Development triggers pollution


Nature and mankind form an inseparable part of the life support system which constitutes of five vital elements namely air, water, land, flora and fauna which are all interconnected , inter-related and interdependent and have coevolved and are co-adapted. Since the present-day society largely depends on chemicals, the rapid pace of all round industrialization and modernization of life, there will certainly be more and more instances of a variety of chemical and biological contaminations leading to explosive state of environmental degradation and consequent health hazards.
The major environmental problems include long term occurring acid rain, extensive contamination of surface and ground waters, severe air pollution both from automobile and industrial exhausts, uncontrolled hazardous waste sites, long range transport of pesticides and other deadly poisonous chemicals, estuarine and coastal water pollution, global warming because of increasing density of greenhouse gases, accidental radioactive leakage and emissions as well as potential threat to stratospheric ozone umbrella because of unabated use of chloroflorocarbons, freons, nuclear explosions and supersonic jets in the randomness of faster human civilization.
Environmental planning has been attracting more attention in recent years with ever increasing urban population and congestion. It happens to be more important due to lack of awareness in our society regarding such life threatening global environmental issues. Even then, environmental programmes at society level are seldom found effective or taken seriously. It is due to the fact that the success of any public programme is the people’s active invo are co-adapted. Since the present-day society largely depends on chemicals, the rapid pace of all round industrialization and modernization of life, there will certainly be more and more instances of a variety of chemical and biological contaminations leading to explosive state of environment. Need to popularize such programmes among masses and to keep close contact with them at the grass root level is thus a vital necessity to right for the environmental conservation. Without effective popularization and group involvement enormous research findings, ideas and enforcement rules/laws remain merely confined to books and bulletins.
Man and the environment have been focal point of most scientific disciplines. The multidisciplinary approach of environmental protection attaches special significance in view of large and increasing proportion of the population which lives in the much damaged and suffocated environment in the modern urbanized dense population without proper hygienic and fair environmental conditions. Therefore, the interaction between man and environment today is not so simple and direct as it used to be during the early days of civilization. For instance, the extent to which man would get fresh air or fresh water depends on his own interaction with natural system of environment. The problem of environmental quality appears to be critical in India where the rate of urbanization is very rapid. Since the urban centers are not planned to accommodate a vast influx of population and as a result, most of the big Indian cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Calcutta and Kanpur etc. suffocate in view of poor environmental quality, lack of public amenities insufficient accommodation and negation of proper job opportunities. Almost every year, particularly in monsoon, we notice widespread epidemics in the slums of major cities.
No citizen can be totally unconcerned about physical problems or remain totally unaware of social aspects of on going environmental crisis. Every body occupies a position in purview of environmental perception of which one side can be physical and the other side social. A residence who is socially aware of the environment, generally neglects its physical aspects and vice-versa. However, some people may be aware of both social and physical aspects, whereas some may not be concerned about anything. In spite of such complications, it is still worth trying to explain human behaviour through environmental images. It is therefore quite essential to dissipate information as to how people estimate the environmental quality to understand complex type of environmental phenomena occurring in every day life in urban areas. Besides significant columns in the dailies and periodicals as well as flash on electronic media regarding awakening about environmental protection, the industrial and town planners have an uphill task to cope up with the grim problem. The industrial entrepreneurs should put restrain in adopting all possible safety norms and standards as per the R & D requisites and the environmental control board before plunging into operation. The new industries should be exclusively established far away from inhabited patches with an effort to shift the running industries from populated sites to industrial belts. Besides sufficient drainage and sewer facilities, pavements parallel to roads and lanes should be heavily guarded by certain selected perennial plants which act as filters of environmental pollutants because they absorb certain gases and particulates from the polluted air. These plants include siser, cassia, guava and jamun besides vegetables like cucumber, brinjals, castor, wild apple, walnut and acacia. Tamarind and margosa plants are also capable of absorbing dust and gaseous particles from its surroundings. Recently it has been noticed that the poplar tree is potential absorbent of oxides of nitrogen and sulphur (the precursors of acid rain) of the polluted air. The significance of social forestry in the inhabited and industrial areas can be well understood from the following facts viz.(i) An average 50 years old tree serves mankind by over Rs 20 lakh of course by cleaning environmental as well as providing its material value, (ii) a peepal tree replaces about 2,000 kg. of polluted air by providing about 1700 kg . oxygen during its life time which is sufficient for as many as 6 lakh people (iii) one hectare of forest consumes 3 metric tones of polluted air and provides about 2 million tones of oxygen, (iv) one medium sized tree can take co2 gives out by two families and provide enough oxygen for them and (v) towns without avenue trees have 4 to 5 times more dust particles in atmosphere than towns having avenue trees.
In addition, the new residential establishments should be kept a little away from both road and rail highways as the heavy traffic poses noise threat and causes air pollution of deadly aromatic petroleum and coal exhausts. Sufficient large distance should be maintained from the radioactive centers such as nuclear power installations. Recent researches have given enough evidence to suspect that exposure the high tension power lines also produce symptoms which have links with cancer, the greatest killer of all times. Professor Richard Phillips, a leading researcher at the Battle laboratory, Toronto (Canada) in an international conference pleaded that strong EMFs were so dangerous that he would not buy a house near a high power line even if it carried a discount of $ 25,000. Therefore houses/schools etc. should be preferably avoided near the high tension power lines.
Written by A.Husain

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