Q. 2. Examine the problems of urbanization with special reference to India.

The positive aspects of cities as engines of economic growth in the context of national economic policies were not much appreciated and, therefore, the problems of urban areas were treated more as welfare problems and sectors of residual investment rather than as issues of national economic importance. In the First Five Year Plan (1951-56), the emphasis was given on institution building and on construction of houses for Government employees and weaker sections. The Ministry of Works & Housing was constituted and National Building Organization and Town & Country Planning Organization were set up. A seizable part of the plan outlay was spent for rehabilitation of the refugees from Pakistan and on building the new city of Chandigarh. An Industrial Housing Scheme was also initiated. The Centre subsidized Scheme to the extent of 50% towards the cost of land and construction.

People and their actions are the most significant sources and causes of urban runoff and pollution. Uncontrolled or treated runoff from the urban environment and from construction activities can run off the landscape into surface waters. This runoff can include such pollutants as sediments, pathogens, fertilizers/nutrients, hydrocarbons, and metals. Pavement and compacted areas, roofs, and reduced tree canopy and open space increase runoff volumes that rapidly flow into our waters. This increase in volume and velocity of runoff often causes stream bank erosion, channel incision and sediment deposition in stream channels. In addition, runoff from these developed areas can increase stream temperatures that along with the increase in flow rate and pollutant loads negatively affect water quality and aquatic life. Other common sources of urban pollution include improperly sited, designed and maintained on site wastewater treatment (septic) systems, pet wastes, lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides, household chemicals that are improperly disposed of, automobile fluids, road deicing/anti-icing chemicals, and vehicle emissions.

Motor vehicle emissions are one of the leading causes of air pollution in the urban areas. China, United States, Russia, Mexico, and Japan are the world leaders in air pollution emissions. Principal stationary pollution sources include chemical plants, coal-fired power plants, oil refineries, petrochemical plants, nuclear waste disposal activity, incinerators, large livestock farms (dairy cows, pigs, poultry, etc.), PVC factories, metals production factories, plastics factories, and other heavy industry. Some of the more common soil contaminants are chlorinated hydrocarbons (CFH), heavy metals (such as chromium, cadmium–found in rechargeable batteries, and lead–found in lead paint, aviation fuel and still in some countries, gasoline), MTBE, zinc, arsenic and benzene.

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