New Delhi: "Distressing" pollution levels in cities have "breached" people's right to lead a healthy, happy and productive life, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Tuesday.
Addressing a conference, he said climate change has moved centre-stage in policy formulation and its ill-effects are visible in the abnormal behaviour of nature in recent times.
The President said citizens of this country have a right to lead a healthy, happy and productive life.
"This right appears to have been breached by the distressing pollution levels in our cities. Mitigation of the dangers to environment calls for holistic changes whose permanence can only be ensured if people become active participants. Governors can play a catalysing role in such efforts," Mukherjee said in his inaugural address to a two-day conference of Governors being held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The pollution in the national capital and in some other cities across the country has deteriorated in recent time, strongly requiring urgent steps to check it.
The President said with 2015 declared as the warmest year ever in recorded history, climate change has moved centre-stage in policy formulation.
"Its ill-effects are visible in the abnormal behaviour of nature in recent times. The unprecedented floods that submerged Chennai in December last year resulted in untold human suffering and economic loss.
"We must make our disaster management systems more scientific and keep them in a state of preparedness to minimise damage and provide relief when nature’s fury strikes," he said.
Twenty-three Governors and two Lt Governors of states and union territories are attending the conference.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and some other ministers are expected to address the conference.