Green Activists Oppose Coastal Highway | 10 Dec 2019

Why in News

Green Nobel Prize winner Prafulla Samantara with other green activists has opposed the 415-km-long coastal highway from Digha in West Bengal to Gopalpur in south Odisha proposed by the Central and State governments.

  • The proposed highway will pass through Chilika lake, Bhitarkanika and related eco-sensitive areas.
    • The project will destroy more than 33% of the natural mangrove forests in these areas and may lead to increased sea erosion.

Green Nobel Prize

  • The Goldman Environmental Prize (also known as Green Nobel Prize) recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk.
  • It is awarded annually by Goldman Environmental Foundation since 1990.
  • It honours people from the world’s six continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America.
  • The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them.
  • Goldman Prize recipients are usually people from isolated villages or inner cities who choose to take great personal risks to safeguard the environment.
  • The winners are announced on Earth Day which is observed on 22nd April every year.
  • So far, five Indians have received the Goldman Environmental Prize. They are:
    • Prafulla Samantara (2017): Campaign against drilling and mining in Niyamgiri Hills, Odisha.
    • Ramesh Agrawal (2014): Protested coal mining in Chhattisgarh.
    • Rashida Bee & Champa Devi Shukla (2004): Union Carbide gas leak (Bhopal) related environmental justice.
    • MC Mehta (1996): Industrial pollution fouling the Ganges and eroding the Taj Mahal.
    • Medha Patkar (1992): Narmada Bachao Andolan.