New Delhi: Complaints against cow slaughter, poor facilities for animals and tax benefits to slaughter houses topped the list of grievances sent to the environment ministry, a government study found.
These complaints account for 20% of all public grievances sent to the ministry, according to the study.
The study recommended making waste collection a part of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and also suggested that emission rates be “mentioned mandatorily on the cars to create awareness on environmental impact".
The ‘Grievance Analysis and Systematic Reforms Report’ of the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) was released by Union minister of state for ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions Jitendra Singh last week
The study by Quality Council of India (QCI), a body set up by the government and the industry, for DARPG was conducted from August 2016 to March 2017. The data reviewed by the study is from April 2015 to March 2016. During the period, a total of 9,490 grievances were received by the environment ministry and of those a sample of 950 was taken up for the study. The grievances were received through the central government’s Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System.
According to the report, complaints against industrial and vehicular pollution accounted for 17% of the grievances. Grievances against pollution control were related to industrial discharge and emissions due to burning wastes and vehicles, inefficiency in issuing Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates.
A 2016 report by the World Health Organisation found that 10 out of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world were in India.
Meanwhile, the next most pressing environmental issues for people after pollution were deforestation (13%); waste management and plastic regulation (13%); and rhino poaching (5%).
Grievances related to deforestation included complaints about tree cutting for road construction, wood and other products and poor response from the forest department. The complaints against waste management included concerns about insufficient provision to dispose of and recycle different types of waste, burning of waste due to poor disposal mechanism and requests to ban polythene bags.
Waste management is among the biggest environmental concerns faced by India today. According to official estimates, around 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year but only 43 million tonnes is collected and only 12 millions tonnes is treated. Similarly, 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated per day, but of that, only 9,000 tonnes is collected and processed.
The study noted that “the construction and maintenance of animal shelters falls under the jurisdiction of the state governments" and “essential measures to address grievances pertaining to cow slaughter and rhino poaching in Assam have already been undertaken by the government".
Stating that environmental policies and schemes directly impact each citizen, the study said, it is of utmost importance that the process is streamlined, and monitoring is strict.
It recommended that systematic reforms, including reducing manual intervention in PUC certification, ranking industrial corridors and cities to induce competitiveness and generating awareness about environmental issues, and empowering communities to check discharge of industries in their region, be undertaken.
The study also suggested collaborating with the Union ministry of rural development to make waste collection a part of the rural jobs programme.