From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Extended producer responsibility
Mains level : Paper 3- Coupling growth and environmental protection
Growth and environmental protection are not the polar opposites of each other. The article analyses the issue of balancing the two and using pandemic as an opportunity to evolve novel recovery path.
Pandemic: opportunity to new recovery path
- The pandemic presents an opportunity for us to think of a new recovery path, one that can decouple economic growth and environmental degradation.
- It becomes more important as India sees opportunities on the global call to diversify the supply chain and its internal call for Atmanirbhar Bharat.
- For that, we need to strengthen our production and manufacturing capabilities.
Issue of regulatory infrastructure
- Monitoring and implementing environmental regulations is the biggest challenge we face.
- Take the municipal solid waste rules.
- Two decades after the regulations came into effect, their status not in good shape.
- A comparatively recent regulation, centred around Extended Producer Responsibility, has also posed challenges in monitoring and implementation.
- In a recent ruling, the judiciary not only ruled against the industry but also blamed officials responsible for implementing the regulations.
Focus on implementation and monitoring
- In the long run, diluting regulatory norms will create more adverse impacts resulting in greater community upsurge.
- The focus has to be to improve the system’s capabilities to monitor and implement regulatory requirements.
- There needs to be greater transparency and accountability; there is no dearth of technology to facilitate this.
- The intention and capacity to take action, rectify and diffuse is critical.
- The right ecosystem between the industry, community and regulator is crucial.
- If the three stakeholders remain isolated and get activated only in a crisis, we will not make any progress towards solving the issue.
- We need to couple growth and environmental protection.
- Environmental health will be the key enabler of socio-economic growth in the future.
- Industry needs to realise that it is a part of an ecosystem and not at the centre of it.
- Communities get impacted, either positively or negatively, they need to empower themselves through education, so that they are not driven by the agenda of individuals with vested interests.
- We have a challenge in implementing environmental regulations.
- The community does not trust that the industry is meeting its compliance requirements, so, the regulatory system’s role is to improve this trust quotient.
As we plan our recovery past the pandemic, we have a good chance to create a new normal. We need to align towards a common cause and goals. We should not miss this chance.