Environmental Problems of India
Man is the main agent for polluting the physical environment like soil, water, and air. A large number of activities of man are polluting the entire physical environment around him and creating an imbalance in the ecological system. For instance, the water of the river Ganga has been exclusive. This pollution of Ganga water was caused (i) by the discharge of sewage and industrial waste ; (ii) by the excessive use of synthetic detergents which were washed down into the river; and (iii) by the excessive use of chemical fertilizers in the fields which are washed into the river with rainwater.
Factors Responsible for Environmental Problems.
- Poverty and Underdevelopment: The environmental problems generally arise out of poverty. The poor and under-developed people are generally uneducated and uninformed about the value and importance of natural resources. The misuse of these resources has an impact on health and sanitary conditions which, in turn, has a negative effect on the environment.
- 2. Heavy Population Explosion: Rapid population growth makes the imbalance amidst the resources in India. Although we have the surplus human capital to employ, the lack of capital is the main hindrance to engage the hands of millions. As a result, various ecological problems arise in the country like natural calamities, pollutions, and others.
- Land and Water Mismanagement: The key to environmental quality lies inefficient land and water management. In India, however, this management aspect has been overlooked. Mostly, the government has adopted water resources or the major, medium, and minor irrigation projects. But the continuous negative of land and soil resources management has degraded the environmental quality of the country.
- Deforestation: Forest is the key factor in upholding environmental quality. In 1952, the National Forest Policy had recommended that India should have at least 33 percent forest cover of total land area. But presently, it has sustained only 12 percent forest coverage. Side by side, the forest land is affected by erosion also. Nowadays, large-scale deforestation has exposed sensitive catchments areas in the Himalayas and other hilly areas to soil erosion. Hence the poor quality of forest in the country has hampered both the land and soil resources and the watershed management cannot be appreciably used because of the run-off rainwater leading to ecological imbalance.
- Destruction of Natural Living Resources: Under the pressures of a rapidly growing population and unplanned development of the natural environment, the habits of our species are being lost or modified, leading to the disappearance of certain species and eco-systems. According to Wildlife (Protection Act) 1972, out of 103 listed endangered mammals and birds, 5 such species are known to have become extinct in the recent past. This naturally causes heavy loss of valuable potential resources and adversity affects the ecological balance.
- Adverse Environmental Effects of Big Dams: A major environmental effect of huge dams and multipurpose projects is the degradation of the soil in the command area due to waterlogging and soil salinity. Apart from displacing crores of people, the big dams are drawn millions of hectares of rich forests.
These big dams have failed to prevent and control floods.
- Salinity: The soil contains certain salts that are harmful to the plants. So long as these salts ice deep in the earth, there is no problem. But they are brought to the surface known as salt effervescence by the seeping of the canal water into the lower layers, thus forcing subsoil water to come up. As the subsoil or groundwater level rises, the salts of the earth come up to the surface ruining crops and making cultivation impossible.
The problem can be tackled best by lining canals and distributaries with concrete to prevent water from seeping in. Pumping out sub-soil water by tube wells earn also prevent it from coming up.
- Environmental Problems arising out of Mining: large mining enterprises involve the conversion of agricultural land into the township, roads, railway lines, and so on. Besides, surface mining involved the removal of vegetation and topsoil.
The mineral dust from the mines pollutes the air and on setting on land, reduces agricultural productivity. The residues water dumps spread to agricultural fields and make them useless for cultivation. Underground mines often lead to subsidence of land due to excessive exploitation.