With many NGO’s and social organizations coming forward to take up the cause of environment protection to the next level, it is equally responsible for us, as citizens of the same planet as social activists and environmentalists, to look at the issue with more seriousness than ever before. It is a well-known fact that environmental degradation indirectly affects the very existence of man on earth. Despite this knowledge, man has always continued depleting the valuable resources of nature irrespective of the grave danger we are risking ourselves to.
Cutting down of trees to make way for urbanization and globalization that in turn leads to disastrous climatic changes through air and water pollution are all serious issues we need to take up to lead a healthy life in the modern society. Unlike the past, when man lived in harmony with nature, the situation has gone through several shifts and paradoxes that it’s high time we stopped talking and executed some action to secure a safe and sound future. But first of all, what are the major environmental issues that have been troubling us? Over the years, has their effect on earth increased or decreased? These are only a few questions, and there are more for which we are held responsible to answer. It’s high time we realized that protecting the environment is our responsibility and hence deem it necessary to take appropriate action.
Let’s, as a beginning to this journey list out some of the gravest environmental issues that needs to be looked up in no time and which needs immediate action done at the earliest possible.
1. GLOBAL WARMING: A name that has been occupying the front page of daily news for the past 10 or so years, global warming is a critical environmental issue which if not controlled can lead to the disappearance of life from the surface of the earth. Global warming is caused due to disastrous climatic changes that are indirectly linked to the different kinds of pollution that man is responsible for. Global warming is a result of the emission of greenhouse gases. This is harmful to the environment because with the increasing amount of gases hitting the earth’s atmosphere the temperature of the air surrounding the oceans increases which in turn results in a massive melting of polar ice caps, the rise in sea levels and an increased rate of precipitation. The aftermath of these changes calls for another chapter of discussion that I suppose you have been well informed about.
2. OVERPOPULATION: The increasing number of population is another major environmental disaster. With population growth happening at a faster rate than in the past, there has risen an ever increasing need for more land, more resources and to top it all, an increase in poverty. With the widespread increase in population, there is a shortage of essential resources like water, fuel and energy. Moreover, the pace at which the number of residents is increasing, man is forced to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides to boost agriculture that in turn negatively affects the cultivated land making it barren after the first produce is harvested. If growth continues at this rate man will have no choice but to die of hunger and starvation.
3. LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY: No form of development and technological success man has attained can compromise the massive loss of biodiversity that we are suffering from. Forget about the number of flora and fauna that are already extinct but do you know that double the number, even triple have been red-listed as those organisms that can face extinction in any minute! Man doesn’t care. Running after materialistic pleasures man has left behind the virtues of selflessness and caring for fellow beings. But we should know that these organisms, however, large or small they are, play a significant role in maintaining environmental balance and also boosts ecosystem productivity. The loss of coral reefs is affecting marine growth. With a large number of trees being cut down, the process of photosynthesis is suffering from irregular shifts. The loss of plants and shrubs results in the loss of a large variety of useful crops that can help in supporting life. If this is the case with the green life on earth, is there any need to talk about the losses we are incurring from wildlife extinction?
4. WASTE DISPOSAL: We all know how keen every Indian is when it comes to proper disposal of waste materials. The least we can do is throw the waste into our neighbour’s courtyard! Despite efforts taken by units like Kudumbashree in some states in India, the condition remains the same. The efforts have all been futile to the extent that we remain at where we had begun. It is a sad state of affairs because the after effects of improper and careless waste disposals can lead to severe deterioration of health and serious climatic changes. Though we were able to control plastic disposals and their usage to a certain extent, that doesn’t mean we have achieved the heights of maintaining an eco-friendly waste disposal strategy. For all you know, there are electronic and nuclear wastes to be dealt with and which, if not disposed or renewed properly can create severe environmental damages in future.
5. ENERGY ISSUES: Problems that are caused by energy-related issues are by far the gravest environmental disaster that needs to be kept within limits. It’s high time we shifted to using renewable sources of energy than the non-renewable sources. You have no idea of the number and amount of toxic gases that are emitted into the atmosphere as a result of blasting mountain tops and digging underground searching for non-renewable sources that can be converted into useful energy. Despite giving way to grave climatic situations and landslides, use of non-renewable energy sources can result in the creation of hazardous environmental conditions. So let’s join hands and promote the use of renewable sources of energy. In this way, we can prevent the destruction of the environment in which we live to a great extent.
There’s more to the list that we are talking about including acid rain, ozone layer depletion and deforestation but I believe that if we can control these five major disastrous situations that can lead to damage to the environment, we will, to a great extent be able to protect our surroundings from further harm. A safe and secure future for the generations to come should be our ultimate motto.