Pollution and Population - By Dr. Birendra Gupta

By Dr. Birendra Gupta,1

"There was a time almost twenty to thirty years ago, the goals of economic development and environmental protection were believed to be mutually exclusive. It was believed that economic development was unavoidably destructive to the environment and environmetal protection was considered a constraint to development, today this dichotomous new has largely given a way to a better understanding of the linkages between development and environment."2

Degradation of environment is not something new. From history we can learn that usurpations human activities have resulted in degradation of environment and also the extinction of many civilizations. The decline of Mesopotamian civilization in Iraq, Iran , Peru, Indus Valley civilization has been attributed to deforestation of hill slopes, induced fires and felling of trees on a large scale. This resulted in soil erosion floods and silting of irrigation carnal and cultivated lands which is turn resulted in farmers, death and desertion of villages.3

The large-scale consumerism today, has brought the mankind at a stage where our needs have gone beyond the means to fulfill them. In our desire to reach the maximum production limit, we have started borrowing from the resources meant for future which we knew very well that we cannot repay. As a result we are using all those resources which are in fact the future generation's property. Our resources are meant not only for the utilization of the present generation but also for the future generation.4

The economic development of a society is essential for the better and dignified life of its members. This is also a fact that every development activity directly or indirectly exploits one of the natural resources. Extending this logic we may come to point that more development means more exploitation of natural resources. Today we are standing at a point where more development has become be need of the hour.

One day think that development of high degree is related with the minimum of profit. It is true but more true is the fact that development has become the call of the present time especially in the 3rd world countries. Without more production we cannot sustain our population. Just imagine almost 1027 million people awake up in the morning in our country and through out the day they consume or use something. The infinite population in computation to finite earth has also created a big problem in the survival of the people and dignified life has become a concept to be achieved. So without development which is to be essentially done for the survival of such a large population, burden would increase upon the government to satisfy the needs of its citizens. At this stage, it would not be out of place to mention that people use to allege about the chemical treatment of the vegetables to increase its production or injection technique to enhance the quantity of cow-milk. Suppose it is not done, then what would be the alternative to such things? Is it possible to sustain such a large population from our limited resources?

The population may sustain only in two conditions. Either population should be as per the resources or resources as per the population. It is almost impossible to keep resources as per the population and even more development is unable to meet such a huge demand. In the present condition three things are happening:-

1. Even after more development not meeting the demands properly.
2. Demands are satisfied in an unhygienic way
3. In fulfilling the demand we are exploiting the resources which should be left for the future generation.

Now, the other way left is, out population should be according to our resources. In this condition our economic activities will give a grateful result. In such a condition we may save for out future generation.

Our resources are meant not only for the present generation but also for the future generation. A balance between the growth of population and utilization of resource is the need of the hour. This balance alone can ensure the continuity of human race. Any imbalance will certainly have an adverse impact on us.5

We may claim in the present time, that it is " Pollution because of population". Every method of abating pollution getting failed because of huge population. Hungary fellow never takes interest in environmental protection. So, if pollution laws are to be implemented, it may be implemented in regard of balanced population or in case of population as per the resources and such a population may be termed as sustainable population.

From the point of new of population control, forty second amendment has added a new entry 20A entitled. Population control and family planning" to list III of the 7th schedule to the construction. But so far the population law in the country is concerned at present there is no specific law in India which directly regulates the population explosion of the country. The constitution ( Seventy Ninth Amendment) Bill, 1992 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha which proposed to add an additional schedule under which person shall be disqualified for being a member of the either house of Parliament or either house of the legislature of State if he/ she has more than two children. The bill is still pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Although the bill is still pending, some states adopted this method of population control, got the same passed by their legislatures and implemented the provision in their state. This step was challenged in the court of law. It was argued that the impugned provision is arbitrary discriminatory, violates the personal liberty of persons to have as many children as they want and also violates the freedom of religion. Rejecting the arguments in a path- breaking judgment, the apex court through R.C. Lahoti, J along with others ruled that, " the impugned provision is neither arbitrary nor unreasonable nor discriminatory. the disqualification contained in section 175 [ 1(q)] of Haryana Panchayat Raj Act seeks to achieve a laudable purpose socio- economic welfare and health care of masses and is consistent with the national population policy.6

Now the time has come when the society has to think about the dangers of population blast. Most dangerous of them is the pollution which may destroy the entire community. Just imagine, what would happen in a situation when there would be less per capita crop land because of the growing population. It may result in famine and abnormal conditions.