Washington: India ranks a lowly 125th in addressing pollution control and natural resource management challenges with Switzerland taking the top spot, according to the 2012 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
China ranks 116th in the Index produced by researchers at Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, reflecting the strain rapid economic growth imposes on the environment in emerging economies.
Brazil ranks 30th, however, suggesting that a concerted focus on sustainability as a policy priority will pay dividends - and that the level and pace of development is just one of many factors affecting environmental performance, according to the index released in Davos.
"India`s low rank on the 2012 Environmental Performance Index should be a wake-up call to Indian political leaders at all levels," said Daniel Esty, Director of the Yale Centre for Enviromental Law and Policy and one of the lead authors of the report.
"India faces significant pollution control and natural resource management challenges and its lagging results suggest the need for redoubled policy efforts across the board," he said.
The United States places 49th in the 2012 EPI significantly behind other industrialised nations, including France (6th), the United Kingdom (9th), Germany (11th), and Japan (23rd).
In addition, the US places 77th in the Trend EPI rankings, a Pilot Index that shows which countries are improving and by how much on an issue-by-issue basis over the period 2000-2010, suggesting that little progress has been made on environmental challenges over the last ten years, a Yale release said.
Latvia, Norway, Luxembourg, and Costa Rica round out the top five positions in the 2012 EPI, which ranks 132 countries based on 22 indicators across ten major policy categories including air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity, and forest management.
Occupying the bottom five positions in the EPI ranking are South Africa, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iraq - all countries grappling with deteriorating environmental circumstances in the context of significant economic development pressures and other challenges.