Need for environmental protection
Engr Sabir Hussain
Global atmospheric temperature is continuously increasing due to greenhouse gases which in consequences affect climate, ozone, food production, air quality index and melting of glaciers. Computer climate models estimate that the average global temperature will rise by a further 1.8 degree centigrade to 4 degree centigrade by the year 2100. For sustainable development it is vital to manage and preserve ecosystems as they are interconnected elements of the environment.
In recent years, the environment has become a major issue all over the world and various steps have been taken for its protection. The United Nations held its first international conference on Human Environment from 5-16 June, 1972 in Stockholm. Since then, the World Environment Day is celebrated all over the world on this day. To follow up the Stockholm declaration, Pakistan established the Ministry of Environment and Pakistan Environmental Protection Ordinance (PEPO) was enacted on December 31, 1983 along with an apex body for the formulation of national environment policies and programs called Environmental Protection Council.
Here, it is to be mentioned that the major contributor to greenhouse effect after water vapors is carbon dioxide, which is being emitted from vehicles and coal plants. Currently, the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are raising by over 10 percent every 20 years. For instance, this huge amount of carbon emission is depleting the ozone layer, present in stratosphere which is the second lower most part of the earth’s atmosphere. In addition, the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiations which can cause skin cancer and high mutation rate if reached the earth’s surface. In 2006, the formation of hole in ozone was maximum recorded over Antarctica during peak summer. The “Vienna Convention” on environment is mainly a global initiative related to the protection of ozone layer.
The accumulation of greenhouse gases in the troposphere, the lower most part of the atmosphere, blocks the re-radiation of heat to atmosphere absorbed by the earth during sunlight. Furthermore, this increase in earth’s temperature is devastating the balanced ecosystem causing some species to be vanished completely over the time. Similarly, causing the glaciers to melt more than the normal level can result increase in the sea level, floods and soil erosion. The average American emits 13x per capita more greenhouse gases than an average Pakistani. According to environmental researchers, breathing the air of Mexico City is like smoking three cigarette each day. Thus, the “Kyoto Protocol” was globally signed to reduce carbon emissions of six greenhouse gases to level lower than those of 1990.
The combination of smoke and fog results in smog. According to a survey of environmental experts, the air quality index of Lahore, was recorded the worst in the world which can cause irritation in eyes and severe medical complications in children and elderly people. Furthermore, incomplete combustion of fuel results in carbon monoxide (CO) production which is extremely toxic to humans and animals. Although approximately 2.5 billion people in developing countries rely on fuel wood, charcoal, and animal dung for cooking, but, carbon monoxide and hemoglobin have a strong natural attraction for each other. In addition, hemoglobin in our blood absorbs CO 250 times faster than oxygen which in consequences causes birth defects and impaired fetal growth. Also, CO is particularly hazardous to people with heart disease, anemia and respiratory problems.
Therefore, growing new trees and strict legislation to cut down deforestation ratio to minimum are the most economical and efficient ways to overcome this environmental degradation. Plants use carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis to make glucose. In fact, they are also known as the lungs of atmosphere.
Furthermore, the concept of agroforestry and social forestry can be beneficial in which plantation of tree along with monocot crops, roads, rail sides and unused fields is carried out. Similarly, air pollution from automobiles can be controlled by fitting catalytic converters and convincing people to use public transport instead of personal vehicles. In conclusion, environment friendly policy should be adopted along with the reduction, reusage, and recycling adoption to avoid the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) emission.
The writer is a satellite engineer by profession. He did B.Sc Electrical Engineering (Telecom) from the COMSATS University, Lahore Campus and M.Phil in Space Science from the University of Punjab, Lahore. He can be contacted at: email@example.com.