Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said that from Panchayat to Parliament, all stakeholders must act proactively in protecting the environment.
Naidu while interacting with the trainees at Swarna Bharat Trust in Hyderabad, said, "Everyone must become a warrior in the movement to protect the environment in the light of the climate crisis the world is going through. From Panchayat to Parliament, all stakeholders must act proactively in protecting the environment."
He also stressed the need to act stringently with violators of pollution laws and consider strict enforcement of the 'Polluter Pays' principle.
Highlighting the recent disasters such as the flash floods in Himachal Pradesh, landslides in Uttarakhand, and heatwaves in Canada and the United States, he said they are instances of increasing frequency of extreme weather events due to global warming and climate change. He added that 'these are tell-tale signs that climate change is real and cannot be wished away.'
Naidu also expressed concern about the recent lightning-related deaths in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, and noted that the increased lightning strikes (34 per cent more in India during 2020-21 compared to the previous year) are also being linked by scientists to the climate crisis.
The Vice President said that in the light of these worrisome trends, it is imperative for us to co-exist harmoniously with nature and protect the environment to ensure the well-being of all. Going forward, the Vice President suggested that it is extremely important to balance our developmental needs with environmental protection. "It cannot be business as usual", he stressed.
The Vice President also underscored how environment and health are deeply intertwined. "Studies have revealed that spending time in nature lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and enhances emotional well-being. Being close to nature leaves us rejuvenated", he noted.
He called for creating awareness from a young age on the need to live in harmony with nature. "It was also found that children who received outdoor training were more satisfied and emotionally well-balanced. Every school should make outdoor activities like gardening and trekking an integral part of the curriculum", he emphasized.
He also expressed concern about the increasing cases of myopia among children. He referred to his interaction with experts at the L V Prasad Eye Institute and cautioned that, according to experts, 64 million children living in urban areas in the country are likely to have myopia by 2050 if no anti-myopia measures are initiated soon.
Referring to the expert's opinion that the current digital ecosystem and the indoor-centric lifestyle were possible reasons for the increasing cases of myopia among children, the Vice President called for implementing the experts' advice of making outdoor playtime of one hour mandatory in all schools.