Essay on The Earth Summit on Environment and Other Efforts on Pollution

The conventions on Bio-diversity and Climate Change were kept out of the purview of the International Monetry Fund and the World Bank. The importance of doing away with pollutants which have been the cause of the Green House effect and Ozone depletion, have been apprised under the Montreal Protocol and a Multilateral Fund created to meet the expenses. This was followed up with the Kyoto Treaty in Japan, 1997 which ratified the setting of voluntary goals for 34 industrialised nations, in quantum of reduction in environment pollutants Green House gases.

These were mostly related to burning of fossil fuels which further led to trapping heat in the atmosphere. The main purpose of the Kyoto Agreement was to set up definite, acceptable goals instead of voluntary, but limited its scope to the 34 industialised nations only. The poorer and developing nations were exempted as they could ill-afford the investment and because the developed nations were the main culprits, mainly in Europe and USA, which had been the reason for increased concentration levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere upto 30 per cent, this industrial revolution of the early nineteenth century. North America and Europe are apprehensive of the laxity in cases of India and China, who are free to burn coal for their industries and may lead to 75 per cent of Carbon dioxide emissions, for two decades from now. China was instrumental in the developing countries getting the benefit as they put forward their arguments that it was crucial for China’s industries survival whereas it was luxury for the industries of America.

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USA had another proposal which was to allow them to build emission saving factories in India and China, whilst allotting this to their quota of emission saving. The Summit earlier at Rio de Janeiro had initially agreed to these quotas but by the time of actual negotiations, were strongly opposed by the Western countries and ultimately the wording of the statement, let these industrialized nations, off the hook. The Green House emission norms were supposed to be binding even then but reduction in support from the richer nations to the agenda as well as to the poorer developing countries resulted in fizzling out bindings.

The Indian Ocean Experiment being conducted by scientists from around the world, have detected a brown haze over the Indian Ocean spreading to more then 10 million square kilometers or nearly the size of the USA. This is primarily due to the pollutants being blown over from India, China and South East Asian countries. This is severely affecting the atmosphere and solar radiation over the ocean.

The analysis by scientists have discovered tiny particles ranging from the surface of the ocean upwards to the heights of 3kilometres hanging densely reducing visibility to barely 10kilometres in parts of Bay of Bengal, Arabian sea and the Indian Ocean. These particles composed of soot, sulphur and other by-products of products of burnt fossil fuel may be the cause of acid rain and irreversible harm to the environment. The thick is responsible for shutting out part of the solar radiation, as well as mobility of heat from the surface of the ocean into the atmosphere. The reverse in the case of cold also is applicable and it has become difficult to properly analyse the reason for climatic changes in the region.

This problem was earlier limited to the Pacific and Atlantic oceans due to pollutants released in the air by industries in developed nations. When the scientist in these countries realised the effort of industrial pollutions, they look steps to arrest the misuse and provided alternatives. Instead of wasting their expenditure on these industries, they offered them with incentives to the lesser developed and developing countries in the eastern hemisphere who delighted to get the infrastructure, on a turn-key basis, jumped at the chance, without being aware of the negative effects of pollutants linked with the production units. It is imperative that we wake up to the huge loss to ecology, which is being caused by the indiscriminate use of pollutants, in these regions of Asia. The fact remains that all countries are selfish and their primary aim is their own benefit without caring for others. Severe penalties and sanctions should be imposed on them by world bodies against such irresponsible attitude.

India has seen a tremendous increase in production of all-round and his increase has resulted in the consumption of coal and furnace oil going up a thousand fold. With the increase in production capacity and number of production units the quantum of pollutants including chemicals and smoke is being belched out into the atmosphere. Many of these units are emitting poisonous and deadly fumes too. The major tragedy caused by the Union Carbide leakage of Methyl Isocyanate gas in Bhopal, 1984, is too recent to be ignored.

The increasing number of vehicles engaged in road transport and private use also add to the increased release of sulphur contaminants, oxide, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere. Delhi is one of the first metros where the use of diesel and petroleum by public transport including buses, taxis and three wheeler autos, have been totally banned by Supreme Court orders on the basis of Public Interest Litigations filed by NGOs. However the highways and cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Kanpur are categorized the most polluted and polluting cities of the nation. Besides vehicles, industries and chemical plants, the air conditioners and refrigeration units of earlier generations are still functioning and emit Ozone depleting gases.

The National Conservation Strategy and Policy statement on Abatement of Pollution has been instrumental in integrating the policies and programmes of different ministries engaged in reducing pollution. It is now mandatory for nearly 30 different types of industries to adhere to pollution norms before being cleared. An industrial pollution control exercise is in progress with the first phase over. The Phase II is now underway, financed by 330 million dollars World Bank aid. This money is to be utilized in extending soft loans to the industrial sector for installation of pollution control and effluent treatment equipment.

It has become the law now to send annual reports on the effect of their conservation measures and the efficacy of their pollution control systems, in the immediate neighborhood natural resources. These reports are to be sent by the units to the Board for Polluting Control who will evaluate them and check for violation or improvement and advice accordingly. Twenty two critical level polluting areas have been identified which are responsible for environmental pollution at the highest levels inclusive of ground water resources. They are the ones who have been prioritized for highest degree of controls.

The measures taken by the concerned ministries, boards both at Central and State level and the Industrial Sector, seem to be laudable. But unfortunately past experience has shown that most of these measures exist only on paper with the resources allotted for control lining personal pockets or being diverted to other projects. Our responsibility as inhabitants of a world taken as born from the future generation, can never be forgotten and it is our prime duty to ensure that we leave behind a clean and non-polluted environment for a balanced ecological system.

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