State of India?s Environment Report 2023


State of India’s Environment Report 2023

News: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Down to Earth (DTE) magazine has released State of India’s Environment report 2023.

The report is an annual publication focusing on climate change, migration, health and food systems. It also covers biodiversity, forest and wildlife, energy, industry, habitat, pollution, waste, agriculture and rural development.

Key Findings:

Air Pollution
o 4 years and 11 months is the average duration of life lost to air pollution in India.
o Rural India is losing more years due to air pollution-related health issues than the urban belt.

Encroachment of water bodies
o Over 30,000 water bodies have been encroached on in the country and India is generating 150,000 tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) every day — more than half of which is either dumped in landfills or remains unattended.

Extreme weather events
o  Between January and October 2022, India witnessed extreme weather events for 271 days. These extreme weather events claimed over 2,900 lives.

Forest Cover
o The report analyzed the India State of Forest Report, released by the Forest Survey of India in 2022 and found that forest cover had increased by 0.5% between 2017 and 2021. But the bulk of the increase has taken place in the open forest category, which includes commercial plantations. This has happened at the cost of moderately dense forest, which is normally the area closest to human habitations.
o Very dense forests, which absorb maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, occupy just 3% of total forest cover.

Sustainable Development Goals
o Over the past five years, India’s overall global rank in meeting the United Nations-mandated SDGs has slipped by nine places (121st rank in 2022)
o India ranks below four south Asian countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
o India is facing challenges in 11 of the 17 SDGs, including SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing), SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDG 11 (Sustainable cities).

Plastic Waste
o While the magnitude of the problem related to Plastic Waste remains gargantuan, a plethora of policies and urgency are on the right path.
o Cities are becoming waste-wise, learning to segregate at source, minimise plastics and reuse reprocess waste into wealth.

Environmental Crimes
o Environmental crimes continue unabated — courts need to decide on 245 cases every day to clear the backlog.

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