Shreyas Piplani

 Author is a Law Student, FIMT, New Delhi

“All our efforts to defeat poverty and pursue sustainable development will be in vain if environmental degradation and natural resources depletion continues unabated.
– Kofi Annan

Development is the foremost important aspect of the country. Every nation aims that its development must take place at a very rapid rate and should progress exponentially. In the present century almost all the countries present on the globe has undergone a lot of economic changes. No doubt, the method of the development which the mankind has followed is necessary for the growth of the country but at the very same time reckons the environmental balance of the world. The technological and industrial developments have improved the economic conditions of the mankind by altering the ecological balance. Industrialization, urbanization and erosion of the soil have affected the natural environment adversely.[2] Particularly, when we talk about developing nations like India which holds the second largest population of the world, counting approximately 1.37 Billion people.
India is currently facing a huge economic and development crisis and if the problem persists the citizens of the country would have to face a lot of economic problems. Highlighting the fact that approximately 35% of the Indian youths are unemployed even after completing their graduations. The families are still not having enough income to support their livelihood and if the development of the country and its citizens is not given ample importance, its people would starve to death. But the environmental problems which the whole globe is facing must not be neglected at all. India is also witnessing a lot of environmental degradation and if not taken into consideration seriously would lead devastating effects. So, what should be done? Should we protect the environment at the cost of the development of the society or mainly focus on the development of the society and ignore the environmental degradation. This question has been a debatable topic and has been advocated since a long time by various visionaries of the world.
What if, you are made to choose between the left eye or the right eye. Which one would you choose? It’s pretty obvious, both of our eyes are equally important and even if one eye gets damaged our life will become miserable. Likewise, both the aspects environment and the development should be treated equally. For this, the practice of Sustainable Development is to be followed and it has become a need of the hour for us to practice it else the doomsday is near.

The practice of Sustainable development means that the development of the society must take place in such a way without compromising and hampering the needs of our future generations. Our country India has been laying a lot of emphasis on the practice of sustainable development and it has been ranked 57th globally for practicing sustainable development. The court in the case of Citizen Consumer and Civic Action group v. Union of India, observed that while the court has social accountability in the matter of protection of the environment there should be a proper balance between the same and development activities, which are essential for progress. In short, there can be no dispute that the society has to prosper but it shall not be at the expense of the environment. In the like vein, the environment shall have to be protected, but not at the cost of development of the society. Both development and the environment shall co- exist and go hand in hand, therefore, a balance has to be struck and administrative action ought to proceed in accordance therewith, and nor de- hors the same.
Nowadays, the child from the very beginning is taught the importance of the environment and a need to conserve it.  The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of M.C Mehta v. Union of India, has directed the states and other educational authorities to create environmental awareness amongst students through medium of education, to introduce compulsory education on environment and directed the NCERT to prepare a module syllabus to be taught at different grades and submit the same to the court.
It is to be kept in mind that both development and environment must go hand in hand, in other words, there should not be development at the cost of the environment and vice versa, but there should be a development while taking due care and ensuring the protection of the environment. A person must not be oblivious of the very fact that the natural resources have got to be developed for the purpose of social development but one cannot at the same time that tapping of resources has to be done with requisite attention and care so that the ecology and the environment may not be affected in any serious way. It has to be always remembered that these are the permanent assets of mankind and are not intended to be exhausted in one generation.

 “What is the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on”
-Henry David Thoreau

[2] B.R. Jindal, K.L. Toky and Paramjit S. Jaiswal, Environmental Studies, 292-293 (1997).