• National Climate Emergency
    WATCH the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZUiFwTjrJw?showEmbed=true UPDATE: June 25, 2019 The current water crisis in Tamil Nadu is a wake-up call. Nearly two lakh cattle in the state have been reported dead for want of water. Acute water shortage is a reality in many Indian towns, and the crisis is now reaching mega cities. The UK, France, Canada and Ireland have formally recognised a climate crisis. Sydney's council recently declared an emergency too! It's time the Indian Government follows suit and declares a National Climate Emergency. Context: Inspired by Swedish student and climate change activist Greta Thunberg, lakhs of students and youth across continents went on a climate strike in March '19, demanding urgent climate action from their national governments. 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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  • Safeguard Pune's health: Implement Parking Policy
    Are you aware that amongst all the sources of air pollution, vehicular emissions have the highest adverse health impacts? The main hazardous pollutants among these are particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2 ), nitrogen oxide(NOx ), carbon monoxide (CO2), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and greenhouse gases. Out of these, the fine and ultrafine PM 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’s population is 35 lakhs, the number of registered vehicles has crossed 38 lakhs. This explosive growth in vehicular population has meant increase in vehicular emissions, and hence increased air pollution. Reducing the usage of private vehicles will reducevehicular emissions to a large extent, thus mitigating air pollution. A parking policy can play a big role in controlling the number of vehicles on the road. Vehicular parking on roads has become a menace in the last few years. Currently, there are no parking charges levied anywhere across the city. Parking spots are occupied (longer than they should) leading to indiscriminate and haphazard parking that creates traffic blocks and congestion. This in turn amounts to vehicles being on the road longer, thus emitting more pollutants. When a parking policy mandates high parking charges, people are encouraged to reduce personal vehicle trips and use alternative methods of commute like pooling, using public transport, walking or cycling, or in some cases avoiding the trip altogether. To facilitate this, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) approved a parking policy in March 2018. The main highlight of the policy was to ensure parking charges for on-street parking for all vehicles based on the space occupied by the vehicle, and as per demand (higher rates in high demand areas or during peak hours). The decision of the ruling party (BJP) at the time of passing the policy was to form a committee headed by the Mayor which would select five streets on which parking would be implemented for six months on a pilot basis, before applying it all over the city. A year and a half later, the committee is yet to decide these five streets, thus effectively stalling the policy. The Mayor, Nayana Gunde, has failed in discharging her duties and it is time for the Municipal Commissioner, Saurabh Rao, who yields the power to do so, to take some firm actions and get the policy implemented. Parisar, a civil society organisation working towards making Pune city more liveable with a focus on sustainable urban transport, had in fact urged the Commissioner to look into the matter but no action has been taken till date. Parisar, in collaboration with Jhatkaa is demanding the Municipal Commissioner of Pune to implement this long pending parking policy without any further delay. Support us by signing this petition which is a huge step towards achieving the long-term goal of clean air and a congestion-free Pune.
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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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  • 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! Earlier this year, our Union government proposed an overhaul of the Indian Forest Act, 1927. This colonial-era law was imposed by the British so they could exert autonomy over India's forests. Replacing this much criticised act is a welcome move. However, the draft law that the government has proposed in its place is worrying. It has enhanced the policing and quasi-judicial powers that forest officials enjoyed under the original act and gives them some more. For instance, the power to shoot people without any liability. Basically, 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 that it gives forest officials the same legal protection as soldiers in disturbed areas. In addition, it will reduce and restrict tribals' and forest dwellers' access to forest produce, relocate people against their will, hand over forests to private companies for afforestation 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, for them to share their suggestions and recommendations. 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 Prakash Javadekar, 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 2. https://forestrightsact.com/2019/03/22/bjp-govt-wants-to-declare-war-in-forests-are-tribals-and-forest-dwellers-the-enemy/
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  • Do not let Bullet Train run over 1.5 lakh precious mangroves
    UPDATE: 1. The Environment Ministry has given the green signal for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train to go ahead. 2. The implementation agency has asked the Indian authorities to increase compensation to those (particularly farmers) who will be displaced as a result of the project. 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
    UPDATE: On 14 October, the villagers from Tara in Surajpur district under the banner of Hasdeo Aranya Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, started an indefinite sit-in protest at against the coal mining project in Hasdeo. Land has been acquired unlawfully for the Parsa Coal Mining Project without the consent of the Gram Sabha. Adivasi communities have been protesting about it, not celebrating the festivals but coming together to fight for their Land, Forest and water. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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) with Adani group as mine developer and operator 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!
    Update - July 9, 2019 A July 2019 news report states that the amendment to PLPA will be sent to the Supreme Court for approval. The apex body had put a stay on the amendment in March 2019, calling it "obnoxious" and "contemptuous". Context: 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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  • Save Goa's 200-year-old trees: Say no highway through Colvale
    MILESTONE! A few days after the campaign was started, transport minister Ramkrishna Dhavalikar spoke up for the preservation of these trees: "Some of these trees predate our grandparents. We will not permit anyone to touch those trees, neither engineers nor contractors nor consultants." In the mid 90s, we learnt that a highway would run through Colvale, our village. At the entrance to Colvale (when approached from Mapuca town) were a group of mango trees that formed an archway. The then stray bus or car went under the trees to enter the village. These mango trees are like welcoming umbrellas in our part of Goa. The welcoming canopy also exists in nearby villages Tivim and Assnora. When we heard that the over 150 to 180-year-old trees were due to be cut, my father and I protested. We managed to save those trees and convince authorities to make the highway go around the trees. Now, we have learnt that these trees may be felled as part of a highway expansion project (Patradevi to Karaswada project). Not just that, the century-old St Anthony Chapel is also set to be demolished. The chapel is still a place of worship for us and we hold Novenas there. Isn’t this against Supreme Court Orders that no religious structures over 100 years can be demolished? In a game of smoke, mirrors and lies, the PWD and state Government are not telling us Colvalkars the real plan and fate of our village. From a chapel to the trees, we are left in the dark. Doesn’t the Forest Department care for old trees? Doesn’t the Goa Government care about its own villages and villagers? We must battle to save our village. We cannot allow such scams and public violations in the name of development and progress.
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  • Save Alappad from sand mining
    UPDATE(23 July 2019): Taking note of excessive sand mining in Alappad, a coastal village in Kerala, the National Green Tribunal has formed a committee to determine compensation to be recovered for damage to the environment by unsustainable illegal mining. Alappad, a coastal village in Kollam has become a victim of sand mining. Due to mining by two government-owned companies in the area which started in 1968, villages have almost ‘disappeared’.(1). Alappad, has already faced the brunt of the cyclonic storm Ockhi last year and the Tsunami in 2004. Trying to desperately save their remaining villages, the people of Alappad and nearby hamlets are protesting under the banner of the protest council. They have been on a relay hunger strike at Vellanathuruthu near Alappad since November 2018 demanding a complete halt to the mining activities(2) Some of the facts to consider as per news reports: Ponnama, a village in Alappad Panchayat is now nothing but a pile of sand. Only three families live in the village which was once prosperous(3). Alappad which had an area of 89.5 square kilometres has been reduced to just 8 square kilometres by 2019(2). In Alappad panchayat, activists estimate that more than 6,000 fishermen families have vacated over the years due to beach erosion, drinking water scarcity and lack of fish availability(3). In Chittoor region near Chavara there are open ponds which have been used by companies for dumping chemical waste. The ponds were sources of drinking water. Not anymore. (3). There is no publicly available data about the people who were evicted without compensation. Though activists quote the numbers of families vacated from the region, there is no official data on it (3). Prawns, shell fish and various other small fish were available here in abundance, but now fishermen are forced to leave due to reduction in catch. Locals pointed out that there is a backwater which was identified as a national waterway. But now, the sea will evade these backwaters and damage the paddy fields of upper Kuttanad, which is below the sea level and known as the rice bowl of Kerala(4). Industry Minister EP Jayarajan has to take cognizance of the environmental and social cost that the mining activity is causing. Development cannot take place by sacrificing villages. We cannot afford another man-made disaster in God’s own country. Sources Huufington post: https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/kerala-alappad-could-be-wiped-off-map-if-it-doesnt-fight-off-sand-mining-soon_in_5c383fefe4b045f6768aa38a Indiatimes: https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/an-entire-village-in-kerala-could-soon-be-wiped-off-the-map-due-to-black-sand-mining-360452.html The News Minute: https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/villages-vanish-keralas-kollam-coast-they-succumb-sand-mining-94762 Business Standard: https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/alappad-a-tale-of-lost-land-to-mineral-sand-mining-119011100385_1.htm
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  • Kolkata for Clean Air: No more diesel vehicles
    Kolkata has been termed India’s ‘Diesel Capital’. This title is not a stretch. The City of Joy has been reeling under an air pollution crisis. Officials from West Bengal Pollution Control Board recently pointed out that the air quality in Kolkata has been exceptionally bad this winter. A few weeks ago, the air quality index at Rabindra Bharati University on BT road touched 500. In November last year, Kolkata’s air touched severe levels, toppling Delhi as the most polluted metro. According to estimates, 99% of commercial vehicles in Kolkata are diesel-driven. A 2016 report by Centre for Science and Environment stated that diesel constitutes 45% of total oil consumption in the city. Besides the high carbon content in diesel, vehicles that run on it also contribute to more suspended particulate matter (SPM) in the air. This particulate matter is toxic -- it causes lung damage and is responsible for many respiratory illnesses like asthma. In November, the NGT stated that auto emissions were the leading cause of air pollution in Kolkata. Unlike cities like Delhi that have had public transport running on CNG for a few years now, there is no alternative for diesel in Kolkata. And the city’s vehicle count is just a fourth of Delhi. It’s clear that for the city’s air quality to improve, phasing out of diesel vehicles is essential. On December 31, the State Transport Department issued a notification banning the plying of vehicles older than 15 years in the city. Together, we can urge Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari to ban the sale of any new diesel vehicles. Sign this petition now. Sources 1. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/piled-up-pollutants-take-aqi-beyond-500-mark/articleshow/67537926.cms 2. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/pollution/news/2018-11-19-kolkata-surpasses-delhi-be-most-polluted-metro-over-weekend
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