Spare a thought about Ecosystem
Healthy Ecosystems Promote Healthy Life
By: Dr. Ashaq Hussain
Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are. Ecosystem restoration- a phrase with which we all are much familiar particularly these days when the world environment day was recently observed across the globe. This is the time when we come across speeches, presentations and research papers highlighting the various nuances of our ecosystem and people are asked to realize their role vis-à-vis environment and ecosystem. While most people know these definitions, there are many who might be wondering what exactly is an ecosystem and how does one restore it?
Well, an ecosystem is an organization that includes all living things in an area, as well as its physical environment, which work together as a unit. All of the things we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the climate that makes life possible for humans and other living things on the planet would not exist without the healthy environment of a particular ecosystem.
Nature offers a variety of services that allow life on Earth. This universe is a rare gift of God’s power to mankind, which is being gradually scattered and polluted by its inhabitants- humans. Now that its ill effects are beginning to show, we are inclined to maintain its beauty, attractiveness and balance. The ecosystems support all life on Earth. It is correctly said that the healthier the planet and the healthier are its people. As such, in this regard every year, June, 5 is observed as World Environment Day with an objective to spread the awareness to halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on each continent and in every ocean. It may help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent mass extinction.
We have turned earth into a heap of filth and dirt, unaware that human life is suffering its deadly effects. Trees in the forests are being cut down with such brutality that its effects on the seasons are beginning to be felt. The air, which is essential for all living things, is so polluted by the smoke from factory chimneys, the waste from chemical laboratories, and the densities of motor vehicles on the roads that man is caught in a variety of dangerous diseases. Water, which is the second most important thing for any living organism and without which it is impossible to imagine the life, has also not been spared and all the rivers, lakes, ponds and even ocean have become polluted.
When we change the ecosystem for our own benefit, it has negative effects. The use of fertile areas, lush plains, forests and even swampy wetlands for agriculture destroys local wildlife and consequently affects the productivity of the land. In areas that are not suitable for hunting, domestic animals take the place of wildlife, which increases the pressure on pastures and eliminates the breeding of predators. Similarly, in inaccessible areas due to low fertility and human pressure, swamps and desserts are adversely affected and wild habitats are declining.
All these undesired resources that we have given to the world have gradually reduced the benefits of the existing ecosystem for humans and wildlife. The pace of ecosystem destruction from anthropogenic and natural impacts is rapid, with billions spent annually to restore damaged ecosystems. As most of the Earth is impacted either directly or indirectly by people, restoration has emerged as one of the most important tools to stem the biodiversity crisis and repair damaged ecosystems.
The world has changed in the last few months to a great extent. Thousands have died and millions more have been infected with the corona virus. There are millions of people who have survived the ordeal, but their lives have changed dramatically. This is not for the first time that a global pandemic has left its mark on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as outbreaks appear to be exacerbated during human history, even before the modern industrial age and so is true for Covid-19. The global disruption caused by the COVID-19 has brought about several effects on the environment, climate and hence on ecosystem restoration. Due to movement restrictions and a significant slowdown of social and economic activities, air quality has improved in many polluted cities with a reduction in water pollution in different parts of the world. No doubt, the increased use of PPE (e.g., face mask, hand gloves etc.), their haphazard disposal, and generation of a huge amount of hospital waste has not so much impacts on the environment. It is known from various scientific facts that we are at the verge of mass extinction and today we are heading in this direction at a faster rate. If our efforts are not enough, the loss of biodiversity will have serious consequences for humanity. The food and health system could be destroyed and we would not be prepared for it.
Thus regardless of the action of the countries, it is the population that should be particularly interested in respecting the environment. Biodiversity loss and climate change should be taken as a major problem facing mankind during this century. We know that physical environmental impacts worsen natural resources and living conditions. That is why global efforts are needed on this World Environment Day. All people and communities across the world need to become dynamic agents of sustainable development and change attitudes towards environmental issues. People need to think about everything they eat and how to use it.
The utility that exists in today’s society is causing an increase in natural resources extraction and pollution. So, Governments and companies need to formulate special plans to develop more ecological models and teachers need to teach environmental and natural values. These are the young people who need to raise their voices for the future of the planet that we all need. So, Let us do our small bit to make the world a cleaner and healthier place. We must join hands to save our beautiful planet as there is no other place in the universe so beautiful, so vibrant and so lively. Let us be more responsible.
The writer is Assistant Professor Chemistry (Selection Grade) at Govt. Degree College, Chatroo Jammu and Kashmir, and can be reached at [email protected]