Severe pollution, environmental destruction leading to ‘health emergency’ now, ecological catastrophe in coming days, are political questions! They call for political solutions!
Delhi has become the most polluted city in the world. As toxic smog envelops Delhi and North and Northwest India, a health emergency is declared, all schools are closed for days. But, stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, the immediate reason for sudden jumping of pollution from poor to severe levelscontinues! Still, Modi government does not find any urgency to convene a meeting of representatives from these states to find solution to this problem. Though 42% of the pollution in Delhi/NCR region is due to the emissions from the ever increasing number of vehicles, 10% of the pollution is due to burning of solid waste, controlling number of private automobiles and increasing public transport facilities, starting solid waste disposal plants in all localities are not even considered urgent steps. The mainstream parties reduce it to a question for mutual mud-slinging, with a view to coming elections!
If this is the condition India’s capital, condition in other areas not different. Pollution level in Mumbai is now ‘very poor’. The scientists have warned that at present level of environmental destruction, as a result of global warming and climate change, most of the coastal areas in Asia, including Mumbai shall be submerged by 2050! Still authorities were in a hurry to cut down 2600 trees of Aarey overnight to avoid a Supreme Court intervention, for constructing a metro car shed! In spite of Gadgil Committee report, two consecutive huge floods in Western Ghats region, climate rhythm changing with 30 days rain pouring down in 3 days devastating farming and hill sides, from Kerala to Maharashtra, no government takes any preventive steps!
Same condition at global level also. In spite of all UN studies and reports from environmental groups that if urgent steps to bring down carbon levels are not brought down, the environmental destruction shall lead to destruction of human species in seven or eight decades, Trump has walked out of Paris agreement and increased production of shell oil! Even those governments who signed Kyoto protocol and Paris agreement are not putting them in to practice. Their priorities are different! Even after severe cyclones have risen 32% in 5years, rate of glaziers’ melting rate in North and South poles have increased 5 times in two decades, every where the ruling powers are not concerned. They make merry speeding up neoliberal/corporate policies and their development perspective based on consumerist lust and accumulation of wealth through all speculative measures.
What do all these show? Severe pollution and environmental destruction leading to ‘health emergency’ now and ecological catastrophe in coming days are political questions, which call for political solutions. This is all the more evident that compared to the past decades though more people are becoming conscious about the impending ecological catastrophe and even school children coming on the streets demanding climate emergency, the ruling powers are not concerned; Amazon forests are burning, stubbles in Indian states get burned still, automobiles increase in the roads, the devastating imperialist led development perspective is still in command, even when an alternative is possible.
If public opinion is to be created and the struggle for the ecological protection is t be intensified, the prevalent practice of confining this question to only intellectual discourses and seminars should be changed. As history has taught us, interpreting the what is happening alone is not sufficient, we have to change the situation drastically and urgently. This is possible only if it is taken as an emergency political question, all forces including political forces concerned with it build broadest platforms for vigorous campaign and struggle to overthrow the hegemonic imperialist system itself, uniting all those engaged in it from different angles to overthrow the rule of capital and realize a new world where humanity re-establish harmony with nature and advance a people oriented egalitarian democratic development paradigm!
Com Kn Ramachandran