Environment – a big word for me after realizing a lot of things about the present scenario. Some humans still cannot understand what our environment is going through every day. It is like a chronic disease. Humans are risking life billions by just one plastic. As these impurities keep adding to the numbers, it chokes mother nature. Soon our nature will be on a ventilator with no breath left. As a result, lots of people who love nature like me will also die. The problem has solutions.
Global warming is a major threat to our planet
Global warming is one of the planet’s biggest issue. It is caused by gasses like carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, etc. Industries that is cause pollution on a large scale are: animal farming, transport, and electricity.
Methane is very harmful to the environment. It is considered to be 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. One of the major sources of methane is animal agriculture. Ruminant animals release a lot of methane. The clearing of land for these cattle/animals and expansion of arable land used to grow feed crops are major contributors to global warming. This also increases carbon dioxide as deforestation has to be done in order to make areas for farms.
- Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is the most potent gases that cause global warming. Even though as stated earlier methane is more harmful than carbon dioxide, in terms of the amount of emission carbon dioxide sits at the top. Carbon monoxide is also another deadly gas that causes severe environmental and air pollution. Some of the major sources include vehicles, use of fossil fuel, industries, etc.
- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)
Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs are broken up by ultraviolet rays(UV) as they slowly move towards the stratosphere. It breaks down into chlorine atoms that can cause serious damage to the ozone layer. Old refrigerators, Air conditioning units, Car Ac, etc. are some of the sources of CFC.
Marine pollution and damage caused by plastic
About 8 million tons of plastic is dumped in the ocean every year. This causes severe damage to marine flora and fauna. We think when we throw the trash or just toss it from a boat, or on a beach that it ‘goes away’. However, this is not the case. Even if we do not live near the ocean, plastic finds its way and settles in the ocean. About 80% of it is sourced from the land. Plastic is a resource hard to dispose of is often dumped into water bodies as an ‘easy method of disposal’.
A very good instance can be North American lakes where more than 80% of the litter along the shorelines of these majestic lakes is plastic. Near the shore, research says a bird was found with the results of pollution. In the bird’s body, almost 935*grams of plastic were found. Animals also go through painful situations where plastic rounds their neck and it is difficult for the speechless to release it. With the way, things are we are even losing our flora and fauna. I surely believe our upcoming generation won’t be able to see the beauty of nature. The time is now, think now, whether we want to be in shame or fame in front of our coming generations. The call is yours.
Steps were taken by countries to counter pollution
These gases lead to the rise in temperature and the melting of glaciers, depletion of ozone layers. Some solutions proposed like in countries like Singapore are: using plastic or trash and converting it into heat, light, and energy to light up thousands of homes, using an incineration plant, afforestation, and sustainable development.
This is not the end of the problem or solutions. Some researches suggest that the Maldives – a fantastic destination seems at present won’t be there in the coming years. Due to its low lying nature, it’s threatened by rising sea levels caused by climate change. People in the country need to understand the emergency of the hour.
Covid-19’s positive impacts on the environment
Covid-19 lockdowns have led to drastic environmental changes. Moreover, the impacts on the environment due to lockdown or quarantine was clearly visible. Some reports say that 9 days after the lockdown there were drastic changes in the state of water in the Ganga river. It was looking very clean and the river had reached a much healthier state. Due to the shutdown of industries, thereby, reduction of the release of toxins directly into the river.
Even the air became much cleaner and registered much lower levels of pollution. It was so shocking to me when I compared my photographs of clouds before lockdown. These changes are indicating us that there is an urgent need to let earth heal. In other words, people need to stop destroying their environment for their benefits. As the current generation’s youth or a good human, we must stop spitting, throwing garbage, burning wastes, using plastic, etc. Let the environmental stay beautiful for future generations.
Possible recognized solutions to tackle pollution
- Stop or reduce using plastic.
- Replace the plastic containers with non-plastic utensils and containers. Plastic has carcinogenic effects on the body.
- Promote the use of paper bags.
- Start drive-in schools or colleges and spread awareness in society for the need to fight against pollution.
- Reduce the use of vehicles for traveling short distances. Whenever possible, try to adopt practices like carpooling or using public transport.
- Stop burning fossil fuels.
- Choose cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy.
- Try to make a change. Even if you are just one person, if u start others will follow you too. Every step counts.
Radhika Kataria | Queen Mary’s School, New Delhi