Water crisis and land degradation: India Environment report 2009

The ministry of environment & forests in India just published a “State of the Environment” report for 2009. The report was prepared in collaboration with a venerable NGO called Development Alternatives. It is a clear and honest reflection of where India stands, and what it needs to do. A few key points

  • Priority 1: A looming water crisis. NASA has recently determined that the water table in North India is falling by 4 cm per year.
  • India has 2.4% of the world’s land area but 16.4% of the world’s population. The population is expected to grow by 50% by 2050. You don’t need physics to understand the kind of pressure that’s going to put on resources.
  • Land degradation due to natural and man made processes (unsustainable practices) in increasing. Over 40% of land in India is degraded land.
  • Uncontrolled urbanization is contributing to water, air, noise, heat and dust pollution.
  • Even though India’s carbon footprint is 5% of the global footprint, it is very susceptible to the climate change crisis due to constrained adaptability to the crisis.
  • India many not have famines caused by food shortages any more, but the country still endures famines due to to famines in purchasing power a.k.a poverty

The report delves into each of the components of the environment – Land, Water, Air, Biodiversity – with a lot of details, charts, statistics, existing policies and measures, and suggestions. It is worth a read just to refresh or learn more about the environment of India, in general. For example

  • Despite having just 2.4% of the world’s land area, India has 7% – 8% of the world’s recorded species, including 45,500 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals.
  • India has 2 bio-diverse hot spots – the Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats

Full report: StateofEnvironmentReport_2009.pdf

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