According to a study report by the Energy Policy Institute, University of Chicago, India is the second most polluted country in the world. The study indicates that 84% of the population lives in the areas where the annual average pollution level is more than what is prescribed by the WHO.
Cities of North India situated in the Gangetic plains are more vulnerable, stated the report.
The most crucial finding of the study was that pollution levels in India are shortening the average life expectancy of Indians by 5.2 years.
On the occasion of the sixth BRICS Environment Minister’s meeting held through video conference on 30 June, member nations raised their concerns over the impact of COVID-19 on the economic and environmental landscape. The official statement said, “the impact of COVID-19 poses a serious challenge to achieving the aspiration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals.”
The member nations emphasized on including in their national plans, the initiative to improve the environment, promote principles of circular economy and develop a sustainable pattern of production and consumption.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in a review meeting of the Northeast states has praised the development work under the Smart City Mission being carried out in Agartala. The capital city attained the top spot amongst the ten Northeastern smart cities.
The state government in a statement has stated that a total of 80 projects worth Rs. 1479 crores will be dedicated for the overall development of the city. It was also noted that the central government has provided Rs. 196cr along with Rs.50cr from the state government for the smart city projects.
Adding to the list of smart cities, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has included Leh and Kargil from the UT of Ladakh to be developed under the Smart City Mission of the central government. The decision was made on the proposal of the Home Ministry in order to improve the infrastructure and create employment opportunities in the region.
Working on the said proposal, the Urban Affairs Ministry has constituted a five-member team to formulate a detailed project report for both the cities with the help of local administration.
The Uttarakhand government is planning to develop some areas situated close to the borderline for border tourism. It is reported that the government has also sanctioned an amount of Rs. 10 crores for the development of the required infrastructure. The state tourism minister in a statement has said that a proposal has been sent to the Union Tourism Ministry for consideration. The minister also said that along with border tourism, the state will also promote tribal and winter tourism.
The state government might also consider lifting the rules for obtaining Inner Line Permit which is required to visit some sensitive areas of the hill state.
Concerns have been raised on the threats to the Tigers in Arunachal Pradesh due to the proposed Etalin hydropower project and Dibang multipurpose dam. A report released on 28 July by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and Wildlife Institute of India shows that there are 29 tigers present in the region where the dam is proposed.
Mr. Anoko Mega who is a member of the Arunachal Pradesh Wildlife Advisory Board is of the opinion that the proposed projects will impact both the Tiger and Tiger prey. “If the environment ministry really considers the Tiger to be an important species, it should not approve the project. It will be disastrous for the Tiger habitat,” Mega said to media.
It is important to note that the proposed Etalin hydropower project with a capacity to produce 3,097 MW electricity will impact 1,150 hectares of land and similarly the Dibang multipurpose dam is supposed to impact 4,577 hectares of unclassified forest and community land.
(By: Gautam Kumar)