Students from Delhi and Gurugram joined in the school strikes across 100 countries, as a sign of protest at the rising levels of air pollution and climate change impacts in India and the consequent lack of decisive action from political leaders.
For the past several months, students around the world have joined the #FridaysForFuture school strike launched last year by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg
Greta started attending school four days a week and spent every Friday protesting outside the parliament building. She plans on continuing this until the Swedish government’s environmental policies align with those outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement.
Delhi and Gurugram have made headlines as two of the most polluted cities on the planet. Despite the acute PM2.5 levels in Gurugram, the Haryana state government recently passed the Punjab Land Preservation Bill 2019 opening up the Aravalli hills for mining and real estate sector.
Allowing construction in the 25,000 hectares of forest areas under the guise of providing “jobs to locals” in an upcoming election season. The fragile region which has been battling rampant illegal mining for decades, is the last change to prevent the complete desertification of Delhi and its neighbourhood. Amidst protests from residents of Gurugram, the Supreme Court of India came down heavily on the state of Haryana for flouting its orders and diluting the law to allow construction in the Aravalli hills.
The students’ protests come at a critical moment for efforts to limit global warming to safe levels. The 2018 IPCC 1.5C report warned that greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020 and fall 45% by 2030 to minimise extreme weather events, species loss and water scarcity. But the UNEP Gap report published in late 2018 emphasises global efforts are well off track.