Major factors that are driving India’s per capita footprint

Major factors that are driving India's per capita footprint
Increasing incomes, population growth rates, more people moving into cities are few of the reasons you can cite for the factors contributing to India's carbon footprint. Read here to know about all the responsible factors.

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India is one of the most populous countries in the world, with over 1.3 billion people. Given this population growth, it is not surprising that India’s per capita footprint is also one of the highest in the world. India is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2027, and as it grows, so does its environmental impact. India is making vast changes to the Earth’s surface, from extracting minerals to building cities. In this article, we look at some of the major factors driving India’s high per capita footprint. We also explore possible solutions India could take to mitigate its environmental impact.


Several factors are driving India’s per capita footprint upward. These include increasing incomes, population growth rates, and more people moving into cities. 


These factors contribute to increased demand for goods and services, which drives the country’s overall footprint. 

Here are some other key drivers of India's growing footprint:

1. Population growth

Population growth is one of the most important drivers of India’s high per capita footprint. As India grows, more people are moving into cities and demanding more resources. This increase in demand for goods and services drives up overall consumption levels and increases the need for land, minerals, and energy. The population of India is now over 1 billion people, which means there is a greater need for resources such as water and land.

2. Rising incomes levels

As incomes increase in India, so does household spending on goods and services. This increases the demand for natural resources and manufactured products that require large amounts of energy. In addition, higher-income households tend to have larger homes with more water supplies, food, and energy.

3. Increased consumption of resources

Another driver of India’s high per capita footprint is the increased consumption of natural resources. For example, more Indians work in the extractive industries, demanding more minerals to support their livelihoods. In addition, many Indians are using increasingly expensive materials like plastic and aluminum in manufacturing processes. These materials require a lot of energy to produce and drive up India’s overall environmental impact.

4. Garbage generation

India’s growing population and rising incomes also lead to an increased garbage generation rate. As more people move into cities, they create more waste that must be treated and disposed of. This increase in trash creates an environmental impact by releasing pollutants into the air, water sources, and soil. Additionally, poorly managed sanitation systems can lead to the spread of diseases like diarrhea.

5. Deforestation

Another key driver of India’s high per capita footprint is deforestation. India has lost over 27% of its forest cover since 1990 due to human activity such as mining, raising crops for food, or constructing roads. Deforestation releases toxic compounds into the air, water sources, and soil, which can have serious environmental consequences. India is also one of the world’s top carbon dioxide emitters, meaning it contributes to climate change through its emissions of this greenhouse gas.

India’s high per capita footprint is partly due to its growing population and rising incomes; as more Indians enter cities and demand more resources, such as energy and water supplies, their environmental impact increases.

6. Rapid urbanization

Urbanization is also a key factor in India’s high per capita footprint. Rapid urbanization has increased the number of people living in cities from 45% of India’s population in 1950 to 73% today. This increase in population density, along with inefficient waste management and inadequate infrastructure, has increased environmental impact.

7. Inefficient use of resources

In addition to increasing environmental impact due to rapid urbanization, Indians are also making poor use of scarce resources such as energy and water supplies. For example, Indian households spend about three times more on electricity than necessary.

8. Increased demand for food and energy

As India’s population grows, so does the demand for food and energy. In 2014, Indian households consumed almost 3.5 million metric tonnes of grain – more than any other country in the world. This high consumption is partly due to a rising population and an increasing appetite for meat and dairy products.

9. Poor waste management

In addition to wasting resources such as food, India also generates large amounts of waste. According to a study by Greenpeace International, Indians generate about 600 kilotonnes (ketones)of municipal solid waste each year – which is enough to fill about 350,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. This waste is often left untreated and pollutes the environment, causing health hazards and environmental damage.

India’s high per capita footprint results from many factors – including rapid urbanization, inefficient use of resources, and poor waste management. These factors contribute to an increase in India’s environmental impact.

10. Growth in the agricultural sector

Agricultural production is one of the main sources of environmental pollution in India. The agricultural sector accounts for almost 50% of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions and is responsible for a significant share – about 25% – of all water resources used in the country.

11. Depletion of natural resources

The rapid expansion of the Indian economy has resulted in heavy exploitation of natural resources, including land and water supplies. In addition to depleting these resources, this development has also increased air and water pollution levels.

12. Expansion of the services sector

The growth of the services sector – including transportation, telecommunications, and utilities – is another major contributor to India’s high environmental profile. This sector accounts for about 30% of the GDP and employs about 60% of the country’s workforce.

13. High levels of energy consumption

India is one of the countries with the highest energy consumption levels in the world. In 2013, India consumed more than 24 gigawatts (Gw)of electricity – equivalent to the output from seven nuclear power plants. This massive electricity usage causes widespread pollution and contributes to climate change.

14. Unsustainable farming practices

Unsustainable farming practices – including using petroleum-based inputs, overuse of water and soil nutrients, and deforestation – are major sources of environmental pollution in India. These practices account for about 45% of all agricultural emissions in India, and they are responsible for significant damage to the environment and public health.

Ultimately, people must understand that a sustainable lifestyle is about being resourceful and making conscious decisions. Changing carbon footprints takes more than just changing the way you do things. It takes awareness and critical thinking as well.

If you’d like to know how you can be an eco-conscious citizen, put some thought into your actions and make eco-conscious choices.


What role should the government play in helping to reduce India's per capita footprint?

The government is very important in helping reduce India's per capita footprint. They should develop policies that incentivize sustainable practices and discourage the consumption of unsustainable resources. Additionally, the government should work to improve transportation infrastructure so that people can travel more easily and use less energy when they do travel.

Do you think that India has a future as a global leader in sustainable development?

Yes, India has a bright future as a global leader in sustainable development. They have the population and resources necessary to make significant progress on many critical issues for reducing their footprint. Additionally, they have a history of innovating and developing new technologies that can help them become even more efficient in their use of resources.

How do you think India's growing population and increasing consumption will impact the environment?

The growing population and increasing consumption in India will significantly impact the environment. The increased demand for resources will strain the country's available resources, which can lead to environmental degradation. Additionally, India's rapidly growing economy is often based on unsustainable practices, such as pollution and deforestation, which can also damage the environment.

What are some of the major factors driving India's per capita footprint?

Some major factors driving India's per capita footprint include its large population and consumption levels. Additionally, India has a high level of resource consumption due to their rapid growth rate.

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