‘India’s population density has always been its biggest challenge and with the current globalisation, every Indian is looking for more – more space, more land, more money. MoEF & other Govt. bodies working towards the Environment, Forest & Sustainability have surely come-up with a lot of rules & regulations to curb this issue, however the awareness, implementation of norms and corrective measures (in that order of precedence) are not being aggressively taken-up’, says Ar. Prem Nath, Prem Nath and Associates
Recent research shows that 97% of Earth’s land may no longer be ecologically intact…
The term “ecologically intact” is used to describe the areas of land that remained undisturbed by humans and still abundant by animal life before the industrial revolution. The study by the international team of scientists analyzed the natural ranges of mammal species today and compared them to the 1500 BCE before the beginning of industrialization and identified three factors in assessing the ecological integrity and the intactness of the ecosystem of the plant. These are the extent to which land is changed due to human activities, the number of animal species lost due to habitat loss, and the number of animals in a species that is still present. The researchers found that only about 2% to 3% of the planet’s land surface can now be considered ecologically intact. The rest 97% no longer can be considered as such.
An equally concerning issue is that only 11% of these ecologically intact areas are within environmentally protected sites. The numbers are notably lower than previous studies, which identified 20% to 40% because the recent study included the loss of the last of the three factors in assessing ecological integrity that was not included in previous studies.
These areas are found in the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin, eastern Russia, northern Canada, Alaska, and some Sahara parts. These areas also overlap with territories that are home to indigenous people who maintain and manage the ecological integrity of the areas.
Tell us on Ecological balance of the nation.
India’s population density has always been its biggest challenge and with the current globalisation, every Indian is looking for more – more space, more land, more money. MoEF & other Govt. bodies working towards the Environment, Forest & Sustainability have surely come-up with a lot of rules & regulations to curb this issue, however the awareness, implementation of norms and corrective measures (in that order of precedence) are not being aggressively taken-up.
What is the significance of Sustainable design and Green architecture for you?
As an Architect, all through my 55+ years of practice, I have always made sure all my designs are Nature Friendly – Sustainable – my township project at Punjab, for HP-Mittal Energy Ltd. (HMEL) is awarded Green Gold grading by the MoEF and has also been bestowed the award of HUDCO Green Design, similar is the case with my campus architecture project at Vadodara, for Cygnus World School, which is rated as IGBC Platinum, while another Commercial project of mine, for SBI at GIFT City Gujarat is aspiring for IGBC Platinum rating – so, be it a home, a school or a college or an office/work space, all need to be design sustainable – that is the importance of Sustainable Design & Green Architecture for me.
Tell us Sir, how you feel in being awarded this prestigious and top honour?
“Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal 2019” by Indian Institute of Architects IIA is a prestigious & top honour for the fraternity of Architects India. This award puts me in the lime light. I feel humbled as Architecture is not a business for me; it is a passion indeed! The Baburao Mhatre Gold Medal justifies my passion for Architecture. Look forward to maintain the dignity of the Award. I would like to convey my best wishes & blessing to the young generation. Thank you.
What about Safety in buildings? What’s so bad about buildings either crumbling away or caught in fire?
Indian system of specification & construction has improved since a last few years – the Government and the local approving authorities have enhanced the relevant codes to ensure the safety of buildings w.r.t. fire, earthquake and basic stability – the codes have gone more stringent. It is the buildings that were built during the last 2 or 3 decades that are facing these recent and frequent accidents – the new developments are ensuring best of fire evacuations and disaster management strategies.