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Pollution problem: rules tough but implementation weak

bharat ias - Pollution problem: rules tough but implementation weak

 

Context

Experts say the issue must be tackled in a comprehensive and concerted manner with tailor-made solutions for every source of pollution.

 

Issue: Rising air pollution

two things are paramount if we want to understand this issue,

§  Different sources of pollution: there are several different sources of pollution, each of which needs a separate solution

§  Pollution doesn’t know borders: pollutants are carried for hundreds of kms which means that not all of Delhi’s pollution originates in the capital. And likewise, it also contributes to pollution in nearby regions

 

Problems in containing air pollution

 

Weak state capacity: Experts say that one of the critical constraints that plague pollution control in India is its weak State capacity, defined as the ability of the government to administer and its capacity to design and implement rules or policies. Environmental laws are pretty strong but it does not necessarily lead to enforcement and implementation. Institutions and mechanism of implementation are weak or have not matured.

Example: road dust which as per a study from IIT Kanpur accounts for 38 per cent of Delhi’s pollution. In order to reduce the dust, municipal corporations will have to manage their construction activities a lot better and contractors will be required to spray water to eliminate dust, cordon off construction areas, complete projects in a time-bound manner, use drilling instead of digging among other things.

§  Competent PWD required: Regulating all this would require a PWD that is a lot less corrupt and a lot more competent. In order to get there, the government would have to start by imposing regulations and raising penalties for non-compliance and disciplining engineers who did not enforce the rules.

Responsibility of the government

It should not be the duty of governments onlyto protect the environment, but classical economics predicts that only governments are in a position to do so. This is because citizens can’t coordinate their actions.

Judicial interventions

Judicial intervention through the National Green Tribunal seems to be the only way we are intervening to protect the environment but judiciary only acts when people approach to it.

Environment vs Economics

It is important to consider the political costs of cleaning the air. While economic activity leads to pollution, it pulls people out of poverty in the short term, Mr. Roy explains, adding that “democratic organisations prefer short term gains which have long term losses (associated with the gains).” This means we have a trade-off between economic growth and environment protection

Federal problem

Another characteristic of the air quality problem is its federal nature, which requires various State governments and the Centre to work together.

Crop burning in Punjab & Haryana: This is best demonstrated by the crop-burning issue in Punjab and Haryana. The potential political costs of preventing farmers to burn crops, which requires strict enforcement of law and incentives for alternatives, won’t be borne out by the ruling party in Delhi, but controlling that is necessary to have clean air in the Capital.

 

 


Publishes on : 11-Jan-2017 11:30 AM

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