HYDERABAD: After many years, the 50th Earth Day was observed on Wednesday under clear skies, with thriving wildlife and almost no noise pollution. The day was largely marked by events held online.
Fearing that pollution would bounce back once the lockdown was lifted, environmentalists said the State government should take a cue from the COVID-19 crisis and take measures to conserve the environment. "It’s the worst possible way to experience environment improvement. Unfortunately, this improvement is a result of a lockdown and not any government effort," Babu Rao, retired chief scientist of IICT, said.
The environmentalist further said the crisis was a result of human interference with wildlife. "COVID-19 is an indication that we turned animal farming into factory cultivation, which eventually is hitting back at us," he said.
Experts said the bigger challenge was to continue to have an improvement in the environment post the lockdown. "Now, it will be in the hands of the government to take measures to achieve good air quality, which we know is not impossible," said an expert.
They said the government should control emissions from factories, check wildlife trafficking and not relax environmental norms for the profit of industries, like what was happening in the case of Pharma City.
Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy & Clean Air, said the current crisis showed that clear skies and breathable air could be achieved quickly if concrete action was taken towards reducing burning of fossil fuels.