• 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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  • #NaturesCasket: Boycott Godrej Nature's Basket till they cut down on plastic
    Organizations like Godrej who champion good corporate governance, should set an example and commit to a zero-plastic future.
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  • Don’t change the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act
    Chopping down of trees to make way for development can have devastating environmental and ecological consequences. Bengaluru has already been reeling under increasing air pollution and any further loss of green cover is bound to drive up the sulphur dioxide and particulate matter levels. This can give rise to asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses. Some of the species in the new amendment to the KPTA include Gulmohar, Indian Coral, Dodda Bevu, Umbrella Tree and conifers like fir and pine. Among many of these are trees that line Karnataka’s beautiful roads. If this amendment goes through, it would give KJ George, Bangalore's Development Minister, the power to fell nearly 852 trees to build a steel flyover in the city. Jhatkaa.org members like you have been among the thousands of citizens who have come together in the past to protect our city’s trees from being axed for poorly planned infrastructure projects. This amendment, if approved, will leave very little room for us to rally for our trees, as the government will not be obliged to ask for public consultation before chopping these trees. We have only till February 28 to raise our voices and stop this very convenient change in the KPTA law. If enough of us stand with Karnataka’s trees, we can convince KJ George and CM Siddaramaiah to withdraw this dangerous amendment. We’ve done it before. We can do it again. Sources: http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/chopping-these-beauties-set-to-become-very-easy/articleshow/62891163.cms http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/cover-story/choppers-stop-attempt-to-amend-karnataka-tree-preservation-act-has-bengaluru-seething/articleshow/62906346.cms http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/bangalore/others/Scofflaw-BBMP-twisted-law-over-several-years-to-make-tree-cutting-spree-easy/articleshow/54633610.cms
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  • Make India a global leader in Electric Vehicles
    Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari inaugurated electric vehicle charging stations in New Delhi a few days ago. Last month, he assured us that India’s new EV Policy was awaiting union cabinet approval. These promising steps towards sustainable energy use seem to have taken a u-turn with his surprising announcement that India does not need an EV-policy. Governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka are already in the process of approving and implementing EV policies in their respective states. The Ministry of Road Transport, together with NITI Aayog, must go one step further and introduce a nation-wide road map for boosting electric vehicles in India. If India is to achieve 100% electric vehicle mobility by 2030, then all efforts must be made to manufacture, promote and boost electric vehicles powered by renewable energy. The key is getting EV manufacturers to commit to renewable-energy powered vehicles -- whether they are buses, taxis, autos or other means of public transport. Minister Gadkari has a unique opportunity to make India a global leader in electric vehicles. If enough citizens sign this petition to let him know we want an EV-policy for India, we can convince him to get back on track towards rolling out an electric vehicle plan for our country. Sources: Govt drops the idea of an India EV policy: http://www.livemint.com/Industry/mmhL6JOC61yIfeiIQKlLZN/Govt-drops-the-idea-of-an-India-EV-policy.html All electric cars by 2030? Nitin Gadkari inaugurates EV charging points at Niti Aayog: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/all-electric-cars-by-2030-nitin-gadkari-inaugurates-ev-charging-points-at-niti-aayog-5065099/ Karnataka Cabinet clears Electric Vehicle & Energy Storage Policy: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/karnataka-cabinet-clears-electric-vehicle-amp-energy-storage-policy/article9857949.ece Maharashtra Cabinet approves electric vehicle policy to manufacture 500,000 EVs: https://mercomindia.com/maharashtra-cabinet-electric-vehicle-policy-evs/
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  • How can one go ahead with Kolkata Police SD Save Life Half Marathon 2018 with so much pollution?
    The intake of air increases considerably when we exercise, because we take deeper and more frequent breaths. An athlete running at 70 percent of VO2 max (roughly equivalent to easy running pace) for about three hours inhales the same volume of air as a sedentary person would over the course of two days. Heavy metals and carcinogens, however, cannot be metabolized by the liver and do remain in the body. Athletes who train in cities accumulate higher levels of lead in their blood than those who train in rural areas. The respiratory effects of particulate matter—matter suspended in the atmosphere—can be chronic. Increased particulate concentration leads to more frequent severe respiratory symptoms for asthmatics and non asthmatics alike. “Individuals with pre-existing respiratory and/or cardiac disorders are at a risk of acute effects from exposure to particles. The effects can range from changes in lung function through increased symptoms and days of restricted activity to hospital admission and premature mortality.”
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  • Save Aarey Forest - Mumbai’s Green Lungs
    MILESTONE - August 8, 2019 A month after their public hearing, the BMC's Tree Authority is set to defer Mumbai Metro's proposal to cut 2,702 trees in Aarey Colony. While the decision to cut these trees has not been scrapped altogether, this is a big milestone for Mumbai's citizens. Update - July 8, 2019 The BMC held a public hearing to hear citizens objections' on the cutting/ transplanting of 2702 trees for a Metri car shed. The hearing was attended by over 800 citizens, and they received over 82,000 emails (including 73,000 from Jhatkaa.org members) against the tree cutting. They will release a report in a few weeks. Update - April 15, 2019 The Supreme Court dismissed an application filed by Aarey Conservation Group seeking alternative sites for the Metro car shed proposed to come up at Aarey Colony. The bench said that alternative options had been looked into and found unviable by MMRCL and a state-appointed technical committee. Context: For over three years now, environmentalists from various organisations, along with activists, students and citizens, have been putting up a tough fight to protect Aarey forest and safeguard our future. However, now these green crusaders have been barred from entering the location where the work for the metro car shed has already begun. Over a 100 trees have already been chopped. An air quality measurement by System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) found Mumbai’s Air Quality Index to be at 244 (‘poor’) -- higher even than Delhi which fell from 204 to 183 (‘moderate’). In fact, PM2.5 levels in Mumbai, recorded at 109, were almost twice the safe limit. It is a well known fact that green cover in cities can help tackle rising air pollution -- The Nature Conservancy’s study reports how urban trees can remove up to a quarter of PM pollution within a few meters, and can even function as a barrier for local residents, filtering bad air. When government officials and citizens all over the world are investing in tree plantation drives to tackle air pollution and climate change, MMRCL is determined to fell thousands of trees for a metro car shed. Aarey forest is part of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and supports an entire ecosystem of its own, with a rich biodiversity. An ecosystem like this takes hundreds of years to build up, and cannot be re-planted over night. We are not against the expansion of the metro in Mumbai, but an ecologically sensitive area like Aarey forest, which functions are the largest natural air purifier for the city, cannot be cleared for the metro car shed. There are plenty of non-residential, and industrial locations for the metro car shed to be constructed -- but, not at the cost of Mumbai’s lungs. The MMRCL went ahead without waiting for the National Green Tribunal to pass its verdict on declaring Aarey as a forest. If enough people lend their voice to our fight for clean air, we can put pressure on the CM to relocate the metro car shed. Sources: 1. https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/increasing-tree-cover-in-mega-indian-cities-can-help-reduce-particulate-matter-and-temperatures-264763.html 2. http://www.hindustantimes.com/mumbai-news/mumbai-s-air-quality-on-sunday-was-the-worst-for-this-winter/story-nL9Y67W9Bq1OBjTZlGDcZL.html 3. http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/residents-move-hc-over-metro-shed-at-aarey/article19848519.ece
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  • End illegal garbage burning in my ward (Ward 78)
    We can no longer brag about the ‘natural air-conditioning’ in the city. The summers are getting hotter and garbage burning is adding to the heat. Open burning of garbage is a common practice around the city. It is so normal that most of us don’t even know that it is against the law. Particulate matter on our busy roads is 6 times the limit prescribed by the World Health Organisation. Garbage burning greatly contributes to the existing urban air pollution which is known to reduce the lives of Indians by over 3 years. The cocktail of toxins that are released while burning garbage is extremely harmful to humans, causing growth defects and cancer in children. Here is the problem: The burning of garbage represents a whole systems failure. It’s what happens when there’s overconsumption, littering, not enough waste segregation, too few sorting facilities, and not enough landfills. But the good news is that there is no shortage of solutions. If the BBMP makes this a priority, and invests/enforces accordingly, we can not only end garbage burning in our beautiful city, but it will also be major step forward in addressing the problem of waste management itself. We already have 4 Indian cities on the list of 10 most polluted cities in the world. Let’s not add Bengaluru to that list. Let’s help Bengaluru be recrowned as the ‘garden city’ of India. Join us in telling the BBMP that garbage burning is illegal and the ban on open garbage burning must be enforced immediately!
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