Poet Sukanta Bhattacharya said, “I will make this world habitable for child. This is my firm promise to the newborn.” Every year on April 22, World Earth Day is celebrated worldwide and the main goal of this day is to protect the environment and nature and make the earth habitable.

Earth Day was first observed in 1970, when 20 million people took to the streets against environmental destruction. Earth Day has played an important role in environmental activism for the next 50 years. The main goal of this day is to sustain the earth by protecting the environment and nature. The Paris Agreement was signed by 200 countries on Earth Day 2016 to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Many countries around the world are now plagued by natural disasters due to climate change. Earth Day is celebrated worldwide to raise global awareness about the environment and nature and to make the world livable and safe. Due to climate change and environmental pollution, the earth is slowly moving towards destruction.

Environmental pollution is spoiling the ecological balance, soil erosion is increasing and at the same time it is becoming an extreme threat to human existence. According to a report, rice production in India could fall by 12 per cent by 2060. Countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Laos and China may suffer the most due to climate change in the whole of Asia. As the balance of the environment deteriorates, production will decline and if production declines, food security will be severely threatened. Drought is currently affecting 38 out of the 48 countries in Asia, and the drought in India has increased severely in the last few decades. At present the environment is in the grip of global warming and the warming is increasing day by day.

The increase of CO2 in the year 1800 was 270 ppm and it increased to 404 ppm in 2016 which indicates something really horrible and most of it is produced by China (28%) and the United States (16%). The biggest contributor to global warming is carbon dioxide (49%). And so there have been numerous conferences around the world, such as the Paris Conference, to reduce this terrible gas production, but so far they have not yielded the expected results. The first Earth Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 3 to 14 June 1992 by the initiative of the United Nations.

Twenty-seven policies on environmental development were approved at that conference. The World Sustainable Development Summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4, 2002, was known as the Second Earth Summit. The conference adopted 37 commitments on environmental development. Due to severe climate change, the North Pole is already melting and the sea level is rising due to the melting of ice and the lowlands are likely to be flooded.

Environmental threats are constantly increasing in low-lying countries.  The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been steadily rising since the Industrial Revolution and has threatened many parts of the world today. Bhutan is the only country in the world that emits less carbon dioxide and absorbs more but due to carbon dioxide aggression from other countries, the country is beginning to be adversely affected. The negative effects of global climate change are already being felt in Bhutan. The global climate is under serious threat today due to the trade aggression of China, the United Kingdom, The USA and other developed countries and the consequences that developing and developed countries are going to suffer. The Maldives and Bangladesh are at the highest risk of being affected by global climate change. According to a report, due to global climate change, 17 percent of Bangladesh could be submerged and the situation in the Maldives could be even worse, meaning the whole country could be submerged.

According to another report, China is putting the world at environmental risk as it implements hydroelectric projects one after another in the Tibetan region, and the construction of larger dams in 2020 will reduce water flow in one-fifth of China’s rivers. Many rivers have already dried up and turned into small reservoirs, and 350 large lakes have already been lost, with devastating effects extending beyond the Chinese border. The international community is also concerned about this. Large-scale deforestation across the Himalayas has led to the extinction of many species in the highlands, according to scientists. The Tibetan plateau is now three times warmer than the world average and its environmental impact extends beyond Asia.

Global air pollution is rampant and the air quality in Dhaka city is alarming. Excessive presence of sulfur dioxide has been noticed in the air of Dhaka. It is not possible to restore the balance of the endangered environment and address the risks of climate change until the economic and social balance of the world is restored.

The population of the United States is 5% of the world’s population, but the United States uses 25% of the world’s mineral energy and emits 22% of the world’s carbon dioxide. And developing countries have a total population of 78 percent of the world’s population and they use 18% of the total energy. According to a World Bank report, Bangladesh is one of the countries most affected by pollution and environmental risks. As a result of global climate change, poor people are being affected more.  World’s leading scientists warn that if current trends in carbon emissions continue, catastrophes such as wildfires, droughts and catastrophic floods could erupt around the world. Global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 unless immediate action is taken.

The natural environment is the bearer and carrier of life and if this natural environment is destroyed then the destruction of life is inevitable. Population growth, unplanned urbanization, unwise deforestation, abuse of natural resources, rapid industrialization, use of pesticides, industrial waste, toxic fumes, Ozone depletion and acid rain have disrupted the environment. Millions of people in the world today are in the grip of horrible environmental pollution. More than 80 species of animals have become extinct in the last 60 years and hundreds of species of plants have become extinct.

As a result of uncontrolled industrialization, 22 crore tons of carbon monoxide is being stored in the air every year. And it is having a severe impact on nature and green forests are rapidly disappearing. Tropical forests are being severely damaged and 7.5 million hectares of land are becoming deserts every year. The level of oxygen in the air is also decreasing rapidly. Due to environmental pollution, new diseases are constantly being created in the world and people are dying. We must be aware if we want to make this earth healthy, beautiful and livable. If we really want to make the earth habitable, we need to plant more trees and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. If we want to save the world from horrible pollution, we have to take effective steps now, otherwise we all have to deal with its horrible consequences.

The writer is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College, Kurmitola

Dhaka Cantonment.


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