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Delhi Air Pollution — How The Capital Turned Into A Gas Chamber?

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The air quality of India’s capital city, Delhi, has always been in the news for its continuous deterioration. With the approach of winter haze and fog, all inhabitants were expecting a significant fall in the quality. However, the Diwali crackers and constant crop burning covered the entire city with smog, a bit too early. As people woke up on the Monday morning of 28th October 2019, the skies were grey. Everyone struggled to see through the smoke, which had settled all around them, both indoors and outdoors. The Delhi air pollution had slipped to the ‘severe’ category once again, in most of the areas.

The government announced an emergency in public health concern, and most hospitals saw an increase in the number of patients. The schools were closed, keeping the health of children in mind. In this situation, the entire country asks why Delhi is so polluted? In a comprehensive voice, major factors which contribute towards making the air so toxic in the capital city are:


Vehicular emissions

About 41% of the pollution load of the city is shared by the vehicular emission here. There are approximately 10.3 million registered vehicles that actively run on the streets, leading to the excessive release of Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide. According to air pollution in Delhi reports and case studies, vehicles also account for significant PM2.5 emissions. These are extremely hazardous pollutants with long term adverse effects on human health.

Industrial establishments

Comprising the NCR region, Delhi has about 3,182 industries located all around the city. The state government has taken strict actions and has shut down all the coal and fuel-based industries. But still, the release of all the remaining enterprises lead to 18.6% of intense pollution in Delhi. In an estimate, about 200 to 1000 tonnes of industrial emissions are released within a year.

Power plants

The quality of Delhi air has been poor for a long time now. The primary role in this epidemic was of the four power plants of the city  — two gas-based and two coal-based. In its drastic decision to control pollution, the government closed down one of the coal-based power plants, Badarpur Power Plant, last October. The smoke from these power plants left dense disposal of air pollutants, thus degrading the air quality.

Construction waste

The peak business months of brick kilns are from December to June. During this time, emission from these plants in Ghaziabad, Faridabad, and Jhajjar region increases greatly. There are approximately 360 brick kilns situated in the area, which contribute towards a major hike in pollution. This is why the government prohibits construction work along with feasible vehicular regulations, in an attempt to control the aftermath of Delhi air pollution.

Municipal solid waste

With a large population settled in Delhi, their daily solid waste generation is about 8370 tonnes. Out of this, nearly 40% is incinerated to have a minimum impact on the environment. However, the waste management plants and thermal power stations release about 3.9% of the total pollutants of Delhi air. To deal with municipal solid waste and maintain hygiene in our surroundings, we end up adding to the pollution, making this process hazardous in both ways.

Topography

In terms of geographical location, Delhi is landlocked, and this does not come favorable when it comes to tackling the pollution in the city. The Himalayan range and the central plains cover the north and south parts of the city, leading to the accumulation of pollutants. Windblown dust is even said to encompass about 21.5% of the total pollution level here. The direction of winds also alters after retreating monsoons, and there are frequent drops in intensity, trapping all the pollutants in the land. Such topography adds to the poor management of Delhi’s environment, and thus, leads to a natural condition that is utterly hazardous.

Stubble burning

Towards the end of October, the Rabi crops are sown, and preparation starts for Kharif crops. In the agricultural lands around Delhi, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, farmers practice stubble burning. This coincides with the festival of Diwali when the rate of burning crackers escalates highly in the city. Both these kinds of smoke merge and start mixing at the eye level, leading to heavy smog. This stubble burning only exacerbates the current issue of pollution and smog.

Weather

Lastly, the climate of Delhi is such that it contributes to haze and smog. As the temperature starts falling November onwards, the winds start retreating. Therefore, the mixing height of the pollutants decreases, and they start appearing at the ground level. The late withdrawal of rains degrades the situation further, leaving an entire city covered in smog.

Takeaway:

The far-fledged reality of carrying Oxygen tanks in the backpack doesn’t seem too distant when you look at what the capital is going through. The stats are already heading a terrible path, and the upcoming years might turn the city into a gas chamber. Will Delhi air pollution attain a cure or only get worsened due to continuous blame games is what it comes down to in the end.

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International Law And Pollution: A Brief Discussion

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International Law and pollution
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With the rising level of pollution every year, the topic of international law and pollution is becoming more and more valid with time. With the advancement of technologies and the increase of civilization, the amount of pollution around the world has increased as well. It is the job of international law to ensure that the level of pollution remains under control. Pollution and the International Environmental law are extremely interconnected and the proper understanding of these two can only lead towards the concept of sustainable development.

How does pollution threaten the planet?

Pollution has become a very familiar word for several centuries now. With every year passing, various kinds of pollution are becoming more and more severe for the health of the planet earth. Pollution is the unwelcome intrusion of several contaminants in the nature around us causing the environment to change in a harmful way. Pollution can be of different types-

  • Air pollution
  • Water pollution
  • Noise pollution
  • Plastic pollution
  • Soil pollution
  • Radioactive pollution

And the list never ends.

Pollution is becoming a matter of more and more serious concern over time and we cannot ignore it anymore as it is affecting human health directly. Pollution is responsible for many deadly diseases among humans. It might result in-

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Waterborne diseases like jaundice, cholera, etc.
  • Cancer

According to WHO, only air pollution is responsible for almost five lakh deaths per year. Radioactive pollution is responsible for the rising numbers of cancer patients around the world.

Pollution is the major cause of damaging the health of the planet earth. The earth and the lives on earth are getting threatened every day by the ill effects of pollution on the environment. Global warming, death of biodiversity are becoming matters of serious concern over time and making the planet inhabitable for any living being. So the discussion of International law and pollution is very relevant in the present time.

International Environmental Law- the definition:

With the rising level of pollution, it has become extremely necessary to control the rate of pollution at any cost in order to save the planet earth. Here comes the importance of International Environmental Law. The main motto of this law is to make sure so that the environment does not get affected in the name of development. It tries to control pollution and pave the way for sustainable development.

International Environmental Law is just a part of the public international law, operating individually from the mid-twentieth century. Public International Law consists of a committee with the representatives of different states in order to peacefully solve the disputes between them.

IEL deals with quite a wide area of issues- starting from the population to climate change. The goal of International Environmental Law is to keep the level of pollution in control and to ensure that earth remains a place for habitation for human beings and other species.

History of foundation:

With the growing realization that the ill effects of pollution are not limited within a particular nation, an international body became required to take control. Based on this, the international environmental law was founded depending on customary international law, treaties made between nations, and international courts.

Customary international law is founded upon several unwritten and popular customary laws of different nations. Based on this, a nation is bound to inform its neighbor about an impending environmental crisis.

The international court resolves the disputes between the nations regarding the matters of pollution.

How to achieve sustainable development?

A proper balance between the workings of international law and pollution may only lead the way of sustainable development. Sustainable development refers to a system where the needs of a generation get fulfilled without making any damage to the environment. Several treaties got signed over the years in order to reach this goal determining various laws of the sea, air, and defining the duties of individual nations for controlling the levels of pollution.

These treaties address the law of the environment as an issue related to human rights. They also distribute the cost of purifying nature based on the capitals of the nations. All these, if implemented correctly may help to achieve the goal of sustainable development.

The presence of international law cannot only control pollution. Proper implementation is what is of utmost importance.

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Pollution

Aquatic Pollution: Definition, Types, And Effects

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Aquatic pollution
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Water is one of the primary ingredients of this planet earth. It is essential for all living beings on this planet. That is why; aquatic pollution is something that is of real concern.

Definition of the term “ Aquatic Pollution”:

Water pollution is the result of the constant contamination of the water bodies of planet earth (starting from lakes to oceans). As the percentage of drinkable water is really limited in comparison to the total amount of water on earth, aquatic pollution has become a matter of serious concern for all of us.

What causes Aquatic Pollution?

The fact that water is the fundamental necessity of every living being makes the water more prone to get polluted by contaminants. Water, by nature, is very much accepting. So, almost every kind of substance gets mixed in water. Due to this, any kind of unhealthy substances emitted by nature or mostly by human beings causes the water sources of the planet to get polluted.

Types and Variations:

Just like the presence of various water bodies, there are different kinds of water pollution as well.

  • Groundwater Pollution:

Groundwater is one of the most important sources of drinkable water. Majorities of people depend on groundwater sources for their everyday needs. Fertilizers and pesticides are the major pollutants in this case. They contaminate the water source from landfills and septic systems. In this way, a majority of the drinkable water gets contaminated. Purifying this contamination can be really costly and difficult. Groundwater pollution spreads and contaminates other water sources as well.

  • Surface Water Pollution:

Water sources available on lakes and rivers are described as surface water sources. Nitrates and phosphates, which are actually nutrients, are the main contaminants that are responsible for the surface water pollution. Although these nutrients are necessary for living entities they pollute the water by getting mixed up with wastages from farms and pesticides. Apart from this, the discharges from municipalities and the industrial belts are responsible for contaminating these surface water sources as well.

  • Ocean Water Pollution:

Although the name is ocean pollution, the cause is associated mainly with the land. Industrial emissions contribute mainly to this. Along with this, wastages from hundreds and thousands of cities around the world get thrown into the ocean causing ocean water pollution. Oil emitted from ship leaks as well as contaminates oceans.

The sources of the pollutants can be various too-

  • Point Sources:

If the source is similar for the various contaminants- it is called point source pollution. For instance, wastewater causes such pollution. Wastewater- discharged either from septic systems, or industries. Although the source of contamination is fixed in this case, this is responsible for affecting a major portion of water sources.

  • Non-Point Sources:

The sources of contamination are different in this case. The sources are various here- starting from agricultural waste to discharges from lands. Because of these various sources, it is harder to regulate this kind of pollution.

How Aquatic Pollution affects us?

Water is one of the primary elements of life. So aquatic pollution affects the primary necessity of all living beings around the planet. The effects of water pollution are various-

  • Human health- If water is known to be the source of life then, to sum up, polluted water is equivalent to death. Millions of people die because of this every year. The number of people getting affected and sick because of drinking contaminated water is more than a billion per year. Some of the water-borne diseases are- cholera, giardia, and typhoid.
  • Environment- Nature is all about balance. Every element of nature keeps the ecosystem intact and working. So, when water, one of the most important elements of this system gets contaminated, other inhabitants get affected too. For instance, algal blooms in several water bodies can make that area devoid of oxygen and devoid of life.

Similarly, when the ocean gets contaminated, it results in killing a lot of living creatures of that ocean. Many of the species have become extinct for the rising aquatic pollution every year.

When it comes to contaminated water, the list of ill effects does not end. That is why; it is extremely important to become more and more aware of this crisis and find a way out of this.

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Bengali Edition

পরিবেশ দূষণ বিশ্বজগতের মানব সভ্যতাকে বিঘ্নিত করছে

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Poribesh Duson
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সৃষ্টির আদিকাল থেকে মানব জগতের সাথে পরিবেশের সম্পর্ক  অতি গভীর। আমাদের চারিপাশে পাহাড়-পর্বত, নদ-নদী, গাছপালা, পশুপাখি নিয়ে গঠিত এই পরিবেশ। মানুষ হল পরিবেশগত জীব। মানুষ উদ্ভিদ এবং জীবজন্তুর সাথে খাদ্য শৃঙ্খলে আবদ্ধ, তাই  মানুষের সুস্থভাবে বেঁচে থাকার জন্য অত্যন্ত প্রয়োজন সুস্থ পরিবেশের । কিন্তু আমাদের পালয়িত্রী বসুন্ধরা আজ আর সুস্থ নেই ।বর্তমান সময়ে আমাদের পরিবেশ দূষণ  ভারে জর্জরিত হয়েছে। এই পরিবেশ দূষণের ফলে মানুষের অস্তিত্ব আজ চরম সংকটে 

পরিবেশ দূষণ কাকে বলে

মানুষের বিভিন্ন কার্যকলাপের থেকে নিঃসৃত ক্ষতিকারক পদার্থগুলি পরিবেশের সঙ্গে সংমিশ্রিত হয়ে পরিবেশ দূষণ এর সৃষ্টি করে। এই পরিবেশ দূষণ  বিভিন্ন প্রকারের দেখা যায় যেমন — জল দূষণ, বায়ু দূষণ, মাটি দূষণ প্রভৃতি। কিন্তু সৃষ্টির প্রথম আলোতে পরিবেশের এমন রূপ দেখেনি মানব জাতি। পৃথিবীতে প্রথম মানব সৃষ্টির সময়  জল, স্থল, বায়ুমন্ডল সম্পূর্ণরূপে বিশুদ্ধ ছিল। মানব সভ্যতার বিজয় রথের ক্রমবর্ধমান আগ্রাসনের ফলে তৈরি হয়েছে পরিবেশ দূষণ।  প্রকৃতিকে অনেক কষ্ট দিয়েছে মানুষ। প্রকৃতির ব্যাথা আজকের মানুষ বোঝে না, বোঝেনা প্রকৃতির যন্ত্রণাটা। সমস্ত সীমা লংঙ্ঘন করে একের পর এক গাছ কেটেছে, প্লাস্টিকের ব্যবহার করেছে, অপ্রয়োজনে নানারকম গাড়ি ব্যবহার করেছে মানুষ। মানুষের চরম নিষ্ঠুরতার জন্য কোথাও তৃণভূমি পরিণত হয়েছে মরুভূমিতে,  সাগরের মাঝে হঠাৎ দেখা গেছে বড় পর্বতের অবস্থান, বায়ুমন্ডলের তাপ বেড়ে যাওয়ার ফলে সুমেরু কুমেরুতে বরফ গলতে শুরু করেছে, ওজোন স্তর ক্ষতিগ্রস্ত হয়েছে —এই সবই মানুষের অকৃতকার্যের ফল। মানুষের অপকর্মের ফলেই আজ ধরিত্রী বড় অসুখের সম্মুখীন হয়েছে।  

পরিবেশ দূষণ কীভাবে মানবজীবনে ব্যাঘাত ঘটাচ্ছে? 

পরিবেশ দূষণ বিভিন্ন রকমের হয়ে থাকে— জল দূষণ, বায়ু দূষণ, মাটি দূষণ প্রভৃতি। বিজ্ঞানের ক্রমবর্ধমান আবিষ্কারের ফলে মানুষ যেমন বিজ্ঞানের সুফল ভোগ করছে তেমনি ভোগ করছে  কুফলও। মানুষ এখন ভালো ফসল ফলানোর লক্ষ্যে উর্বর জমিতে ব্যবহার করছে নানা রাসায়নিক সার ও কীটনাশক পদার্থ। এই উৎপন্ন ফসলগুলি মানুষ খাদ্য হিসেবে গ্রহণ করে নানা মহামারী অসুখের শিকার হচ্ছে। এই কীটনাশক পদার্থ মাটির সাথে মিশে যাওয়ার ফলে সৃষ্টি হচ্ছে মাটি দূষণের এবং মাটির উর্বরতা শক্তি নষ্ট হয়ে যাচ্ছে। মাটির উর্বরতা শক্তি কমে যাওয়ার ফলে ভবিষ্যতে ওই জমিতে ফসল হওয়ার সম্ভাবনাও কমে যাচ্ছে। এই কীটনাশক পদার্থ  জলের সাথে সংমিশ্রিত হয়ে জল দূষণের সৃষ্টি করছে।   জল দূষণের ফলে মানুষ নানা চর্ম রোগ, কলেরা, জন্ডিস প্রভৃতি রোগের সম্মুখীন হচ্ছে। জল দূষণের ফলে বহু মাছের মৃত্যু ঘটছে। মাছের মৃত্যু ঘটার জন্য বিশ্বে মাছের যোগান কমে যাচ্ছে। শহরাঞ্চলের গাড়ির তীব্র হর্ন, মাইকের আওয়াজ শব্দ দূষণের মাত্রাকে  দ্রুত হারে বাড়িয়ে চলেছে। মানুষের পক্ষে ৪১ ডেসিবেলের বেশি মাত্রার শব্দ ক্ষতিকারক, কিন্তু শহরাঞ্চলে অনেক সময় শব্দের মাত্রা ১২৫ ডেসিবেল ছাড়িয়ে যায়, ফলে শব্দ দূষণের সৃষ্টি হচ্ছে। 

পরিবেশ দূষণ প্রতিকারের নিয়ম

শহর ও গ্রামে দৈনন্দিন জীবনের দিকে যদি  চক্ষু মেলিয়া  তাকানো হয়  তাহলে দেখা যাবে বিজ্ঞানলক্ষী তাঁর কল্যাণ হস্তে অকৃপণ সুখ বিলাস বৈভবের ডালি ভরে দিয়েছে। বিজ্ঞানের কল্যাণকর কার্যকারিতা দেখলে স্বাভাবিকভাবেই মনে হতে পারে প্রকৃতির এই অসুস্থতার কারণে জন্য দায়ী এই বিজ্ঞান। বসুন্ধরার অসুস্থতার জন্য দায়ী বিজ্ঞান নয়, দায়ী মানুষের স্বভাব, প্রবৃত্তি, মনোভাব, লোভ ও হিংসা। দূষণের প্রতিকারের জন্য বনাঞ্চল বৃদ্ধি এবং সংরক্ষণের ব্যবস্থা করার প্রয়োজন আছে। পরমাণু বিস্ফোরণ বন্ধ করতে হবে। কলকারখানার ধোঁওয়া নিয়ন্ত্রণ করতে হবে। কলকারখানার এবং শহরের নোংরা জল, বজ্র পদার্থ নদী-নালাতে ফেলা অবিলম্বে বন্ধ করা উচিত। জমিতে রাসায়নিক সার ব্যবহার কমানোর জন্য কৃষকদের নানা প্রশিক্ষণের ব্যবস্থা করা উচিত। শব্দ দূষণের মাত্রা কমানোর জন্য  বিভিন্ন গ্রাম পঞ্চায়েত এবং পৌরসভাকে উদ্যোগি হতে হবে। পরিবেশ দূষণকে রোধ করার জন্য নানা আইন প্রণয়ন এবং আইনের যথাযথ প্রয়োগ করা উচিত। 

উপসংহার

ধরিত্রী মায়ের অসুখের ফলে সম্পূর্ণ মানব জাতি ধ্বংস হয়ে যেতে পারে, হয়তো সেই ভয়েই মানুষ কিছুটা হলেও পরিবেশ রক্ষায় সচেতন হয়েছে। প্রতিবছর ৫ ই জুন দিনটি বিশ্ব পরিবেশ দিবস হিসেবে  পালিত হয়। মানুষের জন্যই এই পরিবেশ দূষিত হয়েছে, তাই মানুষকেই এই পরিবেশকে দূষণমুক্ত করতে নানা ব্যবস্থা গ্রহণ করতে হবে। তবেই হয়তো একদিন সুস্থ পরিবেশ গড়ে উঠবে আর মানব সভ্যতা ধ্বংসের হাত থেকে রক্ষা পাবে। 

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