New Delhi: Green activists on Friday (April 26), expressed concerns over “evasive behaviour” of political parties towards environmental issues in the city, urging Delhiites to consider air pollution and climate change while casting votes in the general elections. “We want clean air, safe food, and clean energy – jal, jungle aur zameen (water, forest, and land),” was the slogan raised by the activists who held a discussion on climate change with residents of Shrinivaspuri in south Delhi.
Organised by NGO (non-government organisation) Greenpeace India and Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the talk called ‘Climate Samvad’ saw participation from various environmental NGOs and local residents, who signed a document called the ‘Green Charter’ to demand clean air from the new government.
Delhi will vote on May 12 in the Lok Sabha elections. Residents said they will urge, whoever they vote for, to fulfill the demands listed in the charter to ensure clean air, safe food, and clean energy access. Recently, a report released by the Greenpeace said Delhi is the most polluted capital city in the world. It also highlighted that 15 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are from India. Abhishek Chanchal of Greenpeace India said,
Residents must demand that the newly-formed government commit to conserving the environment as well as the lives, livelihoods, and health of all Indians. The government must have a concrete plan in place that ensures sustainable development. Pollution in general costs India as much as 8.5 per cent of its GDP.
He further said,
The impact of climate change on agriculture leads to a loss of 1.5 per cent of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) every year. We simply cannot afford to overlook environmental concerns.
Dunu Roy, a social activist from NGO Hazard Center, said climate change is impacting people’s lives and is a big threat to public health. He said, “We need to understand climate change and its politics and then be prepared to fight “against its impacts.”
Another activist Alok Ranjan said,
There is a threat to ‘jal, jungle aur zameen’. To save forests, rivers, and our farmlands, measures in line with social justice and equality must be taken.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.