“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
“This entire planet is our home. We are the only species that systematically destroy our own habitat.”- Marianne Williamson
“One person alone cannot save the planet’s biodiversity, but each individual’s effort to encourage nature’s wealth must not be underestimated.”- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Pollution prevention is a major global concern because of the harmful effects of pollution on a person’s health and on the environment. Environmental pollution comes in various forms, such as: air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, etc.
Everyone is a stakeholder as we are all inhabitants of this one and only mother earth. Each person can contribute something to advance environmental pollution mitigation measures. Environmental protection means caring for our resources and subsequently for ourselves and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come will have a better environment.
“If we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.” – Wangari Maathai
You and I should therefore accept personal responsibility for the success of the environmental protection programs of our respective community by cooperating and actively participating in making the atmosphere pollution free. Help stop pollution today. Although on an individual basis, we can help combat pollution in our own immediate environment, efficient control can be best institutionalized through legislation. Thus, most countries have already addressed the issue by passing some form of pollution prevention measures.
Also Read: Phytoremediation- Solution to Contaminated Environment
Averting the onset of pollution in any area; i.e. be it on air, water or land, could be a start and the simplest preventive solution to the problem. This calls for a conscientious effort to adopt good practices or habits by the people, the passage and the proper implementation of appropriate government laws and strict compliance especially by potential industrial pollutants.
If there are no pollutants, there will be no pollution. And yet, this is easier said than done. Certain bad habits are entrenched and industrial development somehow carries with it the concomitant burden of pollution. The cost to business and its commercial ramifications make this rather simple preventive approach quite complicated and more difficult to implement.
Everyone can help by self education and by adopting good and healthy practices. It is also important that we help raise awareness about the significance of environmental issues, their dire consequences and what can be done.
Also Read:Bioremediation- The New Age Cleansing Technology of the Environment
Every action or inaction of any person in regard to her or his surroundings has an effect- be it good, neutral or bad- on the environment. Nature already provides for our needs. Whatever we do to it gets back to us. If we are friends of the earth, it will also be friendly to us. By becoming aware and doing the right action, we choose to be part of the solution. What comes to mind now to serve as reminders include the following:
- Stop smoking or at least follow the “No Smoking” sign.
- Use unleaded gasoline in your cars.
- Keep your car properly maintained to keep it in good running condition to avoid smoke emissions.
- Share a ride or engage in car pooling.
- Instead of using your cars, choose to walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. With this eco-friendly practice, you will also be healthier and happier by staying fit.
- Never use open fires to dispose of wastes.
- Adopt the 3Rs of solid waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle. Inorganic materials such as metals, glass and plastic; also organic materials like paper, can be reclaimed and recycled. This takes into account that the proven solution to the problem of proper waste management (especially in third world countries) is proper disposal (in waste bins for collection and not in the street where it could fall into drains), waste segregation and collection, and recycling.
- Start composting brown leaves in your yard and green scraps from your kitchen. It will reduce waste while improving your yard and garden soils.
- Reconnect with nature. Live green by using green power supplied abundantly and freely by wind and the sun. Hang your laundry to dry to minimize use of gas or electricity from your dryers. Enjoy fresh air from open windows to lessen the use of air conditioning system.
- Patronize local foods and goods. In this manner, transporting goods and foods prepared with GMOs which uses fuel from conventional energy sources will be minimized.
- Use eco-friendly or biodegradable materials instead of plastic which are made up of highly toxic substances injurious to your health.
- Create your green space. Value your garden. Plant more trees and put indoor plants in your homes. They clean the air, provide oxygen and beautify your surroundings. Thus, care for them and by protecting them, especially the big trees around and in the forest, you protect yourself and your family, too.
- Have a proper waste disposal system especially for toxic wastes
- Take very good care of your pets and their wastes.
- Never throw, run or drain or dispose into the water, air, or land any substance in solid, liquid or gaseous form that shall cause pollution.
- Do not cause loud noises and unwanted sounds to avoid noise pollution.
- Do not litter in public places. Anti-litter campaigns can educate the populace.
- Industries should use fuel with lower sulphur content.
- Industries should monitor their air emissions regularly and take measures to ensure compliance with the prescribed emission standards.
- Industries should strictly follow applicable government regulations on pollution control.
- Organic waste should be dumped in places far from residential areas.
- Say a big “NO” to GMOs or genetically modified organisms. Genetically engineered crops are not only bad for the environment since they require massive amount of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides; but GMO altered foods are also health risks and negatively impact farmers’ livelihood.
Breathing is life. We know that we will survive without food for several weeks and without water for few days, but without oxygen, we will die in a matter of minutes. The oxygen, the air we breathe sustains us. So, let us make today and everyday a good day for everyone. Allow the earth to have more clean air. Help control pollution.
Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we are gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
We must help fight Global Warming by doing the following steps:
- Plant more trees
- Don’t waste water
- Use cloth bag and don’t burn plastic
Also Read: Importance of National Ambient Air Quality Standards
Mr. Laxmi Prasad Boda is a B.com (Hons) third year student in the Indian Institute of Management and Commerce (IIMC), Hyderabad, India. He can be contacted at laxmiprasad330[at]gmail[dot]com.
Do you have a flair for writing? Interested in environmental issues? Why don’t you submit an article for the GreenCleanGuide 2013 contest? For contest rules, please visit thislink.
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Air Pollution Levels at Delhi
There are several types of pollution, and while they may come from different sources and have different consequences, understanding the basics about pollution can help environmentally conscious individuals minimize their contribution to these dangers. In total, there are nine recognized sources of pollution in the modern world. These sources of pollution don't simply have a negative impact on the natural world, but they can have a measurable effect on the health of human beings as well.
Air pollution is defined as any contamination of the atmosphere that disturbs the natural composition and chemistry of the air. This can be in the form of particulate matter such as dust or excessive gases like carbon dioxide or other vapors that cannot be effectively removed through natural cycles, such as the carbon cycle or the nitrogen cycle.
Air pollution comes from a wide variety of sources. Some of the most excessive sources include:
- Vehicle or manufacturing exhaust
- Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, dry soil erosion, and other natural sources
- Building construction or demolition
Depending on the concentration of air pollutants, several effects can be noticed. Smog increases, higher rain acidity, crop depletion from inadequate oxygen, and higher rates of asthma. Many scientists believe that global warming is also related to increased air pollution.
Water pollution involves any contaminated water, whether from chemical, particulate, or bacterial matter that degrades the water's quality and purity. Water pollution can occur in oceans, rivers, lakes, and underground reservoirs, and as different water sources flow together through the water cycle the pollution can spread.
Causes of water pollution include:
- Increased sediment from soil erosion
- Improper waste disposal and littering
- Leaching of soil pollution into water supplies
- Organic material decay in water supplies
The effects of water pollution include decreasing the quantity of drinkable water available, lowering water supplies for crop irrigation, and impacting fish and wildlife populations that require water of a certain purity for survival.
Soil, or land pollution, is contamination of the soil that prevents natural growth and balance in the land whether it is used for cultivation, habitation, or a wildlife preserve. Some soil pollution, such as the creation of landfills, is deliberate, while much more is accidental and can have widespread effects.
Soil pollution sources include:
- Hazardous waste and sewage spills
- Non-sustainable farming practices, such as the heavy use of inorganic pesticides
- Strip mining, deforestation, and other destructive practices
- Household dumping and littering
Soil contamination can lead to poor growth and reduced crop yields, loss of wildlife habitat, water and visual pollution, soil erosion, and desertification.
Noise pollution refers to undesirable levels of noises caused by human activity that disrupt the standard of living in the affected area. Noise pollution can come from:
- Manufacturing plants
- Construction or demolition
Some noise pollution may be temporary while other sources are more permanent. Effects may include hearing loss, wildlife disturbances, and a general degradation of lifestyle.
Radioactive pollution is rare but extremely detrimental, and even deadly, when it occurs. Because of its intensity and the difficulty of reversing damage, there are strict government regulations to control radioactive pollution.
Sources of radioactive contamination include:
- Nuclear power plant accidents or leakage
- Improper nuclear waste disposal
- Uranium mining operations
Radiation pollution can cause birth defects, cancer, sterilization, and other health problems for human and wildlife populations. It can also sterilize the soil and contribute to water and air pollution.
Thermal pollution is excess heat that creates undesirable effects over long periods of time. The earth has a natural thermal cycle, but excessive temperature increases can be considered a rare type of pollution with long term effects. Many types of thermal pollution are confined to areas near their source, but multiple sources can have wider impacts over a greater geographic area.
Thermal pollution may be caused by:
- Power plants
- Urban sprawl
- Air pollution particulates that trap heat
- Loss of temperature moderating water supplies
As temperatures increase, mild climatic changes may be observed, and wildlife populations may be unable to recover from swift changes.
Light pollution is the over illumination of an area that is considered obtrusive. Sources include:
- Large cities
- Billboards and advertising
- Nighttime sporting events and other nighttime entertainment
Light pollution makes it impossible to see stars, therefore interfering with astronomical observation and personal enjoyment. If it is near residential areas, light pollution can also degrade the quality of life for residents.
Visual pollution - eyesores - can be caused by other pollution or just by undesirable, unattractive views. It may lower the quality of life in certain areas, or could impact property values and personal enjoyment.
Sources of visual pollution include:
- Power lines
- Construction areas
- Billboards and advertising
- Neglected areas or objects such as polluted vacant fields or abandoned buildings
While visual pollution has few immediate health or environmental effects, what's causing the eyesore can have detrimental affects.
Personal pollution is the contamination of one's body and lifestyle with detrimental actions. This may include:
- Excessive smoking, drinking or drug abuse
- Emotional or physical abuse
- Poor living conditions and habits
- Poor personal attitudes
In some cases, personal pollution may be inflicted by caregivers, while in other cases it is caused by voluntary actions. Taking positive steps in your life can help eliminate this and other sources of pollution so you can lead a more productive, satisfying life.
Pollution Types Are Connected
All types of pollution are interconnected. For example, light pollution requires energy to be made, which means the electric plant needs to burn more fossil fuels to supply the electricity. Those fossil fuels contribute to air pollution, which returns to the earth as acid rain and increases water pollution. The cycle of pollution can go on indefinitely, but once you understand the different pollution types, how they are created, and the effects they can have, you can make personal lifestyle changes to combat poor conditions for yourself and others around you.