Kumar Prashant Singh Sengar
Our country inherited several environmental problems related to the pollution and mismanagement of natural resources from last century. Insufficient efforts are made to meet out the challenges at Government and non government level, as a result of which the seriousness of the problems is increasing instead of decreasing. The challenges may be categorised broadly as below:
(A). Challenges related to the components of physical environment.
(B). Challenges related to social environment.
CHALLANGES OF PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
The main components of environment like water, air and soil due to increasing pollution and over exploitation have lost their quality and availability to common man. Now the pure water is becoming out of reach of a common man as it is sold in the market in pack bottles at the same rate at which milk is sold. If the present situation continue for few decades more and we fall to protect and conserve our natural resources, that day is likely to come before us when oxygen gas cylinders will be sold for breathing like bottled water.
As per an estimation of the total 400 million hectare meters (mham) annual precipitation that our country receives 150 mham percolate in to the soil, 180 Joins the surface flow and 70 mham-evaporates. 150 mham enters the soil of which 110 constitute soil moisture, while 40 mham percolates in to ground aqulfers. Of the 180 mham run off, irrigation projects could manage only to trap 17 mham. large dams for this purpose have generated several problems of displacement and loss of biodiversity. We could not rationalize the use of ground water. Chemical fertilizers, industrial effluents and community wastes have polluted our surface water and affecting quality of our water bodies- river lake and ponds etc. is a great challenge before us. Suitable strategies for conservation and management of surface and ground water is a big challenge and urgency of the time.
IN our country out of total 329mha of land 266 possess potential for production. Out of 143 mha agriculture land available 85 mha suffers from soil erosion. 40 mha is quite unproductive. Balance 83 mha is classified as forestland, of which half is denuded to various degrees. 4 percent of land is classified as pastureland most of which is over grazed. Water and wind erosion count for degradation of 150 mha land. Forests act as catchments for rivers. With increasing demand of water, plans to harness the river large irrigation projects were made. These submerged forest, displaced local people and damaged flora & fauna. To day some of big dames have become issues of social and political conflicts in some regions of the country. Now a days defining relationship between environment and development is a challenge faced by the country in new century.
Automobiles are most responsible for air pollution. Millions of automobilists every year are coming out of their production centres and increasing the intensity of air pollution. On the name of modernasation the life style of the people has changed. To design and supply of pollution free engines and oils is a big challenge. Acts enforced in this regard have proved ineffective. Awareness among people is required .
Human settlement is another major problem. Growing population and rapid urbanization could put enormus burden on human settlement. 27 percent of Indians live in urban areas. These areas show expanding trend. A large number of urban populations is urban poors and live in degraded slums. Over 30 percent of urban population live slums. Out of 3245 Indians cities and towns only 21 have full sewage and sewage treatment facility. Rural unemployment is the main cause of migration of rural people to urban centers. To keep urban centers peaceful, neat and clean we have to stop rural migration by generation opportunities of employment in rural areas which is certainly a big challenge before country in new century.
CHALLENGE OF SOCIO-CULTURAL POLLUTION
Age old Indian society has deep rooted cultural tradition, faith and values because of which it could maintain its identity during Mughal and British rule in the country. After independence, during a period of more than half century, we have certainly progressed with regard industrial and agricultural products. Now we have more roads, canals and means of communication. we have more universities, colleges and schools to educate new generations. We have become more aware, awakened and clever. Undoubtedly we are now more developed in terms of material affluence. But on another side our society has degenerated as it has deviated from it's deep rooted healthy cultural traditions, ideals and spiritual doctrine which sustained it for long time. To day, in our society, corruption has prevailed in every sphere of life and has become a beggest problem of the country.
Present day political environment of our society is quite hopeless. Now the politics has become a profession. Hardly few leaders in every party show commitment and dedication to the political principles of the party and the constitution of the Nation. Most of them worry for their own welfare instead of worrying for the welfare of the society and Nation. There is dominance of money and muscle power in to day's politics. Politics has become most safe shelter place for criminals, smugglers and even for terrorists. Is political reformation not a social problem of a biggest democratic country of the world?
In Independent India, insplte of recommendations of several committees and commissions we could not develop a model of man making education in the country. To day, we have 300 universities, 10 thousand colleges and Lacs of Higher secondary schools both Govt. and private. We are producing millions of graduates and post graduate most of them unskilled and unable to earn livelihood of their own and becoming burden on the family and society. Education unemployed youth are living under frustration and involve in antisocial activities and pollute the social environment. To day we have two types of education systems in the country. On one side, we have English medium convent school selling quality education to rich people of the society and on another side there are poor Government school without teacher and minimum infrastructural facilities giving literacy and no education. This is very dangerous and unjustful in the country of Gandhi & Vinoba.
CULTURE OF CONSUMERISM:
The culture of consumerism is basically a culture, which the developed countries of west have developed in their society. Under the influence of this culture a man has a tendency to consume more and more means and resources for his own comfort and enjoyment. A man with such a tendency become insensitive, inhuman and self centred. A self centered and insensitive man cannot think for the welfare of others. In fact consumerism is the biggest enemy for the Sustainability of a society and environment. Contrary to the western culture of consumerism traditional Indian culture promoted values of conservation, co-operation and no possessiveness.
It's a great danger before Indian society as it has come under influence of western culture. For our own social and environmental sustenance we should not follow western culture blindly. This is the demand of the time to aware and educates young generation to believe and behave in accordance to the traditional values of our own culture and denounce the culture of consumerism.
All religions in the world are meant for the welfare of entire humanity. The true followers of a religion dedicate them self to establish peace and harmony in the society. Their teachings and preaching had been doing social reforms all the times in the past. But when any religious group deviates from basic and eternal principles of religion, poisonous feelings of communalism are developed among unemployed youth and they are forced to in voice in antisocial and terrorist activities. In present time, the feelings of separatism and communalism have created terrorism in several countries of the word. Thus the terrorist activities have become a global problem of today. This is a big social challenge and dangerous problem of our country also. We have to be alert all the time because the society of our country is heterogeneous.
EFFORTS TO MEET THE CHALLENGE
For Indian environmental conservation is not a new concept. We had a long tradition of love, respect and reverence for nature. Historically, the protection of nature and wildlife formed an ardent article of faith reflected in the daily lives of people and also enshrined myths, folklore, religion, art and culture. Rulers, saints, common people had respect for wildlife. The tradition continues.
Development must be environmentally sound and sustainable without any constraint to quality of life. We in India could take it seriously, and several efforts are under way. Today in India we see the seeds of such efforts in different directions in order to meet the challenges. Voluntary agencies as well as government have made these efforts. We have already made as start to achieving the goal of sustainable development as by making efforts.
1. For sustaining life-support systems.
2. To meet the challenges of urbanization and industrialization.
3. For conserving biodiversity etc.
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Kumar Prashant singh Sengar,
Research Scholar - (Education),
M.G.C.G.V.V. Chitrakoot Satna (M.P.)