POLLUTION

Pollution refers to the contamination of the environment due to the presence of hazardous substances in the atmosphere. Pollution is basically man-made. These hazardous substances are referred as pollutants. In early times, pollution was in terms of the fire burnt in caves. But that did not have a big impact on the atmosphere. The population was very low during ancient human civilization. However, as the human civilization progressed and as evolution and advancements in human beings took place, it ended up having a huge population density across the world. Industrialisation also played its part in pollution. According to studies, the productivity of indoor and outdoor workers have decreased due to pollution. Thus pollution is a severe problem in the current day.

Though there are many types of pollution such as plastic pollution, radioactive contamination, light pollution etc. the major types are pollution are air, water and soil pollution.

AIR POLLUTION

Air pollution is the release of chemicals and particles in the environment. The chemicals include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide etc. Air pollution attributes to about 5 million deaths each year. It contributes to 9% of the total deaths in the world every year. There are many causes of air pollution such as

  • Burning of fossil fuels, wood, plastic etc.
  • The untreated chemicals let out from industries and exhaust of vehicles
  • Deforestation
  • Emission of green house gases such as methane, carbon dioxide etc.
  • Mining operations
  • Chlorofluorocarbons present in coolants

These cause a severe damage to environment, health and welfare of the living beings such as

  • Respiratory problems such as wheezing and asthma and other lung problems
  • Global warming
  • Acid rain formation
  • Smog formation
  • Affects wildlife

We can prevent air pollution by

  • Afforestation
  • Using a filter in factories before releasing chemicals
  • Using eco-friendly vehicles

WATER POLLUTION

Water pollution is mainly caused by discharge of sewage in the water bodies that pose a dangerous threat to marine life. Every year, 14 billion pounds of plastic are released into the ocean. The reasons for water pollution are

  • Oil spills from the ships
  • Pesticides used in agriculture washed off to seas
  • Marine dumping such as dumping plastics and other non biodegradable substances
  • Release of untreated waste into water bodies
  • Acid rain

Effects of water pollution are

  • Contamination of marine organisms
  • Water pollution affects the growth of marine plants
  • Eutrophication – prevents the sunlight from entering into the ocean
  • Infected fishes infect human being leading to water borne diseases such as cholera, hepatitis and typhoid

How do we prevent water pollution?

  • Proper disposal of wastes into water after treating it
  • Recycling water
  • Conserving water

SOIL POLLUTION

Soil pollution is defined as the presence of toxic chemicals in the soil, in high enough concentrations to pose a risk to human health and the ecosystem. The causes of soil pollution are

  • Acid rain
  • Landfill
  • Usage of fertilizers and pesticides
  • Dust particles present in the soil
  • Deforestation and soil erosion

Due to these reasons, it is evident that the soil becomes infertile and contaminated, making it unfit for agriculture. There are some measures to prevent soil pollution such as

  • Treating wastes before dumping them
  • Avoiding burning of wastes
  • Afforestation
  • And finally, using organic manure for maintaining a healthy/fertile soil.

Relevant links:https://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/eu-drafts-plan-tighten-carbon-070725934.html https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrXgiOIKdxgJQYAvDPAHAx.;_ylu=Y29sbwNncTEEcG9zAzMEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1625070088/RO=10/RU=https%3a%2f%2fwww.ndtv.com%2fdelhi-news%2fdelhi-government-bans-fishing-in-parts-of-yamuna-river-citing-high-pollution-2475600/RK=2/RS=24WnrdQSK4vCKpBJqFmCILrj3wE-

INDIA’S CRIPPLING TROPICAL FORESTS EPITOMIZE CARBON SINKS

By the year 2050, the world’s tropical forest supply may be severely depleted. Scientists expect that by 2050, sea levels will have risen to the point where most major cities will be flooded. In the last two decades, neglecting our biodiversity has resulted in four disease outbreaks. Can the human race afford another global epidemic that makes it impossible to breathe?

Carbon sinks are natural processes that absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; the oceans and forests are the two largest carbon sinks on the planet. Oceans are the world’s main carbon sinks. Plants and soil are the two carbon sinks found in forests. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis, and some carbon dioxide is released by the soil as plants die and decompose. In the event of a forest fire, forests will change from carbon sink to carbon source. If forests remain intact, with no leakages such as erosion and deforestation, this trade-off between sink and source can be balanced. Forests’ ability to function as a carbon sink or source is dependent on the balance of photosynthesis and respiration. If you believe it or not, forest soil has sequestered a significant amount of carbon.

When a tree dies and the microbes finish the decomposition process, some of the accumulated carbon is released back into the atmosphere. This method does not result in the complete loss of carbon. A sizable portion of it has remained in the soil. A large area of forest is an excellent example of a carbon sink. “Basically half of the carbon dioxide emissions are consumed by the Earth’s land and ocean,” says Paul Fraser of the Commonwealth Scientific and Research Organization.

The titan Amazon basin, which predominantly serves as the largest carbon sink of all of the forests, and benefits us by generating over 20% of the total oxygen production for the earth, is an example of the world’s largest tropical forest, holding up to 40 thousand plant species, 2.5 million insect species, and a myriad variety of wildlife. The Amazon is used to demonstrate how tropical forests can function as a carbon sink. “We have already lost 20% of the Amazon in 2019, and scientists worry that if we lose yet another 5%, the Amazon will hit its tipping point,” says Mike Barrett, WWF Director of Science and Conservation.

India is ranked 9th among the world’s megadiverse countries, with nearly 40,000 plant species and 90,000 animal species living through diverse geographical environments in all four directions. The Northeast (NE), once one of India’s greenest areas, has been slowly losing forest cover for the past 20 years.

According to data mapped by the Global Forest Watch, a repository for global forest data, the rate has doubled. According to a report published by the Deccan Herald in 2018, over 70 percent of the forest cover in the Northeastern states was lost due to deforestation between 2001 and 2018. Infrastructure is essential for the economy, but not at the expense of our aid recipients. The Northeast has been facing a significant threat to its forests for the past two decades as a result of deforestation for coal mining, cement manufacturing, and illegal logging. Deforestation has already wreaked havoc on the Garo Hills of Meghalaya and the Karbi Anglong Hills of Assam. As a result of the Etalin Hydroelectricity Project, the Dibang valley in Arunachal Pradesh is on the verge of losing 2.7 lakh trees. The Northeast is already feeling the heat of forest depletion, with some states experiencing the highest temperature increase in the last two decades. In Karnataka, a similar incident occurred when the long-delayed Hubballi-Ankola railway line was finally approved. This 164-kilometer railway line would cut through the Kali Tiger Reserve and the Bedti Conservation Reserve, destroying more than 80% of the forest cover in the Western Ghats, one of India’s most ecologically sensitive areas. There are fears that the Bannerghatta National Park, which is located in the ESZ (eco-sensitive zone), Bangalore’s only remaining lung space, would lose about 100 square kilometres. The loss of trees would increase carbon emissions, and these forests are home to more than 250 species of plants, birds, animals, and insects that are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and protected by the Wildlife Protection Act of 197.

Mining and various agricultural and commercial growth projects in India generate at least 1,000 million tonnes of carbon. With the pace at which trees are being cut down, India will experience many stages of ecological cancer. India’s average reported temperature has already increased. Even Antarctica experienced the hottest temperature increase in 141 years, not to mention the July 2019 Heat Wave. According to the World Bank, nearly 1.3 million sq/km of land cover was destroyed between 1990 and 2016, an area greater than South Africa. What are the warning signs if these aren’t them? Tropical woods, unlike the Notre Dame Cathedral, cannot be rebuilt.

As a result, I implore everyone to take responsibility for raising consciousness about these issues and not allowing them to go unnoticed. Begin to shoulder some of the world’s responsibilities. It has been far too long since we have felt a sense of awe for the natural world. In this sense, President John F. Kennedy said, “If not us, who?” When, if not now, would it be?”