HEALTHY air, water and food are our fundamental rights. Anybody who defiles the environment will face my wrath," asserts the dimunitive environmental lawyer with the giant will.
This is Mahesh Chander Mehta, 49, the Delhi-based crusader, who after a decade of impassioned campaigning, has succeeded in bringing powerful industrialist lobbies to their knees. By compelling an apathetic Government to issue a "close up or clean up" order to about 2,354 industrial units whose hazardous emissions were threatening the very survival of the Taj Mahal. A feat that has won him, along with six other global green crusaders, this year's Goldman Award. The $75,000 award, the world's largest grassroots environmental prize, instituted by the Goldman Environmental Foundation of San Francisco, is considered to be the alternate Nobel prize by NGOS.
Mehta has won over 40 landmark judgements from the Supreme Court (SC) leading to the reduction of the industrial pollution that has sullied the Ganga and eroded the marble facade of the Taj Mahal.