From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : The extent of water and air crisis in India
The lack of safe water and clean air will either make or break India.
- A report by NITI Aayog warned that India is facing its worst water crisis in history.
- Nearly 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress, 75% of households do not have drinking water on the premises, 84% of households do not have piped water access, and 70% of our water is contaminated.
- Nearly 200,000 people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
- 21 cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad, will run out of groundwater by 2020.
- India is currently ranked 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.
- A report by the Centre for Science and Environment released last year, indicated that severe air pollution crisis in India caused lifespans to shrink by 2.6 years on average.
- Air pollution is now the third-highest cause of death among all health risks ranking just above smoking in India.
- As many as 14 of the 20 most polluted cities of the world are in India.
- The World Health Organization calls toxic air the “new tobacco”
The need of the hour is a nationwide strategy on conservation, checks on development, salination projects across our long coastlines, and urgent steps to check pollution.