Welcome to “Science For Everyone,” ABP Live’s weekly science column. In this edition, we explore the topic of India’s contribution to climate change and the potential consequences by 2030 if appropriate measures are not taken to control it.
Climate Change and Its Effects
Climate change is a real and pressing issue that manifests through extreme weather events, heatwaves, unseasonal rainfall, and increased disease incidence. These changes have significant implications for our environment and society.
Urban Heat Island Effect and Unseasonal Rainfall
In recent years, the urban heat island effect has become more prominent, affecting various regions worldwide, including India. Climate change is also linked to unseasonal rainfall experienced by certain parts of India in late April and early May.
India’s Contribution to Climate Change
India plays a significant role in contributing to climate change through various factors. These include carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, greenhouse gas releases from industrial activities, urbanization, transportation, air pollution from waste and crop residue burning, and soil degradation caused by pesticide and fertilizer use.
Heavy Reliance on Coal and Industrial Activities
India’s heavy dependence on coal for electricity generation is a major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. Industrial activities, transportation, and residential consumption also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Open burning of waste and crop residue, especially during winter, significantly impacts air quality, particularly in northern India.
Pollution of Water Bodies and Soil Degradation
India faces challenges regarding water pollution and scarcity. Approximately 70% of surface water in the country is estimated to be unfit for consumption. Illegal dumping of sewage, silt, and garbage into rivers and lakes severely contaminates water bodies. Soil degradation caused by the use of pesticides and fertilizers further exacerbates environmental concerns.
Consequences of Inadequate Climate Control Measures
If appropriate measures are not taken to control climate change, India may face severe consequences by 2030. These include flooding in river valleys due to melting glaciers, water scarcity for drinking and irrigation, temperature increases, negative impacts on agriculture, increased storm severity, and exacerbation of socioeconomic inequalities.
Implications for Smallholder Farmers and General Population
Smallholder farmers and landless agricultural workers, who are less equipped to predict climate conditions, will be most affected by climate change. Severe storms, including cyclones, are likely to increase, causing infrastructure damage and saltwater intrusion. Changes in monsoon patterns will also affect food production, leading to hardship and hunger.
Plastic Pollution and Its Impact
In addition to climate change, India also grapples with plastic pollution. Improper disposal and burning of plastic waste release toxic air pollutants, contaminate water sources, and contribute to health risks. Plastic pollution can harm agricultural practices, damage ecosystems, and hinder India’s economy and GDP.
Urgency for Effective Control Measures
Without effective control measures, India faces a scenario of worsening environmental degradation, compromised public health, economic setbacks, and ecological imbalances. To prevent this potential future and safeguard India’s well-being, it is crucial to implement stringent regulations, promote sustainable alternatives, enhance waste management infrastructure, and raise awareness among the population.
India’s contribution to climate change poses significant challenges and potential consequences for the country’s environment, economy, and public health. Taking decisive action to address climate change is imperative to mitigate these risks and ensure a sustainable future for India and the global community.
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