WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2012
Abdul Hamid Mir
Since its inception/establishment (in 1973) the annual celebration of environment day on June 5th is observed in (almost) every corner of the world. The theme of the World Environment Day (WED) 2012 is : “Green Economy: Does it include you? ” which speaks of taking eco-friendly initiatives at the grassroots level. But mostly people across the world enjoy the day by merely watching movies on wildlife and environment and visit some amusement parks for taking a glance of some rare species. There is no innovation in observing the day as the event is celebrated only traditionally. Man being at the top of hierarchy of the species, is exploiting natural resources and he snatches the right to live of other living beings. Environmentalists do not even take care of their surroundings not to speak of broader perspective.
Man exchanges matter and energy with the environment. Environment acts both as a source and sink for the life on earth. We should take specific initiatives at individual level in order to save our environment from disaster. From the middle of twentieth century onwards, man has created deserts from lush green meadows in the name of industrialization. Statistics reveal a declining trend in the number of known (plant and animal) species by the every passing year, thus depriving the rich biodiversity of their right to flourish.
In the contemporary times although everybody is talking/boasting of sustainable development but no one has proved to be loyal to this term. The word eco (as in eco tourism, eco friendly etc) echoes many times in local as well as international media, but people only liked its pronunciation and in practice it is being dumped on papers. Incase a polythene or some unwanted material is lying on the road , none of us gathers the courage to remove it or wind it off because we have a wrong perception regarding the same. It is not possible for every individual to launch movements (like Chipko Movement) and campaigns but they can contribute in one or the other way. The priority wise environmental challenges before the mankind in the 21st century include: Global Warming (it includes all the factors leading to global warming like deforestation, industrialization etc) , Ozone depletion , air/water/soil pollution, loss of biodiversity , Depletion of Water Resources, human population explosion, and to mitigate the nuclear race/rivalry. Environment is screaming and it is in need of intensive human attention otherwise it will cease to support life on earth.
All the three spheres of our planet (i.e., atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere) have become contaminated by the anthropogenic activities, thus disturbing the natural balance. We should explore the possibilities of recycling waste materials. We must protect our water bodies for ensuring sustainable development. Besides we must emphasise on the wise use of water especially drinking water because water resources are becoming scarce by the every year now. Laying much stress on the conservation of water resources the United Nations has declared the decade 2005-2015 as Water for Life Decade.
It is still high time to find some remedial measures in order to preserve the delicacy of our natural environment. For instance , use of bio fuel in automobiles and industries would almost end the menace of air pollution , which is a shelter of countless human disorders. Similarly, the use of biopesticides /biofertilizers would lessen the burden on environment while addressing the problems of food security. We should encourage public transport incase we are to come out of the unwise trend of damaging our environment.We must bring a change in our mental scenario regarding protection of our environment. Each of us has a responsibility to make his/her environment green and clean. Instead of holding seminars and other programmers (which add a good output in the form of garbage and wastes to the environment). Even on environment day celebration itself, tons of garbage of polythene are being added to the Himalayan height/size heaps of garbage already facing the element of ignorance , let us start the task at grassroots level on 5th of this June, it is still right time to begin with right now: let us save 5 buckets of clean water , remove 5 waste materials from our surroundings, think 5 times before cutting down a tree , plant 5 more trees, put off unnecessary lights for 5 minutes each, avoid temptation to drive personal cars for 5 hours, avoid use of polythene for 5 decades (because that will do a great favour to the environment incase one is determined to avoid polythene almost throughout his life) and do realise the change and be careful as it is not Barrack Obama’s so called Change, which is leading the world from bad to worse. Environmental degradation is reflected in every part of the world. Developed nations have always axed the wellbeing of environment (for their own ‘benefits’) thus making it upset.
Over the past few years , the concentration of carbon dioxide (which has a 50% contribution towards causing global warming) has increased in the atmosphere by many fold. The nuisance of global warming which is the biggest environmental challenge of the 21st Century, the need of the hour is to find some way out for curbing the factors which contribute towards global warming. The immediate threats of global warming are waiting for the new generations with their dreadful effects. The Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) envisages an increase in average global temperature in the years to come.People are already aware of the severe and long term consequences of Global Warming. Besides, the nations of the world need to explore the strategies for handling the most dreadful stuff (Nuclear Waste) for the wellbeing of planet earth. Though the nuclear waste is dumped into the oceans and under the soil, yet it can persist for a long time since the half life of some radioactive materials is of the order of years and centuries. The nuclear race has made the world to be at the climax of destruction. In this race who wins who loses , that does not matter, but overall the resources are forced to shrink. We should switch to alternative sources of energy (preferably renewable ones) in order to meet our energy requirements.It will serve as a dual purpose, viz., to minimize air pollution and prevention of our natural resources from exploitation. Given the willingness of statesmen and political leadership, green and eco friendly technology can certainly replace the prevailing pollution technology.
Down the gradient from Copenhagen Summit Failure to the unsuccessful attempts made by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) to maintain the glory of Srinagar city, the Global Warming nuisance to the inefficiency of LAWDA to protect world famous Dal and other Lakes from unchecked pollution.. Road widening is going on but at the same time roadside encroachments are running parallel, irrespective of being under green belt or normal belt. Srinagar , the city which was glamoured by the Mughals, is not the fourth dirtiest instead so called civilized people are living in one of the dirtiest cities of India (If we believe Urban Development Ministry’s survey report). Chinars are being chopped keeping the judicial/legal jurisprudence at bay. Dal Lake is not only polluted but maligned. The number of vehicles (discharging tons of automobile exhaust per day) is perhaps going to outnumber the number of individuals in this once beautiful corner of the world, courtesy: soft loan schemes of Banks to meet the target of providing pollution sources (automobiles) to every customer. No body is bothered about sustainable development. We should maximize our efforts in order to regain the status of our valley of being called the Switzerland of Asia. Again at the global level, maintaining essence of celebrating the day, developed and developing nations must cut their carbon emissions practically also (besides cutting it though various pacts merely on white papers!) and switch to renewable sources of energy. Usage of sophisticated technology in industries can reduce carbon emissions to a great extent. Extensive plantation drives may also serve one of the natural carbon sequestration method.