What does the term ‘Environment’ mean? In most literal sense ‘Environment’ simply means the natural world, or the surroundings, in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. A healthy environment ensures the continual existence and survival of all life on earth. What if the physical and biological components of the earth system are contaminated to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected! It leads environmental pollution, which is increasing with every passing year and causing grave and irreparable damage to the earth.
The present environmental condition of Bangladesh is not in equilibrium at all. Severe air, water and noise pollutions are threatening human health, ecosystems and economic growth of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been ranked 4th among 91 countries with worst urban air quality in the latest air pollution monitoring report of World Health Organization (WHO).
Environmental pollution had been a discussed issue of life for many years but it became a burning one since the start of the industrial revolution. Environment pollution is illustrated by deforestation, destruction of wetlands and inland fisheries, soil nutrient depletion and inland sanity intrusion. Furthermore, natural calamities like flood, cyclones, tidal surges and tornadoes have resulted in severe socio-economic and environmental damage by a combination of factors. These factors include: a large and rapidly growing population; industrial development without sufficient protection from pollution; improper use of chemicals and pesticides in farming; poorly designed flood control systems, drainage and irrigation works; over cutting and indiscriminate felling of forests and royalties for forest products; lack of community control over open access resources; inadequate land use planning and institutional weakness among the public agencies in charge of environmental protection and natural resource management. However, the major root of man- made problems is lack of understanding of ecological principles, poverty and lack of adequate alternate resources.
Environment is the first casualty for increase in pollution whether in air or water. The increase in the amount of greenhouse gases particularly carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is due to new industries that are being set up, new vehicles on roads and trees that are cut to make way for new homes leads to melting of polar ice caps which increases the sea level and pose danger for the people living near coastal areas and also leads to smog which can restrict sunlight from reaching the earth, and contribute to the depletion of ozone layer. Gases like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide can cause acid rain. Water pollution due to contamination of water, such as oil spill, may pose skin related problems including skin irritations and rashes, and may lead to death of several wildlife species. Similarly, noise pollution leads to hearing loss, stress and sleep disturbance. Due to constant release of industrial chemicals waste into the flowing water, and use of insecticides and pesticides, affects the quality of soil and the soil may become infertile preventing proper growth of plants. All types of pollution– air, water and soil pollution – have an impact on the living environment. The effects in living organisms may range from mild discomfort to serious diseases such as cancer to physical deformities; extra or missing limbs in frogs.
This entire planet is our home. We are the only species that systematically destroy our own habitat. We cause most of the pollution and we will suffer the consequences if we don’t stop. By doing what we can, educating our self, and sharing our awareness, we can make a significant impact. Some of the pollution prevention approaches include: increasing efficiency in energy use; reducing the use of water and chemical input; use of environmentally benign fuel sources; protection of sensitive areas; repairing leaky faucets and hoses; switching to “green” cleaners; modifying a production process to produce less waste; implementing water and energy conservation practices; using reusable water bottles instead of throw-away and many more.
We live in an ecosystem where the action of one has the potential to affect the many. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what the action is. Our mistakes have polluted the environment that we live in. We should try to reverse the damage. The good thing is that every positive action counts. The small effort we make towards a greener environment can start a healing ripple effect. We may still save what is left of our natural resources and make the world a better place to live in for our future generation.
Healthy environment reduces pollution, protects unique ecosystems, prevents the extinction of endangered species and conserves resources, such as water, land and air. A healthy environment ensures the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems upon which human life and all other life on earth depends. Environmental pollution is also closely related with the process of overall economic development. Safeguarding the environmental quality by controlling environmental pollution is interlinked with the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. Thus, it is crucial to control pollution because “if we heal the earth, we heal ourselves”. Moreover nature, wildlife and human life are precious gifts to the mankind.
Aboni Nasir is a graduate pharmacist. She has completed her gradation under department of pharmacy of East West University. She has interest on public health and recent health issues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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