Andhra tops environmental index for best green practises

New Delhi: Andhra Pradesh topped Environmental Performance Index (EPI) during 2012 for adopting best green practices to maintain quality of air, water and forest cover.

While the southern state remained on top for adopting best green practises to protect environment, it was followed by Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh, Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

"The Planning Commission is in the process of developing an EPI to incentivise states for environment performance through budgetary allocations," he said.

According the minister, no decision has been taken on the proposed EPI so far for using these rating parameters for deciding budgetary allocation for states by the Commission.

There are five parameters for tabulating the EPI score including quality of air and water, increase in quality of forest cover, waste management and climate change, he said.

Under the air pollution criteria, a state scores points on the basis of levels of nitrogen oxide, sulphur oxide, suspended particulate matter (SPM) and respiratory SPM.

The water quality of a state is ascertained on the basis of surface water quality (level of dissolved oxygen), biochemical oxygen demand.

The other criteria is forest cover. The states' performance under this parameter depend upon the increase or decrease in forest cover, growing stock and afforestation efforts.

Another parameter under the index is waste management where states' efforts to deal with bio-medical waste, industrial (hazardous) waste.

Under the last criteria of climate change, preparation of state action plan on climate change, renewable energy growth rate including mini hydro and electricity intensity of states' gross domestic product (economy) become the basis for evaluation in the index.

The worst performers under the index is Lakshadweep which was ranked 35th followed by Andaman & Nicobar, Daman & Diu, Delhi and Arunachal Pradesh.

Among the larger states, the worst performer is Bihar which is ranked at 30th followed by Haryana (27th), West Bengal (25th), Uttar Pradesh (24th) and Punjab (23th).