The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world - the very nature of its life.
John McConnell, founder of International Earth Day advises "Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure."
Every 5th June, we observe World Environment Day to create awareness of the better environment on the earth for its inhabitants, for that we organize some programs to enhance political attention and public action for the purpose since a variety of environmental problems now affect our entire world. As globalization continues, the earth's natural processes transform local problems into international issues.
Why should we await for an annual day on the subject. As an individual we can observe it daily and take a few steps ourselves with the hope that our youngsters may copy us, our friends may like to join us and our seniors may quote about us to others. And our efforts in this direction may bear fruits one day and we may be able to gift a good environment to our next generations. It is also certain that if only every one of us decides to take necessary steps to curb pollution in water and air, maintain wildlife balancing, avoid soil erosion, use ground water judiciously with making necessary harvesting, we can lead a healthy environment and leave behind a sound legacy.
What may be those steps which may help us to improve our environment, can be summed up:
When we are in our Home, we can conserve energy by:
1. Turning off unneeded lights even when leaving a room or space for a short time.
2. Setting our refrigerator temperature at 36 to 38 and the freezer at 0 to 5.
3. Unplugging seldom used appliances.
4. Using a microwave whenever we can, instead of a conventional oven or stove.
5. Purchasing appliances and office equipments with the Energy Saving Star Labels.
6. Using CFL bulbs to save money and energy.
7. Insulating our homes as best as we can.
8. Planting trees to shade our home.
9. Shading outside air conditioning units by trees or other means.
10. Using air conditioners very sparingly.
11. Cooking on low flame fires.
We can reduce toxicity by taking the following actions in our home:
1. Using only those household cleaning items which do not use hazardous chemicals.
2. Reading labels of household cleaners we are using. We may consider alternatives like baking soda, souring pads, water or a little more elbow grease.
3. Using traps instead of rat and mouse poisons and insect killers, cedar chips or aromatic herbs instead of mothballs.
4. Using recycled wood chips as mulch to keep weeds down, retaining moisture and preventing erosion.
5. Using only the required amount of fertilizers, minimizing pesticides use and creating a wildlife habitat in our yards.
6. Preparing compost fertilizer with the vegetable scraps and dried leaves instead of burning or throwing them away.
We can take the following steps in our office:
1. Copying and printing on both sides of paper, reusing items like envelops, folders and paper clips.
2. Using mailer sheets for interoffice mails instead of envelops.
3. Setting up a bulletin board for memos instead of sending a copy to each employee.
4. Using e-mail instead of paper correspondence.
5. Using recycled paper and discarded paper for packing etc. in place of scrap paper.
6. Encouraging use of soy-based inks to print the documents. Soy-based inks are less toxic.
7. Using ceramic mugs instead of disposable cups.
8. Refilling printer cartridges.
9. Reporting smoking vehicles to the local pollution control authorities.
10. Avoiding slow burning, smoldering fires, they produce heavy amount of pollution.
11. Burning seasoned woods only if required, instead of a green wood. Seasoned woods burn cleaner.
12. Painting with brushes or rollers instead of using spray paints to minimize harmful emissions.
13. Walking or using bicycle/bike instead of driving 4-wheelers. If 4-wheelers drive is necessary, we may form pool of the passengers.
We can reduce the use of water by:
1. Checking water leaks very frequently and fixing on priority.
2. Installing water saving devices on our faucets and toilets.
3. Not washing dishes with the running water continuously. We should wash and dry only full loads of laundry and dishes.
4. Following our community’s water use restrictions and guidelines strictly.
5. Installing a low-flow shower head.
6. Replacing old styled toilets with new styled toilets which use lesser water.
7. Turning off washing machine’s water supply to prevent leaks.
8. No longer keeping the water running when shaving.
9. Carrying out re-vegetation or mulching on the disturbed soil as early as possible.
10. Having our septic tanks pumped and system inspected regularly.
We can reduce the pollution by:
1. Checking our car for oil or other leaks and recycling the motor oil.
2. Buying the items in bulk from loose bins whenever possible to reduce the packaging wasted with the small purchases.
3. Preferring the packing of the items with one or two layers of the packaging materials, more layers create wastage of the packaging materials.
4. Using recyclable packaging only.
5. Maintaining and repairing the durable items instead of throwing away once any defect develops.
6. Using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
7. Using reusable plates and utensils instead of disposable ones.
8. Using reusable containers to store food items instead of aluminum foils and wraps.
9. Shopping with a canvas bag instead of using polythene carry-bags given by the shop keepers.
10. Buying recyclable batteries for devices being used very frequently.
11. Reusing packaging materials and shipping materials. Old newspapers make great packaging materials.
12. We should promote plantation, conservation of energy and water everywhere.
Environment is as essential as our present itself. If our environment is polluted, our present becomes polluted – we doubt to enjoy our future safely and happily. Robert Redford mentioned in 1985 that the environment safety must be put in the category of national security. Defense of the resources is as important as our other defenses. If we do not have livable environment, what kind of life should we deserve for? We must take corrective action as early as possible. We must make it as our hobby and our habit.
Be Happy – Protect Your Environment.