The annual report covers wide gamut of topics like climate change, agriculture and industry to water, plastics, forests and biodiversity
The year 2022-2023 saw two huge trends in terms of the environment: Reversal of gains for the energy transition and the overwhelming impact of climate change, which is a real threat staring at us. This is among the many facts brought out in the latest report by Down To Earth, the fortnightly magazine by New Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment.
The 2023 State of India’s Environment report, also known as SoE, will be officially unveiled at 6.30 pm on March 23, 2023, at India Habitat Centre (IHC), Delhi. The report covers an extensive gamut of subject assessments, ranging from climate change, agriculture and industry to water, plastics, forests and biodiversity.
“The state of India’s environment is not a story that is unendingly, inexorably dark — it has a lot of silver lining as well, it provides us with a lot of reasons to celebrate as well. This is the story that the 2023 State of India’s Environment report, put together by CSE and DTE magazine, attempts to present,” Sunita Narain, director general, CSE, stated in a press briefing.
The report presents some dark facts. Over 30,000 waterbodies have been encroached on in the country and India is generating 150,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste every day — more than half of which is either dumped in landfills or remains unattended.
Four years and 11 months is the average duration of life lost to air pollution in India, the report has found. Rural India is losing more years due to air pollution-related health issues than the urban belt. In fact, rural India needs 35 per cent more community health centres.
For almost four decades now, SoE reports have held up a mirror to the development pathways that the country has chosen, said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director-research and advocacy, CSE.
“Bringing stories and voices from the ground, they have told us where we are going wrong; what has worked and what hasn’t; and have laid down some options to correct our trajectory,” she said.
The edition also reports that environmental crimes continue unabated — courts need to decide on 245 cases every day to clear the backlog. Between January and October 2022 (304 days), India witnessed extreme weather events on 271 days.
These extreme weather events claimed over 2,900 lives. India’s overall global rank in meeting the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goals (SDGs) has also slipped by nine places.
Richard Mahapatra, managing editor, DTE, says the 2023 report follows the tradition. “The 2023 edition, with 20 chapters covering different aspects, shows how busy the country is with its many challenges. But it also notes the many opportunities being explored, debated and discussed to meet these challenges.”
India has many mutinies on the environmental front, but also has as many warriors waging a battle to win, Mahapatra added.
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