The environmental problems are mounting towards a bigger trouble in future but we are yet to recover from a deep hibernation mode. The menace of pollution has existed for centuries but increased at an alarming rate after industrial revolution in the 19th century. Pollution is one of the biggest global killers, affecting over 100 million people. The world’s population is ever increasing and the treasures of the resources are getting overexploited. There is greater need that we must promote better and efficient use of resources. Mass production of plastics, which began just six decades ago, has accelerated very rapidly—most of it in disposable products that end up as trash. If business goes on as usual, plastic pollution will double over the next thirty years. That would mean there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastics have several health hazards, both for humans and animals. Not just that, it is detrimental for the environment too. We must encourage the reduction, recycling and re-use of wastes as raw material for new products.
Our younger generation is highly creative and all they must be given is ample support and opportunities. We must promote ‘Jugaad’ creation, the idea of using the waste to make something novel and save resources. We need to set examples from our home places and re-use what we would easily throw away, and conserve for a future. Let’s promote paper products as they break down better in the environment and don’t affect our nature as much.
Learning to be more environmentally friendly is not that difficult task than we think. We must start by living with a greater awareness of the resources that we use in our daily life. For example we must turn off the lights as soon as we leave a room in our homes and offices or even schools and colleges. We must attempt to be environmental friendly when it comes to building our homes and buildings. Trees are necessary for us to survive. We must plant small trees around our home, don’t cut them unless it’s necessary, work with local environmental groups to plant more trees and educate others about the beauty and benefits of trees.
Water needs to be conserved. Few ways to conserve water are – take short showers, keep the running tap close while we brush our teeth, recycle water in our home, use water saving appliances etc. More good ways to contribute will be consume less energy, buy recycled products, and create less waste and many more. We must refrain from open burning as backyard trash and leaf burning releases high levels of toxic compounds. We must use public transit as much as possible. Let us walk more and drive less to conserve fuel and prevent auto-emission. Let’s use bicycles and scooters for shorter distances to save resources.
Cleanliness leads to cleanliness. We can easily find that a dirty place adds to its dirtiness. When we come across a fresh place, we think twice before turning it bad and dirty. It is sad when we only think of our clean homes and hardly care for the roads, hospitals, educational institutions, offices, markets etc. Our mindset has to undergo a positive change to treat public property as our own property.
Corporate leaders also have joined the race to save the planet. Being environment-friendly, eco-friendly, Going Green, Green Marketing, Green HRM etc. are huge claims referring to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies that inflict reduced, minimal, or no harm at all, upon ecosystems or the environment. The attempts need to be strong and concrete. Small and medium sized companies in particular generate a lot of pollution and need awareness and support policies to safeguard the environment.
Environmental love and care must receive an all time attention and priority. Let’s go beyond the model building exercises for safer environment and turn them into reality. Organizations must appreciate and reward the employees for their environmental care. The Philippines recently has taken a unique and wonderful initiative. The island country passed a law under which every student there has to mandatorily plant ten trees in order to get their graduation degree. The law if it is implemented properly will ensure that over 175 million trees will be planted every year. The law will be applicable for college, elementary, and high school students as well. Our education system must owe greater responsibility towards environment and find some unique strategies to safeguard it. Individuals, organizations and governments need to join hands towards more meaningful purpose. We must educate others about the significance of living an environmentally friendly life. The more we will share an awareness of the richness of the environment, the more we can do together to protect it.
Dr. Shahid Amin Trali is Assistant Professor, ITM University Gwalior.