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On 2nd of December, India observes 'National Pollution Control Day' in remembrance of the people who lost their lives in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The incident which affected over half a million people, occurred during the night of 2nd and 3rd December 1984. The leakage of gas from the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal is considered as one of the worst industrial disasters in the world. Around half a million people were exposed to the highly toxic Methyl Isocyanate gas which resulted in some losing their lives immediately, while others suffered major injuries. The cause behind the disaster is still under debate. According to the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), it happened due to an act of sabotage.
Apart from the tragedy that happened. The day is, also, a symbol of the deteriorating state of environment. It is the need of the hour to curb and take necessary steps in order to survive. Human foot-print is turning out to be nothing but negative on the planet earth. The pollution from any human activity is not only adversely affecting the planet but no stringent measures are in place to curb the damage caused.
“Environmental pollution is a result of human activity and the development that occurs when physical, biological and chemical agents are released to the environment in such quantities that the pollution adversely affects human health and damages the environment.” The major kinds of pollution are water pollution, soil pollution, air pollution and noise pollution.
Water Pollution – Harmful chemical waste is released from factories into water bodies or rivers, which then flow and end up in seas and oceans. A lot of plastic and other waste also, end up in rivers because of littering. These affect the marine ecosystem. Fishes or other marine animals may eat and choke on them or not be able to digest them.
Fishes swimming in polluted water | Unsplash
Soil or Land Pollution – This kind of pollution is partially linked to water pollution. When the polluted water from water bodies seep into the surrounding land, it gets polluted. Littering is a major cause of soil pollution. The chemical pesticides used in agriculture at times become pollutants.
Air Pollution – Toxic fumes and harmful gases that are emitted from factories and automobiles contribute greatly to this type of pollution. The presence of chemical constituents in high amount in the air is bad for the human body. It can cause lung cancer, heart diseases, respiratory disease and neonatal disorders.
Also Read : Poor air quality in Delhi
Huge amount of polluted gases being released into the environment from a factory | Unsplash
Noise Pollution – Speakers or sound systems blaring over the decibel limit contribute to this kind of pollution. Loud noises from firecrackers are also a part of this. These affect the ability to hear, not just of humans but also other animals.
There are a lot of things that we can do to lessen the amount of pollution caused. The following are a few of them:
- Stop littering
- Use trashcans to throw away garbage
- If possible, the trash should be separated into recyclable and non-recyclable and treated accordingly
- Not waste electricity, turn off appliances and lights when not in use
- Switch to other forms of renewable energies, like the solar energy
- Use lesser amount of plastic and try to recycle whatever is absolutely necessary
- The cars should be checked on a regular basis to ensure that they do not release toxic fumes
- If possible, carpool or even better, use the public transport
- Using paper bags
- Using rechargeable batteries
Recently, a lot of brands and products are trying to be more considerate towards the environment. A particular skincare brand has started selling their products in paper tubes instead of plastic ones. Some companies are selling one-time use pens without the plastic body, the refills are instead wrapped in paper.
We have to follow the mantra of reduce, reuse and recycle in order to cut down on the amount of waste that we generate.
(Keywords : Pollution, Prevention, India, Chemicals, Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution, Noise Pollution, Reuse, Recycle, Climate)
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By- Salil Gewali
Our luxury comes at a price. Unless we hurt Mother Earth, we don't get our easy appliances and gadgets. Don't we already know that innumerable industries across the globe ceaselessly emit millions after millions of gallons of obnoxious gases every single minute? We get our swanky cars, computers, washing machines, mobile, rockets, trains --- anything you name, only after irreparably polluting the atmosphere. If we look at it deeply, we are all to blame for this environmental mess.
We have not only polluted our atmosphere, but we have weakened our minds and self-control.
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No wonder, all these years, we all have danced to the tune of the capitalists. In every couple of years, we change our mobiles, in every 4-5 years we upgrade our micro-ovens and washing machines! What will be the consequence of this style of living? It is a very ominous question that confronts modern civilization. We have been taught how to get our day-to-day works done quickly with gadgets, but we have never been effectively informed that this all goes to "quicken" the climate tipping points. We followed the ads by Victoria Beckham, Chuck Norris, Jennifer Lopez, John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan and we changed our vehicles, refrigerators, TVs as we change our clothes. This is the most disastrous trend catching on among the increasing number of consumers across the world. One may agree or not, the final impact of our blind infatuation with the irresponsible celebrities and their endorsed products has fallen on Mother NATURE! Moreover, we have become a slave to so much of the consumer goods, they have virtually "consumed" our human prudence. We have not only polluted our atmosphere, but we have weakened our minds and self-control. What will happen if our youths don't get to check Facebook/social media updates for 2 days. They get restless, they get insanely disturbed --- some to the point of suicide. Our mental calmness is just hung in the balance.
We followed the ads by Victoria Beckham, Chuck Norris, Jennifer Lopez, John Abraham, Shah Rukh Khan and we changed our vehicles, refrigerators, TVs as we change our clothes
Here is my question. Have the members of COP26 ever thought of "changing the MINDSET" of each individual person? Moreover, what about the environment of our mind-scape which is so much degenerated now? This all has happened so quickly due to our increasing dependence on the machines and robotic tools. Have member leaders left the Glasgow meeting with a vow to impose a complete restriction on selling and buying consumer goods? Have they pledged to punish those capitalists and celebrities who have "misled" each one of us for money? The answer is a resounding "NO".
Also Read: US embassy and Students promote Air Quality
Our luxury comes at a price. Unless we hurt Mother Earth, we don't get our easy appliances and gadgets.
Yes, I totally stand with what the Secretary-General of the United Nation - António Guterres said at the COP26 conference. In desperation he burst saying - "We face a tough choice, either we stop it or it stops us and it is time to say enough — enough of brutalizing biodiversity, enough of killing ourselves with carbon, enough of treating nature like a toilet, we are digging our own graves." These words from the Secretary-General came directly from the heart. Very frankly speaking unless we turn our backs on the theory of "consumerism" the Earth will never HEAL. We must rid of luxury of any kind. COP26 should sit for serious introspection before it is too late. We must move from TOYOTA to BICYCLE at the earliest possible. There is no other way. What is the point of our "royal lifestyles" now if our children will suffer from the HEAT of HELL on Earth?
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Of the world's top 10 cities with the worst air quality, three -- Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai, are in India, data from air quality and pollution city tracking service from IQAir, a Switzerland-based climate group, showed.
While Delhi's Air Quality Index (AQI) at 556 made it to the top of the list, Kolkata and Mumbai recorded an AQI of 177 and 169, respectively, at fourth and sixth position, on the list.
The cities with the worst AQI indexes also include Lahore, Pakistan, and Chengdu, China.
A real-time air quality information platform -- IQAir is also a technology partner of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).
As per System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) data, Delhi's overall air quality on Saturday morning stood at 499, whereas the level of PM 10 and PM 2.5 pollutants in the air was recorded at 134 and 72, respectively.
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data at 9 a.m. recorded an AQI of 468 at Anand Vihar, 484 at ITO, 433 at RK Puram and 452 at Sri Aurobindo's.
An AQI between zero and 50 is considered 'good', 51 and 100 'satisfactory', 101 and 200 'moderate', 201 and 300 'poor', 301 and 400 'very poor', then 401 and between 500 is considered 'severe'.
The Supreme Court on Saturday took a serious view of the severe air pollution in Delhi-NCR and suggested that if needed, the government can declare a two-day lockdown to bring down the levels, which have been caused by stubble burning, vehicles, firecrackers, industries, and dust.
The Chief Justice noted that stubble burning by farmers is only responsible for 25 per cent of the pollution, and the remaining 75 per cent pollution was from firecracker burning, vehicular pollution, dust, etc. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pollution, Air Quality, World.
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The clear blue skies over the national capital may go dark soon with dust and smoke as the stubble burning season nears. The satellite images by US space agency NASA have shown that crop residue burning has already started in several fields in Haryana and Punjab, according to media reports.
Punjab annually generates 20 million tonnes of paddy straw, which is normally set on fire to quickly clear the fields for the next crop, resulting in choking of the National Capital Region (NCR) in October and November, and causing major health effects.
The latest NASA satellite data shows that more than 200 farm fires have been recorded in the Majha region of Punjab since September 1, according to media reports. By September 29, the count of fires was 66 in Punjab and 23 in Haryana.
Air pollution in Delhi -2019Wikimedia Commons
During October and November, stubble burning usually contributes between 20 per cent to 70 per cent of Delhi's air pollution. Last year, a report from the Environment Ministry showed that the average contribution of stubble burning to Delhi's air pollution increased from 10 per cent in 2019 to over 15 per cent in 2020.
A study by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), estimates that crop residue burning releases 149.24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), over 9 million tonnes of carbon monoxide (CO), 0.25 million tonnes of oxides of sulphur (SOX), 1.28 million tonnes of particulate matter, and 0.07 million tonnes of black carbon.
These directly contribute to environmental pollution: the heat from burning paddy straw penetrates 1 centimetre into the soil, increasing the temperature to 33.8 to 42.2 degree Celsius, which kills the bacterial and fungal populations critical for a fertile soil.
Moreover, air pollution is considered as the greatest environmental threat to health, and it disproportionately affects vulnerable populations: 91 per cent of deaths from ambient air pollution occur in low-income and middle-income countries.
Severe Air Pollution in New Delhi View by NASA's MISRWikimedia Commons
In India, 1,16,000 infant deaths in 2019 were attributable to air pollution, coal combustion was attributable for 1,00,000 deaths while ambient air pollution killed 16.7 lakh Indians, data released by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) showed.
Meanwhile, state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi and even the Centre have taken multiple measures to incentivise farmers and prevent them from setting their fields on fire.
The Delhi government on Monday announced a set of 10 points formulated under its Winter Action Plan. It is also providing the Pusa- bio-decomposer, developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, free of cost to its farmers to prevent stubble burning.
The Punjab government is focusing on increasing use of paddy stubble in power generation. The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has asked the state's three thermal power plants to use paddy stubble as fuel to the extent of 10 per cent of total annual coal use.
Keywords: Air Pollution, North India, Winter Action Plan, Stubble burning, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Air Quality