The conflict between development & environment – Your suggestions to deal with this!

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The conflict between development & environment – Your suggestions to deal with this!

Currently looking at the state of our country one can blindly say that we are in need of serious development on many fronts. This economic development is the only means to elevate many who are below the poverty line. However what good is the development if the entire environment which helps us live is destroyed and polluted to level of no return? However question arises as to how to feed the teeming population if we start putting brakes in our development process? So which side should we fall on in our current state?

Economic development is a priority –

1. Though environment is important, it is only the economic development that can truly reduce poverty, hunger, etc.

2. If there are no people, for whom will we save the environment?

3. Using resources for progress is an age old practice of mankind. It is practiced even by the animals and plants. With our increasing population we are using more resources. As long as we control our population, developmental activity will not harm the environment.

Environment is much more important –

1. Even minor developmental activities are harming the environment.

2. These minor activities when clubbed together become a major source of environmental degradation. For e.g. waste generated in one household is very less. But when we combine garbage of millions of households, the quantity is huge.

3. We must preserve the quality of environment as no amount of development can bring back the environment.

4. No development is useful if the environment is gone. It is the environment that helps us survive.

Suggestions to deal with the dilemma –

1. Going green does not mean total collapse of the economy and economic development does not mean total annihilation of the environment.

2. The environment can help survive the population if we utilize its aspects sustainably.

3. We need to develop so as to provide for the increasing population. The environmental legislation must not hinder economic progress when it comes to valuable resources. We can regulate the utilization of resources to minimize the damage to the environment and ensure complete utilization of the resources with minimum wastage.

4. Apart from this certain areas should have strict enforcement of the environmental laws like forests, biosphere reserves, coastal zones, etc.

5. The aspects like drinking water quality, air quality, etc. should not be compromised under any circumstances as those are critical requirements to live.

6. The entire development plan must complement the environment. It must not be seen to replace the environment but should accommodate the environment.

7. For major developmental plans, case by case decision must be taken. A separate appellate must take decisions within a specific time frame so as not to delay the project.

8. Environmental Impact Assessment has to be made compulsory for projects crossing certain threshold of environmental laws and emissions.

9. Socio-economic and cultural mindsets needs to be changed to focus on processes which are not detrimental to the environment.

10. Judicious use of resources would reduce pressure on the environment. Thus environment will no longer be seen as a victim of development.

11. Rapid industrialization no longer puts pressure on the environment. Scientific advances have made industries much less polluting. Developing countries can learn from the environmental mistakes of the industrial revolution and adopt environment friendly technologies. This will lead to sustainable development.

12. Environmental legislation and its implementation should be stricter. Such a move would force the industries to adopt cleaner technologies as well as retain growth. Government itself must encourage all to strike a balance between the conservation of environment and economic development.

Development and environment need to be seen as complementary, not opposite to each other. After all, if there is no Earth left, where will development take place? The reality is that it will not be possible to sustain high growth in the coming years without environmental care. We must realize that it was the environment which provided all the resources which man needed for development. The environment is capable to satisfy all our needs. We just need to take few steps from our side. We need to reduce the population, minimize wastage, utilize the resources and products fully, etc. As Mahatma Gandhi said that – ‘The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.’

The conflict between development & environment – Your suggestions to deal with this!

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