Though environment-related issues and crises are well known to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, but not much has been done to improve the situation and make the state free of all kind of pollutions.
Though the state is gifted with natural resources but the people as well as the successive regimes have failed to preserve this green gold which is diminishing fast. The Environment covers land, water, air as well as flora and fauna.
Evo Morales expressed what mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans. Sooner or later, we will have to recognize that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution.
It is worrisome to see unchecked human impact on the environment here in the state which has brought substantial and adverse impact on the environment. These include land degradation (deforestation), air pollution, water contamination and climate change.
Pollution is referred to any substance that negatively impacts the environment or organisms that live within the affected environment. The five major types of pollution include Water, air, light, and noise. Water pollution has become one of worst woes of a commoner the major source of water pollution is runoff from agricultural fields, industrial sites, or urban areas. Raw sewage is another type of water pollutant. It disrupts the water body’s natural balance thus denies wholesome water availability to for the daily needs. When sewage gets into the drinking water supply, serious stomach and digestive issues may result, including the spread of diseases such as typhoid or dysentery Biologic hazards found in wastewater include bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses.
Bacteria and bacterial diseases range from E. coli, typhoid fever, salmonella, cholera and shigellosis. Fungi include aspergillus. Parasites include cryptosporidium, giardia and roundworms. Viruses like hepatitis A can also be found in wastewater. Health problems caused by sewage pollution impact an estimated 3.5 million Americans each year.
A third source of water pollution is trash. Improperly disposed of items, such as plastic bags, fishing line, and other materials may accumulate in the water. Air pollution occurs when harmful chemicals or particulate matter are introduced into the atmosphere.
Depending on the type and severity, air pollution can damage human and animal health as well as the natural environment. Major contributors to air pollution are transportation, industry and agriculture, which respectively release large amounts of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and methane (to name a few) into the atmosphere. Furthermore, as air pollution changes the chemical composition of the atmosphere it can lead to systemic changes in climate systems. Particulate matter, a broad category for hundreds of different chemicals less than 10 micrometers in size, is another type of air pollutant.
It is emitted directly into the atmosphere from industrial activity, or it is formed from the chemical reactions of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere.. Acid rain harms forests, species that live in water bodies.
Soil pollution occurs as harmful man-made substances leach into the soil. This can be caused by pesticide run-off, leakage of underground storage tanks, dumping, and percolation of contaminated surface water to lower soil strata or the presence of landfills. Soil contamination by man-made pollutants can have devastating consequences to ecosystems as contaminants travel up the food chain from plants to higher-order carnivores. Contamination of soil used for agriculture or in proximity to a public drinking water source can have similarly dire consequences for human health.
Exposure to prolonged or excessive noise has been shown to cause a range of health problems ranging from stress, poor concentration, productivity losses in the workplace, and communication difficulties and fatigue from lack of sleep, to more serious issues such as cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, tinnitus .We are being bombarded with the assuring after assuring cite inexhaustible laws to deliver just to quote a few the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; The Forest Conservation Act 1980,Noise Pollution (Control and Regulation) Rules in the year 2000 The Wildlife Protection 1972 amended up to 2002,Act; Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. Rules to control pollution Solid waste Management, E-waste Management, Hazardous waste management. Battery waste management, Plastic waste management, Bio-medical waste management, Construction & demolition waste management .
The need for pure environment and the right of citizen for a healthy environment is a part of fundamental rights which is guaranteed by constitution. The Directive principles under the constitution directed towards ideals of building welfare state. Healthy environment is also one of the elements of welfare state. Decent standard of living and pollution free environment is inherent in the constitution of the country.
According to the Article 47 of the constitution, the State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties. The improvement of public health also includes the protection and improvement of environment without which public health cannot be assured.
Article 48 -A of the constitution says that “the state shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country”.
The Constitution under part III guarantees fundamental rights which are essential for the development of every individual and to which a person is inherently entitled by virtue of being human alone.
Right to environment is also a right without which development of individual and realization of his or her full potential shall not be possible.
Articles 21, 14 and 19 of this part have been used for environmental protection. There are laws and laws related to environmental protection and others. To protect and supposed to regulate the impact of human activities on broad range of activities that affect water, air and land and the interrelationship which exists between air, water and land and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism .
What baffles a common hapless citizen is that, those who are hired to contain the pollution and ensure it at the permissible level are not doing anything. The level of pollution is wide and worse spread both horizontally as well as vertically.
The main and major sources of Pollution generally in the state comes from Waste water/ septic waste from households, Industrial waste water (Industrial effluents) , Industrial smoke and other Industrial wastes.
Agricultural waste (Flow of fertilizers / pesticides with rain water), burning of waste, noise pollution, vehicular pollution are biggest contributors to air pollution.
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which took place in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, unanimously admitted that Human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development.
They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. States shall enact effective environmental legislation. At times it makes one think why the Civil Society is insensitive to this grievous pollution and take posture that of a mute spectators which concerns each of us without exception irrespective of caste, creed, colour and religion .
While it is the fundamental duty for every citizen under Article 51A of the constitution to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, wild life and to have compassion for living creatures. Civil Society lacks miserably to deliver under civil obligation besides ordained by faith for the benefit of the society of which everyone is part of it.
( The writer is a Jammu Based Environmentalist)