State of Environment Report, 2021 – UPSC GS3

Centre for Science and Environment(CSE) has released the State of Environment Report, 2021.
About the State of Environment Report, 2021:
  • It is an annual publication by the Centre for Science and Environment(CSE) along with Down To Earth.
  • It covers aspects such as forests, wildlife, agriculture, rural development, water and sanitation, and climate change. This publication is regarded as the most credible and complete annual survey of India’s environment.
Key Findings:
  • Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic:
    • Pandemic Generation: The country is all set to host a ‘pandemic generation’. 375 million children (from newborn to 14-year-olds) have a long-lasting impact ranging from being underweight, stunting, and increased child mortality.
    • Hidden Victims of Pandemic: The pandemic has its hidden victims. Out of the 500 million children forced out of school globally, India accounts for more than 50%.
    • Increase in Poverty: Covid-19 has also turned the world’s poor into poorer. 115 million additional people might get pushed into extreme poverty and most of them live in South Asia.
  • Industrial Pollution:
    • India’s air, water, and land have become more polluted between 2009 and 2018.
    • Tarapur in Maharashtra has emerged as the most polluted cluster.
  • On Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)
    • India ranks 117 among 192 nations in terms of sustainable development. It is behind all South Asian nations except Pakistan.
    • Five best performing states in achieving SDGs: Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana
    • Five worst-performing states in achieving SDGs: Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • On air pollution
    • In 2019, 67 million Indians died due to air pollution. Its economic cost was over US $36,000 million, which is equivalent to 1.36 percent of India’s GDP.
  • On Water:
    • Since 2014-15, an average of 34% of MGNREGA funds has been spent on water-related works. It led to the creation of almost 11 million assets in half a million villages.
  • On biodiversity and forests
    • Environmental crime cases are increasing and disposal of the cases is slow. In 2019, 34,671 crimes were registered and 49,877 cases are pending trial. To clear the backlog in a year, courts need to dispose of 137 cases a day.
    • Forestland diversion is continuing consistently. In 2019, over 11,000 hectares were diverted in 22 states. Eight coal projects were granted clearance in ‘No-Go’ areas. These projects diverted around 19,614 ha of forestland and evicted over 10,000 families.
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