1.1 EFFECT OF INDUSTRIALISATION ON
Environmental degradation and economic
growth have a dichotomous relationship with each other. That is, on one hand,
economic growth leads to improvement in environmental quality by generating
societal pressures for enhanced environmental conduct, making resources
accessible for environmental investments and formulating policy changes. On the
other hand, growth may result in environmental degradation through excessive
utilisation of natural resources and significant pollution generation.
Continuous degradation of natural environment is a result of economic
development due to immense industrialization (Agarwal, 1999). The rise in a number of industries has led to
acute pollution of water bodies which poses as a serious environmental problem
(Ganesh & Baskaran, 2009). Land pollution is caused by industries dumping
wastes in open regions which get drained into the soil and pollute the ground
water as well as the soil.
The industrial sector in India is one of the
largest in the world, consuming around 36% of the total energy produced and
releases large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (Jakhar, 2014).
India ranks fourth in the world in terms of global consumption of industrial energy.
The nature of industry waste differs according to the type of raw material
used, process implemented, and final product manufactured. The liquid waste discharged
from industries into rivers and other water bodies is usually without appropriate
treatment, being contaminated,
unsuitable for usage, and not easily biodegradable. These industrial effluents
are usually beyond the natural assimilation capacity of water bodies resulting
in pollution of the ecosystem and negatively affecting the health of people inhabiting
the surrounding areas. Sometimes the residue and waste can be recycled to a
certain degree but the challenges and opportunities still remain. The idea of
pollution prevention requires that aversion to pollution must be established at
the very beginning, that is, at the stage of raw material selection. Discharge
limits of effluents should be effectively implemented by the pollution control
board. This can be achieved by installing effluent treatment machinery and
control systems designed to present the effluent quality which would satisfy
the Pollution Control Board’s tolerance limit for industrial discharges.
Bhopal Gas Disaster
of 1984 is unequivocally one of the worst industrial tragedies resulting in
2,500 to 6,000 deaths fatalities and injuring more than 200,000 people due to exposure to leaked
poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas from the Union Carbide pesticide plant, owned
by The DOW Chemical Company (Mishra et al., 2009; De, 2012).
Amongst the various functions of an environment
is to provide humans with a sustenance base, waste repository, and habitat. Overuse
of either of these functions results in environmental problems which manifest as
resource degradation, pollution, and overpopulation (Dunlap & Jorgenson, 2012). India is one of the most
vulnerable countries to climate change due to her varied socio-economic status,
topography, and compromised policy implementation (Fischlin et al., 2007; INCCA, 2010). Almost 50% of the population
of India is dependent on climate-sensitive sectors like agriculture, etc.
(Bureau of Labour Statistics, 2010). Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel
combustion in India have tripled between 1990 and 2011. Emissions are expected
to further rise 2.5 times in the next 17 years, that is, between 2008 and 2035
(IEA, 2013). The crucial environmental issues currently being experienced
around the globe are as discussed below:
centuries, human has exploited the Global Commons, that is, the air, land, and
water along with treating it as a dumping ground, assuming the absorptive
potential of the Global Commons (especially the oceans and atmosphere) would
inevitably biodegrade the wastes. But due to changing nature of pollution and
population growth, this assimilative property of the ecosystem has started to
vary considerably, particularly since the appearance of industrial societies.
Environmental activists claim that one of the major problems of modern times is
human-creation of environmental pollution which requires urgent attention. Usually,
it is cheaper to control pollution emissions than to abate it after generation
or to treat further the receiving environment.
Air Pollution and Noise Pollution: Primary air pollutants
comprise of undesirable solid, liquid, or gaseous particulate matter that is dispersed
directly into the atmosphere from source like nitrogen, sulphur, lead, cadmium,
hydrocarbons, etc. Secondary air pollutants also comprise undesirable
particulate matter that is generated by chemical reactions of primary pollutants
in the atmosphere such as, ozone, sulphur trioxide, etc. Ozone is formed in the
troposphere which is the lower part of the atmosphere. Troposphere is different
from ozone layer found in the upper part of the atmosphere (stratosphere).
Predominantly, air pollution is caused by emissions from industrial processes,
immoderate consumption activities, and use of fossil energy. However, the
deeper causes arise from institutional shortcomings, multiplicity of policies,
and regulatory deficiencies.
In humans, air pollutants cause a number of
health problems such as weakening of the immune system, skin allergies,
influenza, cold, nausea, inflammation of the respiratory tract, etc. Air
pollution on a wide scale results in ozone layer depletion, global warming, and
acid rain along with decreasing yield and growth of crops, thereby causing the
plants to die prematurely. Specifically, the detrimental effects depend on the
duration of exposure, the concentration of pollutants, and the type of
organism. Particulate matter of size 2.5 micrometres (uM) or less is
accountable for causing the most damage to human health (Indian Central
Pollution Control Board, CPCB). Irritation, respiratory symptoms, damage to
lungs, inflammation, and premature deaths, etc. can be caused by inhaling these
minute particulates deep into the lungs. WHO reported that in India 527,700
deaths are caused by air pollution every year (Mannarswamy, 2011). World Health
Organization’s air pollution database (2014) listed Delhi as the most polluted
city in the world (WHO, 2014).