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Delhi most unaware of environment norms: Survey

Indian Express (New Delhi), 4th June, 2013

Delhi residents think the climate is changing, environmental issues are worsening and that government should regulate polluting agents, a survey released on Monday found.

Of 1,114 people surveyed by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) in Delhi, 99 per cent felt the temperature was changing and 85 per cent felt the air quality had become worse in the past five years, among other issues. The Environment Survey 2013, conducted in six metropolises across the country, also revealed that 60 per cent of those in Delhi thought the responsibility for improving the environment rested with the government. The rest held the business sector, consumers and NGOs responsible.

However, according to the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests Dr V Rajagopalan, there was a "disconnect" in the findings as a majority of those surveyed did not know about specific government policies that exist.

"We have to publicise what the government is doing more," Rajagopalan said. "And a lot more needs to be done."

According to the survey, Delhi was the most unaware city as far as current environmental policies were concerned. The other five cities surveyed were Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Among several solutions, survey participants in Delhi indicated that measures could be taken to improve environmental issues such as air quality, solid waste and the green canopy. Those surveyed also suggested declaring protected areas, a better recycling system, and greening the industries. But Delhi residents, along with those of all the cities except Kolkata, were unwilling to segregate their own trash.

Dr R K Pachauri, the director general of TERI, said the organisation will likely conduct the survey annually to start mending the disconnect between the government and the city's residents.

"It is absolutely crucial that we create awareness about choices in a democratic society," Pachauri said.