While ‘Time for Nature’ has been selected as the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, experts have asked whether the country was really following it in letter and spirit.
In a statement, Nandikesh Sivalingam, director of the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), said it is important to note that on the day we celebrate our commitment to environmental protection, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change “continues to clear wasteful, expensive coal-based power plants using public money, and continues to be soft on those power plants which missed multiple deadlines in controlling air pollutants and commit grave crimes against public health.”
Among the recent announcements made, majority of them seem to be against the World Environment Day theme, Aarti Khosla, director of Climate Trends, said.
Ritwick Dutta, from the Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE), said the most worrisome aspect of the decisions with respect to environmental and forest clearance to projects during the pandemic is not that they were approved, but the fact that it was felt that such approvals will help battle the economic and social fallout of Covid-19. “The economic slowdown could have become an opportunity to optimise the use of existing resources. Rather, we see Covid-19 being used as an excuse to dilute environmental regulations; clear more forest areas and open up protected areas,” Dutta said in the statement