Saturday, 15 October 2011

Water: Scarcity amid Plenty

Today, I came across a statement regarding water: The paradox of the water situation is that there is scarcity amid plenty. How true it is!  We all know that water is a pre-requisite for existence of life, prime natural resource, basic human need, and precious national asset. There are vast resources of water on Earth. But, the water fit for human consumption is scarce. Out of total water resources of Earth, 97% is marine water while, only 3% is freshwater. Moreover, uneven distribution of water over space and time, restricted rainfall in a year (monsoon months), excessive deforestation, global warming, excessive extraction of groundwater for irrigation, depleting aquifers etc. make it more difficult for people to get water for meeting their requirements.
The above mentioned statement has made me recall my stay at Uttarakhand. I have spent many years of my life in beautiful hill state of Uttarakhand (India).  Natural beauty of this hill state is everlasting. It has got snow laden peaks of Himalayas, several rivers, lakes and evergreen valleys. Water resources of this beautiful hill state are plenty but still people especially ladies have to fetch water from long distances to meet their day to day need of water. Although, there are so many programme run by authorities but the problem of water scarcity remains the same for most of the people.  I felt very confused when I saw plenty of water, sometimes causing floods, in rivers, but, at the same time, no water in the taps.
I have been in field of Environmental Sciences for past many years; I have closely studied various aspects of water resources in Uttarakhand (India). In my point of view, major reasons for scarcity of water in hill states are:
  • Underground water recharge becomes difficult due to hilly terrain
  • Subsequent flash floods and high surface run-off
  • Risks of landslides and damage to water and water storage systems are very high
  • Developmental activities (road construction, unplanned urban expansion) added to fragility  and vulnerability
  • Western model of development and management of freshwater resources
  • Ignorance towards traditional methods of water resource management

I will write on traditional methods of water resource management which are followed in Uttarakhand (India) in my next post.
Remember to turn off taps of your home, when not in use.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Understand Ways of Nature

Today is October 13 : International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction. 
There has been an increase in the number of natural disasters.  Most of the time, nature is beautiful, resourceful and pleasing. Man has exploited natural resources at an inappropriate rate. He has cleared the forests and tried to spoil water resources. Nature remains calm most of the time. But when nature shows her presence,   it is always shown to man with a bang. Nature shows her presence through floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, avalanche and earthquakes etc. At such times, knowledge and skill of man fail to control natural calamities. Scientists as well as other people have acknowledged this fact. Therefore, now we are talking about protection and conservation of environment more seriously.

Few years back, 'Environment' was an unfamiliar word for most of the people of the world. But, now, it has become such an important word which should not be ignored by any one of us. 

Nature has started giving warning to human beings. Excessive heat, disastrous earthquakes, heavy rainfall, floods, presence of wild animals in urban and rural residential areas are few examples of nature's way of  warning to us. We should give an ear to these warnings and act accordingly. International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction can be celebrated as one such day to think over ways to change our attitude towards nature.

When we get up in the morning, nature welcomes us with the gift of warm sun rays, flying birds and beautiful flowers. What do we all return to nature in at the end of day? Smoke, noise and lots of waste. This is not fair and should not be done.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

World Environment Day

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on 5 June. On this day, in 1972, the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment began in Sweden. The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference) was an international conference convened under United Nations auspices held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5-16, 1972. It was the UN's first major conference on international environmental issues, and marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics. The first World Environment Day was on 1973. There was a large gathering from all over the world and people expressed their concerns for the increasing environmental problems.

Theme for World Environment Day -2011 is Forests-Nature At Your Service. This year's global host of World Environment Day is India

Monday, 3 October 2011

Become A Green Family

Eco-friendly (also environmentally friendlynature friendly, and green) are terms used to refer to goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies claimed to inflict minimal or no harm on the environment.

Every family can help to spread the ecofriendly lifestyle. The Green family (family who follows ecofriendly practices) can think carefully about saving energy, water and other resources too. This saving will lead to saving of money also. Let’s see which of following practices your family can follow to become a Green Family;
  •   Lights should be switched off in rooms not being used.
  • Turn off the tap when not in use. Keep a check on leakage of water by regular maintenance
  •   Keep size of the water storage tank as per requirement of your family.
  •   Use separate bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste
  •   Biodegradable waste can be used for compost
  •   Send non-biodegradable waste for recycling whenever possible
  •   Use solar panels on the roof to heat water. This will save energy to be used on electrical   geysers.
  •   Dry wet clothes in the open air instead of electric drier. This will save energy.
  • Choose energy efficient products when purchasing electronics and office equipment for your living room and home office (TV, Computer, DVD Player, Monitor, Stereo, Printer, Fax/photocopier, Regrigerator etc.)
  •  Use bicycle or prefer a walk for short journeys. This will save petrol and reduce pollution.

These are the practices that most of us already know, but, avoid to follow. Why? Think over this and start following above simple practices to become a green family.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Quotes To Be Followed

Today is October 2. In India, we celebrate this day as 'Gandhi Jayanti'  or Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.  I have come across few thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi which reflect his concern for nature:
 "The earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed. "
Mahatma Gandhi
"What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another."                                                                                                            Mahatma Gandhi
We can think over these thoughts and act accordingly. This will be a real tribute to the Father of Nation.