Wreaking havoc from ground to sky!
By Vijay Darda | Published: June 5, 2023 08:00 AM 2023-06-05T08:00:00+5:30 2023-11-07T13:09:14+5:30
All the living beings on Earth are engaged in the conservation of nature, but humans are the only ones ...
All the living beings on Earth are engaged in the conservation of nature, but humans are the only ones involved in the destruction of nature by their acts right from the ground to the skies. It is critical to understand that nature will survive without us, but we will not survive without nature even for a single moment!
The monster that is destroying the environment today was created long before the world formally and unitedly expressed concern for the environment for the first time in the form of World Environment Day. Although there are many monsters destroying the environment, I am focussing on plastic because the theme of World Environment Day 2023 is ‘Solutions to plastic pollution’.The world started celebrating World Environment Day in 1972 but plastic was discovered only in the first decade of the 20th century. No one could have predicted that it would one day sound the death knell for us. When the production of polythene bags began in the 1950s, the situation became more acute. It was initially used in industries, but it swiftly spread to every household. When I was a kid, everyone carried a bag with them when they left the house. There were no polythene bags in the market at the time. The situation today is no secret. When purchasing anything, people need polythene bags. Although the government has prohibited its use, the harsh reality is that polythene bags are nonetheless manufactured and used widely. These polythene bags are damaging our planet and depleting our water sources. Drains are getting choked. Animals, birds and sea creatures are all dying by ingesting it.
So the question is what is the solution? For this, I would like to give you an example. Some two and a half decades ago, when polythene bags started flying in the air and the drains started getting choked in the plains of Ladakh, the women of Leh decided that they would not use polythene bags under any circumstances. This decision in a way took the form of a mass movement and the entire area of Leh became polythene-bag free. If a tourist brought such a bag and threw it somewhere, the women would collect it and throw it down from the mountains. The production and use of polythene has completely stopped officially now. Just imagine, if such efforts like Leh are initiated everywhere, how long will it take to bring about a change? We have to understand that nothing is going to happen just by making laws. We have to change our attitude. We throw these bags everywhere. To be honest, we are sowing poison for ourselves. If you make a habit of keeping one or two cloth bags with you while leaving the house, you can get rid of the harmful polythene bags to a great extent. Determination is all you need.
We all have to accept that human beings are solely responsible for destroying the environment, while every other living being is involved in the conservation of the environment. Scientists believe that if humans are taken away from Earth for a few years, it (Earth) will revert to its natural form. However, if the plants are removed, humans will not survive even for a day! You will be surprised to know that since humans began farming around 12,000 years ago, they have destroyed more than half of the world’s trees. We are planting fewer trees and destroying forests faster. The wildlife species are rapidly becoming extinct. We must understand that every living being in nature’s creation is interconnected. If living beings are dying, it is affecting us too.
I would like to discuss one more big factor that is wreaking havoc on our ecosystem. I was looking at the footage of the war between Russia and Ukraine and the black cloud of gunpowder made me wonder how much gunpowder the world emits in the air each year. I don’t have an official figure but you will agree that every ounce of gunpowder pollutes the air which is critical to our survival. In terms of chronology, gunpowder was discovered in China around 300 years before Christ. China first sold it to the United Kingdom and France. Today, gunpowder is wreaking havoc on people all around the world. Those who come into its contact are killed, and even those who do not come into its contact are killed too, when the gunpowder poison enters their lungs. You like it or not, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulphur are killing you slowly. Did you know that during WW-II, almost three lakh tonnes of arms and ammunition were dumped in the Baltic Sea near Germany, polluting the entire sea!
Lord Mahavir, Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi knew the consequences of war and therefore, they preached non-violence. We won’t need even an ounce of gunpowder if we follow in their footsteps! Unfortunately, the reality today is that we are not only destroying the ground and sea, we are damaging the skies too. The nitric oxide emitted by the supersonic aircraft is damaging the ozone layer. News has come in that China is digging a 10 kilometre deep hole in the Earth. Russia has already dug an 11 kilometre deep hole. Who knows where our thirst for technology will lead us to?
In fact, raising environmental consciousness is the most pressing requirement now. This subject should be included in every school’s curriculum because children are our greatest hope. Let me give you an example of the same. My grandchildren, Aryaman and Shivaan, founded the ‘Little Planet Foundation’ to raise environmental awareness. The number of children joining the foundation is increasing fast. I recently read a write-up on bees by Aryaman and Shivaan. It opened my eyes. Humans are fast destroying bees, which play a crucial role in pollinating fruits and vegetables and provide millions of dollars worth of honey for free. Aryaman and Shivaan are at present creating awareness on this issue only because they were taught to be so in their schools. The scenario may change if the students right from government to private schools are taught in the same manner. However, looking at human behaviour, I get scared that this should not push the human race towards extinction some day! We, the humans, must realise that nature will survive without us... but we cannot survive without nature!
The author is the chairman, Editorial Board of Lokmat Media and former member of Rajya Sabha.Open in app