“The Good Earth”, when was first inhabited by various living beings and at a much later date by the human beings, used to be an ideal place for living and enjoying healthy life under a clean environment with plenty of resources. As soon as the human beings started exploiting the natural resources of the planet in an unscientific manner to meet their increasing needs of various resources particularly with effect from industrial revolution in 1760, the earth started getting polluted by the wastes and effluents generated from different sources. Since the industrial revolution to this date, through various anthropogenic activities including rapid increase of industries and urban areas along with modernization of agricultural practices, large amounts of wastes and effluents are being generated every day and are being released to the environment as such. As a result, the land and water bodies as well as the air of the planet, are getting polluted rapidly. At present, we have reached at a very alarming state with regard to environmental pollution and global warming.
In the process for meeting various needs of exploding human population on this little planet, large areas of green forests and vegetations are being wiped out, the wet lands are being destroyed and the remaining water bodies as well as the air are being loaded with huge amounts of poisonous solid, liquid and gaseous wastes. The green house gases like carbon dioxide, methane, oxides of nitrogen and sulphur, chlor floro carbon and fine particulate matters (PM) are mostly responsible for the rising of atmospheric temperature of the planet. As a result, the wind circulation, pattern of rainfall, alteration in types of vegetative growth, agricultural productivity, growth of forest etc., are being very much affected and causing distress in various ways to all living beings. As a matter fact, it has been estimated that, 10C rise in atmospheric temperature can shift vegetation zone on the planet to about 200 km towards the pole along with rise in sea level causing destruction of many densely populated coastal areas.
Untimely rainfall and frequent cyclone affecting different areas of the planet, are some of the adverse effect of global warming. It is reported that, during the last century, the sea level rise has been 15 to 20 cm and it is apprehended that it may go up about 100 cm by the end of the century. The effect is mostly due to both rise in atmospheric temperature and melting of the snow of continental glaciers. At the same time, due to land, water and air pollution, there has been a perceptible increase in the sufferings of human beings with various types of deadly diseases like asthma, cholera, diarhoea, dysentery, dengue, fileria and cancer, resulting in high percentage of untimely death. According to World Health Organization (WHO), the indoor and outdoor air pollution has been responsible for death of about 37 lakhs of people under the age of 16 during the year 2012.
In recent years, the tropical cyclones occurring with greater intensity and frequency are also the consequence of global warming. The cyclone “FANI” which hit the east coast of India in May 2019, is one of the strongest cyclones in the Indian Ocean which caused a lot of destruction particularly in the coastal region of Odisha. The latest report of UN’s Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that, global warming is occurring faster than anticipated and India will be one of the worst hit countries which may face the wrath of climate change like floods, drought and heat waves and hence ultimately reducing its productivity and GDP. They further anticipated that, due to global warming the atmospheric temperature may rise to 1.50C between the year 2030 to 2052, if the present warming continues to rise at the current rate.
In India, due, to extensive use of fossil fuels in industrial, transport and domestic sectors, burning of organic wastes of agricultural and domestic sectors, and release of solid wastes and effluents to land and water bodies, the global warming and environmental pollution are increasing in an uncontrolled manner. A recent study has ranked India as 126th out of 132nd countries with respect to environmental pollution. According to WHO report of 2014, for example, Delhi city has been found to have the dirtiest atmosphere out of 1600 cities surveyed around the world. It has also been found that, in our country 13 cities have very high level of particulate matters in the air. As a matter fact, Delhi has been declared as the “Asthma Capital of India” by the world body.
In order to save us from the disasters of environmental pollution and global warming, we have to undertake various mitigation measures and some of these are given below:
I. Reducing the use of fossil fuels in transport, domestic and industrial sectors,
II. Harnessing and using increasing amount of renewable energy such as solar, wind, biomass and hydro power for various purposes in domestic, agriculture and industrial sectors,
III. Applying best available technology for utilization of fossil fuels,
IV. Cutting down the release of green house gases by using electrical transport system on roads and water bodies,
V. Creating more water bodies, developing wet lands and harvesting rain water on the surface and underground,
VI. Greening the barren lands and mineral mined areas as well as areas around the rivers and other water bodies,
VII. Prohibiting the burning of agricultural and domestic wastes in open air, rather utilizing these to produce clean bio-gas,
VIII. Banning defecation in open area and using hygienic latrine with provision for converting the wastes as manure, and
IX. Keeping land and water bodies free from solid wastes and effluents generated from industrial, domestic and agricultural activities, urban sewage, human excreta, animal dung etc., and converting these through anaerobic process to biogas and organic manure.
Both central and state governments of our country should properly plan thee programmes in the above mentioned areas and implement those in time with full cooperation of all concerned so that we can mitigate the effect of environmental pollution and Global warming to a great extent. In this regard, the programmes under “Swachha Bharat”, projection, production and use of renewable energy and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) etc., which are being carried out recently by the Government of India, are most welcome beginnings.
Just observing 5th June as the ‘World Environment Day’ by organizing a few lectures giving some slogans, planting a few trees here and there etc., and forgetting it for the rest of the year, will be a mockery to combat global warming and environmental pollution. We have to whole heartedly work with the government and private organizations in our country in the above programmes in order to keep our land, water and air clean for leading a healthy and happy life and providing the same to our future generation.