Mitigation Strategies and Solutions in Environment Research Paper
Governments capacity especially in the industrialized countries to even feed their citizens is increasingly decreasing and this is causing the richer countries to lease land in poorer countries such as Africa to grow food to feed their citizens. Unfortunately the said African land has not been spared by environmental pollution and the large-scale foreign food production is being done at the expense of the already depleted natural resources. Scramble for many lands by the upcoming economies is just adding salt to the injury and it is most of all a major contributor to the worlds devastating situation.
Global environmental situation has deteriorated over time and in all aspects including air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, and noise pollution caused for example by railway, and aircraft and general manufacturing industry etc. Technological and civil development has seen the increase of all kinds of pollutions. A natural human being would have affected the environment as time went by, but it is clear from history that human entrance into the Iron Age was the beginning of environmental pollution albeit at an insignificant level. Increased usage of water and fire certainly increased the rate of pollution especially air pollution. It was however not until World War 2 that pollution really became a popular issue.
Due to the depletion of natural forests, water catchments areas have been severely affected. In very severe cases, countries have ventured into like cloud seeding in order to at least induce some rainfall. Water harvesting has become a common practice in many countries and irrigation as traditionally known has now been changed forms to for example drip irrigation in order to minimize water wastage during the exercise. The increase of industrialization has over time made worse the water scarcity situation. This is because a lot of water is used in manufacturing plants which not only reduces water levels but pollutes the sources of water since the used waters from the plants are dumped into clean water sources like rivers. Air pollution has not only increased respiratory and cardiovascular diseases but has also affected the climatic conditions which in turn affect the rainfall levels (Gary, 2004).
An increase in population has also not spared our environment.
Due to increased food demand production, deforestation has taken place speedily over time. However scrabble for African land has worsened the situation since developed countries are leasing large pieces of land for the production of cash crops in the already infertile land. Many leaders have warned governments against deforestation for short term economic gains noting that though the environment can survive without human beings, humankind would not survive without the environment. Deforestation is not only blamed for water scarcity but for much more problems. It is said that deforestation is a leading cause of the greenhouse effect, extinction of both animal and plant species and above all depletion of medicine sources (Wetherald, 2002).
The other thing that is proving to be a major problem especially currently is the issue of energy. Renewable sources of energy for example water, biomass geothermal wind, solar etc are said to be the way forward but not without limits because sooner or later, their sources are going to be depleted. Take for example the case of water we can no longer depend on it as a source of energy due to its shortages and even though renewable resources are said to be less pollutant we must come up with ways of conserving them (Gary, 2004).
Non living factors that contribute or are affected by mitigation strategies include emissions of acidic fumes from incinerators and landfills released into the air gradually resulting in global warming. Again water conservation technology like constructions of dams contributes to the exploitation of water levels since they change the size of the river resulting in reduced river flows. As a result the whole ecosystem around the river is affected. Plants and animals that were depending on such a river begin to suffer and or die. Earthquakes and floods though considered being natural phenomenon also contribute and are affected by mitigation strategies. Living factors also contribute or are affected by mitigations strategies. Humankind is the most contributor and most affected living factor. Human activities such as industrialization have contributed in a major to pollution and in return human plants and animals have been affected (Stevens, 1993).
Recycling is one of the ways that helps in mending areas that have been exploited by pollution. Recycling is meant to the restore already used material into a form that can be reduced even though it is of lesser quality. Recycling helps in the reduction of pollution since the waste material will not be burned and will reduce remanufacturing energy. Again recycling reduces the use of virgin resources. For example while there is always a requirement to use clean water in all operations, that water does not have to be sanitary for all processes. So water used say in domestic cleaning and can recycle and be reused for other purposes. However some materials especially bio-degradable wastes are not necessarily recycled but on the other hand are not harmful to the environment. However the salvage aspect of recycling has saved the environment a great deal of pollution. like aluminum is proved to save more than 90% of energy and air pollution. Recycling is also known to be an economic contributor. Recycling companies have been founded and apart from saving on waste materials, economies have gained as a result of job creation.
There are other benefits of recycling that are not necessarily economical. These are purely environmental benefits but are most overlooked by indirectly affected governments and companies. They include reducing air pollution, reduced cost of energy, reduced waste material, reduced hazardous effect as a result of waster burning etc. However, these benefits are solely for the communitys sake and not unless there are incentives like tax cuts and subsidies, manufacturing companies are likely to ignore them. There are however challenges even for the economically viable options. First of all for any recycling manufacturing plant to be established there must be enough supply of recyclates, means of getting the recyclates without having to invest heavily on the same and of course a market for the recycled products (Stevens, 1993).
There are mainly two approaches on how to deal with recycling industries. One is the government-owned company which is required to support societal beneficiary recycling and the other is a laissez faire approach where private companies venture into the business for profit making. In addition there are laws that governments put in place to ensure that recycling companies will not end up as white elephants structures. These methods include enforcing rules as to what is disposable or not. It is illegal in some states to dispose of either biodegradable waste such as garden waste or non-biodegradable materials like aluminum. Another way is by introducing a prize mechanism whereby one gets the value for his money only when he has returned the non-consumable material most packaging material. (. Centre, 2005).
Recommendations and Conclusion
However recycling is not a perfect solution to mitigation strategy since it is not always cheaper or less pollutant. As a matter of fact recycling some materials proves to be more expensive than manufacture of the same from raw materials. There are cost for example of collection, cleaning and transportation of waste materials that sometimes supersedes the cost of manufacturing from original raw material. Moreover some form of recycling create more complex material that eventually become nature hazards than they could have been as waste materials (U.S Environment Protection Agency,2007).
Some companies and countries are also known to engage in health hazard practices in the name of recycling at the expense of unsuspecting poor employees. Again since a lot of waste materials are found in packaging, there have been cases where countries have imported more waste products as opposed to the useful product. These have in turn increased the cost of recycling especially in cases where by the recyclates exceeds the demand of recycled products. Since pollution has many underlying effects on the citizens, the first mitigation strategy that would be viable would be to educate the citizenry of not only effects of pollution on themselves but also teach them how to prevent pollution of any kind. For example it would be important for a largely populated country to sensitize its birth giving population on the effect large families would have on pollution. The main challenge of this approach would be to have the public will to do it but that can be overcome by introduction of either rules and or incentives to the law abiding citizens (Global Warming International Centre, 2005).
Another strategy would be to have policies that are environmentally friendly, though this is likely to lie more heavily on governments and companys side. For example the developed countries should consider their foreign policies and support underdeveloped countries improve their already depleted natural resources instead of running there to grow cash crops at the expense of the environment. The same developed countries should oblige to environmental rules and laws that will protect global climatic conditions. Locally, the governments should ensure that their citizens are abiding by environmental rules that will either protect or conserve the environment. Apart from just protective policies, governments should be willing to support and invest in conservative projects (Gary, 2004).
Additionally, governments and or environmental activists are expected to invest heavily on environmental friendly technology. For example water harvesting equipments would be erected to make sure that there is no wastage on the ever reducing rain water. There should be introduction also of water/ energy conservation technology for example drip irrigation and usage of renewable resources as sources of energy. Governments should also support recycling of waste materials which helps in saving virgin resources and also helps reduce the cost and pollution challenges as a result of waste and landfills burning.
Usage of renewable resources such as solar energy instead of electricity and natural oils would also go along way in enhancing mitigation strategies. Consumer behavior can also help a lot especially in energy conservation. Switching off of the all energy ports in the house and offices will also help in energy conservation. It is also to unplug all power connections that are not in use since they continue to consume electricity as long as they are plugged. Walking and taking public busses instead of everyone using their own car is also another consumer behavior that can save a lot of pollution and conserve a lot of energy (Wetherald, 2002).
Waste minimization which is the process of reducing waste product during production especially in manufacturing plants is another way of enhancing mitigation strategy. It helps in conserving production energy since only useful material is processed and consequently minimize pollution. Again waste minimization has led to the development of innovative and commercially successful replacement products. Waste minimization is achieved by resource management which ensures that there is use for all raw materials, precycling which reduces weight by making sure that only usable raw materials are brought to the manufacturing plant or the business place.
Environmental protection is something that will be important in the future and that is why the current generation would like to become of the generations to come therefore various laws should provided to the societies governing the efforts of conserving the environment at large.