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How India’s Environmental Issues Have Been Made Worse By Global Warming?
When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water – Benjamin Franklin
All of us are very much aware of the ongoing environmental issues. In fact, we are educated to take care of Mother Earth right from our childhood days. However, despite all the awareness drives and environmental protection campaigns to remind the masses of the lasting repercussions it could have, people are still neglecting the aspect. And now, over the last few years, the rise in industrial activities, mindless burning of fossil fuels, and an upward graph in the greenhouse gases have further worsened the issue and are posing a serious threat to all forms of life on Earth.
All this put together has given rise to a grim problem, which we today refer to as global warming. Global warming essentially deals with the unusual rise in Earth’s average surface temperature. As per the Annual Climate Report released by NOAA in 2020, the combined temperature of land and ocean put together has risen at an average rate of 0.13 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880.
For a country like India, which already faces ...
... heaps of environmental issues, global warming has only added to the tension. As such, the need of the hour is to educate the youth of today, who would go to become the leaders of tomorrow. They would be acting as change agents who would help restore the downfall caused by global warming.
With a similar objective in mind and to make the youth aware of how they can help contribute to the environment, we, at Tribhuvan College, one of the leading environmental science colleges in Delhi NCR, have introduced a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Environmental Science, and Water Management program. This is an opportunity for all those young minds of the nation who wish to actively contribute to solving the various issues that our Mother Earth is posed with by attaining an all-new level of knowledge and skills in this regard.
What Do India’s Environmental Issues Look Like?
We recently celebrated World Environment Day on June 5th, 2021. However, if you see, our country, India, is still lagging in terms of meeting environmental norms.
The UN has dedicated this decade to ecosystem restoration, something that is a priority for India. Do you know why? Solely because the air and water quality is deteriorating by the day and the climate crisis is impacting humans and agriculture alike.
Let us now look at areas where India has a lot of work to do.
The year 2020 was unbelievably the warmest year on record. To add to the woes, 2011-20 went on to become the warmest decade on record. These are indeed alarming figures, which are likely to lead to severe droughts in most parts of India.
Experts have warned that if no mitigation measures are taken, the impact on climate change would be lasting. This would showcase in the form of increasing heatwaves and erratic rainfall trends in the near future.
India is prey to air, water, and soil pollution alike. Around 80% of surface water in India is polluted by sewage and garbage. On the other hand, groundwater is impacted by an array of organic and inorganic sources.
A report released by CPCB stated that India's major rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, and Godavari haven’t witnessed any improvement in the water quality despite the Government having treatment plans in place.
According to a Lancet report, 1.67 million deaths were reported in India due to air pollution.
Additionally, deforestation, industrial wastage, decrease in soil fertility, and excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides have led to soil pollution.
Scientists and marine resource managers have made claims that ocean acidification can have a significant impact on marine organisms. This has ended up making ocean acidification an environmental concern in India.
Surface waters have gone to become 30 percent more acidic than they were at the start of the industrial era.
Primarily, ocean acidification is a result of an increase in the proportion of carbon dioxide in the air.
It has been remarked by scientists that forest fires in some parts of Northern India have been the strongest in the last 15 years. Deaths have been reported due to forest fires, which make it an even serious environmental concern.
The Global Forest Watch Research has stated that the higher the temperature fluctuates from normal; the higher are the chances of forest fires taking place.
Hence, it all begins with keeping the temperature under check.
Yet another environmental concern that is faced by India is that of Acid rain. For those who aren’t aware, acid rain is nothing but a reaction that occurs when sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are emitted into the air and cause rain.
Vehicles such as cars, trucks, and buses are primarily responsible for these emissions. Increased industrialization is yet another cause of acid rain.
Various parts of India, including Nagpur, Allahabad, Visakhapatnam, and Kodaikanal, have already seen traces of acid rain.
Loss of Biodiversity:
Facts suggest that over 90% of the area in India, which used to be biodiversity hotspots, have now been lost. There is no denying that the root cause of this problem is the ever-growing population.
Excessive land usage, deforestation, poaching, and pollution are other factors that lead to the loss of biodiversity.
Loss of biodiversity is likely to have a direct impact on human health. Allied problems include local migration, unsteady income levels, impact on livelihoods, and in some cases, may even lead to political conflicts.
Poor Waste Management:
India’s inability to effectively manage wastes is viewed as another serious environmental threat. The unsafe disposal of wastes gives rise to the generation of dangerous gases and leachates.
Poor waste management affects many ecosystems and species. This has a lot to do with the direct correlation between poor waste management on one hand and climate change and air pollution on the other.
In India, the recycling sector is informal. In most cases, the waste pickers lack formal training. Few waste pickers even burn waste in landfills, which then ends up causing air pollution.
Depletion of the Ozone layer:
The ozone layer is of utmost importance because it acts as a protective shield and prevents the harmful ultra-violet rays from reaching the Earth.
However, in the current times, pollution caused by chlorofluorocarbons in the air has led to holes being created in the ozone layer. Satellite observations have shown that in 2021, the ozone hole has reached its maximum in India. It is the 13th-largest since 1979. This is most definitely not a good sign and needs immediate attention.
Over the years, India has been facing many such environmental concerns. What is important is to take corrective action. An ideal way out is to sensitize the youth about their responsibilities to the environment.
One such step in this direction has been taken by us at the Tribhuvan College, a renowned environmental science college in Delhi NCR. This comes in the form of the 4-year Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Environmental Science, and Water Management course. The objective of this course is to expose students to the global framework, alongside which crucial environment-based decisions will have to be taken in the coming decade. This would be an appropriate platform for every young heart who wishes to do his/her bit for Mother Earth while also carving a career along the same lines.
How Has Global Warming Worsened India’s Environmental Issues?
It is very clear that global warming has gone ahead and influenced the environmental issues of India to an extent, from where recovery seems challenging.
Let us now get to know some of the areas where global warming has posed a further threat to humans, flora, and fauna alike.
In the year 2021 alone, India has been a victim of severe floods, cloudbursts, and landslides. This phenomenon has shown a consistent pattern across different states of India. The number of deaths, damage, and destruction caused is unbelievable. This is how global warming has further hit India's already problematic climate patterns. Scientists have concluded that because of global warming, India will face heatwaves, droughts, and rainstorms more frequently and at a greater intensity in the upcoming times.
Global warming has worsened India’s pollution levels to an extent, wherein an average person residing in Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh is expected to lose 2.5 to 2.9 years of his life expectancy. In times to come, a major chunk of people residing in India is likely to suffer from deadly illnesses such as lung cancer, stroke, or even heart diseases, for that matter.
The influence of global warming in India is such that summers have gone hotter, rains erratic, and dry spells longer. All these collectively have put India under the threat of forest fires. It is due to global warming that moisture is evaporating from the ground leading to the soil drying up and ultimately making the vegetation flammable. Contrary to this, snow has started to melt as early as a month earlier, which is leading to forests remaining dry for longer periods.
Acid rain, which is usually a result of chemical reactions, is impacted by the temperature. Global warming is undoubtedly interfering with India's temperature, which is further leading to more frequent acid rains. In the years to come, global warming is likely to give a push to the formation of acidic materials, controlling which is going to be a challenging task. Today, the impact is such that rains in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal have become acidic!
Global warming has a role to play in the area of ocean acidification as well. An important input that acts as a building block for seawater is carbonate. Due to the influence of global warming, oceans in India are low on carbonate. Moreover, ocean surface temperatures are rising at a rapid rate, which is further worsening the problem of ocean acidification. This, in turn, is likely to affect marine organisms like corals, who would then find it difficult to form their shells and skeletons. In some cases, even the existing shells may start to dissolve.
An analysis published by PNAS suggested that global warming further accelerates the loss of biodiversity. This is again a common scenario in India. India has been experiencing a loss of biodiversity at a rapid rate. Global warming is further adding to the existing woes. Global warming leads to the rise, fall, and migration of habitat, steady increase in diseases, issues with food availability, and imbalance in ecological relationships. This ends up making India’s loss of biodiversity even worse.
The Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research reports an alarming fact in this regard. It has been reported that if global warming continues in India at the same rate, India’s GDP is likely to decline by 9%! This would further worsen India's problems of unemployment, inequality, and poverty. Hence, collective efforts need to be made to bring the problem of global warming under control.
It's High Time for Our Youth to Come Forth & Help Combat Global Warming!
As one of the leading environmental science colleges in Delhi NCR, we, at Tribhuvan College, firmly believe that the ideal solution to fight off the rising environmental issues lies in educating our youth about the crucial role they can play in this regard. When the youth are properly educated about these nuances, they will not only be more driven to partake in environmental protection acts but will also assist with educating others.
Since youth are more adaptable, it would become easier for them to transition into a low-carbon lifestyle. This can then be preached to their fellow connections. Similarly, the idea of a green commute has also started appealing to the youth of India. The idea is to free the nation from harmful and toxic emissions that lead to climate change.
Youth of today also believe in adopting an energy-efficient approach. This leads them to not just save on energy but works as an equally effective cost-saving plan. It is also great to see that the youth of India have tweaked their eating habits to a point where achieving a climate-stable planet is seemingly easier.
This is why we, at Tribhuvan College, would like to urge the youth of India to understand their responsibility towards Mother Earth and initiate a thought process to contribute actively towards preserving our nature. This is exactly what we strive to achieve through our Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Environmental Science, and Water Management program.
As a part of this program, students are provided with regular opportunities to interact with the leaders and change-makers in the areas of environmental and social governance and are working on topical issues related to the environment such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, recycling of water, carbon sequestration, green infrastructure, ecological restoration, and much more.
If this course sparks an interest in you, then come forward and enroll yourself in this program. This is your opportunity to do your bit for the environment.
Come on! Let us join hands in our fight against global warming and vow to reduce the negative repercussions of global warming on India.
Hey! Myself Tanya! I work as a marketing strategist. I have been working as a content writer for various educational institutions.
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