Why Do Western Countries Have Cleaner Air, Water, and Better Food Quality?

Western countries achieved cleaner air, better water quality, and improved food standards by learning from historical pollution, implementing strict environmental regulations, investing in sustainable technologies, and prioritizing conservation. Their proactive efforts offer valuable lessons for developing nations striving for sustainable development and environmental preservation.

Mrs. Rama Rauta

7/10/20243 min read

photo of white staircase
photo of white staircase

Dear Friends,

In recent decades, the environmental quality in Western countries has significantly improved, leading to cleaner air, better water quality, and higher food standards. This transformation did not happen overnight; it is the result of a long journey of learning from past mistakes, implementing stringent environmental policies, and adopting sustainable practices. In contrast, many developing countries still grapple with severe pollution and environmental degradation. By understanding the factors that contributed to the environmental success of Western nations, we can explore valuable lessons and strategies for achieving a more sustainable future worldwide.

Historical Context and Realization:

Western countries, particularly those in Europe and North America, have achieved clean air, better water quality, and good food quality due to a combination of historical lessons and proactive environmental policies. In the past, these regions faced severe pollution and environmental degradation, much like what many developing countries are experiencing today. Industrialization brought significant economic growth but also led to polluted rivers, poor air quality, and deteriorated landscapes.

Shift in Approach:

Over time, as the negative impacts on public health and the environment became undeniable, these countries recognized the urgent need for change. They implemented strict environmental regulations, invested in sustainable technologies, and enforced laws to protect natural resources. Efforts were made to clean up polluted rivers, reduce emissions, and restore degraded landscapes.

Preservation and Conservation:

A significant factor in the improved environmental quality in Western countries is the preservation and conservation of natural landscapes. Governments and environmental organizations have worked tirelessly to protect forests, rivers, and wildlife. This includes creating national parks, implementing conservation programs, and enforcing stringent environmental laws. The preservation of flora and fauna has led to cleaner air and water, as healthy ecosystems naturally filter pollutants and support biodiversity.

Outsourcing of Polluting Industries:

Another aspect is the outsourcing of polluting industries to developing countries. As Western countries tightened their environmental regulations, many industries that were heavy polluters moved their operations to developing countries with less stringent laws. This shift has led to an improvement in the environmental quality in Western countries but has transferred some of the pollution burden to developing nations. It is important to note that although the people and their leaders in general in the developing countries are environmentally educated, they have not changed their luxurious way of life. Under the spell of the glamour of the present culture of development of modern civilization, which Mahatma Gandhi rightly considers to be highly unethical, Satanic, suicidal and a nine days wonder only, leaders world over are showing great apathy to take any substantial step in the right direction for avoiding the impending catastrophic consequences of global warming and climate change, although the scientists of IPCC of UNO are unanimously claiming that their warning about the impending catastrophic consequences of global warming and climate change is essentially true.

Lessons for Developing Countries:

Developing countries can learn from the experiences of Western nations. It is crucial to recognize that adopting discarded or polluting industries from the West is not a sustainable path to development. Developing countries should focus on Implementing and Enforcing Environmental Regulations; establishing strict laws to protect air, water, and land from pollution; Investing in Sustainable Technologies; Prioritizing clean energy and sustainable industrial practices and Conservation Efforts such as Preserving Natural Landscapes and Biodiversity through national parks and conservation programs; creating the necessary Public Awareness through Educating citizens about the importance of environmental protection and sustainable practices. Strict enforcement of environmental laws has played a crucial role in improving the environmental quality in Western countries. For example, in the United States, fines and penalties for harming the environment, such as the $2,000 fine for taking a pinecone from a national forest, deter people from damaging natural resources. This strict enforcement ensures that individuals and companies comply with environmental regulations, leading to better overall environmental quality.


The cleaner air, better water quality, and good food quality in Western countries result from a combination of historical lessons, strict environmental laws, proactive conservation efforts, and the outsourcing of polluting industries. Developing countries should strive to learn from these experiences, focusing on sustainable development and environmental preservation to ensure a healthier and more sustainable future. Developing countries like us must give top priority to rejuvenate and preserve our great river mothers and their sources our great mountains and forests, promoting reforestation wherever possible with zero deforestation as far as possible.

We must know that the present culture of development of modern civilization is not sustainable and the fundamental ethics-based, Eco-friendly, village-friendly, agro-friendly, sustainable, equitable / just, loving and caring Gandhian non-violent culture of development, which is based on the fundamental ethics of various great religions in the context of the present world, is the surest and perhaps the only surest permanent rational solution available to us for avoiding the impending catastrophic consequences of present very grave global environmental crises in general and the crisis of global warming and climate change in particular. Village Swaraj constitutes its core and Village Swaraj is not possible without rejuvenation, preservation and protection of our life and health sustaining natural ecosystems of mother Nature. (For some deep and detailed discussion on these issues, please visit our websites: wwwsavegangamovent.org , 4gashram.org)

With Goodwill, love and prayers, πŸ’• πŸ™

Mrs. Rama Rauta

President: National Women's Organisation, Pune

Founder: Save Ganga Movement

Websites: www.savegangamovement.org , www.4gashram.org