Is this beautiful world fighting for its very existence? Will the coming generations be in a position to enjoy every element of nature? Are we constrained to live in a highly polluted environment? Have the sources of our water run dry and have the sources that are still running become contaminated?
The simple question that arises from this is that if everything goes on at this pace and the pollution level continues to rise and the speed of implementing improvement measures remains mediocre then what will happen to this world? What are those people, who are using more resources than they actually need, doing for the environment?
Together with the United Nations, India had compromised on the Green Rating in 1997. That is, in the case of the greenhouse effect due to industrialisation, intensive forests will be developed and a large part of the land would be converted by planting trees.
By doing so, the compensation for the environment would be very minimal, but the forests would still be there in the future so that the poisonous gases could be absorbed by the trees and clean oxygen and clean water provided. The forests can provide wild animals with shelter and limited human interference.
But this can only be possible if some honest efforts are taken up soon. The fast pace of urbanisation is rapidly shrinking the forest areas. We need land for afforestation, where will we get that from? This is why the situation is extremely serious.
The most prominent and serious issue currently is the availability of clean environment and clean water. The non-existence of these two things is capable of destroying the earth. Physical facilities can only provide temporary relief in the long run.
It is shocking to see that even people who regard the Earth as their mother are not sensitive to the condition the environment is in. One of the most shocking data reports is that since 1958 the temperature of Antartica has risen by almost 2.4 degrees Celsius.
This is an extremely worrying figure. In this way, the impacts of Global Warming will severely affect the biodiversity. There have been many changes in the environment of the Earth.
According to Alasdair Wilkins about 55 million years ago, Antarctica was ice-free and full of lush forests. Now, an analysis of ancient pollen has revealed when the last Antarctic vegetation died out...and what's next for the continent's vast ice sheets.
The ice sheets that now completely engulf the frozen continent began forming about 38 million years ago, as Earth entered a long period of global cooling. It took 26 million years for the glaciers to cover the continent, as we now know that tundra vegetation survived on Antarctica's northern peninsula until 12 million years ago.
This was the time when the development of the human civilisation was moving at a very fast pace.
Recently a documentary film 'Carbon' depicted the city of Delhi in 2067. The film shows how people would start to kill each other for clean air and clean water. Oxygen would be sold in grocery stores. Without an oxygen mask, people would not be able to stay alive.
The film shows how people's faces have been covered with huge oxygen masks. The clean oxygen of the Himalayas is being sold for millions of dollars. It also shows oxygen being smuggled. That is the situation which has been shown in the documentary.
However, people who feel that the situation is far from being like the one that has been expressed are forgetting the alarming situation that actually took place in October 2017 when Delhi celebrated Diwali with a lot of excitement and happiness and along with all this, plenty of pollution was generated.
Immediately after this, the entire city was gasping for proper oxygen. Suddenly air pollution increased to a great level. People started using anti-pollution masks. Schools were also shut down.
Just recently the Sri Lankan cricket players complained about the air pollution at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi and played with anti-pollution masks on. There is a huge difference between consuming the resources of the earth and in using the resources systematically.
In the race towards development, the earth is slowly moving towards destruction. The proof of this has been seen in the recent environmental pollution of Delhi.
Other than this there are many more examples like the Son River. The Son River which is 784 kilometres long is one of the longest Indian rivers. In the Shahdol region in Madhya Pradesh, its entire 75 km length has been severely polluted.
The 50 km of land alongside the river in this region has been found to be unsuitable for cultivation. Even animals don't come close to this river. At Bhojpur in Bihar, newborn children are being born blind and skin diseases have increased manifold.
The reason for this is the increase of arsenic in groundwater which comes from the industrial waste being poured into the river. Chemicals used in farming and dangerous pesticides are also playing a big role in polluting the land and water sources.
We do not have the technology to purify waste generated from industrialisation. We are building smart cities but the challenge to build clean cities still remains. Along with urban areas, semi-rural and rural areas are also facing the challenges posed by garbage collection and disposal.
As seen, the Earth is enduring every kind of pollution and the day its patience will end we will be doomed and faced with severe destruction.
Goal 13 from Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) states that we should take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
- Target 13.2 - Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning
- Target 13.3 - Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
The purpose of stating and saying these things is not to spread fear. The purpose is to understand our responsibilities and become sensitive individuals who are able to discuss and find solutions for this important crisis at hand.
Whenever one gets the chance one should think about and analyse this issue. A solution might not come out immediately but the talk will create sensitivity which is required in abundance at the moment. In the above context, there are some very strong questions that we need to ask ourselves.
Are the countries of this world not worried about this? If they are indeed worried then why is the environment of this world still being exploited? Why is the struggle between development, improvement of the economy and the environment not being solved? Why are giant constructions being undertaken and why is the earth continuously being poisoned? Why are the rivers going through a state of crisis? Why is industrial waste polluting the rivers? How many trees are planted by factory owners in an attempt to preserve the environment?
The views expressed in the above article are that of Bipin Joshi of Charkha Features.