Solution: Daily Problem Practice [Modern India: Week 28]- 25 April
Q. Examine the nature of environmental movements that have emerged in independent India. [10 Marks]
A large number of environmental movements have emerged in India especially after 1970s. These movements have grown out of a series of independent responses to local issues in different places at different times.
Major reasons of the emergence of environmental movements in India include reasons such as
- control over natural resources,
- misguided developmental policies of the government,
- socioeconomic reasons,
- environmental degradation/ destruction and,
- spread of environmental awareness and media.
The environmental movements have emerged from the Himalayan regions of Uttar Pradesh to the tropical forests of Kerala and from Gujarat to Tripura.
Major movement are:
- The Chipko Movement
- Narmada Bachao Andolan
- Appiko Movement
- Silent Valley Movement
- Tehri Dam Movement
Nature of Environmental movement:
- The various environment shows that mainly their nature have been peaceful protest, mass based, against environmental degradation, like by hugging trees in Chipko movement or Gandhian approach of Satyagraha.
- Matter for livelihood and survival mattered the most rather than luxury (unlike western country).
- Sometimes leaders from outside (like Medha Patekar in Narmada Bachao Andolan)
- Use of constitutional means (like petition to court: by Narmada Bachao Adolan, Silent Valley).
- There is involvement of local voluntary organizations or NGOs in these movements.
- For example: The Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), an NGO, was working for three decades among masses of Kerala for growing environmental awareness through popularizing science and appropriate technology.
- These environmental movements are an expression of the socio-ecological effects of narrowly conceived development based on short-term criteria of exploitation. They brought the concern of sustainable development to the fore.
- Environment movements saw active women participation. Environment movements like the Chipko gave to the understanding that environment issues are often women’s issues because they suffer most from its deterioration.
- These movements though localized and were result of some immediate grievances but had wide national appeal.
- In spite of having a wide national appeal, environmental movement in India could not channelised in a nationwide movement. Each movement started out, sometimes achieved its aim and dissipated.
- Government and judiciary was also sympathetic towards the environmental movement which led to the passing of several legislations and judicial interventions in favour of environment protection through Public Interest Litigation.
As a consequence of these movements, major legislation like Environment Protection Act (1986), Wild Life Protection Act (1972), Forest Conservation Act (1980) and water and air pollution acts were passed. In 1974 Central Pollution Control Board and their state counterparts were constituted. India became signatory of Cartagena protocol, Nagoya protocol, Montreal protocol and Kigali protocol among many others. But still a long way to go as discussion on trade off between environmental protection and development is still continuing.
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