According to the 2009 State of Environment Report, India faces many important environmental challenges which currently threaten both the development of India and the outlook for its future.

Degradation of land, increasing air pollution, depletion of water resources, loss of indigenous species of flora and fauna and the background of overwhelming poverty are depicted in the report to detract from the positive growth of Indian people and the country as a whole.

We can list the main environmental challenges in India as follows:

1. Population: Population of 844 million is growing at 2.11 per cent every year. Since the natural resources are limit the greatest challenge before us is to limit the population growth.

2. Poverty: About 40% of our people are still below the poverty line Environmental degradation has adversely affected the poor who depend upon natural resources.

3. Problems in Water management and Water Pollution: We have a poor water management system. Of the 180 mham run off, irrigation projects could manage only to trap 17 mham in reservoirs. Large dams also created problems like displacement, loss of biodiversity etc. Community wastes, industrial wastes, and chemical fertilizers and pesticides have polluted the surface water and affecting the ground water too. Restoring the quality of water is a big challenge.

4. Agricultural issues: High yielding varieties and input of chemical fertilizers to soil and the use of pesticides resulted into many problems like soil pollution, air pollution, water pollution etc.

5. Land degradation due to urbanization, industrialization

6. Human settlement

7. Air and Water Pollution

8. Problems related to Energy consumption.

9. Problems that affects the Biodiversity: Wildlife Devastations Disintegrate India’s Ecological Diversity

10. Deforestation

Efforts to meet the Challenges

We have already made a start to achieving the goal of sustainable development as by making efforts for sustainable life-support system. NEPC National Council of Environmental Planning and Coordination was set up in 1972. This was followed by Empowered committee, The Tiwari committee set up in 1980. On the recommendation of this committee the Department of Environment set up in 1980 and later this department became part of ministry of environment in 1985. At the governmental level, the Ministry of Environment and Forests acts as a nodal agency for relations with International agencies like UNEP, SACEP, IUCN, World Bank, FAO, UNDP SAARAC and EEC. Independently and in association with Government level activities the NGOs in India have also taken several initiatives towards global cooperation and exchanges.

Some early moves:

• Acceded to the Vienna Convention for the protection of ozone layer, March 1985.

• Signed the convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animal in 1979.

• Signed the international convention for the prevention of pollution of the sea by oil, 1954 and related conventions in 1969,1978 and 1982.

• Signed the convention of the Antartica and the Antartica treaty.

• Received funds from international agencies.

• An international conference of 21 developing countries was hosted in India in 1990.

• In 1992, India prepared a document on the issue of environment and development that is a manifestation of the challenges being faced by our nation for UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development)/Earth summit at Rio de Janeiro.

• Dunkel draft As a part of GATT negotiations in the package proposed by Arthur Dunkel to conclude to Uruguay Round, the industrialized countries of the North have claimed the right to patent even plants. Dr Suman Sahai convener of Gene Campaign has advocated for not accepting the conditions on patent.

• Two-day meet of the governing council of South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) was held in 1992 to discuss setting up a SACEP Fund.

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