Survey of the environment 2012 - A publication by The Hindu
This report published by The Hindu focuses on the issues related to the environment, nature, conservation and biodiversity and includes contributions from leading experts who talk about a variety of issues ranging from medicinal plants to shrinking wetlands, the threats to coastal ecosystems, the mining crisis, the dying rivers of India and threats due to urbanisation
31 Dec 2012

The report includes the following articles under separate sections:

The section on biodiversity includes four articles:

  • Convention on biodiversity: Challenges before India by Balakrishna Pisupati
  • The foundation for a green economy by Kabir Bavikatte
  • Protecting the diversity of medicinal plants and ensuring their sustainable use by B S Somashekhar
  • Why an integrated pollinator policy is necessary by Jhanavi G Pai and M Soubhadra Devy

The articles highlight:

  • The role of India as one of the few countries to have signed and ratified the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the leadership role that India needs to play in leading the global agenda on biodiversity. The article highlights the incoming Presidency that India will gain of COP11 and the suggestions made by India to focus on biodiversity and livelihood issues and argues that these will require better governance systems based on sound economic models
  • The need for governance structures to focus on the rights of indigenous communities to access natural resources and genetic material and prevent their exploitation by the elitist agendas. The article argues that a critical evaluation of different green economy models has shown that lack of green governance in the green economy can lead to loss of biodiversity due to elite capture and dispossession of communities due to setting of monetary value on resources that were previously governed as local commons
  • The challenge of protecting the diversity of medicinal plants in India and ensuring their sustainable use
  • The risks, dangers and consequences of harmful intensive agricultural practices such as the gradual decrease in the number honeybees who have an important role to play as pollinators, which can have serious consequences for food security


This section includes four articles:

  • Shrinking wetlands cry out for solutions by V S Vijayan
  • Coastal and marine systems are under continuous development threat. Do the coastal policies need more teeth? by Marianne Manual and Aarti Shreedhar
  • Can community rights, wildlife conservation and mining coexist? The Meghalaya experience by Rajkamal Goswami, Allwin Jesudasan and T Ganesh
  • The key to ending water pollution by Suneel Pandey

The articles highlight:

  • The grave crisis of the shrinking of the wetlands in the country and the lack of realisation of the potential economic and ecologic benefits of the wetlands. The article highlights that India has lost 38% of its wetlands within a short span of 10 years from 1991 to 2001 mainly to agriculture and mainly industries. In addition to this, the existing wetlands have a high level of pollution with both pesticides and heavy metals that can lead to the risk of a range of health hazards to people who consume fish and depend on them for their livelihoods.The article describes the variety of ecosystem services that wetlands offer based on the UN Millennium Assessment of Wetland values.
  • The negative environmental impacts of industrialisation and infrastructure development on the coastal areas in India that range from water pollution, contamination of bottom sediments, loss of bottom habitat, damage to marine ecology and fishing, waste disposal, oil leakage and spillage, hazardous material emissions as well as on the livelihoods of millions of communities that depend on fishing to meet their day to day needs for survival
  • The threat mining poses for the rivers and the forests of the country and the helplessness of the communities in controlling the mining activities over the lands and forests they own
  • The growing problem of water pollution in the country and the risk to India's rivers and water bodies due to dumping of sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes. The article suggests a range of strategies to deal with this problem such as use of higher sewerage capacity and efficient effluent treatment plants, encouraging use of biopesticides and biofertilisers, maintenance of minimum ecological flows of rivers, curtail depletion of mangroves etc
  • The example of Akole in Maharashtra provides an alternative model for positive human wildlife interactions in a scenario of increasing human animal conflicts, which pose as a threat to a range of wildlife species in the country and challenges faced in wildlife management in the country


The articles in this section include:

  • Wildlife management: Roadmap to a sustainable future by John D C Linnell, Vidya Athreya and Sunetro Ghoshal
  • Almost all forest fires are manmade and the motives are varied. But are we learning from the past? by Sanjay Gubbi
  • A promising future for the hornbills, the success story of a nest adoption programme in Arunachal Pradesh by Aparajita Dutta, Amruta Rane andTana Tapi
  • Timbaktu, a shining testimony to the power of true green communities to usher in change by Ashish Kothari

The articles highlight:

  • The impact of manmade activities on forest fires in the country leading to valuable loss of forests and biodiversity, especially in the biodiversity hotspots of the country such as the Westerns Ghats, the Himalayas, the Indo-Burma and the Indian Ocean islands
  • The need to work hand in hand with nature to preserve its species as attempted in a programme to adopt hornbills in Arunachal Pradesh
  • The story of a small village in Andhra Pradesh named Timbaktu, where deforestation and land mismanagement had converted hills into barren rocks and soil unproductive. However, a collective initiative to empower villagers led to restoration and regeneration of ecosystems, led to empowerment of the marginalised, solved the water and food security problems of the village

Urban environment

The articles included are:

  • Green building strategies for a rapidly urbanising India by Anupama Kundoo
  • The natural world is under threat from the changing urban landscape. Will sustainable urbanisation be made a priority? by Lyla Bavadam
  • A progress report on the national mission on solar energy by Siddha Mahajan and Amit Kumar

The articles highlight:

  • The urgent need for the rapidly urbanising India to have green building strategies that reduce energy demand, reuse material and are labour intensive
  • The changing current urban landscape and the threats to the ecosystem
  • The relevance of using solar energy in India


The articles included are:

  • Is the government paying only lip service to sustainable mining? by Lyla Bavadam
  • The many shades of forest loss. Whatwill stop mining from making inroads into forests? by Meghna Krishnadas and Nisarg Prakash
  • What is choking off India's rivers? Are environmental needs given a go by while deciding river flows? by Latha Anatha and Parineeta Dandekar

The articles in this section cover important issues such as mining and the urgency to revive the dying rivers of India

The details of the publication can be accessed from The Hindu site at this link

Posted by
Get the latest news on water, straight to your inbox
Subscribe Now
Continue reading