Roshni Nadar Malhotra, Vice Chairperson of HCL Technologies says degradation of environment has direct adverse effect on people and the most real example is the severe poor air quality of Delhi.
Malhotra, part of the $9.3 billion organisation and Founder and Trustee of The Habitats Trust, told IANS: “The need to protect our remaining forests and green cover & wetlands is urgent as that is what keeps our air breathable.
“With a population of 1.3 billion people and pressing issues like providing access to water, healthcare and education, environmental conservation often takes a backseat.”
She added, “The most real example is the severe poor air quality of Delhi, the need to protect our remaining forests and green cover and wetlands is urgent as that is what keeps our air breathable.”
On the focus areas of The Habitats Trust, Malhotra will focus on drawing attention to lesser-known species and habitats that require urgent protection. The Trust intends to adopt a habitat approach to conservation, taking the overall health of ecosystems into account and encouraging local communities living in and around endangered habitats to be the guardians of their environment.
“Funding is also critical and organisations and individuals in this area need to be empowered more now, than ever,” she added.
On the need for institutional backing for conservation, she said that committed conservationists are doing critical work across the country with little or often no recognition.
“Lack of resources pose a huge challenge for such conservationists. One of the things that we are trying to do through The Habitats Trust Grants is to give the deserved recognition to these champions of conservation and bridge the resource gap for organisations and individuals working on ground,” she added.
On the issue of biodiversity being endangered, she said that biodiversity is not just threatened in India but around the world. According to a WWF report there has been a 60 per cent decline in species’ population in the world. The Asia-Pacific region; however, reports an ever higher rate of decline in species. “Unless we protect our fauna, we are headed towards the 7th mass extinction,” she added.
Malhotra stressed on protecting the natural habitats against encroachment. The three key issues that threaten India’s natural biodiversity are rampant habitat loss and fragmentation, human—wildlife conflict and poaching and trade.
“India’s huge population makes land extremely valuable and puts enormous pressure on forests and other critical natural habitats. We must focus on protecting the remaining natural habitats against encroachment. If we are able to do that, the overall health of eco-systems will improve drastically,” Malhotra said.