SEATTLE, Washington — India is a South Asian country with an approximate population of 1.3 billion people. With such a large population, the environmental stability of the country is vital for the health of its people. This is particularly concerning with the country ranking 177 out of 180 for environmental performance in terms of air quality in the 2018 Environmental performance Index. There have been everal environmental improvements in India that are noteworthy steps to bettering the country as a whole.
Aiding the Forest of Kinnaur
The forest land in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh had more than 614,000 uncultivated hectares of land. In comparison, there are 9,0000 cultivated hectares. The Indian government in 1977 deemed the desert inhospitable for farming. In 2003, a man named Anand Dhawaj Negi (AD Negi) retired from his job as a financer for afforestation in the government. Instead, he decided to take on making part of the Kinnaur forest called the Thang Karma adaptable for farming. Negi’s hard work paid off for the Thang Karma.
Documented by Down To Earth news in 2017, the dubbed ‘desert healer’ has grown 65 green hectares (160 acres) of forest and farmland. Negi grows kidney beans, potatoes, green peas, apples and apricots and is looking to plant coniferous trees in the future. Negi has also inspired 170 farmers to gain land from the government and add to his work. He also shares his greens with locals. This recent environmental improvement in India highlights the impact one person can have.
Conserving Rainwater in Telangana
Citizens in the Telangana district are bettering their community by harvesting rainwater. This is a notable endeavor because, in 2016, the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) concluded that most of the rainwater in Telangana was wasted and ran off-hill slopes. This resulted in a stunted growth of trees and water shortages that significantly burdened local farmers.
Residents of the Peddapalli district of Telangana took initiative and dug trenches to decelerate the water run-off. The DRDA had advised 259 hillocks in Peddapalli to dig trenches. Directing the cultivated rainwater from a trench to a farm pond. Water in Peddapalli is now being preserved at 100-200 feet of depth versus the previous 500-800 feet because of the rainfall shortage in the district from 2017-2018.
The experiment of harvesting rainwater is also giving farmers the use of previously neglected land and allowing the soil from the soaked trenches to be used to improve use for cultivating farmland. Residents of Padapilli have also taken to digging pits outside their homes to allow private water to be drained for the land and trenches. The Indianexpress documented the results in July 2019 as a part of the environmental improvements in India being made.
The Cauvery Calling Campaign
The Cauvery Calling drive is a noteworthy part of the environmental improvements in India. Cauvery Calling launched in July 2019. It was created by Isha Foundation founder Jaggi Vasudev, often called Sadhguru. The goal of Cauvery Calling is to plant 242 crore trees (2.42 billion) to rejuvenate the Cauvery river. This act also supports farmers in the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Planting these trees is estimated to increase water collection in the Cauvery basin by 40 percent.
This was an urgent cause because the Cauvery river has been depleted by 40 percent in the past 70 years. The droughts in 2019 affected 17 districts in Tamil Nadu. Sadhguru led a two-week-long cycling campaign in September 2019. It resulted in 30,000 kilometers of advocacy from the cities of Talakaveri to Thiruvarur. Media coverage was positive, giving the cause more than 800 television spots.
Masharata Star Rating Program
The Masharata Star Rating Program was initiated in 2017 to help combat industrial air pollution in the state of Masharata. This is a noteworthy cause since India released 1.7 metric tons of C02 emissions as of 2014. The Masharata Star Rating Program rates industries from one to five stars based on their toxic emissions. This allows citizens to be privy to what’s being admitted into the air around them and is also holds factories accountable for their pollution.
According to the program’s 2019 data, the industries of the Wardha Power Company, RattanIndia Power Limited, Zydus Takeda Healthcare Limited and Mallak Specialties Pvt Ltd have 5-star ratings for their companies. Thus, the program is helping to reduce carbon emissions.
Through initiatives created by ordinary citizens, environmentalist activists and governmental programs, India is making significant changes for the country’s environment. The environmental improvements in India highlighted here indicate the government and people in India are willing to make the country an environmentally healthier place for its citizens.