Humans are very resourceful and well endowed. We utilize the natural resources that abound around us. Not satisfied with the way things are, we forage, discover, invent, and re-invent. The essence is to make our lives and surroundings more comfortable.
These quest, hunger and thirst of humans, led to the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and America, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. Not to be outdone, France, Germany and Belgium also joined the race.
As companies rolled out assorted products from their mills and production lines, they also spewed out water vapour, carbon dioxide,methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases into the atmosphere. And that was when the problem started.
Every country on earth today is striving to be the largest in the export of goods and thus keeps the machines running with an uncontrolled discharge of emissions and effluents. Some countries especially in the developing world, even carry on gas flaring as if what is been deposited indirectly is not enough.
The truth need be told, the activities of man in an effort to enhance a better form of living, full of luxury and attendant amenities, have created serious problems in the environment.
Things like global warming, greenhouse gas, depletion of the ozone layer and chronic diseases resulting from emissions, have become issues for governments’ and organizations’ discourse.
Chronic diseases account for 4 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year; while birth defects, cancer, asthma and other illnesses affect about 100 million Americans.
A whopping estimated $325 billion is also said to be sunk into the care and treatment of chronic diseases annually.
Despite the problems the world is facing from these activities, no right-thinking person will want a descent into the medieval times, when long and tedious hours were spent on simple tasks; when the energy or power utilized to do work came almost wholly from man’s and animals’ muscles.
What then should be done?
A lot of organizations are working tirelessly to combat and control the situation; for instance, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), works to protect people from environmentally-related illness, disability, and death through surveillance, research and action.
The Centers also focus on areas such as air pollution and respiratory health, climate and health, environmental public health tracking, health studies as well as radiation studies.
The work being carried out in the United States though commendable, is however, not enough to completely wipe out the “scourge.” It is a well known fact that the amount of pollutant measured in the atmosphere is roughly the same all over the world, regardless of the source of the emission. It is therefore mandatory that the whole wide world must tackle this problem together if the war is to be won.
One way of tackling this problem is by educating the people. Especially, the developing countries of the world should be made to know the inherent dangers associated with emitting dangerous and toxic wastes into the atmosphere with little or no treatment. Attention should be directed also to cottage industries as well as agricultural activities.
Relevant world organizations should promulgate legislations to regulate industrial and agro allied activities throughout the whole world. It is on record by the World Health Organization(WHO) on 15 March 2016 in Geneva, that an estimated 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly 1 in 4 of total global deaths.
The United Nations(UN), as an umbrella body of virtually all the countries in the world, should make it a duty to see to the enforcement of promulgated legislations. Adequate sanctions and penalties should be imposed on erring nations. This will serve as a deterrent.
Researches should be encouraged to fashion out ideas and new ways of producing goods, that are more environment friendly.
Unhealthy competition and rivalry should be discouraged among corporations, who may aspire to flood the world markets with goods to outbid each other, in the process discharging great quantities of toxic wastes into the atmosphere.
Concerted effort should be made by the richer nations who probably have generated more wastes in combating the menace, since the developing countries may lack the necessary resources to effectively tackle the problem.
If the world stands up as a body, united in view and with a directed focus, the battle against environmental hazards will be won, just the way the battle on Ebola was fought and is being fought unrelentingly.