• Increase ridership of Pune buses
    Are you aware that amongst all the sources of air pollution, vehicular emissions have the highest adverse health impacts? The main hazardous pollutants of fossil fuels-based vehicular emissions are particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide(NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gases. Out of these, the fine and ultrafine PM is able to penetrate the cells of most organs and cause severe respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological illnesses and even premature death, especially in children and the elderly. While Pune city’s population is approximately 3.5 million, the number of registered vehicles has reached 3.62 million. This explosive growth in vehicular population has meant an increase in vehicular emissions, and hence increased air pollution. Reducing the usage of private vehicles will reduce vehicular emissions to a large extent. A robust public transportation system can address these issues and ensure that citizens have an option to use their personal vehicles. Shifting from cars to public transport can deliver a 65 per cent emissions reduction during peak times and a 95 per cent reduction in emissions during off peak times from the commuters that make the shift. *The fuel consumption of a passenger travelling on a bus carrying 40 passengers is 4 times lower than the per passenger consumption of a car carrying 2 persons. * Buses fare way better than cars even in terms of road space. Per passenger road space taken by a bus is 3 times lower than a car. Therefore, congestion increases when cars take up extra road space. * Higher the congestion more is the time spent by vehicles on the road. The vehicle's engines run longer, thus emitting more pollutants. It has now become crucial for the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) to encourage citizens to shift from their personal vehicles and increase its ridership substantially by providing an efficient system - clean and comfortable buses deployed at regular intervals providing a safe and reliable journey to commuters. The current average daily ridership of PMPML buses is around ten lakhs. The existing fleet of 1,978 buses, of which only 70% ply on any given day, falls woefully short of the number prescribed in the city’s own Comprehensive Mobility Plan. Breakdowns are frequent –almost 35 every day! Along with Parisar, a civil society organisation working on making Pune city more liveable with a focus on sustainable urban transport, we urge the PMPML to set a target and take steps to double their ridership in three years with a 25% increase each year. Sign this petition urging the PMPML to commit to double the ridership in three years. There should bean increased bus force, efficient deployment and maintenance of buses and better management of routes to help achieve the long-term goal of clean air and a congestion-free Pune.
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  • Save Agumbe from landslides!
    Agumbe Ghat is a biodiversity hotspot in the Western Ghats that records the second highest rainfall in the country. It is the habitat of the endangered King Cobra and houses nearly 6000 species of flora and fauna. This biodiversity spot is also home to the Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary, a part of an UNESCO World heritage site. A delicate area like this is meant to be protected and improved. Instead the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has diverted 1000 sq.ft of forest land at Aane kallu for unwanted and illegal road expansion activities. Many areas surrounding Anne kallu and Agumbe itself are prone to landslides. The decades-old trees that hold the soil are being uprooted for this unnecessary road expansion. The landslides in Kodagu in 2018 and the minor earthquakes in Shimoga in February 2019 are enough evidence of the impending doom in Agumbe if this widening continues. NHAI is not only breaching several environmental laws, they are also disrespecting the locals and the sacred beliefs they hold at Aane kallu. Additionally they are putting this biodiverse area, all the species and humans who reside here at severe risk of earthquakes and landslides. Sign the petition before it is too late to save Agumbe.
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  • National Climate Emergency
    During the week of March 15, lakhs of students and youth across continents went on a climate strike, demanding for urgent climate action from all the national governments around the world. [1] India is a signatory to the historic Paris Agreement, an international treaty to combat climate change and limit rise in global temperatures through Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Special Report has sounded an undeniable warning call to nations to collectively limit the rise in global average temperatures to well under 1.5°C. [2] - India’s INDC has yet not fulfilled the commitment of renewable energy generation. - Thermal power plant companies missed the 2017 deadline to reduce emissions (now extended to 2022), - The government has now commissioned more plants resulting in a 1.4% parallel rise in emissions - Funds from the National Clean Energy Fund was improperly diverted making them unavailable for clean energy initiatives. -The INDC also aims to create an additional carbon sink by increasing forest and tree cover by 2030 yet the decades-old national target of 33% forest cover has not been met under successive forest related policies. - Hasdeo Arand is one of the largest, continuous stretches of very dense forest in Central India. Once declared a no-go area, has now been given environmental clearance to expand the coal mining.[5] Air pollution and climate change are fundamentally inter-linked! There is an immediate need for India to phase out fossil fuels through an efficient exit strategy and supply all energy demands through renewable energy. It is hereby demanded that a National Climate Emergency be declared to bring climate justice to the forefront of national policy agenda. This can be done through strict implementation of India’s international and national obligations under the Paris Agreement to attain the IPCC goals. Join the global movement for climate justice. Let’s act now before it is too late to save our planet. References: https://fridaysforfuture.org/ https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/ https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/india-commissions-more-thermal-power-plants-despite-pollution-concerns/story-SLb6uQTD2q3KnR3XLbwoPJ.html http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=128403 https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-s-nod-for-mining-in-170khectares-of-forest/story-F60Pb7W8ybegHntaQ9YBwK.html
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  • Implement Pune's parking policy
    In the last 5 years, Pune’s air pollution has crossed the permissible stage. Particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns are found in abundance. These microns enter the bloodstream and cause a host of diseases amongst people. Vehicular parking on roads has become a menace in the last few years. Cars and bikes take up parking space in multiple areas around cities, causing traffic blocks and congestion. More than 90% of these parking spaces are free. To regulate this, in 2018, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) proposed a parking policy for the city.1 This policy mandated a minimum charge for two-wheelers and four-wheelers for parking and special overnight parking charges. PMC officials said that this policy was required so that the roads have space for free vehicular movement. Apart from that, this policy also encourages using public transport thereby reducing pollution and improving air quality. Some of the highlights of the policy are: -- Subdivide the city into parking districts to cater to the customised needs of each district -- Improve last mile connectivity by having no parking charges for cycles and intermediary transport (autos, taxis etc) -- Achieving 80% of motorised trips through public transport by 2031. -- Important parts of the city will be named ‘no parking zones’ Despite being approved in March 2018, the Mayor is reluctant on implementing this much needed policy. It has been over a year since the approval and in this time, the Mayor hasn’t reviewed or chalked out a plan for this policy. Worse, in December 2018, the ‘pay and park’ scheme was scrapped before polls to appease the citizens. This resulted in the clogging of several areas in Pune and a chaotic traffic condition. In collaboration with Parisar, a civil society organisation working on transport and civil society development, this campaign is appealing to the mayor of Pune to implementing this parking policy, which is imperative for the long-term vision of clean air and a congestion-free Pune. Sign the petition now and ask Mayor Mukta Tilak to implement the parking policy.
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  • No amendment to Delhi's Master Plan
    Delhiites, this needs your urgent attention! Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has proposed a modification to the Delhi Master Plan - 2021 (MPD) to make it more transit-oriented. Basically, this modification will cause great harm to Delhi’s already depleting green cover, prioritising more unnecessary concrete buildings. One of the major flaws in this plan is its blatant disregard of the environment. It considers dense, green areas like Sarojini Nagar and Yamuna floodplains as ‘underutilised’. The massive scale of construction under this plan will worsen Delhi’s air quality and will also lead to much lesser green cover. The proposed green cover under this plan is 20%, with its definition ranging from wild grass to fully grown trees. Furthermore, this modification goes against Delhi’s master plan. The capital is reeling under alarming environmental hazards, which is causing severe health issues amongst its citizens. Adding needless malls, offices and other buildings at such a time will prove to be expensive for the city’s near future. Citizens’ voices are growing in unison to stop this modification. DDA has asked for comments on their modification before April 23, 2019. Add your voice to this by signing the petition. IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to add your name, email address, phone number and contact number at the end of the email. Image source: Times of India
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  • Save Mumbai's Coastline!
    This road will destroy Mumbai’s coastline forever! At 12,700 crore rupees, the ambitious Mumbai Coastal Road is not only the most expensive project in the country, but one which will have serious adverse impacts on the city’s ecology, coastline and make Mumbai more vulnerable to heavy rains and floods! The 29.2 km road Mumbai Coastal Road, which has been proposed from Kandivali to Marine Drive will irreversibly alter and damage the city’s iconic coastline. A promenade and a highway will make it impossible to access the waterfront, taking away the city’s lifeline. More importantly, this will completely destroy the breeding grounds for the fish and various marine species. This means the fishing community of the native Kolis, which is made up of 23 active fishing villages or 35,000 people will be adversely impacted. Not only are the lands of the original inhabitants of the city being encroached, but their livelihoods will be lost to yet another so-called development project. The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has neither consulted with nor taken the required No objection certificate (NOC) from the fishing communities. Rather, they have been completely bypassed. Based on the conditional approval from the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in 2017, work has already begun. All this without coming up with a rehabilitation plan for the Kolis. In March 2019, the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) published a report, which provides an impact assessment of the project on the fisherfolk has been handed over to the Mumbai High Court. Further, reclamation of land for this project will worsen the flooding in the city. We don’t seem to have learnt from the heavy price the city paid in the 2005 floods. We stand with the Kolis, the citizens of Mumbai, and for the coastal ecology. Time to scrap this project! References https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/green-signal-for-coastal-road-project-but-concerns-remain/article25160793.ece https://scroll.in/article/915849/as-coastal-road-construction-speeds-up-even-car-owning-citizens-in-mumbai-are-rallying-against-it Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqanepKjMAs#action=share https://csaweb.org/2019/03/30/social-ecology-of-the-shallow-seas-a-report-on-the-impacts-of-coastal-reclamation-on-artisan-fishing-in-the-worli-fishing-zone/
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  • Make NOTA accountable
    Their is a huge percentage of people who don’t vote cause they really don’t feel like voting for any party for reasons like corrupt candidate, corrupt parties or any other reason where they don’t see that the elected representative will do any good, hence they prefer not to vote at all , Secondly because NOTA voting is allowed but it doesn’t have a significant value, rather than wasting a vote, People cast a vote for the next best option, just for the heck of it. Once you give power to NOTA then even the political parties will think twice before making false promises & will focus on letting their work do the talking, Once NOTA is made accountable and people are educated about it, It will prove the true mandate of the people of this country & It will result in a governance by the people & for the people. Just as written in the constitution.
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  • Stop the draconian Indian Forest Act, 2019 from coming into force
    This is bad news, and needs your urgent intervention! A few weeks ago, our Union government proposed an overhaul of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The colonial-era was imposed by British rulers so they could exert autonomy over India's forests. While replacing this much criticised act is a welcome move, the draft law that will follow is worrying, in more ways than one. It has enhanced the policing and quasi-judicial powers that forest officials enjoyed under the original act and provide them yet more. It gives them the power to use firearms with exceptional levels of immunity from prosecution. This means that the forest department can shoot at citizens, search and seize property and arrest people even on mere suspicion of committing a crime. Doesn't this remind you of something? Yes, this draft law is much like the Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA). In addition, it will reduce and restrict tribals and forest dwellers' access to forest produce and diminish the role of gram sabhas, by letting forest officials have the last say. The law has currently been shared with state governments for consultations, which will be completed by June 7. States Governments must take a united stand against this draconian act, that threatens the livelihoods of marginalised communities. Together we can put pressure on the Environment Minister, and consequently the Union government, to scrap the draft Indian Forest Act, 2019. Sign this petition now. Source 1. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/centre-drafts-stricter-alternative-to-colonial-era-indian-forest-act-1927-119032001071_1.html?fbclid=IwAR0t6neo_E6RjbI10vWwDfPs0krq1YJyIYgY1hDNM2WFspqcoTqk11SOKyI
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  • Do not let Bullet Train run over 1.5 lakh precious mangroves
    The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has given the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) a clearance on its proposal to go ahead with the ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. This means the latter has been given a thumbs up to raze an estimated 150,000 plus mangroves along the coastal belts of Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar. As things stand, the files have been moved to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Climate Change (MoEFCC) for a final nod. It is estimated that this project will adversely impact 131.30 hectares of forest area, including 150,752 mangroves spread over 32.43 hectares. Plus a part of the proposed project falls under the protected area and eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. All of this despite, the fact that the Bombay High Court has very recently ordered the protection of mangroves and wetlands saying: “The destruction of mangroves offends the fundamental rights of the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In view of the provisions of Articles 21, 47, 48A and 51A(g) of the Constitution of India, it is a mandatory duty of the State and its agencies and instrumentalities to protect and preserve mangroves.” This project will impact the leopards, and all the forest species in SGNP and also the migratory visitors - the flamingos. In addition, it will wipe out 150,000 plus mangroves, which serve as a nursery for juvenile fish and slow down the waves from the sea, thereby protecting the shoreline. This turn of events has been a complete surprise given that only late last year, the MCZMA had mentioned to the court that it could not allow the mangroves to be cut down for this project. While a number of organisations and individuals have raised an alarm, we as citizens of India urge you to ensure this project does not see the light of day. References: 1. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/thane-navi-mumbai-mczma-nod-to-remove-mangroves-make-way-for-bullet-train-project-5632850/ 2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/navi-mumbai/navi-mumbai-greens-oppose-killing-of-54000-mangroves-for-bullet-train-project/articleshow/68502494.cms
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  • Save 1,70,000 Hectare of Forests in Hasdeo
    The Union environment ministry has given environmental clearance for open cast coal mining in Parsa in Chhattisgarh’s dense Hasdeo Arand forests span more than 1,70,000 hectares, total forest land which would be diverted for the various coal mines. This is one of the very few pristine natural forests in the country which cannot be replicated through plantation forestation. The coalfield covers a total area of 1878 sq km. of which 1502 sq km. has forest cover. Around 80% of this is covered by good quality forest (approximately 1176 sq km has a canopy cover of over 40% while an additional 116 sq km has a canopy cover of over 70%) Parsa Open Cast Mine, a unit of The Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd(RVUNL) under Adani group is going forward to clear this dense forest for purpose of coal mining impacting several villages and wiping out the densest forests in Central India. In 2009, the entire area was termed as a “No-Go Area” or mining because of its rich forest cover(1) by Ministry of Environment and Forest(MOEF). The current order is in direct violation of the MOEF’s own report to cut through these dense forests. This decision could have far-reaching consequences for forest cover conservation in India. The repercussions of these decisions are being borne by the tribal and non-tribal people residing in and around the Hasdeo Arand. Since January 2018, there have been several incidents of human-elephant conflict in the region, which has resulted in both death and the destruction of property. If these proposals are granted, the conflict will only increase(1). Minutes of the forest advisory committee’s meeting highlighted that a section of the 841 hectares to be diverted for the mine lies in very dense forest(1). There is no mention whether the consent from gram sabhas was taken for the project(3) or on the impact to the communities in the area. RVUNL mentioned they do not have forest clearance(3). Apart from pending legal issues and procedural lapses, the grant of approval completely goes against the precautionary principle that is the need of the hour. Initiating mining will fragment one of the last remaining contiguous forest patches in central India, violate forest rights and increase human-wildlife conflict. Let us stop the government from destroying the Lungs of Central India. Sources: 1. https://thewire.in/rights/chhattisgarh-coal-mining-hasdeo-arand 2. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/adani-closer-to-mining-in-green-zone-in-chhattisgarh/story-uVIKz0aK8Lk8NH7C09x4bI.html 3. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/centre-s-nod-for-mining-in-170khectares-of-forest/story-F60Pb7W8ybegHntaQ9YBwK.html 4.https://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/issues/environment/1012/elephant-in-the-room/
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  • Don't let red tape affect implementation of solar policy in Gurugram
    In 2016, the Haryana Government announced the solar policy making it mandatory to install solar panels in homes across the state with an area of 500 sq yards or more. So far only 850 connections have been installed. Gurugram has been able to only harness close to 10% of its actual potential. The problem is of red tape in installing these solar panels(1). To incentivise solar panels, subsidies were offered but only 107 people have been able to avail these subsidies(1). According to a resident, subsidies take one to two years through a cumbersome process of going through various agencies. The installation costs are very steep and nonavailability of subsidy has been a major issue for residents. Additionally, the non-availability of net meters is a major deterrent for the people of Gurugram to install and use clean energy to power their homes(2). Since September 2018 no new connections of grid-connected rooftop solar panels have been installed since the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) has not been able to release net meters — a key component that gets the system started(2). With the installation of solar panels, customers not only reap the benefits, but the excess power generated can be fed back to the distribution company. It is time that DHBVN acts promptly and makes the process of solar panel installation more streamlined and not let red tape come in the way of harnessing solar power. Sources https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/gurgaon/whats-more-powerful-than-the-sun-the-invisible-red-tape/articleshow/68445691.cms https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/Gurugram/rooftop-solar-plan-hits-roadblock-as-net-meters-unavailable/articleshow/67401897.cms
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  • Save Aravalli hills!
    AirVisual, an air quality monitoring company recently released a list of most polluted cities in the world. In the first place, beating every city in this world, was Gurugram.1 Despite this, the Haryana government has gone ahead and amended the Punjab Land Protection Act, an Act that prevents the destruction of green hills. Why did they do this? To start unnecessary construction activities in the Aravalli hills. Haryana has the lowest forest cover in India and Aravalli hills is one of the oldest and last remaining green hills in Gurugram. With this amendment, more than 60,000 acres of green cover can be replaced with more dusty and polluting construction. Air pollution has caused 27% of heart attacks in our country and it is reducing our life span by 5 years.2 While the global community is focussing on greener, renewable and sustainable ways of living, Haryana is going backwards and putting India to shame. Sign the petition to save our Aravalli hills.
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