To sustain the environmental “gains” of the coronavirus lockdown during normal times, it is important that the states and the union territories should strictly implement relevant rules governing pollution, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said.
Due to the unforeseen situation arising out of COVID-19, there has been a significant reduction in industrial activity, vehicular movement and construction activities due to which air and water quality have improved, he said in a letter to the states and the UTs, urging them to strive for this benchmark in normal times too.
“As normal life will resume, it would become more and more challenging to sustain current environmental gains but we have a chance to prove that we can have a much improved environment even during normal activities.
“This is a challenge which will have to be met by state authorities by strict enforcement of environmental norms and rules and regulations governing pollution. We must look at the quantum improvement in things like waste management, industrial discharge, river quality and emission levels,” Javadekar said.
He said various reports have pointed out that there has been a significant improvement in the air and the water quality besides the reduction in noise pollution during the lockdown.
“This is the benchmark that we need to strive for even in the normal times with majority of our activities going on,” the minister said in the letter.
He said there was a need for creating more environmental awareness among the people who can appreciate a qualitative change in environmental health through better lifestyle management.
“I look forward to work with you to drive the idea of sustaining development in conjunction with conservation of environment, based on the foundation of sustainable lifestyle management rooted in Indian philosophy of living in harmony with nature. I request you to ask all concerned departments to implement all the relevant rules, monitor them and try to sustain the gains,” he said.