On climate change, the Congress has used all the right words and promised an action agenda to combat global warming. The BJP, on the other hand, is largely silent on the issue of climate change apart from the promise of achieving the goal of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022.
In the last few days, I have been bombarded with queries from journalists about the importance of environmental issues in the 2019 elections and whether political parties are giving them due importance in their manifestos. Frankly, I have struggled to answer their questions simply because there is very little to comment on. The gap between the environmental challenges facing the country and promises being made by political parties is too great to warrant any serious comment. Let me explain.
India is today facing an environmental crisis of unprecedented proportions. Never have our air and water been as foul as they are today. Air quality has worsened to such an extent that it now kills people on a large scale. Of all the countries, India has the highest child mortality rate due to toxic air. In 2017, at least one in eight deaths in the country were attributed to air pollution. Similarly, polluted water is still the largest killer of babies in the country. And our water pollution is increasing by the day.
In 2018, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) identified a total of 351 polluted river stretches—an increase from 302 stretches identified just three years ago. Not just the Ganga is polluted—all the major and minor rivers are falling prey to pollution because of unsustainable withdrawal of water and untreated disposal of waste.
The crisis is even more acute in case of groundwater. Groundwater accounts for over 80% of our drinking-water supply and we have a groundwater pollution crisis of unprecedented scale. Of 640 districts of the country, the groundwater in 276 districts is polluted due to fluoride, in 387 districts due to nitrate, in 113 districts due to various heavy metals, and in 61 districts due to uranium…
*Read the full article online at https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/why-environmental-issues-are-non-existent-in-this-election/1543377/