Despite Laws, Why Are Environmental Conditions Not Improving In India?

With World Environment Day around the corner, the environment is going to be an important topic for a few days. So let’s look at some facts concerning the environment in India.

Right from the beginning, during the Stockholm Declaration of 1972, India was keen to give environment its due importance. That’s why there is no dearth of environmental legislation in India. However, despite all these laws, it is evident that environmental conditions are not great in India. Air pollution in major cities of India, in particular, Delhi, is worsening and has become a national problem.

Water pollution, municipal solid waste disposal and industrial waste disposal are other major concerns, along with a reduction in forest area, habitat loss, dwindling biodiversity and human-wildlife conflicts. But if we have significant environmental laws and policies in the country, then how have we not been able to fullfil the requirements of environmental protection? Instead, it seems like we are creating worse conditions.

In my opinion, this is mainly due to the environmental policy of India that is primarily focused on human welfare and benefits. They are not primarily aimed towards the protection of the environment in which humans live.

The environmental policy of any country is something that acts as a key source for all the actions regarding the environment. The present policy is mainly concerned with enhancing the economic welfare of human beings. The new norms that have been introduced in Indian environment laws have made speedy environmental clearances to new project proposals. The narrow and marginal clearance principle has been ruled out.

Earlier, projects were passed through a significant number of reviews before being cleared. An increase in the number of projects being passed every year has put more burden on the environment. Public hearing and involvement of the local public has been reduced and moreover, tribal affairs are not given their due consideration. This has a direct impact on forest area, aggressive exploitation of wild species or their complete extinction in the near future and an indirect impact on the air, water and soil conditions.

An ordinary man may have no understanding of the things I am talking about. He may be happy with his free LPG connections, closed defecation and clean home and streets with dustbin being placed on every corner as that’s what being eco-friendly means to him. A middle-class man may be oblivious to environmental degradation as he is more than happy to have air conditioners, air purifiers, water purifiers, fruit and vegetable cleaners and many other such types of equipment. An industrialist or a rich man will not even give a damn about the environment as his monetary goals and project proposals are getting cleared.

But nature, comprising of those wild animals and plants, may not speak but they will act. When they act, it will be in a way that will cost us more than what we have achieved in years.  We should know that nature works more efficiently when there are less human interventions.

It’s better we mend things while we still have time and start implementing eco-friendly policies for real.

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