In order to make the country self-reliant, India needs to invest heavily in infrastructure to ensure increased & constant production and the movement of commodities across the economy. Infrastructure development has huge economic and environmental cost for any country. They can significantly impact the local climate, landscape, population and culture. If not planned properly, these projects can spell disasters.
Infrastructure projects need to be planned carefully in order to minimize their environmental impact. Below are mentioned some of the points that AEC players need to keep in mind in order to build environmentally viable infrastructure projects.
Plan for future
The developers should consider the viability of their projects for at least 50 years down the line. In a dynamic and fast-growing nation like India, planning for 5 to 10 years can lead to failures. The Amsterdam ring road project is an excellent example of designed and built to serve for several decades in the future.
Use of geo-spatial technologies and BIM in construction
With the right usage of technology, the developers can now predict the future of their projects in terms of demand, maintenance, and impact on local flora, fauna, community and environment. Government should make the use of technologies like GIS, GPS, GPRS, BIM etc compulsory in infrastructure development. The developers should do thorough analysis of the environmental impact before starting any project and implement measures to minimize its ecological cost.
Involve local communities
Involvement of local communities is one of the key aspects of developing sustainable infrastructure. They have much more experience and understanding of the climatic conditions, landscape, flora & fauna, and their areas need. Their inputs can be instrumental in customizing the projects according to the local environmental needs and maintain ecological balance. It has been observed in the past that huge infrastructure projects disrupt local ecological harmony and sometimes force entire communities to migrate.
Learn from global experience
In the past, several other countries have been at similar stages of development as India is today. The country needs to be open to learn from the global experiences of how other countries tackled environmental issues during infrastructure development. Their successes and failures could be lessons for India.
India is a country in dire need of world-class infrastructure to fuel its ambitious growth targets. However, it is also the nation with some of the most polluted cities in the world. While India cannot compromise on its growth, it can also not damage its environment any further. Therefore, the need of the hour is to strike the delicate balance between growth and the environment. The Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission could also be an opportunity to develop SMEs offering environmental services to help minimize the environmental impact of the rapid development in the country.