The Centre on Sunday announced that a new policy is in the offing to conserve Western Ghats, which is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Centre will formulate a policy that will conserve the rich biodiversity of the area, at the same time ensuring that the livelihoods of 5 crore people residing in the region spread across Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are not adversely affected, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

It is a myth that ecological conservation and development cannot co-exist. It is not correct to see environment and development as being two ends of a spectrum, where one must be compromised in order to enhance the other, he said at the International Biodiversity Day event in Mumbai on Sunday night, organised by the Ministry of Environment and Forest and the National Biodiversity Authority in association with the Maharashtra State Biodiversity Board and the UNDP India.Javadekar said India was one of the recognised mega-diverse countries of the world, harbouring nearly 8% of the recorded species and representing four biodiversity hotspots.

He commended the peoples action for environment conservation and said a janandolan (peoples movement) was necessary for biodiversity conservation. The minister lamented that many success stories of environment conservation were not highlighted by the mainstream media.

Peoples movement
Maharashtra Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao too said that biodiversity conservation should be a peoples movement.
Referring to the unprecedented drought in Marathwada, the Governor said conserving water, maintaining water bodies clean and managing water resources judiciously is critical to sustain the life and livelihood of people and to preserve biodiversity.