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Challenges of Green Technology in India

Image showing challenges of Green Technolgy

Green challenges in India can be termed as a combination of two such challenges; the first being environmental challenges which refers to air, water, and land pollution. The second challenge is towards the supply-chain challenges which deals with the challenges of producing a sustainable economy by reducing the environmental impact through various green technologies. Together these challenges form the triad of environmental degradation, supply chain, and financial challenges.

Environmental challenges refer to four main areas which are agriculture, forestry, tourism, and recreation. These challenges are collectively termed as the ‘Green Technology triad’. There is a mismatch between supply chain management, degradation due to inappropriate utilization of natural resources, and the demand for Eco-friendly solutions. This creates the need for green technology which is to be applied at the grass-root level to reduce the environmental impacts.

The challenges of green technology in India are manifold. If these problems are not addressed, the green technologies will be rendered obsolete before they have had the time to prove their worth. The key is learning from the mistakes and then trying to improve on them. Let’s take a look at some of the key challenges facing India as it seeks to adopt green technology in various sectors:

With the release of a new environmental report in the UK; “Green Technology, Green Economy”, the global community is being presented with a series of important opportunities. These opportunities have the potential to revitalize our economy, improve our environment, and create more sustainable societies. Green technology encompasses many sectors; from recycling to aerodynamics and from geothermal to energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, our modern world is looking to the future with an open mind. In this article we will look at some of the challenges facing the triad. In future articles I will look into some of these challenges and solutions, but for now I hope to provide an introduction to the new report and the triad in general.

Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the largest contributors to air pollution in the country. The pressures on the environment due to the ever-increasing food demands coupled with severe climatic changes have created new challenges for the farmers of the country. These challenges have become even more acute in the aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis. Since there is no viable option to expand the production areas to meet the rising demand, one has to look forward to sustainable management of the environment in terms of preventing damage to the environment by using appropriate techniques and products.

Forestations, depleted soil, poaching of wildlife, pesticides, and fertilizers are some of the environmental challenges faced by the agricultural sector. Degradation of the soil, over planting and other related issues have resulted in the reduction of the nutrient content in the soil leading to the barren lands. This has further pushed up the cost of production, leading to further reduction in the green technology market share. Since there is no alternative to the traditional farming system, farmers are forced to adopt modern technologies to increase productivity and save the loss caused due to degradation of the soil and natural resources.

A good example of one of the challenges faced by the farmers is the increase in pests due to the increased use of chemicals in the agricultural fields. Farmers often use insecticides and pesticides to increase the productivity of the plants without considering the impact on the environment. These chemicals do not have a Green Technology component but are known to be very harmful to the environment. One solution to increase the production while protecting the environment is the use of integrated pest management systems that use the latest technology and inputs from agro-ecology, eco-tourism, and tourism to control the pests effectively.

Another challenge faced by the farmers of the country is water resource management. Water is a very important commodity for agriculture to survive. For the farmers to make a profit out of every yield of the agricultural produce they have to use the optimum amount of water to grow their crops at the right time. The use of the right technology to control pollution in the water system has emerged as a great solution to these challenges.

The use of technology to control pests and improve water management has become popular. Another challenge facing the farmers is related to the pesticides that are used for controlling weeds. Chemical fertilizers are known to be one of the leading causes for environmental pollution around the world. The farmers of the country are suffering from this problem as they do not have any alternative for using this highly effective technology without affecting their crops or livestock. Chemical fertilizers are being replaced with the Green Technology because it does not cause any harm to the environment and promotes the productivity of the agricultural production.


Water Resources

With growing population, the demand for fresh and clean drinking water increases day by day. With increasing population too, the consumption of fresh water also shoots up. The challenges in Green Technology are found as per the increasing population and the unavailability of potable water is a big challenge faced by the government of India. But still, there are some major improvements are seen in the scenario of water resources in India, which are not going to be touched for many years. There are some small and large-scale hydropower projects are being planned to meet the requirements of the present scenario of development in the country.

The challenges in Green Technology faced in the country are more on the environmental front than on the resource management front. For allure sake, one cannot ignore the importance of the environment to be healthy and safe. There is a need to use the environment optimally for the use of the available natural resources. With a heavy dependence on the natural resources, India is being called as a green continent.

The challenges in water resources in India can be surmounted with adequate use of green technology. The implementation of the technology is increasing with an aim to save water, land, and energy for future generations. There are many upcoming hydroelectric power plants, which are expecting to bring enhanced utilization of natural resources and for generating electricity at a cheaper rate. These projects are going to play a vital role in saving the precious water resource of India.


Air Pollution

The challenges of air pollution in India are huge and it is the responsibility of the government to bring about a drastic change in the rate at which the rate is increasing. This is because, if India continues with this rate, very soon the health problems will increase and the pollution levels will increase even more. The biggest challenge faced by us all as human beings is the fact that we do not see the interconnectedness of everything that surrounds us. For example, while you might be concentrating on saving one bird on a rooftop, you might actually be oblivious to the fact that there are 20 birds above you on the same rooftop who are suffering from hunger and need urgent help. Such kind of isolated view of the world often leads to wrong judgements and solutions that do not benefit anyone.

One such example of connectedness is the use of green technology that is being increasingly used across various sectors. For instance, it was a taboo to use green technology in automobiles but now, nearly every car manufacturer is using green technology in their automobiles. Similarly, it was almost impossible to use computer generated wind power for generating electricity, but now you can easily generate your own electricity from wind energy.

Apart from these examples, the challenges of air pollution in India also include the ever increasing sources of toxic chemicals being used in the country. These chemicals can badly affect human life and especially the young children who are the most affected by these toxic chemicals. Again, the environmental challenges cannot be solved using only one technology. The best solution that has been proposed till now is the combination of different technologies to minimize the pollution. But, while doing this, it is important that the right policies are introduced in the polices so that these pollutants can be reduced to a maximum level.


Energy Security

Challenges of energy security in India are increasing day by day due to rise in population, unavailability of domestic fuel, and resultant scarcity of affordable power. The governments at both the state and national levels are looking forward to promote green technologies for meeting this energy crisis. Among numerous such initiatives being considered to harness energy resources, solar energy has attracted great interest with several countries like France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and UK providing subsidies in the form of tax holidays and credits. Similarly wind energy is also attracting attention from several countries. The main challenge is to provide efficient means of accessing energy to remote areas that are not served by traditional power supplies.

However, it appears that political will may be lacking to put into place an effective mechanism for promoting green technology and encouraging the development of green technology sectors in India. The main reason for this is the lack of a viable energy policy or a clear vision by the government to promote such sector. It is believed that a key to resolve the challenges of energy security in India lies in the gradualurnance of public attitudes. The main reason why public acceptance is slow in developing new energy technologies is the lack of awareness among masses regarding the need of such resources. This also explains the reason behind continuing failures to introduce environmentally friendly schemes and policies in the public sectors.

In the recent past there has been a radical shift in attitude among the people towards using alternative sources of energy and green technology. The major reason behind this change is increasing calls by environmentalists for an eco-friendly world. The proponents of green technology believe that without the use of such resources, the world will end up being polluted and unlivable. Therefore, steps are required to develop a secure and improved technology for harnessing renewable and non-exhaustive resources for meeting the challenges of energy security in India.


Wildlife

With the rapid expansion of human settlements and development in different sectors, it is expected that there will be a surge in the growth of Wildlife in India. The exponential increase in population in the country has created massive changes to the natural habitats of the various species of wildlife in India such as jungle, wild-life sanctuary, national parks, etc. These changes have been brought about by the impact of human activities on the habitat of various species of animals and plants, resulting in a collision and conflict between the settlers and the native species, along with degradation of the eco-system and eco-tourism and promotion of hunting. These pressures lead to emergence of numerous challenges to the existing biological diversity in the country, which needs to be tackled effectively for conserving of wildlife and promoting eco-tourism in the country.

One of the most important challenges faced by the Indian wildlife conservation system is the impact of habitat loss and rapid urbanization on the various species of animals and plants that are found in the Indian wilderness and are used for food, medicine, clothing, etc. In fact, according to a recent estimate, at least fourteen threatened species of plant and animal have been lost due to habitat loss and poaching, mostly large mammals such as buffalo, deer, elk, rhinoceros, lions, etc., due to increase in agricultural activity, rapid urbanization, and other non-natural human activities. This significant increase in the human activities in Indian habitat has also led to increase in the number of fires in the dense vegetation, especially in the grasslands and agricultural lands, thereby leading to the rapid spread of infectious diseases and other unhygienic practices leading to the emergence of numerous transmissible diseases among the wildlife species.

To overcome these challenges and to promote the conservation of wildlife in India, there are several approaches and techniques being used for the same. One of them is through the utilization of innovative green technology and integrated conservation planning. Through this strategy, environmental professionals are being trained on how to incorporate green technologies in various projects to save nature. Another challenge faced by the wildlife in India is the degradation of the wetlands due to non-users, lack of sustenance, etc. Rapid development in cities has paved the way for intensive development of rural areas and no efforts are being made to conserve the wetlands. Hence, there are several other challenges faced by the wildlife in India, which calls for an exclusive agency that would help in conserving the valuable natural heritage of India.


Transport Infrastructure Development

The challenges of transport infrastructure development in India can be understood only when one realizes that the recent past has been tumultuous for the Indian subcontinent. The last decade has seen unprecedented levels of growth but at the same time saw rapid growth was accompanied by challenges in transport infrastructure development. These challenges in the form of unavoidable circumstances like increasing competition from within the subcontinent and the absence of requisite infrastructural developments took their toll on the prospects of sustainable development.

But, now the winds have changed. With the introduction of transparent technologies like ‘green technology’ and’ smart technology’ there is a serious attempt to focus on developing infrastructure on the lines of ‘infrastructure for excellence’, ‘cream technology’ or ‘innovation culture’. These concepts are meant to ensure that development moves in the right direction and that there is no place for infrastructural constraints. It is to be noted here that these were actually developed by Indian Institute of Technology in partnership with Pricewaterhouse Coopers – one of the leading global management consultancies. This led to an innovation model known as the Triad of Champions, which was later adopted by several other Indian transportation sector organizations, which later merged to form the ISIT.

At the current time, the challenges in green technology and challenges in transport infrastructure development in India are mainly faced by the developers and suppliers of petroleum and allied chemicals. The main factor behind this is that most of the developing nations have a dependency on petroleum and other chemicals, which has made them vulnerable to any kind of economic slowdown. Most of these nations either export their raw materials or buy from China. If the country’s commodity price decreases, it will directly hit the revenues of the country. At the same time, if the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is hampered by excessive infrastructural investments in traditional forms, it will become more difficult for it to attract investors and find customers to fund its growth.


Disabilities

The global challenges of disability in green technology are forcing the disabled community to move with the times and make use of such technologies which are accessible, efficient, and highly flexible. India is at the threshold of exploiting these technologies for the benefit of the disabled community. The Government of India is taking initiatives to facilitate the disabled community in accessing new technologies and equipment for their empowerment. These equipments and technologies will be of great help in breaking the barriers of disability in accessing the modern world.

Government of India has taken the lead in providing funds for the development of disability-friendly technology. Special interest groups like Vocational and Disabled Schools, Inc. and Adaptive Technology for the Emotionally Disabled, Inc. have been given financial support to set up centers for the development of disability-friendly technology. They are all involved in creating the technology that will be user friendly, affordable, and convenient for the disabled people. They will also be able to work with the developers and provide useful inputs in the designing process of the product. This would ensure its use in the mainstream market, where it can be accessed by the masses.

The utilization of the innovative tools and technologies for the development of disability-friendly technology and equipment would ensure a level playing field for the disabled in accessing the modern world. These equipments will also be made accessible to all the lower-income group members so that they can also access this technology. The equipment developed by the specialized organizations will be able to withstand the regular wear and tear that is normal in the everyday usage of a computer and other electronic gadgets. The development of green technology and equipment would ensure the full participation of the disabled in this technologically advanced and socially progressive country.


Conclusion

Challenges in Green Technology have forced us to rethink the way we think, act, and build our future. A paradigm shift is taking place and changing the face of industries and establishing a new energy scenario in developing countries. The green revolution will define human life not only in the fields of technology and medicine but also in the social realm. It is important for all of us to come up with an integrated strategy to tackle these challenges in the shortest time possible and bring about lasting change and prosperity.

What do you think?

Written by Ashoke Das

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