CSE-DTE release 2023 State of India’s Environment report

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Source: The post is based on the article “CSE-DTE release 2023 State of India’s Environment report?” published in Down To Earth on 29th March 2023

What is the News?

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and DTE (Down to Earth) magazine has released State of India’s Environment report 2023.

The report is an annual publication focusing on climate change, migration, health and food systems.It also covers biodiversity, forest and wildlife, energy, industry, habitat, pollution, waste, agriculture and rural development.

What are the key findings of the report?

Encroachment of Water bodies: Over 30,000 water bodies have been encroached on in the country and India is generating 150,000 tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) every day — more than half of which is either dumped in landfills or remains unattended.

Air Pollution: Four years and 11 months is the average duration of life lost to air pollution in India.

– Rural India is losing more years due to air pollution-related health issues than the urban belt.

Environmental Crimes: Environmental crimes continue unabated — courts need to decide on 245 cases every day to clear the backlog.

Extreme Weather Events: Between January and October 2022, India witnessed extreme weather events for 271 days.These extreme weather events claimed over 2,900 lives.

Natural Disasters: India was the fourth worst-hit by natural disasters in 2021, and saw internal displacement of 49 lakh people the same year.

Forest Cover: The report analyzed the India State of Forest Report, released by the Forest Survey of India in 2022 and found that forest cover had increased by 0.5% between 2017 and 2021.

– But the bulk of the increase has taken place in the open forest category, which includes commercial plantations. This has happened at the cost of moderately dense forest, which is normally the area closest to human habitations. 

– At the same time, very dense forests, which absorb maximum carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, occupy just 3% of total forest cover. 

SDGs: Over the past five years, India’s overall global rank in meeting the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has slipped by nine places — ranking 121 in 2022.

– India ranks below four south Asian countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Himalayas: A study by the Himachal Pradesh Council for Science Technology and Environment found that between 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, the snow cover in Himachal Pradesh reduced from 23,542 sq km to 19,183 sq km. 

– Most river basins in the state also experienced a loss, with the maximum borne by the Sutlej basin which covers 45 per cent of the total geographical area.

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