• Deforestation at rapid rate in Gurgaon
    I wake up every morning with a headache. I struggle to breathe, I often go to work sick and I’m left feeling miserable most of the time. My 3 year old nephew is on a nebulizer. This is not life! I live in Gurgaon where pollution has created a health crisis. This is not just about me, sadly most citizens are constantly fighting colds, coughs and sore throats regularly. On top of this, comes news that the state Public Works Department (PWD) has sought permission to fell 1,300 trees to construct an underpass and a flyover at Atul Kataria Chowk. A senior forest official on condition of anonymity told Hindustan Times that nearly 25,000 trees have been felled in the past five years, but in official records the number is around 9,000 trees. The forest department mandates that 10 saplings be planted for every tree that is cut. Let's not forget that compensatory afforestation will take decades to make up for the void of felling decades old, full-grown trees. Dr CR Babu, former director of the Biodiversity Park and professor emeritus at the University of Delhi, said, “I am sorry to say that the people are sleeping as deforestation on such a scale happens in the city. People should wake up, join hands and put up a strong protest if they want to save the city for future generations.” Please sign this petition to stop this felling of trees and ask the authorities to not to plan development activities at the cost of the health of its citizens.
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  • Save Delhi's Trees
    Over the past week, the air quality in Delhi was deemed "severe". So severe that the Delhi High Court sought the response of the Delhi Government to combat the "emergency-like pollution situation". In the midst of this crisis comes news that the forest department gave permission to the NBCC to chop off 16,500 trees, as part of a plan to redevelop seven neighbourhoods in the city. These include Sarojini Nagar, Naroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Mohammadpur, Kasturba Nagar and Sriniwaspuri. In fact 1465 trees at Naroji Nagar, have already been axed, while another 2294 are being chopped off in Netaji Nagar. The fate of the remaining 12,000 hangs in the balance. Felling of this magnitude will be a huge loss to Delhi's green cover. Trees purify the air and in a city already battling with deteriorating air quality, the loss of 12,000 more trees will have devastating consequences. The forest department mandates that 10 saplings be planted for every tree that is cut. In this situation however, the saplings will planted in other locations, and the residents will have no benefit of this green cover. Besides, will there be an agency to check how many trees are planted and where? And let's not forget that compensatory afforestation will take decades to make up for the void of felling decades old, full-grown trees. We still have a chance to Save ( over 12000) Delhi's Trees and must not let this opportunity go. Sources: https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/16-500-trees-a-huge-price-for-south-delhi-s-redevelopment-projects/story-YOIim13uN0VfMe441XRv9K.html https://www.facebook.com/pg/DelhiTreesSOS/about/?ref=page_internal https://indianexpress.com/article/delhi/delhi-high-court-seeks-govt-response-on-severe-pollution-5219605/
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  • Make Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificates Mandatory for Ola and Uber cabs
    How many times have we covered our faces seeing large clouds of smoke trailing vehicles on the roads? In fact, your last ride with Ola/uber may very well have been one such car that didn’t have a valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate. That’s right -- a PUC certificate is only an optional requirement for a driver to register their car with Ola(1) and not a requirement for Uber(2). This is in spite of a Supreme Court mandate which makes PUC certificates essential for renewing vehicle insurance(3). Both companies have not made it a mandatory requirement for car registration. In a day more than 3.5 million rides are taken across the two platforms(4) and the numbers are growing. Both the companies introduced shared cabs as a way of curbing pollution in addition to cost-effectiveness for the riders, yet they have yet not considered making PUC certification a mandatory requirement. In fact, earlier Taxiforsure had mandated PUC certificate for their cabs, but after the take over by Ola, it is no longer the case. An authentic PUC certificate ensures that vehicles are within safety standards of pollution emissions. Strict enforcement of valid PUC certificates for all vehicles across the country is one way to tackle the problem of vehicular pollution. As frequent users of Ola/Uber, we have special leverage that we can now collectively apply to the companies. And the next time we take an Ola/uber, we can rest easy knowing we did our part in getting one more smokey vehicle cleaned up. Sources: https://help.olacabs.com/support/dreport/214172425 https://www.uber.com/en-IN/drive/requirements/ SC mandates PUC for insurance renewal https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/startups/newsbuzz/uber-ola-enter-slow-lane-in-2018/articleshow/65927443.cms https://www.dailyo.in/variety/air-pollution-who-4-of-15-most-polluted-cities-in-india-particulate-matter-lung-cancer-delhi-smog/story/1/23847.html
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  • Clean Air at Wagholi
    Clean air & water are the basic necessities for a healthy life. Unavailability of both becomes hazardous to life's existence . Pune city continues to expand, as never before - however burning of garbage by gram panchayat in open, operation of stone quarries & ongoing construction is a huge source of Air Pollution . More than 100,000 Wagholi residents are inhaling polluted Air, causing a severe health concern. We need Fresh Air to Breathe & to Live !
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  • Jaipur: end the open garbage/plastic burning
    Respiratory illness, heart diseases are on the rise in Jaipur since past year, the air quality index of Jaipur is deteriorating day by day (over 20 times worst the prescribed safe limit by WHO) yet people continue burning toxic garbage and trash in open. Plastic burning produces dioxins and furans, the most toxic carcinogen known to men. Yet residents and even municipal workers themselves burn garbage dialy in early morning and late night making it difficult to breathe for elderly and children.
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  • Send your suggestions on the draft CRZ notification
    Last month, the Environment Ministry rolled out a draft notification to modify the existing Coastal Regulatory Zone norms. The new enactment will allow tourism and industrial activities along India's 7,500 km coastline. This can have devastating consequences. The ministry thinks that industrial growth, tourism and coastal real estate are more important than the pristine eco-sensitive nature of India’s coastal stretches. The Draft Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification 2018 looks to transform coastal areas into launch pads of economic prosperity. This will come at the cost of biodiversity and the livelihoods of millions of fisherfolk, who will be stripped off their customary access and rights over coastal commons. The new rules also state that “Intertidal Areas” aka areas that experience tidal action and other Ecologically Sensitive Regions like mangroves, sand dunes, mud flats, coral reefs and salt marshes can now be used for construction of “Strategic” “Defence” “Security” and “Public Utility” Projects. However, the draft does not provide any details on what these words mean or what kind of projects can be constructed in these areas. At a time when we are facing the grim realities of Climate Change and Sea Level Rise, the government should be putting in additional efforts to protect coastal areas, its inhabitants and existing infrastructure. Instead, our coast is being butchered in the name of “development”. If this notification comes through, millions of fisherfolk in India stand to be affected, thousands of acres of ecologically sensitive areas stand to be destroyed and we all stand in the line of facing the vagaries of a climate uncertain future. We have one month, until June 18, to tell the Environment Ministry to withdraw this draft. Here are our comments we have put together - https://bit.ly/2IQ4Dv2 You can find the draft CRZ notification here - http://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/press-releases/DRAFT%20CRZ%20NOTIFICATION%2020181.pdf Sources http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/fisherfolk-edgy-over-move-to-ease-crz-norms/article23639490.ece https://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/new-draft-crz-rules-protect-builders-interest-not-coastal-environment-say-activists/story-V2H788nPZNzUixIDQDsHVJ.html
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  • Send your comments on the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
    In December 2017, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEFCC) announced the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) in the Rajya Sabha. A broad national level strategy, the aim of the NCAP is to tackle rising air pollution levels across the country. In March, the ministry told the Supreme Court that the initiatives proposed in the NCAP would be finalised within four weeks. After the deadline passed, the ministry released the NCAP draft concept note on their website, which lists the various governmental initiatives planned. You can find the note here - http://www.moef.gov.in/sites/default/files/NCAP%20with%20annex-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf However, the concept note has some glaring gaps -- there's no clarity sectoral targets, no interim deadlines for implementation of the objectives and no mention of community-based monitoring initiatives. We have until May 17 to tell the union environment ministry to come up with an inclusive, robust NCAP. Sign this petition to send your recommendations. Sources: http://www.moef.gov.in/sites/default/files/NCAP%20with%20annex-ilovepdf-compressed.pdf http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/national-clean-air-programme-to-be-finalised-within-four-weeks-govt-to-sc-118030801000_1.html https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/concept-note-on-national-clean-air-plan-lacks-source-wise-emission-reduction-strategy-say-activists/articleshow/63280693.cms
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  • Bengaluru needs ultra-clean fuel too
    Rapid construction, burning of garbage and increase in the number of vehicles plying the streets have all contributed to the rapidly deteriorating air quality levels in Bengaluru. In fact, an experiment conducted on Bangalore’s roads during peak traffic hours indicated extremely high levels of particulate matter (PM), which is basically the hazardous toxins that make up smog. A few weeks ago, Delhi became the first city in India to upgrade to BS-VI compliant fuel. Billed as "ultra-clean fuel", it comprises lower sulphur content – leading to vehicles emitting fewer noxious fumes. The deadline for India to implement this grade of fuel was April 2020, but it was brought forward in Delhi keeping in mind the “serious pollution levels”. The Supreme Court has now directed the Centre to look into the possibility of rolling out BS-VI fuel in 13 more cities by April 2019. Toxic air can inflict irreversible damage on our lungs. In fact a recent Harvard study revealed that even short-term exposure to air pollution can cause premature deaths. Let’s not wait another two years to safeguard what is most important – our health. It’s time BS-VI grade fuel was made compulsory in Bangalore too. Sources: 1. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/bs-vi-fuel-for-delhi-from-tomorrow-will-cut-emissions-by-this-much-1831147 2. http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/govt-admits-toxic-air-in-13-southern-cities-at-least-26-more-with-unsafe-air-92384
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  • Submit your comments on the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018
    The Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 includes pointers for sustainable management of our forests and urban tree cover. However, there are some glaring omissions and problematic areas that need to be addressed. For instance -- Private partnerships - This is unnecessary, as no private parties should have rights to implementation on forest land Relaxing felling and transit regime of wood - This could lead to the problem of illegal transportation of timber and also have devastating consequences on tree cover. This is a much-needed opportunity to contribute our suggestions and ensure that we have a robust Forest Policy that will not only nurture our forests but also protect the livelihoods of indigenous forest communities. We have already drafted an email template that covers the relevant points. Please feel free to add your own comments and rephrase or tweak the letter as you deem fit. India’s forests are our lifeline, and this is our chance to perform a precious democratic duty. We have just about seven days to ensure the ministry takes into account these crucial recommendations. Sources Draft National Policy http://www.moef.nic.in/sites/default/files/Draft%20National%20Forest%20Policy%2C%202018.pdf
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  • Save 8000 precious trees in Gandhinagar
    The beautiful road leading up to Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar is flanked by gorgeous trees, some over 70 years old. The stretch includes the residences of some of the state's most influential residents like the governor and the chief minister. Now, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has selected a 7-km stretch for a road-widening project, which means that over 8,000 trees risk being axed, in the name of "development". At a time when green cover is shrinking, and the threats of climate change manifest in varied ways, cutting trees is absolutely unacceptable. The NHAI must cancel the road-widening project, or think of alternative routes that won't affect the trees. Source: http://ahmedabadmirror.indiatimes.com/ahmedabad/cover-story/8000-trees-to-pay-the-price-for-wider-road-for-vipss-residents-and-activists-cry-foul/articleshow/63587076.cms
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  • Stop the Hawan to clean the Pawan
    Burning biomass is one of the major contributors of air pollution and 500 quintals of mango wood coupled with ghee, rice and sesame seeds will make the pollution in Meerut worse rather than curbing it. young kids, expecting mothers, senior citizens and people with asthma will be the most affected due to enormous amount of pollution that will be generated over the next 9 days. There are many ways to curb pollution and burning 500 quintals of wood for days at end is definitely not one of them. I request you to please intervene in the matter immediately and stop this Hawan to clean our Pawan.
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  • Urgent restoration of Bellandur lake
    Over half of Bengaluru’s 70 lakes are severely polluted – the water is not fit for drinking or even bathing, according to a Water Quality Index test carried out by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board in November last year. Bellandur Lake, the city’s largest water body that’s spread over 750 acres, is the most polluted and has caught fire multiple times in the last few years. In fact, the pollution levels are so severe that toxic froth routinely forms on the lake bed and spills over into surrounding areas. KJ George recently said that he wants the lake to become a water sports hub following its revival. While these are grand plans, the core problem needs urgent addressing. Nearly 400 litres of effluents and sewage are flushed into Bellandur lake every day. Almost 5000 army personnel were roped in in a 24-hour operation to douse the blaze last month. According to experts, the sludge has accumulated 40 feet deep inside the lake bed. Besides, residents around the area have been inhaling toxic fumes and putting up with the stink that emanates from the lake, which is a serious health concern. While there are lots of citizen groups and local bodies engaged in awareness and activism around saving the lake, there needs to be greater accountability at the government level. From the BDA down to the BBMP and BWSSB, they need to have a streamlined action plan to tackle the issue. If one nodal agency (BDA) is in charge, other agencies can work in co-ordination with the BDA. Bengaluru's reputation of pristine air has been under threat for a while now and with rapid encroachment and development, air pollution levels are only getting worse. If Bellandur lake is restored, its success could be replicated to save other lakes around the city. Sources: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/long-strenuous-way-ahead-for-bellandur-lake-revival/articleshow/62815668.cms http://www.deccanherald.com/content/662301/bellandur-varthur-lakes-become-water.html http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bengaluru/2018/jan/22/53-lakes-in-bengaluru-tested-not-even-one-has-safe-water-1760808.html https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/deccan+herald-epaper-deccan/missing+cctv+footage+of+bellandur+lake+2+weeks+after+blaze-newsid-80928001
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