Environmental pollution is increasing in India at an alarming rate. This has resulted in adverse effects on our health. It has caused breathing issues, cold, cough, asthma, and other respiratory disorders and diseases. Environmental pollution can be classified into air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, soil pollution. Rapid exploitation of natural resources by man, technological development, and industrialization has resulted in environmental degradation.
CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION:
The different causes of environmental pollution in India are as follows-
a. Increasing economic and industrial development– Last few decades we have seen that for the economic development of the country industrialization has increased at a rapid rate. Setting up of a large number of new industries and factories has resulted in polluting the air and causing various health hazards. Increasing industrialization has adversely affected the health of the citizens of our country, especially children. Further, anti-pollution strategies that were made by the government were neither properly made nor implemented.
b. Urbanization– As we know that industrialization and urbanization go hand in hand. As more industries and factories were set up in urban areas people migrated to urban areas in search of employment and also settled there to earn a living. This has led to a lack of proper housing facilities, unhygienic living conditions, poverty which has further given rise to pollution. The concentration of population in congested metropolitan cities has led to the growth of slums. Thus, environmental pollution is more in urban areas in comparison to rural areas.
c. Discharge of factory wastes and effluents into rivers, streams– As more and more industries and factories are set up the quantity of the waste of such factories and industries is also increasing. Every day millions of gallons of waste of these factories and industries are discharged into rivers, lakes, streams, and seas. Such discharge of chemicals leads to contamination of water. This is one of the main reasons of water pollution in the country. The scientists have warned us that because of such discharge tones of oxygen are burnt up and tones of carbon dioxide are discharged into the atmosphere.
d. Deforestation– Huge number of trees are being cut resulting in the destruction of forests. Trees are cut as they provide raw materials to industries, timber for making buildings, wood for making houses, and furniture. This has resulted in soil erosion and deadly floods, draughts, and damages to agricultural crops in our country. Forests are destroyed either to set up industries or for making residential places for people. This has resulted in air pollution and soil pollution.
e. Western model of industrialization– India had adopted the western capitalist model of industrialization which was not suitable for India. This has led to ecological degradation. The ecologists if really wanted to adopt the western model they should have made the necessary changes in it as per our country’s needs to maintain the ecological balance.
f. Increasing population– The population has been increasing in India at an alarming rate. India accommodates 1.3 billion people. The increasing population has led to malnutrition, low standard of living, poverty, illiteracy, shortage of basic needs like food, clothes, and a place to live. This is a major reason for the growth of slums in India. The unhygienic living condition of slums has resulted in more pollution. Further, increasing population means an increase in the exploitation of natural resources to fulfill the needs of the increasing population. This has further aggravated the problem of environmental pollution.
REMEDIES TO CONTROL ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION:
To control environmental pollution following remedial measures have been taken in India-
1. Environmental protection under Indian law– Under the common law in India action can be taken against any person who causes air, water, or noise pollution that amounts to private or public nuisance. Under section 268 of the Indian Penal Code, even criminal proceedings can be initiated against any person who is guilty of public nuisance caused by illegal emission resulting in any injury, danger to the public who dwell or occupy property in that vicinity or which must cause injury, danger or obstruction or annoyance to the person who has occasion to use any public right. Further, Section 277 of IPC provides penalties for fouling water of public springs or reservoirs. Section 178 provides penalties for making the atmosphere noxious to health. Moreover, under the Law of Torts, remedies like injunction, damages are available. Chapter X of the Criminal Procedure Code (Maintenance of public order and tranquility) provides prevention and effective remedies for public nuisance which include air, noise, and water pollution.
2. Using pollution-free technology– Many economically developed and technologically advanced countries have resorted to using pollution-free technology to carry out development in their country and also protect their environment and maintain ecological balance. India has also now started using such technology to control environmental pollution.
3. Conservation of forest, flora, and wildlife– To control environmental pollution it is very important to conserve forest, flora, and wildlife. The Indian government has now initiated many strict measures in this direction. The Ministry of Environment and Forest takes care of the proper implementation of these measures initiated by the government of India.
4. Legislative measures to control pollution– The following legal measures have been adopted by the Government of India to control pollution-
a. The Constitution of India provides the right to live in a pollution-free environment under Article 21(Right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution of India.
b. Through the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India the government of India has introduced Articles 48A AND 51-A(g) in the constitution. As per Article 48 A, the State has to protect the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife in our country. As per Article 51-A (g) it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect the environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and also to have compassion for the living creatures.
c. The Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act was passed by the Government of India in 1974 to prevent and control water pollution. This act made Boards like Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Board for prevention and controlling water pollution, conferring various powers and functions to these Boards.
d. The Government of India adopted the Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act in 1981. Under this Act Central and State, Boards are made and were conferred necessary powers to take measures to control air pollution.
5. General awareness among the people is very important to control pollution in our country. People should be made aware of the wrong practices carried on by them that have caused pollution. New environment-friendly habits should be developed among the people and they should be made aware of their duty to protect the environment. If people follow the rules and regulations laid down by the government for a clean and healthy environment only then such measures can be implemented properly. Proper education and training should be given to the public in general regarding how they can cooperate with the government in controlling pollution. In India, various such awareness programs and training sessions are arranged by the local government bodies and the NGO’S.
6. Recycling– Paper, plastics, glass can be recycled and processed into new products by using little natural resources and energy. We should try to reuse products instead of throwing them away after a single use thereby reducing the generation of waste products. Smokeless fuels should be used and more and more trees should be planted.
From the above discussion, we can conclude that in India demographic pressure is falling on our limited natural resources thereby damaging our ecosystem. Although various laws have been made by the Government of India for protecting the environment still environmental pollution is increasing at an alarming rate. Only making laws is not enough for protecting our environment making people aware of what they can do to control pollution is the key. If we the citizens of our country take the responsibility to save our country from environmental degradation we can together control pollution and save our ecosystem.