Improving the Environment
Last, I told you about the 'making of the City Centres' and their unique features. Today and in the next few talks I will discuss about improving our environment,
It is important to identify the reasons and causes that pollute the environment and make a place filthy and stinking. Look at our railway network: it strews human excreta and urine on the tracks day-in and day-out throughout the country. Strangely this practice of the 19th century when the railways were first introduced continues in the 21st century. It is highly uncivilized, uncultured, disgusting, and a crude way of disposing human waste from our trains. It also corrodes and erodes the railway tracks and the undercarriages of the passenger coaches.
Passenger coaches and their toilets stink too. Our country is notorious for being the largest open-air latrine in the world where crores of people defecate outdoors every day in all parts of our country. The railways and all public places for that matter, disseminate a message day-in and day-out to all human beings in the country that we are free to throw our excreta and garbage at our convenience. Our city sewage and filth discharging into rivers, ponds, canals, or lakes is of little surprise. Our sacred rivers are polluted and stinking and so also the sea shores and beaches. Even ponds and lakes dry up and it seems nothing can save them from decay and destruction. How can we then address more serious issues like water conservation, and perennial floods and droughts? Most of our wonderful beaches are not developed, but whenever, some of them are, become sites of filth, slush, and stink in the course of time because maintenance and upkeep of sites are not done or completed just on files. With the lack of mechanism and impunity to execute work, the magnitude of filth and dirt is rising unbounded and so is pollution.
With due concern, I will like to submit that the noble mission of Hon'ble PM Sri Modi for constructing millions of toilets in the country under 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' may not suffer the same fate with our present work culture and impunity. The toilets may go dry and rendered unusable in course of time for lack of water, electricity and cleaning and maintenance, more importantly regular disposal of sewage.
Municipal corporations throughout the country are immune from any kind of punishment, even if the country may go to dogs. Like Yamuna cleaning? Even our learned Judiciary is not steadfast when it comes to government and its Agencies!
For refreshing your knowledge, I will like to tell you that a greenhouse is a glass or plastic enclosure for the sampling and rearing of plants. Its effect is to provide regulated warmth and heat to the plants inside the enclosure. Similar warming up is caused by toxic gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), nitrous oxide (NO2), etc. They pollute the atmosphere and produce the greenhouse effect, an alarming phenomenon for mankind. Now I will tell you its effects.
1 The accumulation of these gases allows the sun's rays to come in through the atmosphere but prevents them from getting reflected back by the earth. As a consequence, they absorb the heat of solar rays, and result in warming up of the atmosphere, causing droughts, severe storms and sand dunes. The warming of the atmosphere also induces melting of the polar ice caps and glaciers and raises the sea level. Recent news of falling of a huge iceberg of a trillion ton off Antarctica, four times the size of London, is a huge news on global warming and threat to passing ships.
2 Global warming also depletes the protective ozone layer in the atmosphere above the earth's surface, allowing the harsh ultraviolet sun rays to penetrate to the earth's surface. A ten percent drop in the stratospheric ozone may cause up to 25 percent rise in cases of some forms of skin cancer. Efforts by all countries may be insufficient to halt this phenomenon unless the whole world substantially reduces its population say, from the present level of about 750 crore to about 450 crore in about 100 years as discussed before. It also calls to stop further urbanisation of arable land, stop deforestation, control smoke-belching industries, and petrol- and diesel run vehicles. We must also practice energy conservation religiously, and use only energy-efficient machines and devices to contain power consumption,
It is a matter of concern that leader like USA, wishes to bow out of the Agreement in the midstream. President, Mr Trump wants to withdraw from Paris Agreement for fear of economic regression of USA due to this. I am sure wisdom shall prevail over the speculative fear. Apropos to 1997 UNESCO Declaration, it is incumbent on part of the present generation to care for the future generations. Paris Agreement is an attempt to protect the present and the posterity from the catastrophe of global warming. The rapidly denuding of glaciers and melting of polar ice sends a shiver down the spine.
Mr Trump has also cautioned India to contain its smoke belching chimneys and shift to non-conventional energy sources. But this keeps lingering in our country. We must take the caution seriously in our own interest. The delay may prove a self-inflicting curse for India. Being a costly affair, it warns India to preserve its scarce wealth to address such catastrophes rather than playing unconcerned of this eventuality and spending its wealth on unproductive heads (charities and dole- outs). Simply chanting to contain global warming is meaningless without tangible steps. It is incumbent on part of all nations to contribute their mite to address the threat of global warming.
The production of waste is a natural phenomenon for all living beings, man or animal. It is an irony that underdeveloped and developing countries particularly are not able to handle this recurring waste in totality.
Speaking of our country, the bulk of it is left untreated - not even disposed of, thanks to our open-air latrines? Our trains strewing excreta add to this phenomenon. Mountains of garbage and seas of sewage are common sights in most of our towns and cities. The untreated waste is usually discharged into open nullahs which discharge it into rivers or the sea. It is the foremost cause of polluting the rivers, ponds, canals, or seas. It is partly consumed by the river itself by way of silt and narrowing of banks, while a pond or lake whose water is static has to consume it wholly and such water bodies dry out sooner or later. One can only wonder at the near-infinite capacity of our rivers and seas that have been enduring it over the years. While many ponds and lakes have already dried, the rivers look like trickles. The acute water shortage for our daily consumption, its rationing, and the using up of groundwater thus comes as no surprise.
1. Sewage can be treated through sewage treatment plants, which after treatment can provide water for irrigation and save our rivers, ponds, and seas from filth, slush, and pollution, besides providing manure and biogas. There is practically no waste. Stopping immersion of deities, pooja ashes, dead bodies and their remains in rivers and seas.
2. What we consider sacred, desecrates our holy rivers and therefore, cannot be sacred. Remember we drink river water and cook our food with it. Let this water remain as clean and pure as possible for our own good, and the health of our families. We shall have to stop this age-old practice with the same religious zeal with which we regard and revere our deities. Rivers, canals, lakes, and ponds provide us water for life. We must venerate them rather than desecrate them.
3 I also insist to shift cremation grounds away from river banks to let our sacred rivers flow clean and remain holy. It will call for educating our masses. Which education would be imparted and inculcated at the school level. When this is practiced with true spirit and dedication, cleansing and desilting of rivers and their development will become an easy affair.
4. Those who live near river banks must be dissuaded from throwing their garbage into the river or washing their clothes and utensils in it. We shall have to keep our holy rivers, ponds, lakes, and canals clean if we want their blessings, as our sacred duty.
The lasting solution to eradicate this menace once and for all is development of the rural areas as discussed before and sending the families so settled on the river banks or other water bodies back to their native places as soon as possible.
If we are able to address the above with zeal and fervor, we shall not only establish a clean and healthy environment for ourselves but also improve our economy and quality of life tremendously.
Dear friend for the present I finish up here. In the next talk I will give you some more important solutions to contain pollution. Till then Good bye and thank you. K C Agrawal
Unmindful and unplanned over utilization of most hill areas particularly, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have shaken the stratification of the hills and denuded them. Both states are hugely congested and their tourist spots now present a repulsive ambience. The unwarranted and unplanned huge constructions for habitation and tourism; widening of existing and construction of new roads to cope up with the rising traffic and their round the clock movements have not only weakened the hills, it has also rendered the roads and habitations weak and vulnerable to rains and storms and cause occasional landslides.
The excessive constructions and habitations have also made the Himalayas melt. The gradual melting of snow has formed water reservoirs on the mountains due to cavities so created. It too has severally destabilized the Himalayan Range due to their huge weight. We have witnessed the catastrophes it has caused during excessive rains due to collapse of the reservoirs and/or cloud bursts. Recurring devastation at Uttarakhand are the evidences. It cautions us to conduct meticulous surveillance to assess the vulnerability of the hill areas and making them worthy and safe to withstand the fury of nature. It is suggestive to make proper pucca drainage system on the rising hills at all vulnerable locations for free and regulated flow of storm water for protecting local inhabitants and tourists from unruly flow of storm water and slush. We must also make our hills and mountains green and lively.
(VIII) Optimizing Land Use, It is absolutely essential to save what little remains of the precious land. Its optimum utilisation is a must. We must give up making low height houses and discard our old and archaic civic laws allowing one, two or more floors at a price.
This is ridiculous; we have already ruined our cities doing this. It renders the building's foundations weak and vulnerable, having to bear the load of additional floors, and weakens them seismically. Additional floors also mean more habitation and more crowd, traffic hazards, and over-burdening of the existing municipal and community services. I am also against individual housing colonies. Civic authorities reclaim scarce arable or forest land, turn them into plots and sell them to individuals. It is a criminal waste of precious land and must be stopped.
A flat system in a multi-storey building must be acceptable to all, rich or poor.
Cattle must be banned from straying on roads or in colonies, left by their poor owners, to feed by themselves. This is inhuman treatment to the speechless creature that provides us milk. The poor creature gets little attention from the public also. Look closely: they are worse-off than beggars as they are half-fed on the garbage on roadsides and the waste of households, and are also, subject to insults from the lady of the house, in addition to unceremonious kicks from the passers-by. In most cases their owners are poor too and are not able to buy adequate fodder for them and there are only a few green areas and fewer grazing grounds where they can take their livestock for grazing. Nevertheless, they are a nuisance and traffic hazard on the roads and a source of additional pollution and filth. Their roaming loose on roads is highly unbecoming anyway. I am afraid that the ban on barren cow slaughter by the Supreme Court ignores the ground realities.
Ban on Cow slaughter and its Impact on Economy and Environment;
It is true that Article 48 of the Constitution prohibits slaughter of cows and calves and milch and draught cattle. A barren cow is no more a milch cattle and Article 48 does not prohibit its slaughter. Similarly, the slaughter is not prohibited of ageing draught cattle not able to carry load or do other physical labour.
Moreover, with the grossly changed ground realities, human population Having already crossed four and a half times of what it was at the time of independence, rapidly growing livestock and their huge stocks, global warming and vulnerable socio-economic scenario of India, banning of slaughter of barren cows and ageing draught cattle shall be catastrophic.
Banning slaughter of such cattle also defies Articles 15, 19 e & g, and 21 and 25 of the Constitution, in the face of minuscule creation of jobs and scanty development particularly on the rural front.
If and when Article 48 is fully implemented in all the states in the present manner (total ban on slaughter of cows), I wonder, where shall go the large human populace so thrown out of their jobs, businesses and earning means and so also the surging herds of livestock, many of them sick, old and in miserable state, besides the huge loss of revenue to the government from local business activities and exports?
Friends, be it a Monarchy or Democracy, it is the duty of the state to feel the pains and sufferings of their subjects and address them benevolently. There must be practicability of their dictums. 'India Today'- a weekly Indian magazine presents a frightening panoramic view specially on banning of beef and cow slaughter and its devilish consequences. For details please refer the book.
In light of the regressive consequences enumerated above by having a total ban on the cow slaughter, I will humbly pray the learned Judiciary to relook into their verdict and the anomaly it has created. Moreover, well-being of the 'Nation and the People' is paramount and weighs above all other considerations (see the preamble of the Constitution).
Friends, if we are not able to feed appropriately our human beings, it shall be hugely improbable that we shall be able to feed our barren cows and ageing cattle. A simple logic!
Dear friend, this is all for now. In the next talk some new topic. Till then Good bye and thank you. K C Agrawal