India’s green GDP

India’s green GDP is improving, but govt faces tough choices to ensure environmental protection

This Article First Appeared In The Print On Jan 14, 2023

The reports and commentary on soil subsidence in the pilgrimage town of Joshimath in the Garhwal Himalayas, the consequent damage to houses, and the evacuation of endangered people have rightly mentioned the neglect of past warnings.

Also mentioned in dispatches are the environmental risks involved in undertaking ambitious rail, road, hydel and other projects in a section of the Himalayas already prone to landslides and associated disasters because of large-scale deforestation.

Joshimath and the media coverage it has provoked come accompanied by a larger concern about the environment: The poor quality of the winter air in cities and towns across the northern plains; the mountains of garbage that have piled up over the years in urban agglomerations; the wasteful use of a vital but increasingly scarce resource like water; the damage already caused by climate change, like the melting of Himalayan glaciers; the extent of untreated industrial effluents; and so on.

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