The dangers of global warming and climate change have never been as visible as they have been over the past few years and especially this year in India- the Chennai deluge breaking 100 year record and the rising smog levels over Delhi to name a few.
The National Capital itself has got an ignominious distinction of being one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Norway has indicated that it will treat posting its officials in Delhi as “hardship posting”, for increased pollution levels -an allowance will be given to the officials posted.
An international school in Delhi has banned outdoor activities for its students due to severe pollution levels.
Out of 20 most polluted cities as per the WHO, 13 are in India.
India has huge number of commercial vehicles on road that are 20-30 years old. It is easy to get pollution clearance certificate by paying bribes even for such old vehicles.
The carbon pledges made by 147 countries at the Paris climate conference is not sufficient to prevent the global temperatures rising by more than 2 degree Celsius by the end of this century 2100.
In this hour of situation, India should keep aside the debate of who should take responsibility for climate change, and take the lead, initiate steps like afforestation, using clean energy, strict law enforcement etc. since it has more to loose from climate change.
It is time we considered laws like limiting number of vehicles per family or person, as existing in countries like Singapore.
Also, burning garbage as part of urban waste treatment should be stopped.
India has set an ambitious target of development of 100 Smart Cities in the next decade. Urban planners have to keep in mind that people should have access to at least clear air for breathing, pure drinking water, pedestrian walking tracks etc., let alone smart infrastructure.