Population explosion and pollution
Prof. (Dr.) R. D Gupta
There has been an inseparable relationship between man and mother earth including its various resources. The mother earth has a wide meaning which cannot be defined in just one sentence or phrase. The God Almighty created earth or natural world first of all and then he created man. The God also provided man with intelligence and lordship over his surroundings.
However, the man took for the wrong meaning of this lordship. He used to interface with all natural resources of the earth relentlessly. “The earth possesses everything in its womb to satisfy all the basic necessities of man”s life but not to his greediness”. With the unprecedented increase in the global population, there is a heavy pressure on the earth and natural resources. For example, the trees which feed men with their bounties in shape of fruits, flowers, shade, wood, have been very much destroyed in a wanton manner to yield space to man’s lust. Rivers lifeline of civilisation are mostly polluted. The atmosphere which enriches human life with oxygen, is destroying with smoke, dust and harmful gases. In the name of progress and civilisation man has been indulging in senseless destruction. Our mountain peaks have become quite bare due to destruction of green cover. The rivers which were hitherto gushing with clear and abundant water, are now no more in this respect. Releasing of green house gases at the atmosphere have caused radioactive pollution, which in turn has contaminated the food. The ecological destruction is usually triggered of by man’s selfishness. Instead of being thankful to the God Almighty for granting him natural resources, man has rushed to disturb man and nature relationship by affluence and its by products-Industrial wastes.
Industrialisation and Urbanisation
The industrial nations produce about 90 percent of the global hazardous waste and also emit approximately 70 percent of atmospheric warming gases. These gases consist of Carbon Dioxide, Chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) and Bromofluorocarbons (BFCs). Not only the industrial nations, the developing countries are also to blame for increasing global hazardous wastes and atmospheric warming gases. For instance, the China has been remained the world’s largest producer and consumer of CFCs and halon during early 1990. But thanks to the China Environmental Labelling Production Committee for granting awards to ten mainland refrigerator makers that had reduced CFCs production. China had already used 445 million dollars meant for granting awards provided by the Executive Council for the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund (MPMF) set up to help developed nations to phase out ozone depleting substances. And with the help of this fund, China has been enabled to eliminate more than 50,000 tonnes of ozone depleting material. Apart from increasing temperature and global warming, the above said gases have other dangerous implications also. With rise in global temperature, the glaciers are receding and ice caps in the Antarctic and Arctic will start melting and the sea level will rise by more than 2 m to 5m. About one third of the world population which lives within 60 km of the coastal lines will be threatned.
The migration in rural areas to those of urban areas has put a severe strain on civic amenities. The people usually migrate from rural areas to those urban areas to earn their livelihood or merely because of the attraction of the glittering urban city life. Because of the increasing population the percentage of this migration is increasing day by day with increasing burden on cities. It is point to mention that about half of the urban population has itself no access to proper toilet and sanitary facilities (Rao, 2006). But with the urbanisation, this situation further aggravates as each day millions of slum dwellers across the length and breadth of cities of the country, defecate openly in the roads, railway tracks, thorny bushes (on the outskirts of the cities). This activity, thus, produces a lot of pollution.
Increasing Global Environmental Degradation
As the burgeoning world population is outstripping the Earth’s Capacity to sustain it, so it is consuming about 20 percent more natural resources then the planet can produce (Anonymous, 2004). Thus, there is an increasing global environmental degradation shrinking of forests, erosion of soil, increasing landslides, overgrazed pastures and conjested cities, caused by the urbanites. All these problems have been caused by lopsided development triggered by over consumption of the world’s enormous resources. There may be wars over fresh water and migration of people due to shortage of its resources. There may be shortage of oxygen. Our biggest oxygen banks on the earth i.e. Amazoan basin tropical evergreen, original and long rotational forests which used to contribute half of the oxygen of the atmosphere, have been over exploited and destroyed largely. This, has depleted the oxygen sources of the earth and has endangered all living organisms. The pattern of cultivation would be modified drastrically. The global warming would affect the seasonal pattern. The heat may cause many deaths due to spread of numerous diseases. The water shortage and contaminated water would cause havoc with health of the people. Scientists are in dilemma as they are unable to find out how many species of living things existed on this planet, when man started to cultivate plants about 12,000 years ago. There are reports which indicate that nearly 60 species of flora and fauna are being lost every day in the tropical forests.
There seemed no contamination on the mother earth from its existence up to actual appearance of the human race (Time gap of 20 million years ).Then the question arises why suddenly we were alarmed at a high level of pollution on the earth?. It was because of rapid development of human beings in every sphere of life, in very short span of time, a new term i.e. pollution came to fore. And now its alarming rise has been set up a serious menace to eco-balance in animals, plants and aquatic life and even human beings. It is attributed mainly to a various reasons such as growth of human urbanisation, in changing life style and industrialization. As looming world’s human population which harbours presently more than seven billion, is out stripping the earth’s capacity to sustain it, so it is consuming about 25 per cent more natural resources than the earth planet can produce. There is an increasing global environmental degradation like air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution and land degradation etc.
(Ex Assiciate Dean Cum Chief Scientist KVK, SKAUST, Jammu)