Research Papers

Seeking refuge from environment: paradox of environmental refugees

Publication Year: 2001

Author(s): Rajendra K Pachauri, Qureshi Lubina F, Nesamani K S


This paper looks at factors that lead to the emergence of environmental refugees, why this type of migration is of concern and in that context, the estimates of environmental refugees, and the problems likely to be associated with this type of migration. It is noted that environmental refugees are those people who are affected by environmental problems and are compelled to move out of their homelands for fear of not being able to gain a secure livelihood. Environmental problems that can cause people to migrate include long-term environmental degradation, environmental conflict, natural disasters, environmental disruption due to developmental projects, and environmental accidents. Considering the high population growth rates and high population density, accommodation of these refugees from environmental stress is a cause for concern. In India, the total number of oustees during the period from 1951 to 1990 due to various mining, industrial, hydropower, and other development projects is about 21.3 million people. It is projected that this number is likely to increase by 2050, as well as the population of India. Unplanned redistribution of population on the scale indicated in the discussion could add to urbanization problems.

Source: Population Development Nexus in India: challenges for the new millennium,: 64-375p. edited by K Srinivasan and M Vlasoff

Publisher/Organisation: Tata McGraw-Hill