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India needs a holistic environment policy

Nov 17, 2009

State of Environment Report India 2009 presents an overview of the environmental scenario of the country. It provides an insight on various priority issues related to the current status of environment and assesses the government’s current and proposed policy initiatives to check and monitor further degradation.

State of Environment Report India - 2009

Publisher: Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, 2009

In the global context of state of the environment reporting, India is probably unique. The basic aim of the document is to bring out an overview of the environmental scenario of the States/ Union Territories (UT) for mainstreaming environment in policy and decision-making.

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It is anticipated that through the State of Environment Reports, state governments and UT administrations would be able to integrate environmental dimensions in their socio-economic planning for sustainable development.

The Report covers the state and trends of the environment (land, air, water, biodiversity) and five key issues:

  • Climate Change,
  • Food Security,
  • Water Security,
  • Energy Security, and
  • Managing Urbanisation.

The document shows how land degradation is taking place through natural and man-made processes, resulting in the loss of invaluable nutrients and lower food grain production. Loss of biodiversity is of great concern since many plant and animal species are being threatened.

Air quality in cities is deteriorating due to vehicular growth and a sharp increase in air pollution related diseases. The issue of availability of water, which is going to be one of the critical problems in the coming decades, needs to be addressed on priority basis.

Generation of large quantity of hazardous waste from industries, along with the hospital waste has been affecting public health and environment. Climate change and energy security are major concerns which need to be addressed strategically.

The report provides an insight on various priority issues for India related to the current status of environment and natural resources, the pressures behind environmental changes and the impacts associated with these changes. The report also assesses the government's current and proposed policy initiatives or programmes as a response to check and monitor further degradation of environment and also suggests policy options.

While the structure of the report is good, cross linkages between sections and the essence of environmental analysis are inadequate.

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