Sustainable development

Sustainable development is the need of the present time not only for the survival of mankind but also for its future protection. Unlike the other great revolutions in human history the Green Revolution and the Industrial Revolution the ‘sustainable revolution’ will have to take place rapidly, consciously and on many different levels and in many different spheres, simulta­neously.

On the technical level, for example, it will involve the sustainable technologies based upon the use of non-renewable, fossil fuels for technologies that take advantage of renewable energies like the sun, wind and biomass, the adoption of conser­vation and recycling practices on a wider scale, and the transfer of f cleaner and more energy efficient technologies to countries in the developing world.

On the political and economic levels, it will involve, among other things, the overhauling of development and trade practices which tend to destroy the environment, and the improvement of indigenous peoples, a fairer distribution of wealth and resources within and between nations, the charging of true cost for products which exploit or pollute the environment, and the encouragement of sustainable practices through fiscal and legal controls and incen­tives.

On the social plane, it will involve a renewed thrust towards universal primary education and health care, with particular emphasis on the education and social liberation of women. On the environmental level, we are talking about massive afforestation projects, renewed research into and assistance for organic farming practices and biopest control, and the vigorous protection of biodiversity. On the informational level, the need is for data that will allow the development of accurate social and environmental accountancy systems.

The aim of ecologically sustainable development is to maximise human well-being or quality of life without jeopardising the life support system. The measures for sustainable development may be different in developed and developing countries according to their level of technological and economic development.

But developing countries, like India, can focus attention on the following measures:

1. ensure clean and hygienic living and working conditions for the people

2. sponsor research on environmental issues pertaining to the region.

3.ensure safety against known and proven industrial hazards

4. find economical methods for salvaging hazardous industrial wastes.

5.find out substitutes for proven hazardous materials based on local resources and needs instead of blindly depending on advanced nations to find solutions.

The prime need for sustainable development is the conser­vation of natural resources. For conservation, the development policy should follow the following norms:

(i) Make all attempts not to impair the natural regenerative capacity of renewable resources and simultaneously avoid excessive pollution hampering the biospherical capacity of waste assimilation and life support system.

(ii) All technological changes and planning strategy processes, as far as physically possible, must attempt switch from non-renewable to renewable resource uses.

(iii) Formulate a phase-out policy for the use of non-renewable resources in general.

Thus, for a worldwide sustainable growth, there is need for efficient and effective management of available resources. In this field, the production of “environment-friendly products” (EFP) is a positive step. With the industrialisation and technological devel­opment, markets are flooded with products of daily consumption. They could however be a source of danger to health and damage to our environment.

There is thus need to distinguish the more environmentally harmful consumer products from those which are less harmful, or have a more benign impact on the environment right from the stage of manufacture through packaging, distri­bution, use, disposal and reusability or recycling.

Throughout the world, emphasis is now being put on the production of EFP. In India, plans are afoot to market EFPs with combined efforts of Bureau of Indian Standards, Ministry of Environment and Forests and Central Pollution Control Board. Since 1990, a scheme of labelling ECOMARK has also been started. In its first phase, the items included in this are soaps, plastics, papers, cosmetics, colours, lubricating oil, pesticides, drugs and various edible items.

The objectives of the scheme are:

(i) to provide an incentive for manufactures and to reduce adverse environmental impact of their products,

(ii) to reward genuine initiatives by companies to reduce adverse environmental impact of their products,

(iii) to assist consumers to become responsible in their daily lives by providing them information to take account of environmental factors in their purchase decisions,

(iv) to encourage citizens to purchase products which have less harmful environ­mental impact, and

(v) to improve the quality of the environment and to encourage the sustainable management of resources.

Not only in consumer goods production but in the field of energy production also, environment-friendly techniques of power generation can be used. For example, in power production from coal, PFBC (Pressurised Fluidised Bed Combined Cycle) technique is useful in which coal is burnt efficiently and cleanly in combined cycle plants.

To cope with increased demand of the basic requirement of life and the limited supply of the natural resources, along with consid­eration of environmental degradation and ecological balance, we need to emphasise on optimal management of land, water, minerals and other natural resources. There is also need to utilize the native wisdom of those people, who live close to nature and earth, for eco-restoration along with development.

In order to apply the principle of sustainable management in reality, a highly complex way of looking at the problem is required, involving various disciplines. Sustainability is first and foremost a mental question. Without a grasp of the need or the will to change awareness, we will not succeed in realising the principle of sustainability in agriculture.

It is upon the decision-makers in politics to create the right framework and the pre-conditions for a sustainable development in agriculture. Global involvement, on the other hand, must not be left out of account. Sustainability reflects our understanding of necessity and responsibility on the question for whom, for what and how production can be guided into the future in a way that is efficient, environmentally sound and sparing on resources.

Global change is an ecological phenomenon, whereas globalisation is concerned with economic change. A recent analysis of sustainable agriculture in the context of trade liberalisation and globalisation raises equally significant concern for a more informed decision-making process at local, regional and international levels.

The emerging issues related to the impact of globalisation on sustainable agriculture are as follows:

1. There are explicit problems with the conventional theoretical economic conditions for agricultural sustainability, especially when applied at the global level.

2. The processes of trade liberalisation and globalisation will not be uniform given the ecological and institutional diversity of the nations of the world.

3. There will be disparities in globalised impacts between rich and poor countries for agriculture, industries, sustainability and environment as well as income and poverty.

4. There is need for serious analysis of problems and policy initia­tives, since the risk of disruption to agricultural systems and environmental deterioration, social disruption and dislocation in the poorer countries of the world is clearly very high.

5. The type of production technology research, facilitated by private research, will not address the significant public good and externality issues facing developing countries.

The pursuit of sustainability demands choices about the distri­bution of costs and benefits in space and time. There is also need to take advantage of the ‘traditional ecological knowledge’ (TEK), which encompasses all issues related to ecology and natural resource management, both at local and regional levels. Along with political dimensions of environment-society relations, the TEK can be used for both eco-restoration and sustainable development.

Environmental ecology

The problem of population is the main cause of ecological environment damage. As the population grows up and economic develops, the increasing demand of resources is becoming more and more severe. Because of deforestation, unreasonably overgrazing dykes to reclaim land from a lake, marsh reclamation, excessive usage of land and water resources, which leads to the destruction of biological environment or even disappearance, the normal survival of the species is affected a lot. There is a large number of species which have not yet been detected by human beings. They have quietly become extinct, thus leading to destruction of biodiversity.

Land is the material basis of human survival. In the demand of the food sources of the survival of human beings, crops cultivated land accounts for 88%, 10% of grasslands and pastoral areas and 2% counted for marine. With the development and utilization of ocean, energy applied by sea food for human beings will increase. At present, the cultivated land of the world is about 1.37 x 109 hm2, which shows per capital is about 0.26 hm2. But due to the increase of the non-agricultural land land desertification, soil erosion, soil pollution and so on, it prompts the contradiction between population increase and reduce land resources becoming more and more sharp. What’s more, the pressure of increase in population on land is becoming bigger and bigger. According to the United Nations food and agriculture organization, nowadays, about 500 million people around the world are in a state of super land bearing capacity.

So the fresh water is going to run out. To discover and to make use of new sources are necessary within two aspects. One is to find fresh water resource which hasn ‘t been found or used. The other way is to thoroughly look for fresh water from where other than the fresh water resource it self. This is mainly asked to turn which is not fresh water purification into fresh water. Since sea water accounts a lot of the total water resources of the earth. The key means to turn them into the water we can drink is to purify and desalinate. Although it is not because that there is no water desalination plant in the world, why we still worry about water resources drying up? That is mainly due to the desalination technology which is not very mature and completed. Not to mention, the cost is very high as well. Ordinary people can not afford such high price. That explains why this technique is not popularized worldwide, but most concentrated in the developed countries. That is to say, if we want to fade in seawater batches, the most important is to rely on science technology to improve the efficiency of desalination, reduce the desalination cost and let ordinary people be able to use the desalinate water under a proper price.

Organisms of this ecosystem may generally be divided into three categories:

1. Producers, 2. Consumers, 3. Decomposers.

Producers mostly belong, to the category of plants that make their food by the inorganic substances by themselves in the presence of light.Consumers particularly include animals including human being, that de­pend for their food on other organism including plants, and the decomposers come in the category of bacteria and fungus etc. that decompose the organic substances present in dead plants and animals.

The system is useful to man. A perfect ecological balance cannot be expected in the wake of growing industrialisation as owing to this, pollution of environment becomes inevitable.The environment has “carrying capacity”, or the amount of pollution or damage an environment can sustain without further degradation.

A lake that is 5 times larger than another one can carry roughly 5 times the pollution load. If the loads of pollution are not minimised or environment upgraded to an extent that it will be able to carry them, the environmental degradation will inevitably worsen.

By the misuse, abuse and uncontrolled use of resources both natural and otherwise have upset the equilibrium between human activity and nature.

Over-exploitation of natural resources in the name of industrialization is posing a great danger to the ecosystem. This danger may be understood in following two ways:

1. Physical Environment. 2. Human Environment.

Physical Environment consists of all constituents of natural origin like physiography-, climate, vegetation, soil, water bodies, wild animals and minerals.

Human Environment consists of all elements having a human touch in their origin. Such elements include all manifestations of human activities.

Of course natural resources cannot be confined to the physical mani­festation of nature, it also includes the entire environmental scenario-the carrying capacity of nature, the extent up to which the nature can accommo­date.

Can we predict the ecological effects of pollution and climate change?

Governments and citizens around the world are increasingly aware of the consequences of atmospheric pollution and climate change. In large-scale experiments, plants and animals are exposed to carefully controlled atmospheres and different ecological conditions. Scientists use this information to understand how they respond to pollution levels, and make predictions about future climate change.

Can we fish the ocean without depleting its riches?

It is possible, but does depend on where we are in the world. In the Antarctic, the marine ecosystem is currently managed as a whole under an international agreement to conserve living resources. This makes it easier to understand marine communities and their interactions, as well as help monitor threatened species more closely.

Can we conserve a habitat and its biodiversity?

Yes. Ecology provides the essential basis for nature conservation. Maintaining a mosaic of habitats ensures the survival of a rich variety of species. For instance, heathland is a valued landscape that is fast disappearing throughout much of Western Europe, but studies have helped identify how to preserve its ecological characteristic.

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BLASTOMYCOSIS

BY DAKSHITA NAITHANI

INTRODUCTION

The fungus Blastomyces causes blastomycosis and the fungus can be found in nature, especially in damp soil and decomposing organic materials like wood and leaves. It is found mostly in the midwestern, south-central, and southern regions of the United States, notably in locations near the Ohio and Mississippi River basins, the Great Lakes, and the Saint Lawrence River. The fungus can also be found in Canada, and there have been a few instances of blastomycosis documented in Africa and India.

People can get blastomycosis by inhaling tiny fungus spores in the air, which frequently occurs after engaging in activities that disrupt the soil. Although the majority of individuals who inhale the spores do not become ill, some will have symptoms such as fever and cough. The infection can be serious in certain people, such as those with weaker immune systems, especially if it spreads from the lungs to other organs.

SYMPTOMS

Blastomycosis is characterised by a high fever.

About half of those infected with the fungus Blastomyces will have symptoms. Blastomycosis symptoms are frequently comparable to those of other lung infections, and include the following:

•             Fever

•             Cough

•             Night sweats

•             Muscle aches or joint pain

•             Weight loss

•             Chest pain

•             Fatigue (extreme tiredness)

Blastomycosis symptoms generally develop 3 weeks to 3 months after a person inhales the fungus spores.

Severe blastomycosis

Blastomycosis can spread from the lungs to other parts of the body, including the skin, bones and joints, and the central nervous system, in some people, especially those with weakened immune systems (the brain and spinal cord).

WHO IS AT RISK

Anyone who has been in an area where Blastomyces is present in the environment can acquire blastomycosis. People who engage in outdoor activities in these locations that expose them to forested areas (such as forestry labour, hunting, and camping) may be more susceptible. People with compromised immune systems are more prone than those who are otherwise healthy to acquire severe blastomycosis.

PREVENTION

There is no vaccination to prevent blastomycosis, and it may not be feasible to avoid being exposed to the fungus that causes the disease in regions where it is prevalent. People with weaker immune systems should avoid activities in these areas that require disturbing the soil.

LIFE CYCLE

Blastomyces is a mould that generates fungal spores that thrives in the environment. The spores are too tiny to see with naked eyes. People and animals who inhale the spores are at danger of contracting blastomycosis. The body temperature permits the spores to convert into yeast when they enter the lungs. The yeast can remain in the lungs or spread to other areas of the body via the circulation, including the skin, bones and joints, organs, and the central nervous system.

DIAGONOSIS

Blastomycosis is diagnosed using your medical and travel history, symptoms, physical examinations, and laboratory testing. A doctor will most likely test for blastomycosis by sending a sample of blood or urine to a laboratory.

Imaging studies, such as chest X-Rays or CT scans of your lungs may be performed by your healthcare practitioner. They may also take a sample of fluid from your lungs or perform a tissue biopsy, which involves taking a tiny sample of damaged tissue from your body and examining it under a microscope. Laboratories may also examine it may grow in bodily fluids or tissues (this is called a culture).

TREATMENT

The majority of patients with blastomycosis will require antifungal therapy. Itraconazole is an antifungal drug that is commonly used to treat blastomycosis in mild to moderate cases. For severe blastomycosis in the lungs or infections that have spread to other areas of the body, amphotericin B is generally used. Treatment might last anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the severity of the illness and the person’s immunological condition.

Small Steps to Help the Earth

In today’s time of climate change and environmental degradation, it is of utmost importance to rein in the damage done to the environment before it crosses a point of no return. The major portion of environmental damage caused can only be worked towards reducing if the various governments, organizations and corporations work towards solving the various issues and the sources causing these issues. But that doesn’t mean that normal people cannot do anything. We each can, in our own way, change certain habits and follow a certain way of lifestyle which can be more efficient and reduce environmental strain. One person, or a small group of people’s efforts will not do anything. However, if all of us on the Earth try and make an effort to our best abilities, then our small steps will give rise to a large positive impact on the environment.

By regulating the way we manage certain things in our life and by following certain practices, right from within our home itself, each one of us can contribute to reducing environmental damage and making the Earth a better place.

A few ways you can make a difference in the health of the environment and planet:

Practice the 3Rs: The 3Rs stand for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Reduce means to limit and decrease the use of something. Reuse is using a used item again. Recycling is to make a new object from an old one.

3Rs
3Rs

Both plastic as well as glass bottles can either be reused or recycled. However, not all types of plastic can be recycled, only certain types of plastic can. This recyclable plastic is taken to factories and used in the automobile industry to make plastic parts for cars. Glass bottles get taken to factories and recycled by crushing and then melting them to eventually form new bottles and the like. Both glass and plastic bottles can be reused. They can be reused normally or be used to grow small plants in.

Reuse of bottles
Reuse of bottles

Paper can also be recycled to make new paper and cardboard. Recently, notebooks made from recycled paper have shown a rise in popularity.

Old clothes can either be sent to charity organizations, where they are given to the needy or sent to textile mills where they get recycled.

Vegetable waste like fruit peelings, tea leaves and even paper to a certain extent can be used to make compost. This compost is very nutrient rich and can be used for keeping plants grown at home healthy.

Carrier bags should be reused. It is better to use cloth bags, as they are not only eco-friendly, but also can be reused multiple times and repaired and washable if they get spoiled.

Electrical and energy consuming appliances should be switched of when not in use. Water taps should be checked to ensure that no water gets wasted due to dripping.

Apart from all this, it is necessary to spread awareness too. Educate and encourage your family, neighbors, friends and acquaintances. Students can form ‘Green Clubs’.

At first glance, these may seem insignificant, but with everyone doing it, it will make a difference.

Green Buildings

The Need for Green Buildings

It is an often overlooked and uncommonly known fact that infrastructure like buildings also contribute to the environment strain. Both the construction of buildings as well as their maintenance require the consumption of a lot of electricity, water, energy, as well as raw materials and the like.  They also contribute to emissions released into the environment. According to data from the year 2018, buildings and their related activities had a contribution of around 28 % of the world’s total CO2  emissions. Apart from the environmental aspect, there is the human aspect as well. Often construction workers develop respiratory diseases due to the inhalation of toxic fumes as well as particles let out by the materials used in construction. This situation can be improved by designing sustainable, green buildings.

The Concept of Green Buildings

Green buildings are sustainable infrastructure. They are planned in such a way that right from their design, to other steps such as construction and operation in order to minimize consumption of various resources like energy, water, materials, etc. and make them more efficient. It maintains and improves the quality of the environment in the surrounding area. The important factors to be considered during the planning of a green building are:

  • To maintain a natural habitat in the surrounding areas. Often green buildings have greenery grown in them too
  • To not build in any area which might be even slightly environmentally sensitive
  • To reduce the consumption of natural resources
  • To reduce the amount of water used during building construction
  • To try and reduce the water footprint of the building
  • To reduce energy consumption
  • To use renewable energy
  • To increase the energy efficiency of the building
  • To use sustainable and non-toxic materials in the construction phase
  • To implement and promote recycling technologies in the buildings
  • To design the building in such a way, that it remains durable for as long as possible
  • To create buildings which are adaptable and resilient to various climatic changes and conditions

Evaluation of Green Buildings

With an increase in interest and infrastructure in green buildings, there arose a need to have some sort of regulatory body to oversee the making of standards for the evaluation of green buildings. Both worldwide as well as domestically, regulatory bodies were created to evaluate activities related to green buildings and confer certificates. The granting of these certificates depends on the specific criteria declared by each respective authority.

In India, the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) is the regulatory authority overseeing green buildings. It is a joint set-up by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Government of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). GRIHA has multiple types of rating standards for different conditions and building types and infrastructure. They can be viewed here: https://www.grihaindia.org/

Examples of Green Infrastructure

In India:

Suzlon One Earth, Pune

Suzlon One Earth, Pune

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad

CII- Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad

CII- Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad

Internationally:

Olympic House (IOC Headquarters), Lausanne, Switzerland

Olympic House (IOC Headquarters), Lausanne, Switzerland

One Central Park, Sydney, Australia

One Central Park, Sydney, Australia

Amherst College Science Centre, Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst College Science Centre, Amherst, Massachusetts

Simple things to do to help the environment.

Unfortunately, people have not always been good custodians of the planet. We must all take proactive efforts toward cleaner living practices in order to conserve the environment and preserve the earth for our children and future generations.

We are the first generation to recognize that we are killing the world, and we may be the last to act. One of the most powerful things you can do is speak up, especially to the appropriate people.

  1. Reuse and recycle are two words that come to mind when thinking about the environment. Recycle Bin Made of PlasticThe largest environmental advantage comes from reducing the amount of “things” you consume. It’s ideal to avoid waste in the first place, so consider your purchases more carefully.Reusing objects saves both natural resources and energy that would otherwise be used to create new ones, as well as money.
  2. Consumption reduction can have a significant environmental impact. The three “R’s”—reduce, reuse, and recycle—get a lot of press, but the earth might benefit from a greater emphasis on the most crucial and overlooked “R”: trash.You say “no” when you refuse, which isn’t always easy. None of the freebies at events, the inexpensive things on clearance, the hot new children’s toys, or the latest devices that claim to improve your life are necessary. And they nearly invariably end up in the trash or in the back of a closet, forgotten.
  3. Instead of ordinary light bulbs, use energy-saving light bulbs. They last longer, saving you money (any little bit helps when it comes to a college budget, right?).Encourage you to turn off lights, televisions, and other appliances while not in use.When it’s not in use, turn down the heat or air conditioning. This is especially true in the transitional period between seasons. In the early fall, consider opening your windows or layering your clothing.
  4. Water is squandered on a far larger scale than we can see. While brushing your teeth, turn off the faucet. Wait until you’re ready to hop in the shower and wash your hair before turning it on. When washing dishes, try to use as little water as possible. It is beneficial to both the environment and your wallet to change old behaviors.
  5. Automobiles are hazardous to the environment. Taking public transportation, walking, or riding a bike to class are all healthier options that assist the environment, save money, and provide exercise!If you do need to drive, compare your schedules and residency locations to those in your classes. You may share the expense of gas and set up alternating driving schedules.

Conclusion

The most important method to help save nature and its species is to encourage others to realize its importance and beauty.

Technology and the Environment

How technology can play a role with respect to the environment:

The development of various types of technology in today’s time has given rise to more convenience and efficiency. Technology can be used to properly understand and address important challenges like climate change, degradation of the environment, scarcity of food, management of waste, along with other important global issues and challenges. Data can be consolidated and stored in various information systems online in the form of comprehensive portals. These portals can then be accessed by academicians, scientists, students, environmentalists, and anyone else as they need it. These expansive databases can cover a variety of areas such as wildlife conservation databases, marine flora databases, forest cover databases and the like.

A few technology systems which can be used for the betterment of the environment are:

  • Remote Sensing
  • Google Earth
  • Geographical Information System (GIS)
  • The World Wide Web
  • The database ENVIS: Environmental Information System

Remote Sensing

Remote sensing

Remote Sensing refers to obtaining information of a place from a distance. In this process, the physical characteristics of an area are detected and further monitored through the measurement of its reflected and emitted radiation. This is carried out with the help of remote sensors on satellites. A few applications of remote sensing are:

  • Finding out temperature changes in the ocean and air
  • Tracking changes in forested land
  • Making weather predictions

Google Earth

Google Earth

Google Earth is a map which gives three-dimensional views of the earth with the assistance of satellite imaging and other types of aerially conducted photography. Presently, Google Earth covers around 98% of the earth’s surface. Google earth doesn’t just cover land but also water. Through the use of Google Earth, it is possible to view below the surface of marine bodies and view the ocean floor by the method of bathymetry (study of the underwater depth of an ocean or lake floor).

Geographical Information System (GIS)

Geographical Information System (GIS)

The Geographical Information System is a spatial system which creates, manages, analyzes, organizes and maps different types of geographic data. Using the GIS software, it is possible to visually analyze a large volume of data. Through the usage of GIS, it is possible to bring together and integrate information from varying sources of information and have efficient data distribution and management. It can be used efficiently for Environmental Impact Assessment.

The World Wide Web (WWW)

World Wide Web (WWW)

The WWW is a collection of many electronic documents of varying types. It provides various types of resources about the environment, from journal reports and articles to animations and is available to a wide variety of people, right from students, to scientists to government officials. It provides, free, convenient, accessible, evolving and the latest information.

Database: ENVIS

ENVIS

ENVIS is a database known as the Environmental Information System. It was created by the Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests in 1983. Its goal is to collect environmental information, along with its subsequent organization, storage, recovery and distribution. The role of ENVIS is to provide people like policy makers, researchers and the like with environmental information.

Sustainable Development: An Overview

The Concept of Sustainable Development

The term ‘Sustainable Development’ was created in 1987 by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The creation Sustainable Development is a concept in which human society lives in such a way it meets its own present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to come to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is achieved when there is a healthy balance between environment sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. Environment sustainability focuses on continued environmental quality. Social sustainability focuses on human rights, equality, cultural identity, cultural diversity, and rights and equality of people belonging to different races and religions. Economic sustainability focuses on the maintenance of human, natural and social capital which is needed for proper standards of living and income. A balance between all three, ensuring that no other factor is imbalanced or ignored, is what brings about true sustainable development. According to the concept of sustainable development, the regeneration or creation of a resource must be greater than its degeneration or usage. Sustainable development ensures that biodiversity is maintained and preserved.

A few examples of methods and activities which can contribute to sustainable development are:

  • Crop rotation
  • Using wind energy
  • Using solar energy
  • Creating green spaces

Components of Sustainable Development:

As mentioned previously, sustainable development has three components: Environmental sustainability, Social sustainability and Economical sustainability. A few ways they can be achieved are:

Environmental Sustainability:

  • Practice the 3Rs- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
  • Reduction of emissions released into the environment
  • Reduction or elimination of substances toxic to the environment

Social Sustainability:

  • Ensuring health and safety of local populace
  • Helping out disadvantaged or sidelined communities to progress
  • Improving the basic quality of life everyone should have
  • Ensuring that there is no negative effect or impact on small communities, tribal groups and the like

Economical Sustainability:

  • Creating new markets
  • Creating new sale growth opportunities
  • Improving efficiency
  • Reducing the quantity of raw materials required
  • Implementing cost reduction techniques of various kinds

 Goals for Sustainable Development:

UN Sustainable Goals

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda consists of seventeen sustainable development goals to be met by the year 2030. They are:

  1. No poverty– Extreme poverty for everyone will be eradicated
  2. Zero hunger– End hunger, end malnutrition and make food available to everyone
  3. Good health and well-being– Ensuring healthy lives and well-being of people across all age groups
  4. Quality education– Ensure that all children have access to free and quality primary and secondary education
  5. Gender equality– Empower women and girls and ensure they have fair and equal rights
  6. Clean water and sanitization– Ensuring clean and accessible drinking water to everyone
  7. Affordable and clean energy– Ensure universal access to affordable, modern energy and increase amount of renewable energy in use
  8. Decent work and economic growth– Creating job opportunities and decent jobs, along with achieving higher levels of economic productivity
  9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure– Developing reliable and sustainable infrastructure for all
  10. Reduced inequalities– Empower and promote inclusion of everyone
  11. Sustainable cities and communities– Ensure access of everyone to decent and affordable transport along with improving living conditions of the poor
  12. Responsible production and consumption– Implement sustainable management of resources and promoting the 3Rs
  13. Climate action– Ensure that climate change measures are brought to the forefront
  14. Life below water– Ensure the conservation of marine life and resources and ensure their sustainability
  15. Life on land– Ensure restoration and conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and degraded land
  16. Peace and justice– Reduce all sorts of violence, end all sorts of violence and injustice towards children and ensure equal access to justice for everyone
  17. Partnerships for the goal– Strengthen support and co-operation among all countries at the international, national or regional level

Microplastics & Nanoplastics : Architect of ecosystem degradation

Humans throw-away tonnes of plastic every day without even thinking that the same plastic is returning to them and can affect their biological systems. The plastic we throw away every day affects the entire ecosystem. Recently, a plastic dump was found stuck in the Arctic ice. When the plastic we throw away ends up in the water, tiny organisms ingest them and it enters their biological system as another eats on them and the cycle continues.

This is what biologists call bio-magnification. When organisms were exposed to plastic, it was seen that the plastic affected their biological system. For instance, when a team of scientists at the University of Plymouth exposed marine mussels to microplastics, they saw these microplastic damaged their DNA, ruptured their digestive tracts and deformed their gills. The same applies to other organisms as well. The plastic we throw aways turns into microplastic and nano plastics, which are so tiny and destroy biological systems. These nano plastics and microplastics are so tiny that they are indistinguishable from crustaceans, birds and other organisms.

Not only water, lots of microplastics and nanoplastics also end up in the soil which later gets incorporated by the bacteria, fungi and detritus living in the soil, therefore, screwing up the food web of the soil. The microbes in the soil have a special role in decomposition and affecting them would result in a disturbance in the process of decomposition. There are numerous studies done on how these microplastics and nanoplastics are degrading the ecosystem.

An interesting fact is that humans are the only species who are using plastic in day to day lives if we adopt some better choices or alternatives, we can save the whole ecosystem.

A Brief Insight on Renewable Energy Sources

The conventional and widely used energy sources of today comprise of various types of fossil fuels. The quantity of fossil fuels available is limited in number. Various harmful chemicals like Carbon monoxide (CO), Nitrogen oxides (NOx), Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and various other hydrocarbons are emitted by their usage. This makes them harmful to the environment and human health in the long run. The usage of such conventional energy sources has been a primary cause of global warming around the world.

This can be combated with the use of renewable energy sources. Renewable energy sources are energy sources obtained from natural sources which are not limited in availability and replenish themselves quickly and regularly. This renewable energy is also known as green energy.

The different types of renewable energy are: Solar energy, Wind energy, Hydro energy, Geothermal energy and Marine energy.

Solar Energy

Solar energy is energy obtained from radiant heat and light obtained from the sun. This is done by the help of techniques such as photovoltaic systems, solar heating, artificial photosynthesis, concentrated solar power plants and the like. Obtained solar energy can then be converted to either thermal energy or electrical energy. It can also be used for the environment-friendly production of hydrogen.

Advantages of using solar energy are:

  • It is a renewable and green source of energy
  • Sunlight is not limited, therefore, there is no risk of running out of the source

Disadvantages of using solar energy are:

  • The process is weather dependent as it relies of the availability of sunlight. Thus, it also cannot be done at night
  • Solar energy systems take up a lot of space and are expensive

Wind Energy

Wind energy is energy which is obtained from mechanical action of the wind. This action is carried out with the help of wind turbines. Through the action of wind turbines, the kinetic energy of the wind gets converted into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy then gets converted into electricity.

Advantages of using wind energy are:

  • The whole process does not release any products harmful to either the environment or human health
  • It is a sustainable energy source

Disadvantages of using wind energy are:

  • Wind turbines can only be built in remote areas where large, unobstructed areas of land are available
  • The wind turbines may pose a risk to birdlife

Hydro Energy

Hydro energy is also known as hydroelectric energy. It is obtained from the construction of hydroelectric power plants in dams over flowing bodies of water like rivers. Similar to the functioning of wind turbines, hydraulic turbines transform the kinetic energy of flowing water into mechanical energy which is further used to create electricity.

Advantages of using hydro energy are:

  • Creation of hydro power plants helps in the creation of water reservoirs
  • It is not limited by time or the sun, i.e., it can be produced continuously

Disadvantages of using hydro energy are:

  • Creation of dams disrupts the water ecosystems
  • Hydro energy power plants can only be constructed over flowing water bodies and therefore are constrained by location

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is obtained from the heat generated from rocks in the Earth’s crust. This energy is harnessed by digging into the crust and using the heat to drive the movement of turbines which generate energy.

Advantages of using geothermal energy are:

  • It does not require any fuel
  • It does not require much maintenance

Disadvantages of using geothermal energy are:

  • It may cause earthquakes
  • The process of digging may cause the release of greenhouse gases from beneath the surface

Efforts should be made to research and explore renewable energies more for the creation of a healthier planet and lifestyle.

Biofuel and its Types: An Overview

Biofuel is a renewable fuel, which can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels. They are produced from biomass- plant or algae material or animal waste. These sources of biofuel are also known as feedstock. A few examples of feedstock used to produce biofuels are: Vegetable/ Edible Oils (like Canola oil, Safflower oil), Non-Edible Oils (like Almond oil, Salmon oil), Animal fat (Lard, Tallow) and other sources such as Algae, Fungi and Bacteria.

There are four categories in which Biofuels are classified. They are: First Generation, Second Generation, Third Generation and Fourth Generation.

  • First Generation Biofuels: They are made from starch, sugar or animal fats using conventional methods such as fermentation, distillation and transesterification. Hence, they are also called conventional biofuels.
  • Second Generation Biofuels: They are made from woody biomasses as well as agricultural residues and wastes like corn stalk and bagasse.
  • Third Generation Biofuels: They are made from oil extracted from algae.
  • Fourth Generation Biofuels: They are made from electro fuels and solar fuels. Electro fuels are obtained by storing electricity produced from renewable sources in the chemical bonds of liquid or gaseous fuels. Solar fuels are obtained from common materials (example: Carbon dioxide) by the action of solar energy.

There are four common types of Biofuel. They are Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Biogas and Biobutanol

Bioethanol

It is a type of biofuel used as an alternative automobile fuel source. It is produced from feedstocks like sugarcane, algae, corn or various other biomass. The feedstocks are treated with enzymes and undergo the process of fermentation. Bioethanol, along with carbon dioxide, is a by-product released during the whole process. It is majorly used as an alternative fuel to gasoline in internal combustion vehicles.

Advantages of Bioethanol:

  • Ethanol undergoes complete combustion and hence bioethanol burns more clearly in air than petroleum fuels
  • It is a renewable energy resource
  • Any fuel spills are more easily biodegradable

Disadvantages of Bioethanol:

  • Typical automobile engines may need to be modified to use biofuel
  • The production process is slightly expensive
  • Some amount of carbon dioxide gets released along with bioethanol in the production process

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is obtained from natural sources such as triglyceride containing vegetable oils and animal fats. It is produced by transesterification. It is used in vehicles, aircrafts, railways, as a heating oil and for cleaning oil spills. The structure of biodiesel is similar to that of petroleum diesel fuel. Apart from that, in engines, it operates similarly to petroleum diesel fuel. Thus, it can be used easily in engines requiring little modifications to the engines.

Advantages of Biodiesel:

  • It helps to lubricate the engine which in turn decreases engine wear
  • It does not have sulfur content hence it doesn’t contribute to acid rain

Disadvantages of Biodiesel:

  • Biodiesel can release nitrogen oxide which can lead to the formation of smog
  • Its cost varies according to feedstock used and market conditions

Biogas

Biogas is a renewable energy source; a natural fuel. It is produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste. It is produced by the aerobic digestion of organic matter. Biogas comprises of primarily methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2) and may have small amounts of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), moisture and siloxanes.

Advantages of Biogas:

  • The slurry produced after the production of biogas can be used as manure
  • There is less emission of greenhouse gases
  • It is a renewable energy source as it is produced from waste which gets generated everyday in enormous quantities
  • It is a healthier alternative to the use of firewood for cooking in rural areas

Disadvantages of Biogas:

  • The production process is temperature dependent, as the bacteria need a temperature of around 37°C for digestion. As a result, in areas with a cold climate, there is an extra requirement of heat supply
  • Biogas contains methane, a highly flammable material. If proper care is not taken while handling, it may come into contact with oxygen and violently produce carbon dioxide
  • Despite purification, biogas still contains impurities which may lead to metal corrosion
  • It is unable to be used on a large scale as there is no efficient production system

Biobutanol

Biobutanol is an alcoholic biofuel gaining traction. It is produced by the fermentation of sugar in biomass through the action of microbes. Clostridium acetobutylicum is a commonly used microorganism species. The sugars then get broken down into various alcohols, including butanol. Since it is obtained from biomass it is called Biobutanol. Its major use is as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It also shows potential as an industrial solvent.

Advantages of Biobutanol:

  • Biobutanol has a low vapor pressure, which means that it has a low volatility and a lower risk of evaporation
  • It has fewer emissions than other petroleum fuels. Compared to gasoline, it reduces carbon emissions by 85%

Disadvantages of Biobutanol:

  • The yield obtained and the speed of production are partially dependent on the microorganism used
  • The separation of butanol from the fermentation broth is slightly costly

In the age of global warming, it is necessary for governments and scientists to carry out more research into different biofuels and ways to harness them efficiently. This will not only reduce global warming to an extent, but also helps conserve fossil fuel and build towards a healthy and green future for our planet.

Education is life

Today the World is becoming a superficial place. Our time appoints the absurd, making social networks as a real-world by a considerable part of the younger generations.

It is a virtual reality, more precise than high-definition video games, more addictive and harmful to the mind and the body.

This fake reality indeed kills the neurons converting people into zombies led by a leader of unknown appearance.

Ignorance acts as the lock, and manipulation working as the key entering every mind. Then, it hacks and promotes war even over the most absurd topic that any influencer shares in a post.

The social network profile becomes an epicentre of empty universes, universes that conflict with the real-life, where, as in the war, leads to the destruction of entire generations.

Using actualized tools, but the same indoctrination mechanisms used in the world wars. Again, the end justifies it, annulling individuals’ conscience and making them members of the social mass.

Even though each social profile is seemingly unique, there is no perspective on what life is in its essence. The network is a game that only favours some private interests.

We know the truth: countries born from interests, wars arise, passions move. Interests motivate greed. Greed sooner or later destroys life. Life, which, without a doubt, is the only thing we have.

Blood wars are no longer an option in our time across the rich countries. New wars are too expensive and risky.

Wars are now abstract. Wars involve factual powers whose shadow is unknown and whose attacks are directed to control the terrestrial and the extraterrestrial.

The end of empires has never come. In our time, empires are mainly commercial, managing everything that allowed us to be free.

Now empires dictate what to be and how to be.

Indeed, commercial or blood, all war implies the destruction of every trace that makes us human.

Every war, directly and indirectly, destroys our soul and breaks the only thing we take when we leave.

War destroys what we have lived and what we will no longer discover for ceasing to be ourselves.

There are not strong leaders to help us. Corruption and secrets are always leaked by someone who is behind the scenes.

We are the unique leaders of our time; we are the bosses of our destiny.

We must not perish. Responding to Hamlet, the worthiest thing for the soul is to fight for our fortune, live our lives, and rebel against this wild sea of misery.

The only thing that saves us from interest, the only thing that separates us from greed, the only thing that allows us to see reality is education.

However, all education is written by the victors and not by the vanquished. Our salvation involves investigating, delving into every little remorse and lack of meaning of our multiple thoughts.

The only thing that educates us is ourselves.

What do I mean when I say “Education for Life?” I can present the problem and the solution. The problem is that people in traditional forms of education usually approach it from the standpoint of just preparing a person for a job. But one’s job isn’t the definition of one’s life—it’s only that which enables you to have enough money to meet your needs. Our lives encompass a much broader arena than one’s capacity to earn money. Any educational system that teaches only job skills or offers only intellectual information is neglecting the essential needs of human beings. The solution is a form of education that trains us in that which is most relevant to us—how to find lasting happiness in life.

We deeply need proper training in “how-to-live” skills such as how to find the right mate, how to raise our children, how to be a good employee, how to get along with our neighbors, and how to concentrate our minds so that we can draw success into all our endeavors. There are many such skills that are essential to prepare a child for adulthood, and in traditional education many of them are completely ignored. Education for Life is a system that prepares the child to face the challenges of living as a human being, and helps him to achieve balance and harmony in all he does. What we’re really talking about is preparing everyone, not just children, for true maturity. This is a much bigger concept than just coming of age. As defined it in the book, Education for Life, maturity is the ability to relate appropriately to other realities than one’s own. You’ll find that even people of advanced years are often childish and immature with regard to this definition, yet this ability to relate to others’ realities is what education should accomplish.

7 important tips to manage aggression in children

Manage child aggression: To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six, it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people.

child, who wanted to be perceived as the strongest of all, would speak loudly, look angry and hit everyone to prove his strength. When his grandfather came to visit, he behaved in the same way with him. However, his grandpa was never agitated and just smiled at his actions. The child was bewildered as he was only used to getting yelled at for what he did. The more he was yelled at, the stronger he would become, is what he thought!

Grandpa shares the Buddha story

The grandfather asked him if he would like to hear a story and the boy agreed. “Once upon a time, there was an enlightened master called Buddha. He travelled across the country teaching people how to be peaceful. Once while he was going through a forest, a tribesman called Angulimala came to him. He was a frightening man. He wore a garland of fingers of people whom he had sacrificed so he would be the strongest and feared the most. He wanted to have Buddha’s finger as the hundredth and complete his sacrificing ritual. Buddha smiled at him and said, “I am happy to be of use to you”. There was no trace of fear in him. Nobody had ever smiled at Angulimala. No one had ever spoken to him so kindly. The very presence of Buddha did something to him. Angulimala felt very weak for the first time in his life. He felt like a feather in front of a mountain. He realised that real strength is in having unshakable calmness, peace, and in compassion. He fell at Buddha’s feet. He was changed completely.” The child listened to every word from his grandpa with rapt attention.

Look out for the media children are exposed to

When you feel helpless or weak, the need to assert your strength comes out as violence. Where do children get the idea of violence? They see their parents, neighbours, friends, so many programmes on TV or videos on the mobile phone — all this exposure leaves impressions and has a strong impact on the minds of children, more than we know. They are sensitive even to suppressed violence. If you are angry inside but still act as if everything is okay, children will know it.

Handling aggression

Children get angry or show aggression for seemingly very silly reasons. But the real reason is something else, a sense of insecurity that has crept in somehow. That is why in olden days, parents would never show anger in front of a child. They would not even argue or use harsh words. Public display of anger was considered a weakness. Today, anger and aggression comes up at the drop of a hat. Any minor difference of opinion is enough to prompt the arrows to fly. We don’t know how to draw a line between expressing a difference of opinion and displaying aggression. If your child is aggressive, look into your own lifestyle. What are you doing? Are you yelling at your housekeeper or at your pet? Are you yelling at your own spouse? Or any one for that matter in front of the child? Are you sad? What is your reaction? And it does not matter that out of the 365 days, you have acted in aggression may be only a couple of times. Those few days are equally important for the child. This is why we need to meditate and practice pranayama or deep breathing techniques. Heyum Dukham Anagatam — stopping the misery before it comes — that is the benefit of yoga, because in life prevention is better than cure.

Engaging children in meaningful activities

The other important thing is to engage them in meaningful activities, and sports that allow them to channel their energy constructively. Just playing video games or watching TV with no physical activity only increases restlessness and makes them prone to aggression. You will notice that the day your child has more screen time, the more difficult he or she becomes to handle. Encourage them to go out and play, engage with real people, run and fill their lungs with some fresh air. In the olden days, movies were classified as suitable for watching only under parental guidance. Parents would control what a child can see. Today, it is a common occurrence that the elders are all engrossed in watching soaps on TV and are oblivious to the child who is also watching and taking in all the exaggerated emotions that are projected. It is very important to be sensitive about what their tender senses are exposed to. They should not be bombarded with heavy impressions.

What kind of stories are we telling our children?

To develop a sound value system, tell them stories. For very small children, perhaps around three or four, stories should be pleasant, free of fighting and violence, about animals and nature, sharing and caring. When they are five or six it is okay to introduce stories with good people and ‘bad’ people. Every culture has its stories of heroes who protected the innocent and fought villains who were up to no good. Through these stories they understand that the purpose of strength is to protect and not to hurt. They learn that the hero, the stronger one, is calm and collected.

While it is important to reprimand anger, it is equally important to recognise when they are gentle and appreciate them. When I was a child and would sometimes get angry, my grandmother would ask me to go to a certain corner of the house and leave my anger there. She would say that the angel in that corner would take the anger from me and go far, far away. I would believe her, go stand there and in a minute, come back smiling! Schools today don’t teach children how to deal with negative emotions. This is an important aspect of moulding the character of the child. Teachers should be strict about encouraging the right attitude in children. They should recognise the strength of a child who is able to walk away from a fight and not just react and hit back. They should reward and give attention to calmness in a child. Many times, an aggressive attitude in a child comes out from simply wanting attention. So, you can teach them by ignoring their sulking or shouting, and praising them and giving extra attention when they are well-mannered. And parents should give teachers the space to discipline the child if necessary. It is okay if your child has been naughty and the teacher has disciplined him or her. Parents must encourage reverence towards the teacher. If they say, “Who is he or she to tell my child what to do!” the child will not listen or respect the teacher anymore. When this happens, learning stops.

Food is important

The food that we give to our children also has a role to play. Too many sweets, fried food (like chips) and oily food increase restlessness in a child. Also, their food must be freshly cooked as far as possible and not packaged items kept in cold storage. Encourage them to enjoy fruits as much as chips; perhaps one chip-one fruit can be the deal! Where possible, it is advisable to avoid food products made from genetically modified grains and vegetables. The food has a direct impact on the mind and when consumed over a period of time, has a definite impact on the nature or attitude of the child.

Above all this, as parents, it is important to spend quality time doing ‘nothing’ with your child. Just sitting with them without looking at our mobile phones, giving complete attention to what they have to say, just being with them 100 per cent gives a great sense of security to the child. An insecure child is more likely to succumb to aggression than one who feels secure and attended to.

Teach children that the one who smiles come-what-may is stronger.

Show them when to stand up for what is right, and when to walk away from a fight.

As much as you can, protect their innocence.

As much as you can, give them pride in non-violence.

Effects of plastic bags on environment

Introduction

Plastic bags are the main cause of plastic pollution. The pollution which is destroying our environment. To reduce pollution plastic bags must be banned. Humans try to decompose them but it does not decompose instead it leads to air, water as well as soil pollution. It is said that plastic bags are the leading causes of increasing pollution.
For this reason plastic bags are banned in various countries. In spite of knowing the consequences, plastic bags are still used widely in most parts of the world making it harmful for the environment.

Plastic bags are readily available in the market and are used widely.These are popular at the grocery stores, markets, etc because they are handy and are comfortable to carry the grocery items like rice, wheat flour, pulses. Apart from grocery items it is used to carry veggies, fruits etc.

It is available in various sizes; these are quite economical and also easy to carry or use. But the cost for using these bags -is overlooked. These bags are costing us our beautiful environment. The plastic bags that we use in our everyday life are very much harmful to the environment. The actual problem is much more severe than it appears to us.

Plastic bags are destroying the soil making our agricultural lands infertile. It also causes several other serious problems. To ensure a cleaner and greener environment many countries have banned the use of plastic bags. Among those countries, India is one of them.

Our country has banned the use of plastic bags in many states. However, the implementation of this rule hasn’t been proper.

These are still available in the market. The retailers provide goods in these bags, and the shoppers gladly take their stuff in these easy to carry bags. And another reason for this does not have a proper option to replace them.

It is time for each one of us to understand the severity of the issue and stop the use of plastic bags.

Plastic Bags – A Boon or A Bane /A Curse?

Plastic bags are lightweight and can be carried anywhere without much effort.

This may sound like a blessing to us, but in reality it is much more harmful than its uses. They get carried away by the wind and water because of its light weight. They end up landing on the seas and water and pollute them. They get stuck in fences and pollute the environment while getting carried away with the wind.

The material used to make plastic bags is polypropylene. This material makes them durable thus making them last for a longer time. This polypropylene is prepared from natural gas and petroleum. They are non biodegradable in nature.
Green-house gases like Methane Carbon, Monoxide, and Carbon Dioxide are released during the production of various plastics products including plastic bags. This is a significant cause of global warming in the world today.

There is a misconception that recycling is an alternative to the misuse of plastic bags but recycling of plastic products cannot be a good choice because only 5% of the plastic bags can be recycled and the remaining 95% find their way in soil, water and landscape causing pollution. Only 35-40 percent of plastic bags are being recycled and the remaining 60% is not even known where it is gone.

As 60% of the plastic bags are not being traced, the producers are forced to produce more products to meet the needs of people. Everyone considers plastic bags as the most convenient bags to carry loads but it has the most harmful effects on human health.
Synthetic substances present in the polythene bags can disturb the typical working of hormones in the body.Most plastic pieces in the seas, like plastic bags, have a few contaminations, for example, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl) together with PAHs (Polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons), which disturbs the normal function of our hormones.

When the marine creatures eat these synthetic substances, they travel through the food web then later into the people who consume sea animals, especially the fish.

How can we minimize their use?
In many countries across the world plastic bags have been restricted in several nations all over the world.

In many states the Government of India has already restricted the utilization of plastic bags.

Strict measures must be taken to ensure that the use of these bags is stopped. There must be curbs on the production of plastic bags altogether.
Retailers for selling as well as those who are carrying and using plastic bags must be fined.
Good quality plastic available in the market must be made chargeable. This is a good strategy to minimise the use of plastic bags.
To provide a proper alternative of polythene bags is another good strategy. The alternative must be cost efficient and have to be similar in use.

Conclusion
We had often overlooked and underestimated the harmful consequences caused due to plastic bags because we don’t notice the long term effect of these small, easy to carry bags used in our daily life.

People keep on using these bags owing to their convenience. They completely ignore the real fact about these bags that they are harmful for the environment and are a threat to life on earth.

@track2traininginstitution @track2trainingngo @track2trainingworkshop

Plastic bags and its effects on environment

Plastic bags are a main reason of environmental pollutants. Plastic as a substance is non-biodegradable and as a consequence plastic bags continue to be in the environment for hundreds of years polluting it immensely. It has come to be very essential to prohibit plastic baggage before they destroy our planet completely. Many nations around the world have both positioned a ban at the plastic bag or levi tax on it. But, the problem hasn’t been solved completely due to the fact the implementation of those measures hasn’t been as a success.

Issues due to plastic baggage
Right here are a number of the troubles as a result of plastic bags:

Non-biodegradable
Plastic baggage are non-biodegradable. For that reason, eliminating the plastics is the most important project. T

Deterioration of environment
They may be destroying nature because of their dangerous impact. Plastic baggage have grow to be the primary reason of land pollution nowadays. The plastic bags getting into the water bodies are a first-rate cause of water pollutants. Therefore we are able to finish that those are deteriorating our surroundings in every feasible way.

Harmful for animals and marine creatures
Animals and marine creatures unknowingly consume plastic debris together with their meals. Research suggests that waste plastic baggage were a major purpose for untimely animal deaths.

Cause of infection in people
The production of plastic luggage releases toxic chemical substances. These are the main motive of great contamination. The polluted surroundings is a main reason for diverse diseases which are spreading effortlessly in human beings.

Clogged sewage
Waste plastic baggage are the primary motive for trapping the drains and sewers, especially at some stage in rains. This could result in a flood-like scenario and disrupt the regular lifestyles of human beings.

Motives to ban plastic luggage
There are numerous reasons why the government of numerous nations has come up with strict measures to limit the use of plastic baggage. Some of those include:

Waste plastic baggage are polluting the land and water immensely.
Plastic luggage have end up a threat to the lifestyles of animals dwelling on this planet as well as in water.
Chemical substances launched by using waste plastic bags input the soil and make it infertile.
Plastic baggage are having a poor impact on human health.
Plastic luggage result in the drainage hassle.
Public assist for plastic bag ban
Despite the fact that the indian authorities has imposed a ban on the use of plastic baggage in many states. However people are still sporting those bags. Shopkeepers forestall providing plastic bags for few days simplest in the starting.

It’s time while we all should contribute our bit to make this ban a fulfillment. As a consequence we the knowledgeable lot of society need to take it as our responsibility to prevent the use of plastic baggage. On this manner, we are able to assist the authorities in this campaign.

Some contributions that may be made through people are as follows:

Maintain a tab
That allows you to achieve success on this assignment, we need to hold reminding ourselves approximately the harmful results of the plastic luggage on our nature and preserve a tab on their use. Regularly, we becomes recurring to doing without those bags.

Are seeking for alternatives
There are numerous green alternatives to plastic luggage like reusable jute or fabric bag.

Reuse
We ought to reuse the plastic baggage we have already got at home as commonly as we can before throwing them away.

Spread cognizance
Even as the government is spreading consciousness approximately the harmful effects of plastic luggage, we can also unfold consciousness via word of mouth.

Conclusion
Although plastic is becoming a huge danger for absolutely everyone, nonetheless this problem has regularly been neglected and underestimated. This is because humans do not look at the long term effect of these small, easy to hold baggage they use in their everyday lifestyles. Except all of these human beings keep using baggage due to their convenience. But now all people has to absolutely stop the usage of the plastic bag to save our surroundings and earth.

Environmental Pollution: MAKING THE PLANET UHEALTHY FOR LIVING

Pollution is the introduction of harmful materials into the environment .Pollution may muddy landscapes, poison soils and waterways, or kill plants and animals. Humans are also regularly harmed by pollution. Long-term exposure to air pollution, for example, can lead to chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and other diseases Pollution may muddy landscapes, poison soils and waterways, or kill plants and animals. Humans are also regularly harmed by pollution. Long-term exposure to air pollution, for example, can lead to chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer and other diseases.

Environmental pollution has existed  for centuries. But evidence suggests that since With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, humans were able to advance further into the 21st century. Technology developed rapidly, science became advanced, and the manufacturing age came into view. With all of these came one more effect, industrial pollution. Earlier, industries were small factories that produced smoke as the primary pollution.

POLLUTANTS

Environmental pollutants are chemicals that have ended up in the environment as a result of human activities and that are hazardous to health. They can be classified into primary and secondary pollutants. Primary air pollutants that are formed and emitted directly from particular sources. Examples are particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur oxide. Secondary air pollutant that are formed in the lower atmosphere by chemical reactions. The two examples are ozone and secondary organic aerosol (haze).Secondary pollutants are harder to control because they have different ways of synthesizing and the formation are not well understood. They form naturally in the environment and cause problems like photochemical smog.

TYPES OF POLLUTION

There are different types of pollution, which are either caused by natural events (like forest fires) or by man-made activities (like cars, factories, nuclear wastes, etc.) These are further classified into the following types of pollution: Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution ,Noise Pollution. Besides these 4 types of pollution, other types exist such as light pollution, thermal pollution and radioactive pollution. The latter is much rarer than other types, but it is the deadliest.

Air Pollution

Air pollution refers to any physical, chemical or biological change in the air. It is the contamination of air by harmful gases, dust and smoke which affects plants, animals and humans drastically. There is a certain percentage of gases present in the atmosphere. An increase or decrease in the composition of these gases is harmful to survival. This imbalance in the gaseous composition has resulted in an increase in earth’s temperature, which is known as global warming. In most cases, air pollutants cannot be seen or smelled. However, that does not mean that they do not exist in high enough amounts to be a health hazard! Additionally, a number of gases are linked to the so-called “greenhouse effect”, which means that those gases retain more heat and thus contribute to the overall global warming. The most common example of a greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, which is emitted from many industrial processes. Another example is methane, which is also an explosive gas

Light pollution

Light pollution is artificial brightening of the night sky caused by man-made lightening sources, which has a disruptive effect on natural cycles and inhibits the observation of stars and planets. It is also known as photo pollution or luminous pollution and basically is the misdirected or obtrusive of natural light by excessive artificial light. More than 80% of humanity lives under skies saturated with artificial light. Light pollution is excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive artificial (usually outdoor) light. Too much light pollution has consequences, it washes out starlight in the night sky, interferes with astronomical research, disrupts ecosystems, has adverse health effects and wastes energy.

Noise pollution

Noise pollution above permissible limits in city

Noise pollution is unwanted or excessive sound that can have deleterious effects on human health, wildlife, and environmental quality. Noise pollution is commonly generated inside many industrial facilities and some other workplaces, but it also comes from highway, railway, and airplane traffic and from outdoor construction activities. Noise is more than a mere nuisance. At certain levels and durations of exposure, it can cause physical damage to the eardrum and the sensitive hair cells of the inner ear and result in temporary or permanent hearing loss, known as noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss does not usually occur at SPLs below 80 dBA (eight-hour exposure levels are best kept below 85 dBA), but most people repeatedly exposed to more than 105 dBA will have permanent hearing loss to some extent.

Water Pollution

Water pollution happens when toxic substances enter water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans and so on, getting dissolved in them, lying suspended in the water or depositing on the bed. This degrades the quality of water. Not only does this spell disaster for aquatic ecosystems, the pollutants also seep through and reach the groundwater, which might end up in our households as contaminated water we use in our daily activities, including drinking. Water pollution can be caused in a number of ways, one of the most polluting being city sewage and industrial waste discharge. Indirect sources of water pollution include contaminants that enter the water supply from soils or groundwater systems and from the atmosphere via rain. Soils and groundwater contain the residue of human agricultural practices and also improperly disposed of industrial wastes.

Pollution

Pollution is the system in which unwanted toxic contaminants contaminate our environment like air, water, soil, and so forth. It’s far growing unexpected changes within the atmosphere, that is immediately on circuitously leaving detrimental results at the lives of humans, animals, and plants. It creates an imbalance inside the natural machine. Many stuff that are making our lives easy are harmful to the environment. For example, cars leave gases that pollute the air. Industries and family garbage pollute each water and air.

Every residing being in the world depends on air and water. While those matters get polluted, all the lives on earth come at a chance. It’s far visible that urban areas get more polluted than in rural areas. Though rural areas also get polluted through harmful insecticides utilized in farming lands. Due to pollution, many new illnesses appear day by day, which might be extremely risky for the fitness of residing beings. It has now end up a critical hassle globally. Global warming is now the purpose of headaches for all humans international. It’s miles the pollutants this is indirectly affecting the trade inside the climate. This worldwide trouble wishes immediate action. Otherwise, it will likely be difficult to lead a wholesome way of life.



Forms of pollution

There are numerous types of pollution round us. Here, we can speak greater at the forms of pollution.

Air pollution: it’s far every so often visible like we can see polluted air left by using the cars on the street due to its unique colour. In maximum instances, it isn’t always visible. Polluted air especially influences the eyes and lungs of people as well as animals. It may even kill a residing creature within a few minutes. We recognize about many incidents in which dangerous gas leakage has killed humans. Even herbal failures could make the air toxic. Like volcanic eruptions produce harmful gases that affect human health and other natural assets as properly. Vehicles and factories produce dangerous gases that, in reaction to sunlight, creates thick fog. Air pollution additionally contributes to acid rain. It is able to ruin water existence, forests, etc.


Water pollution: identical like water, one sort of water pollutants is seen like muddy water, water with garbage, and so on. On the identical time, a few visibly smooth water can contain chemicals which are dangerous to our health. Drinking polluted water can motive serious health troubles. A number of human beings die global by means of ingesting infected water. It could additionally circuitously have an effect on humans and animals. Like if we consume a fish from a polluted river or sea, we additionally take in the ability pollution. Natural fuel and oil can also make a contribution to the pollution of water. Liquid wastes from factories additionally pollute the water. Strong wastes disturb the drainage gadget. Sewages, agricultural waste, acid rain are important causes of water pollution.


Soil pollution: stable wastes from factories and families pollute the land. Harmful chemical compounds blend inside the soil thru the insecticides used in agriculture. Pollutants from landfills blend inside the ground and pollute it. While we eat flowers that have grown within the polluted land, we not directly eat contaminants harmful to our health.



Noise pollution: whilst the sound turns into illiberal and reason of disturbance, it’s miles noise pollutants. The sounds of cars, mike, loud song, or equipment motive noise pollution. It causes critical fitness problems like migraine, depression, hypertension, aggressive behavior, and so forth. To humans. It additionally immediately impacts the fitness of animals. It every so often becomes the reason for his or her loss of life.

Conclusion

Many people and animals are dropping their lives or experiencing intense fitness troubles due to the extended level of pollutants. This vital problem wishes instantaneous attention. Most of the causes of pollutants are human activities. So, we have to control such sports that contribute to pollutants. It can at the least decrease the severity of its results.

NUCLEAR HAZARDS AND THEIR EFFECTS ON ECOLOGY

Nuclear energy is a major source of clean power everywhere in the world. It is considered to be an efficient power source, as it produces lesser carbon dioxide and operate for a longer period of time. a strong nuclear energy program of a country is essential for energy security and national prosperity. Nuclear power plants are fitted with complex set of safety and security features but an uncontrolled reaction can result in widespread air and water contamination. In the nuclear waste is not disposed off properly, it could also result in hazardous land pollution.

As Nuclear power plants create a lot of hazardous waste in the form of radioactive wastes such as uranium tailings, spent reactor fuel and other such radioactive materials, these wastes can remain radioactive for thousands of years and pose dangers to human health. There are always concerns associated with transportation, storage and disposal of nuclear wastes and even nuclear fuels nuclear disasters are capable of producing large damages to human health and the environment. The radiation release associated with nuclear disaster causes significant acute and chronic problems in the immediate environment as well as over a wide geographic area over longer periods of time.

WHAT ARE NUCLEAR HAZARDS?

Nuclear hazards refer to the incidents involving the release of significant levels of radioactive materials and exposure of general public or the natural environment to nuclear radiation. The nuclear hazards primarily affect public health due to direct exposure to radioactive materials, inhalation of radioactive waste, ingestion of contaminated food, water etc. and long-term exposure to radioactive materials in the environment that leads to acute or chronic health and environmental damage.

Due to radioactivity, even a small amount of radiation exposure can have serious biological consequences due to nuclear hazards The radioactive elements emit high energy particles that cause damage to environmental resources. Radiations emitted due to hazards in nuclear facilities can result in mutations in DNA, burns and radiation sickness, weakness, nausea, hair loss etc. Contamination of natural resources further aggravates the potential of nuclear hazards nuclear hazards can be created by man through the mining of radioactive materials, careless handling and processing of nuclear fuels, storage of radioactive wastes, carelessness in safety protocols while operating reactors, as well as improper use of devices that are used to give radiation therapies in hospitals, clinics etc.

CAUSES OF NUCLEAR HAZARDS NUCLEAR HAZARDS OCCUR DUE TO THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

  • Nuclear Accidents Nuclear energy has been considered as environmentally safe and potential source of energy. If nuclear facilities producing nuclear energy are not put under strict safety measures, there are chances that nuclear accidents may occur. Nuclear plants have huge amount of radioactive maternal for generation of nuclear energy The radioactive elements if escape into the environment, proves most harmful for the immediate land, air and water resources as well human health. If nuclear power plants are operated with flawed design, then too nuclear power plant accidents occur. For e.g., Chernobyl Nuclear accident, 1986, Ukraine.
  • Nuclear Waste Handling Radioactive nuclear wastes are categorized as low level and high level wastes the handling and disposal of these wastes if not performed according to standards prescribed for handling wastes, then nuclear hazards can take place because of leakage of this radioactive material. Radiation waste cannot be degraded or treated biologically or chemically. The only options are either to contain the waste by storing them in closed containers, having radioactive protection or disposing them at remote locations.
  • Mining of Nuclear Fuels Mining and extracting nuclear fuels such as thorium, uranium can turn into a nuclear hazard if safety precautions are not taken Mining increases exposure to humans by moving radio materials from below the Earth’s surface to the top These substances are usually mined with safety gears and protective equipment Exposing the natural environment such as trees, plants, water, animals to radioactive elements during mining also increases hazard risks.
  • Spilling of Radioactive Elements Spilling occurs due to marine accidents which are due to accidents of ships carrying nuclear materials and radioactive elements Spilling in water bodies causes harmful effects on marine life, contaminate water resources and ends up killing thousands of marine florals as well as faunal species Contaminated water supply in households can have drastic effects on human health.
  • Radiation Based Tests Radiation has been used in several medical therapies such as Chemotherapies for cancers Exposure to medical based radiotherapies leads to deaths and other complications Radioactive elements leaking out of medical facilities can cause fatal nuclear hazards.
Nuclear power: how might radioactive waste water affect the environment?

HUMAN AND ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR HAZARDS

Nuclear hazards cause large amounts of nuclear wastes to be released in the environment this contaminating air, water and land resources. It is essential to contain nuclear material and facilities having nuclear materials safely. The harmful effects of nuclear hazards include:

  • Radioactive materials released from nuclear hazards cause mutations in the DNA thereby affecting genes and chromosomes. The genetic makeup of future generation is affected due to these mutations. It leads to several incurable birth defects.
  • Radiations can kill essential flora and fauna, important environmental species and can make land and plants etc. toxic and critical species are also affected. It results in huge damage to biodiversity.
  • Damages caused by different kinds of radiations also include direct physical harms such as burns miscarriages, cancer, bone defects, eye diseases etc. Even a small exposure to radiation can cause adverse effects. Damages that occur over longer periods are spread over for generations.
  • Natural resources such as land, soil, forests, water bodies like rivers, ponds, oceans get affected by nuclear wastes and nuclear elements. Contamination of natural resources affects large number of people living in urban as well as rural areas.
  • If nuclear accident sites are not treated and managed properly, it could result in human infectious diseases due to contaminated water and soil in a region.
  • Children are at particular risk from nuclear radiations. High doses of radiation increase cancer risk early in the life of children. Lifetime cancer risk significantly increases among children due to exposure to radiation.
  • Nuclear hazards increase the pressure on land as soil and water resources are contaminated and therefore lesser land is available for agricultural purposes. The microorganisms present in land and soil also pet killed due to insufficient oxygen which reduces soil fertility.
  • Nuclear hazards also reduce human immunity to fight against diseases and infections. This makes people vulnerable to infections. It further increases the chances of disease risk in the population.
Looking for a Trash Can: Nuclear waste management in the United States -  Science in the News

WAYS TO MITIGATE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF NUCLEAR HAZARDS

Nuclear hazards can pose serious risks to environment, humans and animal and plant life. Nuclear hazards can be mitigated by taking following measures:

  • There must be robust design and construction of nuclear reactors so that any fault does not occur during operation of the reactor.
  • Medical devices involving nuclear fuel and its use sold be used with caution to prevent any undesirable exposure to nuclear material.
  • Leakage of nuclear materials, radioactive elements, careless handling of radioactive elements must be fully ensured before carrying out any operations in nuclear facilities.
  • There should be regular monitoring of areas that are prone to nuclear hazards.
  • Nuclear wastes should be disposed properly as to prevent any long-term presence of radioactive material. Long term presence of radioactivity results in hidden and unwanted effects on human lives for longer periods of time.

Ozone Depletion-A Path to Destruction

The bad state of environment is not often taken seriously due to the ignorance of the people of the world. It is high time that everybody should start working on improving environmental conditions or else nature would start showing us it’s fury which would ultimately lead to our destruction. The main reason for this shape of environment is us, the human race. Activities that are profitable to human beings are sometimes harmful to the environment. Though nature gives us so much we do not give back anything. But is our duty to protect nature because there will be no men when there is no nature. Everybody must understand the seriousness and should initiate possible ways to improve the environment before it gets too late.

Ozone depletion is one of the serious environmental issues that need immediate attention.

“The ozone layer is a region in the earth’s stratosphere that contains high concentration of ozone or trioxygen and protects the earth from the harmful ultraviolet radiations of the sun”.

Earth has various layers of atmosphere. They are troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere. Stratosphere contains the ozone layer. Ozone absorbs about 97%-99% of the UV rays and thereby protecting lives on earth. Due to combined human activities and environmental pollution, holes are created in the ozone layer and because of which harmful UV rays enter the earth.

REASONS FOR DEPLETION

  • Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are the main reasons for the depletion of ozone layer. These CFCs can be generally found in aerosols, refrigerators and air coolants etc.
  • According to researchers, unregulated launching of rockets can do more harm to the ozone layer than the CFCs.
  • Volcanic eruptions are also a cause for ozone depletion.
  • Nitrogen compounds such as NO2, N2O and NO mostly used in industries, agricultural fertilizers etc. also affect ozone.

EFFECTS OF OZONE DEPLETION

  • Human beings are directly exposed to the ultraviolet rays due to ozone depletion and it leads to serious health issues such as cancer, skin diseases, cataract, quick ageing and weakened immune system.
  • UV rays can also cause cancer in animals.
  • Ozone depletion also affects the environment because strong ultraviolet rays leads to minimal growth and photosynthesis of plants. It also severely affects forests.
  • Ultraviolet rays has been found to cause damage in the early development stages of fishes and amphibians. Another effect on marine organisms is decreasing their ability to reproduce.

OZONE AND COVID 19

As the coronavirus started spreading rapidly around the earth, the whole was shut down due to the pandemic and all the commercial and industrial activities came to a standstill. This was a decision to actually stop the spread of the disease. It was a “Blessing in disguise” because it indirectly gave ample time for the environment to heal itself. Some studies have also shown good improvements in the quality of air, clear sky and decrease in pollution. It was also found that the ozone layer stopped depleting and started healing itself during the shutdown.

CONCLUSION

From our part, we can express gratitude to nature by controlling pollution, using eco-friendly products, limiting vehicle use and finally planting more and more trees.

HAPPY WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY!

GO GREEN, SAVE GREEN!!

Relevant links: https://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/good-news-largest-ozone-layer-072150152.html https://in.news.yahoo.com/global-efforts-ozone-help-reverse-160002811.html

Sri Lanka’s one of the worst ecological disasters in History

Burnt-out Container Vessel is sinking in Sri Lanka, which has already endangered the marine life and affected the life of people who depend on the sea in Colombo. X-Press Pearl Singaporean Super Eco 2700-class Container ship on 20th may 2021 caught on fire in the cost of Colombo, Sri Lanka. There were 25 crew members on board and they were evacuated safely.

The vessel, which is 186-meter, carried 1486 containers which includes 25tonnes of nitric acid, other chemicals and plastic raw material. The mv left Hazira port in India on 15th may and was travelling to Singapore via Colombo, where the disaster occurred.

The vessel was on blaze for straight 13 days, it was put off after two weeks of struggle by Sri Lankan Navy, experts from Dutch salvage Company and the Indian Coast Guard. The burnt-out ship is sinking off in the coast with the danger of Oil spill that may occur, the vessel carries 350tonnes of oil in its fuel tank. Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) said, they are assessing environmental damage and collecting evidence.

Damage Done:

  • The wreckage is greatly affecting the aqua habitat causing several marine creatures to die, fishes and turtles were found dead on the shore.
  • Plastic pellets from the ship deposited along the country’s beaches and these LDPE( Low-density polyethylene) pellets have also washed off to the nearby island.
  • Health experts and Environment Authority have warned that, the emission of nitrogen dioxide could possibly cause mild acid rain in Sri Lanka.
  • Sri Lankan authorities banned Coastal Fishing because of the pollution, and about 5600 boats are unable to sail. This will affect 4600 families.
  • The Cargo loss of X-Press Pearl could range between $30 million -$50 million in addition to the loss of vessel.

 

The Disaster brought severe harm, the water region is highly polluted. Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA), termed the incident to be one of the Sri Lanka’s worst ecological disasters in history.

 

Sustainable Products – Save our Environment by using these products!

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Robert Swan, Author.
This quote definitely screams volumes about how we need to change our beliefs and start taking action to save our planet now.

There are many ways one can take action to save our planet, and one of them is using sustainable products. But – what are sustainable products?

Sustainable products are those products that protect the environment and have a positive impact on environmental, social as well as economical factors. Our needs can be met without sacrificing the future generation’s needs by using sustainable products. Sustainable products also help tremendously by saving our natural resources.

There are several sustainable products in the market, and as the warning of scarce resources arises the number of sustainable products has been increasing. However, one can start using these sustainable products as a beginner and take a step ahead to save our environment.

Some of the sustainable products include:

1. Reusable Straws
The perfect alternative to those disposable straws are these reusable straws, which can be easily cleaned, and has the ability to keep the environment clean as well. These are not only affordable but also reduce plastic waste, one sip at a time. With the reduction in plastic waste, we also save marine life.

2. Copper Water Bottles
Only one out of six bottles are actually recycled (maybe lesser), leading to a massive issue. These plastic bottles photodegrade which implies that it could take a minimum of thousand years for such a bottle to decompose, which is not at all environmentally friendly or sustainable. This is why using a sustainable alternative is the need of the hour. Copper water bottles not only are reusable, which in turn contributes in way lesser plastic waste but also has been known to significantly improve your health.

3. Wooden Combs
Wooden combs are brilliant because they have a plethora of hair care benefits which include less static, them being gentle on your hair as well as your scalp along nourishing your hair evenly with the natural oils it produces. On the other hand, normal plastic combs serve negligible benefits and can break sooner, and can also lead to overconsumption – which piles up on the planet. Using wooden combs means healthy hair as well as a healthier environment – sounds great, right?

4. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Bamboo Toothbrushes are incredibly soft and gentle and clean the teeth well at the same time. They are made up of bamboo and other natural sources which do mean less burden on the environment. This eco-friendly alternative disintegrates in six months as compared to a plastic toothbrush which would obviously take a much longer time. They are also as effective, if not better than plastic toothbrushes.

5. Reusable Cloth Bags
Long-lasting, cost-effective, and great quality – these bags should be a must-have in every household for carrying almost anything that a plastic bag can carry. It indeed is a brilliant alternative to plastic and also means less plastic pollution.

Conclusion

The majority of sustainable products are produced to reduce plastic waste. All of the above items are developed to reduce plastic waste which can significantly harm the environment since it is non-biodegradable.
It is highly recommended that we start using sustainable products. With so much innovation in today’s world, it is possible to find sustainable products that are light on our pockets and light on our environment as well.

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?”

ENVIRONMENT

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENT? :

Everything around us is known as the environment. The environment is the total of land, water, air, and other living organisms. The environment is the area where we live. The environment also has an interrelationship with human beings. The environment is important to all. Changes in the environment affect living things. Today many people are working to protect the environment.

TYPES:

According to Kurt Lewin, the environment is simply classified as THREE types that influence the personality of an individual. They are,

  • PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT:-

                                             The physical environment refers to geographical climates and weather or physical conditions. The human working efficiency can also depend on the climatic conditions.

  • SOCIAL AND CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT:-

                                                                     The social and cultural environment includes an individual’s social and political conditions.

  • PSYCHOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT:-

                                                             The physiological environment enables us to understand the personality of an individual. Both the person and his goal form a psychological environment. By adopting this mechanism, the individual is helped in his adjustment to the environment.

STRUCTURE OF ENVIRONMENT:

                                                      The environment is both physical and biological. It includes both living and non-living components. They are,

  • Physical environment

The physical environment is classified into three broad categories. They are,

  • Solid
  • Liquid
  • gas  

WHY IS ENVIRONMENT IMPORTANT? :

 The environment is the key to the existence of life on earth. It matters because it provides air, food, and other essential needs. Environments also play an important role in regulating air and climate. . Without it, there can be no life on earth.There are other planets in the solar system without life because of a lack of environment. Hence the environment is important for all living beings to survive.

FUN FACTS ABOUT ENVIRONMENT!  :

  • AROUND 20 MILLION TREES ARE CUT DOWN EACH YEAR TO MAKE WOODEN CHOPSTICKS
  • TREES CAN HELP TO REDUCE NOISE POLLUTION
  • RECYCLING OF ONE TON PAPER CAN SAVE 17 TREES
  • HUMMINGBIRD’S EGGS ARE SMALLER THAN JELLY BEANS
  • DOLPHINS ARE MARINE MAMMALS AND NOT FISH
  • 75% OF EVERY VEHICLE IS RECYCLABLE
  • OVER 90% OF ALL VOLCANIC ACTIVITY HAPPENS IN THE OCEAN
  • WE EACH USE ABOUT 12,000 GALLONS OF WATER EACH YEAR

CONSEQUENCES OF ENVIRONMENT DEGRADATION:

Environmental Degradation occurs when the earth’s natural resources are depleted. It leads to weather extremes, species loss, rare specious disappearance, disasters, and over population. Land degradation and dam burst can lead to massive siltation and floods situation.

CAUSES OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTIONS:

                                        “ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION IS AN INCURABLE                                  DISEASE. IT CAN ONLY BE PREVENTED”.

                                                               -Barry Commoner

      Mainly the environment is polluted by air pollution, water pollution, and land pollution. Oil spillage causes environmental pollution when oil is spilled in water. Smoke and fumes from industries also lead to environmental pollution since it produces smoke that may limit oxygen supply. Land pollution is caused by accidental spills, landfill and litter dumping, use of chemical fertilizers.

HOW TO CONTROL ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION:

  1. Avoid excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers
  2. Discharge of wastewater can be minimized
  3. Disposal of radioactive materials must be safe and secure            
  4. Use eco-friendly products
  5. Conduct pollution prevention programs
  6. Plant more trees
  7. Reduce waste production
  8. Avoid burning trashes and other materials.

Veganism

Over the past few years, the concept of veganism has become largely popular. Many famous personalities have also started switching into veganism. According to Wikipedia, “Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.” There is a specific pattern of eating involved in it which includes only plant-based food items. Vegan people replace dairy products with plant based milks like soy, scrambled eggs with scrambled tofu, honey with maple syrup and similar other options. They also refrain from using other animal products like clothing from animal products and leather. It is a lifestyle which attempts to decrease animal exploitation as much as possible.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

The term “vegan” was first coined by Donald Watson in 1944 when he founded the Vegan Society with a small group of vegetarians, who broke away from the Leicester Vegetarian Society in England. It is said that the term “vegan” was constructed by combining the first and last letters of “vegetarian.” At first it was used to mean “non-dairy vegetarian” and by May 1945 vegans started abstaining from “eggs, honey; and animals’ milk, butter and cheese”. They chose to not consume dairy or any other product of animal origin along with abstaining from meat like vegetarians. In 1951, the Society changed its definition to “the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals”. It is currently defined as “a way of living that attempts to exclude all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty, be it from food, clothing, or any other purpose.” Interest in Veganism started from the latter part of 2010s as more and more vegan stores opened increasing vegan options. These have started to be increasingly available in supermarkets and restaurants across the world.

Photo by Fuzzy Rescue on Pexels.com

Reason behind going vegan

Vegans generally choose to avoid animal products for reasons like Ethics, Health and Environment.

People who support the ethics of the practice are called Ethical Vegans who strongly agree to the belief that all creatures have the right to life and freedom. So, they oppose killing a conscious being to simply consume its flesh, drink its milk, or wear its skin — especially when alternatives are available. They also oppose the psychological and physical stress that animals may endure as a result of modern farming practices. For instance, the small pens and cages in which many livestock animals are forced to live between birth and slaughter, the farming industry’s practices of the grinding of live male chicks by the egg industry or the force-feeding of ducks and geese for the foie gras market. Ethical vegans also protest against animal cruelty and raise awareness about ending all forms of cruelty towards animals.

Some also choose veganism due to its health benefits. Plant-based diets may reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and premature death. Lowering the intake of animal products may likewise reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dying from cancer or heart disease. One can also avoid the side effects linked to the antibiotics and hormones which are used in modern animal agriculture. Studies show that there is a relation between vegan diets and lower body weight and body mass index (BMI).

Photo by Lauris Rozentu0101ls on Pexels.com

Vegan diets are high in dietary fiber, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and phytochemicals; and low in dietary energy, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12. There is also the possibility of nutrition deficiency because elimination of all animal products may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Some of these can only be prevented through the choice of fortified foods or the regular intake of dietary supplements. Vitamin B12 supplementation is considered to be very important in some cases.

Some people avoid animal products and shift to veganism for the environmental impacts. It is widely known that animal agriculture is a very water intensive process. The UN report of 2010 suggests that animal products need more resources and produce a higher percentage of greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based options.

Was the Environment Healing During the Pandemic?

While the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic prompted lockdowns in many countries all over the world, the resultant decrease in emissions may have improved the health of our planet. Incidents where endangered animals have been spotted in certain areas were all around social media.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The worldwide disruption caused by this has resulted in great impacts on the environment and the climate. Also, the considerable decline in travel has caused many regions to experience a large drop in air pollution. Carbon emission rates have reduced across countries significantly. There have been many instances where considerable changes in environmental conditions were observed. In China, lockdowns and similar measures have resulted in a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions and 50 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions. One scientist estimated that this may have saved at least 77,000 lives over the course of two months. When compared with indexes of last year, pollution levels in New York have decreased almost by 50% this year. Satellite images have shown that Nitrogen dioxide emissions have started to decrease in Northern Italy, Spain and United Kingdom.

As most people had to stay at home due to lockdown and travel restrictions, many animals have been spotted in several cities. Sea turtles were spotted laying eggs on beaches they once avoided. This was found in coasts of the Bay of Bengal due to the lowered levels of pollution and human intervention. In the United States, dangerous vehicle collisions with animals such as deer, elk, moose, bears, mountain lions were very common. These incidents have reduced greatly and the rates fell by 58% during March and April. Endangered animals were visible in urban cities. A group of Nilgai deer were spotted on the roads of Noida near New Delhi. Dolphins which were seen in the Ganges many years ago, were also spotted in the river during the lockdowns. Several migratory birds were spotted across cities.

Gabon, an African country, had decided to ban the human consumption of certain animals like, bats and pangolins. This was done to reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases because the novel coronavirus is thought to have transmitted to humans through these animals.

According to a study published in May 2020, it was found that the rate of daily global carbon emissions during the lockdown in early April fell by 17%. This could possibly lead to an annual carbon emissions decline of up to 7%, which would be the biggest drop in emissions since World War II according to the study. Researchers suggest that these decreases are mainly due to the reduction of transportation usage and industrial activities. It is true that rebounding and returning to our previous routine and lives could diminish these reductions due to the more limited industrial activities. Due to the reduction in flights, air pollution levels have also dropped significantly.

Temporary changes have affected the environmental conditions. However, whether this pandemic will have a lasting impact on the environment is yet to be known. None of us would have wanted to lower emissions in this way, but it has shown us what we can do together in times of need. Covid-19 has shown us the importance of lives, health services, jobs and mental health. It has also shown us the difference that people and communities can make when they work together – this has given us hope that we can show the same zeal while dealing with climate change and saving our planet.

Climate Change

The phenomenon of rising temperatures of the Earth resulting in change of climate, seasons, rainfall patterns etc. is called Global warming. Global warming and its effects are together referred to as Climate Change. While these changes have been seen before but the rate of change has increased rapidly from the middle of the 20th century. Findings from different recognized scientific organizations support these claims. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “human influence on climate has been the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century”. The emission of greenhouse gases as a result of human activities have been one of the largest causes for this. Fossil fuels, Chloro-fluro carbons (CFCs), deforestation, rise in different forms of pollution are all behind this.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Temperature change is also accompanied by loss of snow cover, melting permafrost, frequent natural disasters like cyclones. Land surfaces heat more quickly which have resulted in heat waves, forest fires, increase in desert area. These temperature changes are the highest in the Arctic region. Changes in environmental conditions have led to extinction of several wildlife species in forests, coral reefs etc. Rising carbon dioxide emissions lead to rising sea levels, ocean temperatures and ocean acidification. These changes bring in frequent droughts, extreme weather conditions affecting the equilibrium and natural balance.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

Almost all countries have come together for climate change under the umbrella of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The convention aims to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. It has instructed policy makers that there is much greater risk to human and natural systems if the warming goes above 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels. Under the Paris Agreement, nations have made climate pledges to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but even after following those, global warming would still reach about 2.8 °C by 2100. To prevent this from happening and limit the warming to 1.5 °C, methane emissions need to decrease to near-zero levels and carbon dioxide emissions should reach net-zero by the year 2050.

Governments should act immediately and policies should be constructed to reduce fossil fuel emissions, increase reforestation, forest prevention, use of low carbon energy technologies, food preservation. All societies should work together towards dealing with future global warming problems in a scientific way. Development of more resistant crops, better disaster management should also be considered.

Several international movements have taken place like Fridays For Future where school students take time off from school to aware people and demand climate change action from governments. They demand action from political leaders of the world for the fossil fuel industry to convert to renewable energy and take immediate measures for climate change. This movement was publicised after Greta Thunberg started a protest outside the Swedish parliament with a poster saying “School strike for climate”. She is an environmental activist who has spoken at several internationally recognised platforms. She started her journey as an activist from the time when she had convinced her parents to change their lifestyle for reducing their carbon footprint. She is known for her straight forward manner of speaking at public platforms and criticizing world leaders for their failure to address climate change. She has participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (2018) and UN Climate Action Summit (2019). She has also got several awards and made it into the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (2019). Though her popularity at such a young age has made her a target of critics, but she continues to work and struggle towards her goal with indomitable spirit.

PETS AND US

Our unconditional support systems.

There’s something about those animals that makes us not resist the urge to stop and play with them a little. Maybe it’s those eyes, dreamy eyes, ‘they say the eyes don’t lie.’ The innocence. Serene smiles. The enthusiasm. Unparalleled.

We get drawn to them like moth to fire. Lures us in and makes us pour our hearts out for them. Makes us slip into a beautiful vibe, pushing all worries and troubles aside. Reminding us there are no things in this world that can elude us, of our cheerfulness, but us.

It’s hard not to budge and ogle at a stranger’s pet. As cliche it may have been portrayed in motion pictures, it’s true.

To vibe with your own tribe. To strike up a conversation with somebody who you wouldn’t have, if not for his little friend.

Coming across a person who’s not a pet person seems paradoxical. With the reason of such a peeve mostly from a traumatic experience in the past. Something that can be worked on effectively to eradicate.

They say Exposure is key, perennial for growth. To elevate the character of a person. Unknowingly or knowingly paving the way to learn a thing or two. Be it whatever the species, a bird, fish or Man’s best friend our beloved little hairy friends.

From dealing with responsibilities like catering to their needs- from feeding them to taking care of them. To learning a thing or two about giving and taking respect, on how to respect the boundaries of other beings. What little time spend with them is never wasted.

For we can learn or a thing or two from them. About compassion and the love for the family. After all home is where the heart is right? Life lessons at our disposal.

To live our lives carefree and free from the shackles of worries and self doubt. To live and let live. Being unconditional to the love you give out to the ones around us. To be full of life and a little mischievous, because you only live once.

Pets are synonymous for unconditional love. Even if you’re having the baddest of days, spending a little time with them elevates the mood to a higher level. It’s funny how they can totally read the situation and act aptly, when most of our two legged buddies fail to do so.

No matter whatever you have or who you are, their love for us never flutters.

A loyal comrade. What more do you need when you can live with your best friend?

People complain how deceitful and tragic the world is. I believe in doing and not complaining. “Being the change you want to see in the world,” the best way to live.

By adopting a pet, I believe it can have umpteen effect on making the people more compassionate and generous, like they say, little acts of kindness makes the world a place.

Adopting a pet could just be a part of one’s life, but for the pet it’ll be his whole world.

EIA 2020

The EIA draft 2020 have been doing the rounds on various online and social media platforms for a while now. People are doing everything in their hands to educate the rest and to put a stop to this draft from being implemented, which the national and most local medias have shut a blind eye towards.

This clearly depicts where their priorities are at, more on mainstream politics and other topics, putting the people who depend on such mediums in the dark. Unaware.

The very idea of people having to take to social media to get the word about such a devious plan is a clear depiction that we’re in the endgame now. It’s going to be every man for himself from now.

The EIA draft of 2020 is something we as the citizens of this great nation can’t afford to be a part in. It’s for a greater cause, for a better future. If neglected, the consequences coming generations will have to face will be a plenty. It’s now or never.

From elementary schools we are taught about the importance of conservation of mother nature and the dangers of pollution. We’re taught that the earth is our only home, yet and that we should do everything in our hands to protect it from such acts of fellow less concerned beings. 

Several movies and campaigns instituted by conservative environmentalists are more often that not given the spotlight to inform the masses of what we’re in store for. I for one, believe that an educated nation will be a better functioning nation.

The destructions of the Bhopal Gas tragedy needs no introduction. A grave tragedy. Post the Gas tragedy of ‘86, the Government of India brought into action the Environment Protection Act with a concern for the safety of the Public and the Nature.

The EIA under the aforementioned Act of 1986, constitutes a process which prevents the industrial and Infrastructural projects by Individuals and body corporates from being approved without proper oversight. It basically consists of a tool of environmental management forming a part of project approval and decision making.

It ensured that every project would go through the process for obtaining proper environmental clearance certificates , for a better, safer tomorrow.

The point of contention in the draft of  Environment Impact Assessment is post-facto clearance and less public participation of the affected communities. Making the voices of the already barely heard voices, totally mute.

The EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) draft 2020 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change under the Government of India has a counter regressive approach towards protecting the nature of the Largest democracy in the World. 

The EIA covers numerous projects like mining of various minerals, infrastructure development, industrial projects, thermal nuclear and hydropower projects. The projects for which clearance was sought was allotted clearance by a panel of experts based on its potential impact on the environment.

It involves prospective changes suggested against the EIA notification of 2006. By embodying norms to weaken environmental norms and outright silencing the affected communities. 

This draft basically allows the various Infrastructural and Industrial bodies to go ahead with various projects and seek the approval later ( post facto clearance), which would certify the starting of various projects without proper clearance certificates, afterwards when the destruction would’ve been already done.

The point of emphasis is that the principles embodied in the draft is against the various principles that shouldn’t exist in such a democratic nation. It not only possess a grave threat to the environment but also takes away the fundamental rights of citizens to raise their voices and deliver criticism regarding such concerns.

Rather than strengthening the norms under the Act and allowing the people to participate and raise their concerns, this draft focuses on restricting the Public’s voice over such environmentally degrading projects.

It also curtails the right of the communities by legalising projects that has already caused a great deal of harm and the ones which are already existing without proper approvals under the EIA. Making potential threats of mass destruction legal.

However, the Government has commented that the proposed draft would further bring transparency and expedite the process of development. Experts in the field have commented that the only process expedited by such a drastic change would be dragging the country to the ground and crippling the powers of the common man versus huge industrial organisations.

Foreseeable accidents of Vizag Gas leak and the Baghjan Oil fire are grave examples of the gravity of destruction that can be caused by projects that are not run under proper EIA guidelines.

Sighting the present troubles already upon the citizens, the drafts brought to life should be of those which corporates building a greener and more sustainable future where the nature would be the heart of all operations.

Earthquakes

An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault. Stresses in the earth’s outer layer push the sides of the fault together. Stress builds up and the rocks slips suddenly, releasing energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust and cause the shaking. An Earthquake occurs when plates grind and scrape against each other. India lies at the northwestern end of the IndoAustralian Plate, which encompasses India, Australia, a major portion of the Indian Ocean and other small countries. This plate is colliding against the huge Eurasian Plate and going under the Eurasian Plate,this process of one tectonic plate getting under another is responsible for making India a earthquake prone country. A number of significant earthquakes occured in and around India over the past century. Some of these occured in populated and urbanized areas and hence caused great damage. Many went unnoticed, as they occurred deep under the Earth’s surface or in relatively un-inhabited places. The varying geology at different locations in the country implies that the likelihood of damaging earthquakes taking place at different locations is different. Thus, a seismic zone map is required to identify these regions.

Bureau of Indian Standards, based on the past seismic history, grouped the country into four seismic zones, Zone – 2,-3,-4and 5. Of these, zone 5 is the most seismically active region, while zone 2 is the least. The Modified Mercalli(MM) intensity, which measures the impact of the earthquakes on the surface of the earth, broadly associated with various zones, is as follows.

Cyclone

Cyclonic storm is caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area and is usually accompanied by violent storms and severe weather conditions. Cyclone is derived from the greek word cyclos – coiling of snake. Tropical Cyclone is a deep low pressure area from around the center the strong winds, spirals and pick up the speeds of 62 kmph or more. In Northern hemisphere these winds rotate counter clock wise and in Southern hemisphere clockwise. The tropical cyclones that are intense are known as huricanes Over the Atlantic Ocean and typhoons over the pacific ocean. They are know by different names for example dust devils, supercell thunderstorm, tomadoes, tropical cyclones, extra tropical cyclones etc. On the basis of the speed of the wind cyclones are classified into 5 different categories.

According to the category of the cyclone the wind speed varies that is from 60 km an hour to about 220 kmph and above. When the speed of the wind around the low pressure area reach upto 60 kmph it is known as tropical cyclone and the name is assigned. When wind speed settles between 89 and 118 kmph, it turns into a severe Cyclonic storm. When wind blows at a speed of about 119 to 221 kmph then it is known as very severe Cyclonic storm and when the speed of the wind exceeds 221kmph then the cyclone is known as supercyclonic storm. The word meteorological organization (WMO) has a well defined process to select the name of each cyclone.

A cyclone named fani is a massive Cyclonic formation over the south of bay of Bengal which made landfall in odisha.

Cyclone like ookhi hit parts of kerala, tamil nadu, sri lanka, and maldives at 185kmph with total fatalities of 245 in kerala that time around 80 fisherman were killed and 140 people were reported missing. In 2018 cyclone gaja also made landfall in Nagapattinam ‘s vedaranyam block and killed around 46 people. In 2019 vayu in the Arabian Sea.

The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the Earth’s North and South poles in each Hemisphere. The term refers to the counter clockwise flow of air that helps the colder air close to the poles. Often during winter in the Northern hemisphere the polar vortex will become less stable and expand senting cold artic air southward over the East of US with the jet stream. One exist in the troposphere where we live and where the weather happens. The other exists in the second lowest, called the stratosphere, which is a shroud of thin air that gets warmer at higher altitudes. The tropospheric polar vortex is the one that affects our weather with piercing shots of cold, intense bouts of storminous and bitter wind chills reaching upto 80°Celsius.

Environment Scan

The world is a greener place today than it was 20 years ago. NASA used Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer(MODIS) to get a detailed picture of Earth’s global vegetation through time. The technique provided up to 500 meter resolution for the past two decades.

According to NASA, in contrast to the perception that China and India are over exploiting land, water and resources for economic gain, the countries are responsible for the largest greening of the planet in the past two decades. China and India implemented besides infusion of technology around agriculture. India broke world records in tree planting, with 800000 Indians planting 50 million trees in just 24 hours.

The NASA’s high resolution imagery published in the journal Nature Sustainability, allowed comparison of satellite data :mid-1990s-2019.Initially,the researchers wondered about the significant greening around the planet. Was it due to a warming planet, increased CO2 or a wetter climate that could have caused more plants to grow. Further investigation of the satellite imagery, helped find the disproportionate greening in China and India. If the greening was primarily a response from climate change and a warming planet, the increase vegetation wouldn’t be limited to country borders. Besides, higher latitude regions should also become greener faster than lower latitudes as permafrost melts and areas like Northern Russia become more habitable.

The United States stands 7th in the total change in vegetation percent by decade. It is encouraging to see swift and rapid change in governance and land use.

Electronic waste comprises waste electronics/electrical goods that are not fit for their originally intended use or have reached their end of life. This may include items such as mobile phones, computers, monitors, calculators, CDs, printers, scanners, copiers, battery cells, Radio, TVs, medical apara and electronic components besides white goods such as refrigerators and air conditioners which contain hazardous constituents, although e-waste itself is not harmful. E – waste also contains recoverable value materials like copper, silver, gold and platinum. The harmful materials contained in electronic products are heavy metals such as lead, barium and cadmium which are harmful to health if they enter the water bodies. These materials can cause damage to the human nervous and respiratory systems.

India is among the world’s largest consumers of mobile phones and produces more than 1.5 million tonnes of e-waste each year. Most consumers are still unaware of how to dispose of their e-waste. E-waste Rules, 2016,was enacted on 1 oct 2017,further strengthening the existing rules.

Taiji Dolphin Hunt

The Taiji dolphin drive hunt is based on driving dolphins and other small cetaceans into a small bay where they can be killed or captured for their meat and for sale to dolphinariums. Dolphin drive hunts exist in coastal communities around the world, and Taiji has a long connection to Japanese whaling. The 2009 documentary film “The Cove” drew international attention to the hunt. Taiji is the only town in Japan where drive hunting still takes place on a large scale.

The government quota allows over 2,000 cetaceans to be slaughtered or captured, and this hunt is one of the world’s biggest. Annually, an approximation of 22,000 small cetaceans are killed using the methodology of drive hunting, taking place in the waters of Japan. The annual dolphin hunt provides income for local residents, but has received criticism for both the cruelty of the slaughter methods and the high mercury levels of the dolphin meat.

It has been practiced in various parts of Japan as well, but Taiji is the only substantial hunt that remains. The hunts are argued to be a part of Japanese culture.

PETA’s take on it

PETA’s friends at Dolphin Project report that 740 dolphins were either killed or taken captive in this year’s(2020) annual slaughter in Taiji, Japan. For six months, fishing vessels sailed out of Taiji, hunted down pods of wild dolphins, surrounded them, and drove them back toward land and the infamous killing cove. Many more dolphins likely died in the process.

How is it actually done?

  • In the cove, dolphin hunters snared the animals with nets and dragged them to shore for the selection process.
  • Dolphin trainers work with them to help choose the most beautiful ones—the ones who will be sold to marine parks and “swim with dolphins” encounters.
  • A metal rod is rammed down the spines of others, and they die of hemorrhaging or suffocation in full view of their friends and family members.
  • Their flesh is then sold as meat.

Dolphins deserve better.

Dolphins’ brains are much larger than those of humans. (Many would argue their hearts are, too.) These brilliant animals use complex echolocation to navigate the vast ocean, and several species swim up to 60 miles a day. They have highly developed communication skills, and it’s believed that individuals respond to the sound of a signature whistle the same way humans respond to the sound of their names. Forcing these brilliant animals to live inside cages for our entertainment is moral bankruptcy.

Image Courtesy:The Dolphin Project

Loktak Lake:The Only Floating Lake in the World

Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition) floating over it. The lake is located at Moirang in Manipur state, India. The etymology of Loktak is Lok = “stream” and tak = “the end”. The largest of all the phumdis covers an area of 40 km2 (15 sq mi) and is situated on the southeastern shore of the lake. Located on this phumdi, Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park in the world. The park is the last natural refuge of the endangered Sangai (state animal), Rucervus eldii eldii or Manipur brown-antlered deer (Cervus eldi eldi), one of three subspecies of Eld’s Deer.

This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fishermen who live in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”. 

A rich biodiversity with habitat heterogeneity has been recorded during a scientific survey carried out between January 2000 and December 2002 in different habitat patches of the lake. The lake’s rich biological diversity comprises 233 species of aquatic macrophytes of emergent, submergent, free-floating and rooted floating leaf types.

BIODIVERSITY.

BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT :

Biodiversity is the collection of flora and fauna of a place. Biodiversity Hotspot is a region which is a prime location for the existence of rich biodiversity but also faces the threat of destruction. It is a place which needs our immediate and constant attention to survive and thrive in the future as well. This idea of identifying hotspots was put forth by Norman Myers in 1988. By now, a total of 35 biodiversity hotspots have been identified out of which most of them lie in tropical forests. Almost 2.3% of the land surface of Earth is represented by these hotspots. These also comprise of around 50% of the world’s most common plant species and 42% of terrestrial vertebrates prevalent. Sadly, these biodiversity hotspots have been losing 86% of their habitats some of which are still on the verge of extinction due to serious threats posed by climate change and human intervention.

BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT IN MAHARASHTRA :

India’s western state and economy hub Maharashtra is also blessed with verdant natural beauty. With the biodiversity hot spot Western Ghats beginning from this state, the Zoological Survey of India recently found that the state has 1065 species of vertebrates and 642 species of invertebrates. The assessment was carried out by ZSI beginning from the time of its inception in 1959 till last year. The areas for the study included the protected areas national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, tiger reserve, wetlands and almost all districts of the state.

RICH BIODIVERSITY IN INDIA :

Invasion hotspots in India delineated through intersection of ...

As it has been already mentioned, India is a country rich in biological diversity. It is situated in the Indomalaya ecozone and comprises of 2 out of the 35 biodiversity hotspots in the world. The third one, that is, Indo Burma lies partially in North-East India. In India, there are approximate-
-350 mammals which make up 7.6% of world species
-1224 birds which make up 2.6% of the world species
-197 amphibians which make up 4.4% of the world species
-408 reptiles which make up 6.2% of the world species
-2546 fishes which make up 11.7% of the world species
-15000 flowering plants which make up 6% of the world species.

HISTORY OF BIODIVERSITY IN INDIA :

India originally belonged to Gondwana from where many Indian species (descendants of taxa) originated. Due to the collision of Peninsular India with the Laurasian landmass, there was a mass exchange of species which took place. However, what caused most turmoil was the eruption of volcanoes and climate change 20 million years ago which led to the extinction of many Indian forms. After this, mammals were seen entering India through from Asia through the Himalayas as a result of which out of the Indian species, there were 12.6% mammals and 4.5% birds which were endemic and 45.8% reptiles as well as 55.8% amphibians.

IN THE INDIA WESTERN GHATS:

Western Ghats – a biodiversity hotspot | JLR Explore

There are more than 6000 vascular plants here which belong to more than 2500 genus. 3000 plants out of these are endemic. Most of the spices found in the world such as black pepper and cardamom all are believed to have originated in the Western Ghats. Most of the species are however present in the Agasthyamalai Hills situated in extreme South. The region is also home to around 450 species of birds, 140 mammals, 260 reptiles and 175 amphibians. Such diversity is quite beautiful as well as rare but now lies on the verge of extinction. The vegetation in this region was originally spread over 190,000 square kilometres but has reduced to 43,000 square kilometres today. Only 1.5% of the original forest is still prevalent in Sri Lanka.

International Tiger Day

“Let us keep the tigers in jungles & not in history, save tigers”

Global Tiger Day, often called International Tiger Day, is an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation, held annually on 29 July. It was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit. In the summit, governments of tiger-populated countries vowed to double the tiger population by 2022. Almost a decade has passed since then. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. According to the WWF experts Darren Grover,  the world had lost around 97 percent of wild tigers in the last 100 years. Currently, only 3,000 tigers are left alive compared to around 100,000 Tiger a century ago.  Many international organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), are also involved in the conservation of the wild tigers.

“The roar is rare.”

unnamed

The awe-inspiring tiger is one of the most iconic animals on Earth. The tiger population across the world dropped sharply since the beginning of the 20th century but now for the first time in conservation history, their numbers are on the rise. Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, on Tuesday, released the detailed Status of Tigers Report 2018. According to the report, released on the eve of Global Tiger Day, tigers were observed to be increasing at a rate of 6 percent per annum in India from 2006 to 2018. In good news for India, Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said, the country “has 70 percent of world’s tiger population”, after releasing a report on tiger census ahead of International Tiger Day on July 29.

There are a number of different issues that tigers all around the world face. There are a number of threats that are driving tigers close to extinction, and we can do our bit to make sure that we do not lose these incredible creatures. Some of the threats that tigers face include poaching, conflict with humans, and habitat loss.  Poaching and the illegal trade industry is a very worrying one. This is the biggest threat that wild tigers face. Demand for tiger bone, skin, and other body parts is leading to poaching and trafficking. This is having a monumental impact on the sub-populations of tigers, resulting in localized extinctions. We often see tiger skins being used in home decor. Moreover, bones are used for medicines and tonics. This has seen illegal criminal syndicates get involved in the tiger trade in order to make huge profits. It really is a worrying industry. In fact, it is thought to be worth 10 billion dollars per annum in the United States alone. This is why we need to support charities and work hard to put an end to poaching and the illegal trade of tiger parts. While this represents the biggest threats to tigers, there are a number of other threats as well. This includes habitat loss. Throughout the world, tiger habitats have reduced because of access routes, human settlements, timber logging, plantations, and agriculture. In fact, only around seven percent of the historical range of a tiger is still intact today. That is an incredibly small and worrying amount. This can increase the number of conflicts between tigers, as they roman about and try to locate new habitats. Not only this, but genetic diversity can reduce because it can cause there to be inbreeding in small populations.

Since the tiger is an “umbrella species”, its conservation enables the conservation of their entire ecosystems. Several studies have shown that Tiger reserves harbor new species, which are found practically every year. Tiger reserves have also improved the water regimes in regions where they are located, improving groundwater tables and other water bodies, thus contributing favorably to the climate. This year marks the tenth International Tiger Day. On International Tiger Day, several countries discuss issues related to tiger conservation and also try to amass funds for wildlife preservation. Moreover, many celebrities also pitch in for International Tiger Day and try to spread awareness about the conditions of tigers using their massive social media presence. India is especially important for International Tiger Day 2020 as the country currently has 75% of all tigers on the planet. A lot of people are not aware of these threats, and so spreading the knowledge can help to make sure that we all do our bit to ensure that the tiger’s future is a fruitful one. There will be a lot of videos, infographics, and interesting pieces of content going around that you can share with others.

Male_Tiger_Ranthambhore

“Tiger is a symbol of Beauty, Bravery, Strength and Nationality. So Save the Tiger, Save the Nation’s Pride.”

Easy Ways To Live More Sustainably

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

How beautiful is our planet earth, refreshing and clear lakes, gorgeous sunsets, glorious mountains, and that’s the reason why we love it so much but what if this beautiful nature starts asking for something in return, something as simple as using less water, would we still claim to love it? It is not news that factors like climate change and pollution are a threat to our planet, it been decades that scientists and activists are begging people to be considerate towards our unsustainable lifestyles which are hurting the planet. But our habits and convenience are not letting us change and we chose to ignore the dire warnings, continuing our usage of plastic and burning fuel like there is no tomorrow, which at this rate might be true. While the changes are not just needed for an individual but a policy and behavior changes of companies is also essential in saving the planet and being more sustainable. There was a study conducted in 2017, which stated that 71% of the global emissions were generated by just 100 companies. But as charity begins at home, change also begins from an individual, so here are some extremely simple ways in which we can move to a sustainable lifestyle, help the planet and be the change we want to see in this world.

1. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth – It is a habit of most people that they leave the tap running while brushing their teeth, leaving a tap open can waste eight gallons of water per day which is a ridiculous amount considering that the precious water is going to waste. It can be hard breaking a habit which you have been carrying all your life but there is no reason in continuing such a habit knowing the amount of clean water going to waste like that. Water may be a renewable resource but we just have a limited amount of clean, fresh, and unpolluted water, which is not available everywhere, and hence saving even a drop is important. With groundwater being polluted and lack of clean water, we rely on water from rainfall which is also decreased due to climate change. If the situation continues like this by 2030 half of the world population would face a major water crisis. And if you need a monetary motivation, saving water can reduce your water bill too.

2. Use Public Transportation- We always complain and crib about public transports and avoid them at any chance we get. But the truth being told embracing buses, metros, and trains is one of the best things we can do to save our planet since transport is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases around the world. Using public transport and avoiding your car is the most beneficial way to curb climate change. An average car emits around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, so living car-free has the highest potential of mitigating a person’s carbon emissions. If you don’t have a choice but to drive, try using carpooling if the travel is unavoidable, it not only decreases the carbon but also saves you money.

3. Stop Buying Packaged Water- People prefer buying single-use plastic bottles of water every time they go out and then throw that plastic away which may never decompose, instead make it a habit of filling up a water bottle from home and carry it whenever you go out, it may take a tiny effort but it can delay the inevitable end of the planet. Almost all the plastic produced to date still exist in the environment and is likely to stay forever as it takes over 500 years for plastic to decompose into smaller particles.

There is no doubt that these suggestions cannot be feasible for everyone, like one won’t take pubic transport if the time of travel becomes three-times but this does not mean we should not try changing and embrace it, trying is the least we can do. If we wish to make the biggest impact on the climate for the least amount of effort, the best place to start is by making small changes individually and then taking it up to our communities, schools, colleges, and workplaces.

Oil spills

A Decade After BP Oil Spill, Scientists Still Working To Save Bird ...

In this figure we can see clearly very bad condition of sea water.

The oil spills are very harmful to marine birds mammals as well as the under water various fishes, shellfish, sharks etc. there are oil destroy the insulating ability of fur bearing mammals such as sea otters and the water repellent of a bird’s features , thus the abilities, thus exposing these creaturess to the harsh elements.

Two cargo ships collided off the Mumbai coast on August 7 causing an oil spill that spread quickly through Maharashtra’s coastline. MS,c Chitra ruptured its tank when it hit incoming MV Khalijia and ran aground at Colaba, near Prongs Reef Lighthouse. The vessel contained about 1,200 tonnes of fuel oil in its tanks of which 800 tonnes spilled into the Arabian Sea before the leaks could be plugged two days later.

BAD IMPACT ON THE SEA FISHES:

5 Environmental Consequences of Oil Spills

Oil destroys the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals, such as sea otters, and the water repellency of a bird’s feathers, thus exposing these creatures to the harsh elements. Without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia.

Juvenile sea turtles can also become trapped in oil and mistake it for food. Dolphins and whales can inhale oil, which can affect lungs, immune function and reproduction. Many birds and animals also ingest oil when they try to clean themselves, which can poison them.

Fish, shellfish, and corals may not be exposed immediately, but can come into contact with oil if it is mixed into the water column — shellfish can also be exposed in the intertidal zone. When exposed to oil, adult fish may experience reduced growth, enlarged livers, changes in heart and respiration rates, fin erosion, and reproduction impairment. Fish eggs and larvae can be especially sensitive to lethal and sublethal impacts. Even when lethal impacts are not observed, oil can make fish and shellfish unsafe for humans to eat.

An oil tanker stationed in Tamil Nadu’s Ennore released at least two tonnes of oil into the sea north of Chennai on Sunday after its fuel hose snapped, the spill occurred at the Kamarajar Port in Ennore, around 20 km from the state capital. An oil spill was reported from the same port in January 2017 after two vessels collided. It had affected 30 km of the coastline, caused significant environmental damage and killed a large number of turtles and hatchlings.

Preliminary estimate of spilled fuel oil quantity is less than 2 tonnes,” port authorities said in a statement. “The emergency response mechanism was immediately activated and all concerned agencies, including the Coast Guard, swung in action to attend and mitigate the situation.” Raveendran added that 80% of the spilled oil has been contained within the boom – floating barriers installed to contain leaks – and has not spread out into the sea.

Animal Cruelty: Are Humans Losing Their Humanity?

Imagine you were the one being tested on, imagine your skin being torn off alive, imagine your arms and legs being ripped off while still alive, imagine being burnt alive, fellow classmates even imagine losing your life, just so you can satisfy other species. Doesn’t sound fun, does it?

Now imagine this, you are a poor soul who has been searching for food everywhere. Suddenly, your happiness sees no bound as you see pineapple lying in front of you. You thank god and people for feeding such a delicacy amidst long hunger. You gulp that in one bite and feel inside of your body hurting and burning. You soon realize it was not just a pineapple. You run for water to soothe down the internal wound and burning. You stand in water for hours in oblivion just to face one reality – that now only death can relieve this burning. If reading this makes your stomach churn, you might understand the pain that poor soul went through which for some people was a mere ‘elephant’. What makes it even more disheartening that the elephant was pregnant  and yet had to spend her last few hours standing in the water waiting for death so that to leave this cruel world in solace.

In yet another instance of cruelty towards animals, a monkey was hanged to death from a tree in Telangana’s Khammam district.

Animals – creatures that are considered fit for human cruelty. Hitting dogs, throwing bricks at speechless animals and taming them forcefully for circuses has become common news now. It is time we re-emphasized the need for animal rights to protect and safeguard their lives from humans.

It’s blood curling that there exist some people who intentionally hurt animals because they enjoy hurting things, or because it makes them feel powerful. Some, love the control they possess over these helpless creatures. While, there are others who simply enjoy pain and violence.

It should be noted that intentional cruelty to animals is strongly correlated with other crimes, including violence against people. (HSLF). Any psychologist or police officer can ascertain you that animal cruelty is a precursor to criminally violent behavior toward humans. There are plenty of laws against cruelty to animals as well. Thus, Outright cruelty, harm to a living creature for no other purpose than the cruelty itself, is definitely prohibited and while not punishable to the extent that human cruelty is punishable, it is considered a serious indicator of a disordered mind and a dangerous person.

There are very strict guidelines laid down by the Indian government. Like, the animal should have rested before being slaughtered, an animal should not be killed in front of the other animals, no pregnant animal can be killed and all the animals should be diagnosed by the veterinarian before butchering them. The veterinarian must allow only the healthy animals to be slaughtered but all of it is on paper. All the strict laws have no strict implementation due to lack of will. There will surely be reduction in the rate of animal cruelty if these laws are implemented strictly!

We need to begin with our own selves without expecting any kind of new policies or laws to protect animals. Regularly keeping a bowl of fresh water outside your house and feeding the street animals. Such small activities would provide street animals with basic survival needs in the harsh city life.

Are we going to realize this any soon that we are a part of an ecosystem where human, plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms, all have to live together without harming each other? It’s generally only the humans that are less tolerant towards animals, plants, insets, etc. whereas, the rest simply seek for a peaceful existence.

What is Sustainable Development?

Our planet is currently facing grave dangers in the form of climate change and global warming. Resources are depleting at a rapid rate and mass extinctions of species are on the rise. This is one among the, if not the foremost global issue of our times. We cannot underestimate its importance since what we do now about this crisis will decide the fate of our future generations and the existence of life itself on our planet.

It is in this context that sustainable development is propounded as a measure that can greatly better the quality of all human life as well as ensures better protection for the planet. Sustainable development refers to principles for development that we can follow to ensure that our current needs are met without us compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. It places great importance on healthy sustenance of the natural systems and ecological conditions that we have which ensures the prosperity of humankind as well. Without them, our societies would not be able to survive as they currently are.

low angle photo of airplane
Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com

This is absolutely essential because we have come dangerously close to irreversibly depleting the resources that we take from nature. With the industrial revolution and Capitalism taking a stronghold of our cultures in the last century, our focus was generally bent on mass production and profit. Materialism and consumer culture greatly encouraged and solidified this move. The need for progress, the development of cities that were built without proper planning, the rise of the use-and-throw culture, the large scale production of materials that do not naturally decompose, and poor waste management plans all led to a situation where nature was suffering from being indiscriminately exploited. Large scale mining, unprecedented deforestation that clears up entire woodlands, using up of non-renewable resources that cannot be replaced in the same quantity simultaneously at the rate of consumption are all situations where human intervention is disrupting the natural equilibrium. These states of harmony and equilibrium are vital for sustenance of all kinds of life and man cannot hope to progress as a species at the cost of using up every resource available. This will only lead to his extinction as well.

The United Nations Development Programme announced 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. This includes goals such as eradication of poverty and hunger, gender equality, good health, and gender equality, while also aiming at better protection of natural resources on land and in water, climate action, clean water, responsible consumption and production, sustainable communities, etc. This was done to create a better environment and living conditions for all of humanity by 2030, fast-tracking progress for the communities who were behind. SDGs are for all the countries in the world.

A developmental method by which man and nature can co-exist well is the need of the hour, and sustainable development moves ahead with these goals. It seeks to redeem much of what has been lost and protect what we have now so that our existence will not be threatened, but also for the sake of the flora, fauna and the resources and ecosystems surrounding us. If we are to have a future where we do not need to pay for water and buy air, where lives can be led in ways not threatening to nature, we are to work towards more sustainable modes of progress and development.

Little Things To Help The Planet

It is extremely important that we look after our planet but often as teenagers it can be hard to donate money to support the cause or spend time volunteering, so here are a few things you can do instead.

1. Say no to the straw!

According to Indian pollution control board15,342 tonnes of plastic waste is produced in India every year. A big chunk of it is single use plastic straws, which can’t be recycled! These tiny straws can do a lot of harm to the ocean- it can kill all sorts of wildlife including sea turtles. So why not stop using plastic straws altogether? Some love using straws, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do. Instead, switch to glass straws, paper straws or metal straws, here are some affordable options:

1. Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws Set (2 Bend & 2 Straight Straws, 1 Cleaning Brush) from Amazon

2. Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws (Copper Colour) – Pack of 4 (Straight & Bent) with Brush and Jute Pouch Cutlery from Amazon

3. Premium Biodegradable Paper straws from Amazon

4. Bent Glass Straws, Pack of 6 from Amazon

2. Invest in a tote

Whenever you’re out for grocery shopping, carry a reusable tote with you. Personally, I love a good tote bag, especially the ones you can fold up and tuck away in your shoulder bag. 

Here are some affordable options:

  1. Foldable Shopping Bags for Grocery from Amazon

2. Ikea Compact Size Foldable Reusable Bag from Amazon

3. Reusable mugs!

Every time you go out to the coffee shop and order your cappuccino to go you’re wasting a cup. To avoid this you might want to buy yourself a nice reusable cup. Not only do they reduce waste, but cups with lids are also a better alternative if you drink tea or coffee while you’re on the go. 

Here are some affordable options:

  1. Glass mug with a with Steel Steiner from Amazon

2. Biodegradable Bamboo Fibre Eco Travel Mug from Amazon

3. Silicone Travel Collapsible Coffee Cup By The June Shop

4. Bottle it up 

There is nothing better than a cute reusable water bottle in my opinion. There are so many to choose from and reduce the waste created by using plastic water bottles. 

Here are some affordable options:

1. Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Amazon

2. Glass Transparent Bottles, Set of 2 from Amazon,

3. Copper Water Bottle from Amazon

5. Wrap your gift up in paper

Avoid using things that are packaged  or wrapped in single use plastic. Try to use paper or paper bags instead. And if you can’t do that, look for recyclable packaging. 

Here are some affordable options:

  1. Paper wrappers from Amazon

2. Brown Paper Bags from Amazon

6. Walk more 

Using a car is one of the worst things for the environment. If the distance to be covered can be covered on foot then why not walk to where you want to be? It’s an easy way to exercise and you’re helping our planet too by reducing greenhouse gasses. If you can’t walk there, why not take the public transport? It’s cheaper and saves the planet. 

Sustainability: The Only Way Out

We can’t just consume our way to a more sustainable world…

When the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi decided to return back to his motherland from South Africa where he had gone as a lawyer for the Indian community, he called Kasturba and told her, ‘Let’s distribute these gifts among the impecunious and needy people.’ Kasturba, befuddled, replied, ‘But these gifts have been given to you by the very same people. To this Mahatma Gandhi answered, ‘They gave it to me out of love , but I don’t need it.’ This man spent his whole life the basis of needs, that too reduced.

This is also what he had preached in context of sustainability, ‘Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed’. This is proved by a research conducted in the 80s which indicates that if the world’s population is multiplied by 4, there still would be enough for everyone provided that our life is confined to our needs and not greed. Keeping this in mind, it’s vital to understand that the distribution of development in our country isn’t horse to horse. The current model of development has created more problems and solved less. The irrational methods of production, consumption and distribution has created a huge gap between the haves and have-nots. If the benefits of development doesn’t reach to all the people then how can we call it development? So it’s logical and rather exigent to question ourselves whether the type of development we pursue creates, reinforces and perpetuates this crises. If the answer is yes, then it’s the eleventh hour for us to altercate our policies and consciously design a thorough plan development that by every means is sustainable.

We can recall an advertisement where a school going youngin expresses his wish of becoming a cycle mechanic to his father reasoning it with the fact that if we are ever so careless with the precious resources we possess, it wouldn’t even last until he’s grown up. The father in the same advertisement shows sensitivity and awareness towards his son’s words and turns off the car stuck in the traffic . But what if he hadn’t, what if WE don’t, don’t what would lie in our future? Perhaps something like this ‘The street is carpeted in the same dusty powder that is in my hair and clothes. Homes trajectory the street like broken teeth, falling down impetuously as if they were bombed. Yet the most sumptuous thing to happen here in the past twenty years is the ever hotter summers and wind that howls across the landscape unhindered by trees. Graffiti still shows red and blue through the dust, tags from people who fled north with the dying rains, all childish rebellions long blotted out. How all this trauma aged us. Adolescents could be ninety in those teenage bones. One wouldn’t come here if it weren’t for the resources we now need, stuff that could be lying relinquished behind these sunbaked walls. I would shout to shock this place with the exuberance of life, but then I would have to breath this foul air in more deeply and I don’t know how much this old hospital mask will filter.”

The child symbolizes the future generation and the father represents the present generation. As parents we all are concerned about our children’s future. After all we want it to be safe, secure and prosperous. But do we really? The answer is a big no. You need not ask me ‘why’. Let us ask ourselves what are we leaving for our children – toxic air, water and soil. This translates to the fact that whatever they will inhale , drink and eat is TOXIC. This again leaves us with a question – Are we responsible parents or citizens? No matter how harsh this dreadful imagination may sound, it has the potential to transform into reality if we aren’t cautious enough. We are setting up the future generation for a dark future. Can we reverse the trend, repair the damage and change it for the better? The answer is yes. The solution is Sustainable Development which is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

But this leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Whose “needs of the present” is this referring to? The needs of a family of four in a United States suburb are quite different than those of a similar sized family in sub-Saharan Africa. And regarding the needs of future generations, a world in 2100 is drastically different than our current world . Figuring out how to meet our needs while simultaneously considering the uncharted territory of such a large future population is a massive undertaking. Most importantly this definition doesn’t tell us what sustainability actually looks like in practice. How can we motivate people to move toward more sustainable lifestyles if they can’t envision what they’re moving toward?
Further complicating the topic of sustainability are the myriad aliases it operates under — sustainable development, resilience, sustainable entrepreneurship, Triple Bottom Line, corporate social responsibility, etc.
That’s why, perhaps it’s more efficacious to break the issue into smaller, more manageable knobs than to speak of sustainability in grand pronouncements .To that end, here are four suggestions to help advance the “global sustainability” narrative.

1. Break sustainability down by sector

When throwing around phrases such as “building a sustainable future,” it’s critical to identify the sector you’re talking about. The sustainability of the transportation sector obviously presents a different range of challenges and opportunities than, say, the sustainability of global agriculture. And if one becomes more sustainable while the other becomes less sustainable, are we truly moving toward a more sustainable future overall? Even within sectors there are challenges. If your goal is to create a more sustainable energy system, does that mean reducing carbon emissions — thus including nuclear energy — or are you referring to “clean” sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind? Once again, details matter greatly.

2. Speak in specifics

Ask a hundred people if they’re interested in living in a “more sustainable world” and I bet the vast majority would respond, “Yes.” The trouble is, they’d probably all have a different idea in their heads of what that meant. We need to start talking about a sustainable future in specifics. Sustainability over what time frame? Where? For whom? Which brings me to my next point…

3. Clearly identify who benefits

We need to clarify who benefits from sustainability efforts. For example, does sustainable apparel benefit someone making dollars a day? If so, explain how. Does sustainable energy help the millions living without access to electricity? Are we talking about sustainability for humans, animals, plants and/or other natural systems? If humans are living “more sustainable lifestyles” while the extinction rate for plants and animals continues its upward trajectory, can we call that a success?

4. Paint a picture

What does sustainability look like in practice? How does it actually work? What’s different from the world we live in today? And, perhaps most importantly, what are the trade-offs? Walking and biking might be the most sustainable forms of transportation, but they’re probably not the most time efficient if you need to drive 10 miles across town for work or an appointment. No matter how different we want the future to be, we can’t simply ignore the way people actually live today. We cannot simply wish for a world we want.

It’s also imperative to comprehend that sustainable development does not mean a return to a preindustrial or pre-technological era. It calls for perpetuated economic growth and for business and industry to play a pivotal role in achieving sustainable livelihoods for all people–alleviating poverty and improving living standards while maintaining the integrity of the global environment. But the process has been hindered by a conceptual obstacle: the belief that economic progress and environmental protection are mutually antagonistic goals. This thinking originated with the industrial revolution and achieved its fullest realization in the decades of unprecedented growth following World War II, when innovation produced such high-tech items as computer chips and satellites, new and quicker modes of transport, agricultural green revolution, etc. However, this only served to reinforce a belief in the virtues of unbridled industrial development, even at the expense of the environment. Balance is essential between development and environment changes in global climate patterns, deforestation, species loss, air and water pollution, ozone depletion and toxic waste disposal, all indicate the urgent need for sustainable practices. The crisis is global. So everyone rich or poor , developed or underdeveloped have to make painful choices in the name of mutual security in order to meet the goals of sustainable development.

Sustainable development is the need of the present time not only for the survival of mankind but also for it’s future protection. Unlike the other great revolutions in human history like the Green Revolution and the Industrial Revolution; the ‘sustainable revolution’ will have to take place rapidly, consciously and on many different levels and in many different spheres, simultaneously.

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Sustainability

Upcycling Household Items

Hacks everyone should know

When it comes to upcycling household goods and items, it can involve creative and innovative thinking. Instead of letting item you no longer use pile up, gather dust, occupy unnecessary space or throwing them out in the garbage, which is definitely not recommend, give them new life.

To get your DIY routine warmed up, I’m sharing some ways to upcycle household items that are present in every home which aren’t in use anymore. Use these green hacks and shift your home to a more sustainable and waste free home. 

Hacks to Upcycle Household Items:

Before you toss your over used rubber gloves, that have seen better days, in the bin, cut the fingers off and then cut them further into small rings and use them as elastic rubber bands to keep miscellaneous items in place. 

Only a single sock left? Take the solo sock and turn it into a reusable and washable face mask by cutting the top section off, and then cut two slits in the heel portion for your ears. 

Turn your broken belt or any belt that you no longer style into a rustic shelf in a few easy steps. First, remove the buckle part, then cut your belt in half. Form a loop out of each half of the belt and then nail them into the wall. Then gently slide a piece of sleek board or an old piece of wood between the loops.

Upcycle your household and beauty products like candles in glass containers, glass bottles, old jewellery boxes, containers that you no longer use. First, properly cleaning them out, then use them as decorative storage- story your pins, makeup brushes, pens, use these to store spices in the kitchen or use them to store flowers in the bathroom. 

Do you have too many mason jars laying around? Create your own homemade scented candles- fill the jar with oil, lemon, and add a wick. Or just YouTube the procedure. 

A run in your favourite tights and you can’t wear them anymore? Get yourself nice beachy waves, watch this viral no-heat curls hack using a pair of tights.

Want to go grocery shopping in your shoes but fear them contacting any corona surface? Use on old shower cap to cover the sole. Throw them out before entering back. 

Want to read more such hacks? Check my favourites ones out: 

  1. 22 genius ways to upcycle everyday objects

2. How to Repurpose or Upcycle 38 Common Household Items

3. Reuse Everyday Objects! 10 DIY Home Decor Ideas and More Upcycling Hacks

4. Upcycling Household Items Quick Make

5. 11 Genius Ways To Upcycle Loads Of Household Items!

Soil Pollution

Soil pollution refers to the contamination of soil with anomalous concentrations of toxic substances. It is a serious environmental concern since it harbours many health hazards. For example, exposure to soil containing high concentrations of benzene increases the risk of contracting leukaemia. An image detailing the discolouration of soil due to soil pollution is provided below.

Soil Pollution

It is important to understand that all soils contain compounds that are harmful/toxic to human beings and other living organisms. However, the concentration of such substances in unpolluted soil is low enough that they do not pose any threat to the surrounding ecosystem. When the concentration of one or more such toxic substances is high enough to cause damage to living organisms, the soil is said to be contaminated.

The root cause of soil pollution is often one of the following:

  • Agriculture (excessive/improper use of pesticides)
  • Excessive industrial activity
  • Poor management or inefficient disposal of waste

The challenges faced in soil remediation (decontamination of soil) are closely related to the extent of soil pollution. The greater the contamination, the greater the requirement of resources for remediation.

What are the Pollutants that Contaminate Soil?

Some of the most hazardous soil pollutants are xenobiotics – substances that are not naturally found in nature and are synthesized by human beings. The term ‘xenobiotic’ has Greek roots – ‘Xenos’ (foreigner), and ‘Bios’ (life). Several xenobiotics are known to be carcinogens. An illustration detailing major soil pollutants is provided below.

Soil Pollutants

The different types of pollutants that are found in contaminated soil are listed in this subsection.

Heavy Metals

The presence of heavy metals (such as lead and mercury, in abnormally high concentrations) in soils can cause it to become highly toxic to human beings. Some metals that can be classified as soil pollutants are tabulated below.

Toxic Metals that Cause Soil Pollution
ArsenicMercuryLead
AntimonyZincNickel
CadmiumSeleniumBeryllium
ThalliumChromiumCopper

These metals can originate from several sources such as mining activities, agricultural activities, electronic waste (e-waste), and medical waste.

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (often abbreviated to PAHs) are organic compounds that:

  1. Contain only carbon and hydrogen atoms.
  2. Contain more than one aromatic ring in their chemical structures.

Common examples of PAHs include naphthalene, anthracene, and phenalene. Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has been linked to several forms of cancer. These organic compounds can also cause cardiovascular diseases in humans.

Soil pollution due to PAHs can be sourced to coke (coal) processing, vehicle emissions, cigarette smoke, and the extraction of shale oil.

Industrial Waste

The discharge of industrial waste into soils can result in soil pollution. Some common soil pollutants that can be sourced to industrial waste are listed below.

  • Chlorinated industrial solvents
  • Dioxins produced from the manufacture of pesticides and the incineration of waste.
  • Plasticizers/dispersants
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

The petroleum industry creates many petroleum hydrocarbon waste products. Some of these wastes, such as benzene and methylbenzene, are known to be carcinogenic in nature.

Pesticides

Pesticides are substances (or mixtures of substances) that are used to kill or inhibit the growth of pests. Common types of pesticides used in agriculture include:

  • Herbicides – used to kill/control weeds and other unwanted plants.
  • Insecticides – used to kill insects.
  • Fungicides – used to kill parasitic fungi or inhibit their growth.

However, the unintentional diffusion of pesticides into the environment (commonly known as ‘pesticide drift’) poses a variety of environmental concerns such as water pollution and soil pollution. Some important soil contaminants found in pesticides are listed below.

Herbicides

  • Triazines
  • Carbamates
  • Amides
  • Phenoxyalkyl acids
  • Aliphatic acids

Insecticides

  • Organophosphates
  • Chlorinated hydrocarbons
  • Arsenic-containing compounds
  • Pyrethrum

Fungicides

These chemicals pose several health risks to humans. Examples of health hazards related to pesticides include diseases of the central nervous system, immune system diseases, cancer, and birth defects.

What are the Processes that Cause Soil Pollution?

Soil pollution can be broadly classified into two categories –

  • Naturally caused soil pollution
  • Anthropogenic soil pollution (caused by human activity)

Natural Pollution of Soil

In some extremely rare processes, some pollutants are naturally accumulated in soils. This can occur due to the differential deposition of soil by the atmosphere. Another manner in which this type of soil pollution can occur is via the transportation of soil pollutants with precipitation water.

An example of natural soil pollution is the accumulation of compounds containing the perchlorate anion (ClO4) in some dry, arid ecosystems. It is important to note that some contaminants can be naturally produced in the soil under the effect of certain environmental conditions. For example, perchlorates can be formed in soils containing chlorine and certain metals during a thunderstorm.

Anthropogenic Soil Pollution

Anthropogenic Soil Pollution

Almost all cases of soil pollution are anthropogenic in nature. A variety of human activities can lead to the contamination of soil. Some such processes are listed below.

  • The demolition of old buildings can involve the contamination of nearby soil with asbestos.
  • Usage of lead-based paint during construction activities can also pollute the soil with hazardous concentrations of lead.
  • Spillage of petrol and diesel during transportation can contaminate soils with the hydrocarbons found in petroleum.
  • Activities associated with metal casting factories (foundries) often cause the dispersion of metallic contaminants into the nearby soils.
  • Underground mining activities can cause the contamination of land with heavy metals.
  • Improper disposal of highly toxic industrial/chemical waste can severely pollute the soil. For example, the storage of toxic wastes in landfills can result in the seepage of the waste into the soil. This waste can go on to pollute groundwater as well.
  • Chemical pesticides contain several hazardous substances. Excessive and inefficient use of chemical pesticides can result in severe soil pollution.
  • Sewage produced in urbanized areas can also contaminate soil (if not disposed of correctly). These wastes may also contain several carcinogenic substances.

Other forms of waste that can pollute soil include nuclear waste, e-waste, and coal ash.

What are the Negative Consequences of Soil Pollution?

Soil pollution harbours a broad spectrum of negative consequences that affect plants, animals, humans, and the ecosystem as a whole. Since children are more susceptible to diseases, polluted soil poses a greater threat to them. Some important effects of soil pollution are detailed in this subsection.

Effects on Human Beings

Soil contaminants can exist in all three phases (solid, liquid, and gaseous). Therefore, these contaminants can find their way into the human body via several channels such as direct contact with the skin or through the inhalation of contaminated soil dust.

The short term effects of human exposure to polluted soil include:

  • Headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Coughing, pain in the chest, and wheezing.
  • Irritation of the skin and the eyes.
  • Fatigue and weakness.

A variety of long-term ailments have been linked to soil pollution. Some such diseases are listed below.

  • Exposure to high levels of lead can result in permanent damage to the nervous system. Children are particularly vulnerable to lead.
  • Depression of the CNS (Central Nervous System).
  • Damage to vital organs such as the kidney and the liver.
  • Higher risk of developing cancer.

It can be noted that many soil pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons and industrial solvents have been linked to congenital disorders in humans. Thus, soil pollution can have several negative effects on human health.

Effects on Plants and Animals

Since soil pollution is often accompanied by a decrease in the availability of nutrients, plant life ceases to thrive in such soils. Soils contaminated with inorganic aluminium can prove toxic to plants. Also, this type of pollution often increases the salinity of the soil, making it inhospitable for the growth of plant life.

Plants that are grown in polluted soil may accumulate high concentrations of soil pollutants through a process known as bioaccumulation. When these plants are consumed by herbivores, all the accumulated pollutants are passed up the food chain. This can result in the loss/extinction of many desirable animal species. Also, these pollutants can eventually make their way to the top of the food chain and manifest as diseases in human beings.

Effects on the Ecosystem

  • Since the volatile contaminants in the soil can be carried away into the atmosphere by winds or can seep into underground water reserves, soil pollution can be a direct contributor to air and water pollution.
  • It can also contribute towards acid rain (by releasing huge quantities of ammonia into the atmosphere).
  • Acidic soils are inhospitable to several microorganisms that improve soil texture and help in the decomposition of organic matter. Thus, the negative effects of soil pollution also impact soil quality and texture.
  • Crop yield is greatly affected by this form of pollution. In China, over 12 million tons of grain (worth approximately 2.6 billion USD) is found to be unfit for human consumption due to contamination with heavy metals (as per studies conducted by the China Dialogue).

How can Soil Pollution be Controlled?

Several technologies have been developed to tackle soil remediation. Some important strategies followed for the decontamination of polluted soil are listed below.

  • Excavation and subsequent transportation of polluted soils to remote, uninhabited locations.
  • Extraction of pollutants via thermal remediation – the temperature is raised in order to force the contaminants into the vapour phase, after which they can be collected through vapour extraction.
  • Bioremediation or phytoremediation involves the use of microorganisms and plants for the decontamination of soil.
  • Mycoremediation involves the use of fungi for the accumulation of heavy metal contaminants.

How Is COVID-19 Impacting The Environment?

A BRIEF ON COVID-19:

The coronavirus disease- COVID-19 is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2, which emerged in Wuhan, China and spread around the world. Analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is phylogenetically related to severe acute respiratory syndrome-like bat viruses, therefore bats could be the possible primary reservoir. The intermediate source of origin and transfer to humans is not known, however, the rapid human to human transfer has been confirmed widely. There is no clinically approved antiviral drug or vaccine available to be used against COVID-19. However, few broad-spectrum antiviral drugs have been evaluated against COVID-19 in clinical trials, resulted in clinical recovery.

ORIGIN:

The first human infections were reported at the end of December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei province in China when a cluster of 41 pneumonia cases was identified. Deeper analysis showed that it was a novel coronavirus. A third – 66% of the cases – had direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood market. Fish, shellfish, wildlife, snakes, birds and several different types of meat and carcasses were sold at this market. The market was closed immediately, and it has not reopened since. (source: ScienceDirect.com, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673620301835?via%3Dihub)

The strongest speculation of the origin has been that the virus is somehow linked to the market given two thirds of the first batch of people infected had had ties with it. But even this hasn’t been proved yet. Nevertheless, Bats, in particular, have been studied closely because they are considered to be the natural host of coronaviruses.

this is not my image, credit to the artist

EFFECT of covid-19 on the environment:

The objective of this article is to analyse the positive and the negative environmental impact of this abhorrent pandemic, Covid-19.

The Positives-

  • Improved Air Quality: 

The coronavirus has temporarily slashed air pollution levels around the world (source: European Space Agency). Readings from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite also show that over the past six weeks, the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than in the same period last year. Nitrogen dioxide is produced from car engines, power plants and other industrial processes and is thought to exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as asthma. While not a greenhouse gas itself, the pollutant originates from the same activities and industrial sectors that are responsible for a large share of the world’s carbon emissions and that drive global heating. Take transport, for example, which makes up 23% of global carbon emissions. Driving and aviation are key contributors to emissions from transport, contributing 72% and 11% of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions respectively. (Source: http://www.ipcc.ch)

If we consider the case of Delhi, on 6th April, for the third week Delhi continued to breathe clean. The weekend before this saw the best air quality in the national capital region (NCR) in 2020, with an average AQI of 46. The weekend before that, it was at 159.  There was a remarked improvement in air quality in the NCR, as the harmful PM10 and PM2.5 levels were down by 35-40% in Delhi (source: The Economic Times).

The visible positive impacts whether through improved air quality or reduced greenhouse gas emissions – are but temporary. This is because they come on the back of an economic slowdown and human distress. During the pandemic, these emissions will stay lowered. But what will happen when the safety measures are eventually lifted?  The people will be back to regular.

  • Some Cut Downs on Wastage:

During the coronavirus outbreak, the habits that are coincidentally good for the climate might be travelling less, like cutting down on food waste as we experience shortages due to stockpiling.

  • Rethinking how we use energy:

A benefit of no travel and a lockdown is we will spend some time rethinking how we use energy.

The Negatives-

  • Increase In Use Of Single-Use Plastics:

With as many as 12,82,931 cases recorded in 211 countries ( as of 8 April 2020, 05:30 GMT, Source: WHO), the United Nations’ World Health Organization has recently declared the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. It is natural then that citizens around the globe are hastening to take every possible measure to safeguard their health against the virus. The most widespread of these precautions is the extensive use of surgical face masks.

These masks are mainly made of non-woven fabric such as polypropylene, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or polyester. While they keep out bacteria effectively, the masks are plastic-based, liquid-resistant products that have a long afterlife after they are discarded, ending up in landfill or oceans.  

Given that surgical masks are supposed to be worn for no longer than one day, their disposal- along with that of empty hand sanitizer bottles and soiled tissue papers- is leading to a massive trail of clinical waste in the environment.

Take the case of Wuhan, for example. The Chinese city which has been at the epicentre of the pandemic and which is home to over 11 million people, is reported to have generated 200 tons of clinical trash on a single day (24 February 2020), four times the amount the city’s only dedicated facility can incinerate per day. (source: scmp.com)

  • Mountain Of Waste:

With consumers stuck at home, there’s been a surge in the amount of household garbage as people increasingly shop online and order meals to be delivered, which come with a lot of packaging. (source: time.com)

Meanwhile, China is drowning under medical waste produced by hospitals including face masks and single-use tissues. If the waste is not handled properly, the garbage collectors are likely to catch and spread the infection

  • More Hand Wash, More Use Of Water:

Today, the only defence against the pandemic is that we wash our hands frequently — 20 seconds each time. The fact is, clean water remains the most important preventive health measure in the world.

A proper hand wash involves lathering soap and scrubbing hands on both sides for at least 20 seconds, according to WHO guidelines. A 30 to 40 second hand wash would use up around four litres of water if the tap is on, or two litres with the tap closed, while scrubbing with soap. Around 20 to 40 litres of water is used up every day, with the assumption that every person cleans her hands at least 10 times a day, instead of a usual average of five times a day.

A family of five members would thus need 100 to 200 litres of water per day only to wash hands. This would result in the generation of around 200 litres of wastewater per day, a 20 to 25 per cent increase in water demand and generation of wastewater from human settlements. (source: downtoearth.org.in)

It is also important to note that a large numbers of people in India and vast parts of the still emerging world do not have access to water, forget its portability. 

  • Climate Issues Take a Backseat:

Before the coronavirus, momentum seemed to be building behind governments and businesses taking steps to address climate change. As 2020 began, wildfires were destroying vast swaths of Australia; and the climate activist Greta Thunberg had become a household name. But the spread of the coronavirus has thrown an even more urgent crisis at governments and business: how to save the lives of millions of people, prevent health care systems from collapsing, and shore up economies that must now enter something comparable to an induced coma. 

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, the coronavirus crisis has been having short term positive environmental effects but long term negative effects on the environment. Production has decreased, there’s less pressure on energy resources, less fuel burnt in transportation, fewer carbon emissions, and less air pollution. However, all of this is temporary and in the long term, the environmental impacts of the coronavirus such as water shortage, increase in plastic production and waste and issues relating to correct waste disposable, to name a few, will pose as a greater problem.

Why should we care about light pollution?

Among the various kinds of pollutions that we discuss about and find measures to deal with in the contemporary world , light pollution is probably the one least known and consequently least discussed. This is particularly a problem in developed countries and the metropolitan cities of the world owing to the increased commercial activity. Lights are always on and roads are always illuminated. People work longer into the night and many go to sleep late as a routine. This phenomenon is increasingly seen in different parts of the world as we move towards greater urbanization and longer days of work.

aerial photo of cityscape at night

Light pollution is also known as luminous pollution. It refers to the excessive use of artificial light to such an extent that it is obtrusive and starts harming the environment. This is a direct result of our modern and industrial lifestyle. Light pollution is important because it is also a way through which humans leave their carbon imprint on the planet. It is seen that increased light pollution can create health issues as well as be harmful to wildlife and the natural environment. It affects nocturnal animals more and can even have an effect on the physiology of plants. It can disrupt normal migration patterns and the biochemical rhythmic cycles of nature which rely on the variations of light and dark during the day. In humans, it can cause stress, headaches, fatigue, sleeplessness, and many lifestyle disorders. It can even cause depression or cardiovascular diseases. Light pollution makes it extremely difficult to see the night sky as it is without the extraneous lights that tend to get in our eyes thereby dimming our view of the sky. The peace of the night sky and the view it offers has become difficult to find. Increased light pollution also interferes with research related to astronomy and can lead to calculation errors as well. This interference is the reason even astro-photographers search for places where there are no extra lights to click pictures of the night sky. These dark spaces where only natural illumination is present are decreasing at a rapid rate. Many researchers opine that the darkness of the night is essential for us and have to be reclaimed. The excessive light used causes a massive waste of energy also which directly increased the carbon footprint that humans leave on the planet.

We can do much to reduce light pollution if we are thoughtful and take some simple measures. Making sure that we do not use an unnecessary amount of illumination in our homes and streets is an effective method that can help. Turn off lights that are unnecessary. Wastage of light energy has to be reduced as well. So, we can use light bulbs that are energy efficient and use light shields to reduce glares. LED lights if used well can be an answer here. We can also work towards policies that seek better strategies of utilizing light energy and is eco-friendly. Spread awareness about this issue and help others to use their lights efficiently. All these will aid us in protecting our planet better and being responsible guardians of it.

Air Pollution

What Is Air Pollution?

Air pollution refers to the release of pollutants into the air that are detrimental to human health and the planet as a whole.

The Clean Air Act authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health by regulating the emissions of these harmful air pollutants. The NRDC has been a leading authority on this law since it was established in 1970.

What Causes Air Pollution?

“Most air pollution comes from energy use and production,” says John Walke, director of the Clean Air Project, part of the Climate and Clean Air program at NRDC. “Burning fossil fuels releases gases and chemicals into the air.” And in an especially destructive feedback loop, air pollution not only contributes to climate change but is also exacerbated by it. “Air pollution in the form of carbon dioxide and methane raises the earth’s temperature,” Walke says. “Another type of air pollution is then worsened by that increased heat: Smog forms when the weather is warmer and there’s more ultraviolet radiation.” Climate change also increases the production of allergenic air pollutants including mold (thanks to damp conditions caused by extreme weather and increased flooding) and pollen (due to a longer pollen season and more pollen production).

Effects of Air Pollution

“While we’ve made progress over the last 40-plus years improving air quality in the U.S. thanks to the Clean Air Act, climate change will make it harder in the future to meet pollution standards, which are designed to protect health,” says Kim Knowlton, senior scientist and deputy director of the NRDC Science Center.

Smog and soot

These two are the most prevalent types of air pollution. Smog, or “ground-level ozone,” as it is more wonkily called, occurs when emissions from combusting fossil fuels react with sunlight. Soot, or “particulate matter,” is made up of tiny particles of chemicals, soil, smoke, dust, or allergens, in the form of gas or solids, that are carried in the air. The EPA’s “Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act” states, “In many parts of the United States, pollution has reduced the distance and clarity of what we see by 70 percent.” The sources of smog and soot are similar. “Both come from cars and trucks, factories, power plants, incinerators, engines—anything that combusts fossil fuels such as coal, gas, or natural gas,” Walke says. The tiniest airborne particles in soot—whether they’re in the form of gas or solids—are especially dangerous because they can penetrate the lungs and bloodstream and worsen bronchitis, lead to heart attacks, and even hasten death.

Smog can irritate the eyes and throat and also damage the lungs—especially of people who work or exercise outside, children, and senior citizens. It’s even worse for people who have asthma or allergies—these extra pollutants only intensify their symptoms and can trigger asthma attacks.

Hazardous air pollutants

These are either deadly or have severe health risks even in small amounts. Almost 200 are regulated by law; some of the most common are mercury, lead, dioxins, and benzene. “These are also most often emitted during gas or coal combustion, incinerating, or in the case of benzene, found in gasoline,” Walke says. Benzene, classified as a carcinogen by the EPA, can cause eye, skin, and lung irritation in the short term and blood disorders in the long term. Dioxins, more typically found in food but also present in small amounts in the air, can affect the liver in the short term and harm the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems, as well as reproductive functions. Lead in large amounts can damage children’s brains and kidneys, and even in small amounts it can affect children’s IQ and ability to learn. Mercury affects the central nervous system.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, are toxic components of traffic exhaust and wildfire smoke. In large amounts, they have been linked to eye and lung irritation, blood and liver issues, and even cancer. In one recent study, the children of mothers who’d had higher PAH exposure during pregnancy had slower brain processing speeds and worse symptoms of ADHD.

Greenhouse gases

By trapping the earth’s heat in the atmosphere, greenhouse gases lead to warmer temperatures and all the hallmarks of climate change: rising sea levels, more extreme weather, heat-related deaths, and increasing transmission of infectious diseases like Lyme. According to a 2014 EPA study, carbon dioxide was responsible for 81 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and methane made up 11 percent. “Carbon dioxide comes from combusting fossil fuels, and methane comes from natural and industrial sources, including the large amounts that are released during oil and gas drilling,” Walke says. “We emit far larger amounts of carbon dioxide, but methane is significantly more potent, so it’s also very destructive.” Another class of greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in their ability to trap heat. In October 2016, more than 140 countries reached an agreement to reduce the use of these chemicals—which are used in air conditioners and refrigerators—and find greener alternatives over time. David Doniger, director of NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air program, writes, “NRDC estimates that the agreed HFC phase-down will avoid the equivalent of more than 80 billion tons of CO2 over the next 35 years.”

Pollen and mold

Mold and allergens from trees, weeds, and grass are also carried in the air, are exacerbated by climate change, and can be hazardous to health. They are not regulated by the government and are less directly connected to human actions, but they can be considered air pollution. “When homes, schools, or businesses get water damage, mold can grow and can produce allergenic airborne pollutants,” Knowlton says. “Mold exposure can precipitate asthma attacks or an allergic response, and some molds can even produce toxins that would be dangerous for anyone to inhale.”

Pollen allergies are worsening because of climate change. “Lab and field studies are showing that the more carbon dioxide pollen-producing plants—especially ragweed—are grown in, the bigger they grow and the more pollen they produce,” Knowlton says. “Climate change also extends the pollen production season, and some studies are beginning to suggest that ragweed pollen itself might be becoming a more potent allergen.” That means more people will suffer runny noses, fevers, itchy eyes, and other symptoms.

How to Help Reduce Air Pollution

“The less gasoline we burn, the better we’re doing to reduce air pollution and harmful effects of climate change,” Walke says. “Make good choices about transportation. When you can, walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation. For driving, choose cars that get better miles per gallon of gas or choose an electric car.” You can also investigate your power provider options—you may be able to request that your electricity be supplied by wind or solar. Buying your food locally cuts down on the fossil fuels burned in trucking or flying food in from across the country. And perhaps most important, “Support leaders who push for clean air and water and responsible steps on climate change,” Walke says.

How to Protect Your Health

  • “When you see in the newspaper or hear on the weather report that pollution levels are high, it may be useful to limit the time when children go outside or you go for a jog,” Walke says. Generally, ozone levels tend to be lower in the morning.
  • When you do exercise outside, stay as far as you can from heavily trafficked roads. Then shower and wash your clothes to remove fine particles.
  • If the air quality is bad, stay inside with windows closed.
  • Wear sunscreen. When ultraviolet radiation comes through the weakened ozone layer, it can cause skin damage and skin cancer.

Does EIA need revaluation?

This year, in March, a new draft of the EIA has been proposed by the Union Government. It constitutes some complicated and argumentative changes in the rules.


What was the need to bring out this notification in the midst of the pandemic?
How are people going to take part in public consultation during this lockdown?
How will they protest if they want changes in it?
Is the government trying to lay the blame on this pandemic for their decisions?


What is EIA?
On 27th January 1994, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF), Government of India, under the Environmental Protection Act 1986, proclaimed an EIA notification making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernization of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has proposed a draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification to replace the current one, which dates back to 2006. The EIA process is extremely important because it is the only process which is supposed to prioritize Environment safety over Economic benefits. A prior, free and informed consent of people is welcomed in it; people can ask questions about the need of the process. In this process, the project can be rejected on precautionary grounds. The values that are fundamental to the EIA process are sustainability, equity, environmental justice, accountability, transparency; it is these values that make the EIA meaningful.

But the new draft of 2020 is considered to change some of these basic values of EIA and some of the provisions are:
 Projects can receive clearance post-facto; a project operating in violation of the EPA can now apply for clearance.
 The draft says that no information on such projects shall be placed in the public domain. This list also includes all inland waterways projects.
 Violations on any project can only be reported by any government representative or the project proponent, not citizens.
Now, the EIC members typically are bureaucrats, project proponents from previous projects who do not have any environmental credential.
 Priorly the EIA report does not go directly to the decision-maker, that report is to be shared with the public. A person who may be directly affected by the report or anyone interested in knowing about its impact can participate in the public hearing. But now the Public Consultation may be cancelled owing to the local situation, i.e; if the people are protesting against a project that itself can be used to cancel Public hearing. Isn’t it a violation of our rights?
 Once the EC is granted it will be included for the lifetime in the project without any review. EC cannot be revoked even in case it violates EIA.
 The time allotted for public hearings has been reduced to speed up clearance process, this makes it difficult for people living in rural and tribal areas who are most often directly influenced by these projects. Today we have 30days notice period which is itself insufficient, now it’s been said to be reduced to 20days. The only motive behind this is that people will not be able to participate.
 Earlier buildings of 20,000sq.m or above required an environment clearance after detailed scrutiny by the state-level expert committee. Now, in this draft, it has been proposed to make it 150,000 sq.m, more than 7times if you count.

The 2020 EIA draft seems to be leaning in favour of the industries and does not take care of the environment. This is important amidst the climate crisis and the pandemic. In the last 6 years, MoEFCC has given environment clearance to 2,256 of the 2,592 received proposals. At least 49 industrial projects have been approved since the lockdown began. Some of the projects which are in question are:
• Dibang Valley Hydropower Project, Arunachal Pradesh
A 3,097 MW project is being developed by Etalin Hydro Electric Power Company Limited which comprehends the felling of 2.7 lakhs trees in the subtropical rain forests.
• Coal Mining Project in Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve, Assam
The government is discussing a proposal to divert 98.59 hectares of the reserve forest in Assam for a coal-mining project. This Reserve is home to a vibrant habitat including Asian elephants, Royal Bengal tigers, Leopard, and crab-eating mongoose.
• Oil Drilling in Baghjan, Assam
In 2016, Oil India Limited decided to extend its drilling and bypassed the public hearings clause. On May 27, 2020, an oil well in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district experienced a blowout which led to a fire.
• Talabira coal mines, Odisha
The forest area has been cleared in Odisha for an opencast coal mining project. Parts of the forest have been protected over decades by the local community are now gone forever.
• Gas leakage in LG Polymers, Vishakhapatnam
In May, there was a gas leak in this company and this project didn’t have all the clearances as the company admitted this subsequently.
• A dyke at a Reliance power plant in Madhya Pradesh broke, spilling ashes over hundreds of acres of cropland, polluting the river and killing many people.

Recently the state government of Goa was caught for being engaged in fraudulence. It submitted a false report to obtain clearance for an airport near the ecologically sensitive Mopa plateau which will not only affect the vegetations or animals but also plunder the livelihood of hundreds of farmers. Even after this, no one was blamed for it. On the other hand, the EAC of MoEFCC revisited the project and issued a clearance.

Biotechnology is underrated!

33 Best Masters Biotechnology Programs for Commercialization and ...

Everyday, we see advances in almost everything around us. Not just technological advancements but even in living organisms as they continue to evolve with time. From the smallest microorganisms to more complex human beings, every living thing is upgrading just to survive as the living conditions become harsher. After the Covid-19 outbreak, it can be certainly said that new infectious organisms are also on the rise somewhere, waiting for their turn to enter the human world. Species are becoming extinct at a much faster rate due to human interference, lack of benevolence, and greed. With these developments, the role of biotechnology has become more significant than ever.

Biotechnology is the modification and usage of living organisms for various purposes like agricultural, industrial, and healthcare. We know that microorganisms like yeast help us in making bread and Lactobacillus leads to curdling of milk and they have been there for a long time now but now we know that there are several other such living organisms that have the potential to make lives better. These organisms are capable of doing work that are more important than making a loaf of bread or a bowl of milk but the fact that they can save lives! Biotechnology isn’t even about only these organisms but also human beings in which genetic manipulation is definitely complicated but not impossible.

In the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, biotechnology has made it possible for farms to raise both disease resistant plants and animals that are also more resilient to changing environmental conditions. The population is growing rapidly and food shortage is a major concern. With the aid of biotechnology, it is possible to ensure that no man, woman or child goes to bed hungry through enhanced productivity of crops and animals that take up less space and resources. The new farming methods also need to be environmentally sustainable so as they are not burdensome on mother earth and nature. The practices and manipulation must not take the dignity of species that can’t even speak out their concerns, for granted and humanity and empathy must persist. 

The healthcare has also been benefited by introduction of more effective medications and drugs that are biotechnologically synthesised and pose lesser risks of contamination and side effects. Gene testing and manipulation has made it possible to diagnose, prevent and even cure diseases that are inheritable. Various substances like insulin that are synthesised by the body can also be synthesised using genetically modified organisms and can aid the people that are unable to synthesise them due to underlying medical conditions. Biotechnology can also be applied to industrial processes to manufacture products that are important for human beings. Not just that, renewable sources of energy can be generated using biotechnology and can replace fossil fuels in industries. The industrial waste can be treated using genetically modified organisms until the waste is not hazardous when it is released into the environment.

Biotechnology has innumerable applications and the fact that it is a comparatively new field, a lot of research still needs to be done and new techniques are yet to be discovered so a career in biotechnology is definitely a promising one.