In a stinging remark on India’s pollution record, the World Bank has said India’s exports from polluting industries is increasing and more Indians are falling ill because of bad environment.
The statement comes at a time when both the US and Europe are talking about imposing a carbon tax on imports from polluting industries in India and China.
India has threatened to take the western world to World Trade Organisation for indulging in unfair trade practice if the ‘unfair’ tax is imposed.
The World Bank, in its appraisal document for cleaning the Ganga project, said the share of the most polluting sectors in India’s exports has increased dramatically during the last decade.It backed its claim with the data from United Nations on country-wise commerce and trade. The bank told HT in an email response that exports from polluting industries almost doubled to around 20 % between 1997 and 2006.
“The data is consistent with other evidence found in the literature that the share of most polluting industries in India’s exports is increasing. These are typically industries like iron and steel, chemical, paper, petroleum and non-ferrous metals and non-metallic mineral products,” the bank said.
India is not fully in agreement and has said the country’s track record on pollution abatement of exporting industries has increased in the last four years. The bank’s paper says India has initiated new policies to check environment degradation but its impact is yet to be known.
The bank also said the growing pollution footprint is negatively impacting human health and development outcomes with increase in number of cases of water borne diseases.
The bank’s claim has backing of independent government reports indicating rising water contamination of rivers and water bodies.
The Central Pollution Control Board 2009 report on water says that 34 % of water bodies in India were highly contaminated, an increase of about four percentage points in the last five years.