New Delhi: India is getting too hot too early, raising the risk of fires, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned on Wednesday, as New Delhi sweltered in extreme heat and a burning landfill on the outskirts of the capital spewed toxic smoke into the air. “Temperatures are rising rapidly in the country, and rising much earlier than usual,” PM Modi told heads of state governments in an online conference.
During such a time, we are seeing increasing incidents of fires in various places – in jungles, important buildings and in hospitals – in the past few days.
The Prime Minister asked the state governments to prioritise fire-safety audits for hospitals. Dozens of people die every year in fires in hospitals and factories, mainly due to illegal construction and lax enforcement of safety requirements.
Fires in Delhi’s filthy dump yards also contribute to the toxic air that people living in the world’s most polluted capital have to breathe.
As PM Modi spoke, firefighters were struggling to extinguish a blaze at the Bhalswa landfill site, a hillock rising above the northwestern edge of the city. Fumes from the burning waste forced a nearby school to close on Tuesday. Many of the pupils’ parents work as trash pickers at the site.
We can’t make them sit here, it won’t be healthy for them at all, Nayna, a part-time teacher who gave just one name, told Reuters’ partner ANI.
The cause of the landfill fire was under investigation, though such incidents are commonplace during India’s scorching summers, when temperatures regularly surpass 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) before the monsoon rains bring relief.
The capital has been hotter than 40 C for several days this month, with peak summer still to come before the cooling monsoon rains arrive in June.
The India Meteorological Department forecast heat wave conditions in the east, central and northwest of the country – which includes the capital – over the next five days and flagged risks to the health of infants, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. 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 will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that 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 the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.