A Losing Climate Battle
The environmental challenge of Global warming is taking its toll on the planet and reducing fossil fuel emissions is one of the most effective ways to check it. India has set a dateline to reduce such greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030. The country has undertaken some long and short-term strategies to meet this environmental challenge. Already 69 per cent of the Indian population has been severely affected by global warming as a recent United Nation (UN) report noted. If the situation remains unchanged, the rest of the population will also start feeling the heat of climate change soon. While coastal cities of the country are in danger of being submerged with rising water levels, India’s mainland areas are witnessing erratic weather conditions. For example, with the onset of summer, Assam along with other parts of the Northeastern region witnessed unprecedented floods, but received very little rains during the monsoon months. Guwahati turned into a heat chamber in the month of August this year in want of rain, though the month is known to be one of the wettest months of the year. Down south, residents living in the country’s cyber capital Bengaluru had to face horrendous experiences as torrential rains forced them to flee from their houses towards safety. In such a situation, we are left with no other option but to work on a war-footing to reduce the ferocity of the vexed problem.
However, it seems that not everyone is on the same wavelength on the urgent need to tackle the climate menace. For a long time industrial units situated in the National Capital have been asked to switch to green fuels like PNG, inplace of traditional fossil fuels. After missing a number of datelines, September 30, 2022 had been agreed upon by all concerned as the final dateline. As usual, industrial units of the NCR (national capital region) have once again given the dateline a miss on the pretext that they are unable to bear the cost of INR 20,000 crore required for the switchover. The argument is unacceptable as there are more than 65 thousand industrial units in NCR cities like Faridabad, Gurugram and Panipat. So arranging the amount is not a difficult task for these units considering the concession offered by the government to green units. Moreover, England has shown us that though the transition may be a costly affair, in the long run it is financially beneficial as energy bills come down drastically and in the process owners can save money. So, it is time to deal firmly with erring industrial units to stop the daily release of huge amounts of toxic effluents and save the lives of thousands of people living in the NCR. Cosmetic measures such as restricting the number of cars on roads and keeping industrial units shut for a week during the winter is not sufficient to achieve desired results. Delhi will remain one of the most polluted cities in the world if drastic measures are not taken.