India’s Sustainability Challenge- Population vs. Pollution

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India’s Sustainability Challenge- Population vs. Pollution
13 Sep 2021
7 min read

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India, one of South Asia’s largest countries, faces multiple problems concerning the environment and sticking to the goals set by world agencies regarding sustainable development and ecological concerns. Today, India’s population stands at 1.3 billion which acts as a hindrance in its way to achieving a sustainable growth pattern and judicious use of nonrenewable resources. Another major challenge that India faces is pollution, because of huge power station factories, there is an unprecedented amount of air pollution, vehicular pollution, and unregulated waste management. #ThinkWithNiche

When one looks at India, they might feel surprised, our country is such a colorful country to look at, there’s so much it offers, a vibrant mix of cultures, various religions accommodating in one union under the length and breadth of a nation called India, yet one of the most disturbing facts is that India is struggling to meet international standards set by United Nation Organization, which has specified certain goals for countries to maintain a healthy balance of growth and sustainability. In the 21st century, a country cannot solely think of its own growth and not give any impetus to sustainability. We cannot put the lives and future of our younger generation at risk by leaving behind a planet that will not have the capability to sustain its future population.  Struggling to maintain a balance between sustainability and growth is one thing and cutting down pollution is one thing. The electricity power stations are one of the biggest causes of concern in the nation where about 97.8% of the population has access to electricity in the recent 2020 survey. Such high demand for electricity leads to high levels of coal consumption and pollution. 

Let us dive deeper into the details of how population and pollution are hindering our growth and sustainability goals-


India’s rapidly increasing population poses a risk at achieving most of the 17 sustainable development goals set by the United Nations Organization in order to secure a ‘common future’ for the present generation and those yet to be born. An increasingly high population increases pressure on land, water, mineral, natural, agricultural, human resource capital, and many other non-renewable resources. As the population increases, there is a constantly direct proportional increase in demand for housing projects, consumption of water to provide water to the increasing population, demand for agricultural land which can only be obtained by cutting down the forest covers, and the list is endless as to what happens when human demands overlook the consequences of exploiting mother Nature. If India wants to attain sustainable growth for all its citizens and provide a better tomorrow, the government and the people must actively come together and help understand the gravity of the situation and the risk we pose to the environment by not controlling the population.


Have you ever wondered why you feel the heaviness in the air when you walk into a city square or city center? And not so much heaviness in the air while you are vacationing in the hills, the answer is clear, due to booming urbanization and industrialization and various anthropogenic activities, the air quality index across India has been degrading day by day, causing major concerns at global levels and locally too. While global leaders are concerned that India’s increasingly high pollution will harm the global air quality and act as fuel for climate change, the Indian government should be concerned about the fact that a staggering 1.7 million Indians died due to air pollution in 2019 alone (according to a Lancet Report). Each year this number is increasing and posing a greater and scarier risk to our future generation and ringing alarm bells everywhere. If India wishes to provide its citizens with cleaner and better quality air, then strict measures should be taken into action so as to adopt sustainable patterns and lifestyle choices. 

The government and people across India must come together and fight against these two common enemies, population and pollution and welcome the measures of sustainability with open arms and a global mindset. 

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