BY SYED TAJAMUL ISLAM
Breathing an air of modernised life, man affected with unnumbered problems and issues that did not let peace and prosperity to germinate. The odd and scare atmosphere created through the birth of Covid19 and Bird flu led the man to rub salt over the wounds. The frustration, grief, anger, perplexed, confused and terrorised became the familiar frequent emotions running in the emotional horizons of modern man. Even though, man is swimming in the ocean of technology but not able to free the life from the worries and issues. Do you wonder about how and why this happens? A simple answer is here. Man invests greed and unsustainable developments that has spoiled all the normal settings and regulations, producing countless issues then and now. Due to anthropogenic activities, quality of environment is deteriorating at an unexpected pace. Environmental pollution and degradation had put progress and peace to halt. At present, man is unable to breathe pure air, drink pure water and live on unpolluted land.
Through the language of Wikipedia, environment signifies about what encircles a man. It includes biotic and abiotic zones that interact to make operation of ecosystem possible. Man through the so-called development led each pillar of the environment to get polluted and deteriorated. Environmental degradation began to produce many consequences and it is the process of environmental degradation through which the natural environment is compromised in some way, reducing biological diversity and the general health of the environment. Studies by some of the eminent organizations reveal that the deterioration of environment is occurring at an alarming rate. Environmental degradation is a result of the dynamic socio economic, institutional and technological activities. Most of the resources on mother earth are vulnerable to depletion and the rates at which we are exploiting them, have already brought some of them to the brink of exhaustion. Large-scale exploitation has depleted the fossil fuel resources across the world, thus leaving us to find an alternate source of energy. Other human activities, which have been contributing to environmental degradation, include urbanisation, population explosion, deforestation, pollution; hunting etc. things like overconsumption, overfishing, deforestation are dramatically affecting our world. Pollution is everywhere, from the trash thrown out on the freeway to the millions of metric tons of pollutants pumped into the atmosphere every year.
Plastic has become one of the most used substances and it is seen everywhere from supermarkets to common households. Being non-biodegradable led to the rise of plastic pollution, which affects the whole earth including humankind, wildlife and aquatic life. It is spreading like a disease that has no cure. Waste plastic bags are the main reason for trapping the drains and sewers, especially during rains that led to the flood like situation and disrupt the normal life of people. Plastic pollution causes harm to humans, animals and plants through toxic pollutants. It can take more years for plastic to break down, so the environmental damage is long lasting. It affects all organisms in the food chain from tiny species like plankton through to huge whales.
According to well-esteemed researchers, Smart phones and data centres too are damaging the environment and will have the biggest carbon footprint in the tech industry by 2040. Making a smart phone accounts for 85 to 95 % of its annual carbon footprint due to the energy intensive mining and manufacturing that is required to transform over 20 elements into a handheld electronic device. Almost half of the world’s population uses smart phone and its usage grows every day. It is an environmental disaster because building every phone requires the polluting extraction of irreplaceable elements like gold, cobalt or lithium. To make the matters worse, the average user switches phone every two years without recycling the retired device, generating toxic waste and squandering materials.
In this era of globalization, our mother earth is facing serious environmental pollution resulted from inconsiderable deeds of humankind. There are four main ways to reduce pollution on earth via practicing the 3R’s concept, reduce the usage of vehicles on roads, creating awareness among citizens and enforcing the laws.3R’s concept stands for reduce, reuse and recycle. Reducing the usage of air conditioners will reduce the release of ozone depleting harmful chlorofluorocarbons thus save from ozone layer depletion. The next way to mitigate pollution is to recycle recyclable items such as glass, cans and newspapers. The recycled newspapers can be reproduced as toilet papers that will reduce extra waste on earth, indirectly contributing in reducing land pollution. Usage of public transport like buses or trains than to ply vehicles that are more private will reduce air and sound pollution. Creating awareness about the importance of reducing pollution is the need of the hour that can make some sort of positive difference. Environmental awareness is to understand the fragility of our environment and the importance of its protection. Promoting environmental awareness is an easy way to become an environmental steward and participate in creating eco friendly and green environment around us all. An environmental law ensures that individuals and governments do not cause any sort of harm to the environment or its ecosystems. It is central in setting up, regulating and interpreting the various conventions and laws that have been initiated by various countries and international organisations across the world, to prevent transgressions that pose a threat to the environment and by extension the human race as a whole.
The role of every individual in preventing environmental pollution and imparting eco-friendly activities towards the environment is of paramount importance because if every individual contributes substantially, the effect will be visible at not only the community, city, state or national level but also at the global level as environment carries no boundaries. It is appropriately said,” Think globally Act locally”. Each individual should change his/her lifestyle in such a way as to reduce environmental pollution. Let we all contribute positively for green environment and reduce the environmental degradation.
Syed Tajamul Islam is M.Sc Environmental Science Kashmir University