Though it is known to him that ‘Nature is all Powerful and Paramount’, Man is not yet in a mood to put limits to its cruel exploitation. On one side “developed” countries have been exploiting natural resources since the advent of industrial revolution in 18th century and on the other, “developing” countries have their own legitimate reasons of exploitation in order to overcome their national backwardness. ‘Sustainable Development’ term, hence, derived in 1987 from ‘Brundtland Report’ to find the mid way and strike a fine balance between developmental concerns and environmental conservation.
Almost all countries that are members of the ‘United Nations General Assembly’ (UNGA), including that of India, have adopted ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ (SDGs) as an integral part of their developmental strategy. But the recent mammoth flood-damages caused due to very heavy rains in the areas of Pune district of Maharashtra and northern plains of UP, Bihar have shown that these goals remain only on paper. While at least 20 people have been killed in Pune district area due to various rain-related accidents that happened on 25th September, the figure has so far crossed the mark of 113 in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by Monday, as reported by Reuters news agency. The massive destruction caused in the city of Pune is also a fatal blow to the flag-ship ‘Smart City Mission’ of Government of India. Poor sanitation planning, haphazard construction activities and improper waste management have all added up to the choking up of rainwater. As a result of natural flow of rainwater is choked, the water started flowing into the human habitations causing destruction of roads, houses, public infrastructure etc. Moreover in such disasters the most hit and most vulnerable are the poors living in slum areas. Most of the deaths caused in Pune city were from low lying areas of Sahakar Nagar and Parvati payatha, where people live in dangerous conditions in unsafe shanties.
While at the micro-level it may seem that the problem is only about ‘planning and response’, the underlying cause is much bigger and global which Greta Thunberg, a 16-year Swedish girl, is fighting for i.e. ‘Climate Change’. It is high time now that both sides – the developed and developing countries -should join hands together against this common enemy and fight to save the planet. The first and foremost step in that direction is to recognize the gravity of the danger of Climate Change.