World Environment Day 2021: Urgent need to combat depleting condition of environment by restoring ecosystem
By Kishan Jain
The Covid-19 outbreak is one of the biggest challenges that the human race has had to ever endure. This almost apocalyptic situation is an indication of the disharmony in nature’s equilibrium. It is telling of the repercussions of encroachment and mistreatment of nature and its abundance by humans. While there is a lot to debate around the cause and spread of the virus, the role of humans lies uncontested. Our short-sighted approach to our environment has led to degradation and a climate crisis that has not only caused the surge in new and fatal diseases like the Covid-19 but also threatened the future of –our planet and its inhabitants.
‘Ecosystem Restoration’ which is this year’s theme, showcases the importance of preserving the resources of our planet, exploring sustainable technologies, and innovative designs that can reconstruct the world’s ecosystems. We must aim at developing new technologies that have directed to more environment friendly methods, more ownership of our resources such as the transformation to solar as well as renewable energy sources.
The pandemic has also been an eye-opener for us all, as we witnessed a positive impact of the lockdown on our environment. A visible change in the quality of air and water is a ray of hope that maybe it isn’t too late to restore our environment.
But, where do we start?
The first step to undo the harm we have already caused is by creating awareness and encouraging climate literacy. Only when we truly understand the magnitude of the issue can we find innovative ways to solve the problem. With the correct knowledge and tools at our disposal, we will be able to fight this battle against climate change. Youth Climate activists like Greta Thunberg have set the ball rolling and we must take it forward by educating ourselves and those around us of the various challenges that our planet faces today to find ways to restore the earth to its former glory.
A simple act of planting trees can make a huge difference. Afforestation and reforestation will not only improve the quality of soil and air but also slow down the effects of climate change by improving the organic carbon levels in the soil, thereby preventing desertification. It also enables the reversal of the greenhouse effect by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen that will generate clear, fresh, and unpolluted air. In a post-Covid-19 world where people are likely to be at risk of respiratory diseases, the need for cleaner air cannot be stressed enough. The government of India has devised many schemes like National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme, National Mission for a Green India (GIM), and Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPM) for this cause. This will also help restore the balance in the wild, as endangered species get a chance to thrive in their natural habitat. On an individual level, we can help the government by planting more trees in our gardens and neighbourhood.
Another issue plaguing our environment is plastic pollution. From our lands to our rivers and oceans, plastic wastes are everywhere. They are not only affecting the quality of our crops and groundwater but also severely impacts marine life. The government has taken various steps to curb and manage plastic wastes such as a ban on plastic carry bags and on multi-layered plastic products that cannot be recycled. Local governing bodies also encourage the segregation of waste at source and discourage the usage of single-use of plastic. We can support these efforts by ensuring that we segregate our domestic wastes, reduce the use of plastic whenever sustainable alternatives are available, and organize or participate in clean-up drives in our location.
Advancement in technology is bringing about progressive change and significantly contributing towards the efforts made in restoring the environment. Covid-19 has accelerated the use of technology such as BOTs, machine learning, artificial intelligence which have been instrumental in devising and creating environment-friendly and energy efficient solutions. Such technologies will continue to play an important role in supporting mankind to take the right step towards sustainability practices and tackle some of the severe obstacles faced by the ecosystem.
Additionally, the Indian government has been taking multiple steps to encourage the use of sustainable LED lights. For instance, the Gram Ujala scheme was launched in order to provide the world’s most low-cost LED bulbs in rural regions at a mere cost of ₹10. Apart from this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also launched ‘The Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All’ scheme in 2015 with an aim to replace 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The scheme was implemented in order to set up LED distribution in phases across India nullifying the high cost of LEDs thereby providing energy-efficient products at affordable prices.
Every little effort from us will help collectively improve the environment and restore our Earth. It is never too late to take action and responsibility to preserve our environment. As responsible citizens of this nation, we must prioritize the environment and do our bit to restore it. This Environment Day, let us all pledge to educate ourselves and take urgent action to combat the depleting condition of the environment and create a sustainable ecosystem that can be restored for our future generations.
(The author is Director at Goldmedal Electricals. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)
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