Over 5,000 Indians call on Environment Minister to cancel air pollution extension for thermal power plants

Bengaluru 21 June, 2017 Over 5,000 Indians have joined the campaign asking the newly appointed Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to not allow a deadline extension for implementing clean air technologies in over 300 thermal power plants across India.

In 2015, the environment ministry put in place improved pollution norms for thermal power plants. These norms were set to come into force in 2017, but this has not yet happened. Instead, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has flouted these rules and has given more than 300 thermal power plants an extension of 2-5 years.

“When this news broke 11 days ago, we knew we had to act right away. We immediately launched an online and missed call campaign, and shared it with our members. Already, 5000+ Indians have taking action calling on Dr. Harsh Vardhan to stand his ground and protect India’s air,” said Divya Narayanan, senior campaigner at Jhatkaa.org.

The campaign has also gained a lot of attention on social media, especially on Twitter. “We were pleasantly surprised to see many Indians took to social media to voice their concern. Everyday there are scores of Indians tweeting directly at Dr Harsh Vardhan, asking him to cancel this #AirPollutionExtension,” she added.

While there are several contributors to rising air pollution levels in our country, thermal power plants add toxic pollutants like sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter in the air. Inhalation of these gases may cause or worsen respiratory diseases, such as asthma or bronchitis, or may also aggravate existing heart disease.

“Indians are increasingly aware of the repercussions that such a decision has on their health and their children’s health, and hence people from all across the country have not shied away from showing their full support,” she said.

The campaign asks the environment ministry to be firm on the air pollution norms that were put in place in 2015 and not allow the CEA to disregard these rules.

“If over 300 thermal plants don’t adhere to pollution standards, one can only imagine what the air quality in the next few years is going to be like. At a time when over 10 lakh Indians are dying each year from air pollution-related illness, this decision must not be allowed to stand. This is the perfect opportunity for us to ensure India’s future is not one covered with face masks and air purifiers,” said Narayanan.

The campaign, which was started a week ago, has already reached more than 5,000 Indians. To join the campaign, sign the petition here on Jhatkaa’s new air pollution platform Air A!ert: http://bit.ly/2sXLsos or give a missed call to this number: 080-30752752.

About Jhatkaa.org:

Jhatkaa.org is a campaigning organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power across India in effective and innovative ways. Jhatkaa.org helps people take action collectively on issues that interest or affect them, and create change that would not be possible if they acted alone.

Jhatkaa.org also collaborates with civil society to engage citizens to hold corporate, cultural and government leaders accountable in real time at key decision moments through various digital communication platforms. Read more about Jhatkaa.org’s victories and press hits.

For more information, please contact:

Divya Narayanan

+91-9884521072

divya@jhatkaa.org

Noah D’Mello

+91-9902395785

noah@jhatkaa.org