Call for environment issues in poll manifestos gains momentum in UP | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Call for environment issues in poll manifestos gains momentum in UP

The campaigners have been organising open house discussions, workshops, parliamentary debates and street plays across the state to garner support and sensitise citizens about environmental degradation, particularly the deteriorating air quality in UP cities.

lucknow Updated: Jan 20, 2017 14:43 IST
K Sandeep Kumar
A poster put up at the venue of a seminar to discuss environmental issues to be included in poll manifestos of political parties.
A poster put up at the venue of a seminar to discuss environmental issues to be included in poll manifestos of political parties.(HT Photo)

Call for environment protection and sustainable development is likely to take the centre stage in all future development plans for Uttar Pradesh, courtesy green activists and civil society.

Through a statewide campaign environmentalists along with public support have formulated ‘Public manifesto on environment’ and are demanding that it be included in the official election manifesto of every political party before voting begins in the Hindi heartland.

Led by the NGO Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) and Care4Air campaign, the initiative enables voters to register their support through the ‘Missed call’ campaign and online petition which are part of the state-wide ‘100% Uttar Pradesh’ mission.

“We launched the public manifesto in Lucknow in November last year. The mission aims to make political parties pay credence to the opinions of UPites. We have received over 6 lakh signatures and calls and are confident of meeting our target of 10 lakh before the start of voting,” said Ekta Shekhar of Care4Air campaign, the lead campaigner of the mission.

The campaigners have been organising open house discussions, workshops, parliamentary debates and street plays across the state to garner support and sensitise citizens about environmental degradation, particularly the deteriorating air quality in UP cities. Apart from the release in Lucknow, events have been held in other cities including Varanasi and Jhansi.

A deliberation which was attended by delegates from Agra, Kanpur, Fatehpur, Bhadoi, Hamirpur, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Allahabad was held in the Sangam city on Wednesday. Sunil Dahiya of Greenpeace India; Rev Fr Leo Sequeira, director of Sadhana Sadan, Allahabad; Sunit Singh and KN Bhatt of GB Pant Social Science Institute; Allahabad High Court advocate KK Roy; and human rights activist OP Singh attended the event.

“We have received positive response from political parties including the SP, Congress, BJP and BSP. Most parties have appointed top leaders as keypersons for liaison. We are confident that they will include the issues highlighted by us in their poll manifestos,” said Shekhar.

As a part of the initiative, air pollution data in different cities of UP is recorded and made public in a bid to earn support for the manifesto demands. This exercise is ardently carried out especially in those cities that do not have national ambient air quality monitoring stations. Data of districts including Azamgarh, Balia, Maharajganj, Mau, Gazipur, Gorakhpur and Allahabad has already been recorded. “The air quality is very poor in all cities of UP and this needs urgent intervention,” shared Ravi Shekhar, another activist associated with the campaign.

The scene

According to World Health Organization, four of world’s 20 most polluted cities are in UP - Allahabad, Lucknow, Kanpur and Firozabad. As per the 2005 data, UP contributes nearly 14% to greenhouse gas emissions in India, making it the worst offenders among all the other states. 80 million rural residents of UP and 5 million people in urban area, still do not have to electricity. Improper solid waste disposal has compromised the quality of land, water and air in UP.

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