POLLUTION AND ITS IMPACT ON GROWTH
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The global population growth also is considered to be one of the major driving forces of global climatic change


By SYED MANZOOR ALAM

Nov 15 - 28, 2004
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Human impact on the global environment was negligible before the industrial age. Today, there are numerous indicators of the damage being caused. Each second of the day: i) an estimated 1,000 tons of top soil and 3,000 square meters of forest are lost; ii) another 2,000 square meters of arable land become desert; and iii) some 1,000 tons of unwanted gases are released into the atmosphere. Environmental problems are being compounded by population growth. The country is in the grip of environmental pollution due to release of CO2, CO, H2S, SO2, SO4, NO3, particulate matters, fumes, dust particles due to burning of fossil, fuels, fire wood, coal and release of gases in the industrialized areas of the country also from the spray of insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and other toxic chemicals. These phenomena of environmental scenario generally affect the growth of crops in many areas of the country.

The global population growth also is considered to be one of the major driving forces of global climatic change. The effects of human activities on the global atmosphere have become increasingly evident during the last decades. As the result of the population explosion, accelerated urbanization, and continuous industrialization, new environmental problems like those of greenhouse effects, ozone layer depletion, acid rains the increased use of pesticides are being created tremendously. Air is the ocean we breathe. Air supplies us with oxygen, which is essential for our bodies to live. Air is 99.9% nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor and inert gases. Human activities can release substances into the air, some of which can cause problems for humans, plants, and animals. Air pollution is a major hazard in today's world. There are several main types of pollution and these include smog, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and "holes" in the ozone layer. One type of air pollution is the release of particle matters into the air from burning fuels for getting energy. Diesel smoke is a good example of this particulate matter. The particles are very small pieces of matter measuring about 2.5 microns or about 0.0001 inches. The exhaust from burning fuels in automobiles, homes, and industries is a major source of pollution in the air. Some authorities believe that even the burning of wood and charcoal in fire places and barbecues can release significant quantities of soot into the air. Another type of pollution is the release of noxious gases, such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and chemical vapors. These can take part in further chemical reactions once they are in the atmosphere, forming some complex substances. Pollution also needs to be considered inside our homes, offices, and schools. Some of these pollutants can be created by indoor activities such as smoking and cooking.

Man's attitude towards the environment became unfriendly with the advent of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Later, it became hostile. It was badly mauled, molested and crushed. The environmental damage was so wide spread as European technology spread the globe, that vast areas of the richest forests turned into dry barren expanse after there were cleared for wood-fuel, timber products, agriculture and livestock. Throughout the 20th century, deforestation was carried out on an unprecedented scale in the name of industrialization. An immediate outcome of this destruction has been a major contribution to the global warming and creation the hole in the ozone layer that threatens the very life on Planet Earth.

Air pollutants are released to the atmosphere, which have suppressed the pollutants contributed by nature thousand-fold. The magnitude of air pollution has increased alarmingly due to population explosion, industrialization, urbanization, automobiles and other human proclivities of greater comfort. Air pollution is the contamination of the atmosphere by gaseous, liquid or solid wastes or by-product that can endanger human or plant health or can attack material. Combustion of firewood, garbages, coals and fossil fuels result in the serious ejection of oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen, small particulate and organic compounds, which affect the overall peaceful environment all the times of the agricultural practices such as pesticides, agrochemicals and herbicides spray also cause air pollution. The cost of environmental damage was taking its toll due to mismanagement of six environmental areas - municipal and solid waste, urban air pollution, cultivable and rangeland degradation, deforestation and destruction of mangrove forests. Financial loss of municipal solid and liquid waste costs $883 million, urban air pollution $369 million, soil in crop land degradation $357 million, rangeland degradation $125 million, deforestation $28 million and destruction of mangrove forests $15.7 million.

Pesticides are being indiscriminately used in agricultural farms, sprayed onto the livestock, contaminating our food and water. Ironically some of the pesticides used with the intention of protecting crops, infest food and end up having the opposite effects. Their residues accumulate in the body tissues, where they play havoc with our health. Operation of automobiles on the road releases significant quantities of oxides of C, S, N, CH4, Pb, Cd, traces of heavy metals, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Aerosol spray, freon gases, hydrocarbons and toxic aromatic compounds, whereas incineration of municipal wastes release acid fumes, particulate matter and reactive and odorous compounds. The toxic substances in the environment constitute a serious threat to human health as these substances can enter the human body through air, water and food in varying amounts in each day throughout a lifetime. Inhalation of air, which is polluted with biological and toxic substances, may produce various disorders such as respiratory and pulmonary diseases, skin and eye diseases, allergy and infertility.

Air pollution may cause increased illness, contamination of surface water, impaired growth of agricultural crops, deterioration of materials and loss of amenity. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a reasonably good air quality to protect human health and environment from adverse effects of pollutants. This can be achieved by controlling the emission of pollutants at source, for emissions and regular monitoring of pollution levels in air, for which expertise should be enhanced through training programmes and organization of seminars and symposia. Air pollution also causes the appearance and incidence of chronic bronchitis, optic irritation and lung carcinoma among urban population. The release of carbon monoxide (CO) in the atmosphere affects the central nervous system even at low concentration. Both SO2 and NO2, when inhaled irritate the respiratory system. The SO2, which causes formation of acidic condition in the atmosphere, causes damages to crops and forest, erosion of buildings and structures. The main air pollutants released from industrial operations include particulate matters, sulphur oxides, hydrocarbons, ozone, oxides of carbon and nitrogen.

It is estimated that annually several million tons of these pollutants are emitted by photochemical plants, smelting processes, iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills, coal cleaning and coke production, cement, paints, glass manufacturing etc. petrochemical and paper mills release highly toxic elements in the atmosphere. Several industrial operations such as metallurgy, electroplating, manufacturing processes, mining, milling and commercial operations release traces of heavy metals into the environment from where, these metals can enter human body through air, water and food chain. These metals (Hg, Cd, Pb, Ni, Cr, Co, Se, Sb, As, Sn, Br, Bi, Ti, etc.) accumulate in various organs such as liver, heart, lung and brain and cause various disorders in the body. These metals cause hepatitis, anemia, insomnia, dizziness, hallucination, ostomalicia, etc. These metals being biologically non-degradable accumulate in the vital organs of human being such as brain, nervous system, kidney, liver, intestinal tract and lungs, and adversely affect the biochemical processes.

The elements are divided into four classes according to their potential for pollution.

VERY HIGH POTENTIAL POLLUTION: Ag, Au, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Pb, Sb, Sn, Ji and Zn.

HIGH POTENTIAL POLLUTION: Ba, Bi, Ca, Fe, Mn, Mo, Po, T, U.

MODERATE POTENTIAL POLLUTION: Al, As, B, Be, Br, Cl, Co, F, Ge, K, Li, Na, Ni, Rb, V and W.

LOW POTENTIAL POLLUTION: Ga, La, Mg, Nb, Si, Ta and Zr.

ROLE OF SOME ELEMENTS IN ATMOSPHERE POLLUTION:

ARSENIC (As): It may rise from mining, burning coal, use of insecticides or impure sulphuric acid; serious pollution has occurred in some regions.

BERYLLIUM (Be): Occurs in industrial smokes.

CALCIUM (Ca): Large amounts of Ca are applied to agricultural land as fertilizers.

CADMIUM (Cd): Fresh water pollution has been serious.

CHROMIUM (Cr): The amount of Cr mined is large compared with its annual cycle in nature.

COPPER (Cu): Common pollutant of fresh water, also common in industrial smoke. Large amounts are applied to some agricultural soils as fungicide.

FLUORINE (F): Air and soil pollution by F causes serious local problems. Agriculture soils receive much F as an impurity in superphosphate fertilizers.

HYDROGEN (H): Atmospheric H has been increased 50-1000 fold by nuclear explosions.

MERCURY (Hg): Some soils are seriously polluted by organic mercurials used as fungicides.

IODINE (I): Burning algae can contaminate the atmosphere with I on a continental scale. Reactor accidents may release 131, to the biosphere.

POTASSIUM (K): Large amounts of K are applied to agricultural soils as fertilizers.

NITROGEN (N): Large amounts of N are applied to agricultural land as fertilizers and N is a major constituent of sewage, which pollutes many rivers.

NICKEL (Ni): Nickel in industrial smoke and other wastes causes local pollution of air and water.

PHOSPHORUS (P): Large amounts of phosphates are applied to agricultural soils as fertilizers and large amounts are discharged to rivers in sewage.

SULPHUR (S): SO2 is a serious global pollutant of the atmosphere. S is applied to some agricultural soils in large amounts as a fungicide.

ANTIMONY (Sb): Antimony in industrial smoke may cause lung disease.

STRONTIUM (Sr): Sr is the most potentially hazardous of fission products to mammals.

URANIUM (U): Local pollution of rivers by U has occurred in the USA.

VANADIUM (V): V in industrial smoke may cause lung disease. V is also a rare local pollutant of rivers.

ZINC (Zn): Zn in industrial smoke may cause lung disease. Zn is a common local pollutant of rivers.

AFFECT OF AIR POLLUTION ON OUR HEALTH: Air pollution can affect our health in many ways with both short-term and long-term effects. Different groups of individuals are affected by air pollution in different ways. Some individuals are much more sensitive to pollutants than are others. Young children and elderly people often suffer from the effects of air pollution. People with health problems such as asthma, heart and lung disease may also suffer more when the air is polluted. The extent to which an individual is harmed by air pollution usually depends on the total exposure to the damaging chemicals, i.e. the duration of exposure and the concentration of the chemicals must be taken into account.

SHORT-TERM EFFECTS: Examples of short-term effects include irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Other symptoms can include headaches, nausea, and allergic reactions. Short-term air pollution can aggravate the medical conditions of individuals with asthma and emphysema. In the great "Smog Disaster" in London in 1952, four thousand people died in a few days due to the high concentrations of pollution.

LONG-TERM EFFECTS: Long-term health effects can include chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidney. Continual exposure to air pollution affects the lungs of growing children and may aggravate or complicate medical conditions in the elderly. It is estimated that half a million people die prematurely every year in the United States as a result of smoking cigarettes. Research into the health effects of air pollution is ongoing. Medical conditions arising from air pollution can be very expensive. Health care costs, lost productivity in the workplace, and human welfare impacts cost billions of dollars each year.

 

 

There are many forms of air pollution, which threaten the quality of life. Industrial pollution and hazards, air and noise pollution, municipal water supplies, sewage, sanitation, solid wastes are the main factors, which cause air pollution. Industrial pollution is the major problem, because of air pollution and hazardous nature of many industrial sites, wastes and by-products. Pakistan generates over 50,000 tons of solid waste per day; out of which only 20-25 % is collected, but still not manage properly, causing series air, water and land pollution and health hazards. The industrial units and factories generally dump their solid and liquid wastes in spaces adjacent to their sites, sewers, nallahs, or in municipal sewage. There is hardly any control on the gases and particulate matter emission into atmosphere. In the urban areas, pollution of air by vehicles and industries is a recurring and persistent environmental health hazard. Toxic gases such as CO, SO2 and N2O, and particulate matter, soot, produce smoggy and hazardous conditions are found in most of the urban centres. Most of the urban dwellers in big cities of Pakistan are exposed to polluted air and fumes, high levels of lead from burning of gasoline soot and smog from diesel. Sewage and gutter water, which is reintroduced into the drinking water supply through leakage and seepage is a chronic problem in the cities. Toxic and hazardous wastes enter soils and vegetation and into the food chain. Application of pesticides, insecticides, agrochemicals, etc. bring harmful to human population. There are other factors, which play a pivotal role in the pollution of atmospheric air .

OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION: Smog is a type of large-scale outdoor pollution. It is caused by chemical reactions between pollutants derived from different sources, primarily automobile exhaust and industrial emissions. Cities are often centers of these types of activities and many suffer from the effects of smog, especially during the warm months of the year. For each city, the exact causes of pollution may be different. Depending on the geographical location, temperature, wind and weather factors, pollution is dispersed differently. However, sometimes this does not happen and the pollution can build up to dangerous levels

A temperature inversion occurs when air close to the earth is cooler than the air above it. Under these conditions, the pollution cannot rise and be dispersed. Cities surrounded by mountains also experience trapping of pollution. Inversion can happen in any season. Winter inversions are likely to cause particulate and carbon monoxide pollution. Summer inversions are more likely to create smog and dust. Another consequence of outdoor air pollution is acid rain. When a pollutant, such as sulphuric acid combines with droplets of water in the air, the water (or snow) can become acidified. The effects of acid rain on the environment can be very serious. It damages plants by destroying their leaves, it poisons the soil and changes the chemistry of lakes and streams. Damage due to acid rain kills trees and harms animals, fish, and other wildlife.

The greenhouse effect, also referred to as global warming, is generally believed to come from the build up of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is produced when fuels are burned. Plants convert carbon dioxide back to oxygen, but the release of carbon dioxide from the human activities is higher than the world's plants can process. This situation is made worse, since many of the earth's forests are being removed, and plant life is being damaged by acid rain. Thus, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is continuing to increase. This buildup acts like a blanket and traps heat close to the surface of our earth. Changes of even a few degrees will affect us all through changes in the climate and even the possibility that the polar ice caps may melt. One of the consequences of polar ice cap melting would be a rise in global sea level, resulting in widespread coastal flooding. Ozone depletion is another result of pollution. Chemicals released by our activities affect the stratosphere, one of the atmospheric layers surrounding earth. The ozone layer in the stratosphere protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Release of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's) from aerosol cans, cooling systems and refrigerator equipment removes some of the ozone, causing "holes"; to open up in this layer and allowing the radiation to reach the earth. Ultraviolet radiation is known to cause skin cancer and has damaging effects on plants and wildlife .

INDOOR AIR POLLUTION: Many people spend large portion of time indoors as much as 80-90% of their lives. We work, study, eat, drink and sleep in enclosed environments, where air circulation may be restricted. For these reasons, some experts feel that more people suffer from the effects of indoor air pollution than outdoor pollution. There are many sources of indoor air pollution. Tobacco smoke, cooking and heating appliances, and vapors from building materials, paints, furniture, etc. cause pollution inside buildings. Radon is a radioactive gas released from the earth, and it can be found concentrated in basements in some parts of the United States. Pollution exposure at home and work is often greater than outdoors. The expert estimates that indoor air pollutant levels are 25-62% greater than outside levels and can pose serious problems. Both indoor and outdoor pollution need to be controlled and/or prevented.

Global environmental change is nothing new. Abundant evidence exists of past climates radically different from today. However, as we have already entered in the 21st Century, there is a new agent of global environmental change and that is 'Mankind'. The exploitation of the world's natural resources-notably coal, oil and gas to provide energy and food for a growing, and increasingly affluent, global population has been changing the composition of the atmosphere. The by-products, of industrialization and resource use include the so-called 'greenhouse gases' carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), the chloroflurocarbons (CFCs), nitrous oxide (N2O) and tropospheric ozone (O3) and many other gases and particulates. These air pollutants have far reaching effects on human health as well as on plant growth and other living things on the earth. These gases are emitted as a result of fossil fuels combustion and deforestation, with a proportion remaining in the atmosphere. For instance, over the last 200 years, atmospheric CO2 has increased in concentration by 25%. The CO2 concentration is presently growing at a rate of nearly 0.5% per annum as we spew about 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. Methane has more than doubled over the same time period. Chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) concentrations, virtually negligible 50 years ago, but at present are responsible for about 20% of recent changes in global warming.

One hears about CO2 referred to as a polluting gas, but it is also a life giver, because the removal of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere would lead quickly to the extermination of all plant and animal life. The energy cycle that nature has provided is miraculous and beautifully well balanced. Plants turn water and carbon dioxide into food, fuel and oxygen, while man and other animals eat the food and burn the fuel in carbon dioxide, so reversing the process. Large changes in global climate from increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are distinct possibilities for the 21st century. Many metabolic and growth processes are affected by carbon dioxide concentrations including photosynthesis and stomatal conductance. Important physiological processes, photosynthesis, respiration, carbon allocation and stomatal function are known to be affected by air pollutants. A wide range in sensitivity of photosynthesis both within and between species is evident from the literature for the pollutants SO2, O3, N2O, HF, etc. Some of this variation is clearly due to genetic factors, but much is in response to differences in environmental factors, notably light intensity, ambient carbon dioxide levels and nutrient status. It is assumed that by 2030, the world could be 1-2oC warmer and sea level 14-25 cm higher than today. Important agricultural regions in coastal lowlands and deltas could be threatened by flooding, erosion, and salt intrusion. Small, low-lying island states are particularly at risk.

Important agricultural regions in coastal low lands are threatened by flooding, erosion and salt extrusion. Although, the small, low-lying island states are particularly at risk and vulnerable to sea level rise. But, if the rise is significantly larger, the result could be disastrous. With seas rising as much as 1 m, enormous areas of densely populated. Bangladesh would become uninhabitable. In the Netherlands for example, it is already a problem in polder areas, which are below sea level. flashing and rinsing of the polders and canals with fresh water is necessary, but in dry summers, crop damage is unavoidable due to insufficient supplies of fresh water. Salt-water intrusion means that some crops may have to be abandoned or alternative varieties may be cultivated. Drainage may also be impeded as sea level rises resulting in loss of yield or ultimately a change in land-use of agricultural area. Greenhouse gases affect the leaf balance of the earth by absorbing long wave radiation, which would otherwise escape to space. The worry is that additions to the atmosphere will cause a rapid global warming and sea level rise, with adverse consequences. One of the more predictable consequences of global warming is sea level rise. There are several ways in which global warming could be expected to affect sea level, i.e. the thermal expansion of sea water, increased melting of mountain glaciers and changes in mass of the huge icecaps of Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica. Changes in the volume of seawater without the addition of mass (water) result in steric changes in sea level. Sea level is affected by ocean density, which in turn, affected by water temperature, as the oceans warm they expand. The hundreds of mountain and glaciers present in the world in different countries represent less than 1 per cent of the world's total land ice, the equivalent of 30-60 cm of sea level, if completely melted.

If greenhouse gas emission continue to increase at their present rates, the level estimates indicate a global warming of approximately 0.5oC by 1995-2005; 1.5oC by 2015-2050 and 3oC by 2050-2100 with greater increases evident at higher latitudes. Such increases appear to be small yet the Earth's temperature has not varied by more than 1-2oC in the past 10,000 years. In the present century, the level of carbon dioxide is increasing day by day and the concentration of CO2 is by far the most important, which affects the greenhouse. The increase in surface temperature is known as "greenhouse heating" or the "greenhouse effect". The gases responsible have become known as "greenhouse gases", and the concentrations of greenhouse gases in pre-industrial period (1860), of CO2, methane, N2O and CFCs were 275, 1.1, 0.28, 0.0 (ppm), respectively, while for the year 2035 will be 475, 2.8, 0.38 and 0.0016 (ppm), respectively. These figures show a rapid increase in these gases.

What can be done to ameliorate the effect of sea level rise? For most small, developing countries, the construction of sea walls, dykes (leaves) and storm surge barriers, such as the Delta works in the Netherlands and Thames Barrier in the UK, are not feasible options. Existence of mangroves and other natural features will help this to intrusion of sea water. Higher levels of urban ozone, the result of stronger sunlight and warmer temperatures, could worsen respiratory illnesses. More frequent hot spells could lead to a rise in heat related deaths. Warmer temperatures could widen the range of disease, carrying rodents and bugs, such as mosquitoes and ticks, increasing the incidence of dengue fever, malaria, encephalitis, Lyme disease and other afflictions. Humans will have a hard enough time adjusting, especially in poorer countries, but for wildlife, the changes could be devastating. In near future, nearly 6 billion to 35 billion tons of carbon dioxide will enter the atmosphere.

A decade ago, the idea that the planet, was warming up as a result of human activity was largely theoretical. We knew that since the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, factories, power plants, automobiles and farms have been loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. Worldwide temperatures have climbed more than 5oC over the past century and the 1990's were the hottest decade on record. Similarly, steady warming has led an impact on no fewer than 420 physical processes and animal and plant species on all continents. Faced with these hard facts, scientists no longer doubt that global warming is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible.

There is increasing evidence that rising emissions of carbon dioxide, methane nitrous oxide and other relatively active gases will lead to an increase in the average surface temperatures at the earth. In addition to changes in global temperature, there will be changes in precipitation. The rate and magnitude of these climatic changes is much that they could have a significant impact on agricultural potential in many parts of the world. The nature and extent of such changes will vary regionally and are dependent upon on the level of climatic changes in each region, the agriculture and management practices used at present and the ability of agricultural systems to adapt to change. The profound effect that weather can have on agricultural crops can be seen in the common year to year fluctuations in yields. Frosts, excess rain, high temperatures during ear growth or grain growth, cool temperature and during grain filling and wet weather at harvest will all affect yield adversely. Thus, any change in climate, which alters the frequency intensity, or timing of such events could have a substantial effect on agriculture. Some of the concentrations of CO2 releasing in the atmosphere by industrialized countries are as: It has been reported, that US is by far the biggest polluter on the planet. With only 4% of the world's population, America produces 25% of its greenhouse gases (i.e. 186.1 billion tons of CO2, annually). Other major producers are: European Union (127.8), Russia (68.4), China (57.6), Japan (31.2), Ukraine (21.7), India (15.5), Canada (14.9), Poland (14.4), Kazakhstan (10.1), South Africa (8.5), Mexico (7.8), Australia (7.6), etc.

The most important consequences for agriculture would stem from a reduction in soil moisture due to higher rates of transpiration from plants and of evaporation from soil surfaces exposed to higher temperature. Increases in CO2 in the atmosphere can enhance plant growth in a number of ways: It can increase the rate of photosynthesis, leading to greater leaf expansion and a larger canopy and it can also reduce water losses from plants. Research suggests that for many species a doubling of CO2 will lead to a 10-15% increase in dry matter production, providing all other factors remain constant. For wheat and barley, yield increases of as much as 40% have been suggested. Majority of plants fall into C3 and C4 groups, according to their method of assimilating C atoms. C3 plants (such as wheat, barley, rice and potatoes) responded vigorously to CO2 enhancement. Similarly, C4 plants (including maize, sorghum, millet and sugarcane) do not. Water is continuously lost from plants through the process of transpiration. Water loss due to transpiration, is unavoidable, so that at some point, most plants will suffer from water stress, when evaporative demands are greater than water supply. Under such conditions, plants began to wilt, causing the stomata to close. This restricts water loss, but also limits CO2 assimilation and thereby plant growth and yield. Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 will lead to increased efficiency of water use by reducing transpiration rates.

Except for nuclear war or a collision with an asteroid, no force has more potential to damage our planets web of life than air pollution. There is no such thing as normal weather on the earth. A decade ago, the idea that the planet was warming up as a result of human activity was largely theoretical. We knew that since the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century, factories and power plants and automobiles and farms have been loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases, including carbon dioxide and methane. A report issued by the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on 'Climate Change' makes plain, the trend towards a warmer world has unquestionably began.

Glaciers including the legendary snows of Kilimanjaro (Africa) are disappearing from mountain tops around the globe. Coral reefs are dying off as the seas get too warm for comfort. Drought is the norm of parts of Asia and Africa. El Nino events, which trigger devastating weather in the eastern Pacific, are most frequent. The Arctic permafrost is starting to melt. Lakes and rivers in colder areas are freezing later and thawing earlier each year. Plants and animals are shifting their ranges poleward and to higher altitudes, and migration patterns for animals as diverse as polar bears, butterflies and beluga whales are being disrupted.

MAKING THE CASE THAT OUR CLIMATE IS CHANGING: From melting glaciers to rising oceans, the signs are everywhere. Global warming can't be blamcd for any particular heat wave, drought or deluge, but scientists say a hotter world will make such extreme weather more frequent-and deadly.

THINNING ICE: Antarctica home to these Adelie penguins, is heating up. The annual melt seasson has increased up to three weeks in 20 years.

Mount Kilimanjaro has lost 75% of its icecap since 1912. The ice on Africa's tallest peak could vanish entirely within 15 years.

Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia now freezes for the winter 11 days later than it did a century ago.

Montana will lose all the glaciers in Glacier National Park by 2070, if their retreat continues at the current rate.

Venezuelan mountain tops had six glaciers in 1972. Today only 2 remain.

 

 

HOTTER TIMES: Temperatures sizzled from Kansas to New England last May, surprising residents like this Delaware bay with an unusually early heat wave.

Crops withered and Dallas temperatures topped 38oC for 29 days straight in a Texas hot spell that struck during the summer of 1998.

India's worst heat shock in 50 years killed more than 2,500 people in May 1998.

Cherry Blossoms in Washington bloom seven days earlier in the spring than they did in 1970.

Wild weather: Heavy rains late last year in England and Wales made for Britain's wettest three-month period on record.

Fires due to dry conditions and record-breaking heat consumed 20% of Samo Island, Greece, last July.

Floods along the Ohio River in March 1997, caused 30 deaths and at least $500 million loss in property damage.

Hurricane floyd brought floods and 210 km/h winds through the U.S. Atlantic seaboard in September 1999, killing 77 people and leaving thousands homeless. Recently in the month of September,2004 most of the area in Grenada, Haiti, Cuba, Florida , Bhamas, Jamica etc were badly affected by Hurricane Ivan. This brought devastation of human lives and properties.

NATURE'S PAIN: Pacific Salmon populations fell sharply in 1997 and 1998, when local ocean temperatures rose 3oC.

Polar bears in Hudson Bay are having fewer cubs, possibly as a result of earlier spring ice breakup.

Coral reefs suffer from the loss of algae that colour and nourish them. The process, called bleaching, is caused by warmer oceans.

Diseases like dengue fever are expanding their reach northward in the U.S.

Butterflies are relocating to higher latitudes. The Edith's Checkerspot butterfly of western North America has moved about 95 km north in 100 years.

Faced with these hard facts, scientists no longer doubt that change in atmosphere is happening, and almost nobody questions the fact that humans are at least partly responsible. Already, humans have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide, the most abundant heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, to 30% above pre-industrial levels-and each year the rate of increase gets faster, and thus temperatures will keep going up faster each year, and by 2100, reported by experts that the average temperatures will increase between 1.4oC and 5.8oC more than 50 per cent higher than predictions of just a half-decade ago. Even at low end, the changes could be problematic enough, with storms getting more frequent and intense, drought more pronounced, coastal areas ever more severely eroded by rising seas, rainfall scarcer on agricultural land and ecosystems thrown out of balance. Important agricultural regions in coastal low lands are threatened by flooding, erosion and salt extrusion. Although, the small, low-lying is land states are particularly at risk and vulnerable to sea level rise. But, if the rise is significantly larger, the result could be disastrous. With seas rising as much as 1 meter (or 3.28 feet), enormous areas of densely populated land the Nile Delta, the Maldives, Bangladesh, coastal Florida and much of Louisiana, would become uninhabitable. Through such situation prevailing, the agriculture would be thrown into turmoil.

In Bangladesh, the deeper inundation in the interior floodplain may lead to a reduction in the areas suitable for cultivating the dominant strain of paddy rice and necessitate a shift to a lower yielding variety. It is to be noted that most of land area of the 1,190 small islands constituting the Republic of the Maldives is less than two meters above sea level. The locations of these small islands are at the total risk of tidal waves, because, if the phenomenon of tidal waves or current occur, they will inundate these small islands and thus uprooting their population. Hundreds of millions of people would have to migrate out of unlivable regions. Public health could be suffered. Rising seas would contaminate water supplies with salt. Salt-water intrusion may also become a problem. As sea level rises, salt water will penetrate further into estuaries and intrude inland into fresh water and aquifers. This is already a problem in some small island states. Salt-water intrusion will also have serious effects on agriculture, reducing the viability and yields of some crops. Many Pacific islands are dependent on root crops form a principal part of their diet and crops such as pulaka and taro are grown in shallow pits, which risk salt contamination. Salt-water intrusion is not a threat only to small islands.

Saltwater intrusion will also have serious effects on agriculture, reducing the viability and yields of some crops. Many Pacific islands are dependent on root crops, form a principal part of their diet and crops such as taro and pulaka are grown in shallow pits, which risk salt contamination. Saltwater intrusion is not a threat only to small islands. In Holland for example, it is already a problem in polder areas, which are below sea level flashing and rinsing of the canals with fresh water is necessary, but in dry summers, crop drainage is unavoidable due to insufficient supplies of fresh water. Saltwater intrusion means that some crops may have to be abandoned or alternative varieties may be cultivated. Drainage may also be impeded as sea level rises resulting in loss of yield or ultimately a change in land use of agricultural area. More frequent hot spells could lead to a rise in heat-related deaths. Warmer temperatures could widen the range of disease-carrying rodents and bugs such as mosquitoes and ticks, increasing the incidence of dengue fever, malaria, lyme disease and other afflictions. Humans will have a hard enough time adjusting, especially in poorer countries, but for wildlife, the changes could be devastating. Hundred of millions of people would have to migrate out of unlivable regions.

SULPHUR DIOXIDE (SO2): Since the beginning of this century, sulphur dioxide from industrial plants has been recognized as an air pollutant, and as a source of injury to plants. Sulphur dioxide is a global pollutant, but is more important as a local pollutant since the mean residence time in the atmosphere is quite short. Its concentration near big cities is usually between 0.01 and 0.15 ppm by volume, as against 0.0005 ppm in clean air. Sulphur dioxide particles reflect sunlight and without this shield, temperatures should go up faster. Depending on the amount present, leaves may be partially injured or killed, the symptoms of injury being specific and different from those produced by other pollutants. The specificity of the damage is confirmed by the increased sulphur content of the leaves. There is apparently no decrease in growth or in the photosynthetic rate on concentrations, that fail to injure the leaf. Alfalfa for instance, grew and photosynthesized normally when exposed to 0.1 to 0.2 ppm continuously for 45 days. When fumigated for 4 hrs on 5 successive days with 0.43 to 0.46 ppm, there were only tracts of leaf injury, and photosynthetic activity was slightly lowered (to 86-93 % of normal).

The SO2 stress clearly produces a plastic (irreversible) strain, but no elastic (reversible) strain. Rape and barley leaves were injured on exposed to 20 ppm SO2, the injury increasing with the time exposed. An environmental condition that favours stomatal opening, increases the absorption of SO2 and, therefore, the injury. On the other hand, 1 ppm of SO2 may itself increase the degree of stomatal opening throughout the day and night.

PHOTOCHEMICAL OR OXIDANT SMOG: This kind of gas stress is mainly due to two substances ozone (O3) and peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), although other injurious substances may also be present. In some respects, the actions of these two substances, are directly opposite to the action of SO2. They are oxidizing substances while SO2 is a reducing substance. They injure the lower surface of the leaf while SO2 injures the upper. Both O3 and PAN may inhibit plant growth, as well as increase the respiratory rate and decrease the rate of photosynthesis. Thus, unlike SO2, they can induce both elastic and plastic strains and can produce both direct and indirect injury. The effects of O3 are essentially confined to fully expanded leaf tissue, while PAN is most toxic to younger expanding tissue.

ACID RAIN PHENOMENON: Acid rain is normally considered to be a by-product of modern atmospheric pollution. The atmospheric pollution is composed of nitrogen N (78%), oxygen O2 (21%) with the remaining 1% comprises, Ar, CO2, Ne, He, CH4, Kr, H2, CO, Xe, O3, oxides of S and N and water vapours. These compounds provided a better understanding of acid rains, produced by sulphur compounds, the "green effect" and warming of the atmosphere due to an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels a result of a worldwide increase the burning of fossil fuels, coal, natural gas and petroleum oil. These has been a continuous increase in the levels of CO2 in the upper atmosphere resulting in elevated temperatures. It is estimated that there has an increase of 20% in the CO2 content of the atmosphere raising the level from 28 parts per million prior to 1900 to the current level of 380 parts per million. Even in a pure, uncontaminated world, however, it is likely that the rainfall would be acidic. Carbonic acid (H2CO3) is formed when carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by atmospheric water. Nitric acid (HNO3) is created during thunderstorms and sulphuric acid (H2SO4) is formed from the sulphur dioxide (SO2) released during volcanic eruptions and forest fires or from the sulphur (S) emitted by phytoplankton during their seasonal bloom period. All of these are natural processes, which contribute to make normal rain acid in the atmosphere.

Current concern over acid rain is not with the naturally produced variety, but rather with that which results form modern industrial activity and the acid gases it produces. Considerable amounts of sulphur dioxide are released into the atmosphere as a by-product of metal smelting, particularly when non-ferrous ores are involved. The burning of coal and oil to provide energy for space heating or to fuel thermal electric power stations also produce sulphur dioxide. The continuing growth of transportation systems using the internal combustion engine contributes to acid rain through the release of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) into the atmosphere. The main sources of acid rain are to be found in the industrialized areas of the northern hemisphere. North-eastern North America, Britain and Western Europe have received most attention, although their output of sulphur dioxide has been declining since the mid-1970's. Levels of oxides of nitrogen have not yet experienced significant decline and continue to rise in some areas. The emission of acid gases from Eastern Europe and the republics of the former USSR-Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan remains high. In Asia, Japanese industries emit large quantities of sulphur dioxide, while the industrial areas of China are also major contributors. Acid emissions remain limited outside of the major industrial nations, but concern has been expressed over growing levels of air pollution, often associated with urban automobile exhaust emissions, which may already have provided a base for acid rain in some Third World countries.

Once the acid gases have been released into the atmosphere, they are at the mercy of prevailing circulation patterns. With almost all of the areas currently producing large amounts of acidic pollution located within the mid-latitude westerly wind belt, emissions are normally carried eastwards, or perhaps north-eastwards, often for several hundred kilometers before being redeposit. In this way, pollutants originating in the US Midwest cause acid rain in Ontario, Quebec and the New England states. Emissions from the smelters and power stations of the English Midlands and the Ruhr contribute to the acidity of precipitation in Scandinavia, and acidity in the Artic originates as far as 8000 km away to the south in North America and Eurasia. Thus, the problem of acid rain transcends national boundaries, introducing political overtones to the problem and creating the need for international cooperation if a solution is to be found.

The impact of acid rain on the environment was first recognized in the lakes and rivers of these areas. Reduced pH values which indicate the rising acidity were accompanied by low levels of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), elevated sulphate concentrations and an increased surface water acidity had adverse effects on fish. In some cases, the acidity was sufficiently high that mature fish died, but, more commonly, fish populations began to decline because of the effects of the increasing acidity on reproduction. Damage to the eggs during spawning and the inability of the young fry to survive the higher acidity, particularly during the spring flush, ensured that the older fish were not replaced as they died. As a result, fish populations in many rivers and lakes in eastern North America, Britain and Scandinavia have declined noticeably in the last two to three decades and hundreds of lakes are now completely devoid of fish and water-borne animals. There is growing evidence that those areas in which the water bodies have already succumbed to acidification must also face the effects of increasing acid rain stress on their forests and soils. The threat is not universally recognized, however, and there remains a great deal of controversy over the amount of damage directly attributable to acid rain. Reduction in forest growth in Sweden, physical damage to trees in West Germany, and the death of sugar maples in Quebec and Vermont have all been blamed on the increased acidity of the precipitation in these areas. Many of the impacts, such as the thinning of annual growth rates, reduction in biomass and damage to fine root systems, are only apparent after detailed examination, but others are more directly obvious and have been described as dieback. This involves the gradual wasting of the tree inwards from the outermost tips of its branches. The process is cumulative over several years until the trees dies. The symptoms of dieback have been recognized in the maple groves and red spruce forests of north-eastern North America, and across fifteen countries and some 70,000 km of forest in Europe.

The present concern over acid rain is concentrated mainly on its effect on the natural environment, but acid rain also contributes to deterioration in the built environment: It attacks limestone and marble used as building stone, for example. The faceless statues and crumbling cornices of the world's famous historical palaces, castles, abbeys, churches, monuments and cathedrals, from the Parthenon in Greece to the Taj Mehal in India, attest to its power. By attacking the fabric of these buildings it not only causes physical and economic damage, but threatens the world's cultural heritage. Acid rain in the form of aerosols or attached to smoke particles can cause respiratory problems in humans, as was the case with the infamous London Smog of 1952 and 1962, and caused about 4000 and 700 human deaths, respectively. There is no evidence that wet deposition is directly damaging to human health, although in its ability to mobilize metals, from lead (Pb) or copper (Cu) pipes, for example, it may have important indirect effects. In Sweden, for instance, some 15,000 lakes have become too acidic to support sensitive species of animals and plants. It was concluded that acid rain phenomenon is uncontrollable, because it is a long existing problem due to industrialization processes all over the world. However, it needs precaution through human efforts and endeavors.

THINNING OF OZONE LAYER: The 'ozone scare' is a comparatively recent event, but it has gained worldwide significance owing to its impact on our ecology. Ozone (O3) is a triatomic form of oxygen. It has three oxygen atoms instead of the normal two. High concentrations of ozone in the stratosphere are known as ozone layer, which extends from 15 to 55 kilometers above the earth's surface. The stratospheric layer contains 90% of atmosphere. Ozone gas specially the ozone layer is well known nowadays to every one for its interference to mankind. We know, O3 molecules in the higher altitude of atmosphere (Stratosphere) absorbs the solar radiation in the ultraviolet region and prevent them from penetrating earth's surface. In the early part of this century, the basic photochemical mechanism by which O3 is maintained in the stratosphere. The role of high concentration of ozone in the stratosphere is vital as much as it acts as a very effective filter for absorbing ultra violet rays, which are an integral component of sunlight. In stratosphere, it acts as a shielding layer to protect us from the effects of ultra violet rays. Without adequate population of ozone, there would be an increase in the intensity of ultra violet rays falling on the surface of the earth resulting in very serious health hazard to humans in the form of skin cancer. At levels as low as 15 ppm, it causes headaches, eye irritations coughing chest discomfort.

High concentration of ozone in the trososphere has been reported to have caused reduction in crop yields by nearly 20-45% depending on the relative humidity, concentration of ozone and duration of exposure of the crops to the ozone gas. According to an estimate, exposure of plants to ozone levels of 0.05 to 0.07 ppm in the trososphere for 7 hours per day during one season, has caused crop loss amounting to 5.0 billion dollars in US alone. On an International Scale, the grain yield losses on account of elevated levels of ozone layer may run into several billion dollars each year. Destruction of ozone layer will increase the temperature of the earth. Rise in temperature will cause damage to the crop production, as the growing of food grain crops mainly depend on temperature. Thus, increases in temperature of the planet, has the potential of changing the overall pattern of food production globally.

More recently, it has been discovered that heterogeneous reactions on ice particles can also play an important role by facilitating the catalytic destruction of O3 by chlorine. These reactions are now recognized as responsible for the "Ozone hole" observed during the spring over Antarctica. Day to day use of Chlorofluorohydrocarbon in different machinery has also been causing gradual depletion of ozone layer in the stratosphere. Here, we need much precautions either not to use or to limit the use of this compound so that ozone layer in the stratosphere is not depleted and we can keep our earth surface free from penetrating harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Earth is an important, but a tiny component of the whole universe, with homo sapiens being the most dominant part in it. Our ecology is surrounded by troposphere. Ozone level in the troposphere is still sufficiently large to pose a threat to many forms of plant and animals. Ozone acts as a shielding layer, which protects planet earth from the harmful effects of the ultraviolet (UV) radiation coming from the sun. Without adequate population of ozone, there would be an increase in the intensity of ultra violet rays falling on the surface of the earth resulting in very serious health hazard to humans in the form of skin cancer. At levels as low as 15 ppm, it causes headaches, eye irritations, coughing, chest discomfort. Excessive depletion of ozone layer due to release of man made chemicals such as chloroflurocarbons (CFCs), halogens, carbon tetrachloride (CTC) and methyl bromide cause thinning of ozone layer, which is called ozone hole. The hole is found over Antarctic and Artic. The size of Ozone Hole, over Antarctic was double the size of Europe, i.e. 25 million square kilometers in September, 1998.

Ozone allows more ultraviolet radiation to reach the earth. Increased concentrations of ultraviolet radiation due to ozone depletion can cause skin cancer, cataract and effect marine life, plants, materials and different ecosystems. In fact, the ultraviolet radiation is damaging to almost all of life. In view of the scientific evidence that man made chemicals such as CFCs, halogen, carbon tetrachloride and methyl bromide are tremendously destroying the ozone layer, the international community has decided to phase out the production and large scale use of these chemicals by signing the Vienna Convection in 1985 and subsequently the Montreal Protocol in 1987. There are 172 countries, signatory to the Convection. Stratospheric ozone blocks ultraviolet light, where all of it is to be brought down to sea level, the ozone would form a layer only three millimeters thick. In the 1970's it was attacked without restraint by CFC's manufactured at a rate of nearly a million tons a year as refrigerants, aerosol propellants, industrial solvents and foam-blowing agents. Rising slowly into the stratosphere sooner or later, for instance from dumped and rusting refrigerators, CFC's are broken down by sunlight. Their chlorine then attacks the ozone by catalysis, so that just one chlorine atom can destroy tens of thousands of ozone molecules. Largely because of CFC's, the stratospheric chlorine is now about five times more than before, and increasing continuously. The globe's average stratospheric ozone level is thought to have declined by between 4 and 8 per cent. The losses are particularly marked in Antarctica, where each October of the year sees the appearance of a 'hole', its area sometimes equaling that of the United States: ozone is reduced by about 60 per cent overall and by 95 per cent at the center. In the year 2005, there would be very little ozone in the hole, if present trends being continued. A second, less transparent hole ozone levels reduced by 10 per cent or more now opens over the Artic at intervals, stretching southwards over much of Europe and North America.

The threat from CFC's was first explained in the early 1970's, before discovery of the Antarctic hole. As usual with pollution crises, the evidence was at first doubted. When the hole was found it was suggested that seasonal winds were blowing the ozone away. The Montreal Protocol of 1987, signed at first by twenty-seven countries, the Protocol called for a 50 per cent cut in the manufacture of CFC's and halons (which are the other main ozone-destroyers) by 1991. Later becoming convinced of the inadequacy of this, the signatories joined by more than fifty further countries, called for phasing out the use of these chemicals by the end of the century. CFCs and halogens are far from being the only threats to stratospheric ozone. With their vapour trails, aircraft cause about a tenth of the ozone depletion, and could cause much more after the anticipated growth in high-altitude flights. (In 1990, Britain and France were cheerfully proposing joint development of a new fleet of supersonic high-altitude aircraft despite the earlier outcry of environmentalists against similar plans in the United States.) Nitrogen oxides produced by, for instance, through the use of nitrogenous fertilizers, destroy may be of another dearth of the ozone. Methyl bromide, a crop fumigant, destroys perhaps as much again. Other contributors include methyl chloride: as mentioned earlier, this is generated copiously when forests, shrubs and grasslands are cleared by burning. It has been claimed that by ejecting hydrochloric acid, and volcanoes, send more chlorine to the stratosphere than humans, but this has been disproved, practically all of the acid is washed out by the rains accompanying eruptions, and in any case the recent big eruption of Mount Pinatubo ejected a mere fifty thousand tons of it, an amount negligible by comparison with the CFCs emitted in the same period. Yet volcanic emissions, together with industrial pollutants, do help clouds to form in the stratosphere, these then initiating reactions which sped up the ravages of the chlorine which humans have put there.

 

 

The direct consequences include an estimated additional 200,000 expected deaths from skin cancer in the United States alone or (the Environmental Protection Agency has calculated) over 3000,000 by the year 2100, if ozone depletion continues unabated. There will be many more cases of blindness (100,000 more for each 1 per cent decline in stratospheric ozone, according to a United Nations panel), a weakening of the human immune system, and premature aging. Still, the worst consequences could be indirect ones. Light in the ultraviolet-B waveband harms living organisms of all main types, on land and in water. It attacks not only plants, including many trees, but also the nitrogen-fixing bacteria on which crops rely unless heavily fertilized. Above all, it may be a grave threat to many zooplankton and phytoplanktons species. Zooplankton and phytoplankton are at the base of the oceanic food chains. Phytoplankton are crucial for taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: they remove more of this greenhouse gas than all other factors combined together.

Overpopulation is often defined as the condition of having more people than can live on earth in comfort, happiness, and health and still leave the planet a fit place for future generations. To most environmentalists, the data suggest that the planet is already overpopulated. Because of differing concepts of carrying capacity, however, experts differ widely over what level of population is considered too high. Some projects that if everyone existed at a minimum survival level, the earth could support 20 to 48 billion people. This existence would require that everyone exist only on a diet of grain, cultivation all arable land, and mining much of the earth's crust of a depth of 1.6 kilometers. Other analysts believe the earth could support 7 to 12 billion people at a decent standard of living by distributing the world's land and food supply more equitably and shifting from less abundant resources (such as lead, tin, uranium, oil, and natural gas) to more abundant resources (such as aluminum, glass, and various forms of solar energy). Others opposed to population regulation feel that all people should have the freedom to have as many children as they want. To some, population regulation is a violation of their deep religious beliefs. To others, it is an intrusion into their personal privacy and freedom. To minorities, population regulation is sometimes seen as a form of genocide to keep their numbers and power from rising. Proponents of population regulation point to the fact that we are not providing adequate basic necessities for one out of five people on Earth today who don't have the opportunity to be a net economic gain for their country. They see people overpopulation in MDCs (more developed countries) as threats to Earth's life support systems for us and other species.

Recently, the Population Crisis Committee compiled a human suffering index for each of 130 countries based on ten measures of human welfare. They found a high correlation between the level of human suffering and the rate of population increase in countries. The 30 countries falling in the extreme human-suffering range all in Africa and Asia averaged a high annual rate of population increase of 2.8%. The 44 countries with a high human suffering rate all in Africa, Asia, and Latin America also had an average annual population increase of 2.8%. With the increase in the population on the earth, there are environmental problems and these problems create things, which may cause the depletion of ozone layers.

HOW TO WARD OFF DISASTER:

Storing carbon The atmosphere is not the only place CO2 an go. With a little ingenuity, it can be wrung out of the air and set aside for sakekeeping.

Planting trees They draw CO2 from the air and give of oxygen. One hectare of forest can sponge up 13.6 tons of CO2 per year. To purify the atmosphere, tree plantation campaigns should be initiated against and over again with regular intervals, for tree plantation campaigns are the steps in the right direction.

Organic and no till agriculture - decaying organic material in the soil is rich in carbon. Limiting tilling mixing with oxygen and forming CO2, thus preventing the production of 2.7 tons of the gas per hectare per year.

Sequestration greenhouse gases captured from smokestacks could be injected into abandoned oil and gas wells.

Carbonate rocks theoretically, CO2 could be pumped into calcium-based minerals that would bind with the gas and trap it.

Alternate energy There are plenty of ways to generate energy that produce no greenhouse emissions at all.

Wind power Around the world, windmill use has been growing 30% a year, now replacing the work of 15 coal-fired power plants. Europe is the leader, with 70% of all wind power.

Solar power cells that convert the energy from sunlight into electricity are a modest, $2.2 billion global business. Their price is dropping, however, making them more attractive.

Nuclear power despite well-publicized problems, nuclear plants still supply about 20% of the power in the US. Waste and safety issues remain, but the Bush Administration thinks the technology has a future.

Fuel cells by combining oxygen and hydrogen, fuel cells produce electricity, giving off only water. used by the space programme, they could in a few years be widely emplyed to power buildings and electric cars.

Conservation People can use the most energy-efficient technology already available and make wiser lifestyle choices.

Retrofitting weatherizing buildings and using energy-saving lighting and appliances can limit greenhouse emissions.

Decentralized power localized systems such as gas cycle turbines can be twice as efficient as getting power from a huge grid

Limit sprawl zoning restrictions can slow over development. Mass transit and telecommuting can ease traffic jams.

Fuel economy new SUVs average 8 km/L, 29% less than the typical car. Will higher gas prices make smaller models more attractive?

Beyond carbon dioxide Another important greenhouse gas is methane, or natural gas. Some simple techniques can keep it in check too.

Belching cows cattle let out prodigious amounts of methane. Already available feeds can reduce the gaseousness, if more farmers learn to use them.

Rice flooded paddies produce marshes, which in turn put out methane. Flooding fields less often and changing fertilizing methods can limit the release of gas.

Leaky pipelines - natural gas that leaks out of pipelines flows into the air instead of homes. Plugging holes solves the problem.

PREVENTION OF DAMAGING EFFECTS OF AIR POLLUTION: In many countries in the world, steps are being taken to stop the damage to our environment from air pollution. Scientific groups study the damaging effects on plant, animal and human life. Legislative bodies write laws to control emissions. Educators in schools and universities teach students, beginning at very young ages, about the effects of air pollution. The first step to solving air pollution is assessment. Researches have investigated outdoor air pollution and have developed standards for measuring the type and amount of some serious air pollutants. Scientists must them determine how much exposure to pollutants is harmful. Once exposure levels have been set, steps can be undertaken to reduce exposure to air pollution. These can be accomplished by regulation of man-made pollution through legislation. Many countries have set controls on pollution emissions for transportation vehicles and industry. This is usually done to through a variety of coordinating agencies, which monitor the air and the environment. Prevention is another key to controlling air pollution. The regulatory agencies mentioned above play an essential role in reducing and preventing air pollution in the environment. Adequate ventilation is also a key to controlling exposure to indoor air pollution. Home and work environments should be monitored for adequate air flow and proper exhaust systems installed. One of the most dangerous air pollutants in cigarette's smoke. Restricting smoking is an important key to a healthier environment. Legislation to control smoking is in effect in some locations, but personal exposure should be monitored and limited wherever possible. Only through the efforts of scientists, business leader, legislators, and individuals can we reduce the amount of air pollution on the planet. It is our national responsibility to make Pakistan a better place to live. We must strive towards abating existing pollution and upgrading environmental situation. This challenge must be met by all of us in order to assure that a healthy environment will exist for ourselves and our children.

Although, the global warming is a man-made problem, but still there are many ways to decrease the warming phenomenon of the earth and the environment. In this connection, it is pointed out that CO2 is the main gas, which increases environment pollution to much extent. However, one can reduce its concentration through adaptation of modern technology. It is not an individual problem, primarily collective behaviour of the citizens are responsible for creating this pollution, we should remember the saying of Our Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him), that cleaning is half faith. But in fact, we citizens have totally forgotten the saying of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and this is one reason of downfall and uncertainly in the environment. We should always fear Almighty Allah, who is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient and we must obey His order for our well beings. In this way, our many worldly problems may be solved by the order of Almighty Allah.