A nine-year-old girl has filed a legal case against the Indian government for failing to take action on climate change, which highlights the growing concern over pollution and degradation of environment across the country
The girl, Ridhima Pandey, has filed a lawsuit against the Indian government for failing to take action on climate change, warning that the young people and the future generation will pay the price for the country’s inaction.
Ridhima lives in Uttarakhand, where flash floods and landslides killed hundreds of people and left tens of thousands homeless in 2013.
In the petition filed with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), a special court for environment-related cases, Ridhima Pandey said the government has failed to implement its environment laws.
“As a young person (Ridhima) is part of a class that amongst all Indians is most vulnerable to changes in climate, yet are not part of the decision-making process,” the 52-page petition said.
The petition called on the tribunal to direct the government “to take effective, science-based action to reduce and minimise the adverse impacts of climate change”.
Ridhima’s mission is to force the Government to prevent any further damage until she is old enough to help shape her country’s environmental policies.
She told The Independent the reason why she filed this petition,
“My Government has failed to take steps to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing extreme climate conditions. This will impact both me and future generations. My country has huge potential to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and because of the Government’s inaction I approached the National Green Tribunal”
In the petition, Ridhima asks the court to order the Government to prepare a carbon budget and a national climate recovery plan to ensure that India does its share to reduce atmospheric CO2 below 350 parts per million by 2100, according to scientific recommendations.
Rahul Choudhary, environmental attorney, who filed the petition on Ridhima’s behalf told The Independent,
“The most important thing about this lawsuit is that the Government needs to realize that it is not doing anything about climate change. It is signing paperwork to show the world it is doing something but on the ground, nothing is happening, Ridhima was “simply asking her Government to fulfill its own duty to protect the vital natural resources on which she and future generations depend on for survival”
The tribunal has asked the Ministry of Environment and the Central Pollution Control Board to respond within two weeks. A spokesman for the Ministry of Environment told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that they would respond as directed by the tribunal.
India is home to four of the 10 worst ranked cities in the world for air pollution. Along with China, India is accounted for more than half the total number of global deaths attributable to air pollution in 2015, according to a recent study.
Despite several laws to protect India’s forests, clean up its rivers and improve air quality, critics are concerned that implementation is poor, and economic growth often takes precedence over the environment.
Its time for us and the government to take positive and very urgent steps if we want to live in this country for long .