Right to breathe: The challenge of environmental governance for Delhi

Kavita Navlani Søreide (2017)
IAPS Dialogue: The online magazine of the Institute of Asia & Pacific studies: University of Nottingham

Lawtransform’s Kavita Navlani Søreide wrote an article in IAPS Dialogue about the challenges of environmental governance in Delhi. In November this year, Delhi earned the unenviable position of having the most polluted air on earth.This put the city’s 19 million plus population at a direct health hazard, bringing massive national and international attention to the issue. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal likened the situation to living in a ‘gas chamber’ and his government declared a health emergency. The National Human Rights Commission critiqued the inadequacy of authorities to take preventive measures throughout the years as an impingement on people’s right to life and health.

The desperate struggle of ‘Delhi’s right to breathe’ is a short-term problem as the weather phenomenon of fog during winters mixes with pre-existing smoke and pollution to envelop the city in a blanket of deadly smog. While the acute problem lasts only for a few days or weeks, it is symptomatic of long standing challenges of environmental governance in India. These challenges emanate from policy-governance, geographical-climatic and economic-political trajectories in India’s task of managing her environment.

Read the full article here: