In the 21st century, mankind is plagued with various problems. Apart from hunger, poverty, human conflict, terrorism and a shortage of resources, there are issues like global warming, gender discrimination and pollution that need to be dealt with sternly. With the tech-savvy world being what it is, it is extremely hard not to notice the online news feeds, newspapers and tabloids filled with uncanny occurrences of natural disasters and environmental degradation, every day, all over the world. Be it the El Nino effect or the alarmingly increased rates of greenhouse effect or the oil spills at sea, pollution is no longer a niche phenomenon. It is a scary spectacle that has grasped the whole world by the neck! All this is caused by one or the other type of pollution.
Is Pollution Really A Part of Our Lives?
Be it the carbon footprints of our households or the emissions from our workplaces and industries, pollution as a menace can no longer be sidelined. Remember when you commute to your workplace by car? When the traffic signal goes red, there, of course, is no chance to move, the cars stuck in the gridlock keep on honking the horns for no reason! That is sound pollution. While stuck in the jam, you must have noticed hazy gases floating above the cars in the distance. Those are harmful Nitrogen Oxide gases, and thus, air pollution in action before your eyes. If you notice someone throwing some plastic bags alongside the roads, that’s land pollution. So you see, pollution is something that has become a way of life now. Instead of patiently waiting for the jam to clear with engines turned off, it has become a trend to act like a monster and honk like a madman.
How Does Pollution Affect Us?
The adverse effects of pollution can be witnessed everywhere. It has been gnawing at the edges of our existence for a long time. It is only now that we have come to accept the perverse penalties imposed by it. While at one time, it would creep up silently and chew the limits of the biosphere, today, it has broken through the thresholds of acceptable incursions and is wreaking havoc on the flora and fauna alike. Marine life has experienced a sharp decline in the quality of aquatic resources and minerals and sea levels have risen alarmingly. Various tragedies are being triggered worldwide in the wake of this destruction leading to disasters like Tsunamis and earthquakes.
What Can We Do About It?
Cutting the cry baby attitude and pulling up our socks to implement serious measures can be one possible course of action. We have chosen to be ignorant of this hydra-headed hazard and that has been our biggest mistake which has fuelled this fire. But, there’s no use crying over spilt milk. What matters now is that we buckle up for a rough going and initiate hard-line measures to counter its propagation.
1. Banish the threat of plastic from this planet: Now this is the best option you have. We use plastic bags for every function of our lives. Did you know that the disposed plastic takes around 1000-15,000 years to decay? It degrades the quality of soil like nothing else does. It’s like wrapping our Mother Earth with plastic and choking it to death! The only relief is that we have a ready alternative to this.
a) Use paper bags. These are easily biodegradable and easily available.
b) Employ reusable bags: Reusable grocery bags, reusable shopping bags, etc. make up a large fraction of our non-biodegradable carbon output. Re-using such bags can help a lot. Re-use is a part of the 3 R’s of Sustainable Management- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. These need to be inculcated in our lives deeply for where it concerns the environment, a little goes a long way.
2. Conserve The Non-Renewable Resources: The fuel that is being used in your car, the coal that industries use for thermal power generation or the wood from which paper is made, all of them are perishable resources provided by the nature that is not going to be restocked anytime soon. Instead, renewable resources like solar power, hydro energy, geothermal and tidal power can help fuel our homes and nations more effectively. Firms like Tesla have already taken a step in this direction by introducing electric cars with decent travel ranges. It is time to work smart and give back what you take. Using green energy and having green buildings which have minimal carbon footprint should the norm rather than the exception.
3. Using LED lights: These have long lives and great wattage. They consume less power, provide more lights and can be used for years.
4. Plant Trees and initiate green construction: Now that is an easy one! You just have to plant trees and prevent any actions or acquisitions that encourage deforestation. In addition to this, constructing buildings that efficiently utilize real estate is a must. Storing rainwater in underground tanks and using it for daily activities is highly encouraged. Waste produced by a small society can be utilized to produce electricity in miniature power plants or biogas production.
5. Lastly, simple gestures can be a major contribution: Earth hours and reduced power wastage can help a lot. Make a resolution to switch off all unused appliances. Turn those laptops and phones off for a few hours and take a walk. Let the air run through your hair and have a calm bearing for a little while amidst this crazy hectic life.
Instead of mourning over the decay that has infected Mother Nature, get up and vow to follow these simple steps to contribute to her resurrection and conservation.