ByÂ Medha Roy Chowdhury:
Amidst rising questions of whether or not Indian politics and politicians shall wake up to the severity of environmental restoration, the sorry state of the nation is indeed alarming. With dwindling resources, the fragile ecosystem is confronting threats of degradation. The issues that the new Indian Environmental Ministry has to grapple with each day, are emerging every bit urgent and critical with exponential growth of the pressurising population and economy.
1. Holding out hope for the majestic Tiger: Roaring for help, Tigers have gained mainstream attention and why not? Poachers have become tech-savvy with developed equipments thereby making the lackadaisically managed Tiger reserves, easy targets. Campaigns for advertisement and awareness need to receive centre-stage attention. AÂ definitive approach of the Environment MinistryÂ should be the prevention of rampant poaching in order to save this species which is atÂ the verge of extinction.
2. Perils of the invisible gas: It is a choking existence owing to the filthy quality of our atmosphere. With the Taj Mahal being a victim of Marble Cancer, corrosive effects of polluted automobile emissions shapes the requirement for refinement and specific treatment of gaseous exhaust given out by the industries. Need for minimising the formation of pollutants is screaming for attention.
3. Clean water revolution: Though it falls under the care-taking of the Water ministry, safeguarding the clean water agenda needs utmost care and implementation. Aquifers and ground water resources have been depleted so as to fuel the industries with need for water, thereby leading to water crises in most areas. Industrial discharge is the chief source of exploitation. The upsetting issue of dearth of adequate water for irrigational, household and drinking purposes should be curbed by watershed management and water harvesting. Prevention of indiscriminate dumping of untreated discharge of industrial wastes into water bodies is the need of the hour. Oil spills in coastal areas result in death of billions of fish and other marine organisms.Comprehensive supportive measures need to be meted out to the marine and coastal ecosystems. The increasing seriousness for water management needs to be acknowledged and effectively acted upon.
4. Call of the wild: The burning issue of protection for theÂ Rhinoceros population is a matter of immediate concern. Protection of the endangered, vulnerable, rare and endemic species is broadly termed as wildlife conservation. The natural parks, sanctuaries and biosphere reserves demand provisions for conservation of biological diversity. Among national parks, Sunderbans (West Bengal), Dhudva (Uttar Pradesh), Jim Corbett and Tadoba (Maharashtra), gain importance. Conservation and maintenance projects of the Gir Lion, Crocodile, and Elephant are a compounding result of the preservation of diverse fauna.
5. Mother earth and her protest: Industrial effluents, domestic residues and discharges from thermal power plants before being deposited in the soil should be refined so as to prevent contamination and deterioration of the agro economy. Accumulation of non-biodegradable wastes, alteration of chemical content of soil, and modification of soil owing to venomous chemicals are the dominant problems. Judicious usage of pesticides and insecticides need to be instilled in the minds of farmers as India is heavily dependent on agricultural produce.
6. The climatic variations witnessed all across the country should be monitored and subsequently regulated so as to prevent floods and droughts that disrupt the ecological well-being besides posing a risk to the human life. Rajasthan battles chronic shortage of water resources whereas mismanagement of dams and water bodies leads to inundation of parts of various states. Both tremendously lethal to the soil, natural habitat of organisms, and humans; they rudely disrupt the ecological balance.
7. Not so verdant anymore: Stripped off the green cover, land is being deforested at a rapid pace. Majorly for commercial, industrial or residential purposes, trees are being felled mercilessly. It is about time that the clamour for greenery was paid heed to instead of succumbing to the high-rising electronic, wired jungle of steel and glass. Encroachment into forest areas manifests into grim scenarios of soil degradation. Trees have countless benefits and the planting of more is crucial to a healthy state of the air, soil, water, as well as welfare of the wildlife and human population. Reclamation of infertile land is a must.
8. Danger of the decay-proof plastic: A massive issue, plastics, demand for a resolute Government intervention. Banning of plastic bags and replacement of recyclable or eco-friendly paper bags is an answer to the crushing issues that are yielded by non-biodegradable wastes in India. Biochemical hazardous waste, phenols, and suspended solids should be included in the treatment of industrial waste before disposal.
9. Time for some disaster management: Energy crisis in the urban and rural areas need to be addressed. Energy in affordable forms and requisite quantities is indispensable for economic development. Actions to counteract environmental mishaps such as earthquakes, flood, famine, dam failure, Tsunamis, should be speedy, involving preparedness and fast recovery.
Responsible governance with the maximum potential for sustenance of the environment besides its economic security, calls for immediate and grave attention. Violation of environmental sanctity with innumerable factories spewing toxic fumes and detrimental chemical discharges, poses a challenge of mounting concern. Efforts should be underway so as to curtail the dire repercussions of environmental contamination. Investment of capital on government projects of environment preservation should be streamlined for better results. Support for NGOs with the outlook for environmental stability should be essential besides monetary grants being offered to them. Maximising outputs by keeping in mind sustainable development is a challenge for the new beginning. From the fresh Ministry, let’s hope for a better prospect for environmental safety!