Indian Environmental Acts
- Indian Forest Act – 1927
- The Wildlife (Protection) Act – 1972
- The Water (prevention and control of Pollution) Act – 1974
- The Forest (Conservation ) Act – 1980
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act – 1981
- The Environment (Protection) Act – 1986
- The Public Liability Insurance Act – 1991
- The National Environment Tribunal Act – 1995
- The National Environment Appellate Authority Act – 1997
- National Forest Policy – 1988
- National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment Development – 1992
- Policy Statement on Abatement of Pollution – 1992
Natural Hazards and Mitigation
1. Deforestation (Forest Destruction)
Deforestation is a threat to the economy, quality of life and future of the environment. Main causes of deforestation in India are: explosion of human and livestock population, increased requirement of timber and fuel wood, expansion of cropland and enhanced grazing. Another cause of forest degradation is construction of roads along the mountains. Increased demand for fuel wood, wooden crates, paper board and newsprint have led to large scale tree felling. Ideally one thud (or 33%) of land of a country must be covered by forest. In India, forest cover is only 19.43%, out of which only 13% are thick forest. Rest is bushy land. Deforestation has caused intensified soil erosion, accentuated floods and drought and loss of precious wild life and has led to deterioration of economy and quality of life of weaker sections of the society. India is losing about 1:5 million hectares of forest cover each year. Nearly one per cent of the land surface of India is turning barren every year due to deforestation. In the Himalayan range, the rainfall has declined 3 to 4 per cent due to deforestation.
Forests occupy central position in nature. They restore ecological balance of all ecosystems, maintain biological diversity, act as catchments for soil and water conservation, prevent floods and safeguard future of tribal people. In order to meet such needs, we need to develop massive afforestation programme of indigenous and exotic fast growing species for production and protection of forestry on suitable land including wasteland.
A massive social forestry programme is needed to meet demands of local people for fuel, fodder, timber, etc. Then there is need for wood-based industry. Today, the two major goals for forestry are:
(i) Supply of goods and services to people and industry by a well thought out plan of production, and long term ecological security through conservation of forest cover and its restoration.
(ii) Conservation of forest
Reserve forests, i.e., National parks, sanctuaries, sacred groves biosphere reserves and all ecologically fragile areas are covered by Government of India. No commercial exploitation can be allowed in these areas.
Social and Agro-forestry
The Social Forestry Programme started in 1976. It seeks the use of public and common land to produce firewood, fodder and small timber for the use of the rural community to relieve pressure on existing forests. The programme includes raising, planting and protecting trees with multiple uses (firewood, fodder, agricultural implements, fruits, etc.) for the rural community. The Agro-Forestry Programme consists of reviving an ancient land use practice where the same land IS used for farming, forestry and animal husbandry.
The National Forest Policy, 1988, stressed people’s involvement as one of the essential components of forest management in the development and protection of forests The main features of the 1988 Forest Policy are: .
(i) maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and restoration of ecological balance,
(ii) conservation of natural heritage;
(iii) check soil erosion and denudation of catchment areas of rivers, lakes and reservoirs
(iv) check on extension of desert areas;
(v)increase in productivity of forest to fulfil the natural needs;
(vii) encouragement to efficient utilisation of forest produce and optimum subtitution of fodder and fuel wood; and
(ix) steps to promote people’s participation in forest conservation
Bio-diversity action plan
An ongoing national programme is attempting to reach out to tens of thousands of people in the making of a new vision and strategy related to environment and development. This is the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). There have been several international treaties and pacts relating to it, the latest and most comprehensIve being the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) The CBD was signed at the Earth summit in RIO de Janeiro in 1992 by 15 nation states, and came into force in 1993. This legally binding treaty obliges ratifying countries and o ensure that benefits room such use are shared equitably across local, regional , national and global societies. India ratified this conversion in 1994.
3. Environmental Pollution
It has been discussed under previous sections.
4. Global Warming
Global warming means the rise in the mean global temperature to a level which affects the life-forms on the earth surface. The factors responsible for this warming may be both natural and man-made. Warming of the globe due to natural factors is not an unusual phenomenon. The earth is kept warm due to what is known as the “green house effect”. Without it, the earth would be a frozen waste-land. The short wavelengths or ultraviolet radiation coming from the Sun penetrates the atmosphere and is absorbed by the earth. This absorbed energy is also radiated back to space at infrared wavelengths. The earth atmosphere contains gases which trap some of the outgoing radiation and thereby warm the earth. These gases are known as “Green House Gases.” Water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane,ozone,nitrous oxide and CFCs are prominent examples. To maintain the global energy balances, both the atmosphere and the surface will warm until the outgoing energy equals the incoming energy.
The increase in the quantity of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can reinforce the greenhouse effect and lead to global warming. CFCs and nitrous oxide are many time more potent than the same quantity of carbon-dioxide or methane. However carbon dioxide is the largest contributor to the global warming as it holds the largest s are @.long the green house gases in the atmosphere. CFCs are totally man-made greenhouse gas which are controlled under Montreal Protocol. The largest sources of methane in the atmosphere are natural wetlands, rice paddies and livestock. Natural gas production, bio-mass burning, termites,landfills and coal mining also releases methane. Nitrous oxides are released by the oceans and soils but human activities such biomass burning and the use of fertilizers play a major role in it.
According to the IPCC report, which takes into account the global warming
potential of different gases, it is estimated that 72% of global warming is contributed by carbon-dioxide, 18% by methane and 5% due to nitrous oxide. The contribution of CFCs to overall global warming related to carbon-dioxide is low. The warming effect of CFCs is cancelled out by the global cooling due to their destruction of stratospheric ozone.
Global Warming Trend
The earth has warmed by about one degree Fahrenheit in the last century and the warmirtg has accelerated in the last two decades. This accelerated warming is the result of the emission of heat-trapping waste industrial gases like CO2 and if the emissions are not reduced the surface will warm by about another 3.5 degrees over the next century.
Carbon Dioxide Emission
According to WRI (World Resources Institute) between 1992 and 1997 the global carbon-dioxide emission increased by 38 per cent. The USA is the largest emitter of CO , but two developing countries – China and India are also among the ten largest polluters.
Although they are among the least polluters on the per capita basis. The OECD countries accounts for 45 per cent of the total global CO2 emission and the European Union alone contributes 13 per cent of the total.
On the per capita basis the US remains the biggest polluter (19.1 tons per capita), while China is third lowest and India emits the least amount of carbon dioxide (0.8 tons per capita).
In order to tackle this problem three approaches can be adopted.
It means slow or half the rate of increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. This would involve reductions in the use of fossil fuels, switching between fossil fuels with different carbon contents, removal of carbon-dioxide from power plant smokestacks, switching from fossil fuel combustion to biomass combustion, reforestation, etc.
This would involve release of particulates into the atmosphere, of gases that offset the effects of the greenhouse gases, promoting cloud formation, steering tropical storms away from populated areas.
This would involve stopping new development in low-lying coastal areas, changing agricultural practices, using different plants and animal varieties, undertaking research in new plants and animal varieties.
Ozone Layer Depletion
The Sun emits radiation over a broad range of wavelengths, to which human eye responds in the region from approximately 400 nm to 700 nm.
The maximum concentration of ozone (about 0.5 ppm) OCcursbetween the altitude of 20 to 35 km and the layer at this level is called Ozone layer. The presence of ozone is an essential necessity for life on Earth. Stratospheric ozone layer absorbs dangerous UV rays of the Sun and thus protects the Earth’s surface from these high-energy radiation. Over the past few decades 03 layer is thinning out because of man-made pollutants which catalyse the dissociation of 03 at a very fast rate. Major pollutants responsible for depletion of ozone are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and oxides of chlorine and bromine.
Increased UV radiation would retard photosynthesis in plants. Moreover, it would increase earth’s mean temperature which would have disastrous consequence of flooding or sub- merging many low-lying islands. Recently it has been found that the UV radiation degrades polymers used in paints and building materials.Considering the monumental damages ozone depletion does, the world community is taking steps to control the ozone depletion. The Montreal Protocol, adopted in 1987 and strengthened in 1990, called for phasing out CFCs and other ozone depleting substances (ODS) by 2000, established rules governing international trade in ODS and their products. Since the developing countries lack the financial and technological means to replace CFC or other ODS they have been given a grace period of 10 years. That is, they are required to phase out CFCs by 2010.
World’s Most polluted cities
According to WHO (2016)
- Zabol (Iran
- Gwalior (India)
- Allahabad (India)
- Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
- Al Jubail (Saudi Arabia)
- Patna (India)
- Raipur (India)
- Bamenda (Cameroon)
- Xingtai (China)
- Baoding (China)
- Delhi (India)
- Ludhiana (India)
Most Polluted Rivers of World
- Citarum River, Indonesia
- Ganges River, India
- Matanza-Riachuelo River, Argentina
- Buriganga River, Bangladesh
- Yamuna River, India
- Jordan River, Israel/Jordan
- Yellow River, China
- Marilao River, Philippines
- Sarno River, Italy
- Mississippi River, USA
Most polluted city of India
- Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh
- Raipur, Chattisgarh
- Ahmedabad , Gujrat