While researching for this article I came across this certain Wikipedia definition of wealth. It says and I quote,” Wealth is the abundance of valuable financial assets or physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for transactions.”
So basically it says wealth is something that can be commoditized.
Well I wouldn’t term myself as a celebrated analyst, but I believe wealth is a perpetual state of being rich, prosperous and affluent; emotionally, physically and mentally. It is safe to say beggar can be wealthy and a billionaire can be miserable, given that we aren’t comparing them in view of their physical assets.
For a country, its wealth comes from its inhabitants and natural resources.
With an enormous population of 1.3 billion, India doesn’t seem to have a problem leveraging their population. With greater number of work-force, India seems to be flourishing in every sector.
But every coin has its 2 sides. While one part of the specter seems bright, the other side seems to be dwindling.
India’s natural resources seem to be perishing. Growth doesn’t always come at a price. But it did when it comes to India’s economic growth, which took a toll on its natural assets like forests, food, clean air, etc.
A report on environment accounts released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has revealed this state.
In fact, it says that when the average growth rate of gross state domestic product (GSDP) during 2005-15 for almost all the states was around 7-8 per cent, 11 states registered a decline in their natural capital. This model of economic growth may not let the country sustain the rate of development for long.
As summer temperatures soar above 40°C in New Delhi, acute water shortages are gripping parts of India’s capital. Signs of water stress are now everywhere, and residents in southern and western parts of the city have not received a regular, reliable water supply for months.
India’s rivers, lakes and drinking waters are under threat from arsenic and toxins from business waste pollution. And city sewage treatment plants are ill equipped to cope with a sudden growth of population.
Ganges, the holy river of India, is suffering the worst during the 21st century. Today, the Ganges is considered to be the sixth most polluted river in the world. The pollution has been so rampant that, by the time I have finished writing this article, stretches of over six hundred kilometers will already be termed as dead zones.
And it’s not just Ganges; our land that we very much boost upon is dying. It takes thousands of years to form an ounce of soil, and with rapid industrialization these fertile lands are becoming dead.
Erosion, compaction, nutrient imbalance, pollution, acidification, water logging, loss of soil biodiversity and increasing salinity have been affection the quality of soil all over the nation, reducing its ability to support plant life and growth.
For a country like India, where major revenue comes from farming, this particular natural resource depletion can be alarming. It would economically cripple the country and would garner major backlash.
Air pollution in India has been a serious issue. Of the most polluted cities in the world, 21 out of 30 were in India in 2019.
With lack of media attention to this particular issue, the nation has somehow ignored the plausible crisis. Alarming as it is, at least 140 million people in India breathe air that is 10 times or more over the WHO safe limit.
Every year, the day after Diwali brings the same question that we have been asking ourselves over the decade. “CAN WE PRIORITIZE HEALTHY AIR OVER SULPHER?” While this ongoing debate stirs public unrest, it happens for a particular short span of time.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of our dysfunctional relationship with the nature. The current economic system has put great pressure on the natural environment, and the unfolding pandemic has shone a light on the domino effect that is triggered when one element in this interconnected system is destabilised.
With closure of toxic industries, the atmosphere seems to be reviving to its former glory. The sky is becoming clearer, Ganges is returning to its former glory and animals are taking to the streets and roaming freely without any inhibitions. All of these remarkable changes are taking place as a result of 21-days-Lockdown.
It’s a reminder that nature also needs her fair share of holidays to thrive. Cherish the natural resources as much as you can, for if it ends all those proverbial wealth wouldn’t mean a thing in the world.
Nature is the greatest wealth provided to us from the dawn of times, I would request everyone to pay it same respect you pay to your mother.
“Within nature lies the cure for humanity.” Look after your natural resources before the next Greta Thunberg demands answers for her wasted future.
Written by:ANKITA MOHANTY