Anti-climate change march in six cities Saturday

April 11th, 2008 - 7:26 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, April 11 (IANS) People in six cities of India - five of them on the coast - will hold marches on Saturday to campaign against climate change that threatens to drown parts of their cities. The citizens of Mumbai, Panaji, Kochi, Chennai, Puri and Kolkata will gather on their favourite beaches (riverside in case of Kolkata) to raise people’s awareness about climate change that will raise temperatures globally, and see some of these spots vanish as sea levels rise.

According to experts, overpopulated cities on India’s east and west coast are likely to be most affected.

The environment NGO Greenpeace is spearheading the ‘Blue Alert’ campaign and is demonstrating at these spots how climate change will impact people’s lives if the world fails to reduce emissions and change other lifestyle practices that cause climate change.

In Chennai, the campaign is also being supported by BIG 92.7 FM Chennai, in continuation of its ‘vibe of the city’ programme - through a programming mix put together both on-air and on the ground.

“I am an environmentalist myself and therefore I have decided to take up the initiative to educate my listeners about global warming and its effects,” radio jockey BIG Dheena, who hosts the BIG Vanakkam Show in the 7-11 a.m. slot, told IANS.

“Global warming will have adverse effect, especially in Tamil Nadu’s coastal regions as the sea level will rise and will lead to extinction of coastal towns.

“We have very little time left to save our coastal regions and this can only happen when everyone is aware of the environmental issue and acts accordingly,” added Dheena, a popular RJ.

Environment activists have put up ‘Blue Alert’ signs warning residents and citizens of Chennai of the threat global warming and resultant sea level rise could pose in various parts of the city.

The signs were put up across the very popular Marina and Elliots beach, and at IIT-Madras.

“We want to alert Chennai to the disastrous effects of climate change. If steps are not taken to fight climate change our city, as we know it, will be destroyed. We are the last generation that can prevent this from happening,” Greenpeace campaigner Natasha Chandy told the media.

The campaign aims to inspire citizens to go to their members of parliament and urge them to speak out about the issue of climate change. “It is impossible for our government to hope to adapt to such a climate catastrophe. The government of India has the responsibility to protect its citizens from climate change,” Greenpeace has said.

The NGO has released a report in March called “Blue Alert - Climate Migrants in South Asia: Estimates and Solutions”.

Dheena’s FM campaign will include celebrities from different fields who will talk about the effects of global warming.

“The time has come for all of us to realise the adverse effects of global warming”, says P.B. Ramaswamy, Cluster Head, BIG 92.7 FM Tamil Nadu.

“The Greenpeace report clearly states that if India does not mitigate against climate change this will result in further global temperature rise which in turn will result in sea level rise”, he pointed out.

“Sea level rise will lead to millions of people losing their land and livelihood as they will be official climate refugees.”

“At BIG 92.7 FM, we believe in impacting listeners’ lives positively and adding value and this association with Greenpeace’s initiative is just the right fit. We look forward to great support from aware and responsible listeners in Chennai.”

A paper authored by Sudhir Chella Rajan, professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT-Madras, and a climate expert, estimates the number of people who could be displaced from their homes along the coasts at 125 million in India and Bangladesh alone.

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