Environmental degradation and wildlife degeneration are the most "potent threat" the earth and the human civilisation face today, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
The top court's observation came in a verdict by which it quashed the clearance granted to the ambitious housing project, CAMELOT, of Tata HDCL near Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh on the ground that it was very close to a "wildlife sanctuary".
"The most potent threat faced by the earth and human civilization... today is environmental degradation and wildlife degeneration. The need to protect flora and fauna which constitutes a major portion of our ecosystem is immediate," a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said.
"Development and urbanization coming at the cost of adversely affecting our natural surroundings will in turn impact and be the cause of human devastation as was seen in the 2013 floods in Uttarakhand and in 2018 in Kerala," the bench said.
The top court's verdict came on the appeal of Tata Housing Development Company ltd (THDCL) against the Delhi High Court's 2017 judgement in which it had said that the project site was "found to be a part of the area of Sukhna Lake" and wildlife sanctuary and the permission granted by Nagar Panchayat to the project was set aside.
The judgement dealt with issues like climate change and the long history of wild life conservation in India and called for an effort to protect the flora and fauna of the country.
"The human as well as the wildlife are completely dependent upon environment for their survival. Human is completely dependent on the environment. Like the human, the wildlife is also dependent on the environment for its survival and also get affected by the environment."
"The relationship between the human and animal can be understood by the foodchain and foodweb. The wildlife is affected by several reasons such as population, deforestation, urbanization, high number of industries, chemical effluents, unplanned land use policies, and reckless use of natural resources etc," it said.
It also said that the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Constitution also provides for the protection and improvement of environment, safeguarding forest and wildlife by the government.