India 123rd in pollution control

Rank reflects the strain rapid economic growth imposes on environment

PTI | January 28, 2010


India has a lot of catching up to do
India has a lot of catching up to do

India ranks 123rd in 2010 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), while Iceland leads the world in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges, the latest EPI index has revealed.

Of the newly industrialised nations, China and India rank 121st and 123rd respectively - reflecting the strain rapid economic growth imposes on the environment, said the report released today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010.

However, Brazil and Russia rank 62nd and 69th, suggesting that the level of development is just one of many factors affecting placement in the rankings.

The EPI is produced by a team of environmental experts at Yale University and Columbia University. This is the third edition of the EPI, which has been revisited biannually since 2006.

The EPI ranks 163 countries on their performance across 25 metrics aggregated into ten categories including: environmental health, air quality, water resource management, biodiversity and habitat, forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and climate change.

The US is ranked 61st, with strong results on some issues, such as provision of safe drinking water and forest sustainability, and weak performance on other issues including greenhouse gas emissions and several aspects of local air pollution. .

This ranking puts the US significantly behind other industrialized nations like the Britain (14th), Germany (17th) and Japan (20th). Over 20 members of the European Union outrank the United States.

The United States' ranking does not reflect the recent policy activities of the Obama Administration, as the 2010 EPI builds on data from before 2009.

Iceland's top-notch performance derives from its high scores on environmental public health, controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and reforestation.

Other top performers include Switzerland, Costa Rica, Sweden and Norway - all of which have made substantial investments in environmental infrastructure, pollution control and policies designed to move toward long-term sustainability.

Occupying the bottom five positions are Togo, Angola, Mauritania, the Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone -impoverished countries that lack basic environmental amenities and policy capacity.

"At the Copenhagen Climate Conference last month, reliable environmental performance data emerged as fundamental to global-scale policy cooperation," said Daniel C. Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale.

"The 2010 EPI shows the potential for a much more analytically rigorous approach to environmental decision making, but substantial investments in indicators that are systematically tracked and transparently displayed will be needed," Esty said.

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