There are many environmental issues in India. Air pollution, water pollution, garbage domestically prohibited goods and pollution of the natural environment are all challenges for India. Nature is also causing some drastic effects on India.
Environmental issues are one of the primary causes of disease, health issues and long term livelihood impact for India.
Major environmental issues are forests and agricultural degradation of land, resource depletion (such as water, mineral, forest, sand, and rocks), environmental degradation, public health, loss of biodiversity, loss of resilience in ecosystems, livelihood security for the poor.
The major sources of pollution in India include the rapid burning of fuel wood and biomass such as dried waste from livestock as the primary source of energy, lack of organized garbage and waste removal services, lack of sewage treatment operations, lack of flood control and monsoon water drainage system, diversion of consumer waste into rivers, cremation practices near major rivers etc.
Air pollution, poor management of waste, growing water scarcity, falling groundwater tables, water pollution, preservation and quality of forests, biodiversity loss, and land/soil degradation are some of the major environmental issues India faces today.
India’s population growth adds pressure to environmental issues and its resources. Rapid urbanization has caused a buildup of heavy metals in the soil and these metals are being ingested through contaminated vegetables. Heavy metals are hazardous to people’s health and are known carcinogens.
According to a British thinker Malthus, a growing population exerts pressure on agricultural land, causing environmental degradation, and forcing the cultivation of land of higher as well as poorer quality. This environmental degradation ultimately reduces agricultural yields and food availability, famines and diseases and death.
Population growth, is also seen as a major cause of air, water, and solid-waste pollution.
Some measure issues which affect the environment-
• WATER POLLUTION
India has major water pollution issues. Discharge of untreated sewage is the single most important cause for pollution of surface and ground water in India. There is a large gap between generation and treatment of domestic waste water in India. The problem is not only that India lacks sufficient treatment capacity but also that the sewage treatment plants that are exist do not operate and are not maintained. The majority of the government-owned sewage treatment plants remain closed most of the time due to improper design or poor maintenance or lack of reliable electricity supply to operate the plants, together with absentee employees and poor management. The uncollected wastes accumulate in the urban areas cause unhygienic conditions and release pollutants that leaches to surface and groundwater.
According to a World Health Organization study, out of India’s 3,119 towns and cities, just 209 had partial sewage treatment facilities, and only 8 have full wastewater treatment facilities (1992). Over 100 Indian cities dump untreated sewage directly into the Ganges River.
Other sources of water pollution include agriculture run off and small scale factories along the rivers and lakes of India. Fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture in northwest have been found in rivers, lakes and ground water. Flooding during monsoons worsens India’s water pollution problem, as it washes and moves all sorts of solid garbage and contaminated soils into its rivers and wetlands.
• AIR POLLUTION
Surveys suggest over 100 million households in India use such stoves (chullahs) every day, 2–3 times a day. It is a major source of air pollution in India, and produces smoke and numerous indoor air pollutants at concentrations 5 times higher than coal. Clean burning fuels and electricity are unavailable in rural parts and small towns of India because of poor rural highways and limited energy generation infrastructure.
Air pollution in India is a serious issue with the major sources being fuel wood and biomass burning, fuel adulteration, vehicle emission and traffic congestion. These biomass-based household stoves in India are also a leading source of greenhouse emissions contributing to climate change.
In other states of India, rice straw and other crop residue burning in open is a major source of air pollution.
Vehicle emissions are another source of air pollution.
• SOLID WASTE POLLUTION
Trash and garbage is a common sight in urban and rural areas of India. It is a major source of pollution. Indian cities alone generate more than 100 million tons of solid waste a year. Street corners are piled with trash. Public places and sidewalks are despoiled with filth and litter, rivers and canals act as garbage dumps.
In part, India’s garbage crisis is from rising congestion. India’s waste problem also points to a stunning failure of governance. The tourism regions in the country mainly hill stations are also facing this issue in the recent years.
Even medical waste, theoretically controlled by stringent rules that require hospitals to operate incinerators, is routinely dumped with regular municipal garbage. A recent study found that about half of India’s medical waste is improperly disposed of.
Some of the few solid waste landfills India has, near its major cities, are overflowing and poorly managed. They have become significant sources of greenhouse emissions and breeding sites for disease vectors such as flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats, and so on.
• NOISE POLLUTION
Noise pollution or noise disturbance is the disturbing or excessive noise that may harm the activity or balance of human or animal life. Noise-wise India can be termed as the most polluted country in the world. The source of most outdoor noise worldwide is mainly caused by machines and transportation systems, motor vehicles, aircraft, and trains. In India the outdoor noise is also caused by loud music during festival seasons. Outdoor noise is summarized by the word environmental noise. Poor urban planning may give rise to noise pollution, since side-by-side industrial and residential buildings can result in noise pollution in the residential areas.
Indoor noise can be caused by machines, building activities, and music performances, especially in some workplaces. Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by outside (e.g. trains) or inside (e.g. music) noise.
• GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
India was the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, in 2009 at 1.65 Gt per year, after China and the United States . With 17 percent of world population, India contributed some 5 percent of human-sourced carbon dioxide emission; compared to China’s 24 percent share. On per capita basis, India emitted about 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide per person, in comparison to the United States’ 17 tons per person, and a world average of 5.3 tons per person