Quality of life and environment

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Enhancement of quality of life (QOL) has been the explicit or implicit goal of public policy in all societies for several centuries. QOL has been the focus of numerous studies but universally acceptable definition of the concept has not been developed yet. In fact, a common criticism against the concept of QOL is that it lacks specificity and has as many meanings as life has aspects. It is a multidimensional concept and context dependent. QOL refers to description and evaluation of the nature or conditions of life of people in a certain country or region. Life quality is formed by exogenous forces, with respect to an individual or a social group, forces like production technology, infrastructure, relations with other groups or countries, institutions of the society, natural environment, and also by endogenous factors including interaction within the society and values of a person or a society. During the last couple of decades, the world has developed but the benefit of development has not been favorable for several new problems that have cropped up in the form of environmental degradation, economic inequality and deterioration of social fabrics. Another characteristic feature of the development process in last few decades is the growth of urban areas. The process of urbanization in the developing countries is not commensurate with the level of economic development Urbanization has been a world wide phenomenon and the Indian cities are not exception to it. In the North East India urbanization had a late start. But relation between urbanization and development is distinctly weak in the region. The city of Guwahati is the largest urban centre in the North Eastern Region of India and it is the capital of the state of Assam. The process of urbanization has started getting momentum only after shifting of the state capital from Shillong to Guwahati in 1972. Since then Guwahati has been experiencing heavy pressure of population. Expansion of the city has led to haphazard growth of buildings on plains and on the hills. Growth of buildings and houses has destroyed the natural water bodies often leading to water logging. Another major problem in the city is congestion of traffic. Rapid urbanization creates enormous stresses on natural environment also. There is dearth of open space for citizen and decline in greenery. As a result of increase in trade & commerce activities along with growth of vehicular population and rapid urbanization, level of pollution has also increased. Slums have grown up in and around the city. Increase in solid wastes is another major problem in Guwahati. Besides all these, lack of adequate urban services such as water supply, sanitation, sewerage, lighting and transport are some major problems along with deficient recreational and welfare facilities in the city. The huge gap between demand and supply of urban amenities, infrastructural facilities and poor environmental condition adversely affect wellbeing. Therefore, this study has been conducted on QOL in Guwahati city. The proposed study aims at studying the relationship between QOL and environment in the city of Guwahati in order to find the factors affecting QOL. It also examines if the factors of QOL are uniform across different income groups and among different localities. At the same time the study evaluates the objective and the subjective dimension of QOL.
Supervisor: S. Borbora and M. K. Dutta