New Delhi, Feb 11 (PTI) NCP MP Vandana Chavan on Thursday expressed concern over India being among the worst polluted countries of the world and called for bringing the issue of climate change to the centre stage.
She also asked in Rajya Sabha if Rs 4,400 crore allocated for ensuring clean air has been utilised for the purpose.
'We do not know how that amount was utilised and even if it was utilised. It is sad to see that amongst the worst polluted countries, 15 cities are in India,' Chavan said.
It has been frequently reported that the Air Quality Index often turns hazardous in Delhi and cities around it.
Ghaziabad, Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Greater Noida, Bandhwari, Lucknow, Bulandshahr and Muzaffarnagar, among others have been named among the world's 30 most polluted cities in a report by IQAir.
Chavan said COVID-19 taught life lessons. People saw nature blooming because man was 'imprisoned' in his home, she said.
The NCP MP said that climate change poses one of the biggest challenges to mankind and countries all over the world are declaring climate emergencies.
'India is one of the hotspots and vulnerable to climate change... On the one side, where the environment is failing us or we are failing the environment, it is an irony that we have reduced the budget allocation for the ministry of environment, forest and climate change,' Chavan said.
The government has made a total budgetary allocation of Rs 2,869 crore for the environment ministry compared to Rs 3,100 crore last year.
Quoting the Lancet Planetary Health Report released in December last year, Chavan said that air pollution claimed 1.7 million lives in India in 2018 and according to the Burden of Disease Report in 2017, air pollution kills one child every three minutes in India.
'We have 231 cities which are already killing people and, here, we only try to address 42 cities, which, again, is a matter of great concern,' she said referring to air quality.
Chavan flagged various projects that either violate or have adverse impact on the environment and asked the government to bring the issue of climate change at the centre stage. PTI PRS ANB ANB