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Prosperity Through Environment

Prosperity Through Environment

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Published by Abhijit Jadhav

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Published by: Abhijit Jadhav on Sep 23, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Protection of the environment in all its forms has been receiving much publicattention at domestic and international forums. The question is by no means newbut it has acquired much greater urgency than ever before because of theceaseless pollution of the atmosphere, the reckless destruction of the multi-faceted gifts of Nature by thoughtless human beings. Among the offenders arepeople who are, or should be, aware of the folly of their deeds and theirreparable damage they are doing to the safety and prosperity of mankind, thepresent and the future generations. Hence the environmentalists' clarion call.Human existence depends upon the environment. Few persons would nowquestion the statement that we have been poisoning or destroying valuableresources on earth (including water) and also in the air
all in the name of economic development. In fact, development, expansion and growth are the keyslogans in the modern world; nothing else seems to matter. Senseless poisoning isproceeding with unbelievable speed. While genocide rightly receives severe
condemnation, ‘‘ecoside’’—
ruthless murder of the environment
has onlyrecently become a cognisable offence.After all, it is the biosphere, that is, the air and water encasing the earth, besidesthe green cover and the wildlife, that sustain life on this planet. In chemical terms,it is the mixture and fine balance of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water
vapour that is vital for life. These are operated and maintained by multiplebiological processes. For centuries man took for granted that the bounties of Nature were inexhaustible and that the resources get renewed automatically.Both these assumptions have lately been proved wrong.The struggle now is for adequate renewal of such resources as man has to useevery day, and also for preservation and protection of as many resources aspossible. Attempts are being made to check the reckless destruction of preciousenvironment. Scientists have warned that mankind might have to return to themuch-
dreaded ‘‘ice age’’ if the reckless destruction of trees, other greenery andnatural resources continues at the pace associated with ‘‘modern’’ progress,
especially in industry.A look-back in this regard would be helpful. Oddly enough, it was only in 1972that the first systematic international effort was made to take stock of thesituation and plan adequate steps to counter the process of destruction. The stepwas the UN Conference on Environment held in Sweden. The conference waspoorly attended, for political and other reasons. Then came the UN HabitatConference on Human Settlements in 1975 in Vancouver and the UNDesertification Conference in Nairobi in 1977 to check the ruinous growth of deserts.But in many ways the year 1990 marked a specific advance in the programmes forsaving mankind from disaster. The occasion marked recognition of the basic factthat the environmentalists are fighting for the concept of sustainable progress
with the belief that environment and development are not opposite poles. In thisconnection, the observation of the Brundtland Commission (in its report
published in 1987) was recalled. The commission said: ‘‘Economy is not just about
the production of wealth, and ecology is not just about the protection of Nature;they are both equall
y relevant for improving the lot of mankind.’’
 The Montreal Protocol was very much in the news in 1990. The aim of theProtocol is to save the precious ozone layer from chemical damage. Allenlightened countries now concede that destruction of the ozone layer will haveserious consequences on human, animal and plant life.There is no denying that the major culprits in causing pollution and damaging theozone layer are the developed countries. These countries have benefited allthrough the years by using cheap CFCs and have harmed the global environment.If they want the developing countries to restrain themselves from following thesame course, they should assist them. Though the developing countries produceonly a small proportion of the world output of CFCs, they require massiveassistance to switch over to new technologies and to less harmful substitutes.Therefore, a large fund is needed.
The Government of India’s growing concern over this problem is obvious from the
establishment of a department and Ministry for Environment and the series of laws passed to check the practices that endanger the environment. Among theseare: The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the Water (Pollutionand Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Environment (Protection) Act, May 1986,

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