Five immediate steps needed to control environmental damage


Large-scale deforestation disturbs the natural habitat of many species dependent on trees and forests and affects the biodiversity on earth.
/Representative image |

Heat waves, cloud bursts, rising temperatures, melting glaciers, unexpected floods, loss of livelihoods, increased natural calamities, and species getting extinct at a faster rate are proof of the deteriorating environment on earth.

Environmental damage is a serious threat to the world. Uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, population explosions, and unchecked industrialization are three main reasons for environmental damage. Environmental damage has affected the well-being of over 3.2 billion people worldwide.

One of the most serious consequences of environmental damage is the loss of biodiversity. Biodiversity is crucial to maintaining the quality of life on earth and ensuring ecological balance. The social effects of environmental damage include people losing their livelihoods.

As the soil loses its fertility, the yields from farming decrease, which, in turn, affects the livelihoods of farmers and several other people dependent on the agricultural land for their living. In the same manner, the loss of biodiversity can badly affect the tourism industry, resulting in the loss of livelihoods for scores of people dependent on tourists to earn their daily bread.

The diseases caused by different types of pollution can also have a negative impact on the lives of people and reduce their life expectancy and quality of life.

Environmental damage also has economic impacts. Countries have to spend a lot of money to stop the environment from getting worse. They do this by planting more trees, protecting endangered species, cutting down on pollution, and providing alternative employment opportunities to the people who are affected by the changes in the environment.

Five immediate steps needed to control environmental damage

Increasing green cover

Earth has already lost 80 percent of its forests. This large-scale deforestation disturbs the natural habitat of many species dependent on trees and forests and affects the biodiversity on earth. Increasing the green cover is essential for reversing environmental damage and preventing global warming.

Trees are a valuable resource as they absorb greenhouse gases, release oxygen, maintain water tables, and provide food and shelter to many animals, insects, and other species. Governments must take immediate steps to stop deforestation and encroachment of forest lands. Incentivizing reforestation can encourage individuals to plant and care for more trees, increasing green cover and saving the environment.

Waste management policies

Illegal dumping of waste is one of the leading causes of environmental damage. The biggest cause of pollution of the earth’s water resources is unauthorized dumping of plastic, industrial, and other waste. Governments must implement policies that ensure proper waste disposal. Illegal dumping of industrial effluents and waste into rivers and lakes must be punished with strict rules.

One technique to punish defaulters is to impose substantial fines for irresponsible behavior. Household garbage sorting should be encouraged, and steps should be taken to recycle waste. To reduce waste generation, people should be educated on the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Promote biogas sector

The biogas industry can play a crucial role in combating the damage to the environment. Biogas is the clean energy produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic wastes. Installing home-based and industrial-level biogas plants can provide the best alternative for the management of organic municipal wastes. Biogas plants reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills and assist in preventing dangerous chemicals from leaking into the soil and water. They also prevent the occurrence of major fires that cause pollution, loss of life, and property destruction, as well as the reduction of air pollution caused by toxic gases escaping from landfills.

Biogas can be used for heating and cooking, and it can also be refined further to be used as a vehicle fuel. The slurry that remains after biogas production can be upgraded and utilized as an organic biofertilizer.

Encourage the use of biofertilizer

Chemical fertilizers disturb the biodiversity in the soil and decrease its fertility over time. Though the immediate effects of using these fertilizers may look good, the long-term implications are harmful. Chemical fertilizers not only damage the soil quality, but they also seep into the food supply, posing a health risk to consumers.

According to statistics, 1692 acres of productive dry land are converted to desert every hour around the world. Farmers should be encouraged to use organic fertilizers such as manure, biofertilizers made from biogas plants, neem powder, and other natural products instead of chemical fertilizers and insecticides to prevent land desertification. The use of organic fertilizers restores biodiversity, improves soil fertility, and increases crop yield. Furthermore, because organic foods include no chemicals, people’s health improves when they consume them.

Educating people

Increasing awareness about the harmful effects of environmental damage and the methods to conserve the environment is crucial to saving the environment. Governments, NGOs, and educational institutions must create campaigns to educate the masses about various aspects such as global warming, climate change, waste management, afforestation, and conserving wildlife. If people are made aware of the problem and the solutions to overcome it, it can go a long way towards addressing the issue of environmental damage.

Apart from the solutions mentioned above, there are several steps that can help the government fight environmental deterioration, such as controlling population growth, reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, reducing the use of chlorofluorocarbons, rainwater harvesting, conserving endangered species, and improving farming practices. The problem of environmental damage can only be solved if all the sections of society work together to battle the root cause of environmental deterioration. We must remember that we have only one earth and take all the steps necessary to check environmental damage.

(Dr A R Shukla is President Indian Biogas Association)




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