Increasing attention towards the environment becomes important once we realize that we are but a small part of the planet. Since time immemorial we have thrived on the abundant resources provided to us by nature. In our greed for more and more we have been extracting the maximum with total disregard to the fact that our insatiable greed has done irreparable damage to nature. There is an increasing awareness that if we continued in our quest without paying back to our planet and Mother Nature our very existence would become difficult.
People have voiced their concerns in World Forums. Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI) was published between 1999 and 2005. It was developed to evaluate environmental sustainability relative to the paths of other countries. It was followed by Environmental Performance Index (EPI). This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index (published in 2002).It was designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. EPI is a method of quantifying the environmental performance of a state's policies. Both these indices were developed by Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, Yale University and Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
Another world body, The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system. It also serves as an authoritative advocate for the sustainability of the global environment.
UNEP's mission is "to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations."
UNEP has a multifaceted agenda for promoting and developing regional programmes for environmental sustainability. It creates environmental awareness. Another important function is providing country-level environmental capacity building and technology support. It also helps to develop international environmental law, and provides expert advice on the development and use of environmental concepts and instruments. A major contribution being - the facilitator in the coordination of UN activities on matters concerned with the environment, and ensuring, through cooperation, liaison and participation, that their activities take environmental considerations into account.
India’s position continues to be dismal. Statistics reveal that India is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018, plummeting 36 points from 141 in 2016, according to a biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities and the World Economic Forum.
While our country is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned.
NASA’s visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIRS) ,which has a high spatial resolution of 375 meters and provides good response in detecting fires of relatively small areas, both during the day and at night time has reported more than 15,000 fires in the states of Punjab and Haryana during October,2018
In order to curb vehicular pollution in the National Capital Region, about 1.8 lakh old vehicles face ban in Noida and Ghaziabad alone. The vehicular ban is for all petrol vehicles that are more than fifteen year old and diesel vehicles that are ten years old. Fingers point towards the numerous construction works in progress. Bursting of crackers has been banned. In spite of these measures the air pollution levels remain hazardous.
It must be noted that the above paragraphs deal only with the air pollution. The pollutants of the water and soil are also a cause of major concern.
Amidst various steps taken up by international bodies, governments of countries, different NGOs and self help groups, it is important that each individual becomes alert about the dire consequences of enviromenmental degradation and acts in a responsible manner. It is our daily activities that need modification.
Small steps that can be taken up in our homes such as:
1. Reducing the use of plastics.
2. Eliminating the use of poly bags.
3. Segregation of wastes
4. Building of compost pits in the societies/ colonies where garden wastes and organic wastes from homes can be processed. This would lead to formation of compost which can be used as valuable manure for the trees in the societies/ colonies as well as on the streets. This would also eliminate the need of burning these leaves/organic wastes and thereby reduce the air pollution.
5. Reducing wastage of water.
6. Reducing wastage of electricity.
7. Installation of Solar Panels to supplement Power requirements.
There is some hope for the future only when all of us act in a coordinated manner to protect the environment. It is our thinking that has to be modified if we plan a future for our progeny. This awareness has to be taken up with a level of seriousness that we exercise while carrying out financial planning. It must be strongly engrained in our psyche that we all stand to lose once we neglect/harm Nature.
Our planet is our home, our only home.
Where should we go if we destroy it?
(The Dalai Lama)
Ms Suchitra Srivastava
Department of Management,
JIMS, Vasant Kunj