Education, Finance, Technology

Interface Between Environment Pollution and the Development



List of Environmental Indicators

1.        Number of clean air days.                               •»

2.        Minimum level of waste.

3.        Nature-based environmental designs.

4.        Percentage of population using potable water

5.        Percentage of population using sewers

6.        Percentage of population using public transport or carpooling.

7.        Percentage of prime agriculture land

8.        Percentage of households participating in recycling programmes

9.        Tons of hazardous waste generated annually.

10.      Tons of per capita of solid waste generated annually.

11.     Tons of toxic release annually.

12.     Number of institutions dealing with environmental issues.

13.      Number of environmental education classes in public and private academic institutions.

14.      Legal environmental structure.

15.      Awareness among the people about collective benefits of clean environment.

16.      People’s sensitivity to pollutions.

17.      Nature of waste management system.

18.     Budgetary allocation for environmental projects.

19.      Volume of the use of chemicals and chemical fertilizers.

20.      Level of health hazards.


Environmental pollution is the major problem faced by every coun­try. Natural resources are depleting rapidly, creating scarcity problem for the next generation. A large number of population particularly poor seg­ments of societies are suffering badly. On the one hand, every country is trying to increase economic growth to alleviate living standard of their people and on the other hand, environmental problems are becom­ing complicated due to excessive use of resources.

The concept of ‘environment’ has evolved since it started to become a global issue in the early 1970s.At first, it was a kind of global recognition that the Earth’s ecosystems are in fact fragile, and that human beings have been contributing much to its degene­ration. When countries started to join efforts to strike a balance between improving the quality of human life and protecting the environment for the sake of future generations, a new awareness materialized. The social and economic welfare of human beings is closely linked to their environment. Any change in the socio-economic fields will have an impact on the earth’s environment and vice versa, whether positively or negatively, immediately or eventually. And in many cases, negative results are irreversible. The Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992 concluded that the economic, social and environmental concerns are inescapably interlinked to world development. Hence, it pledged to eradicate environmental problems, reduce poverty and foster sustainable development through integrated efforts and global co­operation.

Environmental Resources:

Environmental resources are those that have intrinsic value of their own or are of value for the longer term sustainability and- use by humans.

In strictly economic terms, environ­mental resources to a large extent are ‘non-tangible’. Social and human resources are defined in terms of density of population groups, their occupational activities, their land rights, their source of income, their standard of livings, gender aspects, etc. One of the major global problems is the present rate of global resources utilization. Ever increasing popula­tion raises the demand for sufficient resources to meet the demands for future generation. Here we describe four types of human, environmental and natural resources in collective terms.

Pollution is one of the many environmental challenges facing the world today. The impact of pollution is more severe in developing coun­tries, leading to ill health, death and disabilities of millions of people annually. Developed countries have the resources and technologies to combat pollution. As a result of the health risks and the potential impact of climate change, there have been efforts to reduce pollution. However,
while this may be easy for developed countries, halting environmental pollution may undermine economic growth competitiveness of develop­ing countries whose economies depend on natural resources. Deve­loped countries have achieved sub­stantial economic growth and deve­lopment and can afford to focus on environmental goals because basic living necessities have been achieved.

Environmental Indicator

There are some specific environ­mental indicators through which we can measure the level of development of a country, although the social, economic and environmental indi­cators are interlinked to much an extent. These environmental indi­cators are the following :

Environment and Sustainable Development—There is close link between environment and sustain­able development which is used in the broad perspective and the overall development of human beings with­out any distinction. The World Con­servative Strategy initiated by the

United Nations Environment Pro­gramme (UNEP), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and inter­national Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which really pro­vided the platform for international debate on sustainability. The most noteworthy step towards sustainable development is the publication of an international report titled ‘Our Com­mon Future’by World Commission on Environment (WCED) in 1987. This is commonly known as ‘The Brundtland Report’.

The Brundtland Report—The

report defined sustainable development as “Development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

According to this report, the major objective of development should be to ensure the satisfaction of human needs and aspirations of a material kind. It emphasized the fact that over exploitation of resources may compel human societies to compromise their ability to meet the essential needs of their people in future. Settled agriculture, the diver­sion of watercourses, the extraction of minerals, the emission of heat and noxious gases into the atmosphere, commercial forests, and genetic manipulation, were all mentioned in the report as examples of human intervention in natural system during the course of development. It called upon all countries to adopt the objective of sustainable development as the overriding goal and test of national policy and international cooperation.

Three Earth Summits were held under the auspices of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992,1997 and 2002. Over 170 countries partici­pating in these Summits renewed their commitment to sustainable deve­lopment aiming at “giving special attention to the worldwide condi­tions that pose severe threats to the sustainable development of the people, which include: chronic hunger; malnutrition; foreign occupation; armed conflict; illicit drug problems; corruption; natural disasters, com­municable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDs, malaria and tubercu­losis”. After these Summits, the sustainable development has become a universal theme to describe the amalgamation of environmental opportunities and human wisdom

Different Dimensions of Sustainable Development

Sustainable development has many dimensions namely, Social, Economic and Environmental Dimen­sions etc. All these are briefly defined in the table given below :

Social Dimension :

  • Worker’s health and safety.
  • Impact on local communities, quality of life.
  • Benefits to disadvantaged groups, for example, the disabled.

Economic Dimension :

  • Creation of new markets and opportunities for sales growth.
  • Cost reduction through efficiency improvements and reduced energy and raw material inputs.
  • Creation of additional value.

Environmental Dimension:

  • Reduced waste,
  • Effluent generation, emissions into environment.
  • Reduced impact on human health.
  • Use of renewable raw materials.
  • Elimination of toxic substances.

Some environmental issues are highly localized, whereas some others are cross-regional and some are global. For instance, wastes disposed into water courses in one country may have negative impacts on the health and the economics of the people living in downstream coun­tries. Similarly, emissions of ozone depleting substances in one country may be transmitted in the atmos­phere and brought effect on the health and agriculture of the countries loca­ted hundreds of miles away. The continued dependence of all coun­tries on natural resources highlights the fact that greater cooperation and coordination are necessary among the nations regionally and globally to address environmental problems because environmental issues are inextricably linked to economic issues such as poverty. Poverty compels the people to indulge in destructive activities like cutting trees to use wood as fuel, use agriculture land excessively, over-exploit water resources and avoid availing health­improving services. Similarly, environmental issues originate from social factors. For example, popula­tion increase leads to the excessive use of natural resources in order to provide basic needs such as housing, healthcare, sanitation, safe water, education, food and electricity.

Environmental Interdepen­dence : The Environmentalists all over the world have emphasized the need for maintaining environmental quality through sustainable use of resources. All human activities designed and implemented for the economic growth of a country and the social needs would have direct or indirect impact on environment. The qualitative and in some cases quantitative change in water, air, land and other resources have the same effect across the world. Unlike social and economic sectors, environmental concerns are similar in both develo­ped and developing countries as the citizens of all countries must have access to clean water, air, safe drink­ing water and sufficient supplies of clean renewable energy. Furthermore, all industrial and agricultural acti­vities depend on common environ­mental resources as land, soil, forests, ocean, rivers, mineral deposits, etc.

Trade-off Between Economic Growth and Environment—There is a trade-off between economic growth and environment because of desire to high growth and excessive use of resources that cause environmental pollution. Poor people and poor countries depend .pn the soil for food, the rivers for water and forests for fuel. Because they need these resources desperately, they have little choice, without assets or income, but to overuse them and to destroy their natural environment simply to sur­vive.

In doing so, they threaten their health and lives of their children. As the income and consumption levels of the poor increase there is likely to be net increase in environmental des­truction. Meeting increasing con­sumption demand while keeping environmental degradation at a minimum is an uphill task. As the poor countries desire more economic growth they will use more available natural resources resulting in environmental degradation. Econo-

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”
Fig. 1. The Environmental Kuznet Curve : a development-environment relationship

mic growth is vital for giving more options to poor societies, but their models of development must become less energy intensive and more environmentally sound.

For industrialised counties, too, stopping growth or even seriously slowing it is not much of an option for protecting the global environ­ment. Their slower growth would imperil growth in the poor nations, which are dependent on the markets of the rich nations. Moreover, their continuing growth is needed to generate new environmentally safe technologies and extra margin of resources needed for transfer to poor nations. But, the growth models of industrial nations must change drasti­cally. The current quantity of growth should be replaced by quality. In order to create balance between economic growth and environmental degradation it is necessary to break the cycle of poverty and environ­mental destruction in the less deve­loped countries (LDCs).

Environmental Kuznet Theory

The inevitability of pollution in developing countries has been demonstrated by the Environmental Kuznet Curve. The EKC is a hypo­thesized relationship between indi­cators of environmental degradation and income per capita. According to the theory, environmental pollution and degradation increase in the early stages of economic growth, get to a peak point, and reverse in such a way that the environment improves at high income levels. This is based on the fact that developing countries desire industrialization and economic growth and tend to consume more cheap energy. There is also need for developing countries to build roads and rail tracks and develop massive infrastructure to promote economic growth. Such activities that are required at the take-off stage of economic development are substan­tially energy-intensive.

A number of economists have hypothesized that the relationship between economic growth and environmental quality, whether positive or negative, is not fixed along a country’s development path; indeed it may change sign from positive to negative as a country reaches a level of income at which

people demand and afford more efficient infrastructure and a cleaner environment.

At low levels of development, both the quantity and the intensity of environmental degradation are limited to the impacts of subsistence economic activity on the resource base and* to limited quantities of biodegradable wastes. As agriculture and resource extraction intensify and industrialization takes off, both resource depletion and waste gene­ration accelerate. At higher levels of development, structural change towards information-based industries and services, more efficient techno­logies, and increased demand for environmental quality result in leveling-off and a steady decline of environmental degradation (Panayo- tou 1993), as seen in the Figure 1 below :


Implications of Pollution

World Bank for the first time in the year 1995 provided an aggregate economy-wide stigma estimated the health impact of water pollution to be $ 5,710 million and the agricultural output loss due to soil degradation as $ 1,942 million. The health aspects of air pollution were assessed as $ 1,310 million and the loss of livestock carrying capacity due to degradation was found to be $ 328 million. The cost of deforestation came to be $ 214 million and the loss of al tourism was found to be $ 213 million. Overall, the results show that the total environ­mental damage was $ 9.7 billion per year, or 4-5% of GDP 1992 values. A subsequent estimate of World Bank (2005) assessed that the annual health costs increased air pollution alone.

Based on RSPM (Repairable Suspended Particulate Matter)

measurements for 50 cities with the
total population of 110 million was close to US $ 3 billion in 2004. Smith and Mehta (2002) have analysed the years of life lost (YLL) and disability adjusted life years (DALY) among the rural and urban children below the age of 5 years and estimated the YLL and DALY attributable to the use of solid fuels in the household. It is estimated that annually about 20 million YLL and DALY in India can be attributed to not using the clean fuels. Recently Green Indian States Trust (GIST) has made an attempt to estimate the aggregate impact of natural resource degradation on Indian economy. The resources covered included depletion of forest resources, biodiversity loss, agri­cultural and pasture land degrada­tion, and loss in ecological services.

Most developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan

Africa, depend majorly on natural resources for revenue and foreign exchange. These economics are driven by funds^enerated from exploitation of natural resources such as coal, oil and gas, agricultural and forest resources, gold, copper, etc. The livelihood of the masses also depend on these resources. However, the exploitation and processing of some of these resources result in environ­mental pollution and degradation.

For Instance—The exploration of oil and the activities of multinational oil companies in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria have caused substantial land, water and air pollution. However, for Nigeria to maintain its current economic growth path and sustain its drive for poverty reduction, oil exploration and production will continue to be a dominant economic activity. This is also the case with a number of other developing countries.


The gain/loss due to change of these resources are estimated across major states of India and expressed with reference to the NSDP in 2002- 2003 :

  • In terms of loss due to depletion of timber, fuel wood, and non-timber forest products, Bihar is estimated to have incurred significant burden—about 5 per cent of its NSDP, followed by Himachal Pradesh (2 per cent of its NDSP) and Orissa (1 per cent of its NDSP). At all India level, the losses are estimated at about 0.5 per cent of NDP.
  • With regard to loss due to deple­tion and degradation of agricultural and pasture 1 and Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa registered high losses (4 per cent, 3-5 per cent and 3 per cent res­pectively of NSDP).
  • Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala resist due to bio­diversity loss from the erred significant loss forest degradation.

Role of Industrialization : Environment Pollution Vs. Development

The important role of industriali­zation in the development process of developing countries cannot be over­emphasized. There is need for struc­tural transformation from small-scale agriculture to industrialization in order for developing countries to experience inclusive and pro-poor growth. However, industrialization requires massive use of energy resources which could lead to pollu­tion and environmental degradation. China would not have achieved the impressive economic growth and development it has recorded in recent years if she had cared about pollution at the initial stage of development. Other developed economies like the OECD are also focusing on environ­mental sustainability after achieving considerable growth and improve­ment in the living standard of their citizens. The Chinese economic model is energy intensive, with strong focus on investment and industrialization, and is being adopted by a number of developing countries.


At each and every point and in every level of development,‘trountries need to make choices between often
conflicting goals. Developing coun­tries desire to ensure energy for all at a competitive price to achieve and sustain economic growth and poverty reduction. The energy poverty experi­enced in these regions has been linked with the high level of income and non-income poverty in the regions. In their desire to develop and improve the standards of living of their citizens, these countries will opt for the goals of economic growth and cheap energy for all. This may lead to environmental pollution and degra­dation. More so, energy access, and at a lower price, is necessary to make the industries in developing countries competitive and contribute to eco­nomic growth, job creation and deve­lopment. Ensuring energy access to the population and enhancing the competitiveness of local industries may require providing energy at lower prices through energy sub­sidies. This will encourage energy over-consumption, waste and ineffi­ciency and also fuel environmental pollution.

The environmental issues are very complicated because it has trade-offs between economic growth and environment. Higher economic growth means higher utilization of resources without considering its far- reaching consequences on the future generations. The resources consumed in the present period will not be available in future. So their judicious use is necessary. The difficulty in maintaining balance between eco­nomic growth and environmental degradation is not only an uphill task but also a major policy implication for the developing countries like Pakistan, which have been striving hard for sustainable economic growth since long.                                                           RPiiiS

Continued from Page 93


For enhancing supply of pulses in the country, there is a dire need to adopt the following pinpoints :

  1. To utilize available resources e.g., water, organic manure ( FYM; Compost; Green Manure-Sanai, dhaincha), improve soil health, especially to maintain ideal Organic Carbon (O.C.) i.e., 0-80- 0-85% in soil, which is below
  • 2%.


  1. To improve the methodologies used g., balance/ideal N, P, K fertilizer nutrients in pulse crops i.e.,1:2:1 ratio; use of bioferti­lizers e.g., Rhizobium culture, fertigation of urea technique etc.
  2. Need to protect pulses from wild animals, through barbed/barbel wire fencing around field on bends as well as to save pulses in grain storage loss (25-30%).
  3. For pushing pulses development, there is a need of watershed development, especially in hilly areas of the country.
  4. Pigeonpea (tur/arhar) on rice, bajara crops bunds and inter­cropping system in specific Agro- climatic Regions were identified and need to adopt these techni­ques
  5. Machines using supercomputing and DNA technology can shoten the time period for seeds, which produce more than three tonnes/ ha.
  6. Drip, sprinkling and pipe system-




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irrigation methods are to be adopted to save irrigation water (40-50%) and enhancing about 10% pulse crop yields. Rain water harvesting ponds in farmer’s fields under PM Sinchayee Yojana are essential.       Majan

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