State of India's Environment Report 2019-2021

The State of India’s Environment Report 2021 has been released by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in June 2021. It provides comprehensive data on subjects such as Forest, Climate Change, Habitat, Water, Air Pollution, Rural Development, Biodiversity, and Industry. India ranked 117 out of 180 as per the latest report.

It analyses how the states of India have performed on sustainable development goals (SDGs).

The State of India’s Environment Report is published by CSE, a public interest and advocacy group which lobbies for sustainable development.

This article will give details about the State of India’s Environment Report from 2019-2021 within the context of the IAS Exam.

State of India’s Environment Report- Download PDF Here

Key Takeaways from 2021 State of India’s Environment Report

  • With regard to the 17 (SDGs), India’s rank slipped to 117 in 2021 from its previous rank of 115 in 2020.
  • Challenges such as hunger, low food security, achieving gender equality, fostering innovation are the reasons why India’s rank slipped in 2021.
  • India ranks below four South Asian nations such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Its overall score regarding SDGs is 61.9 out of 100.
  • The State of Environment Report showed that India also ranked 168 out of 180 in the Environment Performance Index (EPI). The EPI is calculated on various indicators such as environment, health, climate, air pollution, sanitation, biodiversity etc.

State of India’s Environment Report [Metrics-wise]

The country’s performance in the Environment Report has been done based on the following metrics:

  1. Air
  2. Water
  3. Development
  4. Land and Agriculture
  5. Health
  6. Cities
  7. Waste
  8. Energy
  9. Climate
  10. Pollution
  11. Poverty
  12. Education

The following table shows India’s performance in the above metrics. Please do note that most of the data for the metrics belong to the years 2019-2021.

Metrics for State of India’s Environment Report 2019-2021

Metrics Notes of Performance
Air
  • Air pollution has caused 12.5% deaths in India.
  • Poor air quality affects about 100,000 children below the age of 5 leading to many fatalities.
  • Its national scheme to promote e-vehicles is yet to pick up pace despite making pledges to the contrary.
  • Out of the target of 15-16 million e-vehicles by 2020, only 0.28 million were active by May 2019.
Water
  • As per the report, both the surface and groundwater in the country are under threat, with 86% of the water bodies critically polluted.
  • One of the reasons for the increase in the pollution of water bodies is the build-up of heavy industries which polluted the water bodies between 2011 and 2018.
  • There has been an unsustainable increase in the number of deep tube wells that has gone up by 80 per cent between 2006-07 and 2013-14.
Development
  • Climate change poses the biggest economic threat and is a recurring point of discussion in the UN Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.
  • Out of the 13 SDGs the country is tracking, only a few indicators exist.
Land and Agriculture
  • India’s farm sector is under stress. While the input costs for major crops are rising, the average farmland size is shrinking. Even the share of the insured cropped area stands at a dismal 26 per cent.
Health
  • The report indicates that India’s rural infrastructure is under threat.
  • At least, there is a 35% shortfall in the number of 24×7 public health centres.
  • Another worrying trend is that the number of new doctors qualifying every year in the country has decreased by 60% between 2013 and 2017.
Cities
  • The report indicated that by 2050, India will have 416 million urban dwellers, home to about 58% of the total global population of urban dwellers.
  • India has 2,613 towns with slums. Of them, 57 per cent are in Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Waste
  • India has recorded a 56% increase in the number of hazardous-waste generating industries between 2016-2017.
  • The burden of solid waste is becoming unmanageable. In fact, 79 major protests against unsanitary landfills and dump yards have been recorded in 22 states in the past three years.
  • At the same time, most of these industries are not properly maintaining their waste inventory, as mandated by the law.
Energy
  • India’s natural gas and hydro-based power plants are at the brink
  • Gas-plants are running at only 24% of their original capacity due to a shortage of domestic natural gas
  • Hydropower projects, on the other hand, are only running at 19% of their capacity
  • The country’s progress in renewable energy in 2018-19 has been abysmal. Wind energy capacity was at 6.3% while solar energy was at 5.56%
Climate
  • Besides, India phased out ozone depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbon by 2011, it shifted to substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbon, which have high global warming potential.
  • India continues to bear the brunt of extreme weather events. In 2018, 11 states recorded major extreme weather events that claimed 1,425 lives.
Pollution
  • Of 88 major industrial clusters in the country, according to the Central Pollution Control Board, 35 showed overall environmental degradation, 33 pointed to worsening air quality, 45 had more polluted water and in 17, land pollution became worse.
Poverty
  • Covid-19 has made the world’s poor poorer. Over 115 million additional people might get pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic, and most of them live in South Asia.
Education
  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, over 500 million children were forced out of school globally and India accounted for more than half of them.

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