Bittu Sehgal, Environmentalist and Editor of Sanctuary magazine – Social Issues

Is the industry finally waking up to the environment?
Some are. But most are still hoping they can bribe their way out of trouble when they are caught polluting. Their reasoning goes like this, "It is cheaper to pay a bribe than clean up your act."
What role does the common man play in the fight to save the environment?
A lot. Ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results if they decide to strengthen public opinion. Just don't let apathy get the better of you. Do something, anything. Join other groups if you feel you cannot work alone.
Tell us a little about the projects you are involved in.
I am trying to save the tiger and also trying to prevent awful people living in industrial countries from bribing Indians to help them export toxic chemicals and factories to our country.
We are asked to grow more trees in Mumbai. But where is the place?
There is lots of space. But more than planting trees, I believe we must protect the ones that grow in places like the National Park at Borivli, the mangroves of Navi Mumbai and Vikhroli and even in such localities as the Governors Estate and Dadar Parsi Colony.
Do you think the Narmada issue is more to do with hype than reality?
The Narmada Dams are a cruel exercise in futility. The river has no water and the builders of the dams have no funds. This is why the project will fail, irrespective of whether there is opposition from the people whose homes are being drowned.
How do you think can the problem of plastic bags be curbed in big cities?
You and I must refuse to accept plastic bags. And when Nescafe, Coke and Mac Donalds offer us disposable packaging, we should refuse to buy their products too.
How important are environmental issues for a developing country like India?
A healthy environment is vitally important to a country where millions cannot afford to fall sick because they can't buy medicines, or lose a day's wages. My right to clean air and water is a basic human right, as is my right to live in a world where wild tigers exist. In any event, unless we fight to protect our environment from those who place profit over ethics, we will find ourselves without water, without safety.