Business Standard

Adoption of energy efficient practices is key for sustainability

Embracing sustainability as a strategy makes good business sense as it saves costs in the long run

Mahathi Parashuram 

CSR image via Shutterstock.
Image via Shutterstock.

With a population of over 1.3 billion, India will soon become the most populated country in the world. Along with this exponential population growth, India is desperately trying to cope with the environmental fallouts such as air and water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and floods.

Research data shows that over 60 percent of the diseases related with respiratory infections are due to exposure to air pollution. The outdoor pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide comes mainly from power plant emissions, vehicle exhaust and construction. According to this report, children in cities with a population greater than 10 million are exposed to greater levels of air pollution than the acceptable levels by World Health Organization (WHO). 

The availability and pollution of water are also major concern areas for India. According to WaterAid, almost 80 percent of India's surface water is polluted. The shocking fact is that many of these waterbodies are located near human habitation. This will not only lead to environmental issues but severe health issues as well. The per capita water availability in the country has come down by 70 percent from 1951 to 2011, just in a span of 60 years. While growth of population is one of the main reasons for this, the over exploitation of ground water is making matters worse as per the Central Ground Water Board.  As a result of the increasing utilisation of water for economic activities, the quality and quantity of water in many rivers are at a threateningly low level as well. Given that by the end of 2050, the population of India is expected to be around 1.6 billion, it can further affect the per capita water availability by then. This will result in not be enough water being available to meet the domestic, agricultural and industrial requirements. 

One of the biggest reason for pollution in India is urbanisation with a lack of proper planning and designing. Though the rate of urbanisation has grown at a fast pace, it has severely affected India’s environment. A recent example of this is the 2015 floods in Chennai. Nearly 280 people died in the flood and several commercial buildings, including Chennai International airport, were closed for more than three days in a row. Unrestrained construction, lack of sufficient waste disposal systems and drainage designs without proper reinforcement were the main reasons behind this dreadful disaster. 

We need to focus on protecting the environment by promoting The first step here is to create individuals and communities have a mind-set along with structured planning, designing, action and policies by the Government. We need to have short-term and long-term measures in place to mitigate the environmental challenges.  

Moving to cleaner and greener energy is a great way to protect the environment. Increasing the utilisation of renewable energy would allow us to replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce the CO2 emissions. Today, most businesses consider as a vital part of strategy and growth. Adopting as a strategy makes good business sense as well, as it saves costs in the long run, attracts more investments and customers. 

An easy way to promote urbanisation and manufacturing while focusing on is to adopt practices and solutions. For example, most people are not aware that consume around 10 percent of the world’s energy. Therefore, if we were to replace all the inefficient with efficient ones, we could easily save up to 5 percent of this energy. To save energy and reduce electricity costs we need to opt to use electronic appliances, which have Energy Efficiency Star Labelling (S&L). 

To reduce water pollution and increase the per capita availability of water, citizens should start promoting the three R’s water concept - reduce, reuse and recycle. Simple actions such as, aerating your faucets, investing in a dual-flush toilet, choosing efficient shower heads, and opting for a water sense rated dishwasher and washing machine can immensely reduce the usage of water. Try reusing the water instead of simply wasting it. 

All the stakeholders, the government, corporates, civil society, communities, institutions and individuals have a key part to play in creating and sustaining not only our economy but our environment as well. Further neglecting the environment will not only destroy what we have and are working towards building, but this damage may become irreparable. This is a good day as any other to start or recommit to conserving the environment, nature and the future of our planet!
Mahathi Parashuram, regional head - public affairs, communications & relations, Grundfos