Kailash Satyarthi urges PM Modi to amend Air Act 1981, develop 5-year plan to tackle pollution

Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. (File)

Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to amend the Air Act, 1981 and come up with a five-year national action plan to ensure clean air as pollution levels in the New Delhi rose to the 'severe' category.

Satyarthi, on the occasion of Children's Day, was to participate in an event by a group of Delhi-based student volunteers which was cancelled due to alarming levels of pollution in the national capital.

In a letter addressed to the volunteers, Satyarthi said, "Standing with you, I call upon the Honourable Prime Minister of India, to demonstrate his visionary leadership by amending the Air Act 1981 and come up with a five-year national action plan to ensure clear air."

He further said that there is a need to "clean up our intentions and actions".

"All of us, the policymakers, businesses, consumers, common people have to step up to take urgent and drastic steps to ensure that air, water and land remain clean and sustainable for the future," the Nobel laureate said.

"We need new action. We must build a comprehensive accountable and binding strategy to tackle the pollution that claims lives. We need genuine and collective commitment from all parts of government, politicians, industry and society to create a stronger and coherent framework for action to tackle air pollution, as well as water and land contamination," he added.

On Children's Day, the group had planned to lead a human chain formation at India Gate urging the Delhi Police and other authorities to "strictly" implement a 2013 Supreme Court order on missing children, besides focusing attention on and the force’s investigations in this critical area.

The event was jointly planned by Kailash Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) and the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA).

Air quality in the national capital remained in the 'severe' category on Thursday as the Delhi-NCR region continued to be shrouded by a thick layer of toxic smog. Schools in the Delhi-NCR region remained closed as per the direction of authorities on Wednesday night.