News / Economy

World Bank: India Can’t Grow Now, Clean Up Later

An employee sorts pieces of cloth at the Estee garment factory in Tirupur, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, June 19, 2013.
An employee sorts pieces of cloth at the Estee garment factory in Tirupur, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, June 19, 2013.
Aru Pande
— Economists say India can not continue on an a path of "grow now and clean up later." The World Bank has released the first national assessment of the impact of environmental degradation on India's economy.
 
India, like its neighbor China, has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth for almost a decade and recently surpassed Japan as the world’s largest economy in terms of purchasing power.
 
But the World Bank said this growth and its impact on the environment do not come without a price tag.
 
In a study commissioned by the Indian government, the World Bank found the annual cost of environmental degradation amounts to $80 billion or roughly 5.7 percent of India’s Gross Domestic Product.
 
The report focuses primarily on the impact on people’s health of pollution from burning fossil fuels - for example, an increase in cardiopulmonary disease among adults living in polluted urban areas.  
 
The World Bank found nearly 25 percent of child mortality cases in India can be attributed to environmental degradation and its effect on the country’s water and sanitation systems.
 
World Bank Environmental Economist Muthukumara Mani said quantifying the environmental sustainability of growth can help save lives and money.  “The productive part of the population that gets impacted from air pollution in the city, if you can save them, it is going to add up in terms of productivity, in terms of GDP.  That is something, that I would say, is a major finding of the study,” he stated.
 
The World Bank said low-emission “green-growth’’ is not only necessary, but is relatively inexpensive when looking at the larger picture.  Reducing air pollution and particle emissions by a third would lower India’s GDP by only seven-tenths of one percent.
 
The report’s author, Muthukumara Mani, said he was surprised how at how even small steps a country takes can have a big impact on the environment in the long term.
 
“Improving the efficiency of a power plant, which is a major cause of air pollution in India.  For example, washing coal is a simple process - not too expensive - which can also help in not only improving the efficiency of coal, but also save a lot of lives,” said Mani.
 
The World Bank has already put out such assessments for countries like Ghana and China, and hopes India’s government will realize there should be no trade-off between economic growth and protecting the country’s natural resources and the health of its people.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.