Why the west question us when they cannot provide us clean fuel? Asks pm air quality index launched in ten cities
Taking potshots at the developed countries who term the National capital as the ‘One of the Most Polluted Cities’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said those countries who ‘lecture’ India’s credentials in curbing environmental pollution ‘refuse’ to provide nuclear fuel for clean energy. The comment may kickstart a new debate since the western countries has recently criticized Indian metro cities for their very “unhealthy” air quality prompting many embassies and other international establishments to install air purifiers.
Addressing a conference of state environment ministers and officials, he asserted that India was committed to promoting clean energy including nuclear, he said India has “not been” sufficiently projected on the global arena and occasionally perceived to be a barrier in the global climate change fight while the country has taken several initiatives in clean energy sector including solar and wind.
Referring the hue & cry of western countries on not providing nuclear fuel to energy-starved India, Modi said, “See the irony. The world gives lecture on climate but if we tell them that we want to move forward in nuclear energy as it is a good path for environment protection and when we ask them to provide necessary fuel for nuclear energy, they refuse.”
The Prime Minister also urged the world to “ease restrictions” for India on import of nuclear fuel so that India could also produce clean nuclear energy in a big way.
Modi said protecting environment is “in our tradition” and rather than following others, India should lead the world in finding solutions to the issue of global warming. “India should be a global leader in the fight against climate change. Instead of being forced to follow parameters laid down by others, India should lead the world in the fight against climate change,” he said. The Prime Minister also stressed on bringing a change in the “lifestyle” which has contributed to environmental damage.
“It should not be that we follow the world, follow the guidelines set by them…the truth is that we have a legacy of thousands of years in this field and we can lead the world and we can guide the world. India can show the way to the world out of this crisis,” Modi said.
Noting that Indians have been the protectors and devotees of nature, he said there is a need to project this fact properly so that the world realises that India cannot be questioned in this regard.
Indians have always conserved nature, and even today, have among the lowest per-capita carbon emission, globally,” he said while observing that the culture of recycle and re-use is not new for India.
He suggested switching of street lights on full moon night and use of bicycles at least once a week to conserve energy.
Meanwhile, PM Modi has also launched the National Air Quality Index to monitor the quality of air in major urban centres across the country on a real-time basis. It was a muchawaited measure needed to protect public health and catalyse pollution emergency measures in cities, according to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) which had been applying the new AQI to air pollution levels since Oct 2014.
The new AQI has been hosted on the website of the Central Pollution Control Board. About 10 cities, namely, Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad that have the capacity for real time air quality monitoring are linked – a continuous 24-hour average data will be available daily from them. The AQI hasbeen developed for six pollutants– PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.
With this step forward, India has joined the global league of countries like the US, China, Mexico, France and Hong Kong that have implemented smog alert systems. These countries not only issue smog alerts, but also implement pollution emergency measures to bring down the peak pollution levels.
Air pollution levels have been classified in six bands with simple descriptions to help people understand. Each band has cut points of concentration with a colour code to visually express the level of severity that people can comprehend easily. Air quality is classified good if the pollution levels are at least 50 percent below the regulatory standards.
Modi also released a “Standard Terms of Reference for Environment Impact Analysis”, which was described by Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar as a step that would contribute to “ease of doing business.”
SURFACES REPORTER strongly feels that PM’s strong stand in International community over India’s concern for environment was much required and hopes that the world will start looking towards India in a new light.