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Sustainable Development as Balance Between Progress and the Environment

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Environment and development are two faces of the same coin. Any one of these cannot be forfeit for the other. On contrary, both of them are equally important for our better future. Thus the responsibility lies on the Supreme Court and the various High Courts to deal with these cases with caution of high degree. Then only, we will achieve our goal i.e. a pollution-free developed country for our next generation.

Given that a large population of India is dependent upon an agrarian economy, and lives in vast coastal areas and Himalayan regions, India is highly vulnerable to adverse effects of Climate change. However, India also has 30% of its population under poverty; 20% living without proper housing; 25% living without electricity and is a growing economy, therefore economic and infrastructural development are vital too. Thus, in this milieu, it is most important that development projects be encouraged and while being conceptualized, the doctrine of Sustainable Development be kept in mind.

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To maintain a balance between development and the environment, the principle of Sustainable Development which encompasses the ‘Precautionary Principle’ must be followed while envisaging a project. This would prevent any anticipated environmental impact a project may have by following and incorporating mitigating measures. Right from the stage of selection of site, to adopting efficient and environmentally friendly measures at each stage and facet of construction to avoid or minimize environment de-gradation, to providing mitigatory measures and monitoring the impact of a project on the environment/eco-system and thereafter providing for restorative action in case of any degradation is imperative in today’s pro-environment climate and is also the need of the hour.

Developers today must be conscious of the environment and adopt a green, pro-environment, scientific, and energy-efficient mindset for each stage of a project. These measures may increase the overall expenditure of the project, but in the long run, the benefits would surpass such costs. The Indian Government in furtherance of its INDCs and National Action Plan on Climate Change incentivizes developers and promotes the use of green and energy-efficient measures and these incentives can be used by developers to offset any additional green costs.

Finally, sustainable development is the need of the hour. With the advent of energy-efficient technology, harmonious marriage between development and the environment is possible. It is time that each one ofadoptsdopt an ‘energy-efficient and green’ mindset and use the natural resources available equitably, judiciously, and save them for our future generations, as the best way to predict the future is to create it.

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