July 19, 2024
Home » EFFECTS OF URBANISATION IN HIMALAYAN RANGES
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This article has been written by Shreya Sujal.

I have just done with my LLM Program Specialisation in Environmental Law, Energy and Climate Change from O.P.Jindal University. I did my graduation from University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Specialisation in Energy Laws. I like to do Research work. My area of Research is Climate Change, Environment and Energy Laws.

Shreya Sujal
Shreya Sujal

INTRODUCTION

The Himalaya epitomizes one of the unsettled, sensitive, ecologically fragile, economically weak, and the most lethargically populated mountain ecosystems on the earth. The uninterrupted exhilarate has led these mountain ranges highly vulnerable to large-scale significant actions and landslides and to the growths of surface removal.

With the rise in population and the growth of infrastructure, specifically expanding road linkages and merging, the region has experienced fast urban development during the recent years. The speedy enlargement of road connectivity has promoted urbanization, disclosure, and development of rural service centres and elevated access to markets. A huge segment of propagated land and other zones are being encroached upon by the procedure of urbanization and enlargement of infrastructure, facilities, resources and economic activities in the zone, every year.

The development of urban establishment in the Higher Himalayan Mountains of India, specifically in significant alive and ecologically fragile Lesser Himalayan ranges has ensued in the depletion of natural resources as well as rise of natural risks and their harshness, like, slope failures, disturbance of natural drainage and water pollution, degradation of forests etc. within the urban ecology as well as in their nearby zones. Recently, relatively less accessible zones of the region are also being damaged by procedure of rapid urbanization mainly aiming to the expansion of road linkage, growth of horticulture, gradual shift from primary resource advancement operations to secondary and tertiary sectors, and the development of domestic tourism through the advertising and commercializing of new tourist sites.

As a result , there has been huge enlargement in size, area, number and multiplicity of urban establishment in the region following the increase of urban land use (i.e., extension of urban land use in nearby agricultural area, forests and rural habitats) in urban periphery zones as well as depth of land use (i.e., rise in the consistency of covered zone, consistency of building, consistency of population; rise in the height of buildings, rise in the sound of traffic on roads and rise in the usage of energy and water etc.) in the towns.

The natural possibilities of this unplanned urban development are now clearly visible in most of the urban areas and their nearby, in the lethargically populated Lesser Himalayan ranges. It is predicted that the urban development cannot be stopped or reduced but can be drive and directed in a more sustainable method by a proper non-segregated land use management and administration. The urban growth in the Himalayan region is also having long-term concussions on the fragile ecology and environment of the urban periphery consisting of natural forests, wildlife territories and water sources such as, lakes, streams and natural springs, and agricultural land. The natural elements of the urban periphery area are being deteriorated, degenerated and drained invariably and tectonically through the extension of urban land use, deforestation, habitat demolition, mining of accumulate material for construction, waste and sewage disposal, and further changes in the traditional land use and resource management operations by the proliferate repercussion of urban development.[1]

ECOLOGICAL CHALLENGES IN HIMALAYAS

GLACIER MELTING:

Glaciers, like slow-moving streams of ice, cover many arears of the Himalayas. These glaciers are responsive and susceptible to temperature changes, and as it gets warmer, they melt and evaporate more fast.

Symptoms and testimony of glacier melting in the Himalayan regions is noticeable and distressing. Researchers and scientists have been closely observing these changes, and here’s what they’ve discovered: Glaciers in the Himalayas have been diminishing and shrivelling over the past few years. They are losing their size and density as a result of warmer temperatures. Many glaciers’ fronts, or “tongues,” are relapsing. This refers that the section of the glacier that used to increase further down the mountainside is now lesser or even sinking and receding. When the glaciers melt, meltwater streams and lakes have formed. These are clear hints of the ice melting away.

As the Earth’s temperature risen up, it leads to the melting of ice in the Himalayas at a stimulated rate. This rapid loss is very dangerous and has tectonic ramifications. These glaciers give water to millions of people in the area. As they carry on to diminish, freshwater availability for drinking, agriculture, and other uses becomes more and more uncertain.

The proof of glacier retreats and melting in the Himalayan region is fair, reliable and accurate. Rising temperatures and black carbon emissions contribute to this alarming trend.[2]

NATURAL DISASTERS:

            Himalayan region, have always been affected to natural disaster, due to the significant mountain-building procedure, like earthquakes, landslides, floods, etc. The advancement of careless growth operations has converted many natural disasters into man-made incident and calamity. Such mishaps play a very heavy negative socio-economic role on the national economy and exercise additional pressure on a previously constrained national economy.

EARTHQUAKE

Himalayan Mountains are the only ‘living’ mountains in the world as the plate significant operations churning within the Himalayas are causing extensions in its height. This intramural disturbance within the Himalayas is entirely answerable for their active tremorous nature as substantiated and verified by a large number of earthquakes crossing the full area from time to time, taking a heavy cost of life and property. Comprehensively, more than 90% of the earthquakes happening in India fall within the Himalayan mountain region and its foothills.[3] Reliably, it has been scientifically shown that the tremorous creeps in a zone through pre-existing areas of weakness and the neo-significant operations of Himalayas make it an area of weakness.[4] In past years, there were two major earthquakes have occurred in Uttarakhand which were the Uttarkashi earthquake and the Chamoli earthquake.

It is notable and acclaimed that the destruction and casualty in the event of an earthquake primarily result from the unplanned urbanization in tectonic-prone zones, which rises the disasters of life and loss of property varied. Therefore, attention should be paid in undertaking major developmental operations like human establishments, urbanization, road development projects, making of railway tracks etc.[5]

CLOUDBURST

            Cloudbursts are sudden heavy torrential rain and its rainstorm and downpour. Most of the cloudbursts occurs in the Himalayan Mountains and only few have been registered in Extra Peninsular India.

DEFORESTATION

Rampant deforestation in the Himalayas could result to the destruction of plants, birds and animal species, a biological diversity and conservation.

One of the appalling effect of deforestation is soil erosion. In the Himalayan region, the effect of soil erosion can be recognised diversely in the western and eastern parts.[6]

There is no fair proof that deforestation accelerating over the past few decades. For India as a whole, Forest Officers with help of aerial satellite data on forest biogas and biofuel, they found the opposite aspect and circumstance of reforestation. Ground-level forest surveys in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand shows that the main issue is degradation instead of deforestation.[7] Tree branches are largely chopped, decreasing tree growth and limiting vegetation. Sixty percentages of forest zones sampled displayed apex cover below the eco-friendly and renewable sustainable brink of forty percentages. In contradiction, measures of tree biogas and biofuel were not terrifyingly low – moderate primitive zone eclipsed the sustainability brink of 40 square metres per hectare.[8] While forest zones have retreated owing to developing encroachments, this accounts for a comparably small fraction of the increased times taken by households to collect firewood. Over the past one-fourth century, firewood collection times have up surged sixty percentages on moderate, but walking time to the forest increased only ten percentages. The bulk of the up surged collection time owed to deteriorating quality of the forest, with households taking longer to find firewood owing to trees being more largely chopped.[9]

CLIMATE CHANGE VULNERABILITY

The Himalayan regions are highly accessible to the impacts of climate change.[10] Rapid and unplanned urbanization is escalating the vulnerability of Himalayan towns to variation of climate change generated and caused natural hazards and disasters, like flash floods, slope failures and landslides, drought and water scarcity, and health uncertainties. [11]

The increase in high intensity of rainfall can cause persistent drought in the urban areas of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It may affect the availability, supply and quality of freshwater; and escalating the vulnerability of urban systems to climate change which leads to natural risks, specifically high intensity rainfall, flash-floods, slope failures landslides, droughts affects the devastation of life, property, urban services, infrastructure, subsistence, living and health of people, particularly that of disempowered and poor households.[12]

The speedily changing climatic conditions, specially the climate change generated hydrological extremes are enacting serious risks to the sustainability of rapid-developing urban ecosystem by accumulating the density, strength and power of geo-hydrological threats in the city and its nearby areas. The town progress plan and also the state disaster threat minimization plan and climate change adaptation framework did not make any plan for addressing the impending threats of climate change in Nainital and other cities of Uttarakhand. A broad and exhaustive climate change vulnerability assessment, aligning and surveying of the city should be carried taking into account all the crucial frameworks of disclosure, subtlety, awareness and adaptive scope and dimension of urban ecosystem including a panorama of associations and collaborators.[13]

LANDSLIDES

Landslides are termed as the group movement of stones, trash or earth down a slope displacing earthen substances on its way. Generally, they are linked with other disasters like earthquake, floods or volcanoes, including movement of earth. Protracted rainfall also leads to massive landslides, exclusively in mountain zones lacking of vegetation cover, blocking the flow of river. These river blocks, if and when they erupt, can cause massive calamity to the established downstream. Landslides are frequent occurrence in the steep and craggy states of India.[14]

FLOODS AND FLASH FLOODS

Floods are caused by uncommon accelerated rainfall of longer period. Each year, floods are listed in one segment of the country or the more. The main flood-prone zone of the country is previously identified, as yet there is a paucity of insufficient efficient plan according with the floods.

In the Himalayas, flash flood is one of the major calamity which leads to massive destruction to human lives, equity and land.[15]

IMPACT OF URBANIZATION IN HIMALAYAS

Himalayan urbanization comprises of straggling small towns with indefinitely large populations. Unplanned urbanization is developing land use and land cover substantially. Increased rainfall inconstancy is one of the physical consequence of climate change. Global warming has boosted the moderate temperature in the Himalayan region, which lead to melting of glacier and a change in the hydrological system. The superiority of towns in the Himalayas obtain their water from springs, ponds, and lakes. Urbanization in the Himalayan region is compressing and condensing the cover of these water bodies, which causes water insecurity in hilly areas.

Unusual rise in population due to huge advancement, migration and excessive arrival of tourists become a broad issue for hilly areas, which leads to huge burden on the habitation, residence and infrastructure, and accelerate the formation of more multi-storeyed buildings in hilly areas for residentiary, workplace, commercial reasons. The infrastructural amenities provided namely., sanitation, water supply, parking provisions, are currently not sufficient to indulge the heavy population.[16]

The speedy and uncontrolled urbanisation in the highest populated zones of the world has formed establishments alike other accessible to natural and man-made disasters.

Towns in the Himalayas have detonated with reference to population and area in a less than decade. But the disorganised and impromptu nature of this growth has intended that crucial urban infrastructure and apparatus have lagged behind. From Gangtok to Srinagar, bundled in the Northern Indian Himalayan Regions, branched amongst the frosty hills of the Eastern Himalayan, urban growth is concreting the mountain slopes. Entire delinquency of town planning in one of the eco-friendliest brittle and ethically distinct areas of the world has brought a host of different environmental issues.

Adverse percussion are already evident, overexert of traffic and brick stove contribute to low air quality; the shortage of waste-sewerage connections refers to massive bulks of liquid and solid waste have poised next to establishments and blend into weakening water supplies, land growth has smashed and annihilated rest of empty horticultural land, unsuited immense acceleration and below mark buildings made carelessly in tectonic and landslide-prone zones have verified dangerous.

Regardless of its position as the ‘Water tower of Asia’, max of the Himalayan’ high-altitude towns battle with scarcity of water in dry period. Climate Change and changing rain patterns have convoluted new population stress. This not only impacts drinking supply, but also has disastrous effects in zones of Hydropower.

Shortage of appropriate sewerage leaves people unsafe after massive rains. Flooding overflows towns and nearby land for a time. This can have adverse impacts on local communities, but is hardly disclosed outside the immediate area. Week sewerage and drainage connections also boost the transmission of water & mosquitoes endured infection as dormant water contaminates drinking supplies.

It is the poor who are evidently max unsafe to these changes. Deterioration of natural sources and growing shortage of food, along with the ambush of employments and an improve condition of life, have brought rush of emigrants down from mountain suburbs and into urban areas. Most of them are establish in alternative downtown. [17]

CITIZENS FOR GREEN DOON AND OTHERS Vs. UNION OF INDIA AND OTHERS

            In the case of Citizens for Green Doon and Others versus Union of India and Others, it refers to the major problem of environmental devastation caused by annihilation operations in the Dehradun Valley in India. The petitioners in this case, who are ecological advocate, environmental activists and domicile of Dehradun, argued that the rampant urbanization in the area were causing irreversible damage to the local biological community, along with the loss of wildlife, forests and water bodies.

            This case was filed in the National Green Tribunal which is a functional court in India which specifically deals with the environmental issues and concerns. The NGT ordered the State Government of Uttarakhand to create an eminent and influential board to look into the issues and provide instructions for mitigating the ecological damage.

            The board, after overseeing an extensive study, directed that all construction operations in the Dehradun Valley discontinued until an appropriate assessment for their ecological impact could be controlled. The NGT afterwards ordered a restriction on all construction operations in the valley until further notice.

This case is important as it focuses the significance of Ecological Conservation and the role of specialised court such as NGT in protecting the biodiversity. It further highlights the demand for sustainable development policies allow for the long term environmental impact of human actions.[18]

LALIT MIGLANI Vs. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND AND OTHERS

            In 2015, an Advocate practicing in the High Court of Uttarakhand filed a writ petition regarding the issue of lack of action and responses by administrative council to restrain and restrict pollution in the Ganga river. The court passed the ordered that the administrative council take initiative. Despite of giving orders by the court, no such initiative was taken, and the issue arose before the court again, and the petitioner asked for the Himalayan’s water bodies, streams, glaciers etc. to be announced as legal entities by norm with saintly rivers Ganga and Yamuna. The court agreed, and the ruling gave existence to glaciers including Gangotri and Yamunotri, rivers, lakes, rivulets, streams, waterfalls, wetlands, meadows, air, dales, jungles, forests, springs, and grasslands.

            In this case the court held, that any person causing any injury and harm, intentionally or unintentionally to Himalayas, glaciers, rivers etc. is liable to proceeded against under environmental law, common law, penal law and other statuary enactments administrating this field. The Himalayan mountain ranges, glaciers rivers etc. are required to be announced as legal entity or legal person for their universal safety, subsistence and rejuvenation.[19]

SOLID WASTE

Alongside the rising population, Solid Waste Management (SWM) is enhancing a compelling environmental threat and a rising problem, particularly in the ecologically fragile Indian Himalayan region (IHR). Nevertheless, IHR does not moderates huge regional communities, developing tourist footfall in the IHR upsurges solid wastes substantially. The shortage of proper SWM apparatus has acted a severe risk to the mountain inhabitants. SWM is difficult in the peak areas because of the area, geological structure, rising urbanization, and severe weather conditions contrast to plain regions. Adversity in administering SWM has led to inappropriate disposal techniques, like open burning and open dumping of waste, that are negatively impacting the ecologically fragile IHR. Open dumping of non-segregated waste contaminates the freshwater streams, and burning of wastes produces major toxin generally related to the glacier melt. Operations like fertilizing, vermicomposting, and anaerobic digestion to deal with biodegradable wastes are disorganized because of the areas’ extreme cold climate.[20]

The issue of SWM, specifically in hilly regions, is one of the major problem to be dealt among other environmental issues. If this rapidly increasing issue is not handled in time, it may set up, precisely or diffusely, many other terrible and incurable health risks for the visitors and the societies linked to the area. In the outlook of the current research, the quantity of dead and unnatural waste was found to be huge and most dreadful to human and livestock community. These wastes specifically in the mode of broken glasses, polythene bags, tins, etc. lasts as sprinkled in the trekking paths causing nuisance and lying under grassland and hence damaging the production of flora, herbs and shrubs.[21]

Tourists throw all types of waste on the routes reckless which led health risks to the people and contaminating the environment. Presently, unnatural waste is rapidly downgrading economy class forest cover, terraced grassland, and other human resources. Travellers and suburb people are always afraid of injury from broken glasses while walking, working and cutting grasses for pasturage.

CURRENT SCENARIO OF SOLID WASTE IN IHR

      The waste formation statistics engrossing on the IHR is deficient. Mostly effected are the 10 cities of 8 states of North-East India and 2 towns of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

The current and existing SWM structures in IHR face huge issues linked with incompetent efficiencies of solid waste compilation, transit, treatment, and clearance.[22]

Bio composting from natural wastes and redemption from unnatural should be given preference in waste management strategy. Excluding the non-biodegradable wastes, all other wastes, soon or later, are regularly perished even in the subalpine and alpine ecosystem which after dissolution indirectly outgrowth minerals and other supplements for the flora.

Land disposition demands to be avoided as far as possible mainly in the hilly area where because of the shortage of suitable land, wastes are generally dropped into the flowing streams. These hilly watercourses are the main resources of drinking water. Source abstraction and house or camp ratio, fertilizing could be possible ways and methods appropriately to handle wastes. Redemption of solid waste required to be unified into the current and forthcoming waste management strategy so as to earn the perks of preservation of natural resources, conserve of fossil fuels and increasing lifespan times of dumping zones. Critical strategy of National Solid Waste Management, particularly in city wastes, has recently been initiated with unified model plans but the stream zones fall outside the municipal limit and thus are lack of any such proper administering councils to treat the wastes. It is completely on the goodwill of travellers, hikers, campaign members and native inhabitants to look after solid waste management in these zones. SWM in hiking areas needs a concerted drill. SWM requires to be ecologically sustainable to diminish total environmental concerns. It also requires to be economically sustainable to be cost-effective for regions of the community dealt. [23]

The continued extension of urban establishments, and arrival and inflow of visitors, trekkers, and mountaineers in the Himalayas has started to act as high biotic pressure and adjuvant extensive solid waste dumping. At the end, the Indian Himalayan Region suffers.

Human-lured pollution, like solid waste, crude sewage, and local air pollution from vehicles, has been regularly rising in the Indian Himalayan Region in the absence of appropriate administration operations and deficient ground work.

TOWN-PLANNING

Fast and furious unplanned development of hilly areas, construction operations without a systematic method and idea, broad disagreements with recommended rules and directives, and extensive are reckless use of land for profitable outfits, tourist resorts have extremely and negatively affected the Himalayas’ fragile ecological community.

Unplanned construction operations are referred to cause massive and substantial land insecurities, the drying up of natural water sources, waste disposal problems, and contraction in socio-cultural values.[24]

Every outlook acquires a verge quantity to support population and system and outpacing this limit led to the degradation. This is mainly visible in the susceptible Himalayas, where geological and ecological binds which makes it vulnerable to the area. Along with Himalayan cities expanding with proper and planned urbanization, the question comes first in the is, how can their further life be protected and conserved?

While in 2023, Joshimath a village in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand witnessed a huge abatement, causing a risk to livestock and communities. Uncontrolled growth in and near by this ecologically fragile area has repeatedly experienced hatred for aggravating the susceptibility of the territory. Subsidence is responsible for the growth of cracks over more than 800 homes in, Uttarakhand.

The aftereffect involves the relocation of large number of families, which adversely impacting their livelihood.[25]

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS

The rapid growth of urban establishment in Himalayan region leads the depletion of natural resources, specifically, water, forest and biological diversity as well as rise in the incidence and harshness of natural risks. The urban growth in Himalayan region is also having long-term impacts on the fragile ecological system and environment of the urban fringe zones comprises of natural forests, wildlife habitats and water sources consisting, lakes, streams, wetlands and natural springs; and agricultural land.[26]

The aimless and disorganised urban development in the Himalayan Region, especially in geologically influential and environmentally susceptible Lesser Himalayan zones, has culminated in the reduction and deterioration of natural ecosystems, as well as a rise in the incident and harshness of urban environmental threats.

GEOENVIRONMENTAL RISKS OF UNPLANNED URBANIZATION

The fast and speedy urbanization and rise in population facilitated the formulation and expansion of a large number of slums, primarily on the brittle and weak slopes, drainage channels, and other environmentally apprehensive areas in urban establishments. The growing urbanisation and the ensuing expanded range of anthropogenic activities for infrastructure growth are aggravating slope uncertainty over disruption of natural drainage, invasion of drains, and incompetent slope preservation measures. In correspondent to some researches, the elementary reasons of slope uncertainty in all of the townships and impending cities are a shortage of adequate surface drainage and haphazard and impromptu anthropogenic interference. Moreover, the detected instability in rainfall patterns and heightened instances of very extreme rainfall are foreseen to increase the area’s accountability to a number of hydro-geological threats, counting flash floods, creeping, subsidence and landslides. Also in recent times, comparatively limited reachable zones of the study area have also been inclined to expanded urbanization, mainly due to the development of horticulture, the enlargement of the road network, and the continuing deviation from vital source growth processes to inferior and triennial territories, and the enlargement of domestic tourism over the marketing of new tourist places. The geo-environmental risks of this haphazard and impromptu urban development are today apparently noticeable in most of the urban areas and their borders, specifically in the lethargically populated Lesser Himalayan regions of the of Uttaranchal, like Joshimath, Nainital, Mussoorie, Pauri and Almora. Increase in temperatures and climate change, specifically drought and very extreme rainfall events, wrecking the groundwater regenerate and the dimension of the area’s springs and streams to procreate and induce water. Aftereffect, springs and streams are dry up, shrinking and their water release is also condensing, resulting in limited water accessible in water sources, in addition to the lakes in of the research area. Additionally, in the time of 1985-2015, 45% of natural springs desiccated, 21% turned seasonal, and stream discharge lessened by 11% in the densely urbanized highland area of district Nainital.[27] Further continual and extreme rainfall events are presently responsible for floods and landslides, mud and debris flow, and crowd migration. These actions are initiating the lakes in the area to silt up, in inclusion to destructing life, property, and crucial infrastructure. Moreover, there are major forest fires appearing and developing in and around the cities in the region by cause of a dramatic boost and inflation in temperature and an upsurge density of droughts. The water, food, livelihood, and health security of urban societies and territories specifically the distressed and other disempowered troops are being threatened by these climate change linked incident. Additionally, the cities and their nearby areas witnessing an increase in environmental and social-economic differences.[28]

 INITIATIVES OF INDIAN HIMALAYAN REGIONS

PARTICIPATORY CONSERVATION OF LAKES IN THE HIMALAYAN REGIONS

Lakes are resource of drinking water, and irrigation water in agricultural land. Lakes act as an important aspect in flood control, water distillation, and weather control.

Nonetheless, lakes are witnessing a number of hazards, with pollution and environment degradation. These hazards are simulating the health of lakes at danger and decreasing the perks they give to humans and the environment.

Participatory conservation is an operation that includes local communities in the administration and preservation of lakes. This method has been shown to be adequate in decreasing hazards to lakes and bettering their health.[29]

The Naini Lake fills in as the sole wellspring of drinking water for Nainital, a popular tourist destination in Uttarakhand. The rising flood of travellers, as well as metropolitan waste that tracks down its direction into the lake, is adversely affecting water quality. To safeguard the water body, inhabitants have carried out a logical waste disposal framework, known as ‘Mission Butterfly’ the Nainital Lake Conservation Project. [30]

ASSAM HILL AND ECOLOGICAL SITES ACT 2006

            The Assam Hill and Ecological Sites (Protection and Management) Act 2006, was enacted by the Government of Assam. Basically this act was implemented to safeguard the hilly area and to conserve the green and natural ranges from the illegal encroachers. It also prohibits the cutting down trees by cruelty and encroachment of ecological territory. The Act also specify by forming the advisory committees at the district and the state level for deriving the issuing confirmations for building construction, cutting of trees etc. at hilly areas.

According to Section 3 of this act i.e., Prohibition of damage and destruction in the designated area says that;

No individual will

       –    embrace any earth cutting operations or convey any part of a hilly area land which leads harm or annihilation of such hilly area;

       –   eliminate, top off, dig or in any capacity change any of the biological sites, and 

        –  do any such operation which may harm or abolish the vegetative cover and natural life assets of any assigned region.[31]

Section 15- Power of the Government to stop development and other activities;

According to the Government, a specific region inside the meaning of slope land or environmental sites which are not pronounced as Assigned Region is undermined with obliteration by reason of business, modern or other improvement exercises, the Public authority might arrange the stoppage of such exercises in entire area and direct the Advisory Committee to submit reports regarding the declaration as Assigned Region.[32]

BAN ON PLASTIC IN HIMACHAL PRADESH

            To enhance plastic waste management mechanism in the mountain states, the State Government on July 20, 2022, issued a notification commanding ban on use of plastic bags, regardless of their sizes and thickness, non-woven plastic bags which are less than 60 GSM and assertive plastic components having one time use under the Himachal Pradesh Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1995[33]

HIMACHAL PRADESH NON-BIODEGRADABLE GARBAGE (CONTROL) ACT, 1995

            This Act consists of the provisions with regard to the collection of waste and bans the deposit of non-biodegradable waste in public places, sewage, drains etc. Moreover, it decreases or forbids the use of non-biodegradable substances in the Himachal Pradesh.

The Act contribute for the collection of garbage through attributable and distinct wastebasket placed at suitable zone.

The Himachal Pradesh State Government shall commence studies to persuade the composition of non-biodegradable and biodegradable waste, strengthen local authorities to implement programme and scheme to recycle waste substances and stimulate energy preservation, execute and promote studies on waste management and recycling, etc.

Moreover, this act provides provision for inspection powers, offences and penalties and rule making powers of the State Government and includes a schedule descripting non-biodegradable waste.

Section 3. Prohibition to throw degradable waste in public drains and sewage: –

(1) No person, by himself or, by another, shall, purposely or otherwise throw or cause to be flung in any sewer, ventilation shaft, pipe and fittings, linked with the private or public sewerage works, any non-biodegradable waste or any biodegradable waste in a non- biodegradable bag or container are contributing towards-

(i) damage the sewage and drainage system,

(ii) intervene with the free flow or disturb the treatment and disposal of sewage and drainage constituents,

(iii) and be hazardous or cause an infliction, inconvenience or be injurious to public health.

(2) No person shall, purposely or otherwise, place or allow to be placed, unless in consonance with such operation and after approving with such securities as may be recommended, any non-bio-degradable or biodegradable waste in any public place or in a place open to public view, except-

           (a) the garbage is placed in a garbage box, or

           (b) the garbage is placed in an area specified, by a local government having jurisdiction on an area for the dumping of the garbage.

Section 8. Penalties: –

 If someone is responsible of any act or wilful breach in infringement of any of the provisions of this Act, or of any regulations, notification or order made, approved or given under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may increase to 3 months or with fine which may extend to rupees 25000/-, or with both.

Section 9. Offences by Associations: –

            If the person committing any offence punishable under this Act is a Association, every person who, at the time of the commission of the offence, was in charge of, and answerable to   the Association for the conduct of the business of the Association, along with the the Association shall be alleged to be guilty of the offence and about to be accountable to proceeded against and punished respectively.[34]

GOVERNMENTAL INITIATIVES TO REDUCE THE EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

SWACH BHARAT MISSION

This mission plays a pivotal role reducing the environmental degradation.

The Swach Bharat Mission notices and perceives the implication of sanitation in preventing the spread of illness, bettering hygiene operations, and decreasing healthcare loads. By monopolizing on sanitation, the mission targets to make a healthier and cleaner environment for the people.[35]

GREEN SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMM

            In comparison to the most particular and functional training plans, green skills back the conservation or rebuilding of ecological principle for a sustainable future. It comprises of work that preserves energy, produce less waste, low amount of pollution, and protects biological structure and biodiversity.[36]

NAMAMI GANGE PROGRAMM.

            The Namami Gange is a unified preservation programme approved by the Government of India to achieve the double aims on the adequate and effective decrease of pollution, preservation and revival of the Ganga.

The focal point of the Namami Gange will be on reduction of pollution interferences namely, interposing, deviation & treatment of waste water streaming through the open drains through bioventing/proper in-situ treatment/use of inventive mechanics/Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs)/Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs), reclamation and enhancement of current STPs and urgent short term measures for striking pollution at outlet points on river fore to protect inflow of sewage. [37]

For administering the industrial pollution, attempts have been inserted to enhance the concurrence through improved administration. Entire Polluting Factories situated near Ganga have been guided to decrease the sewerage quality & volume or apply zero-liquid discharge. Action plan for the application of these directions by Pollution Control Boards are already made and dead line have been allotted for each division of industry with detailed discussions. All the factories have to set up real-time on-line sewerage monitoring stations.

Aside from these operations, conservation of biodiversity, afforestation, and water quality monitoring are also being taken up under this program.[38]

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Present modes of tourism in the IHR are unsuitable. They change traditional eco-friendly and artistic architectonics with improper, non- artistic and more unsafe constructions, and blend other issues such as poorly steered roads and associated infrastructure, weak solid waste management, air pollution, deterioration of valleys and water sources, lack of natural resources, biodiversity, and ecosystem structure.

IHR denotes one of the most fragile and delicate human-environment structure, context that ecological carrying capacities are a crucial aspect that limit assertive modes of tourism. Tourism growth and advancement in IHR should accordingly be made over the fundamentals of sustainable tourism as conflicted to mass tourism.[39]

Fundamental aspects regarding growing sustainable and comprehensive tourism in the Himalayan Region add an appraisal of the carrying capacity of tourist destinations beyond existing and probable and budding tourism sites, growth of tourism satellite accounts to extensively measure augmentations of tourism to the State and National economy, applying and inspecting tourism division conducts for e.g., amiability, hotel and tour operators’ amenability conducts, creating essential qualities and entrepreneurship in the tourism sector through a value chain method and aftermath larger commitment of local labour pool, possible and probable business category reinvestments in preservation and local essential quality and entrepreneurship growth, stimulation of visitors, and online data on real-time carrying capacity and local application of safety and security rules to unblock tourist destinations or host visitors according to the local carrying capacity.

The collaboration with local communities in various modes needs to be displayed and reinforced in developing public-private contract plan. Business models for “Smart Mountain Tourism Destinations” could be created on the delineations of Smart Cities and the private group inspired to spend and stake in responsible tourism. Environmental computing based upon environmental adaptability, carbon footprint and recognition, that is part of eco-labelling, can strengthen the implementation of social and environmental securities in the tourism sector. Such business models require to assimilate disaster risk management for e.g., floods, droughts, earthquakes, safety and safeguard standards, water conservation, and waste management.[40]

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

     The Lesser Himalayan Region is not only the most heavily populated mountain territory but it is also most expeditiously urbanizing. In accordance with the investigation and research, rampant and unplanned urbanization has raised the vulnerability of exhaustively transformed and heavily populated uncertain slopes to active progress of mass movement and landslides in the hilly areas.

With respect to distinct areas of the world, urban growth can’t be interrupted or abated in Himalaya, although it can be directed in a more sustainable way over a unified metropolitan rural land use outlining. Adequate land use strategies require to be subordinated and carried out for the safety and preservation of forests, biological diversity, water resources and horticulture field. It would be compulsory to expand and evolve logical and practical structure for sustainable growth of horticulture in nearby metropolitan area as it is not only a significant and valuable commercial exercise, but also creates essential source of rural food, living and employment, an elemental section of tradition, history and culture, and a valuable abundance of conventional natural insight needed for adapting and mending to climate change. The impromptu urban growth in Himalaya is not only reducing ecological resources and slaughtering biosphere structure, but also accumulating the social class and environmental unfairness both within the cities and in their enclosing outskirts of urban areas. Also, the fast and haphazard urbanization is also rising the perceptivity of comprehensively altered and heavily populous fragile slopes to the active practices of mass movement and landslides. In addition, the expeditiously changing climatic conditions, specially the climate change lured hydrological extremes are imitating serious risks to the sustainability of rapid developing urban ecology by rising the density, deepness and harshness of geo-hydrological risks in the cities and their broad frontier. The climate change is expected to provoke and elicit the slope fluctuation and disturb the hydrological reign of urban watersheds which are as of now under stress of rising urbanization. The civil expansion agendas and also the state disaster risk reduction structures and climate change adaptation agendas did not make any outline for addressing the rising threats of climate change, specially the geo-hydrological calamities in rapidly developing cities of Himalaya. [41]

In considering the existing conditions of the Indian Himalayan Region, the following recommendations are made:[42]

            – An exhaustive climate change susceptibility appraisal and aligning of all the Himalayan cities should be ought to be considered all the demanding guidelines of vulnerability, receptiveness and adaptive capacity of urban environment and biosphere.

            – A comprehensive and broad range dangerous area aligning of the city should be imposed evaluating the spectrum of topography, framework, petrology, morphology, population analysis, economy, living and employment, infrastructure and services.

–  An extensive urban land use plan should be subordinated and implemented taking into protection, preservation, enriching, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation requires and priorities of the city.

– A collaborative structure for the preservation of water resources especially over decreasing changes in nature made by humans in the urban headwaters allow to implemented and subordinated.

  • An integrated climate change governance adaptation governance plan need to be

formulated incorporating the abovementioned points involving a range of institutions and stakeholders (e.g., government line departments, private enterprises, civil society and non-governmental organizations, community based organizations).

Currently environmental rules are principally ‘need based’ normally imposed to mitigate the severe impacts of advancement and urbanization on several elements of environment, so that ecological balance should not be triggered off (for e.g. with a view to control the decreasing ground water table, rules associated to ground water recharge and rain water harvesting are imposed). In conjunction with these need based building rules which should be mandatory to all growths, there is an urgency to develop ‘impact based rules’ i.e. rules based on the impact of constructing a building on the environment and the nearby zones. An inspection of feasible impacts of constructing a building on environment need to be controlled and implement the rules to balance or mitigate the impacts on biodiversity and surrounding and the rules need to be imposed on development. To develop environmental rules for hilly cities, environmental quality standards for urban and civil zones in hilly areas need to be entrenched, which should also deal with the rejuvenation of degraded environment quality in hilly areas. On the ground of these environmental quality standards different environmental rules are developed for hill cities, nevertheless to assure conformity of in force environment rules in an adequate and efficient way by taking some suggestions steps need to be look at for the establishment and application of building rules for environmental conservation, which are as follows: –

  1. Establishment of compulsory environmental rules:

Whereas the establishment of compulsory building rules for environmental conservation like rain water harvesting, energy efficient design, tree preservation, cutting of slopes, and site drainage etc. several components such as, plot area, use and building bulk require to be look at. Different provisions under every rule for environmental conservation demand to be stipulated relying upon the components like plot size, use and building bulk, so that the compulsory provisions for environmental conservation should be enacted completely in hilly areas.

2. Establishment of impact based rules:

    Impact based rules which are important for improving the environmental quality in hilly areas and to mitigate the negative impacts of growth on hill zones should be made. These rules include preservation of fertile top soil and its reuse, terrace gardens in place of lost green vegetation cover and plantation of trees. These rules are standardized and implemented based on the impact of new development on biodiversity so that these impacts should be reduced. In addition to establishment of building rules for environmental conservation in hilly areas, there is a requirement to adopt a new and adequate structure for the implementation of both need and impact based rules for environmental protection. So, that these regulations are implemented and followed effectively for environmental conservation in hilly areas. There is a requirement to propagation of knowledge or information associated to building rules for environmental conservation, so that public of hilly areas should know the several environmental rules and demands need to be accomplished for compliance with building rules. Inducements such as reduction in service charges, rebate in municipal taxes and development need to be made for buildings which adhere to the building rules for environmental conservation. Furthermore, there is a need of usual inspection of several provisions implemented for environmental conservations to determine their existing working status so that these provisions should work more effectively. Furthermore, analysis of current provisions should be made at usual basis so that advancements in several rules and provisions for environmental conservation in hilly areas should be made.

    The constructed ecological system of a settlement has a leading role in accomplishing ecological sustainability, it is damaged by type, extent, pattern and quality of buildings or constructed ecological system. A rare and particular biodiversity is present for growth in environmentally susceptible hilly areas which mentors all patterns and types of development and these conditions are not so decided in other cities of same size in another sectors.[43]

    Currently, due to rise in urbanization, hilly cities are facing issues like, overpopulation, overcrowd, lawlessness, traffic jams, intense shortfall of habitation and infrastructure, invasions, ecological deterioration in form of water, air and noise pollution, disruption to  ground water sources and surfaces, loss of flora, constant and inclination to heavy damages during natural calamities, low condition of public spaces and loss of tradition, which leads to poor living situations and degradation of environment quality. To conserve the environment in hilly areas several environmental rules associated to tree preservation, cutting of slopes, drainage system, protection opposed to earthquakes and, landslides, conservation of natural lineaments and elements and top soil protection and erosion control and rain water harvesting are imposed in different hill cities, but the issues associated to these critical concerns still remain. The refusal of building rules for environmental conservation also transmit negative impact on metropolitan ecological system of hilly areas and rendered them ecologically unsustainable and environmentally disproportionate. There is demand to, develop and implement rules for environmental conservation in hilly areas forcefully so that ecological friendly and sustainable development should be accomplished in hilly areas. Therefore, it is very important to adhere to these rules and regulations.[44]


    [1] Prakash C. Tiwari, ‘Urban and Environmental Changes in Himalaya; A Study of the Lake Region of District Nainital in Kumaon Himalaya, India’ (2007) 1935 (9160) ISSN <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225997453_Land_use_changes_in_Himalaya_and_their_impacts_on_environment_society_and_economy_A_study_of_the_Lake_Region_in_Kumaon_Himalaya_India>

    Accessed on 26 March 2024

    [2] Dr Emily Greenfield, ‘The Himalayas And Climate Change: Melting Glacier’s Implications On India’(2023)<chromeextension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/migrated/oscola_4th_edn_hart_2012quickreferenceguide.pdf> Accessed on 20 March 2024

    [3] Disasters in Himalayan Region, (Disaster Management Fair Risk Reduction Process (Reaching to People 2007)<https://mfhevents.tripod.com/id10.html#:~:text=Prolonged%20rainfall%20also%20causes%20heavy,of%20India%20(Table%201.2).> Accessed on 20 March 2024

    [4] ibid

    [5]ibid

    [6] Tenzin Jamphel, ‘Himalayan Plunder: Tourist rush threatens fragile Ladakh’ [2023]

    [7] Jean-Marie Baland and Dilip Mookherjee, ‘Deforestation in the Himalayas: Myths and reality’(2014)< https://www.ideasforindia.in/topics/governance/deforestation-in-the-himalayas-myths-and-reality.html> Accessed on 20 March 2024

    [8] ibid

    [9] ibid

    [10]Mallika Bhanot, C. P. Rajendran, ‘Himalayan blunders that are ravaging the Himalayas’.(2023) < https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/himalayan-blunders-that-are-ravaging-the himalayas/article67242063.ece> Accessed on 21 March 2024

    [11] Prakash C. Tiwari, Abhinav Tiwari and Bhagwati Joshi. ‘Urban Growth in Himalaya: Understanding

    the Process and Options for Sustainable Development’. (2018) <<https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Urban-Growth-in-Himalaya%3A-Understanding-the-Process-Tiwari-Tiwari/2c4171cb052a95e79f0f2a90857510973117ab66>

    Accessed on 21 March 2024

    [12]  ibid

    [13] Prakash C. Tiwari and Bhagwati Joshi, Challenges of Urban Growth in Himalaya with Reference to Climate Change and Disaster Risk Mitigation: A Case of Nainital Town in Kumaon Middle Himalaya, India, Dr. A.P. Dimri, Dr. B. Bookhagen, M. Stoffel, Prof. Dr. T. Yasunari, Himalayan Weather and Climate and their Impact on the Environment, Springer International Publishing, (2020)

    [14] Disasters in Himalayan Region, Disaster Management Fair Risk Reduction Process, reaching to people (2007) <https://mfhevents.tripod.com/id10.html#:~:text=Prolonged%20rainfall%20also%20causes%20heavy,of%20India%20(Table%201.2).> Accessed on 20 March 2024

    [15] ibid

    [16] Ashwani Kumar, Impact of building regulations on Indian hill towns, (vol.12, HRBC, 2016)

    [17] Beth Walker, ‘Urban peaks in the Himalayas’ (Dialogue Earth, 20 May 2011) <https://dialogue.earth/en/uncategorized/4306-urban-peaks-in-the-himalayas/> accessed 25 April 2024

    [18] Citizens for Green Doon v Union of India and Others [2021] Scribd (4) (NGT)

    [19] Lalit Miglani vs State of Uttarakhand and Others [2017] Eco Jurisprudence Monitor (1) (HC of Uttarakhand)

    [20] Aman Thakur, Sareeka Kumari, ‘Solid Waste Management in Indian Himalayan Region: Current Scenario, Resource Recovery, and Way Forward for Sustainable Development’. [2021] Front, 5

    [21] Jagdish C Kuniyal, Arun P Jain and Ardhendu S Shannigrahi, ‘Solid waste management in Indian Himalayan tourists’ treks: a case study in and around the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib’. [2003] Science Direct, 807

    [22]Aman Thakur, Sareeka Kumari, ‘Solid Waste Management in Indian Himalayan Region: Current Scenario, Resource Recovery, and Way Forward for Sustainable Development’. [2021] Front, 6

    [23] ibid

    [24] Neha Grover, ‘Urbanization in Himalayas’ (2024) <https://prepp.in/news/e-492-urbanization-in-the-himalayas-environment-notes> accessed 28 April, 2024

    [25] Development, Environment & Health: Climate Change, Town Planning

    <https://www.examrace.com/Current-Affairs/NEWS-Development-Environment-and-Health-Climate-Change-Town-Planning-1-to-15-February-2024.htm>accessed 28 April, 2024

    [26] Seema Sahdev, ‘‘Bidecadal analysis of urbanization effects and ecosystem services at Haldwani, Western Himalayas, India’. (2023) <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2352938523002070#:~:text=Haldwani%20is%20a%20rapidly%20urbanizing,et%20al.%2C%202019).> Accessed on 22 March 2024.

    [27] Manika Kweera, Prakash C. Tiwari, Kevla Nand, Dheeraj Pant and Rahul Kumar, ‘Urban Growth and its environmental risk in Himalayan under Climate Change: An illustration of the mountainous region of district Nainital, Uttrakhand’ [2023] ICJRT, 4

    [28] ibid

    [29] Rawan,‘Participatory Conservation of Lakes in the Region’ (PSC Exams, 25 February 2024) <https://exam.pscnotes.com/participatory-conservation-of-lakes-in-the-region/> accessed 28 April 2024

    [30] Neha Grover, ‘Urbanization in Himalayas’ [2024]

    [31] The Assam Hill Land and Ecological Sites (Protection and Management) Act, 2006

    [32] ibid

    [33] Vikas Vasudeva, ‘Himachal Pradesh decides to ban ‘non-woven’ plastic carry bags from Jan 1, 2023’ The Hindu (Chandigarh, 5 August 2022) 6

    [34] The Himachal Pradesh Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1995

    [35] Team Acko, ‘Swachh Bharat Mission: Transforming India’s Sanitation Landscape’ (Acko, 25 September 2023) <https://www.acko.com/health-insurance/sbm-mission/> accessed 28 April 2024

    [36] Dr Mukesh Kwarta, ‘Green Skill Development Program in India’ (Times of India, 1 April 2023) < https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/voices/green-skill-development-programme-in-india/> accessed 28 April 2024

    [37] Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, ‘Namami Gange Programme’ (ref no. 59, 2017) para 21

    [38] Ganga Rejuvenation Project <https://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/government_tr_rec/namami-gange/#:~:text=Programmes%20for%20conservation%20of%20key,improved%20health%20of%20river%20ecosystem.> accessed 28 April, 2024

     

    [39] Rajan Kotru, ‘Sustainable Tourism in the Indian Himalayan Region’ (2018) Research Gate <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327744535_Sustainable_Tourism_in_the_Indian_Himalayan_Region> accessed 28 April 2024

    [40] Niti Aayog, ‘Contributing to Sustainable Development in Indian Himalayan Region’ (2018), para 17,18

    [41] Prakash C. Tiwari, Abhinav Tiwari and Bhagwati Joshi. ‘Urban Growth in Himalaya: Understanding

    the Process and Options for Sustainable Development’, (2018)

    <https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Urban-Growth-in-Himalaya%3A-Understanding-the-Process-Tiwari-Tiwari/2c4171cb052a95e79f0f2a90857510973117ab66>

    Accessed on 21 March 2024

    [42] ibid

    [43] Ashwani Kumar, Building regulations for environmental protection in Indian hill towns,(vol.2, International Journal of Sustainable Built Environment 2013)

    [44] ibid


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