ESR is one of the forms of State of Environment Reporting (SoE). The ESR is expected to list city’s environmental concerns, growth factors and the overall environmental degradation and improvements. This data is often analysed to show trends of environmental pollution, impacts of growth and possible environmental action planning in the city. According to the municipal legislations, the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Class I cities are required to publish an annual Environmental Status Report (ESR) which will indicate the status of environment management in the city and identify the areas where mitigation measures are required to be considered. The ESRs are submitted to Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) guidelines for preparation.
ESRs are used to highlight the condition of the biophysical environment. ƒ ESRs also include analysis of trends or changes in the environment, analysis of the causes of these changes, assessment and interpretation of the implications and impacts of these trends, and assessment of the actual and potential societal response to environmental problems. ƒ An effective ESR is one of the most valuable means of informing policy makers, the public, and other stakeholders on the status of natural resources and the sustainability of resource-use patterns. ƒ Today, ESRs have emerged from being solely environment oriented to being all encompassing, interfacing with economic and social elements. Hence, the ESR report has come to identify the key driving forces that influence environmental change and policies. For any ESR to be effective, it is very essential to understand the function of the ESR in serving the requirements of the targeted audience. The purpose of the ESR will be achieved only if it is able to communicate to the intended audience the state of the environment and translate into positive action.
Maharashtra is the State that has been publishing ESRs for last 12 years. These ESRs discuss the state of various natural resources and urban services and the environmental issues faced by respective cities. However data presented in these reports is without much analysis. Presented data also show many inconsistencies. As a result the effort of publishing ESRs has remained only till compiling information on various environmental issues with ESRs having little role to play in action planning. This effort can be taken to a higher level. ESR data can be used to assess the environmental performance of the cities. ESR also can play a key role in mainstreaming environmental considerations in development policies. Since it is a document produced by the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), it can trigger action at the city level. ESR it is a document which is published for citizens. If reach of ESR is increased; it will increase the awareness among citizens about the environmental issues in turn increasing public participation.