The International Water Conclave, held in Shillong, reached its culmination today with the issuance of the Shillong Declaration by DP Wahlang, Chief Secretary of Meghalaya. Notable figures such as Dr Shakil P Ahammed, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, and Dr Joram Beda, IAS, Commissioner & Secretary, were among the esteemed attendees.
Addressing the gathering, Wahlang highlighted the pressing issue of water pollution despite Meghalaya boasting the cleanest village in Asia. He stressed governmental commitments to reversing this trend and underlined the importance of field experiences in understanding challenges.
“The paradox is that Meghalaya has the cleanest village in Asia but two of the most polluted rivers are right here in town which we are battling time and again. Yesterday, when we had the Cabinet meeting quite a few key decisions were taken to ensure that we turn them around. Officers from different departments need to go to customers, and that is where you learn about the challenges,” Wahlang stated.
Discussing resource management, Wahlang stressed the need for rejuvenation and investment, debunking the notion of fiscal constraints. He emphasised integrating water conservation and waste management into the education curriculum.
“We tend to forget about water conservation and waste management. This is very important because it is through education department that students are taught where should waste water go,” he said.
The focal point of the event was the Shillong Declaration read by Ahammed, stressing the adoption of cutting-edge technology in sanitation and waste management, along with promoting water recycling initiatives. The Declaration underscored participatory planning and oversight for sustainable water management.
Deliberations throughout the conclave covered various topics including infrastructure development, climate resilience, and disaster management. Actionable strategies emerged to tackle water challenges in hill regions.