Jamshyd N Godrej, Chairman, Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company, has appealed to the people to take cognizance of the small changes happening around them — be it rise in temperature, air and water pollution or environmental hazards — instead of expressing anxiety only when a disaster befalls.

Delivering the keynote address at the 8th CK Prahalad Memorial Lecture on ‘Climate Crisis & Bio-Diversity Preservation Challenge: Role of Industry and Civil Society’ here, Godrej said there were problems of poverty and livelihood, but if one does not start addressing the fundamental issues, it would turn into a chemical reaction that could explode and “we are moving towards that”.

Most countries think that climate change is the crisis of the future. Global warming and rising temperatures signal that “we are entering an unknown area”; more than 80 per cent of the flora and fauna have already disappeared, but “we are yet to take cognizance of such changes in our daily life,” he said.

The lecture was organised jointly by Anantha Aspen Centre and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

On the issue of pricing of water, Godrej said “water pricing is crucial and so is regulation. The government’s role in this issue is important as regulation would help nudge people to use water in the right way and correct pricing, in controlling wastage of this renewable resource.”

Posing a question to the audience on the tax levied by the Corporation for supply of water, he observed: “we seem to be paying a lot for potable water from private agencies, while paying the government as well for ‘not’ getting water. This calls for regulation and correct pricing. We are over-taxed in some areas and under-taxed in many other areas,” he added.

Stating that it would be possible to recycle and re-use about 50 per cent of fresh water instead of considering schemes like desalination, he said “a holistic approach is the need of the hour; at this juncture, it seems as if water regulation could be a bigger issue than energy crisis.”

The inter-governmental panel on climate change has predicted that “we would be experiencing extremes if we disturb nature”. “So, be warned; think deep, understand and do whatever is possible, to alleviate the impending crisis. The industry has a huge role, responsibility,” he said.