claimed by the State government through the Kudimaramathu schemes, he claimed, “We are on a mission and that (Kudimaramathu) is commission. It wouldn’t be right to compare both.”

‘Plastic waste, a disease’

“There is garbage, plastic everywhere. It is a disease that has affected Tamil Nadu. It is everyone’s responsibility to bring an end to it,” he said. Industries are needed but if rules were followed strictly, 13 persons would not have been killed in Thoothukudi, he said.

He opposed the Salem-Chennai green corridor project. “Over 1.5 lakh palm trees and 2.5 lakh coconut trees and farming would be affected. Over 500 persons would lose their houses due to the project,” he said.

On whether the distribution of the Pongal gift would bring in any change, Mr. Haasan said that this was spending for them (the State government) and profit for the public, but otherwise there wouldn’t be any other change.

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