Celebrating Environmental Day

Clean Soil and Sagar for Peace & Prosperity

Kashmir Magazine

Dr M A Shah

Inculcate, Educate and Encourage students to take leading role in protecting the environment, which is hugely complex system that includes the air we breathe, the land we live on, the water we drink and the climate around us, through scientific knowledge, mass awareness and consciousness for sustainability. All most, all of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have connection to the environment and quality education. The issues related to the planet earth have been identified and the innovators need to come forward to find an amicable solution for the prosperity and peace.

To prevent soil pollution

1. Polythene suppliers/manufacturers should be given a deadline by the J&K Pollution Control Board and a complete ban on its manufacture, import and use should be forced and implemented. The suppliers should be encouraged for production of sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives such as cloth bags, Jute bags, paper bags.
2. Minimize the single use of plastics in homes and Government offices. An alternate approach like use of glass bottles/ jugs etc, can be used and reused.
3. Packing material for food items should be of non-plastic/food safe bags, which can be reused or recycled.
4. Limited use of pesticides and fertilizers should be permitted, in consultation with the Agriculture and Horticulture experts. Excessive use of agrichemicals by farmers should be banned and strictly monitored by the Agriculture/Horticulture Department. Organic farming and use of vermi-compost should be encouraged. Hon’ble LG (J&K) was first one to has launched, Nano-fertilizer, which will not only reduce pollution, but also will bring Green Revolution.
5. Effective e-waste management policy should be put in place and risks emerging from e-waste should be taken seriously.
6. Toxic metal and metalloid containing products should be banned. These persistent toxic chemical like Mercury (Hg), Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb) etc. contaminate air, soil and water and accumulate in different organism and entire ecosystems thereby causing severe toxicities to humans, plants and wildlife.
7. The forest acts need to be more stringent and uncompressing. The trees are natural oxygen banks and have ability to keep elevated global temperature in control, thus help in cope with climate change, which is of major concern.

Preventing air pollution:

8. Surface and Air Transport causes air pollution and is a significant contributor to global warming. Use of bicycles should be encouraged and promoted for shorter distances.
9. School transportation system should be minimized, by encouraging students to walk or use bicycles, for shorter distances within three kilometres. Government can consider providing free bicycles to children of poor families.
10. Electric vehicles, electric two wheelers should be promoted by Govt and subsidised. The necessary infrastructure for charging such vehicles should be put in place.
11. Outdated vehicles should be banned from plying on the roads and mechanism for buying back such vehicles should be explored both for commercial and private vehicles.
12. Industries such as Brick Kilns, Cement factories, Stone Crushers etc. which cause excessive air pollution, should be shifted to barren lands, in far-flung uninhabited areas and installed with pollution depressant devices to mitigate air pollution.
13. Green technologies should be promoted by the govt as it is cheap, environmentally benign and free from health hazards.
14. We need to install nano-sensors to guard the environment and our surroundings. Graphene sensors are revolutionizing construction, communication and air monitoring.

Preventing water pollution

15. A comprehensive policy for conservation of all water bodies including River Jhelum,Dal Lake, Wular Lake and other adjoining lakes should be enforced.
16. Rehabilitation Policy for inhabitants of Dal Lake, should be implemented on priority.
17. Rivers and channels be protected with strengthened embankments to avoid loss of water and prevent pollution.
18. The smaller channels in cities and villages should be restored, so that water is not polluted. The natural water supply should be used for multipurpose, including in construction.
19. Drinking water from PHE taps should not be allowed to be mis-used for construction purposes, washing of vehicles or gardening etc.
20. Municipal Corporations should make it mandatory to have bore well/ Hand pump before granting construction permission.
21. Rain water recharge/ harvest should be implemented at Govt and house hold scale for irrigating lawns and gardens.

The bottom line is that:

• The Teachers need to teach the importance of water and soil conservation and assign projects of looking for alternate ways to save water in the home/ gardens. Teach them to grow plants and vegetables in schools, which will help to develop an interest in the environmental issues.
• Give projects to students how to run cars, cabs and motors on energies other than the fossil fuels. Teach the benefits of sustainable transport options such as cycling. Not only does cycling help the environment but it is also a great way to keep our population fit.
• Teach them how to generate electricity from solar power. There are many small items such as garden lights that are perfect for solar power and small in built panels will collect generate enough power to provide a light in a garden for many hours.
• Government departments / enforcement agencies/ NGOs should join hands with the public to save running water bodies, fresh forests and ban what is disastrous for environment.
• The Mother earth is going to get unkind if soon we don't go green. So green technologies should be promoted and adopted everywhere, including in our laboratories and lands.
Thus, we need to hold hands to save the environment and extend help to organizations/institutions/Boards for such noble causes. We will be at forefront for such a noble cause. It plays an important role in healthy living and the existence of life on,”

Only One Planet”. NLCO Chairperson is doing exceptional work for wet lands and water bodies.

(The Author is HoD Physics at NIT Srinagar)