Latest Environmental Issues in India

With a population of over 1.3 billion, India is soon set to dislodge China as the most populous country of the world. While India has one of the fastest growing populations in the world today, it’s far behind most others when it comes to preserving the environment and the ecology. Today, our country is riddled with a number of environmental concerns which have only aggravated in the last few decades. It is high time we tackled these issues head on as turning a blind eye is no solution. Even as India races ahead to join the league of top economies internationally, it must stick to a growth path that is environmentally sustainable. Neglecting the environment can create havoc and the damage done may become irreparable. So we must wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late.

Following are some of the major environmental concerns India is grappling with today.

Air Pollution

Air pollution is one of the worst scourges to have affected India. According to a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), by 2040 there are likely to be about 9 lakh premature deaths in the country due to the drastic rise in air pollution in the country. Average life expectancies are likely to go down by about 15 months because of air pollution. India is also home to 11 out of 20 of the most polluted (in terms of air pollution) cities in the entire world. According to the rankings of the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, India ranks 141 out of 180 countries in terms of air pollution.

Groundwater Depletion

Rapidly depleting levels of groundwater is one of the biggest threat to food security and livelihood in the country. Accessing the groundwater has become increasingly difficult over the decades. According to news reports, excessive exploitation of limited groundwater resources for irrigation of cash crops such as sugarcane has caused a 6 percentage point decline in the availability of water within 10 metres from ground level. Low rainfall and drought are also reasons for groundwater depletion. The north western and southeastern parts of the country are the worst hit. These are also the regions responsible for most of the country’s agricultural production and food crisis is a natural corollary.

Climate Change

In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded a temperature of 51 degrees Celsius – the highest ever in the country. The increasingly tormenting heat waves in the past years are but an indication that global warming and climate change are real challenges that the country is facing now. With the Himalayan glaciers melting at an alarming rate, floods and other such natural disasters are occurring with increasing frequency. The number of forest fires, floods, earthquakes and such other calamities over the past five years has been unprecedented.

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