All biotic components are an integral part of a healthy environment. The wider picture of the environment becomes more engaging than repelling when all the integral parts are secure, safe and healthy, which is a beacon of prosperity and opportunities in the form of a green economy. A number of the environmental factors and indicators serve as an environmental litmus test that depicts political, socio-economic and bio-developmental trends and approaches. Approaches and priorities contribute significantly towards conservation of natural resources and development of the environment. Poverty, lack of resources, long term planning, and lack of interest from individuals towards positively contributing for the uplift of environmental resources are a big hurdle. It is usually forgotten that whatever is done to the environment, the environment usually does itself, though slowly and steadily, meaning it is often ignored in the long run. This short-sightedness contributes to accumulating environmental problems so great in magnitude that they later require huge funds and resources to tackle.
Every year World Environment Day is celebrated all over the globe on June 5, with different themes that focus on deteriorating environmental conditions both at the global and local level. Celebrations of environmental days hold a mirror to human beings to fashion their activities in such a way as to be in harmony with environmental integrity. The day is celebrated with the objective of sensitising the general public so that every person who registers a footprint on the environment does so after considering the impact they may have. The purpose of celebration is not only to know about the global initiatives but to inform ourselves about local environmental problems and threats and learn how everyone can contribute to a part of the local solution. Many people now know about global environmental trends and alarming facts and figures about issues like climate change, but the most important thing is to critically look into our own local environment and see how much each of us is contributing to its uplift, to what degree and in what form, such as economising our energy use, simplifying living standards, reusing, reducing and recycling, refusing plastic bags, keeping local environments clean and green, and observing conservation ethics and practices. This is how we would do justice with our own environment effectively.
As a prevailing idea, wherever we go, that particular place becomes our environment. Above all everyone loves the environment of their home, which is (usually) kept tidy, neat and clean by placing everything in a proper order. But amazingly, immediately outside homes, that very concept of environment does not remain the same and we experience our environment and contribute differently. The dilemma is one of ‘commonness’ since we share the environment with other human beings and hence think that others will do the work. Hence nearly every individual excludes himself or herself. Pollution is one of the major drivers of environmental degradation. One approach that can contribute to better environmental conditions is adopting the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ approach, especially in third world countries where environmental problems are assuming a Herculean strength. Here we see that most waste comes out to the streets and roads. This has become a common sight in many places, be they public parks, markets, or buildings, etc. By safe disposal of solid waste we can do at least some justice to the environment. There are many activities through which people can live in harmony with the environment and to benefit from and with it. Industrial concentration and improper waste management has a terrible and large-scale effect on the health of inhabitants, as well as renewable natural resources such as water and plant life, whether directly or indirectly. Large scale emission of greenhouse gases is here coupled with loss of natural resources in the core zones due to lack of basic amenities, facilities and alternatives.
The contributions of third world countries to global climate change may not be that significant or a matter of high concern globally, but local environmental deterioration due to pollution has severe impacts on natural resources, biodiversity and on human health in manifestations such as gastro-intestinal diseases, premature deaths due to sanitation, contamination in food, water, and air. Household garbage has no proper sites for disposal and the environmental monster — the plastic bags stigmata — is ubiquitous and deadly in its frequent appearance in our surroundings. Grey areas such as waste, drainage, pollution, deforestation, biodiversity, poverty serve as a litmus test of the environmental conditions in an area. The buzzword ‘climate change’ — the progeny of unsustainable and unfriendly environmental practices — now rules the earth with threatening future signs in many manifestations. But on a local level is where the battle against it will be fought. Let us serve to conserve because organizations and individuals are not excluded from the list of the environmental litmus test.
The writer is Deputy Conservator at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Department