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Environment is a worldwide concern.

Environment is a Worldwide Concern

Man as an individual takes care of its home but ironically as a whole, destroying their living place that is the earth by polluting the environment. Survival of human life depends upon the regularity of a specific system. Air, water and soil works as the basic elements of this system. Since its very existence on this planet man has been exploiting these three natural elements in the pursuit of a better life thus unconsciously attempting to destroy the system on which his survival depends. When the forces of imbalance began to affect a system, its survival can no longer be guaranteed. The growth in the size of population is being the first source of imbalance while the technology used to improve the living standards of human being constitutes the second factor both the population and its size as well as the manner in which the standard of life is obtained are the major forces, disrupting the harmony between the man and the universe. Environmental degradation is not a new phenomenon it happened to occur from time to time. But then, escape from this trouble was possible mainly by migration from the affected or polluted area to the safer one.

Migration of the rural population to the cities began at a very high level after the Industrial revolution. Pakistan has the fourteenth highest rate of increase among countries with more than one million people. Among the nine most populous countries in the world, only Nigeria has a comparably high growth rate, and only Bangladesh, Japan, and India are more densely settled.

Thus, territorially modest Pakistan - ranking 32 in the world in land size - is expected to become the 9th most populous country by 1999, and the 8th by 2010. In other words Pakistan covers only 0.67% of the world's land, contains 2% of world's population, but in the next 10 years will account for 4% of world population growth. This disproportionate contribution to global population growth, is due to Pakistan's growth rate of 3.1% per annum. The environmental consequences of such a rapid increase are pervasive: the sub-division of agricultural land holdings, the migration of rural population.

The rapid industrialization at global level and limited land area of the earth brought the issue to the forefront. A number of institutions have been established in many developed and under developing countries to carry out research into the earth's environment and methods to solve pollution problems. The results of their efforts are useful to policy planners and industrialists in developing countries that are seeking ways to deal with their countries' pollution problems.

In Pakistan, however, required attention is not being paid to this issue. There must be research program initiated to improve the basic technology for processes such as the denitrization and desulphurization of industrial effluents. In many of the basic technology for these processes has already been developed, to the point where pollution from factories and building boilers no longer poses a problem, even in the large cities.

Business should be encouraged to instal cleaner equipment through special financing schemes that could include low-interest loans, and tax breaks through more attractive depreciation schedules for equipment at the national level and reductions in property taxes at the local level. These measures could have ben effective in helping to reduce the levels of environmental pollution.

In Japan, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES) has been successful in achieving concrete results with a number of its projects. For example, it used a photo chemical chamber to prove that chloroflurocarbons destroy the ozone layer of the atmosphere. It has also shown that an increase in the amount of ultraviolet light reaching the earth as a result of damage to the ozone layer will in fact be harmful to plants.

The Institute has also shown that global warning will not change the composition of ozone contained in photo chemical oxidants which cause photo chemical smog, but will lengthen the period that high-density ozone will remain in the atmosphere. Its research has also yielded better methods for evaluating trends in global warning.

Polluting discharges should not be made close to water supplies; clearing forests could alter microclimates and risk provoking floods and erosion. Hygiene in villages and in towns are important for health as well as for environment reasons. In Pakistan we had not yet made environment protection one of our top priorities. It is of great importance for developing countries like us, that its approach to development is to recognise that economic development and environmental protection are both essential and are mutually dependent. The one cannot be achieved without the other and vice versa. It is self evident that economic development and in particular agricultural production is essential. Because too many are poor and hungry, while population is growing rapidly. But the whole challenge lies in how to achieve this without at the same time degrading the environment and the natural resources of which tomorrow's even larger population is going to have to live. This dilemma is at its most acute in the poorest countries and it is in such countries that conscious efforts to protect the environment and natural resources are most essential; yet they are the countries. In which it is most difficult to take thought for the problems of tomorrow since those of today are so pressing. Rural development and the promotion of food security, coupled with the fight against desertification and the protection of natural resources should remain the main thrust of governmental actions and policies.

Concern for the environment and natural resources must be an integral part of every development project and programme. The need for this is now almost universally recognised. It is important also to recognise in order to avoid striking a complacent note - the very large number of acute environmental problems, directly affecting human health and well-being, such as environmental conditions in the rapidly expanding cities. The adverse health effects of inadequate controls over discharges of wastes to water courses; the lack of proper waste management facilities; problems related to dangerous installations and dangerous wastes such as harmful chemicals, pesticides etc.

As urban population is increasing, the growing number of shanty towns are faced with more acute problems. These are the areas where availability of basic hygiene conditions are a luxury. The problems of providing an adequate level of services, whether of health, education, water, transport, sanitation, so as to ensure even a minimally acceptable standard of living are everywhere more acute in the poorer areas of towns than they are in the countryside; and they become steadily more difficult as populations grow.

The hope of achieving environmental objectives is not much bright against the interests and needs of economic development. Because the overriding requirement of the poor and hungry population has to be economic growth. However, that growth has to be sustainable in order to safeguard the future. The only sure way of achieving environmental goal is to pursue them within the framework of a more broadly-based economic development approach. The issue of environmental pollution had never been a front page topic if certain drastic events had not taken places.

Such as Chernobyl, the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, drought in the Sahel, the increase in green house gases. These events had suddenly accelerated an awareness of these problems that the ecologists had the foresight to predict. Perhaps the most important achievement in this regard is the universal recognition. Unlike many other environmental problems, the effects of global warning is not being felt seriously. Greenhouse gases are increasing in the earth's atmosphere, due to which, the world's temperature is increasing. According to a careful analysis the world's average temperature will rise between 2-6 degrees centigrade by the end of the 21st century. This warming will change the world by shifting climatic zones, disrupting agriculture and threatening survival of forests, raising sea levels and inundating low-lying coastal areas, causing drought and flooding in areas accustomed to moderate weather. The effect on people throughout the world promises to be worse than anything, humanbeings have experienced in recorded history.

Greenhouse gases are a compound of different chemicals that help to retain heat in the earth's atmosphere instead of letting it bleed off into space. They include carbondioxide (CO2) from the burning of fossil fuels and plant material (mainly forests); methane (CH4) from livestock, landfills and rice paddies; chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) used in airconditioners and refrigerators; and nitrous oxide (NO2) from nitrogen fertiliser use, fossil fuel and biomass burning and land clearing. Carbon dioxide accounts for about half of the greenhouse effect. The majority of greenhouse gases are being produced by the developed world. The United States accounts for over one-fifth. Other Western and East Bloc countries, each contribute a similar amount.

Climatologists detect that, the global warming could be dangerous for two reasons. First it is happening quickly, over tens of years, instead of the tens of thousands of years. Second, the primary cause of the greenhouse effect is industrialized civilization itself. The sun's radiance has dropped slightly since the 1970s, and dust thrown up by recent volcanic eruptions should be keeping some sunlight from reaching the planet. Carbondioxide levels are 25 per cent higher now than they were in 1860.

Comparable climate shifts have happened before, but over tens of centuries not tens of years. The unprecedented rapid change could accelerate the already high rate of species extinction as plants and animals fail to adapt quickly enough. For the first time in history humans are affecting the ecological balance of not just a region but the entire world, all at once. The only solution could be the cutting down of greenhouse gas emissions scientists at least can develop means and ways to slow down the warming. Energy conservation is the most important in this regard.
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Title Annotation:Comments
Author:Jabbar, Bushra
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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