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Question 16

Highlight any two serious adverse environmental consequences of development in India. India’s environmental problems pose a dichotomy — they are poverty induced and, at the same time, due to affluence in living standards — is this true?

Answer

The two serious issues or consequences of development in India are land degradation and biodiversity loss. The developmental activities in India exerted tremendous pressure on the natural resources and also affected human health and well being. Land Degradation: The gradual but consistent loss of fertility of land is referred to as degradation of land. This is emerging as a serious concern in the context of environmental issues in India. The following are the factors that contribute to land degradation in India:

a. Soil Erosion: The removal of the upper layer of the soil caused either by the strong winds or floods is termed as soil erosion. This top most layer of the soil carries major nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that are essential for the growth of plants. Therefore, the loss of this layer reduces the productivity of the land.



b. Alkalinity and Salinity of Soil: The salinity and alkalinity is caused by the problem of water logging. The water logged on the top layer of soil absorbs all the nutrients present in the soil leading to the deterioration of fertility of land.

c. Deforestation: The growing population and their ever growing demand leads to a large scale destruction of forest cover. The removal of forest cover affects the ecological balance by reducing the level of oxygen in the air. This leads to increase in the pollutants that cause various health hazards.

d. Shifting Cultivation: The practice of shifting cultivation along with the subsistence farming carried by small and marginal farmers resulted in the replenishment of soil nutrients and fertility. The environmental problems point to the paradoxical situation in the country. Deforestation in India is a rapid consequence of population explosion and widespread poverty. The poor people in the rural areas are compelled to fell trees to earn their livelihood. The growing demand for natural resources to carry out production activity in the urban areas is also equally responsible for the present environmental degradation. There are two different opinions on the effect of environmental activities. One opinion advocates for India's prosperity by resorting to industrial production, while the other opinion highlights the threat of pollution due to the rapidly growing industrial sector. This can be understood as in the wake of rapid urbanisation, the expansion of vehicular traffic generates pollution of noise and air.

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