As the UN Conference on climate change is taking place in Madrid, Spain, one thing is clear that at present, the issue of climate change possesses a serious concern for the whole international community. In this conference, various steps are being discussed by the delegations of countries which should be taken up to tackle the effects of climate change.
The United Nations has stated that it will give all the necessary steps to support the countries in this quest. One of the most important objectives of this conference is to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement where countries had to submit plans for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
In this objective, India has an important role to play. As per reports, India has some of the world’s most polluted cities. As per the World Health Organization’s measures, urban smog had killed approximately 1.2 million people in 2017. Looking at such a critical situation, the Government of India had come up with a plan to tackle pollution which came to be known as the National Clean Air Program with the objective of reducing pollution in 102 cities by approximately 30%.
This initiative aimed to increase and improve air pollution monitoring systems across India as the data collection method was sparse due to which, it was difficult to access the situation of pollution.
This was in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement of which India is a signatory. In 2015, India submitted the first round of plans with targets that are achieved by 2030. As per these plans, India had set major goals which it has intended to achieve. These goals were:
India has always maintained that it will achieve these targets before 2030. Even the analysis done by Australia-based think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis suggested that India is likely to meet its goals, particularly on increasing non-fossil generation capacity and reducing energy emission intensity, ahead of the deadline.
India has also initiated the International Solar Alliance with the objective of working towards the exploration of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
But, despite these efforts, the Indian Government is still trying hard to tackle pollution. After the Supreme Court’s criticism of the government for the persisting smog that had enveloped Delhi, Tushar Mehta (Solicitor General) said that the Government is looking towards the induction of hydrogen fuel technology as an alternative to other polluting fuels used in factories.
As hydrogen fuel produces only water as a byproduct and this source has been integral in tackling the pollution crisis in many countries, including China and Japan. Even the Delhi Government has taken steps such as vehicle rationing (popularly known as the Odd-Even rule) as well as trying to set up purifiers in public places to curb pollution.
Apart from polluting fuels, one of the main reasons behind the persisting smog has been the issue of crop burning across the Northern Indian states, even after repeated warnings by the Supreme Court. One way to tackle this problem is through seeding machines, but the problem is that these machines cost around ₹70 to ₹80 lakh due to which many farmers have not been able to afford them.
In addition to this, different political parties in power and their conflicts have led to this issue not being addressed. In my opinion, those state governments, in cooperation with the central government, should take efficient and proper steps to ensure that pollution should at-least be reduced if not completely solved.
In conclusion, it can be said that in the present scenario, India is trying its best to fulfill its objectives to ensure a clean environment but still, a lot needs to be done in order to ensure that the environmental conditions in India improve. In this quest, it is not only the government but also the citizens who will have to cooperate so that our future generations can live in a better way.