June 5, 2005

on june 5, 2005, everyone celebrated the World Environment Day, including India's Union ministry of environment and forests (moef): it published a one-page advertisement in leading national dailies. Among moef 's achievements, the ad declared, was that the bio-chemical oxygen demand ( bod , an indicator of water pollution load) has significantly reduced in all major stretches of the Ganga after the launch of the Ganga Action Plan (gap). m o ef had also ensured a steady increase in forests and tree cover and initiated groundwater quality monitoring for pesticide and heavy metals in 181 locations. The list is never-ending, but can be easily substituted by a single, telling, word: hyperbole.

The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. It was created to make environmental issues the active agents of sustainable and equitable development. Sadly, moef has reduced the celebration of (and a re-dedication to) progressive ecological values into masculinist propaganda, an act of chest-thumping, triumphalism at its bureaucratic best. The advertisement's raison d'