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E c o l o gical p r o ble ms i n India N a m e : A y u s hi Lalwani G r oup. : 1 9 1 B G u i ded b y : M a m A n n a zhukovana
The last two decades have seen a rampant rise in environmental challenges being faced by cities and countries globally. In India, too, challenges related to air pollution, waste management, scarcity of water, conservation of natural resources, and loss of biodiversity, among others, have been increasing. This photo essay uses animations based on satellite images to show the effect these challenges have had on the country.
Some of the major environmental problems are as follows: 1. Ozone Depletion, Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming 2. Desertification 3. Deforestation 4. Loss of Biodiversity 5. Disposal of Wastes.
Stress on Natural Resources This fast growth has led to huge stress on natural resources, especially water. Some parts of the country are facing extreme drought. The city of Chennai is going through one of its worst ever droughts, and all the major lakes that supply water to the city are either completely dry or on the verge of drying out. This image shows the drying of Lake Puzhal (Red Hills Lake) between October 2018 and May 2019. The lake is a primary water source for the city.
I ncreased Mining The massive need for construction materials has led to the disappearance of many hills due to quarrying and other mining activities. This image shows the expansion of mining areas in the Aravalli Hills in Rajasthan between 1988 and 2018.
Air Pollution Urbanization, private transport, crop fires, burning of fossil fuels for electricity and other factors have caused an increase in air pollution across the country. This image shows the mean nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration in the air across India between July 2018 and May 2019. There is a higher concentration of NO2 in urban areas like Delhi, and in the eastern mineral belt where coal is mined and burnt for electricity generation.
Fires Studies suggest that 90% of the fires in India are man-made. Either they are used for burning down forests or for stubble burning or crop fires. This image shows fire incidents across South Asia in 2018. Solid Waste Management Rapid urbanization and solid waste management issues in the country have also led to fires in solid waste disposal sites across India. This satellite image from 2016 shows one of the worst fires in Deonar landfill site in Mumbai.
Urbanization In the last two decades, India has urbanized at an unprecedented rate. This image shows the growth of Bangalore between 1990 and 2015. New Cities While existing cities are growing, the country is also building new cities. This image shows the construction in progress between 2016 and 2019 in the new city of Amaravati, which would serve as the new capital for Andhra Pradesh. The city is expected to house 3.5 million people by 2050.
Water Pollution Fresh water is crucial to life on Earth, yet more sources are being polluted through human activities each year. On a global scale, 2 million tons of sewage, agricultural and industrial waste enters the world’s water every day. Water pollution can have harmful effects outside of contamination of the water we drink. It also disrupts marine life, sometimes altering reproductive cycles and increasing mortality rates.
Acid Rain Acid rain comes as a result of air pollution, mostly through chemicals released into the environment when fuel is burned. Its effects are most clearly seen in aquatic ecosystems, where increasing acidity in the water can lead to animal deaths. It also causes various issues for trees. Though it doesn’t kill trees directly, acid rain does weaken them by damaging leaves, poisoning the trees and limiting their available nutrients.
Ozone Layer Depletion Ozone depletion is caused by the release of chemicals, primarily chlorine and bromide, into the atmosphere. A single atom of either has the potential to destroy thousands of ozone molecules before leaving the stratosphere. Ozone depletion results in more UVB radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. UVB has been linked to skin cancer and eye disease, plus it affects plant life and has been linked to a reduction of plankton in marine environments.
Natural Resource Use Recent studies have shown that humanity uses so many natural resources that we would need almost 1.5 Earths to cover our needs. This is only set to increase as industrialization continues in nations like China and Ind ia. Over time, the depletion of these resources will lead to an energy crisis, plus the chemicals emitted by many natural resources are strong contributors to climate change.
Climate Change The majority of the issues previously listed contribute or are linked to climate change. The effects of climate change are widespread, as it will cause issues with deforestation, water supplies, oceans and ecosystems. Each of these have widespread implications of their own, marking climate change as the major environmental issue the planet faces today.
The impact that human activities have on the environment around us is undeniable and more studies are being conducted each year to show the extent of the issue. Climate change and the many factors that contribute to emissions could lead to catastrophic issues in the future.