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Bangalore, clean and green?
Jess Buckley

Will hopes of an environmental revolution in India disappoint like their unfulfilled promise of a 'western style' toilet? (sorry, I know I have issues)

It seems that the Bangalore Government is keen to shake its image of urban India as polluted. Everywhere on the streets is environmental propoganda claiming that 'Bangalore is clean and beautiful. Please keep it that way'. Quite the contrary, but I guess they are trying, right? And it is slightly funny to see painted on the backs of Rickshaws (the main mode of transport, infamous for their clouds of black exhaust ) 'please don't pollute the air'.

But to be fair, the Bangalore Government does deserve some praise. Their most recent proposal is efforts to switch to renewable energy sources, in the form of small domestic generators using a combination of solar and wind energy atop the roofs of houses. This energy is intended for lighting, TV, but not heating. However, there are many worries that Bangalore does not have strong enough wind to support the energy required. The Government will be providing subsidies and claims that the investment (for the generator) will be recovered in 6-8 years. This is an important consideration for many Bangalorians (?) as generally they are in difficult economic situations. It will be interesting to see how successful this initiative is since there is little incentive for these people to be environmentally sustainable. Does there need to be an incentive to protect the environment?

Are the attempts made by the Bangalore Government at environmentally sustainablility genuine or is it just a new fad to be quickly tossed aside? But I don't know whether the city's fads are anything to go by as mullets are still really cool!

Environment 17th December, 2003 06:55:12   [#] 

Comments

Incentives and choice
Jess,

I kept meaning to respond to this, but didn't get a chance. This is what you get for writing right before Christmas. It is interesting that there environmental awareness is growing in India. One of the claims made by economists regarding environmental protection in developing countries, is that it is essentially a choice by individuals, that will be done once they have achieved there baser needs (such as food, and drinkable water). Therefore, as India gets richer, they will becomer greener. Noone really wants an unclean environment; it is just a trade-off for something better (by those who have the ability to do so).

Providing incentives will, to some extent, make a difference, in that they will choose more environmentally sustainable alternatives if the incentive is high enough. Using tax dollars to do so though, means that some part of the community is being forced to subsidise another part to be environmentally sustainable. Higher taxes reduce people's ability to save and invest, and therefore will slow economic growth, and perversely, make it harder for people to choose environmentally sustainable alternatives without subsidies. So, it is six of one, half-dozen of the other. But, government incentives or not, over the long-term, India will become more environmentally friendly.
Russell  1st January, 2004 14:42:18  


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