Before its too late!

It's high time to take the increasing levels of pollution seriously!
Before its too late!

It is  2021 and most of us have already witnessed the increasing pollution levels in our immediate surroundings and how it impacts our health & interferes with our daily life activities. Be it the soil, the noise, the water, the thermal or the radioactive pollution almost each one of us might have witnessed at least one of these major pollution types.

The common aim of every pollution prevention act is protecting & controlling environmental pollution & preserving the quality of air and water & other components. But because we didn't succeed in implementing the aims of these acts, pollution levels have continued to affect the lives throughout the globe in a very bad way. The levels of pollutants have sky rocketed and it's the only time to combat same.

Poverty makes everything worse and so is the case with the impact of pollution on the poor. Pollution kills millions of people around the world each year, the majority of whom live in low-income countries. In deprived areas, more people are likely to have existing health conditions, making them more vulnerable to poor air or water quality & the major pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter from traffic exhausts, industrial pollution and wood-burning stoves affects the people who have first hand contact with these pollutants like

the poor people who sleep along the roadside are directly impacted by these pollutants as in many cities of India. Particulate matter forms a fine mist of toxic debris that affects more people than any other type of pollution. Particulates are microscopic solids that escape combustion, often through car exhausts. Inhaling it can contribute to heart attacks and respiratory diseases, including lung cancer. Nitrogen dioxide meanwhile is linked to reduced lung function and growth in children and exacerbates asthma. India, which until recently had the highest portion of people living in extreme poverty, is home to the 14 cities with the worst air quality. Clean drinking water is critical to living a healthy life. Yet 1 in 9 people around the world or 844 million people lack access to clean, reliable drinking water. Contaminated food still affects 600 million people each year, killing 420,000, according to the World Health Organization

The UN urges countries to take several steps to curb the impact of pollution. Pollution is a preventable hazard and its many manifestations can be easily curbed through effective legislation, policy-making and better urban planning. Though it's become a climate cliché but it's an unavoidable truth that nothing is going to clean our surroundings like air or water for us but only we people together as a team. In 2017, school children took out a march to express their distress on the alarming levels of pollution in the city, in New Delhi, India, and this needs to be appreciated. Thick smog had constricted India's capital, smudging landmarks from view and leaving residents frustrated at the lack of meaningful action by authorities. The air was the worst it has been all year in New Delhi, with microscopic particles that can affect breathing and health spiking to 75 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organization but then Delhi government took many steps to keep a control on the pollution levels in the capital.

The Plastic pollution is worse now than it's ever been. In a recent research which is considered great cause for concern, "microplastics'' were detected on both the fetal and maternal sides of the placenta and in the membrane within which the fetus develops. First evidence of microplastics in human placenta was published in the Journal Environment International and the researchers have implied their possible impact on the health of the developing fetus.

As plastic is not biodegradable and only breaks down into smaller pieces, it ultimately ends up everywhere, cluttering beaches and choking marine wildlife, as well as in the food chain and it is evident in the form of plastic bottles and polythene bags seen floating in the Dal lake Srinagar.

I think manufacturers should stop producing new plastic and invest in new recycling technologies and infrastructure for collecting waste. Each one of us has the power to change our own habits, from reducing our plastic consumption to using dustbins and planting trees in our community. The exhaust from vehicles and garbage from homes ,hospitals and shops is regularly making the surroundings filled with harmful wastes and through our careless attitude we are harming animals too. In 2018 80kg of polythene waste was removed from the stomach of a six year old cow after a 3 hour operation in Patna , Bihar  and its just one example among the many just to highlight the pain we are consciously putting these innocent animals through.

We can put an end to the premature deaths that occur due to pollution by making & implementing better action plans. Pollution prevention also known as "source reduction" is one way to achieve this & it is any practice that reduces, eliminates, or prevents pollution at its source. Less pollution means less hazards posed to public health ,animals and the environment.

The pollution prevention practices include:-

1. Increasing efficiency in energy use, use of environmentally benign fuel sources.

2. In the agricultural sector: Reducing the use of water and chemical inputs & adoption of less environmentally harmful pesticides or cultivation of crop strains with natural resistance to pests; and protection of sensitive areas.

3. In the industrial sector: Modifying a production process to produce less waste ,using non-toxic or less toxic chemicals as cleaners, degreasers and other maintenance chemicals. Implementing water and energy conservation practices. Reusing materials rather than disposing them as waste.

4. In homes and schools examples include: Using reusable water bottles instead of throw-aways. Always turning off lights when not in use.Repairing leaky faucets and hoses. Switching to "green" cleaners.

Thus Pollution prevention if implemented reduces both financial costs (waste management and cleanup) and environmental costs (health problems and environmental damage).

I would like to bring to the notice of the people  through this article the very bad practice which is almost  now the habit of most citizens  that is throwing garbage on roads or in water bodies & not bothering to use dustbins that are sometimes only a few steps away from them , what can we expect from this  not a good outcome for sure.

In many areas of Kashmir especially Srinagar, heaps of rubbish are seen everywhere coupled with the foul smell spreading around; and it becomes difficult for people to walk along the footpaths or pass through the streets.  To mention the worst such places become eating grounds for cows and dogs thus increasing the danger for public especially children even  more.

It's high time we take this issue seriously, and the authorities take effective remedial steps. Let us collectively share this responsibility of keeping our surroundings clean and thus making this planet a better place to live.

Burhan Ul Haq  is Masters Student of  Biotechnology, Central University Of Kashmir, India.

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