India’s green battle needs more concrete steps & warriors

Global warming is knocking at India’s doors. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says India will be one of the first few countries to be completely destroyed by climate change. Our entire water system is under threat, our cities face the fear of turning into gas chambers with zero groundwater, poisonous rivers and coastal regions being drowned. Also, there is the possibility of mass migration because of climate change with half a billion people becoming climate refugees. Yet, we seem to be dragging our feet on the issue. Despite knowing that India is the world’s fifth most polluted country and the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases across the globe, we aren’t doing enough to save our environment. Around 68% of carbon emissions in India come from the energy sector, but instead of investing in green energy/renewables the government is making things worse by privatising the energy sector, chopping down trees wherever possible and not bringing strong regulations on carbon emissions. Look at Telangana. While the government here has initiated projects like Haritha Haram, it is, unfortunately, not enough. Mindless mining of coal, lack of investments in research and development (of green energy) and senseless deforestation are proving to be counter-productive and nullifying the efforts made in the name of Haritha Haram. If you look at Hussainsagar, everyone knows that it is heavily polluted, almost poisonous, and all efforts to clean it has been nothing but an eye-wash. It doesn’t matter how many times you clean the lake – or any lake for that matter — unless you stop pollutants from entering them, nothing will work. The government has to be tough enough and order industries to treat their industrial waste before releasing it into water or air. If nothing is done now, soon, even passing by the Necklace Road will become unbearable and harmful to our health. If the chief minister really wants Telangana to be habitable for the future generation, he will have to implement a more solid climate action policy, something like a Zero Carbon Emission Bill or a Green New Deal. The people of Telangana need to stop voting for parties that don’t provide us with a green manifesto. Just because the situation seems hopeless now, we cannot stop fighting. So, let’s come together and build a formidable army of green warriors so that we – and our generations to come – can breathe easy. The writer is a BA (Mass Communication) student at St Mary’s College. He’s an active member of the environment group, FridaysForFuture, and runs an unregistered NGO, Phoenix, comprising city youth that works on climate, social and economic issues.

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