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Press Release

Sunita Narain - An Environmental Activist with Difference Urges to Think Out-of-Box

Vasundhara Festival : celebrities from distinct fields gather on the same platform to spread the environmental message

Sunita Narain,  Environmental Activist Pune 26th Feb 2012 : An astounding proponent of ‘environmental-activism-by-results’, Sunita Narain, was awarded a prestigious 'Vasundhra Sanman' at the closing ceremony of the 6th Kirloskar Vasundhara International Film Festival in Pune, India at the hands of Rajendra Shende, Chairman of TERRE Policy Centre and former Director in UNEP and Anupam Kher, a renowned Bollywood actor.

"Air pollution is more dangerous terrorist than the one with a gun. The Prime Minister of India will not realize it unless he lowers the tainted window-glasses of his cars to smell the air of New Delhi”, stated Ms. Narain in her award acceptance speech. Her activism to clean New Delhi’s air by getting the government in New Delhi to convert metropolitan buses, auto rickshaws and taxis to clean fuel i.e. CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) has been hailed as monumental success. But New Delhi and other cities now face another emerging challenge of steep rise in diesel passenger cars that spew the suspended particulate matter, which is serious health hazard due to its adverse impact on lungs and hearts apart from global warming."

"Cities are having more and more diesel vehicles that pollute air and hazardous waste that turns rivers into gutters and mega drains." she remarked. Citing an example, she said, “Pune is in trouble today as the main two rivers Mula and Mutha, where she once swam during her school days have now turned into drains and Puneites are breathing polluted air with increased asthmatic and heart diseases. Ms. Narain showed annoyance that politicians announce the plans to turn the cities such as Pune and Mumbai and New York and Shanghai because no one looks at the environmental and health hazards."

Talking on the climate change Ms.Narain said, “We are more and more convinced that the climate change is real and is happening. It is linked to consumption pattern we have in world and the style of economic growth that we have adopted," she said, adding that "The city of Cherapunji, known as the town with world’s highest rainfall is facing the drought and Ran of Kutch a region with scanty rains are receiving the downpour.” Explaining how the disappearance of the forests are impacting the lives of millions in India and how the changing rain patterns are affecting the food security of billion Indians, she said, “Not Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, but the monsoon is the Finance Minister of India since it is the monsoon rain determines the economic well-being of the country.

Rajendra Shende, admiring Ms. Narain’s convictions and courage to relate the environmental issues to people’s daily life and their well being, said, ' Sunita demonstrated the rare traits of science based environmental activism and technology based sustainable solutions”. Anupam Kher expressed that though the actors may not be expert in science and technology, they can pull the crowd to spread the environmental messages. Celebrated theatre personality-Vijaya Mehta, Chairman of Sakal Media-Prataprao Pawar, prominent senior poet-N. D. Mahanor, President of festival-Vijay Verma, organizers -Virendra Chitrav and Aniruddha Chauji were also present.

It was rare and distinct evening in itself, as it saw the gathering of environment activists, actors, theatre directors, personalities from literature filed, industry representatives and media on the same platform to spread the message about caring the environment. The youth theatre presented a remarkable skit showing the determination of migrating birds in wake of the human induced obstacles.