The grand industrial development, the successful Green Revolution, the transport explosion, the rapid growth of cities and haphazard management of natural resources have adversely affected environmental balance. Environmental pollution in India has increased manifold, One of the greatest problems confronting the modern civilized world is pollution, which literally means fouling the natural habitat and environment. Air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, noise pollution are some types of pollution.
Nearly 175 million hectares of land (35% of India’s total land area) is subject to serious environmental degradation. Hardly 10.12 per cent of the total area is under adequate tree cover. In fact deforestation, siltation, water, air and noise pollution, sanitation—all are threatening not only the quality of life rather the very survival of human beings.
It is doubtless that industrialization has done a great good to mankind. It has also led to urbanization. But the haphazard growth of modern cities, industrial cities, migration of rural population to the cities in search of work has created and unhealthy environment. It has given rise to overcrowding, slums, juvenile delinquency, inadequate air amenities, addiction to drugs and alcohol and crime are some results. People living in big cities no longer breathe the fresh air and see any green, open spaces. There is lot of noise pollution in big cities and it is almost impossible to get rid of this. There should be a regular check on the use of loud-speakers, indiscriminate use of horns by the motorists. Medical experts have warned that the excessive noise pollution can lead to deafness and create other health problems which can do irreversible damage to the well being of man.
Air pollution is another example of how the growth of modern industry and means of transport have played havoc with man’s environment. One of the worst agents of aerial pollution is the smoke being belched out by the chimneys of the factories and emitted by vehicles. While it cannot be totally eliminated because of the industrial expansion of the ever increasing number of motor vehicles, some measures can be taken to minimize the menace. Already enough damage has been done to human environment. Agricultural activities are yet another source of air pollution. Spraying of pesticides and insecticides, use of chemical fertilizers and manures and burning of field waste pollute the atmospheric air. Nuclear energy programme also pollutes the air. Radioactive fallouts and fluorides are very dangerous pollutants.
Water, one of the most essential needs for the survival of life on earth is being polluted to such an extent by industrial wastes that it is posing a serious threat to plant and animal life. Release of industrial wastes into river creates havoc. It is estimated that more than 500 tons of mercury enters the ocean every year as a result of dumping of wastes into rivers. Mercury concentration increases in fish, which may result in poisoning of the people and domestic animals. The same polluted water is used for irrigation and thus pollutes the food. It is unsafe for drinking, but is consumed by ignorant people thereby leading to disease and death. Now the Government is taking some interest in this neglected area by taking measures to check water pollution. In 1986 the Government launched the clean Ganga Programme and several sewage treatment plants started operating at various cities to purify the Ganga water.
India is a tropical country. It had at one time dense forests and was very rich in flora and fauna. But the rate at which the denudations of the country’s rich forest cover has been continuing it may not be left with any prest cover by the end of this century. Commercial felling of trees, over-gazing and over cultivation land .starved peasants—all these are factors that have been responsible for the shrinkage of the forest cover consequently leading to climatic changes. Destruction of forests has also led to extinction of many rare species of wild life; turned land into fallow wasteland.
So, unless everyone becomes aware of the need to save our planet from destruction, there can be no hope for mankind. In view of the increasing awareness of formidable dangers to mankind, many countries in the world have passed laws to prevent pollution. But it is hard to understand why the laws being framed by Government should vest all powers in Anti-Pollution Boards composed of salaried employees with no direct stake in the outcome of their activities, denying the victims of pollution any right. If the prompt action is not taken, the earth will soon become a graveyard and we cannot afford to be complacement in protecting and conserving our environment for ourselves and for the generations to come.