NEED MULTIPRONGED STRATEGY

It is a stark reality that a pollution-free environment in cities across the nation is a thing of the past today. While the legislature, executive and the judiciary, along with the multiple non-governmental organizations, are making relentless efforts to address the issue, the ground situation existing today has made the common citizens of the nation apprehensive about any substantial achievement on this front. They have every reason to feel that a pollution- free environment, especially in the cities, will remain only an utopian concept. Despite the fact that this issue has a direct impact upon the health of the people, there seems to be laxity on the front in terms of ground implementation, for which all the stakeholders including the citizens are responsible. The NGT as well as the apex court of the nation have also been playing a vital role in the direction of ensuring pollution-free cities in India whenever these judicial institutions are approached in pollution concerning cases. The trial run of odd-even number vehicles by the Delhi government a few years ago was yet another novel solution to bring down the pollution levels considerably. It is an acknowledged fact that while progressing by leaps and bounds in every sector, the development of cities across the nation has a sordid tale to narrate in terms of health-related issues due to high pollution levels because of industrialization, population explosion in urban areas and last but not the least, the utter negligence of one and all in this matter which deserves the topmost priority today. The present situation demands that it should be ensured that new habitations that are to come up both in urban as well as rural areas are zero-pollution areas. However, at the same time, there has to be an equal focus on bringing down the pollution levels to zero harm level by adopting the latest technologies for which funds should not be a hurdle. It is pertinent to mention here that remote-sensing technology is revolutionary and it has been successfully used in China and Hong Kong to tackle the problem of air pollution and today there is a dire need to strengthen the pollution under control (PUC) mechanism by using remote-sensing machines, which was launched in Kolkata as a pilot project a few years ago. Besides making the mechanism as well as remote-sensing machines a compulsory pilot project in all the cities and towns across the nation, there must be massive installation of pollution control equipments in the industrial and other commercial establishments with the enforcement agencies playing a vital role in ensuring that the stakeholders, especially the industrialists, take up the requisite measures with utmost seriousness. Given the present scenario on the pollution front, bringing in requisite legislations along with certain scientific solutions with local viability could go a long way in addressing this vital problem. It is a fact that the latest technology required to confront and control the menace of pollution involves huge funds as the equipments are highly expensive. However, the positive aspect is that environmental protection initiative is a global movement today and there is flooding of funds for the purpose by the developed nations as well as other international agencies. In this context the World Bank is playing a tremendous role by providing technical assistance, finance and knowledge products that cover improving the air quality through the reduction of indoor/outdoor air pollution; improving water quality, both in freshwater bodies and in oceans; integrating waste management and last but not the least, strengthening of environmental institutions by helping countries improve environmental governance, regulation and enforcement. In view of such initiatives, there is a dire need at the governmental level across the nation to adopt multipronged projects to address the environmental problems at the earliest by availing the facilities available at the global level. However, the optimum results in the direction of a pollution-free environment can be achieved by focusing on local solutions with economic viability that could be pursued without necessitating any aid from international agencies. In fact, there is a need to formulate a multipronged strategy with flexibility of adapting to local topography and conditions.