Of late, environment has received a lot of attention. Not only intellectuals but even the ordinary men and women are becoming aware of the need to have a clean environment.
As a result, what is detrimental to environment is opposed today. Hundreds of developmental projects which are blind to environmental concerns are objected by the general public. ‘Save Narmada Agitation’ that is currently going on in western India is a shining example in this respect.
In its simplest connotation, the term ‘environment’ means the surrounding habitat of man. In its widest sense, it refers to the entire earth with its green forests, vast oceans, the layers of air and oxygen, etc. In its narrowest meaning, environment means the immediate surroundings of man – his home, work place, market, neighbourhood, etc. It also includes the atmosphere in which he lives.
The importance of good and clean environment cannot be described adequately. According to many scientists, the factor which influences the growth of individuals most is environment. But unfortunately, the various elements of environment such as, air, water, land, etc., are polluted and contaminated.
Urbanisation, industrialisation and overcrowded living have primarily been responsible for this menace. Pollution is also caused by vehicles, supersonic jets, smoke-producing factories, radio-active elements, etc. The careless dumping of solid wastes by households, factories, markets, commercial centres, etc., in the open places, streets and in the rivers have further aggravated the problem.
The polluted environment is a health hazard and causes several diseases and ailments. It ruins our chances of survival. Hence, an all-out attempt must be made to have a clean environment. This requires several corrective and preventive measures. One of the best ways to have a clean environment is to plant more trees.
Human beings, factories and vehicles pollute the air with carbon dioxide, monoxide and poisonous gases. But the oxygen which the trees give out lessens their harmful effect. Secondly, pollution caused by the dumping of wastes in streets, rivers, living places must be stopped at all cost.
This calls for individual and community efforts. The recent Supreme Court order in India, to close down those factories which dump their wastes in the Ganges, is indeed a right step in the right direction.
Thus, on the whole, people are becoming aware of the vital need to have a good and clean environment. The awakening of the general masses in this respect is a welcome sign and would make our world a better place to live in.