Sustainable development and environment protection can go hand-in-hand: Justice Swatanter Kumar former NGT Chief

Half of the countries on sea-side would be submerged under water by 2030: Justice Swatanter Kumar 

Chandigarh University honors Justice Swatanter Kumar with Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian Judiciary and Environment protection

“Youth who are the greatest assets of any nation have to be custodian of nature and they have to come forward for its protection and create awareness amongst masses” said Justice Swatanter Kumar, former Judge Supreme Court of India and former Chairperson National Green Tribunal. He was interacting with the students of University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) at Chandigarh University. Chandigarh University honored Justice Swatanter Kumar with Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Indian Judiciary, Protection of Environment and Society.

While interacting with the students, Justice Kumar said, “Indian heritage and our religious traditions have always been known to be protagonist of environment and in our ancient civilization we used to worship nature which showcases that how knowledge rich our ancestors were as they were acclimatized towards the protection of environment”.  He advocated allocating budget for precautionary healthcare rather than spending money in constructing 5 star hospitals to treat sick people. Every season there is a new viral infection and then we have to get immune by taking strong antibiotic drugs which is making our body weaker day by day.

While highlighting the importance of issue of climate change, Justice Kumar said, “Developed nations like France, Germany have faced the furry of climate change recently when these countries experienced hot & humid climate of more than 40 degree Celsius but they have started taking steps while India which is more likely to get affected due to climate change as it is an agriculture based economy the people are not sensitized enough”.  “Our mother nature is forgiving as the mankind is destroying the environment but recently we have seen the monstrous behavior of nature in Uttarakhand, Kerala where floods are a common feature every year”, he added.

While laying concern on the growing global environment disaster, Justice Kumar said, “Chandigarh is producing 450 metric tons of waste every day which is not even segregated properly and the city does not have a single garbage processing plant where it can treat its waste”. World is getting worse every day as we are dumping 80 billion pounds of plastic into the sea and one day we will have sea of plastic and not even a single drop of water to drink, he added.     

Justice Kumar issued stern warning against hazardous activities around the world by added that, “The activities of waste dumping into the sea and melting of glaciers are inter-connected which have resulted in rise in water-level in sea and oceans which is expected to create havoc by 2030 as half of the countries on-the-shore will be submerged under the sea-water by then”.

Citing the example of India, Justice Kumar, said, “In India, Rohtang Pass was one of the beautiful passes we had where there used to be 12 feet snowfall but due to 7000 vehicle visiting the pass every day the glaciers around the pass started melting at an alarming rate of 1 meter per year and the ice started turning black due to pollution of vehicles”. Justice Kumar advised the government that “Sustainable development and environment protection can go hand-in-hand and the Shimla railway line constructed by britishers is the best example for it”.

“It is then we at NGT had to pass strict orders to restrain and restrict the movement of vehicles and I am happy to know that nature is restoring itself and the global community is praising the steps taken to protect the environment” he added. The former chairperson NGT praised the working of tribunal and said, “National Green Tribunal is globally acclaimed tribunal working towards the protection of environment and is considered to be one of the strictest watch-dog in the world”.