President says children ‘worst sufferers’ of environmental degradation

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said children are the “worst sufferers” of adverse impact of pollution and there was a need for an “out-of-box” solution to curb the peril of environmental degradation.

“Recent studies and systematic reviews indicate that environmental factors are responsible for an estimated 24 per cent of the global burden of disease in terms of healthy life years lost and 23 per cent of all deaths.

“Children are the worst sufferers of the adverse impact of environmental diseases. 24 per cent of all deaths under the age of 15 are due to diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory diseases – all of which are environment-related,” the President said.

While inaugurating ‘World Conference on Environment-2017’ organised here by the National Green Tribunal, he said that 19 per cent deaths are being “caused by cancer worldwide” and they are attributed to carcinogens, emitted and produced due to “unmindful industrialisation”.

Mukherjee, welcoming delegates from across the world, asked them to deliberate and come out with “implementable” solutions on questions like to what extent environmental degradation can be allowed for development and what natural resources would remain for future generations.

“It is high time that we ask ourselves the questions- to what extent can we allow environmental degradation? What are we going to leave behind for our future generations? What steps need to be taken to curb this peril of environmental degradation?” the President said.

He quoted Mahatma Gandhi who had said “earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed”.

“Global growth is subjective to responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Excessive consumption of natural resources have to be impeded,” he said.

Development and environment protection can go hand in hand as there was no “inherent contradiction between environment protection and developmental requirement,” he said.

There are normal traditional ways of thinking to solve the problems “but if you are not able to solve the problem, we require sometimes out-of-box solutions for protecting the environment,” he said.

Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who also spoke on the occasion, echoed similar views and said “development must go on and it should go on in a manner that the damage being caused to the environment is least.”

He said India is at “critical juncture” as it has to bring up its 30 per cent population, which is still below the poverty line, and simultaneously preserve the environment.

Source” Hindustan Times

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