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Economic Development and the Environment
~Dr Dilip Ganguly

The Relationship Between Economic Development and the Environment

The economic development in the societies of the world has taken a great toll on the natural world that we live in. We must all wake up to the fact that our environment is in trouble, and try to find ways to undo the damage caused to it.

Compatibility of Economic Development and the Environment
Though environmental awareness is on the rise around the world and in India, and commitment as well as compliance levels are far higher than before, we still have a long way to go. Standards, certification, valuation and reporting are only part of the story. Today it is no longer a question of ‘nice to have’ but has become instead, a ‘must have’.

Economic development and the environment are not compatible

Economic development and the environment are not compatible. Environmental pollution resulting from gradual changes or by a sudden catastrophic event has always existed. From the moment the planet began to support life there have been continual disturbances of the biosphere by variations in solar activity, earthquakes, forest fires, meteorite impacts. However, a new threat to the biosphere began with the advent of industrialization.

Industrialization Leads to Economic Development, and the Environment Suffers
Industrialization led to economic development and the environment then began to suffer even more. For a long time people were only interested in the process of economic development, and the environment with all its problems was neglected The process of industrialization started many acts have restricted the industries to meet the air, water and land pollution levels. Over the years the Acts, the books, etc. have only been preserved with the publishers or on self, rotting to find a pair of human hands. Somewhere in nineties after the landmark Rio Declaration, the books and the Acts were taken out from their resting-place and the minds started working in the direction, how to undo the loss already done to the environment. Some of the historical developments which have given thrust to the environmental issues started late in the 20th Century. Chronologically a few important events are listed below:-

(i) 1972: UN Conference on Human Environment, Stockholm.
(ii) 1984: WCED: (World Commission on Environment and Development): Our Common Future (1987).
(iii) 1990: BSCD: (Business Charter for Sustainable Development) : Our Common Future (1987)
(iv) 1992: UNCED: (UN Conference on Environment and Development) Agenda 21 and Rio Declaration.
(v) 1993: ISO set up TC – 207: BS 7750 as pilot project set up by U.K. EMAS issued.
(vi) 1994: Standards/Schemes: BS7750 issued.
(vii) 1996: IS/ISO 14001 (Sept 96 issued).
(viii) 2002: Johannesburg Environment Summit.
(ix) 2004: IS/ISO 14001 (2004 issued)

[The picture used in this article has been taken from the photo library of stock.xchng.]

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