Lockdown: Environment may have improved temporarily, what will happen after April 14?

ganga

Mahesh Pandya, director, Ahmedabad-based environmental NGO Paryavaran Mitra, having observer status at the UN FCCC and special consultative status at the UN ECOSOC, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested actions to be taken against the backdrop of “positive Impact on environment due to lockdown. Text of the letter, whose copy has also been sent to Prakash Javdekar, minister, environment, forests and climate change:

Paryavaran Mitra is a Gujarat-based organization working on socio-environmental issues since 1997 to advocate for human rights in the face of growing environmental degradation and pollution.

In the mist of COVID-19, many positive actions have been taken by the Government of India to stop the spread of such deadly virus among citizens. Beginning with the idea of victory March by clapping and ringing of bells during ‘Janta Curfew’ to acknowledge the endless efforts of medical fraternity, which is boundlessly engaged in fighting with the corona virus endangering their own safety.Also the brave initiative of turning lights off and putting candle lights and diyas to show solidarity have been successful.

These symbolic gestures have been continuously engraving the spirit of harmony, unity and collective efforts of millions of Indians to fight against pandemic. We appreciate your efforts and are truly thankful to you.

The apt step to lockdown nation is commendable, as it has controlled the spread of virus to the great extent. The lockdown has also affected the environment in positive manner. The report of Central Pollution Control Board dated 31st March, 2020 shows that there is significant improvement in air quality and air pollution plummets up to 71 percent in just one week of lockdown.

The Holy River Ganga gets cleaner in Uttar Pradesh because factories along the riverbank that discharged effluents into the Ganga have been shut due to the lockdown and this has naturally improved the water quality.

The Himalayas is visible from Jalandhar, Punjab. These things have never happened since the time of immemorial. In just few days of lockdown we could see the Mother Earth restoring to normalcy. It will not only have affirmative impact on health of human beings but it will also give safe environment to the birds and animals.

It is important to continue such rejuvenation and restore environment. The condition can be said to have improved temporarily because after completion of 21 days of lockdown, the offices, schools, movie theaters, malls, markets, service providers, all modes of public transport such as metro trains, buses, inter-state trains and domestic and international flights for civilian movement will start and it will again hike the pollution levels.

Therefore, it is kindly requested that the Central Pollution Control Board conducts study on the manner and reasons due to which the environmental condition have improved and frame Action Plan in light of results, so that we could enjoy the perks of nature infinitely and not limit ourselves to 21 days of lockdown.

An effort can be made to appeal the citizens of India, by effective messages, in which improved conditions of environment will be highlighted. There is a need to encourage citizens to again show harmony in preserving the nature by both, individual efforts and group efforts such as limit the use of vehicle, reduce the generation of domestic waste (specifically food waste) etc.

The concerned authorities need to perform their duty and they should take strict actions against industries discharging waste effluents in River and other water sources to keep the nature in clearer form.

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