Let every day be World Environment Day

By Lokmat English Desk | Published: June 4, 2021 10:05 PM2021-06-04T22:05:02+5:302021-06-04T22:05:02+5:30

Nishtha Gupta We have not inherited this world from our forefathers, we have borrowed it from our children. -Lester ...

Let every day be World Environment Day | Let every day be World Environment Day

Let every day be World Environment Day

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Nishtha Gupta

We have not inherited this world from our forefathers, we have borrowed it from our children.

-Lester Brown

This revolutionary quote would be compared to Nero fiddling while Rome burnt, given the situation with Covid, economic slump and capsizing of the industries. However, it is not long before none of these nadirs would matter, because we will not have sufficient air to breathe, adequate soil to live or grow, and only salty water to drink. On the occasion of the World Environment Day, it is essential for us to know our rights and duties towards the environment and take necessary precautions to protect and ensure its sustainability.

India has been an active and regular participant in the environment summits and treaties. We have pledged to abide to reducing carbon emission levels and convert to renewable energy to generate our power. The Indian courts have been strong proponents of right to environment as a fundamental right. We have brought special legislations to protect the environment including the Wildlife Protection, Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act and Forest Conservation Act.

The Indian constitution guarantees to its people the right to life and personal liberty. This has been interpreted over time through the case of MC Mehta to include the right to clean and safe environment. The courts have included this to mean safe drinking water, control over noise pollution, clean air and reduction in carbon emissions. They also suggested including awareness mechanisms to allow people to be reminded of their responsibilities towards the environment. Moreover, the directive principles also provide for protection and improvement of environment and wildlife.

Why is then that we are still not making any substantial movement towards reaching the environmental protection goals. One of the reasons is that many of these acts are outdated, incoherent and inconsistent. The awareness mechanisms have not gained the required momentum. Sections 277, 278, 426, 368 of the IPC which make polluting the environment an offence, are some of the least used for convictions. The general phenomenon that can be noticed is that environment is not considered something pristine or pressing by citizens or even the government. This needs to change. The number of people who died from air pollution last year was 17 lakhs. This is like a Boeing plane with passengers crashing every 15 seconds. This was only air pollution, consider similar numbers for all other types of pollution.

We need to strengthen our role in contributing to the protection of environment while it still has scope to sustain. We need to make efforts to conserve resources, put thought in every activity like road travel, water consumption and waste disposal. Our small contributions would ensure that the future generations have, if not the most vibrant but a sustainable world to survive in. Let everyday be World Environment Day, than just one commemorative and symbolic day. If you are wondering about rights, we have overused and over-exploited them, the rights credits are way past their expiry date, all we owe now is repayment and duties towards environment.

(The writer is a law student).

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