New Delhi: Per capita consumption of minerals and fuels in India and rest of the Asia Pacific needs to be brought down to one fifth of present levels to be deemed sustainable, according to a latest UN report.

A comparison across 10 Asia Pacific countries related to domestic material consumption showed over the past three decades China has become the largest consumer of minerals, followed by India and Indonesia.

The report prepared by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that in 2005, 60 percent of all material consumed in Asia-Pacific region were used in China and 20 percent in India.

The report expressed concern over the rate at which water and land resources are being used in the region.

With growing urbanization, the problem of solid waste is going to be a major challenge for Indian cities, the UNEP report said.

According to the report India is labeled as a water- stressed country. Between 1985 to 2000, total water withdrawals increased by around 25 percent in Indian Sub continent, the UNEP report said.

Scenarios suggest that rising water extraction will put many river basins under severe stress by 2025 and that groundwater levels will continue to fall.

However, the report said that unlike water, land use in Asia Pacific is more efficient.

Urban land area in Asia-Pacific is estimated to be 2 to 3 percent but noted there is urgent need for better data.

According to Arabinda Mishra, Director at TERI, "there still exist key policy gaps which need to be addressed at the earliest if India is aiming to achieve a successful transition to a green economy".

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said "these new findings come some nine months before the Rio plus 20 conference where the world needs to get back into the business of acting for a truly transformational sustainability agenda.

Energy uUse in Asia Pacific has grown since 1970 at a compounding annual growth rate of 3.9 percent and in the rest of the world the growth rate was 1.4 percent.

The region’s share of total primary energy supply grew from 19 percent of the world total to over 35 percent and will reach 50 percent by 2028 on current trends, the report claimed.

Consumption of coal by Asia-Pacific countries has more than tripled from 1970 to 2005, the report noted.

Greenhouse gas emissions in Asia Pacific increased from 10 billion tonnes to 16 billion tonnes between 1990 and 2005, as per the report.

Titled Resource Efficiency-Economics and Outlook for Asia and the report was jointly prepared by UNEP, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), CSIRO (Australia), IGES (Japan) and Chinese Academy of Sciences.

(Agencies)