The recent growing concern for the quality of our environment has strengthened the concept of environmental monitoring which requires regular periodical measurements of environment followed by timely assessment and interpretation of data obtained. Reliable monitoring data are necessary to know pollution problem. Environment is deteriorating day by day due to industrial pollution, toxic chemicals, automobile emission and natural resource depletion. Pollution in its various forms is increasing tremendously.
Environmental management aims at the study of all these problems and checking pollution so that the environment satisfies the basic human needs at the minimum and more, if possible, for an indefinite future. The main aim of environmental management is overall development of environment. Purpose of environmental management is to see whether air is fit for breathing, water is fit for drinking and soil and sea resources are fit to provide all needs. One also expects that people are well fed, well housed, well educated and enjoying happy and healthy life.
Environmental problems are so diverse and diffused that virtually any activity of civilization interacts with the environment. Many environmental pollution problems are local in character and they can be controlled by creating environmental consciousness in each and every citizen. People should be told about the importance of clean atmosphere as well as about the consequences of different types of environmental pollutions. Besides, action is also needed at national level and guidelines may be established internationally by the United Nations Joint Committee of Experts.
Some of the effective and practical control measures for minimizing environmental pollution are outlined below:
1. Combustible solid wastes should be burnt in incinerators. This method does not solve the problem in a real sense because in this, solid waste is being converted into gaseous wastes causing air pollution. Unless it is properly controlled, incineration may cause more nuisance.
2. Solid organic wastes including faecal matter and wastes from tanneries should be converted into compost manure at the places far away from the cities and human dwellings. The composting should be done in pits or in heaps adequately covered with layers of soil at least 8-10 cm thick to prevent fly breeding and rat menace which are important carriers of various diseases.
3. Non-combustible solid waste materials like ash, rubbish, tins, glass pieces if not recoverable for usual purposes should be disposed of by landfill method in low-lying areas.
4. Anaerobic septic tank treatment can be used for individual houses or small communities. Besides, aerobic biological treatment systems including trickling filters, activated sludge treatment and oxidation ponds can also be used for liquid wastes or sewage disposal.
5. Automobiles must be either made to eliminate use of gasoline and diesel oil or complete combustion is obtained in the engine so that noxious compounds are not emitted. The automobiles, trucks and other transport systems must have an antismog device. In some countries factories are using devices like scrubbers, cyclone separators or electrostatic precipitators to minimize pollution.
6. There should be cut back in the use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and other agrochemicals as far as possible.
7. Excessive and undesirable burning of vegetation should be stopped.
8. Sponges and towels should be used in place of paper towels and also the use of paper cups and plates and similar materials should be stopped.
9. Little use of electric appliances and motor-nm appliances will reduce thermal pollution.
10. Washing soda and scouring pad should be used instead of detergents.
11. Waste management is based on principle of ‘3Rs’ i.e. Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. Used boxes, bags, plastics and bottles should be reused whenever possible.
12. Since about 40% of the phosphates in water pollution comes from detergent, it has been suggested that only detergents low in phosphates should be used.
13. Shampoos, lotions and similar products should not be bought in plastic bottles. It has recently been suggested that use of plastic containers and glasses may cause cancer.
14. Smoking should be stopped (there is 5, 00,000 tonnes tobacco pollution annually).
15. Proper attention should be given by the government to make people realize the implications of environmental problem,
16. Legislation against pollution should be strictly implemented.
17. International action is needed to deal with the problems presented by highly toxic pollutants like lead, mercury, organ chlorine pesticides released in to the atmosphere and carried far beyond the country of origin as well as carried down to the sea by rivers. Successful action to improve environmental qualities depends mainly on the acceptance by industry and local authorities of the need to reduce greatly both quantities and toxicity of certain wastes at present being discharged into the sea and the modernization and expansion of sewage disposal systems.
18. Environmental education is the best programme to deal with the environmental problems. It is most fundamental in our efforts to combat and control pollution, over-population and misuse of natural resources.
Environmental education includes the following objectives which are based on the major outcome of the 1975 workshop on environmental education:
(i) Awareness of the problems.
(ii) Providing knowledge to deal with the problems.
(iii) Developing new attitudes towards environmental problems.
(iv) Developing skills for solving environmental problems.
(v) Providing development or evaluation ability in these areas.
(vi) Increasing participation and involvement of public.
(vii) A broad recognition of the facts that we are all responsible for helping to solve environmental problems.
19. Recycling of wastes and sewage should be done.
The work on pollution control and abatement techniques is being carried out by Desalination and Effluent Engineering Division of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). There is special Directorate for Radiation Protection (DRP), an all-India organization, which keeps watch on exposure of the users or public at large to irradiation and provides proper instructions to users for using radioactive materials.
Besides these, a National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEEI) is established at Nagpur to execute studies on different aspects of pollution. This institute has regional offices, one each in Tamil Nadu, Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kanpur and Ahmedabad. One more all-India organization, Industrial Toxicological Research Centre (ITRC), has been established at Lucknow which is concerned mainly with the study of toxicological and environmental problems.
Action Committee of 68th session of Indian Science Congress held at Varanasi (1981) recommended the following points on environmental management:
1. Immediate implementation of acts against air pollution, water pollution and noise pollution. (Now these acts have been framed).
2. There should be specific standards for the use of agricultural chemicals such as insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers.
3. Action is necessary against food adulteration, drug control and against factories producing effluents.
4. Department of Environment should be empowered for initiating legislative measures by the Parliament. Department should have control of soil, air and water environment and should maintain a strict vigilance over metropolitan and industrial areas. There should be regular monitoring of air and water quality. Penalty should be imposed on offenders not adhering to set standards against air, water, noise and other sources of pollution.
5. Environmental protection should be included in the concurrent list of constitution.
6. Government and voluntary agencies should be provided special incentives for successful anti-pollution researches.
7. Department of Environment should carry out publications on health safety and set directive criteria for different pollutants.
8. Environmental education should be made compulsory in the curricula of schools, colleges and universities. This has already been recommended by. The Supreme Court of India in 2005.
9. Mass communication media should be adopted for information related to environmental problems.
10. Scientific societies NGOs, Associations and Academies should create a temper of environmental problems in the rural and urban areas.
11. Plantation of trees suited to different climates should be adopted. Deforestation must be legally checked.
12. Wildlife board and Environment cell should be created in each state. Central and State Pollution boards have already been established.
13. Recycling plants for municipal wastes and sewage should be established. In many cities it has already been implemented.
14. Anti-pollution tax should be imposed on industries for discharging the effluents.
15. Reclamation of land to its original state should be the responsibility of the users. There should be legislation against violation for this.
16. Encouragements and incentives should be given to voluntary movements as “Chipko movement” for the protection of plants.
17. In agriculture, biological control of pests should be applied to replace wide use of insecticides, pesticides and fungicides. Biological nitrogen fixation should be adopted.
18. Several Biosphere Reserves containing endangered or rare or commercially important species should be established as early as possible.
19. Gene Pool Reserves and Gene Sanctuaries should be demarcated and protected in their natural environment to preserve wild germ-plasm from extinction and conservation.
20. For conservation of flora and fauna the list of endangered species should be continuously renewed.
21. Aero-biological centres should be established in different parts of India.
22. Brick fields should be prohibited by law near agricultural or populated areas.
23. Cleaning of choked lakes and rivers should be done regularly.
24. Different aspects of alternative energy resources should be created as biomass, energy plantation, fuel energy etc. Social forestry should be encouraged.
25. A suitable agency should be established for conservation and monitoring of marine resources and providing protection against pollution hazards.
26. Satellite and space technology may be adopted for weather forecasting, agriculture resource inventories and monitoring of air borne particles.
27. Airport areas should be separated to minimize pollution from noise.
28. Genetic counselling units should be established at different regions of India to monitor genetic disorders.
29. Scientific, administrative and social measures must be adopted to check pollution explosion.
30. At different levels of planning, the involvement of ecologists is essential. All programmes for development should be undertaken without or with the least disturbances to the natural ecosystem.