In the year 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) is introduced the term sustainable development in its report our common future (the Brundtland Commission). According to WCED, sustainable development may be defined as a process of changes in which the exploitation of resources, direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and the institutional changes are in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human need as aspiration.
In other words, sustainable development is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising on the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development considers the impact of environmental changes and tries to minimise the impact.
Sustainable development is based on two fundamental concepts. The first concept considers earth’s carrying capacity and stresses on natural resources like forest, soil fertility, healthy wetlands, ozone layer etc. which provide basic requirements of human being.
This also tells about a critical limit for sustainability. The second concept focuses on balancing of economical, social and ecological goals which include the basic needs like health, literacy, democratic values etc. However, both the concepts are concerned with quality of life and conservation of environment.
There are three pillars of sustainable development namely community development (which includes providing basic needs like food, shelter, clothes, health, education etc.), economic development (which include industrialization creating job opportunity) and environmental protection (which includes providing clean air, safe water, quality environment).
Since development activities are always associated with environmental degradation, sustainability in development has to enter in all our planning processes as an important parameter.
The sustainability in environmental restoration programme considers the following key issues:
(i) Stabilisation of population growth
(ii) Conservation and rational exploitation of forest resources.
(iii) Afforestation in waste lands and deforested areas.
(iv) Control of pollution (Air, water, land etc.)
(v) Maintenance of sustainability in agriculture
(vi) Recycling of waste and residue
(vii) Conservation of biodiversity
(viii) Development of non-polluting renewable energy stems.
(ix) Updating environmental laws and its strict imposition.
(x) Assessment of ecological security.
For the sustainable development, the following points should be considered.
(i) The input of matter and energy should be reduced up to their limiting values.
(ii) The exhaustible and polluting fossil fuels should be replaced by less harmful renewable energy.
(iii) Technology should be developed which provides essential goods with minimum waste in a non-polluted manner.
(iv) The population growth should be slow down which will reduce stress on global life support.
(v) There should be strict implementation of environmental laws.
(vi) Steps should be taken for the conservation of forest, conservation of biodiversity, recycling of wastes, control of pollution etc.
(vii) There should be integrated land use planning.
(viii) Environmental education should be made compulsory to create awareness about the basic environmental issues.