The Environment and Us

Environment, as defined in the Oxford dictionary, means the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal or plant lives or operates. So it’s not very difficult to conclude that if our environment is harmed in anyway it will definitely harm all of us equally badly. Or is it? This question may seem useless but is necessary to pose today and the situation before our eyes justifies this without a doubt.

The Industrial Revolution was undoubtedly a good thing to happen to mankind way back in 17th and 18th century but everything done in excess is bad and this equally applies to the thoughtless progress the industries are making today. Cut throat competition and profit-centric industries forget about giving a second thought, they don’t deliberate even once before polluting the environment, if the project in question is helping them in making big bucks. What to say about environment they don’t even care about their workers and working conditions barring a few. However, that is a different issue.

Start counting and you will end up with hundreds of pressing environmental concerns -climate change and global warming taking precedence nowadays amongst others like deforestation, air pollution, water pollution, soil pollution, noise pollution, e-waste management and many more.

Water pollution and water crisis is one such issue that is affecting millions of lives across the world for obvious reasons. It is as important as climate change and needs to be tackled with equal zeal and seriousness. How important our leaders and people take this issue to be is fairly evident in the way we treat water as a resource in our day to day lives. Somewhere at the back of our minds, unconsciously we consider this non-renewable resource to be renewable and ever-lasting. It will be there forever, no doubt, as three-fourth of our planet is ‘blue’. But at the same time we fail to acknowledge the fact that this water is of no use to us, until and unless desalinated.

Desalinating plants is already active in all the Gulf countries that aren’t as lucky as the rest of the world to have natural fresh water sources and ground water but then they have huge sums of money required to set up these plants. A research by Frost and Sullivan has found that in India, “around 20 major cities are on the coast line and water requirement for all of them stood at 6,627 million litres per day. They have also projected water requirement for all the coastal cities in India is estimated to be 23,607 MLD.”

As far as water contamination is concerned who hasn’t heard about the recent British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affecting thousands of human lives as well as endangering the marine life to a much larger extent. The situation is all the more worrying because the solution to cap the oil rig is still unfound. Incidents of water contamination can be seen in every big metropolis and its satellite towns where industries let out their toxic wastes in rivers and other adjacent water bodies, without treatment.

It’s high time our leaders recognize the need to save this indispensable source and start conserving it seriously without delay. Only forming policies on paper isn’t enough, implementing these policies and involving the locals/ communities is a very important aspect that needs to be kept in mind. Otherwise that time isn’t far enough when this following saying that we have heard hundred times over, will actualize itself – “water water everywhere, not a drop to drink.”

Anumeha Saxena