Mark Twain once said, "It's not what we don't
know that puts us into trouble, it's what we
know for sure that just aint so." In other
words, it is our wrong information that puts us
into trouble. In this context it can be stated
that we are harming our natural environment
without even being aware of it.
In the present times, technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. Changing lifestyle patterns and the quest for making our lives more and more comfortable has made us dependent on technology to a large extent. This in turn has enhanced our technological demands. These increasing demands has somewhat transformed us into 'technocrats' who only think of technology to our advantage and nothing beyond. Thus, today we want to make use of the latest gadgets and equipments whatever the cost may be. But this striving for development comes at a cost! In this era of continuously striving to develop, India has forgotten about conserving her natural environment.
India is considered to be a developing nation and is striving to move from 'developing' to 'developed.' But in the course of becoming a developed nation, India has ignored some environmental concerns. The country is having a good number of laws and precepts meant to preserve the environment; but not much of it is followed or implemented. The law makers tend to become law breakers at times, who go unpunished.
The growing population in India is another concern to be looked into. On account of overpopulation there has been shortage of water supply in several parts of the country. Adding to this problem are the industrial plants and units. These factories use water to a large extent and release polluted water into the surrounding water bodies. This water pollutes the environment greatly and is not fit for use or for drinking. The pollutants from factories, iron and steel plants and other industrial units are released into water bodies that in turn disturb the ecological balance of aquatic life. Aquatic life bears the brunt of this pollution and people consuming fish from these water bodies fall seriously ill or even die. Harmful chemicals such as arsenic, mercury and lead pollute water bodies, which are very toxic as well. Consumption of these harmful chemicals through one or more water or food sources causes stunted growth and reduces efficiency and I.Q. levels.
In the cities a good amount of toxic waste material, garbage and other waste products flow into surrounding water bodies from the drains. This damages the ecosystem and causes fish and aquatic plants to die. The water also becomes dirty and toxic and is distinguished by a 'blackish green' color. The great river Ganga has been polluted in this manner, which has threatened the existence of the gharial species, found only in the Ganges. Agricultural waste, fertilizers, pesticides etc. have also contributed to the disturbance of the ecosystem that has further increased the demand for biological oxygen in the water body. It is rather strange to think that industries are not concerned about controlling water pollution, but instead are busier to increase production levels. Water pollution and its hazards is completely ignored!
A considerable amount of development has occurred in the mining sector. Mining is also a major contributor and source of pollution. The effects of uncontrolled mining activities lead to barren and infertile stretches of land and soil. Growth of vegetation becomes stunted and sparse and the surrounding water bodies become contaminated with toxic waste materials. This in turn leads to landslides, floods and deforestation.
Mahatma Gandhi once said "The earth has enough for our need but not for our greed." In this context it has been observed that since the Industrial Revolution, coal and petroleum deposits are fast depleting. Coal is an important source of power and electricity in factories and production units. Technological advancement and the increased number of gadgets we use in our daily lives demands for more power supply and thereby more consumption of coal. Burning of increase amounts of coal pollutes the environment as well as it released enhanced amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which in turn gives way to the 'Greenhouse' effect.
Air pollution plays a vital role in environmental degradation. There are several industries, production houses, iron and steel plants etc. in India that do not have the statutory mechanisms, facilities and devices to prevent air pollution. Therefore the Government of India should concentrate on developing pollution free mechanisms and techniques for mining. Pollution control devices should also be introduced and installed at industries, production houses, iron and steel plants etc. All these steps will definitely preserving the environment.
Our country India has now become one among the major nuclear powers of the world. Pollution via radiation that happens in the generation of nuclear energy can be categorized as one of the most harmful types of pollution, mainly because of its long lasting effects. Radiation pollution leads to genetic disorders and cancer. Approximately 10% of energy generation happens from nuclear energy in India. Though striving to be a 'nuclear power' may be termed as development, but the question we should ask ourselves is that whether this form of development is in the right direction! A good example would be the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan after a major Tsunami that triggered a powerful earthquake causing leakage of nuclear material into the atmosphere and sea that affected human and marine life greatly. The same could happen in India if hit by a natural disaster in that scale! Though Nuclear reactors producing nuclear power are a supplement to thermal energy resources, it is hazardous to the environment and human life. India has started production of nuclear missiles, nuclear submarines which is some way has a detrimental effect on the environment.
Overfishing and deforestation are other modes of environment degradation. Overfishing has lead to an imbalance in aquatic life and biodiversity. The fish population in the Bay of Bengal has decreased by nearly 30%. Deforestation is widely prevalent throughout rural India. Wood is used as fuel in most villages across India. Wood is also a good source of revenue, which is also a cause for enhanced deforestation. Uncontrolled cutting down of trees for revenue has disturbed the ecological balance in the environment causing floods, earthquakes and landslides. Women in rural India use wood to cook their food. This in turn pollutes the environment and well as is a cause for deforestation. The Government should look into these matters and develop favourable and positive afforestation policies.
The race, desire and craze to possess new modern gadgets have resulted in generation of high levels of waste products. Once a gadget becomes 'old', we get rid of it and purchase a new one. This has generated huge amount of plastic waste. Plastic waste is non-biodegradable and is very harmful for the atmosphere, environment and neighbourhood. These wastes do not get decomposed but remain for long periods of time. Burning of these waste products in turn releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, which cause health hazards.
Today much pollution is caused by CFC emitting gadgets such as refrigerators and Air conditioners. A good number of households in India own refrigerators and Air conditioners. Old refrigerators and air conditioners emit chloroflurocarbons called CFCs which when released into the environment depletes the ozone layer of the atmosphere. The ozone layer in turn protects us from the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun. Depletion of the ozone layer will only have harmful effects on all forms of life forms on the earth.
Thus, from the abovementioned discussion we can conclude that India has several environmental concerns today. The Government of India will have to implement serious as well as effective measures to preserve the environment and ecological balance. In the present scenario it can be stated undoubtedly that "The Race for development is pushing India towards Environmental disaster." We are only moving towards the end of living and the beginning of survival.