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6th edition of Global Environment Outlook - Environment

Factoids -

  •  Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is released by UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
  •  The GEO project was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of UN Agenda 21.
  •  Agenda 21 is a non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.
  •  The “21” in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century.
  •  Since 2015, Sustainable Development Goals are included in the Agenda 2030.
  •  UN report, GEO-6 theme: “Healthy Planet, Healthy People”

According to 6th GEO Report –

  •  The world is unsustainably extracting resources and producing unmanageable quantities of waste.
  •  With rising growth, higher quantities of resources are extracted, which leads to chemicals flowing into air, water and land. Thus causes ill-health, premature mortality, poor quality of life etc.
  •  East and South Asia have the highest number of deaths due to air pollution. (In 2017, air pollution has killed 1.24 million in India alone)
  •  Freshwater pollutants making antimicrobial-resistant infections a major cause of death by 2050.
  •  Other highlights provided by GEO-6:
  •  It estimates that the top 10% of populations (in terms of wealth) globally are responsible for 45% of GHG emissions, whereas, bottom 50% for only 13%
  • . Pollution impacts are borne more by the poorer citizens. 

Concerns: (India)

  •  Deaths due to air pollution is high
  •  Unsustainable resources extraction
  •  Over-population leading to stress on land and agricultural yields are coming under stress due to increase in average temperature and erratic monsoons (impacts food security and health)
  •  Poorly enforced environment laws.
  •  Water protection is given low priority.
  •  India is the leading extractor of groundwater. 

The way ahead:

  •  Effective environment laws and political will is necessary to end business-as-usual policies
  •  Curbing the use of fossil fuels and toxic chemicals.
  •  Targeted interventions are needed to resolve specific air and water pollution.
  •  Aggressive monitoring and assessment of air quality and greenhouse gases emissions.
  •  Policies should give impetus to shift to cleaner sources of energy (or renewable energy sources)
  •  Combating air pollution would require all older coal-based power plants in India to conform to emission norms at the earliest.
  •  Quick transition to green mobility is needed.
  •  It is imperative to stop the contamination of surface supplies by chemicals, sewage and municipal waste.
  •  Waste water should be recovered, treated and reused. Augmenting rainwater harvesting. 


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