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Towards Participatory Environmental Protection
Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma8/24/2018 10:07:20 PM
Protection of environment is essential for the sustainable development. The degradation of forests, industrial pollution, depletion of ozone layer, the emission of green house gases result into the global warming and climate change which ultimately have an adverse impact on the environment and human health. There is urgent need to focus on the conservation of biodiversity, protection of wetlands and prevention of environmental pollution. In the Indian Constitution several provisions have been provided to protect the environment. Due to global warming there is gradual increase in the Earth's temperature by which the climate is changing. It has been proved by the scientists that the planet Earth is warming and the level of CO in the atmosphere has crossed all the previous records. Now, it has been observed that all this is human-induced. With global warming different species of plants and animals and their habitats are decreasing. The chances for ecosystem to adapt naturally are diminishing. Climate change is one of the greatest threats on the Earth. Agriculture, water resources, forestry, human health, coastal settlements and natural ecosystems all need to adapt to the changing climate. The changing climate has increased the vulnerability to the natural disasters such as by the droughts, floods and cyclones.
People's participation plays a pivotal role in driving the fruits of various developmental schemes. For instance, sanitation is a chronic problem in rural areas but it cannot be solved by the various programmes of the government alone. It can be effectively solved by the people. Environmental issues cannot be solved unless the local people participate in this movement. People participation is helpful in promoting wildlife conservation, afforestation and also in employment generation. Local people skill and manpower are needed to deal with the aftermath of environmental disasters. Afforestation and arresting of deforestation can be carried with the help of local people. Protection of environment is mainly in the hands of the people. People's participation is an imperative need in the environmental protection. Environment protection is an essential part of development. Without adequate environment protection, development is useless. It has been estimated that by 2030 food production will need to double and industrial output and energy use will increase three times in the world and five times in the developing countries. This growth can bring the risk of appalling environmental damage. With development there is need of better environment protection, clean air, water and eradication of poverty. Environmental disturbance can affect the present and future human generations. It affects human health and reduces agricultural production, productivity and food quality. Illegal cutting of forests is a matter of great concern and there is dire need to prevent it. Lack of appropriate technology for maximum utilization of the raw materials, poor silvicultural practices, low recovery, low budgetary provisions for forest operations have all hampered effective management of forests. As a result, fuel wood, timber, pole wood and carving wood are being exploited at unsustainable levels. Ecological degradation of wetlands together with pollution has resulted in the loss of flora and fauna. The high amount of fertilizers and other inputs required in agriculture for increasing the productivity has led to the degradation of the soil health. Despite decades of warning about pollution and efforts to control it, people are still being exposed to toxic pollutants. Pollution from agricultural land caused by leaching of nitrogen fertilizers has been detected in the ground water in many areas of the country. In Harayana, for example, some well water is reported to have nitrate concentration ranging from 114 mg. / litre to 1800 mg. /litre far above the national standard 45 mg. /litre. Government should monitor and implement policies to reduce pollution and environment degradation and safeguard the natural system that supports renewable resources. Strenuous efforts are needed to achieve a sustainable future for the coming generations. Sustainable development can promote growth and equity simultaneously and also promote the development of democratic process at the grass root level by creating awareness on social forestry, soil conservation, population control, protection of tanks, rural energy management, biodiversity, popularization of eco-friendly activities etc. Sustainable rural development on the one hand benefits local people and safeguards the flora and fauna of a particular region on the other.
Natural resources are the wealth of any nation. Presently they are facing environmental hazards due to many reasons. Sustainable development is focused on any kind of betterment that should not harm the environment so that the well being of future generations is guaranteed and the harmonious relationship environment and development is sustained. The process of sustainable development tries to build social and economic progress satisfying the needs and values of the social groups without foreclosing future options. Rio-Earth Summit (1992) highlights the view that socio-economic development and environment protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing processes. Recently, the healthy rural environment has encountered divergent environmental hazards as an addition to their existing issues of social and economic hardships. Such threats badly affect the local community which is the impetus behind research for alternative sources such as cultivation in marginal lands. It constitutes a growing class of environment refugees.
Environment is one of the most important pillars of sustainable development. There is a need to establish a sustainable development process in rural India. Environmental aspect assumes great significance in growing deforestation, soil erosion, land degradation, water pollution, biodiversity loss and the like which continue to worsen economic development in India. The common property resources which are mostly natural must be protected for overall growth of the rural areas. The natural resources should be protected for overall growth of the nation. Such efforts not only lead to optimum utilization of natural resources but also generate more employment for the rural people. This initiative requires people's participation. For instance, afforestation activities cannot be successful without the help of local communities. The relationship between development and environment is well established. This requires the awareness on environmental issues.
Environment protection is possible through effective participation of the people. It has been observed that unless the people are put at the core of any development activity, the relationship among the environmental development ceases to exist. It has been observed that people's participation is the most determining factor of biodiversity conservation. People living around the Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala can be taken as an example. They are not only taking care of the decentralized government control over forests but also ensuring the biodiversity conservation a reality. The participatory approach to environmental protection can be strengthened through the decentralized planning which provides opportunity for the rural communities to effectively participate in the development process. Committed involvement of each and every one is must in this process. All the stakeholders should understand the present environmental crisis and find out suitable solutions to tackle this awful situation.
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