Do these real stories on disastrous effects of manmade environmental degradation activities move you?
Do you wish to contribute your mite?
If you do, it’s time you get to understand various environmental perspectives in totality.
You can influence your social circle with your knowledge about environment, water pollution, air pollution, ground pollution, global warming, harmful chemicals, pesticides, genetically-modified foods, acid rain etc.
Have a look at environmental problems caused by human activities:
1. Taj Mahal, Agra, India:
A symbol of love affected by air pollutants Emperor Shah Jahan constructed this historic monument in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India in the year 1648. The innumerable industries in and around Agra released a large amount of sulphur dioxides, suspended particulate matter, smoke, soot etc causing tanning, blackening, and yellowing of the marble stone. The oxides reacting with rainwater resulted in acid precipitation and in return caused the deterioration and corrosion of the Taj Mahal.
In 1984, the Supreme Court of India ordered designated polluting industries in the Taj area to be shut down and or adopt cleaner control technologies.
2.The London smog of 1952:
A classic air pollution case study During the cold month of December, the people of London burnt large amounts of coal for heating their homes, which resulted in a huge amount of smoke, soot, ash, sulphur oxides etc. generated from the chimneys.
On 5 December 1952, the temperature went down to -1°C and the humidity at 80%. There was a thick fog and the air near the ground was moist. The accumulation of smoke close to the ground was so much that the sunlight was totally cut off and the air stayed cool and static. The term smog means fog that has soot in it. Average smoke measurements in London showed the PM concentration was 56 times the level normally experienced and the sulphur dioxide level increased by 7 times (700 ppb).
Around 4000 people died due to the smog causing pneumonia, bronchitis, tuberculosis, heart failure, asphyxiation, chest pains, inflammation of the lungs, damage to respiratory cells, permanent lung damage, respiratory ailments, susceptibility to cancers etc. The effects on vegetation were profound due to the resulting acidic rain.
Following this disastrous event, London formulated the Clean Air Act, 1956 and all the traditional coal fires were converted to heaters fueled by gas, steam, hot water, oil, smokeless coal and electricity.
3.The terrible Bhopal Gas tragedy of India, 1984
Another classic case study involving air pollution is one of world’s worst industrial disasters, which occurred on December 3, 1984 in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (India).
The Union Carbide Company used methyl isocyanate in manufacturing Carbaryl (carbamate) pesticides. On the fatal day none of the safety devices worked and there was a functional failure of the vent scrubber outlet. There was a violent chemical reaction in the tank and the pressure built up. This popped the safety valve open.
The safety valve remained open for more than two hours. As a result over 30 – 40 tons of methyl isocyanate (MIC) and 35 – 40 kg phosgene were emitted into the atmosphere. The gas spread over the entire region and city, air being the medium.
Approximately 5000 people died in the disaster. More than 2,50,000 people were exposed to the gas. MIC afflicts the lungs, eyes, skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system etc.
The clean up of the tragedy cost approximately 570 million U.S. dollars compared to the cost of the safety devices, which would have cost only 1 million U.S. dollars if it had been installed before the tragedy.
The after effects of the Bhopal gas tragedy are seen even today with people and children having genetic disorders.
4. Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster:
The Chernobyl disaster, reactor accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was the worst nuclear power plant accident in history and the only instance so far of level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale, resulting in a severe release of radioactivity into the environment following a massive power excursion which destroyed the reactor.
On 26 April 1986 at 01:23:44 a.m. reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant located in the former Soviet Union near Pripyat in Ukraine exploded. Further explosions and the resulting fire sent a plume of highly radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over an extensive geographical area.
Nearly thirty to forty times more fallout was released than Hiroshima.
The plume drifted over parts of the western Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Northern Europe, and eastern North America. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia were badly contaminated, resulting in the evacuation and resettlement of over 336,000 people.
According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the radioactive fallout landed in Belarus. The now-independent countries of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus have been burdened with the continuing and substantial decontamination and health care costs of the Chernobyl accident.
It is difficult to accurately tell the number of deaths caused by the events at Chernobyl, as the Soviet-era cover-up made it difficult to track down victims.
The 2005 report prepared by the Chernobyl Forum, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and World Health Organization (WHO), attributed 56 direct deaths (47 accident workers, and nine children with thyroid cancer), and estimated that there may be 4,000 extra deaths due to cancer among the approximately 600,000 most highly exposed and 5,000 among the 6 million living nearby. Although the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and certain limited areas will remain off limits, the majority of affected areas are now considered safe for settlement and economic activity.
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES FOR UNDERGRADUATE COURSES Authors: Dr. Sushmitha Baskar & Dr. R. Baskar
Price: INR 175
Publisher: Unicorn Books
For more information you may go to the URL: http://www.pustakmahal.com/book/book/bid,,9345B/index.html
This book Environmental Studies for Undergraduate Courses is useful for college studies, professional examinations and for general knowledge.
The book has been divided into eight units. The first unit covers definition, scope and importance of environmental studies. Second unit explains the renewal and non-renewal resources. Next unit introduces the reader to the types of ecosystems, and food chains.
Fourth unit describes biodiversity and its conservation. The fifth unit elaborates sources of pollution, solid waste management, and disaster management.
Sixth unit discusses sustainable development, urban problems, climate & global warming, and legislative environmental Acts. Human welfare and environment form the next unit.
Fieldwork relating to study of simple ecosystems forms the eighth and the last unit.
The salient features of the book include a simple explanation of the subject, relevant case studies, environmental quotes and interesting facts.
About the authors:
Dr. Sushmitha Baskar is associated with the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Guru Jambheshwar University of Science and Technology.
She obtained her PhD in 2002, and has been awarded various national fellowships like CSIR-SRF, RA and international fellowships.
She was awarded Swiss Fellowship (2002- 04) to work at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH – Zurich, Switzerland. Along with her husband Dr R Baskar, she has co-authored a book Environmental Sciences for Engineering Undergraduates.
Dr. R. Baskar earned his Masters, M.Phil and PhD (1992), from Punjab University, Chandigarh in Geology.
He has been awarded various national and international fellowships like prestigious Dr.K.S Krishnan DAE research fellowship, CSIR, UGC, and DST fellowships.
He was awarded the ICSC World Laboratory scholarship to carry out research in France for a year during his doctoral programme. He was invited as an Academic Guest (2003 -2004) in the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland.
At present he is a Reader in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Hisar.