Barriers towards cleaner production
Contd from previous issue
In response to these notices, owners of the industries with the help of outside experts find out temporary solution with little financial investment just to fulfill the legal requirement not “real” requirement. As a result, actual compliance status over time remains well hidden and thereby environmental and social problems remain unattended. One of reasons may be vested interest of the concerned officers entrusted for verification of the report. Otherwise why water, air and soil are still so much polluted?
In this context it may be mentioned that the majority of residents are poor and do not have access to higher authority for solving their problems as well as they are not well educated to explain their sufferings to media/press highlighting ecological crisis created by these industries. Government has already launched various projects to remove the poverty, to educate the people, to provide health facility and to create environmental awareness among the people to highlight the pollution problem but implementation status of these projects is not always satisfactory. This has resulted environmental and social problems to alarming proportion in many industrial clusters in India and simply visual inspections supplement these findings.
Limitations in government’s actions to solve the problems are not disseminated via media for public awareness for various reasons. More over accountability of government employees for implementing the projects in terms of success and failure is not properly evaluated because knowledge and hardship required for evaluating degree of success are practically lacking.
This problem in regulatory organization, may be attributed to top management persons because they often recruit either new scientists/engineers or retired government engineers/scientists on the basis of political connections or bribes or nepotism to look after activities related to environment management but their style of management clearly exhibit impassivity towards CP implementation because of their poor technical capability.
Whereas huge potential offered by the country’s young population is far from being leveraged. Also many highly qualified young scientists/engineers refuse to take up the challenging works related to environment management in these organizations because of the lack of knowledgeable and skilled experts to guide the newly recruited personnel, hostile environment and bureaucracy.
This is really a disturbing situation. Thereby, India needs innovative minds to meet its formidable challenges. For this, both the state and central governments should take urgent action and must appoint highly qualified, broad-minded top most officers, who will recruit qualified competent engineers/scientists and give them state-of-the-art technology based on sound scientific evidence with no external interference. Fixing our organization system will require a complete overhaul of the recruitment system, changes in environment policy and implementation of CP concept in these SMEs. According to UN Environmental Progrmme (UNEP) CP is the continuous application of an integrated, preventive environmental strategy towards processes, products and services in order to increase overall efficiency and reduce damage and risks for humans and the environment. However this will be difficult with the present disconnect between science and policy in these organizations.
My experience clearly established the economic efficiency of CP through incremental innovation based on production process optimization and thereby the payback period of investment towards CP technology was short. Unfortunately, in India actual level of implementation of CP in industries in particular all SMEs as found in other countries to deliver environmental advantage is not determined. Therefore, evaluation of actual environmental and economic performance improvement is an emergent need to maintain sustainable industrial development, social welfare, social equity and sound ecosystem. In India, the manufacturing industries and the government can play major role in this sustainable development. However, community pressure followed by enforcement of environmental acts and regulation has slowly changed the attitude of these industries but over all success towards consistent compliance is still a distant dream.