Environment refers to the physical elements. It includes the land, water and air. It is the living ecosystem that maintains the existence of human life. The term environment is derived from a French word ‘Environia” which means to surround. In other words environment can be defined as the sum total of all the living and non-living things and their effects that influence human life.
The main environmental issues faced in India are pollutions namely air pollution, water pollution, noise pollution, disposing chemical waste improperly, leakage of harmful gases, etc. are just few among the environmental problems.
Pollutions refer to imbalance caused in the environment through the actions of humans. This imbalance can lead to health-related issues which can affect the future generations. It is caused by man-made activities. It is necessary to protect the environment because the present generations are mere care-takers of the future generations. It is their responsibility to give the earth to the future in a proper and healthy manner. Let us try to understand the different types of pollution and their effects on the environment.
Air Pollution: Air pollution is the release of pollutants such as gases, particles, biological molecules, etc. in to the air that is harmful to human health and the environment. In other words, it refers to the contamination of air by harmful gases, dust and smoke which affect biotic and abiotic things. It is necessary to maintain the correct amount of gases present in the atmosphere such as 78% of nitrogen, 21% of oxygen and the remaining is other gases. When there is an increase of other gases in the atmosphere it can result in global warming, ozone layer depletion, cancer diseases, breathing issues, skin problems, acid rains, asthma, etc. For example: Delhi is the existing example of air pollution. It causes a new weather in Delhi know as smog which is a mixture of smoke (emitted from vehicles, factories and other sources) and fog. It causes serious health issues for the people living there.
Noise Pollution: Noise pollution or Sound Pollution refers to that unwanted sound that interferes with a person’s peaceful existence. India is a developing country. Movement of people and goods for such economic and urban development is necessary. As a result, there is immense noise produced by the trains, buses, vehicles, trucks, airplanes, huge rallies for various reasons, etc. In residential areas we can see loud music played by residents. High noises levels can lead to cardiovascular and permanent hear impairment. It can even cause change in the behavioural aspect of a person. It can cause stress, lack of sleep, and other harmful effects on the health of an individual. Moreover, this earth not only belongs to humans. Loud noises can frighten animals as well; it can cause sudden heart attacks to such animals.
Water Pollution:. Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies with man-made affluents, chemicals, waste, etc. Such disposal is harmful for humans and the living organisms in such water-bodies. There are instances of where the court has stopped an industry from functioning due to improper disposable of waste in the locality. The effect of water pollution often leads to death, skin rashes, pinkeye, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, etc. Three-fourth of the Earth is covered with water. But less than 1% of the earth’s freshwater is accessible to us.
Land Pollution: This pollution is on-process and the effects such pollution will be evident at an unexpected situation. The land is abused and deteriorating constantly. This is caused by the solid wastes, untreated chemical affluents, etc. In other words, it is the degradation or destruction of the soil and groundwater.
Destruction of the environment can lead to various calamities. In order to prevent such disaster or calamities, laws are implemented to protect the environment for the livelihood of present and future generations. Environmental Protection Act, 1986:- Section 2(a) states that environment includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants and property.
After India got independence from British rule, formed its own constitution by 1950 but The leaders of the country gave more priority to the economic development and elimination of poverty in the country. As a consequence the constitution did not deal much about the environmental aspects. It was only in 1972, during a United Nations Conference on Human Environment held at Stockholm led to adoption of various measures to preserve the environment and prevent pollution. Accordingly, Indian Parliament inserted two Articles, i.e., 48A and 51A in the Constitution of India in 1976.
* Article 48 A states that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country. *Article 51A: This article mentions the Fundamental Duties that should be followed by the citizens. It also mentions to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures. *Apart from these two articles, Article 21 of the constitution includes the right to clean and healthy environment.