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World Environment Day-2022: Global issues and solutions

By: Maraj-ud-Din Malik

The word “Environment” refers to all that surrounds us such as ecological units which are naturally present on earth in the form of land, water, air, soil, forest, sunlight, minerals, living organisms etc. This earth is full of natural surroundings, which are either biotic or abiotic in nature. Biotic element include living entities such as humans, birds, animals, plants, and microorganisms whereas abiotic elements include those which have no life like air, sunlight, water, land, soil, minerals etc. Further it is also divided among four different spheres viz. biospheres, lithosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere, in which hydrosphere is the largest part on the earth among all. Life on earth has become possible due to action and reaction between different kinds of resources that are present in the environment. 

World Environment Day 2022

World Environment Day is celebrated across the world every year on 5th June. On 5th June1974 first World Environment Day was observed after UN designated 5th June as World Environment Day in 1972.

 Since 1974, World Environment Day is the most remarkable day for environmental action. The UN Environment Program (UNEP) organizes events for Environment Day every year to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of environment.

World Environment Day was established by UN General Assembly on the first day of the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment which was held in Stockholm Sweden from June 5- 6 in 1972. In 1974, the first Word Environment Day was celebrated. Since then World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5th June and various activities for awareness and protection of Environment are carried out. In 1987, it is decided to rotate the host of Environment Day activities by selecting a host country for the Environment Day activities celebration.

World Environment Day 2022 will be celebrated on 5th June 2022 across the world. The Government of Sweden will host the World Environment Day 2022 programmes iconic activities in partnership with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The theme of World Environment Day 2022 is ‘Only One Earth’. The year 2022 marks the 50 years since the first United Nations Conference at Stockholm in the year 1972 that led to the creation of UNEP and designating 5th June as World Environment Day every year.

The theme for World Environment Day 2022 is ‘Only One Earth’. Under the theme Only One Earth, World Environment Day 2022 will be observed highlighting the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature by transformative changes in our policies and choices towards cleaner and greener lifestyles.

Environmental Challenges at global level and their mitigation:

  An environmental problem occurs when there comes a change in quality or the quantity of the environmental factor that directly or indirectly affect everything on earth. Environmental issues are defined as problems with the planet’s system (air, water, soil etc.) that have developed as a result of human interference or mistreatment of the planet.” A variety of environmental problems now affect our entire world. As globalization continues and the earth’s natural processes transform local problems into international issues. Some largest problems now affecting the world are: acid rain, air pollution, global warming, hazardous wastes, ozone depletion, smog, water pollution, overpopulation and rain forest destruction. It is related to not only environment but with everyone that live on the planet Earth. It affects every human, animal, and nation on this planet. Human activities in past decades have raised serious issues related to environment and its conservation. Air pollution, poor management of its waste, growing water scarcity, falling ground water tables, water pollution, waste disposal, desertification, endangered species, preservation and quality of forest, biodiversity loss, and land/soil degradation, Global Climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, Global Warming, Greenhouse effect, Acidification, Ozone depletion and other local, regional and global level environmental problems and genetically modified foods are the current environment problem that make us vulnerable to disasters and tragedies now and in the future. Currently, the situation of environment is very poor that could never be imagined by our ancestor in previous time. We have endlessly spoiled our environment by using its resources in very wrong way. We can see that every day and everywhere pollution is rapidly increasing on earth where it is air, land, water or soil pollution, deforestation, acid rain, and other dangerous disasters created by the human beings through technological advancement. Use of natural resources should be carefully planned and executed for providing a better and healthy life to our forth coming generation. Humans have faced poor environmental conditions throughout history, but what we think of as environmental problems become more common and apparent with industrialization and urbanization. The Environmental issues are broadly classified into two categories viz local and global. Some major local and global environmental issues are given below:

Local environmental issues. These include mainly the following issues:

  1. Pollution 
  2. Waste Disposal 
  3. Desertification 
  4. Water Scarcity 
  5. Endangered Species 

 Global environmental issues: 

The main global environmental issues are as under:

  1. Global Warming
  2. Ocean acidification
  3. Environmental Pollution
  4. Acid rain
  5. Ozone depletion

Suggestions cum measures tobe taken to mitigate various local cum Global Environmental issues are as under:

The latest techniques must be employed to reduce or eliminate the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere or substances that can harm the environment or human health is the need of hour to tackle environmental issues at local as well as Global levels.

Solution to water pollution and solid waste management

  1. Water pollution, to a larger extent, can be controlled by a variety of methods. Rather than releasing sewage waste in water bodies, it is better to treat them before discharge. Practicing this can reduce the initial toxicity.
  2. Eco responsibility followed by “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” approach need to be adopted to overcome solid waste management. Eco-responsibility pertains to the three Rs mantra of reuse, reduce and recycle. Local communities, authorities and state need to put more efforts towards the education of waste management.
  3. Policy changes related to how much people can farm and how much they can farm on a certain area could be put into place to help reduce the problems that are often associated with farming and desertification.
  4. Save water whenever and whatever possible could mean limiting the use of water, the use of washing machines, taking short showers instead of full baths.  We should also try to convince our family and friends to save water.
  5. There are plenty of technologies available that allow us to recycle rain water and other water that we use in our homes. Not only will it help to prevent scarcity, but it can save money as well. Advanced technologies need to be applied to conserve water.

 

Solution to save endangered species:

  1. The endangered species act (ESA), passed in 1973, was enacted to halt the rapid loss of plant and animal life. Frequently referred to as the “crown jewel” of our nation’s environmental laws, the ESA has been responsible for saving many species formerly on the brink of extinction
  2. Learn about endangered species in your area. Teach your friends and family about the wonderful wildlife, animals and plants. First step to protecting endangered species is learning about how interesting and important they are.
  3. Recycle and buy sustainable products-buy recycle paper, sustainable products like bamboo etc to protect forest species. Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species.
  4. Herbicides and pesticides may keep yards looking nice but they are in fact hazardous pollutants that effect wildlife at many levels.
  5. Harassing wildlife is cruel and illegal shooting, trapping or forcing a threatened or endangered animal into captivity is also illegal and can lead to their extinction. Don’t participate in this activity.

Solutions to Stop Global Warming:

  1. To reduce global warming, we can reduce the contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
  2. Another way to reduce global warming is recycling. Recycling can reduce garbage by reusing plastic bags, bottles, papers or glass. For instance, when we buy foods, we can use our own containers instead of plastic bags. Besides, turn off electricity if unused. Buy products that have energy saving ability because it saves cost and in turn saves environment.
  3. Finally, humans should stop excess open burning of fossil fuels and garbage to minimize addition of greenhouse gases into atmosphere. Planting trees will help to improve the temperature on earth by their cooling effect and ability to regulate water cycle through transpiration. 

Solutions to Ozone Layer Depletion:

  1. Following are some points that would help in preventing this problem at global level:
  2. Avoid Using Pesticides-Natural methods should be implemented to get rid off pests and weeds instead of using chemicals. One can use eco-friendly chemicals to remove the pests or remove the weeds manually.
  3. Minimize the Use of Vehicles-The vehicles emit large amount of greenhouse gases that lead to global warming as well as ozone depletion. Therefore, the use of vehicles should be minimized as much as possible.
  4. Use Eco-friendly Cleaning Products-Most of the cleaning products have chlorine and bromine releasing chemicals that find a way into the atmosphere and affect the ozone layer. These should be substituted with natural products to protect the environment.
  5. The Use of Nitrous Oxide should be Prohibited-

The government should take actions and prohibit the use of harmful nitrous oxide that is adversely affecting the ozone layer. People should be made aware of the harmful effects of nitrous oxide and the products emitting the gas so that its use is minimized at the individual level as well.

                     Conclusion:

     According to the IPCC, 2019: Climate Change and Land report, 75% of Land on the planet and 66% of oceans have been severely altered by humans. Approximately one million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction mainly due to loss of natural habitat. Now we should take concrete measures at global level to safeguard the natural world and help restore ecosystems as a whole. We can only achieve ecological balance by restoring native species that have gone extinct. It is time to help nature heal by rewinding the Earth. By healing the nature and ecosystems as well as life-supporting functions they provide, including clean air, unpolluted water and healthy soils so that same can be re-established. Another step towards mitigation of global environmental issues is Ecosystem Restoration which denotes assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded by activities like pollution and deforestation. Ecosystem Restoration can also be promoted by conserving the ecosystems that are still intact. Healthy ecosystem and rich biodiversity yield greater benefits such as more fertile soils, bigger yields of fish and timber. Ecosystem Restoration can happen by actively planting trees or by removing pressures on the ecosystem by protecting environment and reducing the increasing level of pollution.

The author is Regional Director Department Of Social Forestry Kashmir

 

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