The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) has released the results of its Environment Survey 2013 for six cities Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. The total sample of 4039 respondents was divided between six cities with 401 from Bengaluru, 431 Chennai, 1114 Delhi, 379 Hyderabad, 704 Kolkata and 1010 Mumbai.
This survey report highlights some of the key findings on the different environment domains such as overall environment, air quality, water quality, waste and waste management, climate change and green cover. It is aimed to gauge people’s perception, behavior, awareness and opinions pertaining to various environmental issues and overall environmental changes in the past five
Dr. V.Rajagopalan, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India said “I value such a survey which provide very valuable inputs on civil society’s perception on what’s happening on the ground”.
According to the survey, air quality in these six cities has become worse in the last five years or seen no change. In terms of drinking water quality and its availability, there is a perception that it has improved in all cities except for Hyderabad, where the respondents felt it has worsened. Surface water quality seemed to have deteriorated in all cities apart from Mumbai (no change). Five cities saw a fall in ground water availability (excluding Chennai), number of trees,
birds and animals saw a decline in all six cities. Respondents from Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad claimed worsening of waste management in their city, while respondents from Kolkata and Mumbai have witnessed an improvement.
Mixed opinions were gathered while people’s perception and awareness on government policies, relating to different environmental domains, was assessed.
Delhi showed dismal performance in terms of awareness in all domains of environment with 70 - 80 per cent of the respondents being unaware of policies on
air & water pollution, water availability, waste management, forest conservation and climate change. On the other hand respondents from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai felt that the policies on climate change are either inadequate or not well implemented while in Chennai 42 per cent of the respondents were not aware of policies related to climate change.
Responsibilities for improving state of the environment:
According to the survey, respondents from Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai expressed that the responsibility for improving the state of the environment in thecity rested with the government followed by business sector. Respondents from Kolkata felt that government should take the lead, followed by the consumer who could be a key agent in improving environment. Whereas respondents from Hyderabad felt that academic and research organisation should take the lead
followed by Government.
Environment and Development:
The result varied on maintaining a balance between environment protection and development. When asked to choose between environment protection and
development, 30 per cent of the respondents from Chennai prioritised environment protection, while an equal number of respondents said that protection and
development should go hand in hand. About 59 per cent respondents from Delhi and 34 per cent respondents from Mumbai also agreed to the latter. Nearly 65 per cent respondents from Kolkata felt that environment protection should be given priority.
However, 85 per cent of the respondents from Hyderabad felt that environment protection and development should be treated differently, with almost 50 per cent
giving priority to development.
Another area of concern was water availability. On asking upon the source for wastage of water, respondents from Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai expressed
that water is wasted during the distribution to the households. Most respondents from Bengaluru felt that leakages in taps and faucets in households to be a majorreason, while Delhi and Kolkata respondents claimed overconsumption to be the reason for wastage of water.
On a positive note, 68 per cent of respondents in Bengaluru, 41 per cent in Delhi, 47 per cent in Chennai, and 61 per cent in Kolkata perceive drinking water quality and availability to have improved. On the contrary, 60 per cent of respondents from Hyderabad found it to have deteriorated.
With regard to actual cost of water supply for daily usage, around 74 per cent respondents in Bengaluru, 61 per cent in Delhi, 42 per cent in Chennai, 46 per cent
in Mumbai, and 56 per cent in Kolkata did not agree with the idea of paying the actual cost of water. A relatively small number from Hyderabad (only 29 per cent)
completely opposed the idea of such payment.
Forest & Green Cover:
An overall deterioration was reflected from the responses with respect to forest and green cover (including flora and fauna). Around 80 per cent respondents from Delhi and nearly half the respondents from Bengaluru and Chennai felt that there has been a decline in forest and green cover. While in Mumbai, respondents witnessed no change.
The survey revealed that only one-third of the respondents from all cities participated in the management of park. In Delhi, 90 per cent of the respondents have never participated in the management of parks and a large number of them have never even planted a tree.
The perception of whether or not climate change was occurring varied across the cities. It ranged from 99 per cent in Kolkata to 41 per cent in Chennai. Temperature variations were experienced in most cities, followed by extreme events and precipitation. Mumbai respondents noted significant changes in rainfall pattern.
Waste and Waste Management:
Around 80 per cent of the respondents from Delhi, 53 per cent Bengaluru, 33 per cent Hyderabad and 23 per cent Chennai felt that waste disposal and waste
management has deteriorated. Whereas 53 per cent of the respondents from Kolkata and 46 per cent in Mumbai claimed that the situation has improved.Respondents from Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai felt that impacts of improper waste management on human health is very severe. Respondents from Hyderabad said that these impacts were severe, and an equal number of respondents from Chennai felt these impacts were moderate or severe.
KEY SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT:
· Around one fourth of the respondents in all cities suggested improved public transport infrastructure to reduce air pollution and improve air quality.
· Respondents from Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata suggested that declaration of protected areas was the best strategy for the improvement of forest and green cover. While respondents from Chennai, suggested for reclamation of wasteland for parks and other such green zones. The respondents from Hyderabad and Mumbai felt that the government needs new and improved policies to improve its forest and green cover.
· To manage solid waste, respondents opted for segregation of waste at the source followed by recycling and reducing the generation of waste as the best strategy.