Sunday, Jul 31, 2022 11:15 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jul 31, 2022 05:41 [IST]

Environmental change - A potential threat

MINTU SARMA

Unprecedented natural calamities that are frequently happening on the planet are tangible examples of climate change. Scorching heat, dodgy spells of rain and thunder, perilous flood and draught, towering sea waves, and massive landslides left behind a trail of death and destruction on the planet that indicate that all is not well. The increasing trend of global average temperature is a sign of the awful days that mankind is going to face near future. Indeed, global warming along with the polluted environment is a potential threat to the sustainability of the animal kingdom. It affects the weather and climate over the globe which can lead to serious consequences. People are still insensitive toward its root causes. The irony is that exploitation of nature is going on in full swing in the name of so-called development. In other words, people are biting the hands that feed them.
 
Smoke and poisonous gases from industries and different vehicles are releasing greenhouse gases (GHS) round the clock prompting air pollution vis-a-vis global warming. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a subset of a larger group of climate-changing gases which is known as GHGs. CFC gases absorb long-wave infrared radiation released by the Earth that keeps the atmosphere hot. On the other hand, HFCs are synthetic greenhouse gases, mostly used in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. HFCs destroy the ozone molecules and subsequently deplete the ozone layer that acts as armor by protecting the earth from ultraviolet rays (UV) radiated from the Sun. The unendurable heat wave is also a side effect of environmental change that has added a scary new dimension to wildfires, making the situation more menacing in different parts of the globe. Deforestation, hill cutting, unscientific mining, burning of fossil fuels, and dumping of pollutant materials here and there have aggravated the environmental problems. The Glaciers are melting, the sea level is rising, potable water sources are exhausting, and the clean and green environment is becoming harder to rejuvenate that reflecting the visible environmental change over the globe. According to a scientific report, the global average temperature climbed about 0.1° C each decade until the 1980s. But the rate of average global warming rose to 0.18° C per decade after 1981. This may be due to the uncontrolled release of CFCs and HFCs leading to global warming. Above a certain temperature (tipping point), some environmental changes could become irreversible, the ecosystem on the planet might be hampered and uncertainties would prevail over the animal kingdom. Scientists prognosticated that when entirely the Artic glaciers would be melted down that would be the decisive tipple point temperature for the globe.
 Living for each other is the rule of nature. People need to work for a better tomorrow. Environment-friendly clean energy may be a viable option for a better tomorrow. The good news is that some environment-friendly actions have been initiated by the government, blending ten percent ethanol in petrol aiming less carbon emission, emphasizing the production of solar energy, ban on single used plastic, etc. According to a media report from 1st July 2022, the country has imposed a complete ban on single-use plastic including manufacture and distribution. Such a step definitely a speck of light as society is smack in the middle of the serious environmental whirlpool.  Government projects or mere laws would never succeed without public support and cooperation. Every citizen is an important pillar of the environmental citadel and should commit to saving the feverish society. By planting more trees, recycling household waste, reducing garbage, using public transport, and saving electricity people can contribute to building a pollution free clean and healthy environment. Would the world leaders also leave all their disputes and lend their hands to keep the environmental change below the tipping point otherwise our global village would be withered one day! People need to remind that "How you treat the environment today, will decide how it treats you tomorrow".
(The author is a Research Scholar, Gauhati University. E-mail:sarmamintu9@gmail.com)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi