Tribune News Service
Amritsar (February 4, 2008)
The Punjab Environmental Awareness Movement organized a public meeting at Sant Singh Sukha Singh Secondary School, Mall Road in Amritsar to give priority to the public environmental manifesto during the Punjab Assembly elections. It was organized by Panthik Talamel Sagathan and Akal Purakh Ki Fauj.
Candidates for the Punjab Assembly elections were invited by their respective political parties to implement eight issues from the manifestos. It is essential that rivers and water resources are protected from pollution. These organizations demanded a clean environment, including the prevention of air pollution. The problem of urban waste must be addressed. Increase the forest cover in Punjab by at least 10% and maintain floodplains near rivers and wetlands.
The Punjab Pollution Control Board should be an independent body of public accountability. It should work administratively as well as legally to ensure the effective implementation of the Prevention of Pollution Act 1974, Air Pollution Act 1981, and Environmental Protection Act 1986.
The occasion was also attended by political parties. Navjot Singh Singh Sidhu, President of Punjab Congress; Kunwar VIjay Partap Singh and Aam Aadmi Party; Gurpartap Singh Singh Ticka, president, Shiromani Akali Dal Urban; Gurpreet Singh Pradhan from United Akali Dal; and United Social Front Sukhjinder Singh also received the manifesto. They expressed their commitment and stated that they will work for the environment.
Padam Shree recipient Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal stated that environmental degradation caused by material progress has occurred almost everywhere on the planet and that science has shown that this climate change has led to the extinction or human civilisation.
Giani Kewal Sing, a former Jathedar at Takht Sri Damdama Sahib lamented that although the Paris Climate Agreement was signed in 2015, major decisions were made to curb global warming. However, most countries have not implemented these decisions. Even though Joe Biden, the US president, has apologised for pulling out of the Paris Agreement in 2017, it is still a sign that things are not going according to plan.
Kahan Singh Pannu, a former officer, “As Punjab is agriculture-oriented state, clean air and water is a major contributor to its economy and culture. The sustainability of agriculture depends on the use of the right fertilizers and chemicals in the fields. But, the race for higher yields is destroying the Earth. Of these, only 1,600 million liters are treated in 128 cities”.