Photo: christianhaugen/Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Kochi: Dams, roads and railway lines, power plants, airports. India is currently working on a number of infrastructure projects. These projects, the Indian government claims, will increase the country’s development and expand the economy.
However, many of these projects come at great cost to the environment and are often very expensive. Political leaders in Karnataka have demanded the Mekedatu dam, but it will flood around 5,000 hectares within the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
India needs development but also its environment. These are five reasons to reconsider developmental projects.
Reason 1: The ecosystem provides ecosystem services.
An ecosystem is a group of life-forms that share the same physical environment. Many ecosystems can be found in nature, from the rainforests in protected areas to a lake near your home.
Every ecosystem evolves from all its components, including plants, trees, soil, animals and birds, as well as insects. Sometimes, hundreds of years. They have a lot of value to humans: trees hold the soil, provide timber, fruits, and vegetables; insects and plants help each other through pollination, seed dispersal, and soil microbes help decompose organic material. The whole system purifies water, slows down floods, and stores carbon.
The whole ecosystem could be destroyed if you take out one component.
Reason 2: The environment is of economic value.
The natural environment also has indirect economic value.
The wild relatives of food crops are a key to farmers developing better hybrids. This is especially important during climate change when we will need more salt-tolerant or disease-resistant varieties to ensure we are well-nourished.
Similar examples include:
- Pollination (which supports a range of fruits, vegetables, whose combined markets amount to billions of dollars)
- Medicinal plants (from where scientists can isolate compounds to treat diseases and develop drugs).
- Flowing rivers are good for fish populations and remove sediments. They also enrich the soil with nutrients in the form of deltas.
- Mangrove forests can help prevent disasters that could cost millions of dollars Flood damageEvery year, India alone.
Reason 3: A unhealthy environment is not conducive to health.
The environment’s health has an impact on the health of its inhabitants, including the people.
Uttar Pradesh, for example, which is going to the polls within a month, has been trying to improve its air quality. Scientists discoveredThe city had more PM2.5 than the national air quality standards allow for 317 days each year. They concluded that this led to 5,700 premature deaths per year.
Scientists have Also estimatedAir pollution reduces India’s average life expectancy by 5.9 years. This rises to 9.5 years in Uttar Pradesh if 2019 pollution levels continue.
Deforestation and reclaiming of lakes are two examples of actions that can increase the risk of pandemics and epidemics, particularly of new pathogens. 2020 Scientists analysedThere are 6,800 ecological communities that support species diversity on all six continents. They discovered that human-used areas, such as those used for agriculture or real estate development, had higher numbers of animal species that are known to be susceptible to parasites and pathogens than the unaffected habitats.
Reason 4: We often ignore alternatives to existing plans.
It is possible to alter infrastructure projects to reduce their impact on nature. In many cases, however, project developers are not considering these options in order to cut costs.
Water experts suggested that Bengaluru’s Karnatakas Mekedatu dam use a combination rainwater harvesting and rationed groundwater usage.
This ensures that Bengaluru will not need a new dam and that the dam does not submerge 5,000 ha of wildlife park.
Sometimes even the government isn’t able to convince project developers to look for other options, even if one exists.
Residents and activists protested the Uttarakhand government’s plans to expand Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport. Proposals to cutMore than 10,000 trees are located on 87 hectares in the Shivalik Elephant Reserve. The Union environment ministry asked Uttarakhand last year to find alternative land for the runway extension. The state responded that it was not obligated to listen to the ministry, which is false.
A more serious example is the denial by the Rajasthan government of a portion of Band Baretha’s wildlife sanctuary for pink sandstone mining for the new Ram temple in Ayodhya in February 2021.
Reason 5: Too much damage has been done to the environment. We need to slow down.
The list of human activities that affect the environment includes deforestation, pollution, waste generation, improper disposal, damming rivers and encroaching lakes, and the blasting of mountain slopes. Global warming is undoubtedly the biggest effect.
The oceans are becoming more acidic and warmer, affecting coral reefs and fish populations as well as the intensity of storms.
The sixth mass extinction of the Earth is due solely to human activity, which is also the fastest in history.
Understanding the effects of our actions can help us to find ways we can mitigate them. ongoing damageLearn how you can preserve our natural wealth.
Studies in the Western Ghats have shown that this is what we know. Actively restoringPlanting native tree saplings in a forest that is fragmented is more effective than allowing it to regenerate by itself. This same work has also taught us that RestoredForests don’t store carbon as efficiently as they do. Natural forests. This means that we must conserve what we have, rather than believing we can restore what is destroyed.
We will never learn if we don’t think twice about running a railroad track through these forests, and continue to cut more trees and destroy hundreds of ecosystems.