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Climbing atop garbage at Bhalswa landfill, march to PMO:Students' ways to sound climate change alarm

PTI     September 24, 2019

New Delhi, Sep 24 (PTI) School students from 70 cities across the country are joining Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg's call for mass protests to sound the alarm on climate change with activities such as climbing atop a garbage dump at Bhalaswa landfill and marching to the Prime Minister's Office. The week-long campaign, called "Strike on the streets", started on September 20 and will culminate with a march to the PMO on September 27 demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declares climate emergency. On Sunday, the students went to the Bhalswa landfill here to do a "symbolic mountain climbing" on a garbage dump which they termed a "dry tomb". Aman Sharma, a Class 11 student in Delhi, has launched an online petition demanding that the Indian government declare a climate emergency. The petition has got over 4.5 lakh supporters. "I believe that the State Action Plan on Climate Change should be sub-divided at city level. Training and sensitisation of all decision-makers in the climate emergency and how it needs to be tackled. There should be full and proper environmental assessment of transport projects that are expensive and usually not even affordable to the average citizen," Sharma said. "We need to really stop concretising cities. This contributes to global climate breakdown, exacerbates climate vulnerabilities at the local level. Development, population pressure and migration are proclaimed as the reasons given but actually most construction caters to the rich and it's the builders who benefit," said Neeraj Kumar, a student from Bihar's Lakhisarai. Kriti Kekar, a student of Heritage School here, said, "The government should stop funding to any project that fails to look at climate crisis. More construction is not equal to more development. There is a need to urgently review the city development plans that have already been funded and prioritise projects that address climate emergencies like floods, water shortage, heat effect." In 2018, Greta Thunberg, a teen climate activist, sat for three weeks outside the Swedish Parliament to protest against a lack of measures to combat climate change. She then started the tradition of holding a strike on every Friday till something was done; soon, students around the world began to follow suit and hold protests in front of their Parliament, hoping this would make their voices heard. Thunberg delivered an emotional and scathing speech at the United Nations on Monday, accusing world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood with their inaction on climate change. PTI GJS SMN


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