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Co-Operation for Environmental Sustainability

Maxwell Kofi Adikai


India and Africa enjoy a long standing relation dating back to pre-colonial era. Historically, relations between India and Africa started with India’s contact with the horn of Africa and a subsequent spread presence to all regions of Africa. With a combine estimated population of 2.22billion in 2012 representing about 31.4 % of the world’s population and an estimated geographical area of 33,508,000 square kilometres ,cooperation between Africa and India is undoubtedly a force to reckon in setting environmental standards and ensuring that the environment kept in its natural state. India Africa relation is rapidly gaining attention as a credible bloc; it is in this vain that Africa needs to compete and cooperate in a mutual and healthy manner with India on current environmental issues to ensure that the environment in protected and allowed to maintain its pristine qualities.

The world today is antagonised with host of environmental issues which needs a critical consideration. Environmental issues cut across continents and do not only affect parts of the world where they are caused but have a multiplier effects across the planet. There is therefore the overriding need to preserve the environment to protect humanity and other living organisms. The following are current environmental issues and feasible intervention that India and African states can institute to help address environmental issues.


WATER POLLUTION

Water pollution remains one of the greatest liabilities to the environment. Water pollution from heavy industrial, agricultural and domestic activities has led to the pollution of most water bodies. The Ocean which covers 71% of earth surface is dumped with rubbish three times the weight of fish caught from it. Pollutants in form of sewage, chemical fertilizers, plastic products and oil spillages and leaks represent a new chapter of challenge to efforts of addressing environmental pollution. Water pollutants have negative impact on aquatic lives by killing aquatic organism leading to the decrease in aquatic ecosystem activities. According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation report (2010), inland water pollution has led to about 780 million people not having access to improved water supply. Agricultural runoff and industrial waste are the leading cause of inland water pollution. Sustained solution to water pollution is possible and necessary to protect aquatic organisms and human lives.


THE WAY OUT

The partnership between India and Africa which forms a consolidated force should advocate the need to ensure adherence to existing laws. Governments and international agencies should also increase regulations on oil transport and inspection oil tankers which might leak oil.

India should transfer its technology on sewage treatment and recycling to developing countries to enable these countries adopt a more scientific methods of treating waste before dumping them into water bodies. Activities which accounts to the increase in inland pollution especially farming activities can be tackled by educating farmers on the appropriate way of applying chemicals and fertilizers to avoid sieving into water bodies nearby. As individuals, there is the need to maintain our vehicles to prevent the spillage on road which might leak into water bodies. Coastal development should be controlled to avoid massive emission to the sea. The government of India and African states should invest in the exploitation and harnessing of renewable sources of energy to provide alternative and a more environmentally friendly source of energy.


CLIMATE CHANGE

The survival of human and nature largely depend on the stability of weather conditions. Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing the planet and has led to unprecedented increase in extremities in the weather distribution. Human and natural factors are responsible for the instability of the earth’s climate change but since the industrial revolution humans have had an increasing and greater impact on the climate change. This global phenomenon however has received little attention from policy makers and no sense of urgency to address the issue. A much more cause of climatic change is global warming. Global warming is the increase in the earth’s average temperature due to effects of greenhouse gases carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. Global warming represents one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. This issue has experienced persistent increase due to chemical inundation of the atmosphere. The earth’s climate largely depends on the amount of energy from entering or leaving the earth’s atmosphere. The ozone layer plays a very vital role in regulating the flow of energy into and outside the atmosphere. The ozone layer is however made porous when Carbon dioxides mostly from industrial fossil burning and domestic activities are released into the atmosphere. This phenomenon has led to the irregular rainfall, melting of ice and warming up of the ocean leading to more frequent hurricanes and floods. Draught and heat waves may be rampant in dry areas due to global warming. The spread of bush fire due to dryness, loss of biodiversity and spread of diseases are all some of the damaging effects of global warming. The emission of carbon dioxide has gone up by about 6 billion metric tons worldwide which represent more than a 20% increase.


THE WAY OUT

Global warming can be checked by adopting the 3'R's solutions -reduce, reuse and recycle practise. The government of India and African countries should encourage their citizens to reduce the consumption of disposable products and recycle its waste materials in order to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide due to burning of waste. India and African countries should join the rest of the world on placing limits on carbon dioxide emission from factories should be placed and need to enforce it. fines should be imposed on entities that flout limits on carbon regulations.

Education on the need to use energy efficient products should made by government agencies both India and African states. Using energy saving bulbs should be provided by the government to step up the campaign of reducing greenhouse gases and the wise use of energy at home and office should be the key theme of the education.

Afforestation programme by the government should be undertaking on a wider scale .trees help to reduce the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere during photosynthesis hence help check in the concentration of carbon dioxide, the major causative gas of global warming in the atmosphere.

Investing in new technologies in exploiting renewable resources should be made by both India and Africa in curbing the use of fossil fuel as the source of energy in factories.

India and other developed economies should increase the financial commitment towards tackling the effects of global warming in developing economies since they responsible for the increase in carbon emissions.


DEFORESTATION

Deforestation represents one of the biggest exploitation of natural resources.  Urbanisation and increase in the world’s population has led to the depletion of a vast amount of the world’s forest. According to experts, rainforest which used to cover 14% of total land surface now cover a 6% and will be consumed in less than 40 years. The amazon rainforest, the most bio diverse region and ‘lung of the world’ will turn into the largest savannah by 2050 if we continue to destroy it. Poor forest management has contributed to the advanced stage of forest depletion especially in Africa and Asia. Report from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO, 2006) shows that only 6% of the natural tropical forests are sustainably managed. It also estimated that 77% of Africa’s frontier forests are under moderate or high threat.

Deforestation leads to the loss of natural habitat for wildlife. Deforestation also reduces nature’s ability to purify the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals .The drying of most water bodies especially those in forest zones can be attributed to excessive and uncontrolled logging. The trees provide shade from the sun’s direct rays and without their presence, the rate of precipitation would increase leading to the drying up of water bodies.


THE WAY OUT

The government of India and Africa should establish a sustained programme of afforestation and encourage private individuals to plant trees in their neighbourhood. Government’s policy on logging should be strengthened and implemented to counter the activities of illegal loggers

Creation of forest reserves and an effective forestry management is a crucial ingredient in ensuring that the rate of deforestation is halted. There should also be a nationwide campaign to amass support from every citizen of the country to enable the effective control of forest depletion.

Practices such as saving paper usage should be preached to individuals worldwide in order to reduce the demand for trees which serves as the material for producing paper.

Bush fires should be checked especially during the dry seasons in tropical countries to control the destruction of forests by fire outbreaks.


SOLID AND ELECTRONIC WASTE DISPOSAL

Solid waste can be defined as the useless and unwanted products in the solid form derived from activities of and discarded by society. It is a product of production processes or arises from the domestic or commercial when objects or materials are discarded after use.

The increase in the world’s population, rapid industrial growth and increase in standard of living has led to the rapid increase in solid waste. Waste generated from every day activities are not properly disposed in developing countries which is characterised by development of slums and shanty towns. The poor planning of these towns provides no space for waste disposal. E-waste disposal is another worrying trend in waste disposal in developing countries. Most of the items in the form of damaged television set, mobile phones, air-conditions etc. contain hazardous materials which have disastrous health impacts. A report by then UNEP showed that the amount of e-waste to be produced could increase by 500% over the next decade in some countries like India.


THE WAY OUT

India being a powerhouse in production of electronic gadgets especially computers should lead a global campaign to stop the dumping of electronic waste in developing countries. India should also transfer technical expertise in recycling of electronic gadgets so to control its effects on the environment and public health.

Proper solid waste management system should be instituted by the governments of India and African states to ensure that waste materials are adequately catered for. A well-established waste management system will not only have environmental benefits but also create employment opportunities leading to economic development. Legislation to prevent dumping of e-waste should be well implemented by international bodies associated with such laws to serve as a safeguard with appropriate sanctions imposed on offenders to serve as deterrent to other firms.


URBANIZATION AND DESTRUCTION OF NATURAL HABITAT

The use of land today has contributed negatively towards the environment. Urbanization and industrial development has led to urban sprawl with has contributed to the destruction of natural habitat for animals. Habit destruction refers to the inability of the natural habitat to support the life of organisms. The hourly destruction of an estimated 240 acres of natural habitat is directly attributable to the growth in human populations. Also 80% of the decline biological diversity is caused by habitat destruction. Dimension habitat destruction- this is where previously habitat is split up by human development leaving a small area for wildlife existence needs critical attention to prevent threatening the world’s endangered animals and plants.


THE WAY OUT

To curb rapid urbanization and sprawl, India and Africa can develop more ‘smart growth’ technique. ‘Smart growth’ makes it possible to build and maintain towns and cities. This technique greatly preserves critical environmental areas and supports local economies.

Preservation of natural habitat involves the awareness of the great problem of natural habitat destruction and education. Governments of the India and African states should educate their citizens on the immense contribution of natural habitats to sustaining the planet in order to bring everyone on board the campaign to protect natural habitats.

To conserve the natural habitat and wild fauna and flora, governments need to encourage the establishment of protected natural area. This will help intrusion from humans and other factors that may disrupt the native ecosystem.

Legal protection of ecological sites, parks, and marine protected sites should be ensured by government agencies to sustain these priceless gifts of nature.


CONCLUSION

The survival of our planet greatly depends on our actions and in actions. The support and gifts of nature should be well catered for to ensure environmental sustainability. An early awakening to the effects of human activities on the environment and a concerted effort from all countries to addressing will go a long way in preserving our planet.


REFERENCE:

UNEP, 2012. 21 Issues for the 21st Century: Results of the UNEP Foresight Process on Emerging Environmental Issues. United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Kenya, 56pp.


 
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