This article was written by Vrinda Chauhan a student of Aligarh Muslim University.
Satisfaction comes by utilization,
Enough is enough of deterioration.
Justifications are too many,
Aftermaths are too deadly.
Sufficiency is for man’s need,
And not for man’s greed.
“It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord; then blessed is Allah , Lord of the worlds.” – Qur’an 40:64
Man has been endowed with numerous bounties of which he is been made the manager. Environment today has become more of a concern than to be cherished. Indeed man has developed, civilized and is ahead in all the advances of life. Yet this advance is a pernicious step towards the civilization’s doomsday.
“Fierce national competition over water resources has prompted fears that water issues contain the seeds of violent conflict.” – Kofi Annan
One of the priciest possessions of mankind is Water. The state of this gift is being deteriorated by the users themself unknown of the boon it is for whole of the universe. It has reached a pitiful state because of the constant human interruptions. Consequently the recourse is made to the underground source of water. The existing groundwater bores in many areas can no longer be relied on as an alternative to surface water: the lack of replenishment from the rains is exposing the simple fact that the water table has fallen too quickly due to over-extraction. Groundwater is a critical resource in India, accounting for over 65% of irrigation water and 85% of drinking water supplies. However, on current trends it is estimated that 60% of groundwater sources will be in a critical state of degradation within the next twenty years.
The problem of shortage of water is grave. Gone are the days when water used to be abundant. Human progress has left the percentage of water so minimal that for this natural resource, abundant at one time, payment has to be made. Regretful is the condition when a news piece informs that few states are making resolution to install the water meter and charge for excess usage of the same.
- Entry 56 of List I (Union List) – Regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys to the extent to which such regulation and development under the control of the Union is declared by Parliament by law to be expedient in the public interest.
- Entry 17 in List II (State List) in Schedule VII – Water, that is to say, water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments, water storage and water power subject to the provisions of Entry 56 of List-I. It can be seen immediately that it is not an unqualified entry.
- Article 252 – 1) Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any Inter-State river or river valley.
This is the legal aspect of water sharing and its management which the constituent assembly envisaged.
Rajendra Singh, “water-man of India”, Stockholm Water Prize (also known as the Nobel Prize for water) winner in 2015, told TOI that “India needs to respect Nadi, Nari and Neer (River, women and water) for a better future.
Katju, J., in State of Orissa v. Government of India opined “Right to get water is part of Article 21 of the Constitution. Human hand cannot be permitted to convert this bounty into a curse, an oppression.”
The Water Act, 1974 represents India’s first attempts to deal with an environmental issue comprehensively.
The rational behind the water being made the basic sustenance is provided by the Qur’an – “And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.” – Qur’an 16:65
Shariah, literal meaning,‘the way to water’,is that personal law wherein the source of life is deeply rooted.
Sooner or later when we introspect we’ll surely conclude that – “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” ~Thomas Fuller
CLIMATE CHANGE – A CHIME FOR A REACTION TIME
“Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky and makes it flow as springs [and rivers] in the earth; then He produces thereby crops of varying colors; then they dry and you see them turned yellow; then He makes them [scattered] debris. Indeed in that is a reminder for those of understanding.” – Qur’an 39:21
Man is so occupied in his advancements that he forgot where he is thriving and on what. Results are glaring. India is racing ahead of China when it comes to pollution. Indeed, “And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy until, when they have carried heavy rainclouds, We drive them to a dead land and We send down rain therein and bring forth thereby [some] of all the fruits. Thus will We bring forth the dead; perhaps you may be reminded.” Qur’an(7:57). How perfect is the nature. So sublime is its mechanism. But least the man knew that regretful will be his state.
The resolution of ‘going green’ in every aspect seems to strike freshly in the minds of the developed nations. By 2100, global temperatures may rise by 80 C. Huge levels of temperatures are evident from the rampant floods, earthquakes. Thus, posing a great threat to the energy sector and more on the agriculture sector. Which is why the COPs (Conference of Parties) are being taken seriously by the world powers. Where many debated that the Paris COP21 isn’t enough and that odd-even plan seems an odd agenda but something is better than nothing. State is now taking pains to operate the really operative legislative provision i.e. Article 47 – Duty of the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health. Also the state’s endeavor can be realized through Article 48 – Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life.
According to The Lancet (March 2), India will witness 1.36 lakh deaths by 2050 attributable to agriculturally mediated changes caused due to climate change.
Pollution is the major factor which acts as a catalyst in the climate change. Then there is The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, enacted for the abatement of the air pollution and maintain the air quality.The ’Care for Air’ is the latest anthem sung world wide. “Distressing” pollution levels in cities have “breached” people’s right to lead a healthy, happy and productive life, President Pranab Mukherjee said.
Indeed we have armed ourselves with the latest technological advancements that we fail to observe advancement of extinction that is taking toll on the wildlife. While building more than our needful; we have surely devastated the basic homes of the animals. Beatles, birds, tigers, elephants are facing serious extinction. Very recent is the case of Pangolins, often called scaly anteaters, have large keratin scales. Poaching remains the major reason. ‘Birds die, as Government turns a blind eye’ as reported truly reflects the scenario which could be acted on time and save those endangered. And here is the reality check – “And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are]communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (Qur’an, 6:38). That is what is envisaged in the Article 48 A of the Indian Constitution to protect the wildlife as the state’s policy.
DIMINISHING TREES AND FORESTS – THE GREEN BEINGS
Man is playing with the nature by thrashing the forest cover ruthlessly. Protection of trees and forests are much talked about and discussed in black and white but has man felt it ever. Is there ever regret for doing so? The environmentalists are shouting to preserve the environment but least do the developers listen. Pathetic situation is prevailing in these years that the forests covers are being used as the disposal sites. The forests rights are violated and the acts remain unimplemented. The value of trees and plants can be seen in the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teaching – If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” Moreover he said – Plant a tree even if it’s your last deed.
Moreover, Entry 17-A, List III, Constitution of India states “Forest” as its subject.
Such is the status of green beings in reality which is being ignored. Then there is The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, enacted to check the large scale deforestation and the ecological imbalance which is thus leading to the environmental deterioration. In T.N. Godavarman Thirumulkpad v. Union of India, The Supreme Court came strictly on the illegal felling of the trees and to protect and preserve the forests.
TO WRAP IT UP…
Our Indian Constitution has sufficiently embodied the provisions of the basic sustenance. Thus marking its congruity with the Islamic Law that is the Green Revelations to be aptly called.
Unlimited problems have cropped up due to diminishing natural resources. Efforts are being put up when the human race is on the verge of global crisis of sustenance. To quote some, Agricultural methods are being build on these lines to strengthen the agro-products and related activities. Beijing is planning to develop a network of ventilation “corridors” to help tackle the city’s notorious air pollution. ‘Roadmap On Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Kolkata’ is being launched in Kolkata marking it to be first Indian state to do so.
The insufferable arrogance of human beings to think that Nature was made solely for their benefit, as if it was conceivable that the sun had been set afire merely to ripen men’s apples and head their cabbages. ~Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac
In the wake of various environmental problems we are facing, our legislators have done best to draft as preventive and strict laws in black and white. And to the top of it The Shariah is the guiding light. Nevertheless these are the means to be acted upon and not just to quote around.
Yes our environment is at stake! Following a simple rule can emancipate our earth from the clutches of pollution and that is – ‘don’t think, just do it’ attitude. ‘Care for the Air’ and preserving our green beings. Taking individual responsibility is the need of the hour.
This is the final call to be an environmentalist and step up and actually go green. For we need earth and earth needs us!
World Bank (2010), Deep Wells and Prudence: Towards Pragmatic Action for Addressing Groundwater Overexploitation in India, World Bank.
 (2009) 5 SCC 492 at 505.
 (1998) 9 SCC 660