Miljöförbättringar i Indien får återverkningar även i Sverige

India has much to learn from Sweden when it comes to taking care of industrial hazardous waste. For example courses have been conducted in Sweden with visits to industries, water treatment plants and recycling facilities.

Photo: CSE

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Environmental improvements in India have impacts in Sweden

Updated: 26 June 2014

As the Indian economy grows rapidly, one of the country’s most pressing challenges is how to handle the expanding industry’s harmful impact on the environment. A collaboration between the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and the Indian Centre for Science and Environment will lead to the implementation of new environmental laws, which benefits all parties involved.

“India has strong environmental legislation. But the laws are not enforced and the environmental inspectors lack the adequate knowledge to implement them,” says Sunita Narain, director of the Indian Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a respected independent research institution working on environmental issues in India.

After petitioning the Indian Ministry of Environment, the institute was commissioned to train environmental inspectors. They realized the value of outside help and asked the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be part of the training.

“Sweden is at the forefront of environmental work and we have a lot to learn from them,” says Narain.

EPA’s task is to make sure that Sweden achieves its environmental goals without adding to environmental concerns in other countries.

“Many commodities that Sweden import are manufactured in countries like India, and therefore we have a responsibility. Environmental problems are global,” says Ylva Reinhard at EPA.

Sweden and India have had an agreement to cooperate on environmental issues since 2009, with the exchange of knowledge and implementation of legislation as prioritized issues. The courses arranged by EPA and CSE fit well with this ambition.

The project also benefits those living in poverty as they are most affected by environmental problems, such as contaminated drinking water. They also often work under bad conditions and may be exposed to toxins. Because of this, Sida decided to fund the collaboration between the two partners.

By May 2013 approximately 110 people had completed the training. The plan is to have another hundred participants throughout the year. The courses are between one to four weeks. EPA is responsible for one week during the four week-course.

This EPA course focuses on everything from waste disposal and recycling to industry emissions and wastewater treatment. It also discusses legislation and voluntary instruments such as eco-labeling and economic instruments such as tolls and taxes.

“We also look at how an environmental inspection of a factory can be performed. Additionally, we discuss the meaning of proper management and control, the importance of equality before the law, transparency and how the whole system collapses if you can bribe your way through an inspection,” says Ylva Reinhard.

One course was conducted in Sweden with visits to industries, water treatment plants and recycling facilities. Sunita Narain says that India has a lot to learn about handling hazardous industrial waste and recycling. Transforming waste into biogas is another area in which Sweden is at the forefront.

“This would be useful in India, where there are huge problems with fumes”, says Sunita Narain.

Both EPA and CSE regard their collaboration as fruitful.

“Our evaluations show that students believe they will use their new skills. But it’s difficult to create change alone. We want to see more people completing the courses,” says Ylva Reinhard.

“So far, the level of knowledge has increased. Give the participants two or three years, then we will definitely see a change,” says Sunita Narain.


Partners: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
Cost: 4,500,000 SEK
Sida contribution: 2,600,000 SEK
Partner contribution: 1,900,000 SEK
Timeframe: 2012–2013

  • More than 100 Indian environmental inspectors were trained in modern environmental inspection through courses and visits both in India and Sweden. Another 50 inspectors will be trained during the autumn of 2013.
  • The training has covered issues such as waste management, recycling, wastewater treatment, water management, pollution control and advice on company inspection, information dissemination, economic instruments, corruption and bribery. 
  • Participants have stated in written evaluations that they will be able to use the lessons learned from the training in their daily work.
  • The Environmental Inspectors train their colleagues which leads to strengthened institutional capacity of the agencies responsible for environmental inspections.
  • Very good relationships have been established between EPA and CSE as well as with the Indian authorities, and the cooperation will continue in the future.

Page owner: The Communication Department

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