Environmental pollution 3
This and a few of the following blogs have been inspired by a very thought provoking article by Mr. Anil Agarwal (former Director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi) . I would strongly advise you to read the article published in the book Ethical Perspectives on Environmental Issues in India published by APH publishing corporation 5 .Ansari Road, Daryaganj , New Delhi 110002 .
Also consult the following blogs in this series: Environment1 and 2
Your comments are welcome on the points numbered in brackets.
Mr. Anil Agarwal concedes that there is a lot that we can learn from the West but he criticizes blind acceptance of the West. The West has largely overcome its problems of development and scarcity but we are still groping n the dark as to where to begin and when. Our politicians and business vested interests come n the way. We loot our minerals and export then to China and the West and they use them for their own benefit. But what about the interests of the unborn generations of India. What about Gandhiji’s ‘last man’ whose interests he wanted us to remember? (1)
Mr.Anil angrily asks whether we really need to educated our villagers in regard to the need for environmental protection. He asserts that it is the educated class that needs these lessons. The rich and the urban classes through their over consumption and generation of waste contribute to the destruction of the environment. Look at our double standards. We stand in the Ganga and pray ‘Gangamayee’ but at the same time disgorge all our filth into the Ganga which has secured the unenviable distinction of being the most polluted river in the world. Can you name any rivers that have been killed by the Indians? Can you list all the ways through which we pollute our rivers? The pollution levels are so high that freshwater fish like the Hilsa has practically disappeared. Bengal famous for this variety is now paying Rs 1000/-per kg and imports a good bit of it from Gujerat! I would like a discussion on the ways through which we have been polluting the rivers. Nor have we spared our coasts. We allow trawlers to catch fishes and thus endanger our poor fishermen. (2,3)
No one is advocating a de-development but many are questioning our development approach. The West having secured a high standard of living now wants the luxuries of clean air and environment and expects the Third World to proved these. They are resorting to a re-colonization process. Can you think of the ways through which this re-colonization is taking place. (4)
Nearly three percent of India’s giant landmass is under protected national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and there are demands to strengthen their protection and increase their area. Prof.Anil feels that there is no holistic understanding of the relationship between Environment and the development process taking place in the country. In this connection I would like to ask you whether tourists should be allowed into these national parks. What do you think are the consequences of Tourist Safaris? (5)
Prof.Anil Agarwal warns us that develop net without concern for the environment can be only for a short run. In the long run such development will cause immense human suffering, increased poverty and oppression. Comment on this view. (6)
I believe that an anti-development thesis will result ; there were signs of this in the Narmada Bachao Andolan. To a large extent Naxalism is a product of this thesis. I would invite comments on these.
So get going! And on your own make a list of the major pollutants of our rivers , seas, mountain ranges and cities. These may be shown to me in the class. They should not be a part of this blog.