India is known to fare well on most top ten lists – it is seventh largest in terms of geographical landmass and second in terms of population. Despite an abundance of natural resources, our over-reliance on non-renewable ones and limited access to renewable ones sets us on course for a rapidly dwindling reserve.
Findings from UNEP-Data indicate that India’s total consumption of materials in 2010 was 5 billion tonnes that consisted of 42% renewable biomass and 38% non-metal minerals, fossil fuels and metals. Projections show that this consumption will be almost five-fold by 2050, with the share of abiotic materials becoming four times that of biotic materials. India’s consumer group will be the third largest globally by 2020 and will consume 13% of the available resources, potentially putting immense pressure on reserves. At the current rates, India’s present demand for resources is set to triple by 2050 and use more materials than all OECD countries use today. Thus, it becomes imperative to address the disproportionate and inefficient use of these resources.
We need to attain security and inclusivity of resources by improving their efficiency and sufficiency. A simple strategy of reduce, reuse and recycle will be a good start to attain resource efficiency. While we need to reduce our usage of non-renewable sources and use them as efficiently as possible by creating more with less, it is also important to replace them with renewable sources where necessary. The impact of the use of these resources on the environment should be reduced with maximum waste being upcycled and if viable, even recycled into usable resources.
With the larger picture in mind of making India resource resilient on various fronts, the Indian National Association for the Club of Rome began a five-year series of annual conferences in 2014.
The first one titled “Securing Food for All” helped establish a platform for food and nutrition security (FNS) professionals to discuss issues and explore the use of large scale, sustainable and scalable solutions to ensure continued availability of food for all. In addition to bridging the supply demand gap to ensure that the total amount of food grains produced reached those in need, it also focussed on our generation’s commitment to equity and sectoral balance to create a balanced economy, crucial for sustainability. The second conference, held in 2015, titled “Securing Water for All” dealt with another vital theme of water insecurity. Globally, water reservoirs are depleting faster than they can be replenished, with climate changes such as extreme weather conditions affecting snowmelt, rainfall and groundwater, further compounding the problem. The conference brought to the fore issues such as developing a viable economy, ensuring social equity and maintaining a healthy environment. The third conference, held in 2016, titled “Securing the Forests, Land and Soils for All” discussed setting up alternative infrastructure pathways by protecting and developing natural pathways; restoring and maintaining the health of land, soils and forests; and developing sustainable ecosystems. These will help control the effects of climate change on forestry that lead to adverse effects on the environment, visible in the form of natural disasters.
The current conference in the series, to be held at BSE Limited, Mumbai on 16th and 17th November 2017, titled “Towards a Resource Resilient India, Security of Natural Resources for All” takes the discussion forward by turning towards natural resources. It aims to debate resource security, resource inclusivity (access), resource use impact and map out a future
course for resource efficiency. It shall advocate that all current and future usage of natural resources must be physically possible, economically viable and culturally acceptable.
As with the remaining conferences in the series, this one too shall bring together various stakeholders from the industry, including national and international experts, policymakers and thought leaders to a common platform and will discuss the implications of current or proposed policies on the future. It will also work on course correction to review, modify and strengthen policies as needed.
Eco Ventures Private Limited (EVPL) joins a group of organizations committed to working for the environment as a knowledge partner for this event. As a leading provider of environmental consultancy services, it uses its collective scientific expertise and experience of monitoring, evaluation and compliance to develop customised and technically sound yet cost-effective solutions for a vast variety of environmental projects. It assists its clients in obtaining consents to establish/operate in addition to various types of clearances (such as environmental, forest and Coastal Regulatory Zone). It conducts monitoring (air, water, noise and waste), impact management studies, and audits (environment, safety and quality). It also provides legal advice and training to plant workers on various safety and environmental aspects.
With almost 3 decades of work to its credit, EVPL has always been focussed on shaping a better future for the environment. It can leverage its professional network and liaisons within the industry to champion this cause and create more awareness. As an on-ground knowledge partner, it has the most scope for implementation of recommendations in its current and future projects. As is their motto ‘no environmental issue is too large or too late to be addressed but the key lies in tackling these problems at project inception’.
Content by Natasha DLima