The recent Environmental issues of India and the steps taken by the government.
Author: Palvi Ravinder Kumar
India is a country with a population of 1,366 million people. India holds the second position among the most populated countries after China. Being one of the most populated countries, India has been going through many environmental issues over the past few years which include Urbanisation, Growing population, Pollution, Deforestation, Excessive mining, Source depletion, Climate Change, Soil degradation, Loss of Biodiversity, etc. Seeing all these problems, with keen observations Indian Government as well as the State government has been taking serious steps towards the environmental issues recently.
Few serious environmental issues are discussed below:
When talking about pollution whether it is air, water, or noise pollution, it is taking the lead in the past 25 years. The various sources of recent air pollution are Transportation, Industries, Power, waste treatment, Biomass Burning, Construction, Domestic Sector, Agriculture, and Demolition waste. In Delhi, around 5300 tonnes of PM10 and 7550 tonnes of PM2.5 are generated every year due to waste treatment and biomass burning. Water pollution is one of the major concerns of the environment in India. Around 80% of India’s water including Rivers and Lakes hasbeen polluted with dump raw sewage, silt, and garbage, which led to water being undrinkable and toxic in many regions of India.
Solid Waste Management:
With Rapid Urbanization and an increase in Population, India is facing a big challenge in Waste Management. Over 377 million urban people live in 7,935 Cities and generate 62 million tonnes (MT) of municipal solid waste per annum. Only 43 MT of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites.
The term deforestation describes the complete long-term removal of tree cover, which influences the climate and contributes to the loss of biodiversity. India has seen rapid deforestation in recent years primarily due to its focus on economic development and industrialization. According to suggested data, nearly 14000 sq km of forests were cleared to accommodate 23,716 industrial projects across India over the last 30 years. The different causes of deforestation are the increase in population, conversion of forests to agricultural land, Commercial logging, mining, urbanization and industrialization, Construction of dams, Forest fires, etc.
In India, around 420,000 sq.km, or 12.6% of the total Indian land is prone to landslides as climate change is increasing the risks. A landslide can be triggered by natural causes such as earth and heavy rainfall, but human activities such as the construction of roads, building and railways, mining, and hydropower projects also damage hilly slopes and impact natural drainage by loosening soil and gravel and making the hills more susceptible to landslides.
The earth’s climate is dynamic and always changing through a natural cycle, However,what are we worried about is that the changes that are occurring today have been speeded up. The common causes of global warming are burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gases for energy, cutting or burning down entire forests. According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2021, India was the seventh most affected country by the devastating impact of climate change globally in 2019. Nearly 475,000 people lost their lives between the years 2000 and 2019 due to extreme weather changes globally. About 12% of India is flood-prone while 16% is drought-prone.
Laws/Steps taken by the government:
Indian government is trying to resolve the problem of environmental issues since the time of independent India. Many laws have been made and are in action to save the environment.
Acts after Independence of India:
The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
Atomic Energy Act of 1982
Environment Protection Act, 1986 (EPA)
Motor Vehicles Act, 1988
Public Liability Insurance Act (PLIA), 1991
National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995
The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997
National Environment Policy, 2006
Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC):
Launched in the year 2008, identifies a number of measures that simultaneously advance the country’s development and climate change-related objectives of adaptation and mitigation. NAPCC is designed to take place through eight national missions which form the core of the national action plan is given below:
Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission
National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
National Mission on sustainable habitat
National Water Mission
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
National Mission for a Green India
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change
Recent activities carried out by the Government of India:
National Green Tribunal (NGT), October 18th, 2010
Pehle Shauchalya, Fir Devalya (First Toilets, then Temples), 2013
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), October 2nd, 2014
Namami Gange Yojna (National Mission for Clean Ganga), June 2014
National Air Quality Index, April 2015
Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA),2016
The Population Control Bill has been proposed in Rajya Sabha in July 2019 in order to control the population growth of India which is yet to become an act of law.
The above-mentioned Environmental issues have adverse effects on today’s environment and the overall health of the population of this country. Due to Climate change, the combined land and ocean temperature has increased at an average rate of 0.13º C since the last decade. The Glacier is melting so the sea level is rising; the number of drought land is increasing while there are fewer rainy days but extreme rainfall leading to significant Floods in many regions of India.
To overcome these big problems in the future, we need to start saving our environment today, by taking few small steps:
Start using the R4 method Reduce, Reuse, Refuse and Recycle.
Start saving/conserving Energy and Water.
Start buying Sustainable Food’s
Start using Public Transport/ Bicycles or just walk.