Managing the Environment

The Planning Commission has identified twelve Strategy Challenges for the 12th Plan Approach Paper.  “Managing the Environment and Ecology” with the following five components is one of the Challenges:
. Land, mining, and Forest Rights

. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategy for Climate Change

. Waste management and Pollution Abatement

. Degradation of forests and loss of biodiversity

. Issues of Environment Sustainability 
The general expectations of the citizens with respect to environment are: Access to clean air, water, and soil; Right to Natural resources; Sustainable Livelihoods and healthy surroundings.   
Detailed below are some suggestions in respect of, Policy, legislation, both national and international, institutional mechanisms, infrastructure, and Science and technology in the management of Environment and Ecology and specific suggestions with respect to the five components.
a) Institutionalize a holistic, integrated approach for the management of environment and natural resources, converging national regulations and international protocols in relevant sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, through review and consultation.  
b) Evolve schemes to encourage trading in air and water pollutants in industrial complexes.  Establish on-line continuous monitoring systems to enable trading of pollutants and encourage public and private sector participation in GHG emission trading.  
c) Identify emerging areas for new legislation, including our obligations under multilateral environmental regimes and review the body of existing legislation.
d) Ensure accountability of the concerned levels of Government (Centre, State, Local) in implementing existing legislation and introducing necessary legislation, wherever required in a defined time-frame, ensuring the livelihoods and well-being of the poor and improved access to the necessary environmental resources.
e) Promote research and the use of information technology based tools, together with necessary capacity-building.  Bring about transparency through public web-portal for national resource accounting for Non Wood Forest Produce ( NWFP) , common property resources, usufruct rights etc on GIS platform.
f) Encourage Industrial Associations to shoulder greater responsibility of environmental management, implementation of regulation, including drafting strategy on issues on environment and trade that affect industry.  
g) Develop multiple models, for rapid and effective restoration, of open and degraded forests, wastelands and urban areas through PPP and community participation.   
h) Introduce Performance monitoring and development of Environment performance linked financial devolution mechanisms to states.
i) Setup regional databases on natural resources to support the information requirements of planning and prepare inventory through land cover mapping (Remote Sensing, 1;4000 scale ).
j) Review the list of International Conventions to which India is a signatory and party to fix a timeframe to ratify and fulfill obligations under these Conventions.  
k) Put in place rules and guidelines in the Area of Access and Benefit sharing , trade especially exports in LMO’s and GMO’s in respect of Biological Resources.  
l) 12th plan should focus on leadership role for India in SAARC, ASEAN, and SACEP, including serving as repository of information and help train in early warning systems for disasters.  A Strategy and action plan should be drawn up to forge partnership among countries in the region.  
m) TIFAC be commissioned to list 10 cutting edge technologies for possible exhaustive studies and field trials in environment sector.
n) Strengthen Scientific Research, Technology Development and Human Resource in areas of environment and ecology which are critical for Sustainable Development 
Specific Suggestions 
1.  Land, Mining and Forests Rights 
1.1 The key suggestions identified for effective land management include the following: 
a) Land development/diversion for various uses, be based on a national policy.  
b) A national strategy based on scientific understanding of the natural resources  both above and below ground, resettlement and livelihood requirements is necessary, 
c) Existing policy, in respect of Energy, Raw materials etc., to indicate the various  source options taking into consideration availability, cost and environmental impact, be modified.  
d) Conduct Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for vulnerable regions and Carrying capacity studies in selected river-basins, and 
e) Adapt remediation techniques developed elsewhere for de-contamination of  contaminated sites. 
1.2 The key issues identified in respect of mining include the following;-
a )Effective land management to restore degraded lands .
b) promote, more efficient metals recycling industry by adopting modern  technology,
c) formulate, a sustainable Development Framework which addresses issues  related to economic viability, environmental impact and social concerns, and 
d) Take action to check illegal mining activities 
1.3 Forests Rights  
The livelihood rights of forest-based communities need to be respected in conservation efforts, even as new livelihood and revenue options are explored.  Following are some key issues :-
a) Current schemes of compensation needs to be reviewed, and 
b) Payments for Environmental Services (PES) schemes needs to be introduced and proposals developed to prevent poaching of flagship species like tiger, rhino, elephants, etc; to check fragmentation and degradation of wildlife habitats and corridors; to reduce instances of human–wildlife conflict; to control illegal trade in wildlife products; Creation of inviolate areas for tiger and other flagship species, and; Voluntary relocation of people from core areas.  In PES schemes, locals be paid to conserve and manage resources. 
2.  Mitigation and Adaption Strategy for Climate change
The two key challenges that have to be addressed by various stakeholders in the short term on Climate Change are: 

 a) Ensuring, involvement of various stakeholders, including the State  Governments, in implementing the National Action Plan for Climate Change  (NAPCC), and 
 b) Achieve a low-emission sustainable development growth model using a  voluntary approach.  
2.  The strategy/ guidelines of NDMA be modified to draw up regional disaster preparedness and mitigation plans, which should also address pre and post disasters migrations.
2. States need to prepare the State Level Action Plan for Climate Change (SAPCC) within a time frame, which can be dovetailed with the NAPCC.

4.  The eight National Missions documents needs to be finalized, adopted, and actions initiated.   
3.  Waste Management and Pollution Abatement 
 Waste Management
1. Encourage 4 R’s (Recycle, Reuse, Reduce and Remanufacture ) and co-processing of HW for recovery of energy 

2. Incentivize public-private partnership for creating the required infrastructure for Setting up of Treatment Storage and Disposal Facilities (TSDF) for hazardous waste management across the country.  

3. Ensure Segregation of Bio-medical wastes as per existing rules and the infectious and hazardous wastes treated in dedicated facilities.  Common facilities be setup.  

4. Enhance recycling facilities for E-wastes in the country.  

5. Ensure Municipal Solid Waste segregation ,collection and setting up of facilities for complete disposal.  Where ever possible recycling and processing has to be ensured during the 12th Plan to protect our people and the environment 

6. Green belt for dust and Noise abatement and odour mitigation is considered essential.

 Water environment
The key challenges for maintaining acceptable water quality and quantity across the country are:-Water Pollution and overuse; Indiscriminate use of Wetland/lakes, Agricultural run-offs as residual fertilizer, pesticides and feedlot wastes.  Following are suggested:
1. Improve coverage and efficiency of sewage treatment systems , encourage use of low-cost decentralized measures for treatment of wastewater e.g use of microbes for sewage treatment in open drains.  

2. Clean critical rivers state wise and all polluted rivers in the country by 2020.

3. No Net loss (NNL) of wetlands acres be set as the goal and a system of permits be introduced to provide replacement wetlands.  

4. A National Action Plan to remediate contaminated sites be drawn up.  

5. Massive Plantation drives, including other methods for recharging ground water levels be propagated.

4.  Degradation of Forests and loss of bio-diversity.

1. The target should be to increase Forest and Tree cover (FTC) by 5%.

2.  Encourage efficient use of forest products and alternative sources of fuel, fodder, and timber.

3. Provide Legal backing for JFMCs.  

4. Evolve a comprehensive national policy for non-destructive extraction and marketing of both timber and MFP.

5. Organize markets, Build infrastructure, Capacity and upgrade skill for carrying out trade in MFP.  

6. Prepare Master greening plans/Roadmaps for all cities with over 1 million populations.

   Biodiversity and wildlife
1. The major challenges of the sectors include: 1. Preventing poaching of flagship species like tiger, rhino, elephants, etc.; 2. check fragmentation and degradation of wildlife habitats and corridors; 3. reduce instances of human–wildlife conflict; 4. control illegal trade in wildlife products; 5. Creation of inviolate areas for tiger and other flagship species, and; 6. Voluntary relocation of people from core areas.

2. Draft a national action plan on the management of biological invasion., and

3. Create proper institutional mechanisms for involving local stakeholders, including local communities, in coastal and mangrove restoration and conservation programs.  

5.  Monitorable targets for the 12th Plan 
1. To increase forest and tree cover by 5 percentage points.  

2. To reclaim wetlands/inland lakes /ponds (of ------ Ha) by 2017

3. To identify, assess and remediate contaminated sites (hazardous chemicals and wastes) with potential for ground water contamination.

4. To improve forest production and maintain biodiversity.

5. To establish continuous on-line monitoring systems using GIS & GPS for air and water pollution.

6. To create Common Infrastructure for Environment Protection viz; CETP, TSDF etc.  

7. To clean all critically polluted rivers by 2020.  

8. To reduce 20-25 percent energy use per unit of GDP by 2020.

9. Epidemiological studies to assess improvement in health status due to better management of Environment and ecology.