Wednesday, November 30th, 2022 10:32:32

Need to balance development and environmental protection

Updated: November 25, 2022 12:19 pm

By viral desaiIf any revolution has been responsible for any of the major turnarounds in our world in the last century, it is the industrial revolution. Be it a political revolution, a social revolution or an economic revolution… if you put any issue under a microscope, you will realize that those revolutions are highly successful because of industrialization. After all, industry and industrialization are the aspects of our existence that make us resourceful in the first place. Whether the resource is technical or financial, but industries have always been at the base of any development. At such a time, industries have become such a thriving model, through which any problem can be solved.

Today I want to talk about climate change and sustainability. I believe that if climate change is to be targeted at the global level or sustainability is to be achieved, we should take the first step with the industry. Ultimately industries are closely associated with society and industries are also associated with markets. Hence if this critical link between society and the market is properly harnessed, we will be able to easily tackle climate change problem that we cannot overcome presently.

Let me explain this whole model to you with a small example. Suppose any country or state government wants to achieve concrete results in the field of renewable energy, industry can fulfill any of the government’s renewable energy goals in just five years. Also, industries are important in this area because industries account for half of the country’s energy consumption. What if we first expect to accomplish the renewable energy target only from industries without considering domestic users? And maybe half of the country’s energy consumers will switch from coal to renewable energy. And then the government can gradually introduce renewable energy plans for domestic consumers in a phased manner.

It is also not like the industry has to fulfill all the renewable targets by hook or by compulsion. Industry will take the lead in this direction and contribute to the achievement of any sustainable goals of the government or authorities. But at the same time we also have to be aware that when industries contribute diehardly in the direction of sustainability goals or in the direction of pollution prevention, the burden of cost and economic burden on the part of the industry is greatly increased. Since renewable energy efforts and maintenance are so expensive that if there is no sensitivity and acknowledgements from the government, people or the authorities towards the industry, switching to renewable energy becomes a daunting task for the industry like herding a white elephant.

As a result, even if industries want to commit themselves to renewable energy or environmental protection, they do nothing and at the end-of-day problems either remain theirs or governments. Some boards or corporations are created to deal with the issues and problems of pollution and many times those corporations or boards give new ways to such polluting industries and help in manipulating and flouting the rules. Moreover, a lot of unnecessary cases of the harassment by the officers of these corporations and boards are also evident at times.

Of course, I am not saying that there is no need for boards or corporations. I am not even saying that all the officers of these corporations and boards are corrupt. But one thing everyone has to accept with their hands on their chests, currently the boards or authorities appointed over the industries for pollution control instead of creating a constructive environment or walking shoulder to shoulder with the industries create an atmosphere of fear as if the whole world is polluted only by the industries. I believe that, it is a responsibility of all the stakeholders including common people to provide conducive and a positive environment for the industries that gives the extra effort for sustainability and environmental protection. As every person, even a child in the womb is eventually directly or indirectly connected with the environmental impact made by industries.

We have to remember that if the potential for pollution through industries is high, employment and economy also depend on industries. At such a time it is very necessary to create a healthy and progressive environment for the industries. And for that some efforts for public awareness which include branding of health outcomes and practical implementation of sustainability should be made by the governments or the authorities from the front. That  little warmth from the government will bring confidence in the industries and that confidence will make them cross important milestones in the direction of sustainability. For this, the government should periodically encourage such industries and give them certain subsidies which are leading industries in the direction of sustainability.

Rather, healthy competition can be created in terms of sustainability among industries. In which the sustainability driven industries are identified and recognized by unique hallmarks or special logos, that are specially announced by the government. This special logo or certification should be allotted to industries that have made unique efforts towards sustainability or environmental protection. Also, the logo or certification should be promoted by the government or authorities, so that the value of the logo is created in the market and a sensitivity is created among the people. Hence by generating support to the business that do so much for our environment by buying their products or associating with them.

In the current situation everyone is sitting in the same row, even those industries which pollute and do nothing towards renewable energy as well as those that have passionately contributed to renewable energy and environment protection. Environmental contribution should also be considered a very important service to the nation and the well-being of mankind … My question is, than why are all being treated in the same manner. Why there is no acknowledgement of those we extra efforts of sustainability? And what if the government were to act sensibly in this direction and encourage industries working towards sustainability? If so I am willing to bet that in the next decade India will be leading the world in sustainability and environmental protection.


(The author is a known Environmentalist and the pioneer of Satyagraha Against Pollution movement.

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