By Dr C Hemavathi
Mysuru, June 9:- Environment pollution is constantly increasing across the globe due to the absence of environment-friendly developmental approaches. Sustainable development goals emphasise the need for the protection of biodiversity which is the heart and soul of development. The industrial revolution was primarily responsible for the expansion of the global economy represented by industrialisation, urbanisation, liberalisation and other processes which have created several pressures on the environment.
The United Nations environment programme organised the World Environment Day on June 5 in Columbia with a special focus on biodiversity protection. About 143 nations actively participated in the programme and endorsed the sustainable development initiative which assumes great significance in the new millennium. It is the bounden duty and responsibility of the policymakers to formulate suitable legislation and implement locally relevant initiatives for the protection of biodiversity which is the foundation of world civilisation.
The COVID-19 pandemic is considered as the most crucial global health calamity in the present times. It has also posed the greatest challenge that the humankind faced since the World War-II. This new infectious respiratory disease emerged in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. According to the latest statistics, about 6,66,3304 cases and 392 802 deaths are reported due to the widespread increase in the health disaster. The scientists have noted that the human impact on the environment has increased the risk of emerging infectious diseases in humans which is originated from animals, mainly from wildlife. The need to lessen our impact on the environment is being emphasised in the context of post-COVID-19 recovery, in order to reduce at the source the risk of future epidemics.
COVID-19 has brought about the collapse of the economy due to inevitable lockdown measure which has saved the lives of millions of people in the world. But, the world has also witnessed the positive environmental impact of the disaster simultaneously. More number of deaths is reported in the world on account of air pollution as compared to the latest health disaster-related deaths. The rivers are also cleansed due to the remarkable decrease in industrial pollution, transportation services, construction activities, mobility of the masses and other activities. The world has also experienced 4.0 lockdown which has paralyzed the economy from America to Zimbabwe. The role of India is highly appreciated by the world in containing the impact through lockdown, special economic package and rehabilitation programmes based on absolute humanism.
Biodiversity has been continually under threat since the dawn of man. It has been grossly threatened by the conversion of the human civilization from a market economy to market society. The market forces have neglected the ecological dimension of business management due to certain pressures and compulsions such as industrialization and urbanization. There are several ways to protect biodiversity in the present testing times. The policymakers are primarily responsible for making policies in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals to protect biodiversity.
The need for protection of natural habitats is seldom questioned since the natural habitat enriches the ecosystem. The extent of invasive species moved by accident planes, ships and cargo must be thoroughly checked before it is offloaded in a new country. The flora and fauna should be protected since they play a vital role in the making of the environment. There is a need to increase the population of the species which strengthen biodiversity remarkably. The water resources should be protected by adopting farming practices which demand less water.
The issue of climate change needs to be addressed seriously by all the stakeholders of the environment since the people have to move away from fossil fuels and towards alternative energy sources and natural or sustainable products. Natural farming and organic farming practices should be encouraged to save biodiversity and minimize the ill effects of chemical farming. It is high time that people say goodbye to unhealthy consumer culture and sustain the nature-friendly consumption of food.
The people should also adopt healthy lifestyles and food habits which do not cost the biodiversity. Sustainable living is the surest means of protection of the environment including biodiversity. Educational institutions, non-government organizations and media have to create new awareness among the masses about the importance of biodiversity conservation. Pressure groups are also required to sensitize the policymakers about protecting our natural environments which are necessary for protecting biodiversity.
(The writer is Associate Professor in Botany, Government First Grade College for Women, Vijayanagar, Mysuru).