Know Climate Change

Changemakers


Photo by MCMEF
M C Mehta

"After 50 years what have we achieved? We had vast natural resources. But now, what do we have? We have polluted the rivers and lakes as well as ground water lying 200 meters below, the forest cover has decreased from 33 per cent to 11 per cent and even the glaciers in the Himalayas are melting. The entire food chain has been disturbed. What you're consuming today is nothing but heavy metals...So what is the quality of life?"
He is a lawyer with the Supreme Court of India, one of the founders of the ICELA (Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action), and Director of the M.C. Mehta Environmental Foundation in New Delhi. He has been conferred with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Asia for Public Service (1997) and also the Goldman Environment Prize for Asia (1996) for his inspiring environmental activism.
Following his petition in 1984 to protect the Taj Mahal from air pollution and a 10-year long battle, the Supreme Court delivered a historic judgment in 1996 banning polluting industries near the monument. Since then, he has been associated with some of the landmark environmental cases in India, leading to such achievements as "inclusion of the right to a healthy environment" as part of the "right to life" guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution; banning of industries polluting the Ganges water; introduction of lead-free petrol in Delhi; getting Delhi ridge declared as "Reserved Forest".