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Significant Environmental Issues of 2017
By Bhavya Ankita

Year 2017 is going to end soon so let’s take a quick look on the highlighted environmental issues that had taken place in India. This report will also address the green challenges that should have been resolved in the passing year along with the probable solutions.

Stubble Burning

Stubble Burning is the deliberate setting fire of the straw stubble which is the remains from the agricultural crops. This stubble burning is majorly done in Punjab and Northern Parts of Haryana. The winter is the season when the farmers of Punjab and Northern Parts of Haryana resort to massive burning of rice stubble to quickly get their fields ready for the next crop. This is the season when the farmers of Punjab and Northern Parts of Haryana resort to massive burning of rice stubble to quickly get their fields ready for the next crop. This results in massive reduction of air quality hence making the stubble burning one of the major culprits of Air Pollution.

Despite the ban, the practice of stubble burning is still on, illegally. If ban is not fulfilling the purpose, then there must be a shift in the coping measures for the challenge. Alternative opportunities in the place of burning of agricultural residue should be met. In the light of solution, this stubble can be a productive raw material for the other economic purpose like in bio-thermal power plants, for production of bio-oil,paper production etc. which is where the circular economy comes in the picture.The concept of circular economy states the reduction in requirements for production of new material which would lead to reduce the rates of extraction of natural resources and will also deal with the problem of air pollution. Also stubble can be used as fodder, for mushroom cultivation, asbedding material for cattle, its use for production of bio-gas, etc. Other uses include incorporation of paddy straw in soil, energy technologies and thermal combustion. Hence these applications reflect an immense potential to solve the problem of stubble burning.

Lakes Frothing

Recently in Bengaluru, froths can be seen rising from Bellandur Lake. One of the major reasons behind this type of frothing is due to the indiscriminate discharge of industrial effluents into lakes which in turn causes the toxicity, leading to the water body foaming. But only industries alone are not responsible for this and just the closure of the industries will do not good however to some extent the frothing may be controlled.

On the other side of the coin, next thing to blame is detergent; experts say the ubiquity of washing machines in urban India and unsystematic use of detergent by households have come together to turn Bellandur Lake into a foamy disaster. Incidentally, around 40% of 1,800 households surveyed in Eastern Bengaluru (where the water body is located) were found to be using at least 5 Kgs. of detergent in a month. So the domestic discharges should also be taken under consideration for the management of environmental health of the lake.

Restoration of a water body is not an overnight process but restricting the pollutant source will help to achieve the pristine condition of lake, gradually.

For tackling this problem, we must understand that the lake receives about 500 Million liters of sewage every day. The inflow of untreated or partially treated sewage and industrial effluents should be stopped immediately. Also the consumption of detergents at individual levels should be reduced in houses. There were news for the closure of industries residing near to the Bellandur Lake but that thing will affect the economic growth so the provisions like discharge of treated effluent can be a mid-way forward.

Use of Plastics
By now, we all know what the plastics have done to our planet. The scenario is getting worst. We have utilized plastics in almost every aspect of our life by now. Recently,US-based non-profit Orb organization did a research on the drinking water samples from the world including India to test the presence of plastics in it. The results were very surprising because the sample was contaminated with the micro-plastics, which is Micro-plastics consists a diversity of polymer types (e.g., poly-ethylene, polypropylene) and shapes (e.g., fragments, pellets, and fibers), which can have their sources from different areas. The formation of micro-plastics takes place by breaking down of larger particulate plastic by the process of photolysis, thermo-oxidation, thermo-degradation and also possibly by biodegradation. The sample was collected in New Delhi and the percentage of micro-plastics found in the Indian samples was 82% next to Kampala (Uganda), according to the Orb findings.

The source of their transportation into water body is when the micro-plastics from the vehicular tyres are washed away and which again goes into sewers or to any other water bodies.Also from the activities such as abrasion of clothes, carpets produce these microscopic fibers & ultimately it has its fate into the water body after washing. The solution for the removal of micro-plastics starts from its treatment in STPs. The discharge from the various industries having plastics in their effluent should be taken care of before disposing it into the water body. Also, if possible, the focus should be given upon on the removal of every bit of micro-plastics from the effluent. Enhancement in the technologies is the burning need of the hour.

Cleaning of River Ganga

River Ganga is one of the sacred rivers of India but today before we take bath in the holy river; it’s the time to give Ganga a bath. There are n number of projects which has been taken up in India for the rejuvenation and conservation of River Ganga. Prime minister launched Namami Ganga for the cleaning of River Ganga. Clean Ganga project has reached very far but the mission is still left behind.Following bans & restrictionson the Ganga River like ban on Ganga bath, increasing the capacity of STPs, also treated effluent discharge into the water shall be made more stringent.

Damage to Yamuna Floodplains

Floodplains provide a river more room as it raises, thereby reducing pressure on manmade flood protection structures, like levees and dams. Also these floodplains are helpful in improving water quality, recharging of aquifers, improved wildlife habitat etc. One of the floodplains function is to mitigate the soil erosionand reduce local water pollution. The Art of living festival has taken place on the floodplains of Yamuna. In pre-festival times rather in the preparation time, the various construction activities like tent creation etc. has led to the destruction of the floodplains.Banks of waterways matter because their stability, dependent largely on vegetation, affects levels of siltation and flooding. In the Art of Living festival, the Yamuna floodplains were severely harmed and “almost all its natural vegetation” was lost, affecting the natural habitat of large number animals, insects and other organisms.

Once these floodplains are disturbed, then it’s very difficult to restore it, there are n number of challenges which have to be faced in the process so why not take a preventive measure than to go for mitigating it. These types of future events should not be given encouragement. If such events are very important to conduct then it should not be done at the stake on environmental destruction. Floodplains events should be hosted in fully environmental friendly way without any construction activities.


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