Friday, September 20, 2013

Blog 2: Environment Ban Reimposed on Polluted Vapi

Vapi, an estate of Gujarat, India, is reported to have high pollution levels. According to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the pollution in Vapi is so bad that they have re-implimented an industrial expansion ban on the estate. The Union Ministry rates several aspects of environmental pollution and found that the air, water, land, and ground water pollution levels in Vapi had not much changed since the ban was lifted on October 26, 2011. The Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) gave Vapi a score of 85.31. According to CEPI, a score between 60-70 is considered highly polluted.

Gujarat is one of the most populated places in India, making these pollution levels a danger to the health of its people. It was smart of the MoEF to re-impliment the moratorium, or ban, on Vapi but one wonders if the ban should have been lifted at all in October 26, 2011. At the time, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had plans to improve the environment and that was enough to convince the MoEF to allow more industrial expansion. According to environmentalists interviewed in this 2011 article,
"Lifting the moratorium was unjustified. How can it be lifted just on the basis of some projections on paper without analyzing the ground situation, which has not changed?"
It's unclear whether or not the GPCB had intended to implement its project to improve pollution levels in Vapi, but its easy to assume that they had either tricked the MoEF into lifting the moratorium or that the MoEF did not properly evaluate the area. While these assumptions may carry some merit, India is a growing third world country and is pressured to support its expanding population and has become a key player in the industrial world. Trying to keep up with these pressures as well as protecting its land and the health of its people is a challenging task. It contains many industrial districts similar to Vapi which provide jobs and economic growth for the country. Many of these industrial districts also have environmental problems and have received bans from the MoEF as well, Panipat and Ludhiana among them [source]. India's prospect to move out the third world category has come at a risk to its own land and people and hopefully these bans on industrial growth will assist Vapi and other industrial estates to find a balance between business growth and environmental protection. The MoEF should keep tabs on its high-risk areas more closely than previous years, ensuring the plans to improve the environment are implemented and providing support when necessary.

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