India Among Worst Nations In Curbing Pollution

India is at the 177th spot in a list of 180 countries, according to the Environmental Performance Index rankings.


India is the fourth worst country worldwide in curbing environmental pollution, according to global Environmental Performance Index rankings released on Jan. 23. The rankings, in which India is placed at the 177th spot in a list of 180 countries, was released on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meet in Davos, Switzerland. India now ranks 36 places down from its 141st position two years ago.

The Environmental Performance Index ranks countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. “India and Bangladesh come in near the bottom of the rankings, with Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nepal rounding out the bottom five,” the report says. The biennial report by the World Economic Forum was prepared in collaboration with Yale and Columbia Universities.

The index “reflects important trends in environmental performance at both the national and global levels.” The report said that the global community was generally improving on a number of issues, such as health outcomes related to drinking water and sanitation and protection of marine ecosystems, while significant challenges remain on other issues.

The low ranking of the emerging economies — China and India — reflects “the strain population pressures and rapid economic growth impose on the environment,” the report noted. Substantial populations still suffer from poor air quality, most notably in India, China, and Pakistan. “India faces a public health crisis that demands urgent attention,” it said, adding that unlike China, India has made little progress to decrease levels of air pollution. China and Pakistan occupy the 120th and 169th positions, respectively.

The low scores on the Environmental Performance Index are indicative of the need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, including cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity and reducing GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions. Some of the lowest-ranking nations face “broader challenges (like) civil unrest but the low scores for others can be attributed to weak governance,” the report said.

India ranked 178 in air quality, 145 in water and sanitation, and 175 in heavy metals. The country was at No.125 in agriculture, 131 in air pollution, 139 in biodiversity and habitat, 120 in climate and energy, 53 in fisheries, 68 in forests and 107 in water resources.

Switzerland leads the world in sustainability, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden.

The leading environmental threat to public health all over the world is air quality, the report pointed out.

“As the world community pursues new sustainable development goals, policymakers need to know who is leading and who is lagging on energy and environmental challenges,” Daniel C. Esty, the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said. “The 2018 EPI confirms that success with regard to sustainable development requires both economic progress that generates the resources to invest in environmental infrastructure and careful management of industrialization and urbanization that can lead to pollution that threatens both public health and ecosystems.”

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