• Lakhwar Dam – Another big nail in Yamuna’s coffin
    The Yamuna river is strangulated with dams. It is also one of the most critically polluted rivers in the country. The river has already been stressed out by demands of water for hydropower, irrigation and drinking in North India; and now, yet another high dam is set to be constructed on this river just 120 kms downstream of the holy shrine of Yamunotri in Uttarakhand. This proposed dam will restrict the flow of the river from 1400 kms to just 75-80kms! 50 villages will be affected by the dam’s submergence area and many more will lose access to the river downstream. Apart from killing the flow of the Yamuna, a stretch which is rich in the endangered Mahaseer fish will be affected and more than 3 lakh trees will be axed for this dam. The environmental and disaster impact assessments of the Lakhwar dam are inadequate and three decades old. The Lakhwar project has been challenged in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) due to these violations and environmental concerns and the court is still hearing the matter. Yet this project is being blindly pushed. All this is being done in the name of providing water to Delhi. It’s acknowledged that Delhi’s water crisis is not caused by scarcity of water, but because of serious mismanagement. The devastating floods and landslides in the mountain states of Uttarakhand and Himachal speak volumes about the fragility of the Himalayan region. Much has already been documented about the negative impacts of large dams, especially in ecologically vulnerable areas. But looks like our government has failed to learn any lessons from disasters like the one in Kerala. Delhi’s citizens took to the streets to save 16,000 trees from being cut.Let’s use the same energy and dedication to prevent further destruction of our rivers and forests! Sign this petition and save the Yamuna and ourselves! Sources: 1. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/dehradun/environmentalists-up-in-arms-against-lakhwar-byasi-dam-project-on-yamuna/articleshow/65583804.cms 2. https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/the+wire+english-epaper-wireng/india+revives+massive+yamuna+dam+project+despite+environmental+concerns-newsid-96694051 3. https://sandrp.in/2013/04/22/lakhwar-dam-project-why-the-project-should-not-go-ahead/ 4. https://thewire.in/environment/india-revives-massive-yamuna-dam-project-despite-environmental-concerns 5. https://sandrp.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/major_hydro_projects_in_yamuna_basin.pdf
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  • Fix Bangalore's roads, BBMP
    Travelling on Bangalore's streets has become a nightmare. The traffic issue is compounded by the terrible condition of the roads, with all the potholes and broken pavements. The dust also adds to the particulate matter in the air, leading to increased levels of air pollution. On Wednesday, the Karnataka High Court asked the BBMP to fill all the potholes (over 3000) in the city in a day. The BBMP claims it has fixed 899 potholes and are working on the rest. The High Court has extended the deadline to Monday. Sign the petition to get the BBMP to make Bangalore's roads motorable again. They should also provide a mechanism for citizens to file complaints against the shoddy condition of the roads. References 1. https://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/civic/fill-potholes-by-thursday-morning-high-court-to-bbmp/articleshow/65878008.cms 2. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-hc-gives-bbmp-3-day-extension-make-bengaluru-pothole-free-88704
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  • Prevent future floods: Save Western Ghats
    In 2015, more than 500 people were killed and over 18 lakh were displaced in the Chennai floods. In 2018, over 200 people have died in the worst floods Kerala has seen in several decades. These are painful reminders of how “development” is harming us. And these reminders are only going to increase in frequency over the next few years. In 2011, a landmark report by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (also known as Gadgil committee) had detailed measures for the preservation of the natural environment of the Western Ghats. The report had recommended that the entire Western Ghats, spread over six states, including Kerala, be declared ecologically sensitive. The committee had strongly recommended a ban on certain new industrial and mining activities in the area, and called for strict regulation of other ‘developmental’ work in consultation with local communities and gram panchayats. The report met with resistance from the governments of all six stakeholder states. A new committee later formed severely watered down the recommendations of the Gadgil panel, suggesting that only a third of the Western Ghats be identified as ecologically sensitive. Of the area that was finally notified, only 9,993.7 sq km was in Kerala. The floods and landslides in Kerala are a result of the unmitigated development activities like illegal excavations and stone quarrying that were being done for over a decade. Noted ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the panel, said that irresponsible environmental policy was to blame. Gadgil has now warned that Goa may face the same fate if it doesn't take environmental precautions. The 2011 report made several significant recommendations -- no new hill stations and special economic zones, banning conversion of public lands to private, regulation of tourism and no issue of mining licenses, dams, thermal power plants and other large-scale wind power projects in ecologically sensitive zones. It’s time the MoEFCC formally accepts the Gadgil report, before another disaster takes place.
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  • Stop garbage burning in Bangalore
    Bangalore is one of the few cities in India whose civic agency has a dedicated department for waste management. Despite this “organised” approach, burning of garbage is rampant in the city, especially in Whitefield, KR Puram, Bellandur, RR Nagar and Jayamahal. Most incidents happen at night and at the hands of illegal contractors. Besides the mess it creates, the fumes that emanate from such reckless burning are toxic and cause serious respiratory ailments like asthma. Garbage burning is also a leading cause of air pollution. It doesn’t help that in the past few years with rapid urbanisation, increase in the number of vehicles and construction activities, Bangalore’s air quality has dipped severely affecting the health of residents. Two years ago, Jhatkaa.org started a campaign to end this menace and after mobilising thousands of citizens, got Sarfaraz Khan to issue a notification against open burning of garbage. However, penalties and fines are not being enforced and the practice continues. The National Green Tribunal and Karnataka Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) have also prohibited garbage burning, with fines up to Rs 25,000. We’re tired of the BBMP indifference in curbing this problem, and cannot afford to have citizens falling prey to burning-induced health conditions. We want to be Garden City, not Garbage City. Join this campaign to tell the BBMP to hold offenders accountable and strictly enforce penalties for garbage burning in Bangalore.
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  • Independence from Air Pollution #PollutionSeAzaadi
    From 2013 to 2017, Delhi saw 981 deaths due to Acute Respiratory Infection, according to a report that was labelled in Parliament recently. We all know about World Health Organisation’s distressing report on air quality in 4000 cities across the world --- 14 of the top 15 cities were from India! This is no laughing matter. India is in the midst of a grave air pollution crisis. And infants, children and asthmatic patients are the most vulnerable to pollution-related diseases. You no longer need to be a smoker to get lung cancer. Rapid urbanisation, construction activities, stubble burning, vehicular emissions and thermal power plants are only some of the contributors to air pollution in India. Can we have Swachh Bharat without Swachh Air? The PM has spoken of cleaning India’s polluted water bodies like Yamuna and Ganga, but what about the toxic air we’re breathing every day? Every Independence Day, Narendra Modi speaks of the country’s history, economic and social developments in various sectors but he’s never acknowledged environmental concerns. This Aug 15, we must get him to address how he plans to tackle the rising air pollution in India in his speech. Air pollution affects every one of us and it’s time we got together to get our biggest decision maker to speak up on it. Sign the petition urging Narendra Modi to speak about air pollution in his Independence Day speech. Sources: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-tops-world-in-bad-air-quality-kanpur-delhi-among-top-15-mumbai-4th-most-polluted-megacity/articleshow/63997130.cms https://www.dailypioneer.com/todays-newspaper/air-pollution-cost-india-55bn-in-2013.html
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  • Children in Delhi Deserve Clean Air #MyRightToBreathe
    Like any other parent, I want to give my children a safe and secure environment so they're healthy and thriving. Lately, I seem to be struggling with a very simple aspiration -- something that is a basic right. Their "right to breathe". The right to breathe clean air. The air in Delhi has reached toxic levels, infiltrating our lungs but most importantly, affecting our vulnerable children's health. A recent study by the Lung Care Foundation pointed to how newborns inhaling this toxic air have a higher chance of being diagnosed with lung cancer. My 14-year-old twin daughters, who are competing for junior national-level basketball, are at high risk for pollution-related health conditions, including severe respiratory infections. Would we have ever imagined that playing sports would be a curse for our children? And if they discontinue, their 11 years of strenuous training for the sport is lost. Most of our children spend over 8 hours in school. There is an URGENT need for every educational institution, whether private or government-run, to be equipped with awareness on how to deal with air pollution-related crises. Along with regular first-aid, the kits need to have nebulizers, inhalers, spacers and other specialised medication. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has pointed to increasing scientific research that shows that air pollution can permanently damage a child’s brain. As a citizen of Delhi (but foremost a concerned mother), and the My Right to Breathe (MRTB) movement, I urge you to join my campaign asking the government and the various governing bodies of different schools to consider the severe health hazards of air pollution. Sign this petition urging every single school in Delhi to be equipped with special prevention kits and medication to deal with air pollution-related medical emergencies. References: 1. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/spike-in-chronic-cough-cases-among-kids-due-to-air-pollution-study/articleshow/65219286.cms 2. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/inhaling-fine-dust-in-delhi-air-killed-15-000-prematurely-in-2016-says-study/story-eDmXT0dCskwNnZFcKrfhxJ.html 3. https://www.hindustantimes.com/health/air-pollution-is-linked-to-lung-cancer-among-non-smoking-youth-women/story-af1lsqAxSi2HtwcMbq8FQJ.html
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  • Save Indiranagar's trees
    The area around the 30-year-old BDA complex is one of the last remaining tree-lined, canopied stretches in Indiranagar. There is also a lake within 75 metres of the complex and a primary storm water drain within 25 metres of the complex. According to the National Green Tribunal, no construction can come up in this buffer zone. The BDA has decided to chop around 200 trees to redevelop BDA complex. No public consultation was conducted before taking this decision. So basically, this is illegal. Some of the trees that will be axed include peepal, banyan, silver oak, orchid tree, cherry, champak, java plum, mango, lemon, neem, coconut, and custard apple among others. Many of the trees that will be felled are over 70 years old. Air pollution is an issue that needs urgent addressing -- And chopping off hundreds of trees that essentially purify the air, for 're-development' projects is only going to make it more difficult to tackle. We have save thousands of trees in Bangalore before. We can do it again. Sign this petition NOW. Sources: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/bengaluru-agency-plans-axe-171-trees-indiranagar-construct-new-complex-85388
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  • 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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  • 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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