We hear of extreme climate event taking place across the globe on a regular basis. A few weeks ago, in India, people experienced in J & K, Assam and Meghalaya experienced devastating floods. This has led to untold misery, loss of human life, damage to local infrastructure etc. It takes years to return to normalcy after these events, and even longer in poor
er countries. Sadly though, extreme events are happening more frequently now.
Last few decades of human activities has had a cascading effect on our climate. There have been steep increases in the emissions of Greenhouse gases. This has caused noticeable changes in local weather patterns all across th
e globe. All countries are taking steps to reduce the use of fossil fuels like petroleum and coal - the main culprits for CO2 generation. Many countries are trying alternate source of energies like Solar, Wind etc. Such measures require large capital, advanced technologies & a most importantly, a clear vision by the Government.
However, it is not all up to the Government. As an individual citizen, we too have a responsibility to help mitigate GHG generation by changing our lifestyles. We can take following steps in this regard:
Countries all over the world are facing severe water crisis. This includes drinking water and water for irrigation. However due to pollution, surface water, especially in developing countries like India, is severely contaminated, making it unfit for consumption. This has increased our dependency on ground-water. However, because this extraction has been un-checked, it has resulted in alarming drops in these levels. Our attitude towards water like USE & DISCARD should change to USE, RECYCLE, REUSE, CONSERVE. Discard – as the last resort. Natural recharge through rain-water percolation is reducing due to the increasing concretisation of our urban landscape. We must recharge our open wells / bore wells through rain-water harvesting. Remember rain water is a primary source of water supply. There is the need the save every drop of rain water.
Local methods of ground water recharge are simple & economical. The know-how is also locally available. Citizens can and should adopt such methods. By preventing domestic sewage entering surface water like rivers, we save on energy to filter and purify surface water. Saving of 1 Kwh of electricity reduces 0.65 kg of CO2 emissions. Similarly, increasing ground water reduces dependency on tanker water. That, in turn, reduces use of diesel or petrol, which reduces CO2 emissions.
Recycling and Re-use of water saves energy. Saving on energy saves on costs and CO2 emissions. Every little bit we can do helps to achieve the bigger goal.
Solid waste management is very critical in our big and small cities. Large amount of un-disposed garbage generates large amount of methane, a gas more harmful than CO2 (for the environment). In 2001, the hon’ble Supreme Court passed a ruling which calls for us to segregate waste at source. However this is not followed in letter & spirit any household or other establishments in India.
Domestic waste is 40 % of the total waste generated. Individual house owners can segregate garbage & dispose wet garbage in compost to convert it into manure. This will help in creating organic manure thereby reducing the use of other harmful chemical fertilisers. This will also reduce methane emissions.
Domestic Electric Energy:
Every individual should replace tube lights with 8 or 10 watt CFL bulbs. Where possible, we need to use newer technology domestic appliances, which are energy efficient. These small steps will reduce usage by a few Kwh. Collectively, however, these small steps will save lots of energy & help reduce CO2 generation. It’s effect will be felt more in commercial, industrial & agriculture sector – due to a larger use of energy in those sectors.
Use of battery operated trasport (scooters, rickshaws, cars etc) should be encouraged. Not only will this reduce CO2 generation, but Air pollution too will be reduced. Such transportation is now available in the Indian market. Transport sector contributes more in CO2 generation, more so, in our cities.
Tree cover is reducing at an alarming rate across India. Trees absorb CO2 & release Oxygen. They are a habitat for birds, flora & fauna. With tree cover vanishing, with increasing CO2 emissions, air pollution is on the increase. Green tree cover can be used to help reduce rise in city temperatures. We should plant native trees & nurture it to grow. This individual act too will help reduce CO2 in atmosphere.
Let us save our mother earth. Our very survival depends on her sound health, we are responsible for her falling health.