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Environmental Pollution – 01

Environmental Pollution 

Water bodies are severely polluted as a result of indiscriminate dumping of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastes. The water bodies are polluted mainly through point source (Industries) and non-point (agriculture and domestic sectors) pollution source. The chemical used in agriculture sector (fertilizer, pesticides, insecticide, salts) move along with the drainage from the root zone to underlying water table/ground water. This further leads to the pollution of surface water as ground water flow into streams. 

Another major source of pollution in water bodies found in varying concentration is ‘emergent pollutants’. These are synthetic or naturally occurring chemical or any microorganism that is not commonly monitored in the environment but has the potential to enter the environment and cause adverse ecological and human health effects. The main categories of emerging pollutants present in wastewater are 

  • Pharmaceuticals (antibiotics, analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, 
  • Personal care products (fragrances, sunscreen agents, insect repellents, micro beads and antiseptics), 
  • Pesticides and herbicides,
  • Surfactants and surfactant metabolites, 
  • Flame retardants, industrial additives 
  • Chemicals and plasticizers and gasoline additives. 

Emerging pollutants are rarely controlled or monitored. Slow accumulation of pollutants over the years in many rivers has made them aesthetically unpleasant and biologically and chemically toxic. For e.g. river Yamuna. Restoration of such rivers to environmentally acceptable levels is difficult it indicator of these is frothing of rivers Introduction of advanced methods of waste water treatment such as membrane technology, recycling, reclamation of waste water etc. help alleviate the pollution problem to some extent. 

Water Hazard 

Water-related hazards form a subset of natural hazards; the most significant ones include floods, mudslides, storms and related ocean storm surge, heat waves, cold spells, droughts and waterborne diseases. Floods and droughts are part of the spatio-temporal variable water cycle dynamics and a natural phenomenon, the climate change and human interference have changed the frequency and severity of floods and droughts in many river basins worldwide. Water-related hazards like floods, cyclones, droughts account for 90% of all natural hazards, their frequency and intensity is generally rising. The human settlements in the disaster prone areas have negative consequences and thousands of people around the world affected worldwide every year. The variations in land use and climate change have altered the flood frequency statistics. According to the United Nations Global Assessment Report, since 1900 more than 11 million people have died as a consequence of drought and more than 2 billion have been affected by drought, more than any other physical hazard. Urbanization, river channelization and other human activities, modify the storage capacity of catchments and impact groundwater recharge result in increased occurrence of water-related disasters. 

Water Governance-disconnect between State and Centre Government 

Water governance is fragmented and, as a result, leads to inconsistent water policy between the central and state governments. This fragmentation makes the task of implementing a holistic policy faraway difficult. In India according to Constitution, each of the twenty-eight states of the Union is responsible for dealing with their own water issues. However, the federal government has the constitutional mandate to resolve issues that arise out of the use of interstate rivers. This complexity of governance in water sector and all levels from the central government down to the field level officials who deal with farmers and industry have to recognize the water challenges and the need for coordinated action for proper implementation of Water policies in India.

Strategies 

Ecosystem 

Ecosystems are increasingly seen as solutions to water problems, not just as a casualty. This is a welcome and positive trend as it also reflects improvement in dialogue and a step towards better integrated water resources management, and therefore more sustainable development. Ecosystems – including, for example, forests, wetlands and grassland components – lie at the heart of the global water cycle. All freshwater ultimately depends on the continued healthy functioning of ecosystems, and recognizing the water cycle as a biophysical process is essential to achieving sustainable water management.

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