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Environment Sectors


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A country’s environmental problems vary with its stage of development, structure of its economy, production technologies in use and its environmental policies. While some problems may be associated with the lack of economic development (e.g. inadequate sanitation and access to clean drinking water), others are exacerbated by the growth of economic activity (e.g. air and water pollution). Environmental changes may be driven by many factors including economic growth, population growth, urbanisation, intensification of agriculture, rising energy use and transportation. Poverty remains at the root of several environmental problems.
Large scale industrialisation, spread of transport, communication and other modern infrastructure combined with the pressure of population growth have added to the difficulties of preserving clean environment and healthy natural resource base. These have been exerting pressure on environment as witnessed in growing evidence of air and water pollution and land degradation. For instance Delhi is now classified as the fourth most polluted city in the world, with a suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) of 145.3 to 929.8 microgrammes/m3 as against a the National ambient air quality standard of 70 to 360 microgrammes/m3. Organic and bacterial pollution continue to be the predominant source of pollution in our aquatic reserves. The forest cover and globally recognised bio-diversity is also under threat.
Such degradation imposes a cost on the society, with the burden of such costs being disproportionately high for the poor who live and depend on such natural ecological systems. Such costs need to be explicitly accounted for in economic policy and planning. The challenge of sustainable development remains formidable and requires integration of country’s quest for economic development with its environmental concerns. Choice of policies and investment has to be such which encourage cleaner production/consumption and practices that minimise the environmental impact.
 

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