Background: The ecological footprint (EF) is a measure of human demand on the Earth's ecosystems. In 2007, world-average EF was 2.7 gha per person as compared to 0.91 gha per person in India. The importance of tracking the environmental performance of nations by EF is obvious in light of the myriad environmental problems like global warming, large-scale deforestation, desertification, loss of biodiversity, and disturbances to major geochemical cycles. Against this background, the present study was done to determine ecological footprint status of students of Panjab University, Chandigarh
Methods: A cross sectional study was done in 100 students of Panjab University, located in northern part of India. A standardized self administered questionnaire, modified according to Indian situations, and pretested was used as a research tool for study. It contained 12 questions in four sub groups addressing EF of food, mobility, shelter, goods and services. The total footprint score of a person was the sum of all subgroup EF scores. WHO EPI Info software for calculating frequencies, percentages and ANOVA.
Results: Mean total footprint was highest in the age group of 17-19 years as compared to other age groups (p=0.001). All the footprint parameters (shelter, food, mobility, goods and services) were more in males as compared to females. EF score of the majority of students was in the range of 6-10.
Conclusions: Ecological Footprint of students of Panjab University, Chandigarh was found to be much higher (5.58) than average Indian Footprint (0.91).
Ecological Footprint, Global Hectares, Bio capacity