Environmental Performance Index

Introduction :

India ranks 177 among 180 countries in the Environmental Price Index 2018. Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is calculated on the basis of data gathered from 24 individual metrics of environmental performance. [1]These 24 individual metrics are then aggregated into a hierarchy that begins with 10 major environmental issues categories. These categories consists of :-

  • Air Quality (household solid fuels and PM2.5 exposure)
  • Water & Sanitation
  • Heavy Metals (lead exposure)
  • Biodiversity & Habitat
  • Forests (tree cover loss)
  • Fisheries
  • Climate & Energy (CO2, Methane and Black Carbon Emissions)
  • Air Pollution (SO2 and NOx emission)
  • Water resources (wastewater treatment)
  • Agriculture (substantial practice)

The above mentioned categories are then divided into two policy objectives namely, Environmental health and Ecosystem vitality. The overall rank that is being determined by EPI is based on the country’s performance in these 10 categories of issues mentioned above and the two policy objective. A High Rank in the EPI indicates a country’s long standing commitment to protect the public health, preservation of natural resources, and decoupling greenhouse gas emission from economic activity .

Position of India in comparison with the other countries

India has been ranked 177th position among 180 countries in Environmental Performance Index(EPI)  2018. This index has been developed by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with world economic forum and joint research center of European commission. [2]This report was released on sidelines of world economic forum in Davos , Switzerland. Switzerland has topped the list followed by France, Denmark and Malta. The least ranked countries are Nepal, India ,Congo, Bangladesh, Burundi.

Generally speaking no index is ideal and perfect. An enhancement of India’s rank in  the ease of doing business lead to a celebration in the capital, then a drop in the index ranking environmental performance should be a cause for concern and should be used as a context to measure our country’s policy.  If we analyze the recent initiatives taken by our government, it shows that the government has set up an ambitious target for the protection of our environment. [3] In December 2015, it notified new, strict environmental standards for coal-fired power plants, to be effective from January 2018. A new notification was set to implement Bharat Stage VI emission norms from April 1, 2020, skipping Stage V norms. In 2017, the Minister of State for Power and Renewable Energy said that a road map was being prepared so that only electric vehicles would be produced and sold in the country by 2030. In order to accelerate the transition to renewable sources of power, the government, under the National Solar Mission, revised the target for setting up solar capacity from 20 GW to 100 GW by 2021-22. The Centre has also assured the Supreme Court of India that the highly polluted Ganga will be cleaned up by 2018.

Reasons for low ranking of India 

The report has ranked India as the fourth worst country worldwide in curbing environmental pollution.The report has stated that substantial population of the country  suffers from poor air quality. What have we missed in spite of the numerous initiatives taken up by the government?  There appears to be a gap which remains unnoticed i.e. the gap between policy goals and implementation. While the country is moving in the right direction towards its solar target it has failed to implement the other goals. India’s low ranking can be attributed to its poor performance in implementing its environmental health policy objective. The report stated that the number of deaths in the country attributed to[4] PM2.5 which has been risen over the past decade and are estimated at 1,640,113, annually (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2017). Despite government action, pollution from solid fuels, coal and crop residue burning, and emissions from motor vehicles continue to severely degrade the air quality. It was also said that air quality remains the leading environmental threat to public health. The institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in its report in the year 2016 stated that airborne pollutants contributed to two-thirds of all life-years lost to environmentally related deaths and disabilities.

Policy Analysis of EPI

By analyzing the policies of EPI rankings 2018 it makes it clear that income is a major determinant of environmental success. It was stated by the researchers that reasonable investments made in drinking water, sanitation, in particular, has quickly resulted in improved environmental health. At every level of development we can observe that some nations achieves a better position than their peer nations with similar economic conditions, the difference in their outcome is mainly because of good governance and carful choice of policy implementation.[5] From the 2018 EPI we can observe that sustainable development can be achieved by making proper investment in environmental infrastructure and by careful management of industrialization as well as urbanization. Inefficient managerial skills in these two major areas will threaten both public health and ecosystem.


As the economies of the world pursue new sustainable development goals the pressure is upon the policy makers. They need to know about where our country is lagging on its energy and environmental challenges. Policy makers of our country should improve our standards by taking inspiration from the policies implemented by our neighboring economies.  The 2018 EPI ranking does not only indicate where a country stands today but also reflects the important trends in environmental performance both at national as well as at global level.   Among the emerging economies, India has been ranked the 177th position in EPI 2018 . Pollution is very serve in our country because [6]“Greater level of economic development contributes to higher pollution level”.  As countries develop, increased population growth in large cities, as well as increased industrial production and automotive transportation, continue to expose people to high levels of air pollution.


[1] www.fresherslive.com/current-affairs/articles/india-ranks-177-in-environmental-performance-index-12384

[2] http://www.insightsonindia.com/2018/01/29/6-180-countries-assessed-india-ranks-low-environmental-performance-index-epi-2018

[3] https://content.magicbricks.com/property-news/industry-buzz/india-ranks-177-out-of-180-in-environmental-performance-index-2018/96955.html


[5] https://news.yale.edu/2018/01/23/2018-environmental-performance-index-air-quality-top-public-health-threat

[6] World Bank and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2016


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