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Kolkata environment worsened in 5 years : TERI


Kolkata, June 3 (IBNS): The environment in Kolkata has worsened in the last five years, said a latest survey.

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) released the key findings of the Environmental Survey 2013 today. The sample size of Kolkata was 704 and the respondents were distributed across different age groups, occupation, education and income levels.

Launching the key findings, Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Director General, TERI, said "We are releasing the findings of the Survey which we have found out by way of public attitudes in the six metros of the country.

"Our purpose is to see that issues related to environment and development get embedded in the consciousness of the people, and of course if we carry out an assessment of people's attitude and how they view these issues then clearly we are also creating awareness on the major changes that are required to ensure we move on the path of sustainable development."

He further said: "TERI Environmental Survey 2013 provides a useful basis for initiatives that can bring about effective action on the part of the public, driven by appropriate attitudes and values. The survey is an accurate indicator of current attitudes and values."

The six themes selected for the study were: overall environment, air quality, water quality, waste and waste management, climate change and forest/green cover.

The key findings from the Kolkata Chapter are highlighted below:

Overall Environment

The survey indicated that the following environmental domains have worsened over the last five years: birds and animal species (55 per cent); tree and green cover (40 per cent); ground water availability (39 per cent), surface water availability (37 per cent) and air quality (48 per cent). However, waste and waste management (52 per cent) and drinking water quality and availability (61 per cent) have improved over the same period of time.

Respondents felt that, while policies existed they were either inadequate or lacked proper implementation in the following domains: climate change (41 per cent); forest conservation (54 per cent), water availability (47 per cent); water pollution (55 per cent) and air pollution (54 per cent). However, with regards to policies on water availability (42 per cent) and waste management (52 per cent) respondents felt that they existed and were well implemented.

According to the survey, 75 per cent of the respondents felt that government is the major group that should work towards improving the environment, while 11 per cent of the respondents felt that consumers should work towards the same.

On the balance between environment and development in a developing country like India, 99 per cent of the people residing in Kolkata felt that environment and development were conflicting in nature and should be treated differently, while only 1 per cent of the respondents felt that environment and development go hand in hand.

Air

Nearly 60 per cent of the respondents felt that air pollution is the main contributor of respiratory and skin diseases. On the sources of air pollution, 60 per cent of the respondents felt that the transport sector was the biggest contributor, while 30 per cent of the respondents cited factories in and around the city as another contributor. The survey also revealed that nearly 80 per cent use public transport more than three times a week, and the primary reason was to save on cost.

Water

With regard to the billing mechanisms for water delivery to households, 59 per cent of the respondents felt that billing mechanisms should be metered/ consumption based, while the remaining supported fixed rate for water delivery. The survey revealed that 73 per cent of the respondents thought that the main reason of water wastage is due to excessive consumption, while 54 per cent of the respondents identified leakage during distribution as another key reason.

According to the survey, 57 per cent of the respondents perceived that they should not pay a high cost for water.

Forest/Green Cover

The results of the survey depicted that 78 per cent of the respondents have not engaged in any activity related to cutting/chopping a tree. However, a large number of the respondents in Kolkata said that they had never done the following: visited a park (29 per cent); visited a forest in the city or in adjoining areas (40 per cent); participated in management of parks in their neighbourhood (57 per cent); planted a tree (46 per cent); and engaged in gardening at home (52 per cent).

Climate Change:

Nearly everyone (99 per cent) of the respondents in Kolkata was aware of climate change. The respondents also perceived lot of change in the temperature (63 per cent), followed by extreme events (45 per cent). While, 52 per cent respondents felt that there has been some change in rainfall patterns.

Waste and Waste Management

The survey indicated that 55 per cent of the respondents felt that the health impacts due to improper solid waste management are very severe.

Fourty eight per cent of the respondents said that they were willing to segregate waste before disposing it , while 38 per cent respondents were not willing to segregate, citing space constraint as the major reason.

TERI is an independent, not-for-profit research institute focused on energy, environment, and sustainable development and devoted to efficient and sustainable use of natural resources.





2013-06-03




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