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The viewpoint

The sector, that indirectly contributes to impact our environment adversely.


India has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies of the world. The liberalization policy adopted by the Indian Government in the year 1991 coupled with the demographics, has led India to achieve robust growth in manufacturing and service sectors. There were times when India’s growing population was a cause for concern. No one had ever imagined that rising Indian population would, one day, turn out to be a blessing in disguise.


In the year 2008, when most of the countries were under the gloom of recession, India kept itself afloat amid rising demand projected by its massive population of more than a billion. It can be clearly seen that growth is where the demand is. But, somewhere down the line it puts adverse impact on the environment, no matter how enthusiastic the scenario looks from growth’s perspective. Also, it is evident that under the influence of western culture we are stealthily going under transition from conserver economy to consumer economy, which has eventually become a major threat to the environment.


In the past decade, with the rising demand of Indian population, Ports across India have witnessed massive increase in their cargo handling activities. Although, Port sector is not a manufacturing industry, it is required to comply with environmental laws like any manufacturing unit has to because the port sector and the manufacturing industry are closely linked and intrinsically dependent on each other. Any port serves as a portal from where the raw material required for the manufacturing units can be brought in and the finished goods can be sent out. In the wake of improving standards of living, there is considerable rise in the demand of consumer goods and to make both ends meet, for the port as well as the manufacturing sector to consider capacity expansion has become necessary. As such, in the past couple of decades private players too have ventured into the port sector, the field, which otherwise, was under the sole control of Government of India.


Education, employment, housing & health converge into a spectrum of social development. To bring the world economy in a better shape, recently, the term ‘inclusive growth’ has been coined up and governments across developing countries formulate policies so that more and more number of people can be brought within the spectrum of social development. In India itself, the sign of change can be tracked down considering exponential growth in sales of two-wheelers, cars, heavy vehicle and, most importantly, the way the cost of land has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. It clearly indicates that going forward, to cater the rising demand of Indian population, the entire port sector is set to witness tremendous rise in their cargo handling activities.


There is no doubt that going forward, from the growth perspective, the scenario appears to be very promising. But the question is, doesn’t it indicate the need for a new approach to environmental policies and ecosystem management that has emerged in line with the evolving concept of sustainable development? With y-o-y rising figures of tonnage handled everyone who is associated with the port sector, should be equally concerned about the impact these activities can put on the environment. Therefore, to keep the pollution under check, carrying out environmental study on regular basis is the need of the hour. Since, any port would handle variety of commodities which may include wooden logs, coal, scrap, edible oils, fertilizers, petrochemicals and hazardous chemicals, etc., in order to mitigate the adverse impact on environment, there is a need to adopt an eco-friendly technology so that undesirable material which ultimately flows down into the sea can be minimized to a desirable extent since, in the end it is the marine life – the sole indicator of the health of the environment we live in - gets affected by the unwarranted activities that human beings conduct for their selfish materialistic goals.

Posted on March 13, 2012 by arun ramesh khatri