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Updated: December 21, 2009 19:53 IST

Look at both sides

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Sushmita Prasad bats for stricter and equitable policies against environmental pollution

In recent years, while the courts have come out with strong orders on environmental issues, these verdicts have affected people's livelihood adversely.

For instance, the courts directed industries in residential areas in Delhi to close down or shift outside city limits. Many of these industries were found to be polluting the neighbourhood and the discharge of waste from these industries was polluting the Yamuna river. Most of these units functioned without basic adherence to the law of the land.

This move forced many people to look for other avenues of employment, while many others were forced to travel to places on the outskirts of the city, where the factories were relocated.

These issues came to haunt these places as well as the spectre of pollution and degradation of the natural resources spread to these areas. Moreover, the issue of worker safety remained unaddressed. Recent research on environment issues in India has highlighted the fact that growing concern for the environment among the middle classes is often at the expense of the poor. While this awareness is necessary for a clean environment, there is concern over the safety and living standards of the workers themselves.

The challenge is to look for solutions where everyone can benefit from a clean environment. This can be done by encouraging factories and agencies that use clean technology. Fines must be imposed on those units that continue to pollute. This will ensure equitable distribution of responsibility and make the world a better place.

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