The air quality index touches alarmingly dangerous levels frequently; contamination of groundwater is a stark reality of today; water tables are receding; oceans are rising; air is being polluted by vehicles and industries; plastic waste is clogging the entire ecosystem and landfills are becoming a part of the skyline of our cities.
The environment is showing signs of this degradation which is bound to affect each one of us. Frequent floods, drought, abrupt weather cycle, crop pattern changes, receding coastal areas are some of these red flags glaring at the humanity. Decades of environmental decay is eventually posing threat to the entire ecosystem we are in – living standards are compromised, health is affected, and above all, it questions the entire existence of the current models of growth and development.
Sustainability and development need to go hand in hand. The waste we generate, if not properly managed, is a burden to the environment – single-use plastic is an evident example of this use-and-throw culture of waste generation we have developed over the years. There is an economy around environment, and also the economy in general is impacted by climate change and its mitigation. This poses a challenge and also an underlying opportunity.
Environment is a typical case of what we sow, so we reap. Our collective actions impact the environment we share, as climate change doesn’t distinguish between rich and poor. With the time running out to contain the ill-effects on environment, the recently held Conference of the Parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC COP 25) in Madrid, Spain was seen as a window of opportunity.
Together, the world has to come to a consensus to stand as one to overcome this challenge. India has shown leadership and commitment on environmental issues. Achieving targets for renewable energy under the Paris Agreements push for e-vehicles and vehicle emission norms, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and International Solar Alliance are some of the fronts in which India has led by example.
The environment is at the brim. It is our collective responsibility to work together for providing a brighter future for the coming generations – a lifestyle that is self-sustaining, resources that are adequate for all, development that is not compromising our ecosystem, flora-fauna and wildlife that are in safe hands and the land, water and air that are fit for humans and other forms of life.