Are not poverty and need the greatest polluters?

In the global level, environmental protection started gaining attention in the early 1970’s with the UN Conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm (June 1972). The then prime minister of India, Ms. Indira Gandhi was the only national head of a guest country to be present at the historical conference. The other head of state was the Swedish prime minister-the host. At this conference, Ms.Gandhi shocked the audience to attention by asking Are not poverty and need the greatest polluters?” She had forcefully stated that "the environment cannot be improved in conditions of poverty".

Here is an excerpt from her talk, "Unless we are in a position to provide employment and purchasing power for the daily necessities of the tribal people and those who live in or around our jungles, we cannot prevent them from combing the forest for food and livelihood; from poaching and from despoiling the vegetation. How can we speak to those who live in villages and slums about keeping the oceans, the rivers and the air clean when their own lives are contaminated at the source?”

So what do you think about this? And as Indians where are we today, 35 years down the lane? I would love to hear your take on this.

3 Comments:

Kavi said...

Oh yes! She was right after all !

What about the rest of us. The ones who drive the cars and fly the planes, turn on the lights & taps...

The tribals are less than a 1-2 % of our population ! The rest of us contribute to maximum pollution !

Arun said...

Things are a lot different between then and now. But even today, if Ms.Gandhi were in the seat of power, she would probably say the same. She probably wanted to drive with a successful presentation rather than have a concern to address the problems.

Greatest pollutions of today's world come from the rich - the cars, the industries and consumerism. Forest usage of tribals is hardly anything compared to all the destruction that goes for 'development' - dams, power lines, roads and big cities.

Sachi said...

well whn I see.. its not just the need that gets to tbe teh greatest plluter... it is also those hi-fi oil guzzlers (vehis), the CFC, that is not so accessible to the tribals that form a major role... I agree with arun on that...