Indian States And Sustainable Development- Where Have We Reached?

Posted on June 20, 2012 in Environment

By Apurva Kinger:

How important is it to address the problems of environment and achieve sustainable development? Do I need to explain ? Still, a definition says it all- sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

With an alarming increase in pollution all over the globe, India is not far away from facing the consequences of this problem. We are in an urgent need to understand the environmental problems and address the issues with effective solutions. How is India dealing with this dire problem? There are several laws which have been passed which include the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974, the Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981. After Bhopal gas tragedy, government of India enacted the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986. India has also enacted a set of Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules in 2000. But is it enough what we are doing for our environment where we live in?

A country like India has varied environmental conditions in different states. There are states which have made a remarkable progress in environmental quality. States like Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya have set an example that environmental quality can be restored with constant efforts. These states have made countless efforts and achieved the position of most sustainable states from the point of view of environmental protection. An interesting thing about this achievement is, these are all low income states. What about rich states like Gujarat and Punjab? They have literally scored very low on sustainable index. They are far from reaching a sustainable point.

Gujarat is one of the richest state and is the first to set up Climate Change Department, but has eventually failed in achieving sustainable development. For successful implementation of any environmental policy , people of that state have to cooperate. Policies will be penned down every now and then but its implementation is dependent on willful cooperation of people. That’s what is lacking in the high income states like Punjab and Gujarat.

Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh have not reached a sustainable point while Uttarakhand, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Odisha have been doing good in achieving sustainable development. These are resource rich states, it’s very important for them to protect their biodiversity. Whereas Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa are amongst the moderately sustainable states. Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir are far from sustainable development and are experiencing increase in environmental degradation.

Deforestation, desertification, pollution, and climate change have led to the problems like water pollution and water scarcity, air pollution, soil degradation , loss of biodiversity and adverse atmospheric changes. We need to conserve our environment for that people have to give up consumerism and follow a holistic approach towards the whole issue. Making people aware is not enough, I think we need to ask them the solution, community should come out with prospects of how they will contribute to environment sustainability. Then it will be easier for the people to follow the decisions framed rather than following a law order which they fail to even understand so implementation is far away.

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