For the sake of Environment
United Nations General Assembly, in 1972, established 5th of June as World Environment Day reaffirming the concern for prevention and enhancement of the environment. Two years later in 1974, the first Environment Day was celebrated with a theme ‘Only One Earth’ and the occasion is meant for environment action by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to pivot their attention on environment issues. Each year a theme is selected and a country is approved to host this day. In 2020, the theme was “Biodiversity” and was hosted by Columbia along with Germany.
The theme of World environment day 2021 is “Re-imagine, recreate, restore”. Ecological restoration is a process of assisting the recovery of utterly dependent on people face a threat of extinction as a lot out of the diversity has already diminished and extinction of rare plants and animals is on the verge. That is precisely why world powers need to push for conservation and preservation of a healthy ecosystem that can help to lower the risk of diseases and ensure biodiversity.
Ecological restoration is a process that starts from large scale removal of invasive species and ecological restoration is, nowadays, happening all around the world, not only in wilderness but in our own neighbourhood and communities. We must ensure sowing different species of native plants and trees regularly as restoring these natural areas is critical and when people become involved with managing the landscape, invasive species can be controlled, native species can be reintroduced and ecosystems can be restored.
People across the world take part in large scale planting campaigns, clean up campaigns and organizing various programs and symposiums on this day. Various webinars and discussions generally make public awareness as their main focus and shed light on environmental challenges such as air quality, water contamination, rising temperatures, climate change and other topics which harm our environment. We know that the environment has been degraded at the cost of industrial and technological advancements and it is we who have to take up the responsibility and make efforts to reverse the trend. On this year’s World Environment Day, initiatives to plant ten billion trees have been taken besides introduction of electric vehicles, increase in National Parks and green jobs.
Here in Jammu and Kashmir, the worst hit is the water bodies which are full of disposal wastes such as plastics and other non-degradable materials and have shrunk beyond unimaginable margins. As a result the surrounding areas suffer the consequences immediately while as the entire region is witnessing climatic changes.
For the betterment of the coming generations environment protection holds a key. The higher incidence of heart and lung diseases has been attributed to air pollution. There is a direct connection between air pollution exposure and plaque deposition in blood vessels. Poor air quality has resulted in higher number of patients with cardiac ailments. The vehicular pollution is the main reason for these ailments due to residual sulphur dioxide and other chemicals released into the air by burning of fossil fuels. Cement factories, pollution due to automobiles and charcoal burning were adding to the toll of patients with chronic pulmonary diseases. The aim should be to reduce carbon emission by massive afforestation and other means. We must implement various path-breaking green initiatives with regards to carbon neutrality, utilization of solar energy, recycling waste and generating organic compost. We must ban items such as plastic bottles, cups and glasses, polythene bags and plastic items, cutlery including plates, cups, straws and decorative items made from styrofoam (thermocol).
By 2030, India must reduce its emission intensity by 30-35 per cent as part of the Paris Climate Pact. It must build a carbon sink of around 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by planting trees and increasing forest cover. A clean environment is crucial to freedom of life as per the Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Our forefathers have put lot of stress on preserving of environment. I remember the sayings of our Sufi saint Hazrat Sheikh Noorudin Noorani R. A. “An poshi teli yeli wan poshi”, meaning humans can only survive if forests survive. Let’s pledge that we will do everything that is required to save the environment.
The writer is Principal, SSM College of Engineering and can be reached at [email protected]