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World Environmental Health Day: A look at steps taken to improve it in India

World Environmental Health Day: A look at steps taken to improve it in India

World Environmental Health Day: A look at steps taken to improve it in India
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By Sept 26, 2022 8:09:33 AM IST (Published)

India ranks poorly in global indices in terms of environmental health. However, the government has taken several important steps to improve it and contribute to combating climate change.

World Environmental Health Day, established by the International Federation of Environmental Health, is celebrated every year on September 26. This day is aimed at spreading awareness about environmental health and the measures needed to improve it. The day holds great importance, especially for a country like India which has consistently performed poorly in global environmental health indices.

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On World Environmental Health Day, here is a look at India’s environmental health and the steps taken to improve it.
India’s Environmental Health
India was ranked at the bottom of the list of 180 countries with a paltry score of 18.9 on the Environmental Performance Index released in June this year.
India ranked behind Myanmar at 179, Vietnam (178), Bangladesh (177) and Pakistan (176).
Issued every two years the Environmental Performance Index uses 40 indicators to measure performance on environmental health, conservation of ecosystem vitality (biodiversity and, their habitat) climate change prevention, and ecosystem services.
However, the Indian government rejected the index, stating that some of the indicators used were ‘extrapolated’ and are based on ‘surmises and unscientific methods’.
On the other hand, India is also ranked poorly in the air quality indicator (179 of 180), which is almost undeniable, especially in the North-Western region which is exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution every year.
The World Air Quality Report, prepared by Swiss organisation IQAir, listed 35 Indian cities with the worst air quality tag for 2021.
However, to improve the environmental health of the country, several steps have been taken by the Indian government in the past few years.
Nagar Vana Udyan Scheme: This scheme aims to develop at least one city forest in each city having Municipal Corporation or Class 1 Cities (over 200) to accommodate a wholesome healthy environment.
National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP): The initiative was launched to conserve and make use of wetlands in the country.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate launched the Green Skill Development Programme in June 2017 to teach skills required for conserving and protecting the environment among the youth.
On World Environment Day 2022, PM Narendra Modi launched 'Save Soil Movement'. The initiative focuses on five things making the soil chemical-free, saving organisms that live in the soil, maintaining soil moisture, increasing the availability of water, and stopping the continuous erosion of soil due to the reduction of forests.
To reduce emissions, the government increased ethanol blending in petrol from 1.5 per cent to 10 per cent in 2014. This can potentially bring down carbon emissions by 27 lakh tonnes.
As per PM Modi’s speech on World Environment Day, solar energy capacity in the country had increased by 18 times while India has achieved the goal of having 40 percent of its installed power generation from non-fossil fuel-based sources.
Another campaign to conserve 13 big rivers of India has been launched to reduce pollution in water and plant trees on the banks of rivers.
India has set a goal of making 26 million hectares of barren land fertile by 2030 and aims to be Net-Zero in emissions by 2070.
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