Green Startups. Who will bell the cat?

Green Startups have a tough time navigating through a chaotic landscape of inadequate policies and poor infrastructural support, and more so when one is based in India. How does one go about getting heard when all stakeholders (whoever they are) seem unapproachable or disinterested in what one wishes to propose for the betterment of all? Big announcements are made randomly about encouraging innovative and pathbreaking work to create a better ecosystem for all. Once the stunt is over and the newspapers are fully covered with ads and headlines, promises fizzle out and no one bothers to follow up on these schemes. The most difficult thing to do is probably get a timely response from those in positions of power. Lip service alone will not suffice, as it’s action that propels growth. How long will we let this be the status quo?

Even with innumerable stats proving the failure of the odd even scheme in Delhi, it continues to rear its ugly head and is continuously being projected as a solution for Delhi’s polluted air. All that it does is create distraction amongst the public, something new to talk about, and a lot of inconvenience for those who are affected by this rule. It’s an opportunity for the CM to say a lot and deliver nothing. It’s undeniably a political sham, and hopefully, something that doesn’t last too long. Toxic emissions over decades is a matter of serious concern and short term schemes with no impact on the pollution front are not the answer we are looking for. Cleaner fuel emission norms and revised tax policies, research, and implementation of new policies to help green businesses will work in the long term.

Research needs to happen on a wider scale to address the problem of pollution looming large over Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world. Educational institutions such as IIT and DU need to play an integral role in producing research papers, as well as products for commercial adoption that can be taken to the market. Measures to encourage India’s brightest minds to come up with a solution to salvage the environment from further deterioration need to be undertaken.

When data is hard to come by and multiple sources publish alternative versions, the real scenario remains a question mark. Green startups have been struggling to find coordinating agencies or representatives in the Government who are responsible for driving the growth of a sustainable business environment. Green businesses are struggling to realize the full potential of the technologies they have developed. Organizations like DOT depend on infrastructural support from the Government to enable a wider reach of electric mobility in public transportation. The Government and other Environmental organizations can rely on Green Startups to help them achieve their goals of combatting carbon emissions, but this can only happen once the communication gap is bridged. Limited public funds and lack of government coordination still remain major challenges for those working on developing eco-friendly alternative business solutions. Using recycled paper in the office is not enough to qualify as a green business. Green businesses are actually those actively involved in addressing major environmental challenges that may one day spiral beyond our control, if one doesn’t act now. As a Green Startup Founder in Delhi, I am keen on finding out, if the CM and the Transport Minister do not spare time to acknowledge even a meeting request, who are the stakeholders in decision making that one needs to approach? (This is one question that Google search has no solution to).

Why are we complacent now, when immediate action is the only way out? Radical measures when things go from bad to worse will only aggravate the situation further. Odd-Even is one such example of something that came out of nowhere the moment people started talking about Delhi’s toxic air.

Decarbonization measures need to be supported with the seriousness that this issue deserves. Investment in Green Startups and those developing low carbon technologies needs to be taken up aggressively. The innovation capabilities are huge but direction is lacking. When the mission is to save life on Earth through practical measures, the last thing we should be dealing with is indifference.

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