Remember, there's no second Earth
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Remember, there's no second Earth

UN said that economic growth has come at a cost to the planet

Remember, there's no second Earth

There is no second Earth. Not at all. That’s true. Yes, we all know this fact but still there is a very little awareness among masses as we are slowly losing the battle. The environment has taken a hit on the Earth and there is no one else to blame. It is we humans who are the culprits. As we groan and moan over the environmental degradation, there should also be a resolve to take the onus to ourselves and take on the problems head on.

Earlier this year, the United Nations raised alarm by categorically stating that galloping economic growth has come at a devastating cost to the planet. The UN urged the governments, business and people around the world to act to reverse the damage before it is too late. The UN said that climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution pose a triple threat to human health and prosperity that may be averted only by transforming how we power our economies and feed ourselves. “For too long, we have been waging a senseless and suicidal war on nature,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The damage is very big and there is no doubt that it is going south. The findings of UN were backed by recent devastation all across the world. The drastic changes in the climate that we are witnessing of late has definitely been a byproduct of environment degradation. There are many causes of environment degradation.

The prime cause of environment degradation is the land disturbance. The widespread felling of trees for urban development has taken it toll on the climate. There have been many government laws against it but it is still happening and causing great damage to ecosystem. The other thing that is affecting us badly is pollution. Pollution, in whatever form, it is affecting the planet badly. Different kinds of pollution like air, water, land and noise are affecting our lives badly.

India particularly struggles with all kinds of pollution. Air pollution is a threat in bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. It is way too menacing in the national capital. The authorities try several measures to contain it but it continues unabated. Also, there is habit among people to divert the waste into the prominent rivers like Ganga and Yamuna. Even the industrial waste are diverted into these rivers. The situation has deteriorated to such a level that people feel it from senses. In Delhi, Yamuna is in such a bad state that people can feel the stink emanating from it and that too from a distance. The nature does its bit and the river gets cleaned after heavy rains but everything goes back to the square one in days.

Overpopulation is another thing which has put strain on the natural resources. As there is overpopulation, the urban expansion has become the need and it causes further pressure on the environment. The demand for food, clothes and shelter has increased exponentially. India has a more than a billion population and in terms of population, India is second in the world. Overpopulation also causes deforestation, which is among the main causes of the environment degradation. You could often see people saying that hills are being cut for urban expansion in many cities. Surely, it has resulted in environment degradation.

The cities also have bigger landfills. It pollute the environment and destroy the beauty of the city. Landfills are developed within the cities because of the large amount of waste generated by the households, industries, factories and hospitals. Landfills are great health hazards as it causes foul smell and cause environment degredation. In Delhi, one could spot mountain-sized landfills. At one point, Ghazipur landfill had also collpased dangerously. People who know the place would be able to say how difficult it is live in the surrounding areas.

The environment degradation has many effects which includes impact on human health, loss of biodiversity, ozone layer depletion and economic impact. All these things are plaguing life in India including its capital. Now we have started seeing the impact of the environment degradation in India and around the world. The news of breaking of glaciers have become too common these days. It is the real indicator of the climate change.

In a recent study, the researchers found that world’s glaciers are melting at an accelerated pace. They found that all the documented ice streams on the planet have lost almost 270 billion tonnes of ice a year over the opening two decades of the 21st century. The meltwater produced now accounts for about a fifth of global sea-level rise, the scientists tell Nature journal. One of the reasearchers’ team member Robert McNabb told BBC, “Over the last 20 years, we've seen that glaciers have lost about 267 gigatonnes (Gt) per year. So, if we take that amount of water and we divide it up across the island of Ireland, that's enough to cover all of Ireland in 3m of water each year.”

In India as well, glaciers have broken dangerously. Recently, there was a devastating flood in Himalayan state of Uttarakhand due to breaking of glacier. As the glacier broke, it fell into a valley, sending water into downstream which inundated villages and workers at a hydroelectric plant. “Glaciers around the world are under siege,” said Matthias Jurek, a mountain ecosystem expert with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  “Unless we can limit global warming, support monitoring, early warning and adaptation measures, disasters like the one in Uttarakhand will, unfortunately, become more common,” he said. About 140 were feared dead in Uttarakhand flood. The Himalayan state has often been facing the wrath of weather with frequent floods and cloud bursts as well.

Today, we know the causes of environment degradation and most of them are controllable. The need of the hour is to be a responsible citizen and start working towards improving the situation. World Environment Day is just around the corner on June 5. It is time to take a pledge to save the environment. It should be done on all the levels, from top to the bottom. Do we have any other option? Do we?