Urbanization cause irreparable damage to environment: Opinion


Satya Muley, Founder of Law firm – Satya Muley & Co.

The mad race of urbanization and infrastructure development has reached such a proportion that in a developing country like India, people, and the environment itself at the ground level are facing negative impacts severely.

Even in A-grade cities like Delhi, Pune, Kanpur, Jaipur, etc., we are seeing the impact of ill-planned reckless development for the past 2 decades. Yes, fast-paced development is the need of the hour for a vibrant and developing country like India to fuel economic growth.

However, one must ponder why people are protesting against certain projects in cities like Pune or Kanpur. The protestors are not against development. On the contrary, these people are in support of infrastructure development, and they want development.

What civil society is against are the development projects which are environmentally or ecologically not sustainable. In other words, people are no longer willing to accept development projects which are expected to cause irreparable damage to the environment or ecology of the region.
What happened to Sustainability?
Earlier the effects of environmental damage or climate change used to be cited only in various reports. However, the effects of such environmental damages are felt by the population in the form of warmer weather, unseasonal rains, water scarcity, severe drought and so on.

The key question is who is responsible for such a scenario?
This is nothing but a result of ignoring the concept of sustainability. Rem sustainability first gained widespread attention in the 1980s, particularly in response to concerns about environmental degradation and climate change. The origin of the concept can be traced back to the Brundtland report also known as “Our Common Future”, which was published by the U.N. in 1987.

The report defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Economic growth and industrialization were indeed the keys to progress and prosperity. However the negative impacts of unchecked economic growth began to emerge, such as pollution, deforestation and climate change, there is a growing recognition that development needed to be more sustainable.

However, in today’s India, even though the national leaders and policymakers may appear to be aligned with the concept of sustainability, the ground-level local bodies are coming up with projects that blatantly violate the local ecology and environmental balance.

Environment protection is not being taken seriously in current times in metro cities when it comes to infrastructure development.
Intergenerational responsibility & sustainability.
It is indispensable to think that we have a responsibility towards our future generations. This planet belongs to the future generations of mankind along with the entire ecosystem. We have an intergenerational responsibility to protect the planet, its climate, and the entire ecosystem.
The masses have awakened. People are conscious of their priorities. Intergenerational responsibility and sustainability go hand in hand. People have understood the positives of decentralization and the negatives of ultra-urbanization. Covid-19 has also helped people realise the importance of sustainable living.

Yet, we see many examples of projects which are in blatant violation of the sustainability concepts. Riverfront development is a craze amongst the local bodies in many cities such as Pune is nothing but a disaster in making which shall lead to uprooting several thousands of trees, and covering a large area of the river bed with concrete.

Similarly, another crazy is to rampantly dig tunnels in hills leading to disturbing natural water flows and springs. Such and many other examples in India can be considered unsustainable because these projects permanently change the ecosystem and environment of the region. Therefore, are best avoided

Corruption and Infrastructure Development.
Corruption has been a major issue in infrastructure development in India and has resulted in several negative impacts on the country’s development. Corruption has often led to poor quality of infrastructure projects in India. Use of substandard material, poor construction practices, and total disregard for the environment while planning is rampant.

It is visible many times that just the greed of money has led to the planning and implementation of some projects, without considering the actual environmental impacts, the need of the society or sustainability angle. A more robust framework to check on such practices is an urgent need of the hour.
Why Sustainability is important.
The concept of sustainability is important in infrastructure development because infrastructure projects have significant and long-lasting impacts on the environment, society and the economy. Sustainability is the practice of meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

In other words, sustainable infrastructure development aims to balance economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection.
Infrastructure development can have a significant impact on the environment, including air, water, and soil pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change. Sustainable infrastructure development aims to avoid or minimize these impacts by reducing carbon emissions, preserving natural resources, and promoting biodiversity.

Many times such infrastructure development can also have significant negative social impacts leading to the displacement of communities, and loss of cultural or geographical heritage among others.

Although many times potential economic gains are seen to be shadowed by expensive long-term costs of maintenance and operation. Sustainable infrastructure development considers the full life cycle costs from all angles.
Overall, sustainability is important in infrastructure development because it ensures that infrastructure projects are designed and implemented in a way that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising on environmental and social issues involved.

Many times the projects involve uprooting several thousands of trees which are disastrous and total ignorance of sustainability in planning. No development can be called positive or gainful if the sustainability aspect is not ruthlessly implemented.

Overall, infrastructure development in India has led to significant environmental challenges. However, the Indian government has also taken steps to address these challenges, including implementing stricter environmental regulations promoting renewable energy. Implementation of such regulations is a big question mark.


  1. Unchecked population,High Corruption at all levels, window dressing to meet present problems of infrastructure and lack of plan for long sustainability are causes of present chaos.

  2. Can laws be enacted to stop this rampant destruction of our eco-system? When civic bodies do not care, despite so many objections and demonstrations by concerned citizens, what is the remedy?
    How can one prevent the very people we voted, from succumbing to greed and selfish motives and plan huge expenditure on ill-thought projects?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here