- We are far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: Dia Mirza
- Health, Hygiene & Sanitation, Environment are the 3 pillars of Swasth India
- Climate change is affecting the planet and its life more than ever: Experts
New Delhi: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), India is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to Global Warming. While the effects of climate change-induced by Global Warming is evident in the increasing number of diseases, natural disasters like floods and droughts, faulty monsoons and depleting freshwater resources, there is still denial and ignorance about this among a large number of people, say experts. At the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India’s #SwasthyaMantra telethon on October 2, experts discussed the impact of climate change on the health of the people, interlinkages between the three pillars of Swasth India that are health, hygiene and sanitation and environment, and how the next generation can become an agent of change.
While talking about the temperature rise, Laxman Narasimhan, CEO, RB, said that higher temperature provides a more favourable environment for the vectors/mosquitoes to breed in large numbers. He said,
The impact of climates change includes a rise in diseases like malaria, dengue and zica. We are also seeing that the mosquitoes and vectors grow more as the temperature goes up. In high temperature, mosquitoes live longer, they also bite harder. Climate change also causes viral infections to spread really fast. So, the whole notion of the two degrees rise in the temperature of the world is a huge disaster that is waiting for us and I don’t think we have any options but to act and scientists have already given us a lot of pointers on what to do. So, with the rising of the temperature of the Earth, it will be a disaster.
He further said that RB as a company is committed to reducing its carbon footprints as much as possible and for this, they have also launched a limited-edition bottle of Dettol handwash made from 100 per cent recycled plastic. Mr. Narasimhan said,
RB is committed to reducing its carbon footprints but it is also about the behaviour change of each individual and the choice each one of us makes. The plastic we consume and how much we consume. We all have to come together to solve the problem of rising plastic waste.
Emphasising further on RB’s commitment towards social causes and behaviour change, Mr. Narasimhan said that the company has been dedicating an equivalent of 1 per cent of its operating profits for the betterment of the society. He said,
Our product has been in the market for around 150-170 years. We have to do things beyond just business. We have to make sure that we give back to the society. We have spent on food and nutrition and reached out to over 30 million kids. We have also donated 10 million units of soaps and 1 million liters of Lysol. We are also promoting self-care and are launching an app in India to help people take care of themselves. We just can’t be just successful, we have to be significant as well.
Taking their work for the betterment of the society further, with an aim to help the children from the underprivileged sections to continue their education in school, RB has launched a ‘Return-to-school’ kit for schools that contains safety gears like masks and gloves and products like handwash, sanitisers, soaps along with technical guidance and posters for awareness generation. Gaurav Jain, Senior VP, South Asia (Health), RB said,
We cannot have these children remain away from school and learning. They do not have access to smartphones or laptops but they can have an environment where the risk of COVID-19 can be minimised. This will also help increase the confidence of the parents and children will be able to inculcate the best hygiene practices.
Ramanan Laxminarayan, Founder and Director, Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy highlighted the fact that for many researchers across the world, the pandemic was not unexpected as they were aware about the impact of our everyday choices. He said,
Our choices about what we eat have a huge impact in terms of environmental destruction. Typically, these diseases occur from animal. These viruses are always trying to jump from animals to humans. Jumping from one human to other needs a very specific skill set which coronavirus has. The same happened with Nippah virus. All the mammal biomass on the planet, 60 per cent is human, 30 per cent are the animals we eat and 10 per cent are the tigers and other wild animals. So such pandemics will occur frequently. We have to strengthen the public health systems. Unless we can do the simple things like immunisation, we cannot manage a pandemic situation.
Actor and UN Environment’s Goodwill Ambassador for India Dia Mirza who is very vocal about environmental issues noted that the country as a whole is far behind in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). She said,
COVID-19 has shown that environment plays a very important role and through climate actions only we can achieve a lot of the goals. The current pandemic is an example of the broken relationship of the humans and the environment.
She further said that changing the current scenario is possible and our younger generation can easily make some swaps in the items of daily use by choosing more sustainable and eco-friendly items. She vouched for increasing the engagement with the young in the country and said that they can become the agents of change. She highlighted how Afroz Shah, a Mumbai based lawyer was able to exhibit through his beach cleanup a strong evidence of bringing a change.
In this segment, the young artist Aarav presented the painting that he made during the telethon. The painting provided a glimpse of the understanding a child can build from the happenings around him which her or she can use to motivate others and bring a change.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.