• Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

CSE marks World Environment Day with release of its annual compendium of data, The State of India’s Environment 2023: In Figures

Data is a great explainer. It tells the story at a glance and backs it up with evidence. The State of India’s Environment 2023: In Figures is our attempt to use the best available data points to tell you the story of India’s environmental performance: where it has faltered, where it has managed to move towards a sustainable existence, and where, if any, are the gaps in data,” said Sunita Narain, director general Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), while releasing CSE and Down To Earth’s latest e-publication, The State of India’s Environment 2023: In Figures on the eve of the World Environment Day.


“In this year’s report, we have – for the first time – analysed and ranked the performance of India’s states on four key parametres. The report makes sense of the state of affairs using data that otherwise remains cold statistics. As they say, what we can measure, we can fix. The State of India’s Environment 2023: In Figures does precisely that by quantifying the problems and indicating where they are,” said Richard Mahapatra, managing editor, Down To Earth.


On the state of the states

  • In terms of overall environmental performance, the report has ranked Telangana at the top for its progress in increasing its forest cover and in municipal waste treatment. However, the state has performed below average in parametres such as “share of waterbodies not in use”, “stage of groundwater extraction” and “change in number of polluted river stretches”.
  • Gujarat, Goa and Maharashtra follow Telangana, in that order. The bottom rung is occupied by Rajasthan, Nagaland and Bihar.
  • The bottom-ranked 10 states include six from the northeast, including Assam.
  • In agriculture, Madhya Pradesh takes the top slot for the highest share of net value added, and its jump in foodgrain production. However, almost half the crop area in the state remains un-insured.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh feature on the second, third and fourth spots. The bottom is populated by Delhi, Goa and Meghalaya, among others.
  • Delhi leads in public health – it has allocated the highest share of its budget to health and boasts of a robust network of healthcare facilities. It, however, has a low immunisation rate.
  • Sikkim, Goa and Mizoram follow Delhi.
  • Madhya Pradesh, which is at the bottom, has a high incidence of maternal mortality ratio and infant mortality rate. Chhattisgarh, Assam and Uttar Pradesh also range in the bottom half.
  • In public infrastructure and human development, Gujarat leads the rankings – it makes the cut for its performance in providing employment and tap water connections. The state, however, ranks comparatively low in sex ratio and has a high proportion of rural households using unclean cooking fuels.
  • Jharkhand occupies the bottom spot, and is preceded by Nagaland, Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh.

Says Mahapatra: “Three key things emerge out of this ranking of states. One, we have found that in each theme, even the top-ranked states are struggling in some of the crucial indicators. Two, none of the states perform well across all four themes that are critical for sustainable development. And three, small states like Goa and Sikkim seem to be performing well.”


Some key findings in other areas

  • On illegal use of plastic: In July 2022, when India banned single-use plastics, the Central Pollution Control Board had rolled out a mobile application called SUP-CPCB that allows citizens to complain about illegal plastic sale and use. “A dismal redressal rate” has meant a declining number of complaints.
  • On management of municipal solid waste: In 2020-21, India generated over 160,000 tonne of municipal solid waste a day – 32 per cent of this remained accounted for. This unaccounted waste usually ends up choking drains or is burnt illegally. On the brighter side, the countries waste treatment and monitoring improved.
  • On air pollution and healthThe average life expectancy of an Indian is likely to have shortened by four years and 11 months due to air pollution in 2020. People in rural areas are likely to have been the worst hit, with their average life expectancy cut short by five years and two months. The life expectancy of their urban counterparts are nine months longer.
  • On climate disasters and extreme weather: In 2022, India experienced extreme weather events on 314 of the 365 days – leading to a loss of over 3,026 lives and damage to 1.96 million hectare of crop area. While heatwaves were common in the first part of 2022, hailstorms became the predominant extreme weather phenomena in 2023.
  • On internal displacement and migration: In 2022, the world saw over 60 million newly displaced people due to the Ukraine war and the La Nina weather phenomenon. In India, climate-induced disasters accounted for almost 100 per cent of the 2.51 million new displacements.

Where is the data sourced from? What is the methodology of analysis?

Says Kiran Pandey, programme director, environment resources unit, CSE and one of the lead analysts behind this report: “We have sourced all the data from government and official documents and sources. For ranking the states, we have looked at 32 indicators under four themes for 29 states. The report’s first chapter clearly lays down the methodology used.”

Rajit Sengupta, associate editor, Down To Earth and another lead analyst and author of the report, adds: “We identified and compiled the data, and then standardised the numbers to make them comparable. Differential weightages were assigned to the indicators, and the final scores and rankings were computed thereafter.”


 (A CSE Report)

Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

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